In your opinion what will be the Stradivarius of ukuleles?

Snowbeast

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2022
Messages
35
Reaction score
37
So in 300 years which mass produced ukulele brand,make,year,and size do you think will be the Stradivarius of ukuleles? Not including custom ukuleles made by luthiers, just mass produced. Something people in 300 years would look for?
 
I think we'll all be gone way before then. If we're not, it will probably be a brand that doesn't exist yet. Many of the brands when I bought my ukes in 2006 are gone; new ones come and go.
 
Going strong at over 100 years now……I don’t expect Kamaka to cease operations in the next 50 years, so probably Kamaka honestly. And it would be fitting as one of the earliest makers to continue on into the far future.
 
I think we'll all be gone way before then. If we're not, it will probably be a brand that doesn't exist yet. Many of the brands when I bought my ukes in 2006 are gone; new ones come and go.
This is just a hypothetical thing. I just meant out of all the Ukuleles available right now what would be your best estimate. Stradivarius came and went as well, so it fits.
 
Considering the head start that they have, I would expect that both Martin and Kamaka would be hard to beat. There are already fine examples of both that are already over a hundred years old.

This was exactly what I was going to say
 
Meh, sorry for being a curmudgeon here, yet Stradivarius violins, were definitely "custom", Luthier built violins, so I'm not down with the premise of this thread.

Yeah, by definition, you can't say "Which mass production instrument will take its place alongside the most custom famous instrument-maker of all time?" because in the 17th and 18th centuries when Antonio Stradivari was building, there was no such thing as mass production! These were considered elite instruments at the time

They also don't come up for sale very often, but a recent-ish Stradivarius sale in 2011 (the Lady Blunt) went for $15.9 million. Several years earlier, the Messiah Stradivarius went for $20 million. My guess is that the next one to come up will go for even higher.

I think we can safely say that there's no such thing as a $16-20 million ukulele today, and there probably won't be in 300 years either....and if there is, it'll more likely be a Chuck Moore than a Kamaka or a Martin. :)

No disrespect to these fine brands, of course, who've shown that they can build an instrument that sounds fantastic 100 years on, but we're still centuries away from knowing if any of these will be worth playing then. Probably? But I'd think that there would need to be something specific to add value, like maybe Jake's blue custom Kamaka -- which has a number of specific details unique to that one instrument, not even available on Jake's commercial model from Kamaka. That's the kind of thing that drives value over time.

That said, it's interesting to ask what'll still be valuable later! No reason not to have a little fun with it.

But in general, we know that the stuff that's most valuable over time started as valuable in its own time. There are exceptions for fine art (say, Van Gogh ), but those are exceptions. It's not like DaVinci or Monet were exactly cheap in their day.

A kind of interesting side question is whether ANYTHING that was a commodity-level, mass-produced ANYTHING, from ANY time, became stratospherically valuable later. The closest one I can think of is the "butcher" cover of The Beatles' Yesterday & Today album, which might go for $10,000 in mint condition, and admittedly more often for a few hundred bucks.... And even at top dollar several orders of magnitude less than a $20,000,000 Strad, but not bad for a couple of buck investment at the time. :)

But speculation about which commodity things might be worth more in 400 years? Sure! Bring it on!
 
Last edited:
I would say that after a century, old Martins are still sought after, fetching high prices, and much imitated. Possibly some of the custom imitations such as the Ken Timms, beat the original.

So that’s my prediction - Ken Timms. By no means mass-produced (so maybe not eligible by thread rules), but also not one offs. If I’m wrong, I’ll happily buy a drink for anyone who wants to take me up on it in a 300 years.
 
My model is that Cremona and the great violin schools of the 17th century (Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri, and a few others) were the K-brands of their day. They were recognized as premium instruments when they were made and they did special fancy orders for the very wealthy (e.g. Medici) as well as their more or less stock instruments. I'm no expert, but I believe that there were a bunch of folks working in those shops, so it is not like every part of every Strad was crafted by the hand of Antonio. While the Cremona shops may have been closer to a single luthier made, the K-brands are similar in that they pass through many hands as they are hand made. The exceptions are custom or semi-custom orders.
 
My model is that Cremona and the great violin schools of the 17th century (Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri, and a few others) were the K-brands of their day. They were recognized as premium instruments when they were made and they did special fancy orders for the very wealthy (e.g. Medici) as well as their more or less stock instruments. I'm no expert, but I believe that there were a bunch of folks working in those shops, so it is not like every part of every Strad was crafted by the hand of Antonio. While the Cremona shops may have been closer to a single luthier made, the K-brands are similar in that they pass through many hands as they are hand made. The exceptions are custom or semi-custom orders.

I think that this is a good way to frame it. There are multiple models of K-brand ukuleles that have a handful of luthiers and related craftspeople touching them, not just one, and most of them are built as well-understood, widely-available models -- Kanile'a K1, KoAloha KTM, etc. -- BUT, they ALSO build a meaningful number of one-offs that, whether they're super-blingy or super-specific, are definitely unique.

Needless to say, many of those customizations might limit their appeal to anyone but the person for whom they were built...but I've seen some truly stunning examples of ukes built for one person that absolutely :love:. I remember one that @ukulelemana shared in a NUD post here that you should definitely take a look at if you haven't. Mike's a terrific photographer (he shoots sports for a living) and I'm not gonna repost them all here, but this one tiny detail shot made me gasp:

1700183727756.png


Sure, that might not do anything for YOU, but that's kinda the point. The things that drive up the price for a one-off to appeal to the taste of one specific person might be the exact things that keep another person from even considering it.

Of course, who knows what 400 years of inflation will do to the price of ANYTHING? Maybe SHOELACES will cost $20 million.

Although hey, if Gene Rodenberry's right, there won't be any money at all in the 24th century anyway! :ROFLMAO:
 
I assume that there is a violin tone that is somewhat agreed upon by the violin world to be most desired. I recall that the Black Forest trees of that period were special in achieving this sound.

There is no standard regarding ukulele sound or woods so nothing today may be that special.
 
I assume that there is a violin tone that is somewhat agreed upon by the violin world to be most desired. I recall that the Black Forest trees of that period were special in achieving this sound.

There is no standard regarding ukulele sound or woods so nothing today may be that special.
Isn't Koa the desired wood? At least for the traditional Hawaiin sound?
 
I would say that after a century, old Martins are still sought after, fetching high prices, and much imitated. Possibly some of the custom imitations such as the Ken Timms, beat the original.

So that’s my prediction - Ken Timms. By no means mass-produced (so maybe not eligible by thread rules), but also not one offs. If I’m wrong, I’ll happily buy a drink for anyone who wants to take me up on it in a 300 years.
Oh heck, I'm in the pink! Well, in 300 years that is...
 
Top Bottom