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Thread: Why do we accept such cheap junk ukes on the market

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Condor View Post
    @oldephart - I guess my parents obviously failed me miserably in the music arena then, as I ended up a doctor However, I know that it simply is not true that in order to steer kids to a non-music related career, that parents should buy rubbishy instruments to put them off . Mine bought me the best instruments they could afford and paid for the best teaching they could afford.
    My point is that if you want kids to succeed you have to give them the means to do so - I merely use the extreme example to make the parents stop and think about what they are really doing. I've had several thank me later - including one whose kid is about 16 now and he already has the chops that if he chooses to follow music as a career he could step right into any major hit band and be completely comfortable. Now, much of that is because of his own talent and determination - but suppose they'd given him an unplayable piece of crap at 11 - there's a very good chance he'd have been discouraged and quit.

    And, frankly, there are some parents who would rather their kids not take any interest in music. It's sad, but true. Also sad, there are a lot of parents who just don't want to be inconvenienced by what their kids are interested in. If it takes a verbal wake-up slap to some of these parents to make them stop and think then I'll be happy to be the slapper.

    I don't think elitism should be dragged into discussions like this, I agree the cheap, nasty ukes like Baz showed in his video /blog are a sad travesty, but people can buy whatever they want and as long as they buy junk, more junk will be available. Ukes do not have to be ultra expensive to sound good though and a Lanakai can sound as good as a top K brand depending on who the player is - old computer saying goes "rubbish in rubbish out" !
    I'm not being elitist at all. My first uke was a Lanikai LU21-C and after I set it up it played fine. I've bought every one of my grandkids a Lanikai LU-11 as soon as they became old enough to begin plinking. The key is that I've set every one of them up to play easily and intonate well. Those grandkids who go beyond plinking and really show an interest I've given better instruments later - one of my grandsons is now very accomplished on ukulele, guitar, and mandolin and another didn't show much interest in the uke but he took off when I gave him a short-scale (28") bass - again, not super expensive but set up to play well.

    Other grandkids just haven't had the interest in music, at least not yet, and that's fine. I'm not going to push it on them. I'm just making sure that they have good (not necessarily expensive) tools to experiment with.

    So, I'll stand behind my statement that if you want your kid to succeed at music give them the best instrument you can afford - that isn't always the most expensive and if all you can afford is a Lanikai then that's fine - get it set up and let 'em go to town on it. Any kid who has the desire and determination to learn can learn on a well set up Lanikai LU-11. The point is that even someone with desire and determination can be very discouraged by an unplayable piece of crap - of which there are many out there.

    The kind of instruments we're talking about as rubbish really are rubbish. Many of them simply cannot be made to play well.

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  2. #22

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    One man's trash is another man's treasure, we all know that. There's a sucker born every minute. And the often misquoted one from H.L. Mencken:

    "No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

    Ignorance is easy to cure, it requires only knowledge; willful ignorance shades right into stupidity, and there is no cure for that, short of divine intervention. While it is not always the case, things that sound too good to be true often are.

  3. #23

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    Is perhaps another way of looking at this ...." Who is selling this stuff ? "......music shops ...your trusty old music shops....as well as e-bay......so let's not keep kicking the punter in the teeth ...lambs to the slaughter is your average punter.

    If this tat and dross is out there then there is a perception by the poor deluded customer that "this instrument" must be okay because they trust the dealer not to sell them crap..........and let's face it when beginners do research these things many potential buyers or beginners won't know about the likes of UU and the spin off pearls of wisdom available from here and similar.

    They are guided by the blurb at the shop/site/in the catalogue......which does not say I am a cheap Ukulele and potentially will not play as well as a more expensive one.......

    So , some ones making a buck making them .....but someone is accepting the dross and selling it ......ain't free market enterprise wonderful....and three cheers for Music Businesses who say no to cheap tat........but I suppose that we must realise that the Music Business is in the Business of being in Business and the Music.....welllllllllllll...ya know.....it's just business.....it ain't personal that I am shaking you down for about £30 for some firewood....

    ( Oh , dear , I can feel all the letters and replies.....stacking up ...bear with me )


    On the other hand I got back into the Ukulele saddle about 4 years ago.. just for a laugh ...and did so by investing about £10 -15 in a Lazy Ukulele.....the strings needed " stretching and snapping " to get them to maintain tuning ......and the build is a bit like a battering ram.....

    but it does for me ...now known as "Red" (go on guess ) it's a little stumpy twelve fret neck..quite thick strings (the original ones still !! I am somewhat tight - fistedly embarrassed to say) but they are punchy and responsive at the 5 to 7 fret mark and take a little bit more persuasion below the 7th ....but it is a playable little sod....altho' I will have to repair or replace one of it's tuners due to a disastrous foot /ukulele interface situation last week. Oops....that will also probably double it's value !! So cheap isn't necessarily disastrous........in fact my subsequent other two purchases; Mahalo (The electro acoustic Les Paul look alike...thank you )

    and Ohana Concert CK-10s thingy were less than a hundred squids....and seem fine (the Mahalo plays better when it has a PP3 9v battery in it's holder as otherwise the battery springs do vibrate) but I'm probably a pants player..........

    sorry ,I digress........the point is that I knew what I was buying ...I realised that I was sloshing around in the Cheap and possibly tricky to play shallow end of the Ukulele Build Pool....luckily pound for pound I have no problem with my purchases...but for an outright beginner ...they think that they are being SOLD the real deal....IF the dealer explains and gos through it openly and honestly ....well no problem and fair do's.....now I am going to find a bunker and take my little Red plunker with.
    Last edited by CeeJay; 03-17-2014 at 07:39 AM.

