Not Thankful: What was your biggest buying mistake of 2023?

bbkobabe

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I'll start: I had a couple of beers one night and was hanging around eBay. I check the Bruce Wei's available because sometimes they blow out a slow selling ukulele for a bargain price.

That's when I saw this cute little sopranino! Hawaii islands shaped sound holes, cute hummingbird inlay, all solid construction. I thought it was so special! And under $100!

So I bought it... despite the $60 shipping and import duty fees...

It arrived, and I tuned it up and played it... and it sounds as small as it looks. Bad intonation, probably due to improper strings, with a tone like a cheap AM radio.

I hung it on the wall for a few months and then put it into a case.

I took it back out of the case in August. The upper side has formed two running cracks that originated at the players sound port. Two strips of the walnut split off and were sticking straight out... one from the heal and one from the neck, where the splitting was stopped. Arghhhh! The bending did not hold and the wood has returned to straight...

No more late night beer fueled impulse buying for me...

I bought a uBass the same way... another late night impulse purchase I thought it would be awesome but I've failed to bond with it. I'll probably be listing that one in the marketplace soon... But that's another story!

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Aklot electric soprano... The gloss finish was gaudy and sticky. Had to sand down the neck, back, and sides before I could want to hold it. However, it actually sounds good... late at night or in a car. Too timid for me, but it actually sounds good. Where it really did well was, when plugged in, it sounded like a ukulele with very little amp EQ. The magic was its 3-band onboard preamp and you can do most of the basic adjustments there. I don't ever play with an amp unless I'm just fooling around at home and nobody's around, but it does this well.

Another was a deep dive into banjoleles. I bought 4 of them in about a week's time! No one in a strum-a-long wants to sit near me (I hope it was the banjolele!), so I leave them at home; amusing though. Perhaps when I learn how to control them better I'll be more welcomed. I'm not a "Tin Pan Alley" kinda guy, more a bluegrass-ey wannabe.

Lastly, buying another concert that was much like the two I already had. -TBD
 
I can't really speak about it here, but I will say thank god for penicillin! I won't use that particular service again.
 
The only ukes I bought, early this year. My two Gold Tones, banjo uke and ResoUke. They're nice, no issues, I like the differences from my 5 wood ukes. But I barely play any of my ukes. Why did I spend a grand on 2 more ukes that won't be played enough either? I guess UAS. I should have stopped at 2 or 3 ukes. Now I have 7.
 
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In my decade of uking, this is the first year I can say I regret none of my acquisitions. But I bought only one. Still, I have a vintage Gibson that needs work and the local shop that specializes in such repairs is backed up until spring …
 
Not thankful that I didn't have enough learning experiences buying and selling bad ukes......or something other such as like that......

While I'm not rolling in the dough, and I do understand that sometimes an instrument doesn't jibe with someone, life is too short to play any bad instrument.....
 
I bought a new uke, and it arrived with 4 large cracks in it's redwood top - ARRGH!

The seller offered to fully reimburse me, including shipping both directions. Instead, I chose a half price discount figuring I could have a local shop fix it.

The "fix" didn't go as well as I'd have liked - stabilized cracks still causing a low bridge and buzzing, so I took it to a second shop and had fretwork done.

Now it plays and sounds fine. But with those glaring cracks it just languishes in it's too-shallow case, never played, and I'm into it way more $ than I feel good about. Ce la vie, no?
 
Thankfully nothing uke related. I purchased one uke and I love it. I've had several uke purchase regrets in the past though.

This year I'd have to say books. I now have more than I'll read in 2 years, I can't seem to resist shopping used books. It remains to be seen how many of those I will regret but there has been a handful of those I've abandoned this year. Life is too short to read a book I don't enjoy but at only $2 - $4 a pop on the average I'm not losing too much so not too big of a regret.
 
