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Thread: You Get What You Pay For?

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
    Posts
    409

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    Sometimes you get what you pay for; sometimes you get more; sometimes less -- all relative to other instruments at the same price point, of course.

    One of my students plays an exceptional $80 Diamond Head tenor that sounds as nice as most $400 tenors. I've encountered $800 'ukulele that were inferior to average all-solid or good solid-top Kalas. Even at the $1000 price point, there is considerable variation between individual 'ukulele, and I've played $1k K brand duds and gems.

    Having said all that, I agree with Kenn and PoiDog. While higher price points offer diminishing returns, real differences (some subtler than others) exist. Clarity of attack, volume, intonation, playability, overtone production, tonal focus, quality of finish, etc. -- all these can be improved upon, albeit at considerable expense. Once, I spent a short time with a classical guitar owned by a certain virtuoso. The instrument was absolutely incredible, and I'd have given a kidney to spend a year or two with it. When I asked what it was valued at (a cool $45,000), I thought the value was appropriate for an instrument of its quality -- remotely achievable if the buyer is willing to sacrifice (much like actually realizing the potential of such a fine instrument).

    For myself, I just hope that everyone has the pleasure of being inspired by their instrument. For some, this means a $100 garage sale special. For others, it's a $100K Lorenzo Ventapane-esque rarity. Either way, the experience of playing a great instrument, one which reliably serves as a mirror for the musician who plays it, begets a debt that exceeds the instrument's monetary value.
    Last edited by bacchettadavid; 07-17-2019 at 04:08 PM.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    224

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Which is why I have never taken a Rolls Royce or Ferrari for a test drive.
    I went shopping for a BMW, bought a Porsche.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    3,759

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoiDog View Post
    Actually, I've found that, while possibly subjective, the difference in sound, playability, feel, etc between a $150 Ohana, a $400 Pono, and a $1,000 Kanile'a are quite tangible and are noticed by people from a wide range of 'ukulele experience. The fact is that higher-priced instruments simply *are* better. They feel better. On even cursory inspection they look better. And after only a few strums it's clear they sound better.

    I would rephrase your statement (if I might be so bold) to wonder whether the difference is worth the increased price. That there is a difference is undeniable. The value of it is far more open.

    As for me, I don't mind having paid a premium for an all-solid koa instrument, designed, built, and finished by hand by craftsmen in Hawai'i rather than paying less for a laminate or low-grade solid mass-produced in a factory in China by workers paid pennies.
    I only have four ukuleles and there is a difference in how each one of them sound, but I don't think it has to do with quality, it is just because they are three different ukuleles. And I like the sound of each one individually. One does not sound better or worse than the others. My more expensive one does not have a "better" sound, just a different sound. In regards to mas produced laminates and solid hand crafted ukuleles, there are a lot of ukuleles between those two extremes.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,472

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    My history of ukes range from $100 to $450 and believe me, I got a case of the willies spending $450 on a ukulele so spending more than that is pretty much insanity to me. My skills certainly don't warrant owning a really nice ukulele and they probably never will but the ones I do have bring me joy and I play them regularly. I really liked the sound of all my ukes (none sounded bad) but there was definitely a difference in quality of sound. All my ukes north of the $100 mark sounded better than the $100 uke. My best sounding uke happens to be my most expensive one. I used to think that the neighborhood of $250 was a nice sweet spot for "affordable", nice sounding ukes and then I found a lovely sounding all-solid mahogany for $140 that I wouldn't want to give up so I'm sure there's good and bad at a lot of price points.
    Ohana CK-42R - all-solid concert, sinker redwood top, rosewood body, maple binding, Ltd. Edition
    Kala KA-FMCG- solid/lam concert, spruce top, spalted flame maple body, mahogany binding
    Ohana CK-120G - all-solid concert, 5A acacia top sides and back, mahogany binding, Limited Edition
    Ohana SK-30M - all-solid mahogany long neck soprano (concert scale)
    Romero ST - solid/lam concert, spruce top, mahogany body

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Kyoto Japan
    Posts
    114

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    Alcoholics know cheep and good wine, UAS know cheep and good ukuleles.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,498

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    We're not all playing the same styles on ukulele, and ukulele doesn't play the same role in all our lives.

    Some of us just strum; some of us fingerpick. Some of us perform publicly; some of us play only for ourselves.
    Some people don't need good intonation or sound past the 5th fret, and some of us regularly play all the way up the neck.
    Some people cringe when there are intonation problems, and some people can't hear the difference.

    Some people enjoy playing and looking at the beauty of a well made instrument, with or without inlays, and some people would worry about accidentally getting a ding in that instrument, which would diminish their enjoyment of it, even if they could afford it.

