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Thread: Traveling To Europe: Want to Buy Uke Over The Pond

  1. #1

    Default Traveling To Europe: Want to Buy Uke Over The Pond

    My wife and I are headed to Belgium and France for almost a month in a few weeks.

    I'm looking for a place to buy a tenor travel priced uke in either Bruges, Belgium or Paris, Fr.
    Any leads or "bewares!" would be appreciated.

    Since I've (lucky to have) been around the horn so many times, I'm not leaving with a uke....checked or carry on. Just too much trouble.

    I'd rather buy something for under $200 over there and pass it as a gift on to another, yet unknown, traveller that shows interest....
    ....at the end of the trip, of course. Hahahaha!!!

    I'd appreciate any directions....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    646

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Keener View Post
    My wife and I are headed to Belgium and France for almost a month in a few weeks.

    I'm looking for a place to buy a tenor travel priced uke in either Bruges, Belgium or Paris, Fr.
    Any leads or "bewares!" would be appreciated.

    Since I've (lucky to have) been around the horn so many times, I'm not leaving with a uke....checked or carry on. Just too much trouble.

    I'd rather buy something for under $200 over there and pass it as a gift on to another, yet unknown, traveller that shows interest....
    ....at the end of the trip, of course. Hahahaha!!!

    I'd appreciate any directions....
    That sounds like a great idea.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AQUATOPAZ View Post
    That sounds like a great idea.
    Thanks.

    I came upon the option as a result of buying, and selling at some real losses, a bunch of "travel guitars". Took me years to figure out that traveling with an axe,
    even one designed to be shoved around the nether regions of an airplane, was not in any way satisfying.

    I only noodle. No stage work. After over 55 years behind strings, no one would pay to hear me play. And, we're not overladen with extra money.
    When we travel in the U.S. and abroad we've figured out that, for us, $150 dinners (or $130 Euro dinners) don't add to the value of the experience.

    I don't have fancy ukes. Wish I had the dough for a really nice solid body uke. Not going to happen in the near or distant future. I'm retired now.
    All the bucks-up guitars I've been lucky to have owned are gone except one botique small-body made by friends in Santa Cruz.

    But, on our U.S. plane and long distance plane/rent-a-car travels, a trip to the local pawn shop and "picking up" the best playing instrument we can get
    for the least money is not only fun, but it is usually an experience in itself.

    Then, sometimes to the chagrin of my accepting spouse, I get to play the
    purchase while on the road.... and then pass it on to someone else before climbing back into that cramped aluminum tube.

    Never done it in Europe. I'd like to spread some aloha with my newfound love of ukuleles.
    Last edited by William Keener; 08-25-2019 at 06:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    646

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William Keener View Post
    I came upon the option as a result of buying, and selling at some real losses, a bunch of "travel guitars". Took me years to figure out that traveling with an axe,
    even one designed to be shoved around the nether regions of an airplane, was not in any way satisfying.

    I only noodle. No stage work. After over 55 years behind strings, no one would pay to hear me play. And, we're not overladen with extra money.
    When we travel in the U.S. and abroad we've figured out that, for us, $150 dinners (or $130 Euro dinners) don't add to the value of the experience.

    I don't have fancy ukes. Wish I had the dough for a really nice solid body uke. Not going to happen in the near or distant future. I'm retired now.
    All the bucks-up guitars I've been lucky to have owned are gone except one botique small-body made by friends in Santa Cruz.

    But, on our U.S. plane and long distance plane/rent-a-car travels, a trip to the local pawn shop and "picking up" the best playing instrument we can get
    for the least money is not only fun, but it is usually an experience in itself.

    Then, sometimes to the chagrin of my accepting spouse, I get to play the
    purchase while on the road.... and then pass it on to someone else.

    Never done it in Europe. I'd like to spread some aloha with my newfound love of ukuleles.
    Please post about it after you return.

  5. #5

    Default

    Will do.

    And, again, I'd love to hear any info anyone has about sellers in Paris or Bruges.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by William Keener; 08-25-2019 at 06:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    837

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    I am not sure which ukuleles would be a special European souvenir. Especially at a low price point, where it would probably be made in Asia, regardless of whether you buy in the EU or the US.

    Perhaps some brands are more easily available in the EU?
    Perhaps Sigma and Cort can't sell their Martin Shaped ukes in the US, due to some license stuff? The make affordable solid wood instruments only a bit over your budget. But I only ever saw them from SUS i the UK, I dont know if they are available in the countries you visit.

    Bruko makes solid instruments, build in the EU, but not many music shops have them in stock. I believe that they cost almost twice your budget at around 300 euro.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    CH
    Posts
    1,762

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    I totally applaud your plan, but: Everything in your budget will be from China and cost about 20 percent more than in the U.S., due to high taxes. Unlike a guitar, a uke is small enough to fit in any piece of carry-on luggage, so personally I'd buy a travel uke of my choice from the much larger selection in the U.S. and bring that one along. A sturdy case will be enough protection. Good luck with your traveling!
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    391

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    I live in Bruges, so feel free to contact me. We don't have dedicated uke shops in Flanders (there are some just across the border in the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Den Bosch, each 2-4 hours by train or car) but we do have some good music shops carrying a lot of ukuleles. Not all of them are of Asian produced ones, but also f.e. Brüko ones. Rombaux is a very old shop right in the town centre, with a fantastic interior. Keymusic, in a brand new building on the edge of town right where the canal to Damme starts, is a modern shop with some ukuleles. Plus there are some good uke players in town. Same for Ghent, which is just half an hour away, but they have even more luthiers there...

    For Paris, there is music shop quarter right across Pigalle, at the foot of Montmartre, in front of the Moulin Rouge, with 2-3 streets of guitar, piano and other shops. Most of them sell ukuleles, some even old Kamakas. In the Galerie Vero Dodat there's the old music shop and repair stall of François Charle, now taken over by Jerome Casanova (only open in the afternoon). There are at least two weekly gatherings of ukulele players, but I have to look them up - adresses, days of the week and the names of the groups have changed in the last year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,047

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    What about a sopranino in a hard case - & you get to keep it.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
    Posts
    905

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    What about borrowing an instrument from a UU member and letting them have it back when you move locations / go home? A bit of trust, a bit of a deposit and a bit of postage could see something work out for you. Someone in the club’s in your destinations will have an old Uke / beater that they’re willing to lend.

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