Going 9 to 5


Well-known member
Feb 21, 2018
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Portland OR
Well I've done it! I've gone from 9 ukes to 5 and I couldn't be happier. I've sold a few and given a couple as Christmas presents. It's a great feeling - I think it's called contentment or living consistent with ones values.....

This journey has been about 7 years in the making. During that time I've owned about 40 ukes - but never more than 9 at a time. I'll admit part of the fun of my uke journey has been UAS. But UAS has taught me all it can and I'm glad that season has passed its zenith.

So what are the 5 ukes I've narrowed it down to? My answer may surprise you as I don't believe the brand matters really. Brands tend to feed UAS. It's the categories that matter. So I'll share those:

Uke 1. My soul-mate baritone. Bari is the uke language that speaks to me. This fact took me about 7 years to figure out. But once I did, I found a bari that speaks my language quite well. It speaks to me and allows me to speak through it. Mine happens to be a vintage uke (cause I like em). I play this one 75-85% of the time. I reach for it first. Love it.

Uke 2. A travel baritone. I fly stand-by often and a full size bari may be a challenge to fit on the plane (I"m often the last one to board). So I have a tenor with baby baritone strings for this purpose.

Uke 3. A back-porch baritone. This one I have strung with Perry's Octave strings (low GCEA). Tis delightful for those kick-back moments. I play this one 20% of the time. This one is hard to put down. Tends to be quieter.

Uke 4. A bluesy-baritone. It's a cheap vintage bari, but it has soul. I have it tuned DGB, Low E. Great for pickin'. I play this one 5% of the time.

Uke 5. Its-a uke. Not expensive. A concert tuned GCEA. Rarely used, but on hand if I need to play GCEA with a group.
Congrats!! This is very inspirational and also very considerate to describe the functions each of your ukes fulfill and avoiding the brands.

I've recently had the thought of a move to a smaller space and which ukes might make the cut, if I indeed had to make cuts.

The UAS journey is a fun one, but it does also feel great to actually find those keepers that fill the true (to you) needs or roles. This thread is watering a healthy seed, for sure!
In the first year I played uke in mid 2013, I went through about 25 under $200 tenor cutaway high G, holding onto 16. Then Mim recommended a Kala solid cedar top, acacia body for $369 that became my go to uke for years. I culled my collection to 8 until a few months ago when I found playing my standard depth ukes was getting too uncomfortable with neck nerve damage from radiation treatments years ago, but my thinline Lanikai was comfortable. I decided to sell all the standard depth to my uke group, with the proceeds going to The Ukulele Kids Club, and replaced them with 5 more thinlines.

Ukulele Collection.jpg
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