    Some people can afford those $10,000+ Moore Bettahs, and most of us can't. But, if you can, why not enjoy it, if that's something that you like? I sure enjoy the sound samples and videos, anyway. :-)

    Some of us spend a lot of time every day with our ukulele(s), and some people play only every now and then.

    Some people spend money on other hobbies, (sometimes lots of money), and some people don't.

    We're all here united by enjoyment of ukuleles, but otherwise, what each of us is looking for when we buy a ukulele, (or perhaps multiple ukuleles), is going to differ. And, we're very fortunate that there is a wide range of ukuleles available at a wide range of price points. The ukulele world is a good one to be in.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ma., Ga., Fl.
    Posts
    2,034

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    We're not all playing the same styles on ukulele, and ukulele doesn't play the same role in all our lives.

    Some of us just strum; some of us fingerpick. Some of us perform publicly; some of us play only for ourselves.
    Some people don't need good intonation or sound past the 5th fret, and some of us regularly play all the way up the neck.
    Some people cringe when there are intonation problems, and some people can't hear the difference.

    Some people enjoy playing and looking at the beauty of a well made instrument, with or without inlays, and some people would worry about accidentally getting a ding in that instrument, which would diminish their enjoyment of it, even if they could afford it.

    Some people can afford those $10,000+ Moore Bettahs, and most of us can't. But, if you can, why not enjoy it, if that's something that you like? I sure enjoy the sound samples and videos, anyway. :-)

    Some of us spend a lot of time every day with our ukulele(s), and some people play only every now and then.

    Some people spend money on other hobbies, (sometimes lots of money), and some people don't.

    We're all here united by enjoyment of ukuleles, but otherwise, what each of us is looking for when we buy a ukulele, (or perhaps multiple ukuleles), is going to differ. And, we're very fortunate that there is a wide range of ukuleles available at a wide range of price points. The ukulele world is a good one to be in.
    YES, absolutely!!!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    417

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    We're not all playing the same styles on ukulele, and ukulele doesn't play the same role in all our lives.

    Some of us just strum; some of us fingerpick. Some of us perform publicly; some of us play only for ourselves.
    Some people don't need good intonation or sound past the 5th fret, and some of us regularly play all the way up the neck.
    Some people cringe when there are intonation problems, and some people can't hear the difference.

    Some people enjoy playing and looking at the beauty of a well made instrument, with or without inlays, and some people would worry about accidentally getting a ding in that instrument, which would diminish their enjoyment of it, even if they could afford it.

    Some people can afford those $10,000+ Moore Bettahs, and most of us can't. But, if you can, why not enjoy it, if that's something that you like? I sure enjoy the sound samples and videos, anyway. :-)

    Some of us spend a lot of time every day with our ukulele(s), and some people play only every now and then.

    Some people spend money on other hobbies, (sometimes lots of money), and some people don't.

    We're all here united by enjoyment of ukuleles, but otherwise, what each of us is looking for when we buy a ukulele, (or perhaps multiple ukuleles), is going to differ. And, we're very fortunate that there is a wide range of ukuleles available at a wide range of price points. The ukulele world is a good one to be in.
    Yes- I like the way you put that!
    "Everyone I know who is into the Ukulele is 'crackers' so get yourself a few and enjoy yourselves" - George Harrison


    the ukes and year of acquisition:
    Pono RTSH-C-PC Cedar/Rosewood tenor 2016
    Koaloha KSM-02 Koa longneck soprano 2016
    Blackbird Farallon 2017
    2008 Kiwaya KTC-02 Mahogany concert 2018
    aNueNue Moonbird Spruce/Rosewood concert 2018

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,022

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    Rod, I was afraid you had opened a real can 'o worms, but no!
    Joyful Uke, I couldn't agree with you more.
    Is my $600 uke twice as good as my $300 uke?
    No, I don't think so, but they are completely different.
    Did I make $300 worth of difference in my playing by buying a $900 uke?
    Probably not, but it plays totally different.
    I don't think that snobs deserve to be in uke world. This is about fun, not status, or "owning the right" ukulele.
    Sure, some people play a uke that I wouldn't. But it's none of their business how I feel about it.
    And it's none of my business if someone don't like the uke I play.
    Each to his own, according to his budget and willingness to spend. Whatever rings your bell, if you can afford it, buy it, play it, enjoy it!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    3,889

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    Quote Originally Posted by Col50 View Post
    I went shopping for a BMW, bought a Porsche.
    I went to buy an oil filter for my motorcycle and wound up buying a Gold Wing (1995).
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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