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

  1. #61
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    I think the premise of the thread is kind of funny. Why do we "accept" cheap ukes on the market? We don't! We don't buy them, we don't recommend people buy them. If ever there was a forum recommending that people pay a few dollars more and get a quality instrument, it's UU, home of UAS. The best we can do is be good advisors to those who are considering a purchase and steer them in the right direction.

    I recently helped a friend pick out her first uke. It was a lot of fun pulling down different ukes, explaining to her what the different sizes, parts, etc were, and why one uke was preferable to another. We were at an excellent music store, so there was no cheapie junk, and everything they had was set up reasonably well. She ended up with a Kala long-neck soprano, which I thought fulfilled all of the requirements of a starter uke: good intonation, playable action, and enough tone and volume to be a good musical experience. We paid a "bricks and mortar" price of about $120, and got a very nice musical instrument in the deal. That seems a very fair price to pay for a solid, basic instrument.



  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldePhart View Post
    My point is that if you want kids to succeed you have to give them the means to do so

    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

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

    John
    This hits the proverbial nail on the head. Why a thread need go on for 6 excruciating pages may be part of the problem. But springboarding on John's observation that the issue is not great expense - but playability and intonation (ie a good setup) is - such a uke can be on one of John's Lanakais or a Dolphin, no matter. Children may destroy an instrument or quickly lose interest. Thus cost is a definite consideration.

    With all this in mind I am mystified why the Schoenhut 5400, licensed by Fluke, and with Martins at around $35 delivered, great action, playable and excellent intonation, lovely tone and not so loud as to take over the house - and NO setup required - yes, why this instrument is not yet a common recommendation is a contradiction in the stated goals.

    If the child is interested, this uke will not disappoint. If not, or if the instrument gets destroyed, no great loss. It's cute and competent and it will surely last long enough to find out whether a mid or higher priced uke is justified. A no brainer, unless of course...
    Last edited by Kayouker; 03-18-2014 at 04:10 AM.
    "The Dude"

    Kala KA- 15S, Aquila's std.
    Kala Ukadelic Soprano, Aquila's std.
    Kala KA-TREG (tenors, 2), Aquila's std.
    Schoenhut 5400 (Martin 600's)
    Lanikai LU-21B

    Survivor of Kala bridge ejection... nice doggie, nice doggie!
    Scorecard: Kala's - 3 saddles, 2 nuts, 2 bridges, 1 fret

    Schoenhut with Martins - great OOB, the Dolphin Killer

  3. #63
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    Kayouker - I ordered a Schoenhut - review coming soon.
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

    Help Support Got A Ukulele!



    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Brüko walnut soprano

  4. #64
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    I feel there are three types of ukulele . Some ukuleles are toys , some ukes are playable toys , and some ukes are musical instruments. Until a few years ago when I started playing the ukulele I thought all ukuleles were toys and not worth bothering with. Then I heard Iz and somewhere over the rainbow .

    Geez , my sneakers cost $150 and how long do they last?
    Last edited by Pukulele Pete; 03-20-2014 at 03:53 AM. Reason: added the "geez" part

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Kayouker - I ordered a Schoenhut - review coming soon.
    Barry, THANK YOU! This is what we really need - the BazMaz/Gotaukulele treatment!

    I've always appreciated the honest, detailed and straight-forward approach of your reviews. You always cut through the hype and represent the true nature of whatever it is your are reviewing. I am sure that others appreciate them as well.

    I am really looking forward to your review. Will it include a video as well?

    Thanks again for the effort...

    Booli
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  6. #66
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    Arrived today!

    Initial experience - strings - fit for the bin

    Tuners - one is broken - sheared inside button so turns, but doesnt turn the post.

    Not a great start.

    However - swapped all the pegs out for some others I had lying around, put some fluorocarbons on. Loud and scarily closer to the Flea than I feel comfortable admitting...
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

    Help Support Got A Ukulele!



    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Brüko walnut soprano

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pukulele Pete View Post
    I feel there are three types of ukulele . Some ukuleles are toys , some ukes are playable toys , and some ukes are musical instruments. Until a few years ago when I started playing the ukulele I thought all ukuleles were toys and not worth bothering with. Then I heard Iz and somewhere over the rainbow .

    Geez , my sneakers cost $150 and how long do they last?
    Great post! ITA
    You have toy ukuleles, then you have novelty ukuleles that someone has to change and set up to make it play like a musical instrument. Then you have "musical instruments" that are actually made correctly and don't have to be set up to play.

    When my friends ask I never recommend anything that has to be set up to in order to sound or play correctly.

  8. #68
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    stringy - get your point, but I think even the finest ukes can often need a bit of setup
    The GOT A UKULELE REVIEWS DATABASE!

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    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Brüko walnut soprano

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    ...Initial experience - strings - fit for the bin

    Tuners - one is broken - sheared inside button so turns, but doesnt turn the post.

    ...

    However - swapped all the pegs out for some others I had lying around, put some fluorocarbons on. Loud and scarily closer to the Flea than I feel comfortable admitting...
    schoenhut flakes...so close yet so far. if they used real strings, harder plastic fretboard and actually did QC they could probably charge 60 even 70 usd and just kill it. otherwise its just a cheap but possibly rewarding project uke.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    stringy - get your point, but I think even the finest ukes can often need a bit of setup

    I hear ya bazmaz, that is why I never buy instruments on-line.
    I realize anyone can get a dud in any model in any brand.

    When I choose an uke I have to play it and test it. The action, intonation, sound, and sustain is important. If the uke is not up to par I never ask for a set-up, I politely ask to see another uke.

    But there are brands that the shop owners tell me have to be set up to play and intonate correctly. These are the brands I avoid. If they need to be set up... they are not making quality instruments.

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