UAS is real, let's discuss...

Everyone approaches acquiring instruments differently. For me I have been fortunate to find a few off the beaten path/local builders.

I hesitate to call them luthiers, as making instruments is not their primary source of income. This doesn’t mean they are not competent, but it is more of a hobby/side job for them.

John
 
Yes, UAS is very real! Over the years I've bought and subsequently sold more ukes than I've kept so I know that it takes a little time, trial and error to find ukes that you fall in love with. Here's the breakdown of ukes I've kept:

$0- $99: 1 (I don't really count this uke because I bought it for my wife but I still play it more than she does!)
$100 - $199: 1
$200 - $299: 2 + 1 on the way, not yet received
$300 - $399: 0
$400 - $499: 1
$500 - $599: 1*
* this is what one would pay new but I paid considerably less ($200-$299 paid, $300-$399 total if you count additional investment/alteration I put into it)

With UAS it's pretty much never say never again but that aside, I think I'm done buying. I don't feel a need for a "better" uke and I don't feel like I'm at any kind of loss for not spending more than a low to mid-range price on any uke. I love them all and all were less than $500.
 
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Welcome to the journey Weatherman. Your MGTD is an excellent instrument. Part of the adventure is learning what is out there, and part of it is learning what really speaks to you. My experience is that even in the short time I have been playing (nine months) my criteria and tastes have shifted quite a bit. In fact, my points of reference are kind of different too. Early on, I was trying to put a toe in water without spending too much. It took me two ukulele purchases before I got a Pono ATD, more of less equivalent to where you are now. I think your target price range is very reasonable, particularly if you buy used. I would warn you that you are likely to be disappointed if buy something that is not at least at the level of the Pono: solid wood, good maker, nice fittings. Depending on the style of music and type of playing you enjoy, you will gravitate to different different tunings, sizes, and different woods, in particular different tone woods or tops.

I've come to think of high G and low G as two different instruments. They are interchangeable for playing some things, but other pieces just don't work right at all if I'm playing the wrong one. Listening to some Kimo Hussey convinced me early I wanted to play low G. But then I got hooked on Troy Fernandez and I had to have a high G instrument too. And then there are Sam Muir and John King, and the list goes on and on. Strings are relatively cheap and easy to change. I would suggest trying a low G on your tenor just to see what you think.

To my ears, mango, walnut, acacia, and koa sound much closer to one another than any of them do to a spruce or cedar top ukulele. However, the different ukulele sizes (soprano, concert, tenor, baritone) have very different voices even when you compare instruments from the same maker in the same materials. iI you want to explore, you should at least audition some good instruments in sizes besides tenor. And of course, different brands or makers tend to have signature sounds as well.

When I watch the TUS videos comparing ukuleles, often the performer's (Corey, Kalei, Mika) comments about the sound tell me more than I get from listening to the instruments, even in a good set of headphones.
 
I just wanted to post a quick reply here. I’ve been on vacation, but I intend to fully read everyone’s comments and respond.
 
Combine UAS with impulse buying and a lack of self-control. :oops:

Most of mine are pictured below. I'm up to 141, with one on the way - November.

View attachment 153983
Jerry, you should do one of your paint jobs for Halloween on that double-neck uke near the bottom right. From this distance it already looks like a jack-o'-lantern.
 
Combine UAS with impulse buying and a lack of self-control. :oops:

Most of mine are pictured below. I'm up to 141, with one on the way - November.

View attachment 153983
Don’t mind me while I save this image…just want something to show the wife the next time she gets mad about a new uke box on the porch…
 
I think one can dwell on and "live in" thinking about which uke to buy, which tonewood, which luthiers. Which sounds best? And ooh "I want it all" as Freddie Mercury sang. I struggle with the selecting, which one and then want both, or three, etc. UAS is definitely real.
 
I've been thinking what feeds my UAS
  • Different scale lengths, including custom lengths
  • Different tonewoods - for different sound signatures
  • Different Luthier/Makes
  • Different body styles, i.e. Baritone body with tenor scale, slimline/thinline, regular body, etc.
Let me know if I missed anything. :)
 
To me, it is all about how you fill your day. There is only so much time you can devote to ukuleles. So what do you think about? If you're playing a lot, your mind goes to technique, chord progressions, composition, maybe some theory.

