Bonanza Millennium Tenor - REVIEW

bazmaz

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
5,569
Reaction score
1,114
Location
UK
"Ukulele Cons: Not as cheap as they once were"

Indeed! Bonanza prices have jumped. I have a homesteader and they are now charging twice what I paid for it!! I'm glad I got mine when I did and I love it despite two significant building flaws.
 
Last edited:
$800 a bit much? Surely you jest. That's a very good price for a hand-built, totally unique instrument that can be customized. And it ain't a little guy, it's a tenor. If the neck weren't so chunky, and the fretboard was radiused, one of those babies would be on its way to my house!
 
$800 a bit much? Surely you jest. That's a very good price for a hand-built, totally unique instrument that can be customized. And it ain't a little guy, it's a tenor. If the neck weren't so chunky, and the fretboard was radiused, one of those babies would be on its way to my house!
No I get all that, and discussed it with Pete too. BUT.. If I go back through all my Bonanza ukes, this is considerably more. Had I not mentioned that my readers would have claimed I'd ignored that difference and they would have been right.

Now.. I think there are reasons (I mentioned), but also think the issue is more one of the fact his earlier ukes were too cheap - it's the Ken Timms syndrome - i said they were cheap and people took potshots at me for when the prices went up!!

I'm not saying at all that this is not worth it (in fact say in the review it's good value and can see where the cost is). But I can't not compare to other Bonanza's

(I didn't say it was a bit much did I? )
 
I like this design a bit better, but they're both really nice.

I really want one of these, or an aesthetic that's very similar. I think the only change I might ask for is the fretboard be made of a light colored wood.
 
No I get all that, and discussed it with Pete too. BUT.. If I go back through all my Bonanza ukes, this is considerably more. Had I not mentioned that my readers would have claimed I'd ignored that difference and they would have been right.

Now.. I think there are reasons (I mentioned), but also think the issue is more one of the fact his earlier ukes were too cheap - it's the Ken Timms syndrome - i said they were cheap and people took potshots at me for when the prices went up!!

I'm not saying at all that this is not worth it (in fact say in the review it's good value and can see where the cost is). But I can't not compare to other Bonanza's

(I didn't say it was a bit much did I? )
Pete and Tim having to raise prices wasn't your fault of course. You did give the value for the money a lower score. And you mentioned it was a lot, but noted it was probably worth it.
 
$800 a bit much? Surely you jest. That's a very good price for a hand-built, totally unique instrument that can be customized.

@Nickie, it's only $700!!! $699 to be exact. But I agree with you completely.

@bazmaz, this might be the first time I've ever disagreed with one of your reviews, which is almost shocking, given how many you've done. And while I've only been subscribed to you since 2020, I had gone back and watched and listened to easily 100 others on my way to my first ukes.

I get that you're comparing to other Bonanzas and this is more than those, but when I see the phrase "Value for money", that's all I'm interested in. The cost is $699 -- is it worth $699 or is it not? That's a simple question when asked "yes" or "no", and you did indeed answer yes...but you also assigned a numerical value of 8.5.

Maybe I'm overthinking your scoring, but that says to me that you think this would get a 10 out of 10 were it to cost 85% of $699, or $595-ish. For an American-made, hand-made luthier instrument? I don't think it's even reasonable to ask for such a thing in 2024! Who in America is building instruments this creative, that sound like this, for such a price??

Not that you can't get ANY really nice ukes for this price -- you review plenty of them, and you've reviewed luthiers whose instruments cost less....but none of them in the US that I can recall. You may well remember some that I've missed, but downgrading a builder who manages to adjust to market changes AND still comes in at this low a price in the US? That's a miracle to me, the very definition of a 10 out of 10 for Value for money.

A small quibble ultimately since you still recommended this amazing instrument, and having this be the first time that I've disagreed even a little with ANY aspect of your scoring for hundreds of reviews that I've read, plus the others that I've only watched and not read (although I do adore reading your reviews, and usually start with the written reviews before watching the videos!), but this one really feels like a genuinely missed call.

The final score is good enough, so we can let it go a bit, but referees missing calls are still a topic long after the match is settled, no? In ukuleles no less than footie. :ROFLMAO:

Much love, nonetheless. :) I wouldn't have seen this at all if not for you, and I think it's truly a gem.
 
I like this design a bit better, but they're both really nice.

