I feel inferior

I've been to a lot of Uke Jams around the country and have never run into attitudes like you have run into. In mixed instrument jams sometime ukes aren't considered real instruments (their loss). But in general uke people don't get into what uke you are playing, how many chords or strum pattern you know. Most started with beginner ukes (I still have my 1st) and maybe 3 chords, and were received with open arms to the uke jam. In turn that's how they welcome the next newbies! Strum, sing and enjoy your music!
 
I have an Enya Nova U and it's nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. They play and sound great! That's why I gave it to my wife because it was cheap and it was a very worthy uke that she could knock around with instead of dinging up my ukes. Three of my favorite ukes are my cheapest ranging from $115 to $215. Sometimes I think it's because they fit my personality more when you look at them in the spectrum of my uke collection. I do have fancier, more expensive ukes and a couple technically sound better but I'm more of a jeans and t-shirt guy than a dress up guy so maybe that's why I reach for my "jeans and t-shirt ukes" more often than my fancier more expensive ukes. Embrace the ukes you have, continue to enjoy them and relax knowing that they both make the music you enjoy on your own and with others.
 
I'd rather jam with a person who has a good attitude and an Enya uke than an arrogant twit with the most expensive ukulele. I tend to buy cheap music instruments and challenge myself to make them sound better than they should. It's half of the fun for me. It's also a lifelong learning process that hopefully never ends. No music store employee has the power to dishearten me. In fact, I'd return to that music store each day and play the heck out of stairway to heaven on my perfectly fine Enya until the owner gives me another ukulele I want just to get rid of me.
 
I love my Nova U concert and use it for open mics, group strums and noodleing around at home along with a couple of "K" brands ukes I picked up along the way. No worry about the label or wood. If you like the way it plays and sounds, that's all that matters.
 
1. I’m sorry that your life is difficult :(
2. I have an Enya Nova-U (which I got on special very recently for $67.50 USD) and LOVE it!
3. Go to those music jams. Make some kind of witty remark about your “inferior” instruments. That gives YOU the power.
4. NEVER allow yourself to feel less than. Learn to push back to those who try to make you feel that way.
5. Play what makes you happy!
😊
 
I started with $25 harmony ukes I got from Craigslist. Moved up to a used cameo (cheap laminate Japanese knockoff Martin clone) I got for $45. My most played instrument is still a cordoba mini-r I got for $75 off of Craigslist. I also have $1000+ customs and yes they sound nice and can be easy to play but that was after years and years of playing and learning what I want. Some of my favorite musicians play very simple instruments. Check out Seasick Steve and the cobbled together stuff he started with, 3 strings and duct tape. Take a listen to what Dr Bekken plays on his cheap Rogue ukuleles. I’ve watched plenty of crappy playing on super expensive instruments and sublime, moving music on humble axes. Having a high end instrument doesn’t automatically make you a fabulous musician and having a cheap one doesn’t mean you suck either. What’s between your ears is way more important than what is beneath your fingers. Sometimes I think people forget that what you are playing is in a different universe from what you play it on.
 
Ok. so here's the deal... everyone on this forum sometimes gets bitten by the lust for a better instrument. It's referred to as UAS, and if you've been watching this forum for a while, you already know what that means...

I was just like you, playing an instrument that was inexpensive but fairly well made and had it sounding really good because I played it an hour a day and learned how to get the most out of it.

I'm a school teacher and don't have a lot of spending money either, so I had to get creative! I want better ukuleles, dammit!

So I bottom feed on eBay. I find overlooked ukuleles, often ones that need a tiny bit of work - say - a cracked nut or sometimes as simple as no strings. And I've bought some really good ones this way. I bought this one, a solid wood hand built in Portugal (African Blackwood) tenor for 66$US. And I replaced the nut and strings and it's a great! Yeah, there is a slight crack in the top but it plays just fine!

lahua.JPG

I just bought a solid top Concert size for 26USD... It's missing it's bridge insert bit it's a standard size so easy to buy... And I can just tell it's going to sound good!

So- sharpen your hunter-gather instincts and start watching Craigslist or eBay or what ever and be patient! Really good instruments with easy fixes show up all the time. But it's a bit like fishing... you need to be patient!
 
