- Jan 6, 2018
- Reaction score
Excellent post, Tim!! I was gathering my thoughts to reply to the OP, but you've said it all, and better than I could have done.Here, perhaps, although the last poll I saw favored concerts. There are LOTS of folks here who have a nice stable of ukes with no tenors in them at all. Me, I have one each of soprano, concert, and tenor, and no real favorite among the sizes (I feel like I should from all the hubbub some folks make about it, but I honestly don't)...but ultimately, popularity is irrelevant when it comes to what YOU prefer.
Interesting that a query about high-end sopranos should come up just as we've got one of the shiniest sopronos I've ever seen listed in our Marketplace. It's from the Martin custom shop, and priced to move at $6950. (I'm not being facetious. This is a terrific price for one of these. I've seen them going for much higher!) You should check the whole listing to see the rest of the photos, so consider this an appetizer.
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btw, here's a saved search for Soprano in the subject line in our Marketplace. I think non-sop shoppers might be surprised by both the breadth and depth of what's there, and sop-shoppers who maybe hadn't thought to search that way may be delighted by what they find, and sorry for what they've missed!
For example, this Dave Talsma Ditson 5K soprano went early in October after barely a week at $1350.
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Also just this month, we've seen sales of a "new old stock" Martin cherry soprano from 2014-15 for $1500, a KoAloha longneck with some of the nicest mahagony I've ever seen ($685), and a Tim Laughlin 2K soprano whose back I found especially tantalizing.
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That's by no means all of them, mind you. Just a few of my personal highlights from completed sales in October alone.
I'll only go back to September, and include a few still available, just to finish making the point.
This astounding Beansprout in curly myrtle was pulled because nobody jumped on the reduced price of $1200, which strikes me as a steal for a luthier-build custom of the quality that Aaron Keim produces. Who knows? You might be able to get it if you PM the seller.
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This one's still out there, which amazes me, but check out this Barron River curly blackwood soprano! @richntacoma just posted this a few weeks ago for $1650.
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This curly mango Mya-Moe longneck soprano went in September for $1050.
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Also still out there from September listings: a 1950-ish Martin for $600, and a 1950 gold label Kamaka for $650.
I'm skipping over some KoAlohas, a Ken Timms Cuban mahogany, and others -- again, just talking about September and October alone.
One thing that you can easily observe is that a lot of the great sopranos are coming out of custom shops. One of my favorite builders is Charlie Fukuba, who sells under the name I'wii, and he's got a lot of great sopranos. This spruce-koa one sold at The Ukulele Site for $2800, and sold fast.
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That said, there are also plenty of production builders with very nice soprano offerings in stock. The Anuenue Koa Bird is at TUS for $2398 (lots of fans of that one here at UU), as is the spruce/rosewood Hummingbird soprano for $1798. Here's a photo of the Koa Bird.
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And don't overlook Kanile'a's sopranos! There's no question that the traditional Kamakas, and the delightfully boisterous KoAlohas are more popular, but the same values of elegance, innovation, and depth of sound that Kanile'a is famous for in other scales are very much with the sopranos. TUS has 6 very different ones in stock, in prices ranging from $800-ish to $1600-ish. Their custom shop will also be happy to build you that's even fancier.
My larger point being that, while certainly not as much as in tenor scale, there's a LOT of action in the soprano world, at every price point and configuration, as fancy as you could hope for. There's no reason to lower your expectations for what's possible, or your expectation of what's available on shelves right now, just because the scale is smaller. Think bigger while thinking smaller, and you'll see all kinds of amazing stuff!
I wonder if by "higher end" the OP meant bling?