If you're not playing enough, then your thoughts go to bracing, tone woods, strings.

So play more. Make your life about playing. Then the minutiae do not matter. What matters is the plethora of issues that a player has as opposed to the theoretical difference between sitka spruce versus Engelmann spruce.
 
I've been thinking what feeds my UAS
  • Different scale lengths, including custom lengths
  • Different tonewoods - for different sound signatures
  • Different Luthier/Makes
  • Different body styles, i.e. Baritone body with tenor scale, slimline/thinline, regular body, etc.
Let me know if I missed anything. :)
String configurations. A 6-string tenor someone is selling locally caught my attention this morning. Don't need it but could not help researching about it just in case.

Band teachers where I worked every year held a "petting zoo" where kids could come in and try out instruments and figure out what they wanted to play. I want a big peoples ukulele petting zoo so I can try out all the ukes. Some ukes that I think I want, I might get over. Maybe.
 
After more than twenty purchases, I've found several I am very comfortable with. That took years of experimenting to determine what I actually wanted. But that will not stop me from seeking out more. I enjoy playing all 4 scale sizes and each has its unique voice. Sometime in the past, I wrote: 4 sizes x 2 woods x 2 tunings = 16. So, 8 minimum. Without thinking, I generally grab a concert.

Early on, I set a financially reasonable limit; "guard" rails" if you will. That has stayed in the $200-350 range and captures a world of great sounding and playing ukuleles. My currently available favvies? Ohana, Lanikai*.

I am no longer shy about returning a dud as long I have a reasonable reason to do so. If I just made a poor choice, that's on me. Twice ($600, $800), I took the bait and was disappointed both times. I need to stay in my lane.

<*confession.> ... just purchased an aNueNue Hawaiian Dream Series C-4 arrived from Haleiwa, HI.

Making it real:
 

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To me, it is all about how you fill your day. There is only so much time you can devote to ukuleles. So what do you think about? If you're playing a lot, your mind goes to technique, chord progressions, composition, maybe some theory.

If you're not playing enough, then your thoughts go to bracing, tone woods, strings.

So play more. Make your life about playing. Then the minutiae do not matter. What matters is the plethora of issues that a player has as opposed to the theoretical difference between sitka spruce versus Engelmann spruce.
I like this. When I see people say they are itching for XYZ I think of how my instructor told me “I want you to be itching to play throughout your day.”
 
For me UAS is part impulse buy and part learning about different instrument types in my own home. Playing in store is great but having one (or more!) at home helped me learn what I like—or maybe more what I don’t like. Figuring out what I don’t like helped me explore what I do like with different body shapes, scale lengths, strings, etc. since I’m relatively new. Some the reviews are really great and the uke sounds great, but I just didn’t like playing it. Part of the learning curve and part of the fun for me.

Now excuse me while I head back to the marketplace.
 
So far UAS has been an exploration of possibilities, a learning experience, and a great deal of fun. My partner is fairly supportive (codependent?) and I am facing only mild ridicule from family and friends. The financial impact is noticeable, but in the grand scheme of things we are very lucky that it is just a matter of priorities and I'm not feeling any serious regrets about where we are spending less. We have also defined a new financial unit, The Kamaka, which is a $1500 equivalent. For example, that trip will cost two Kamakas in air fare even before we factor in rooms and meals, or how many Kamakas is that new transmission going to cost installed?

Exploring and learning about my own possibilities on the ukulele is more challenging than the UAS quest, but I hope and believe that it is ultimately more satisfying too. At times, it seems like UAS and constantly reading/posting here on UU are taking time away from learning to play the ukulele. However, playing instruments that I love does inspire me to play more and improve. Also, becoming a member of the ukulele community and the continual dialog here on the UU forums has certainly taught me a great deal and supported me in improving my playing. I guess it is all about finding the right balance.
 
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