I really want one of these, or an aesthetic that's very similar. I think the only change I might ask for is the fretboard be made of a light colored wood.
You could probably have it changed to a lighter fretboard
 
@Nickie, it's only $700!!! $699 to be exact. But I agree with you completely.

@bazmaz, this might be the first time I've ever disagreed with one of your reviews, which is almost shocking, given how many you've done. And while I've only been subscribed to you since 2020, I had gone back and watched and listened to easily 100 others on my way to my first ukes.

I get that you're comparing to other Bonanzas and this is more than those, but when I see the phrase "Value for money", that's all I'm interested in. The cost is $699 -- is it worth $699 or is it not? That's a simple question when asked "yes" or "no", and you did indeed answer yes...but you also assigned a numerical value of 8.5.

Maybe I'm overthinking your scoring, but that says to me that you think this would get a 10 out of 10 were it to cost 85% of $699, or $595-ish. For an American-made, hand-made luthier instrument? I don't think it's even reasonable to ask for such a thing in 2024! Who in America is building instruments this creative, that sound like this, for such a price??

Not that you can't get ANY really nice ukes for this price -- you review plenty of them, and you've reviewed luthiers whose instruments cost less....but none of them in the US that I can recall. You may well remember some that I've missed, but downgrading a builder who manages to adjust to market changes AND still comes in at this low a price in the US? That's a miracle to me, the very definition of a 10 out of 10 for Value for money.

A small quibble ultimately since you still recommended this amazing instrument, and having this be the first time that I've disagreed even a little with ANY aspect of your scoring for hundreds of reviews that I've read, plus the others that I've only watched and not read (although I do adore reading your reviews, and usually start with the written reviews before watching the videos!), but this one really feels like a genuinely missed call.

The final score is good enough, so we can let it go a bit, but referees missing calls are still a topic long after the match is settled, no? In ukuleles no less than footie. :ROFLMAO:

Much love, nonetheless. :) I wouldn't have seen this at all if not for you, and I think it's truly a gem.
Thanks for the correction, I'm BAD with numbers. It's worth more, I'd say. A local luthier charges more that that for a custom tenor, and there's no innovation involved. Nothing special at all. The very cheapest soprano with blems is $400. And I bet it's not the only shop where prices have shot up.
 
@Nickie, it's only $700!!! $699 to be exact. But I agree with you completely.

@bazmaz, this might be the first time I've ever disagreed with one of your reviews, which is almost shocking, given how many you've done. And while I've only been subscribed to you since 2020, I had gone back and watched and listened to easily 100 others on my way to my first ukes.

I get that you're comparing to other Bonanzas and this is more than those, but when I see the phrase "Value for money", that's all I'm interested in. The cost is $699 -- is it worth $699 or is it not? That's a simple question when asked "yes" or "no", and you did indeed answer yes...but you also assigned a numerical value of 8.5.

Maybe I'm overthinking your scoring, but that says to me that you think this would get a 10 out of 10 were it to cost 85% of $699, or $595-ish. For an American-made, hand-made luthier instrument? I don't think it's even reasonable to ask for such a thing in 2024! Who in America is building instruments this creative, that sound like this, for such a price??

Not that you can't get ANY really nice ukes for this price -- you review plenty of them, and you've reviewed luthiers whose instruments cost less....but none of them in the US that I can recall. You may well remember some that I've missed, but downgrading a builder who manages to adjust to market changes AND still comes in at this low a price in the US? That's a miracle to me, the very definition of a 10 out of 10 for Value for money.

A small quibble ultimately since you still recommended this amazing instrument, and having this be the first time that I've disagreed even a little with ANY aspect of your scoring for hundreds of reviews that I've read, plus the others that I've only watched and not read (although I do adore reading your reviews, and usually start with the written reviews before watching the videos!), but this one really feels like a genuinely missed call.

The final score is good enough, so we can let it go a bit, but referees missing calls are still a topic long after the match is settled, no? In ukuleles no less than footie. :ROFLMAO:

Much love, nonetheless. :) I wouldn't have seen this at all if not for you, and I think it's truly a gem.

Seriously - i'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Had I gave it the same value for money score as (say) the Oakridge (which i gave a 9.5 at a price of $374 at review) people would have said 'why' - because it's nearly twice the cost... To NOT say something about rising prices and relative prices of the same brand would be wrong I think.