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Hi everyone
I hope this is the right forum for it, but I just don’t know where else to put it

I own an Enya Nova U which is rather a cheap instrument and I am very happy with it. I would never replace it except if it were broken.
also, my banjo is a cheap one for €170 and also other instruments, I own are cheap

no matter in which community, I look people are saying that the instruments I own are like okay for beginners or even worse just to put in the fire. But even if I were unhappy with these instruments I couldn’t buy better ones and that won’t change
I am disabled and don’t work, live on Social Security. I don’t exactly know how it’s called in English it’s okay to live but it’s not much
if I pay in my rent and other regular costs, I have like €500 left that I have for food and everything else so I can’t really save up for things, especially because every now and again things happen where I have to buy more expensive things like two months ago our dishwasher broke and I had to pay half of it as I live in a shared flat
this has been like that since 2012 and if no miracle happens, I will have that kind of money. As long as I live. I am a musician and do some gigs sometimes, but I’m realistic I won’t earn that much money from it, especially as it’s mostly on social and political events where people don’t have much money

so I’m afraid to connect with other musicians or go to local jams, because I am afraid that people will see my instruments and comment on that like either they say how shitty they are or something like well sooner or later you have to replace it anyway, which I just can’t
and the thing is for me, I’m happy with all of my instruments they don’t feel like a bad choice or something I just have to live with I just only get this feeling of playing something bad whenever I communicate with other musicians

like a week ago, I was in a guitar shop and wanted to try out banjos the ones they had and liked, but the cheapest one started at €350 as I asked the guy for Harley Benton. He said that the only use I could get out of them is as a child’s drum and for firewood. He also said that all the stuff from Holly Benton was crap
as I asked. about cheaper models, he said that they weren’t playable and if I couldn’t afford the banjos he offered I should rather stop considering to play banjo.
I was so disheartened after I left the shop that I really was considering just to give it up, but a friend encouraged me to just order online and I’m very happy I did
but because of those things, I feel very inferior in the music community
and yes, I know €1000 ukulele will sound differently than one for 100 But it’s like with a laptop, you can get one that’s very expensive and it will have a lot of specs, but if you just are normal computer user who likes to play a couple of games surf the web and listen to stuff etc laptop for a couple of hundreds is totally fine
but I have the feeling that’s in the musical community This is somehow forgotten me.
The salesperson in the shop should be ashamed of himself. I would not buy anything from a shop that employed someone that would make such an ignorant and elitist comment.

I like buying different ukuleles to try them out. I realize that I am in a really privileged position to have the income to do that. I hope that my talking about the excitement of having a new instrument does not make anyone feel alienated.

I know that having nice ukuleles does not make me a better musician or show that I am more serious about playing. It just means that I have a good amount of extra money to spend and enjoy shopping for and buying ukuleles. If the ukulele I played was commensurate with my skill level I would only have one ukulele and it would be very basic. My instructor, who went to a prestigious college of music and is a professional musician, only has two inexpensive ukuleles that are both laminate. He said he does not need an expensive ukulele or a solid wood ukulele to make great music, and he is right.

One of the things that I like about the ukulele community here in the forum and at the music school where I take classes is the culture of welcoming everyone wherever they are and appreciating their passion and talent. I hope that there are groups where you are that embrace the welcoming culture of ukulele.

I also hope that you recognize that any group that would judge you for not having an expensive instrument is not worthy of your presence. Life is too short to spend time with people who are that shallow.

I have a Nova U soprano that I got for $17 on a crazy sale and a Nova U concert that I am going to decorate with a friend on a crafting day. I play the Nova U soprano when I play with my son because he moves around a lot and might crash into a delicate wood instrument. I love that it sounds good, I don’t have to be overly careful with it, and I can decorate it without worrying about whether I ruined the wood.

I hope that you find a group there that is deserving of you.

Best,
Anita
 
Just hunt out people who want to talk about sound rather than physical objects. At meets, its always difficult not talking about stuff just as its an easy start - like the weather. But listen around and gravitate to those who you think are properly sensitive with their instruments. I've come full circle now with attempting some open mics - anything which looks overly posh implies professionalism which means people are going to be expecting the best and likely disappointed. Go in 'low key' with a tatty-looking but well set up instrument and then listeners have the possibility of being happy and surprised.
We DO live in a consumer society and nobody has worked out a way for capitalist growth to easily end yet. Though end it must.
 
As far as instruments used in mainstream recordings, the ukulele is pretty far down the food chain.

I think the humble nature of the instrument tends to be embraced by those who play it. It is tough to be a snob when much of the world views it as a toy.

That said, the instrument has transformed a bit over the years. I can’t say exactly when, but 15-20 years ago blinged out custom ukuleles with bevels and different exotic woods didn’t really exist, or were extremely rare.

And even though there is little instrument judgement, there will be threads on UU that focus on high end instruments and the attributes and benefits they bring.

John
 
Thanks a lot for all the lovely replies
that’s exactly the reason I wrote this post here and not in another forum or subreddit I have been in this forum since April this year, and all the reactions have been lovely even when I posted videos of me playing and singing which I hadn’t thought.

