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Thread: How Long Do I Wait To Unbox a New Ukulele?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    the Mid-South
    Posts
    11

    Default How Long Do I Wait To Unbox a New Ukulele?

    Hi everyone.

    After a year of learning to play ukulele on a Kala Spruce Top Concert, I have finally ordered a KoAloha Opio Acacia Concert from HMS. I know that often times it's advised to wait before unboxing a new ukulele.

    I ordered a hardshell case for it as well. Because it's coming from Hawaii to Tennessee, I wonder how long that wait should be. It'll likely be a week or two before it's set up, so I peeked at the 14 day forecast which currently projects 70 degree temps for there and 50s/60s for here. Of course, our weather here is subject to rapid changes when compared to most, but it's been a warm winter so far.

    Any idea how long I should pretend to ignore my new uke?

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default

    I wouldn't think it would matter since it's been bouncing around in that UPS truck. They're not temperature controlled. Again, I'm guessing but I never would have thought to do that

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    483

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    You should be thinking in terms of minutes, not days or weeks. You pretty much just want the temperature to equalize before opening the ukulele case. Even there, it should not really matter much since it would be like taking it from a cold car into a house.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    804

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    I wouldn't worry, there's probably not much difference between truck and house temperatures, and the Opios don't have a nitro finish that can crack.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default

    I would give it 24 hrs.

    You want to avoid thermal shock from sudden temperature changes. And a sudden change to the humidity.

    It's not so much the temp from its point of origin to your destination, it's all of the temperature extremes it likely has gone through on its travels. (Though if you live in places that are really cold or really hot, that can mean more time in extreme temperatures and humidity.) I've received two ukes in the dead of winter with low temps of -28 degs F. They spent the night in an unheated warehouse shipping container. And at least one day in the delivery truck. Often the ukes are traveling cross-country in an unheated semi truck trailer.

    The box, packing materials, and the instrument case all act as insulation. Slowing the changes to more gradual ones. If you receive and open the box and case immediately the sudden changes in temp & RH can do all kinds of damage from splitting the wood in the top or back, to warping the neck/fretboard.

    If I know the instrument is in a case, I will generally open the outer box after 4 to 6 hours. To make sure the case is undamaged. That is usually enough time for the outside of the case to get close to room temp. If there is a humidity barrier bag, I will remove that. I then put the case back in the open box and leave it for the remaining 18 hrs or so before I open the case. I find that gives everything enough time to equalize and acclimate slowly.

    I then open the case and inspect the uke to make sure it is undamaged. I'll often place the tenor back in the case and wait until I have enough time to tune it and play it for a while.

    That's my MO. Some people give it more time. Some less.

    I usually photograph the box when I receive it. And then each step as I open it. I also photograph the instrument as I inspect it. That also helps if there is a damage claim with the shipper.

    If the box is damaged when I get it, I open it to make sure the case is intact. (The shipping companies can sometimes get a little testy if you wait to report a damaged item.)

    If I'm buying a used instrument, I let the seller know when I get it, and what condition the box is in.

    And then, the next day after I open and inspect everything, I let them know if all is good or not. If not, I send some photos to them showing the problems along with an explanation of what they depict.

    I've had issues with damage from shipping three times out of 20+. In each instance, it has been a bizarre circumstance that has caused damage to the instrument.

    The weirdest involved the key to the instrument case getting out of the middle compartment and moving around inside the case. Scratching and scraping various parts of the tenor! The key had very sharp flashing around the edge on one side of the key. So, in the course of it's travels in the case it shaved a small area of the finish on the back of the neck, and nicked the clear finish in several spots on the body. Mostly on the bottom of the uke. I found the key sitting in the bottom of the case after I let the seller know what I had found. He called me and was absolutely mortified and floored that the forgotten key could do that much damage!

    Stay tough and wait it out. You'll be happy you did.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 01-07-2020 at 09:27 AM.
    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 don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    the we(s)t coast, Canada
    Posts
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    Default

    That's it, I'm only ordering expensive instruments in late spring, early fall!
    Glenn

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    772

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    I would give it 24 hrs.

    You want to avoid thermal shock from sudden temperature changes. And a sudden change to the humidity.

    It's not so much the temp from its point of origin to your destination, it's all of the temperature extremes it likely has gone through on its travels. (Though if you live in places that are really cold or really hot, that can mean more time in extreme temperatures and humidity.) I've received two ukes in the dead of winter with low temps of -28 degs F. They spent the night in an unheated warehouse shipping container. And at least one day in the delivery truck. Often the ukes are traveling cross-country in an unheated semi truck trailer.

    The box, packing materials, and the instrument case all act as insulation. Slowing the changes to more gradual ones. If you receive and open the box and case immediately the sudden changes in temp & RH can do all kinds of damage from splitting the wood in the top or back, to warping the neck/fretboard.

    If I know the instrument is in a case, I will generally open the outer box after 4 to 6 hours. To make sure the case is undamaged. That is usually enough time for the outside of the case to get close to room temp. If there is a humidity barrier bag, I will remove that. I then put the case back in the open box and leave it for the remaining 18 hrs or so before I open the case. I find that gives everything enough time to equalize and acclimate slowly.

    I then open the case and inspect the uke to make sure it is undamaged. I'll often place the tenor back in the case and wait until I have enough time to tune it and play it for a while.

    That's my MO. Some people give it more time. Some less.

    I usually photograph the box when I receive it. And then each step as I open it. I also photograph the instrument as I inspect it. That also helps if there is a damage claim with the shipper.

    If the box is damaged when I get it, I open it to make sure the case is intact. (The shipping companies can sometimes get a little testy if you wait to report a damaged item.)

    If I'm buying a used instrument, I let the seller know when I get it, and what condition the box is in.

    And then, the next day after I open and inspect everything, I let them know if all is good or not. If not, I send some photos to them showing the problems along with an explanation of what they depict.

    I've had issues with damage from shipping three times out of 20+. In each instance, it has been a bizarre circumstance that has caused damage to the instrument.

    The weirdest involved the key to the instrument case getting out of the middle compartment and moving around inside the case. Scratching and scraping various parts of the tenor! The key had very sharp flashing around the edge on one side of the key. So, in the course of it's travels in the case it shaved a small area of the finish on the back of the neck, and nicked the clear finish in several spots on the body. Mostly on the bottom of the uke. I found the key sitting in the bottom of the case after I let the seller know what I had found. He called me and was absolutely mortified and floored that the forgotten key could do that much damage!

    Stay tough and wait it out. You'll be happy you did.
    Yep, he has it right. If you want to be wise and the safest, that's the way to do it. Slow acclimation is definitely better for the instrument.

    I will admit I don't wait 24 hours usually though. I do wait overnight at least if the package arrives late in the day. Some sellers, like Elderly Instruments, even put a warning label on the boxes they ship in saying to allow the instruments to acclimate. If you ever ship them something that you want to sell or trade they will wait 24 hours before opening it.
    That's what the professionals do, so something to consider.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    4,059

    Default

    Why don't you send off an email to HMS and ask them? Or give them a call. They would be the ones who know best.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,480

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    I'd take the hardshell case out of the shipping box, and let it acclimate 6 hours, or overnight at most. It would hard to wait! Good luck with it, hope to see pics and your opinion here soon.
    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    the Mid-South
    Posts
    11

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I wouldn't worry, there's probably not much difference between truck and house temperatures, and the Opios don't have a nitro finish that can crack.
    Thank you for that info. While I thought that the finish wasn't nitro, I wasn't certain. That's very helpful to have it confirmed!

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