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Thread: Do you play your really expensive ukes?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Ewa Beach, Hawaii


    Whenever I take an ukulele with me somewhere, 90+% of the time there will be 1 or 2 folks who want to play it. I rarely say no, so I only take mid-price ukes along.
    Make UU smile: Support the Forum.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Pickering, ON, Canada


    Once you play a high end expensive instrument the sound is so captivating you don’t want to play anything else. I have taken all but two of my ukuleles out of the house. Mostly for Uke Jams, open mic performances or “band practice”. Sure I don’t want them to get scratched up or damaged but I bought them to play them, not to hang on the wall like art.

    My Koolau has gone on numerous international vacations. But not camping, there are other ukes for that.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Melbourne, Australia


    Whatever your definition is of an “expensive” Uke, the central question here is what drew you to spend your hard earned treasure on such a thing? Wasn’t it the quality of sound, the playability, the craftsmanship/beauty of the instrument?
    So my question is, why wouldn’t you play it everywhere you can. For years now I’ve only owned custom built instruments. The least expensive is $2K. I take them everywhere and that includes international travel.
    The joy I receive when I play these instruments justifies the prices that I paid.
    My advice to anyone who asks me “what Uke should I buy” is always “buy the best instrument that you can afford “.
    "All worthwhile things in life should be easy to learn but hard to master"

    Beau Hannam Custom Tenor - Vintage Hand Rubbed Sun Burst all Tassie Blackwood
    Hoffmann Lutherie - Concert - Angry Owl Ebony and Cedar
    Anuenue - Flame Maple Soprano
    Barron River 8 string Tenor - Black Limba and Lutz Spruce
    Beansprout Banjolele - Walnut and Pistachio

  4. #34


    My two most expensive ukes are my Kiwaya KTC-2 and my Kiwaya KMT-K. I play them every day but I'm not comfortable bringing them to other peoples homes.
    - Kiwaya KMT-K koa tenor
    - Kiwaya KTS-4 mahogany soprano
    - Kiwaya KTC-2 mahogany concert
    - Ken Timms koa soprano
    - Martin Style 0 mahogany soprano
    - Uluru Sedera III cedar/mahogany tenor

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2018


    Really digging this thread.
    Agreed--expensive is relative--I sometimes get hung up around size of instrument compared to cost. I have a Martin D17 that I got for around $1000 and my Cordoba C10 hybrid was also around that price so when I look at a $1000 uke I balk a bit. But--I'm also super curious how they sound and play compared to what I have already.

    That said, I'm probably going to be saving up for the Blackbird tenor sometime in my future. It looks perfect for any/all camping and outdoor stuff I want to do; namely, go to Scouting events with the kiddo. That's...a lot of kids in one place at the same time. lol
    I have two solid-top ukes (Fender Montecito and Breedlove Pursuit Exotic) and I baby them. I got an Outdoor Ukulele for the kiddo--something I wouldn't have to worry too much about getting damaged--and I think we're even going to customize (aka paint a design on the top) to make it uniquely hers.

    The two solid-tops I have, I play weekly, for the most part. I'll go through fits and spurts of playing, then set them down for a while (in addition to regular work, I do leathercrafting on the side and I also do that in fits and spurts lol). I keep telling myself I have too many instruments and then turn around and buy another.

    But yes. All that to say, buy whichever uke makes you smile, regardless of price. You'll play what you enjoy.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Briarcliff, TX - Fabulous Hill Country home to Willie Nelson, and me!


    I play mostly at home, where I rotate through my Ukes. At least I try to do that. But, when I go out, usually to a coffee shop or park, I hesitate to take an expensive Uke. I have so many mid range price Ukes that play really well and sound great that it's hard to justify the risk of taking a more expensive instrument. By "risk," I'm thinking of transportation accidents, theft, and the kind of minor dings and scratches that can come from handling an instrument in unfamiliar surroundings. As soon as the Covid crisis is over, I'll be going to the Austin Ukulele Society meetings. I may take one of my expensive Ukes there once in a whiile.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    McDonough, GA


    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    My reason to buy an expensive ukulele is always the sound.. so not playing it is counter productive.. an instrument is not really an investment in a monetary sense but it is an investment into the joy one gets..
    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    Life's too short to waste time on playing cheap ukes!

    I play my best ones the most. I buy ukes for sound and playability.
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  8. #38


    Quote Originally Posted by Kolfinna View Post
    Really digging this thread.
    Agreed--expensive is relative--I sometimes get hung up around size of instrument compared to cost. I have a Martin D17 that I got for around $1000 and my Cordoba C10 hybrid was also around that price so when I look at a $1000 uke I balk a bit. But--I'm also super curious how they sound and play compared to what I have already.
    I have that weird hangup, too! I have a $2000 Fender guitar it doesn't really bother me much to take with me places. But my $2000 Kanile'a stays home. I know it doesn't make sense.
    Kanile'a K2-T Premium Koa Tenor
    Kala KA-ZTP-CTG-CE Cedar Ziricote Tenor
    Risa Uke Solid Tenor
    Nicaraguan Cocobolo Tenor
    Flight Diana Soundwave Concert
    Enya X1 Concert HPL
    Enya Nova U Mini Soprano
    Ohana TPK-25G Sopranino

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by MentalAtom View Post
    Hey everyone,

    Just a random thought I had. I have been playing for over a year now and think I'm in for life, so I'm gonna start saving for that "one" hawaiian-made ukulele. Of course, they tend to come in $1000 or so and they look so pretty, so I'm just curious - Those of you that have these kinda instruments and also others, do you also play the expensive ones just as much as the others, or do they tend to stay in cases and come out on special occasions? When they're valuable I can understand maybe you would be nervous to damage them or something.

    There is no big deep question here, I'm just curious, as I'm pretty sure once I eventually save and get my hawaiian uke I'll be careful with it but I'll also play it as much as I can, that's the point after all!
    It's too long a drive to the bank, and then I have to wait for someone to let me into the vault, so I don't play it much.

    Seriously, all my ukes get played when their turn comes. For a local jam, I usually have three next to me. I like the variety, and I always throw a banjo uke in there.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Berkeley, CA


    Cool question. I have "saved for later" my Compass Rose (cedar/rosewood ) that Jake made along with my KoAloha tenor... My Ohana tenor(cedar/rosewood) and KoAloha concert were my "go-to's" before. After COVID..."life is short, enjoy now" and out came the "good one's".

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