The many negative experiences I’ve had were mainly in the guitar harp and banjo communities and also local music stores or general music sessions where everybody could come no matter which instrument they played I also have found that the German community have a tendency to be more criticising. I have experienced that even in other non-music communities like the painting community.

and yes, gratitude is a great part of my life now because I am very thankful for how my life has changed. I have been through a lot of trauma and physical and mental challenges. I even have been homeless over a decade ago and even if my life is not perfect. I am in a way better place than I have been only a couple of years ago

I love my instruments very much and that’s why I don’t have the need to buy a new ukulele or any other instrument, especially as my banjo arrived Only this Tuesday .
the only thing that I want to have in the next months is a better microphone, but we will see what is possible
so thank you for the suggestions about cheap ukuleles, but UAS is not so much a thing for me, probably more IAS but even there, I am very satisfied at the moment

my username is actually inspired by a folk musician from the UK, who is called Damh the Bard and because I like Irish/Celtic mythology and like to put spiritual/philosophical messages in my songtext

anyway, thanks a lot for all your posts. You have empowered me to visit the next ukulele meet up here in Berlin. If anybody here on the forum is from Berlin and would like to connect. I would be very happy although I am aware that this is probably a more US centred forum, but the German forum is not as active as here, so I decided on staying here as I like an active community and English is not a problem for me in general especially as my dad is English/Scottish
 
I think that what is lovely about ukulele is that nobody has to feel inferior, but joyous. If you have ever been with an ukulele meetup group, everyone is playing different ukes. Some have $45 ukes and some paid thousands for them, however, the joy is the same with everyone. The joy of sharing our love for music and community through a little four-stringed instrument. I now have some great ukulele but one of the best ones I ever had was a $45 Harmony uke. it was great because I loved playing it and loved the sound of that little soprano. Sometimes I listen to recordings without knowing which instrument the musician is playing, I can't tell. I just enjoy the music. I remember when I first started in ukulele, I got UAS really bad and I had a $1500 Kanile'a ukulele. At that time, I was running a performing Arts Center and we presented Jake Shimaburo there to perform. After the show, some of the members of this forum were there and they brought their ukes and we all sat in a circle with Jake. I had my expensive Kanile'a but honestly, it did not make me sound better. Jake did not have his uke with him for this (it was in the dressing room) so he took one of the ukes that was around. it was a Sam Ash special kind of uke and he played it and sounded wonderful. My point, however, is that the brand or cost of the uke did not matter. it was the playing and the sense of community that mattered. I love when I go to an ukulele meetup and we all try each other's uke. I kinda wish I never got the UAS bug because every uke I own is great, no matter the cost. The trick is in finding the one that sings to you.
I so love this post, Ed. Well said!
 
Thanks a lot for all the lovely replies
that’s exactly the reason I wrote this post here and not in another forum or subreddit I have been in this forum since April this year, and all the reactions have been lovely even when I posted videos of me playing and singing which I hadn’t thought.

The many negative experiences I’ve had were mainly in the guitar harp and banjo communities and also local music stores or general music sessions where everybody could come no matter which instrument they played I also have found that the German community have a tendency to be more criticising. I have experienced that even in other non-music communities like the painting community.

and yes, gratitude is a great part of my life now because I am very thankful for how my life has changed. I have been through a lot of trauma and physical and mental challenges. I even have been homeless over a decade ago and even if my life is not perfect. I am in a way better place than I have been only a couple of years ago

I love my instruments very much and that’s why I don’t have the need to buy a new ukulele or any other instrument, especially as my banjo arrived Only this Tuesday .
the only thing that I want to have in the next months is a better microphone, but we will see what is possible
so thank you for the suggestions about cheap ukuleles, but UAS is not so much a thing for me, probably more IAS but even there, I am very satisfied at the moment

my username is actually inspired by a folk musician from the UK, who is called Damh the Bard and because I like Irish/Celtic mythology and like to put spiritual/philosophical messages in my songtext

anyway, thanks a lot for all your posts. You have empowered me to visit the next ukulele meet up here in Berlin. If anybody here on the forum is from Berlin and would like to connect. I would be very happy although I am aware that this is probably a more US centred forum, but the German forum is not as active as here, so I decided on staying here as I like an active community and English is not a problem for me in general especially as my dad is English/Scottish
I'm not sure if there are any tickets left, but the wonderful Berliner Ukulele Festival takes place next weekend; consider going if you have a chance!
Even if you don't do any of the workshops, it is a fantastic opportunity to meet some lovely ukulele people, hang out and chat and jam.

The instruments I've seen people bring to these festivals vary from Makala Sharks to the K-brands - but the cheaper instruments are usually in the majority!
 
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