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Thread: Do you play your really expensive ukes?

  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2020


    I play the uke that I like to play the most; it just so happens to be an "expensive" uke based on your definition. However, it isn't my most expensive uke (or the 2nd or the 3rd). It is just the uke I like to play the most and have it out on the wall hanger. I take it outside and everywhere because I like playing it. If it gets damaged, it can be replaced with another (and I have high confidence the new one will sound very much like the this one).

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2020


    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    I play my expensive ukes every day, but I have to say that I never take them on vacations, in cars, on camping trips. I've tried, but I'm just not wired that way. When I play my ukes, I play my ukes. It is an event. When I go to the beach, that's the event. So I don't take my ukes camping--not because I'm afraid of getting them dirty--but because it is a waste of my time; I would never take them out of their cases.
    I'd love to take my uke camping; maybe it's because I camp with kids. The thing holding me back is that I don't have any songs in my repertoire.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Michigan, USA


    I played my most expensive instrument (my custom Beanspout alto) last night, in fact!

    I believe that instruments are meant to be played, so I play them! I don't play my expensive ones every single day, but I do play them often. I kind of rotate through instruments. Some nights I play one of the cheaper ones, other nights I play one of the more expensive ones. It depends on the sound and feel I am going for that night. That's why I have so many different ones (or at least that is the story I tell myself to enable my UAS...)

    That being said, I take my cheaper instruments to more hazardous environments. I don't take my K brands camping, or to a strum at a pub. (Or at least I didn't. I haven't been to one of those in a while.) The exception is my Blackbird Clara. I take her pretty much wherever!
    Mainly a concert player.

    Beansprout alto (myrtle) | Martin Konter | Kala Elite Soprano | Rebel Double Cream mango concert
    KoAloha Silver concert | Blackbird Clara | Kamaka HF-2 (special) | Kanile'a K-1 C | Bruko #6
    Anuenue UC200 Moonbird Concert | UkeSA Pineapple Sunday concert (acacia) | Pop's Pineapple Sunday (koa)

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Stone Harbor, NJ


    My most expensive and best sounding ukulele is my Ko'olau. I play this quite often and will play it anytime anywhere. No sense letting it sit. I also take meticulous care of my uses, so there's that.

    In order of age:

    Martin C-1K Concert, C Re-entrant Tuning 4/2014 Cocobolo Concert #433 C Re-Entrant 2/3/2020
    Pono MTD-CR Tenor Pepe Romero Baby Baritone Strings 6/21/2016 Martin S1 Soprano C Re-Entrant Tuning
    Ko'olau Model 100 Tenor C Linear Tuning 7/27/2018 aNueNue AMM3 Tenor C Re-Entrant Tuning
    Kamaka HF-2 Koa Concert C Linear 6/26/2019

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA


    It varies. Depending upon the sound and feel I want on a given day. Right now, the re-entrant ones are getting more play than the linear.
    I have two 18" scale tenors that aren't getting as much love because I'm not as comfortable playing them as the 17" tenors. (Shortish fingers.)
    I confess, I don't take the expensive ones out to gig or club meetings. Or to practices with friends. It's just too easy to bang them up.
    I don't play some of the Ponos as often as I used to. The Fender and Ohana are long gone.
    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.

    --Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    I won't buy a uke unless I'll play it. What would be the point? There are, indeed, ukes that are so expensive I wouldn't feel good about owning them. Even more than cost, I worry about delicate, one-of-a-kind, rare and vintage instruments. I am a bit of a klutz and I am too stressed out taking care of family, cats, house and friends to worry about wooden boxes. My most expensive uke is a Blackbird Clara Durability is one of the reasons why I bought it.

    We all have to figure out for ourselves where our limits are. Much depends on where you play -- at home in a house with good climate control, or on a street corner? And of course what counts as "expensive" might be different for you compared to some of us on UU who should probably be in a 12-step program or something. The best time to ask "will I play it?" is before you buy.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2020


    This thread really blew up! Just to be clear, I was not trying to criticise anyone on how much they do (or don't!) play the instruments, I was simply curious on people's approach to it. Especially since many on hear own many many instruments that go far beyond what I define as "expensive".

    On the whole the approach seems to be "I bought an instrument, I play it" and personally I agree entirely! If I knew before I bought a uke it was so expensive I'd be scared to play it, I guess I wouldn't buy it at all. They're pretty, but it's not what it's for...

    Thanks for all the responses and feel free to keep it coming
    Current Ukes:
    - Kanile'a KSR-T Premium Tenor
    - MT Dorset Cedar of Lebanon/Sweet Chesnut Tenor (Low G) / FOR SALE
    - Enya EUT-MAD Solid Mahogany Tenor

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA


    There are some custom-built ukes that I would be reluctant to play regularly or to take them out to places where they might be vulnerable to damage. At least that's what I tell myself when I look at works of art by the likes of Chuck Moore, Jay Lichty, Bruce Petros, Jake MacKlay, or Beau Hannam. That way I don't have to face the reality of not being able to afford them, anyway!

    I do have a couple of $1000+ ukes and I do play them regularly. But I do have my limits.
    Last edited by Snargle; 05-26-2021 at 03:01 AM.


  9. #29


    I think it depends also on where we are in life.
    Back when I was a student who wasn't earning much, a $300-500 uke was considered somewhat "expensive" and I would look after it like it was the crown jewels.

    Many years later with a stable job and a bit more wiggle room I have several ukuleles including a Kanile'a.
    I don't treat the Kanile'a like crown jewels, but like a tool to be played and taken around. I no longer feel so protective and accept that it will accumulate some wear and tear across its lifetime. If it breaks in some freak accident, that's OK. I can afford to get another one eventually.

    As a wristwatch enthusiast too, my shift in attitude has been the same. Back when I was a student, I treated my humble Seiko like it was the grail and was super careful not to get scratches and scuffs on it. Now I wear more expensive Swiss made watches to all sorts of adventures and beach trips without a second thought because I understand that they're built to withstand heavy use and I might as well make the most of it

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Hong Kong


    I rotate playing my ukes. I find each enjoyable in its own way and play each for about equal time. Nevertheless, I do baby my more expensive ukes and reluctant to take them outdoor/ bring within reach of children.

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