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The only ukes I bought, early this year. My two Gold Tones, banjo uke and ResoUke. They're nice, no issues, I like the differences from my 5 wood ukes. But I barely play any of my ukes. Why did I spend a grand on 2 more ukes that won't be played enough either? I guess UAS. I should have stopped at 2 or 3 ukes. Now I have 7.
If you feel like sharing, I’m wondering why you barely play any of your ukes.
 
It wasn’t a terrible purchase, but KohanMike mentioned some wireless mics that plug into your phone.

My iPhone’s recorder is messed up somehow, so I have to use external mics. I have a couple of options, but a clip on wireless seemed like a good idea.

Mike was very positive on this product, and it was affordable ($25) so I bought a set.

I’m just not getting good audio from the unit. Maybe there is another setting I am missing somewhere, but I’m picked up too much when I clip it on my shirt, and the quality isn’t good from a distance.

No ill will towards Mike…I appreciate the suggestion and for $25 it was worth the try…and I’ll continue to see if I can get better recordings from the system. But for now…other solutions are needed.

And $25 for a bad purchase for the year is pretty darn good.
 
If you feel like sharing, I’m wondering why you barely play any of your ukes.
I got my first ukes in 2006. Then, I worked crazy hours and didn't have much free time. I lost my wife in Oct '21, and retired 2 months later. I have tons of free time now but just can't concentrate and get it together like I used to.
 
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The only bad purchase this year was just a few weeks ago. I needed to replace the laptop battery I use with my Phil Jones Double Four mini bass amp, found what I thought was a good choice, but they had an auto shutoff circuit that I could not override, had to return them.
 
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...I’m just not getting good audio from the unit. Maybe there is another setting I am missing somewhere, but I’m picked up too much when I clip it on my shirt, and the quality isn’t good from a distance...
Sorry to hear that. I tested my set with my Panasonic 4K video camera, one person was about 10 feet away, the other was about 40 feet away, both came in loud and clear. I wonder with your iPhone recorder problem, if it's also affecting the mic input.
 
The Lava U. High action and uneven frets making it impractical to lower without buzzing. Proprietary strap system for which they never actually shipped a strap for. $50 (Enya Nova / Kala Waterman class) tone for a $400 price.
 
The year is far from over :)
Well, of the three cheap ukuleles of various sizes I have so far, the biggest mistake was the soprano, Flight NUP310.

It received good reviews from gotaukulele and for the price I can definitely see how it could be pretty decent but the two issues:
1) I bought it from a random online store (didn't really know any better 'back then', not that it was in stock elsewhere I think) and the tuning gears became super gritty after the first string change. Like it takes force to turn them and hitting the correct tuning is actually hard. Not sure how fixable it is.

2) The whole body resonates in C, if that makes any sense: I've tried two extra set of strings but the whole instrument vibrates with the open C string. With anything else it (as in, even with the 3rd string 1st fret) sounds pretty nice, but with open C it just howls so loud you can't focus on anything else.

Without the C note and the gritty pegs it would be a really nice little soprano. It's cute and light, chords sound nice..
 
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I was on a quest for a uke to take bikepacking/bike touring. It had to be under 20" to fit in the bag the sits on top of my rack and somewhat impervious to the elements.
*First was a Famous pineapple sopranino. The overall size works but the small fretboard gives me fits. It's too nice to taking wildcamping.
*Next up a Flight Travel soprano, plastic back/sides neck and fret board. The frets on this are so short and small it makes chording very difficult.
*Next was a Enya Nova soprano. All non-wood but too long. Thought I could cut the headstock down but it's too pretty to butcher
*Final candidate was a Kala Shark. I did cut down the headstock, drilled two new tuner holes and installed GraphTech tuners. It worked, also played and sounded good.

I went on a two month long bikepacking trip this summer and took no ukulele, no room in the bag, doh!!!!!!. I still own all four and really don't play them. None were expensive but I feel like a goof for wasting time, energy and money. I'll keep the Famous and Kala and donate the other two to a grade school music program.
 
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