  4. #24
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    I get that CeeJay - some great bargains can be had with ukes. This one seems to mine a new depth though.

    Just had a comment from a very well renowned uke performer and teacher over here in the UK. He has parents dropping their kids off for uke lessons with instruments this bad, and then they hand over more money than the uke cost on the lesson. Crazy! That echoes Olde Pharts comment - some parents seem to be satisfied in giving their children a pile of crap and then expect them to be playable. Very sad.

    Adults buying these - I don't have sympathy - they are grown up enough to learn from the mistake. Kids though - no good really.

    EDIT - had a response comment earlier from someone saying that because these are aimed at kids, then its acceptable that it is rubbish. That is even more sad!!!
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    I get that CeeJay - some great bargains can be had with ukes. This one seems to mine a new depth though.

    Just had a comment from a very well renowned uke performer and teacher over here in the UK. He has parents dropping their kids off for uke lessons with instruments this bad, and then they hand over more money than the uke cost on the lesson. Crazy! That echoes Olde Pharts comment - some parents seem to be satisfied in giving their children a pile of crap and then expect them to be playable. Very sad.

    Adults buying these - I don't have sympathy - they are grown up enough to learn from the mistake. Kids though - no good really.

    EDIT - had a response comment earlier from someone saying that because these are aimed at kids, then its acceptable that it is rubbish. That is even more sad!!!


    That is appalling....why is a kid any more entitled to be ripped off than an adult....

    I do think that you're being a little harsh on the Old Grown Up....you know I've been in and out of music shops a lot in my life ....and I still find them a little intimidating ...the Shop becoming a temple of holy relics and the sales people the high Priests and Priestesses of the said relics lol.( I mean these people really CAN play ....).....

    I just think that if the dealers would sprinkle a little honesty into the mix...say explain that this £30 box of kindling will get you playing the basics but if you want to advance you WILL need to get a better box .....But overall , you are right ....reputable (allegedly ) manufacturers should not be producing unplayable dross.

  6. #26
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    Yeah true - what I mean is - that if a grown up loses £10 on a bad uke, then in the majority of cases it won't be the end of the world. For a kid on his birthday though - completely different matter.
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  7. #27
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    I spend a lot of weekends camping in Montana where temperatures can be in the high 80s F during the day and down to freezing at night. Couple that with typically low humidity, intensely dry heat from a campfire, and the potential for some libations to enter into the mix....

    And there's no way I'm bringing my Martin along. I'll even think twice about bringing the Kala. As a result, my Mahalo gets a lot of use!

    I can buy 4 or 5 Mahalos for the cost of one Outdoor Uke or Fluke.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Condor View Post
    @oldephart - I guess my parents obviously failed me miserably in the music arena then, as I ended up a doctor However, I know that it simply is not true that in order to steer kids to a non-music related career, that parents should buy rubbishy instruments to put them off . Mine bought me the best instruments they could afford and paid for the best teaching they could afford. When the choice finally came - and it did- as to whether I would become a professional musician or study for a career in medicine, I made that choice. And it wasn't based on rubbish instruments either. I am a senior doctor now at the height of my career in medicine but I still love playing my guitars, piano, French Horn, ukes and mandolin........they might not all be worth 1000s, but they are in tune and sound good to me.

    I don't think elitism should be dragged into discussions like this, I agree the cheap, nasty ukes like Baz showed in his video /blog are a sad travesty, but people can buy whatever they want and as long as they buy junk, more junk will be available. Ukes do not have to be ultra expensive to sound good though and a Lanakai can sound as good as a top K brand depending on who the player is - old computer saying goes "rubbish in rubbish out" !
    Yup. Truth is everything in the world that can be mass produced has terrible awful cheap versions. I bought my kid a beach bucket with a shovel for $1 at a craft store, the shovel broke when I put the bucket down on the floor. It was not even worth the $1 it cost. I knew what I was getting into when I bought it though.

    I in general, avoid buying crap because if you buy the cheap thing it will break and then 3 later you could have just bought 1 good one. Smetimes it means going much longer without, and waiting for it longer then you would if you just got the cheap one but its worth it to wait and save. our society likes instant gratification and cheap manufactured goods make it even easier then before to have that.

    We have a Vitamix blender now, the 4 pervious ones purchased over the last 10 years almost cost as much as the vitamix does, not to mention all the times I didn't make a smoothie because the one we had sucked, which resulted in me making poorer food choices!

  9. #29
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    Shane - if they play in tune, then that is totally cool. You wouldn't want four or five ukes of this quality though!
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Shane - if they play in tune, then that is totally cool. You wouldn't want four or five ukes of this quality though!
    Right, certainly not at the same time. But since my "camp uke" needs to be considered disposable the fact that I can get 4 or 5 in a row for under $200 would keep me in "camp ukes" for over a decade.

    As such, I imagine I'll always have a "cheap junk uke" in my quiver.

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