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Thread: First Time Strumming an Ukulele

  1. #11
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    Feb 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col50 View Post
    A Newbie going into a Music Store is not going to buy a $2000 uke.
    I don't see why not. Thirty years ago I decided to learn the flute, so I went to a music store and got a several thousand dollar instrument for $23.89 a month. What's that nowadays? The price of a few packs of cigarettes or a night at the cinema or a fraction of a cell phone bill. It is doable if making music is a priority to you. Obviously it isn't necessary but it is one path and it is not hard to do.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    I don't see why not. Thirty years ago I decided to learn the flute, so I went to a music store and got a several thousand dollar instrument for $23.89 a month. What's that nowadays? The price of a few packs of cigarettes or a night at the cinema or a fraction of a cell phone bill. It is doable if making music is a priority to you. Obviously it isn't necessary but it is one path and it is not hard to do.
    A newbie might lose interest quickly and take a substantial loss on the uke he has to sell.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  3. #13
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    If newbies are willing to research and buy used (whether $50 or $2000), they will most often "lose" less than most new instruments if they decide not to play it.

    My very first uke was a beautiful like new Kamaka tenor, purchased over the phone unseen and second hand from a guy's barn where he sold guitars. I eventually sold it for more than twice what I bought it for to a guy here on UU, and that guy sold it for even more.
    This once in a lifetime "deal" was only possible because I read up on good ukuleles outside of my price range and was ready to buy. I also knew (having played guitar) that I would enjoy a better instrument - in terms of playability and sound and looks.

    Granted, this takes a little gutsiness and some financial capacity. And there are many more people looking at the "deals", and the digital world makes them much more public, so less likely a story like mine.

    But still, if a newbie bought one of the recent like new Kanile'a K-1 concerts sold at $600, or a repaired vintage Martin sop at $300 (both much more worthy compared to a cheap uke of a $50 luthier set-up if needed), the playability and sound of those instruments probably increases chances of successful playing or of re-sale at the price paid.

    (I confess that doing things this way does dramatically increase the chance of being bit with the UAS bug, LOL.)
    Last edited by ukeinfused; 09-15-2019 at 07:05 AM.
    Tracie

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype sop, Peter Howlett #153
    Kamaka white label sop (Tiki added!)
    Weymann sop, 1918
    Martin O, 1960's
    Kiwaya KTS-7
    Anuenue Khaya I sop
    Lanikai SPS-S spruce top sop
    Sawchyn hog concert (semi-custom, Martin 0 copy)
    Kala Elite 1MHG tenor SN
    Guild baritone, 1960's (trumpet buttons added, LOL)

  4. #14
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    Jul 2008
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    I think we still (though to a lesser extent) combat the perception that the ukulele is a “toy” or a less serious instrument than a guitar. That misperception is not helped when tourist stores and ABC markets in Hawaii sell unplayable wall hangers for $30-50.

    So, the initial price of $150-200 for a true entry level model is already 5x what some people expect and are shocked by that.

    I remember my first ukulele was a concert lanikai that was not set up. It was laminate and painful to fret the first position chords. What an impediment to learning. I remember what the shop owner said, sometimes paying more to get a better sound out of an instrument inspires you more to play. At first, I dismissed that as I wasn’t sure I wanted to make that investment in an nstrument I may not take to. I traded the lanikai back in after two weeks and used the store credit to buy a KoAloha koa concert. I played that exclusively, until I discovered tenors and low G.

    So, while my first strum was not great, I enjoyed it enough to pay more to play a higher quality instrument.

    So, what do people think is the sweet spot for an entry level uke? $150-$250? $300-400. $500-700?

  5. #15
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    Sep 2011
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    Sewell, NJ (suburb of Philadelphia, Pa)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrdr View Post
    I think we still (though to a lesser extent) combat the perception that the ukulele is a “toy” or a less serious instrument than a guitar. That misperception is not helped when tourist stores and ABC markets in Hawaii sell unplayable wall hangers for $30-50.

    So, the initial price of $150-200 for a true entry level model is already 5x what some people expect and are shocked by that.

    I remember my first ukulele was a concert lanikai that was not set up. It was laminate and painful to fret the first position chords. What an impediment to learning. I remember what the shop owner said, sometimes paying more to get a better sound out of an instrument inspires you more to play. At first, I dismissed that as I wasn’t sure I wanted to make that investment in an nstrument I may not take to. I traded the lanikai back in after two weeks and used the store credit to buy a KoAloha koa concert. I played that exclusively, until I discovered tenors and low G.

    So, while my first strum was not great, I enjoyed it enough to pay more to play a higher quality instrument.

    So, what do people think is the sweet spot for an entry level uke? $150-$250? $300-400. $500-700?
    So, Yes, I agree. That kala travel concert that I bought had awful setup. and my hands and fingers hurt so badly. Of course, my wife had no understanding, when only a month in, I wanted to to buy a better uke, when I had "already paid $375" for an ukulele. My second ukulele was a concert KoAloha, set up by HMS, and I still have it today. I too like the low-G tenor but I just can't seem to part with this KoAloha. As for the Kala, I use it now to collect autogtraphs.

  6. #16
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    Feb 2010
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    Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA
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    Iíve been playing about nine years. I donít think itís necessary to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a first Uke. The most important thing is that that first Uke be solidly constructed but not over built and then set up so that itís as easy to play as possible.

    These will ensure that the person has a decent shot at having a good playing experience and discovering what the ukulele is all about musically and whether or not itís something they want to pursue.

    If they end up upgrading to a better, more expensive instrument later theyíll appreciate having an extra one to travel with, to loan or to share with a friend.

  7. #17
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    Of course, much depends upon the person's age and musical background and level of desire to learn to play. Not to mention local resources for lessons and social support.

    If an adult, I think spending $300 to $500 is a good starting point. There are a lot of very good ukes at that price. Most people, should they continue to play will keep that for a year or so. That gives the beginner plenty of time to learn the basics. Try other sizes and makes and models and be able to make an informed decision about where to go from where he/she is in their journey. If they are lucky, there will be a nearby uke club where they can try other instruments, have a lot of fun and be encouraged to continue.

    To answer your first question Ed, would it be a problem learning to play piano on a Steinway and Sons Grand Piano? Probably not. Should they buy one if they have never played before? Ditto.

    If I had to do it over, would I have purchased a $2000 tenor to begin to learn on? Nope. I would have missed out on a lot of the journey of learning. And, I would have had no idea what tenor would best suit my needs then and in the future. Heck whilst I have a clearer picture now, I still don't know what would make the ideal instrument for me five years from now.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you donít begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    óLou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

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