I 'ummed' and 'ahhed' at the scoring, and maybe 9 would have been fairer, but I think there had to be some differentiation.

The overall 9 is still a great score and in my 'highly recommended' section.

And - I DO say that I can see it is worth it / where the value is / that costs have risen / that this is a more complex build.. but.... Meh..

Some years ago I reviewed a Ken Timms (which sell at auction prices, not prices set by the builder). I said I would pay twice the usual auction price they were going for. Since the review they go for 2-3 times the price. People complained and blamed me for pushing it up.

Like I say, damned if I do, damned if I don't and don't mind admitting that this sort of stuff makes me think about doing this... life's too short.. it's just a uke and one persons opinion..
 
Seriously - i'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Had I gave it the same value for money score as (say) the Oakridge (which i gave a 9.5 at a price of $374 at review) people would have said 'why' - because it's nearly twice the cost... To NOT say something about rising prices and relative prices of the same brand would be wrong I think.

I 'ummed' and 'ahhed' at the scoring, and maybe 9 would have been fairer, but I think there had to be some differentiation.

The overall 9 is still a great score and in my 'highly recommended' section.

And - I DO say that I can see it is worth it / where the value is / that costs have risen / that this is a more complex build.. but.... Meh..

Some years ago I reviewed a Ken Timms (which sell at auction prices, not prices set by the builder). I said I would pay twice the usual auction price they were going for. Since the review they go for 2-3 times the price. People complained and blamed me for pushing it up.

Like I say, damned if I do, damned if I don't and don't mind admitting that this sort of stuff makes me think about doing this... life's too short.. it's just a uke and one persons opinion..
All this aside Baz, we don't think you're damned. You are STILL the BEST ukulele reviewer there is. Sure, we might disagree with you sometimes, but hey, that's a democracy for ya. Please don't take offense at any criticism, they're not cheap shots, just opinions. And you know what non-professional opinions are worth....we're NOT ukulele reviewers, YOU'RE the pro. I daresay that most of us will acquiesce, once we're shown the truth.
I apologize if I've ever ruffled your feathers, kind sir.
 
All this aside Baz, we don't think you're damned. You are STILL the BEST ukulele reviewer there is. Sure, we might disagree with you sometimes, but hey, that's a democracy for ya. Please don't take offense at any criticism, they're not cheap shots, just opinions. And you know what non-professional opinions are worth....we're NOT ukulele reviewers, YOU'RE the pro. I daresay that most of us will acquiesce, once we're shown the truth.
I apologize if I've ever ruffled your feathers, kind sir.
I'm not a pro though Nickie - i'm just a guy sharing his opinions. They are not meant to be definitive or cast in stone.

Still not sure how I was supposed to ignore the fact that this cost near twice the last Bonanza I reviewed? Maybe that first one was too cheap. Dunno. Either way, there is still that difference. (and NO apology needed Nickie!)
 
Don't let these conversations dishearten you Baz. We just gotta express ourselves sometimes. Considering the number of ukuleles you've reviewed, unsponsored, over many years, it makes you sort of the default go to for many of us seeking a fair and balanced opinion. Most of these things are so subjective that most people would be too scared to even speculate about values. That your channel has survived unsponsored for all this time, offered countless consumers information they'd otherwise find hard to get(if available at all), and established healthy relationships with various industry entities and individuals relative to ukuleles is the proof in the pudding(as they say). I also have one bone to pick with you though. I was shocked we never got a sound sample for the Lego ukulele. I might still buy one if the sound isn't too woody. :unsure: Chin up, stiff upper lip, thick skin, and all that mumbo jumbo. Keep doing what you do. Your labors are absolutely valued and appreciated.
 
Last edited:
I'm not a pro though Nickie - i'm just a guy sharing his opinions. They are not meant to be definitive or cast in stone.

Still not sure how I was supposed to ignore the fact that this cost near twice the last Bonanza I reviewed? Maybe that first one was too cheap. Dunno. Either way, there is still that difference. (and NO apology needed Nickie!)
I don't wanna drag this out forever, but I do wish the violin/viola/cello world had true reviewers like you. All we seem to get are not too well disguised ads, telling us, "oh, it has faults, but it's still a fine fiddle, feel confident buying it off Amazon, blah, blah, blah."
 
Top Bottom