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Old 07-13-2017, 09:44 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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I go to Kauai at least once a year and there are several great ukulele stores. I certainly would not buy an uke in a gift shop. My favourite store is Scotty's across from WalMart in Lihue, who has the biggest selection, but the price you negotiate really depends on the day and his mood. In Hanalei Bay, there is a store called Strings&Things or something like that which has knitting supplies and Ukuleles. Both stores carry ukes made by the main uke builder on the island, Raymond Rapozo (Island Ukulele). They are gorgeous Koa instruments with an open pore finish and they sound great, but are a bit overpriced for me. They have a label that looks like this:

The uke in the picture looks way too glossy, and I am not aware of the brand/builder displayed on the label.

Last edited by merlin666; 07-13-2017 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:46 PM
lfoo6952 lfoo6952 is offline
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Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with a lot of what has been stated. $1800 is not a lot of money for a luthier built ukulele. A ukulele in the $1800 price range is not considered world class either. For example, a Chuck Moore uke would cost about $5000, if you can get one. I own two luthier built ukuleles, and both cost closer to $3000.

However, unlike your situation, my ukuleles were built by well known luthiers in the uke world. I am not familiar with Tomas Braverman. It does look great, though. I did a search for his name in the ukulele underground forum and came up blank. The part that I do agree with is excersing caution buying from an unknown builder because you might have a hard time selling it. Plus not being a uke player, you might not have the ear to judge how good it sounds.

Last edited by lfoo6952; 07-13-2017 at 11:47 PM. Reason: corrected a typo - darn auto correct!
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:59 AM
GmanJeff GmanJeff is offline
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I think the point being made by most here is that there may be better instruments available for that price, without regard to whether they were mass-produced or not. Construction by a single individual is no assurance of a superior product or that the price asked represents a reasonable value. $1800 will buy instruments from the K brands, from Martin, and from other builders with justifiably established reputations. It also appears to buy an instrument of unknown quality from an evidently unknown builder. The question asked by the OP was not whether $1800 is a reasonable price for any instrument built by any individual, but whether this particular instrument is a good purchase.

Last edited by GmanJeff; 07-14-2017 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:23 AM
Neal Neal is offline
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GmanJeff has some wise words up above, and since no one knows the builder, it truly is a crapshoot.

I'd add that with the exception of money-being-no-object, to lay out that much cash on a first instrument of any kind is probably not a wise move unless you're just looking for wall art. I mean, it IS pretty.

Besides, it's a tenor, anything larger than concert ain't a yewk. It's probably set up with low G too...
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:09 PM
KFP55 KFP55 is offline
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Thanks everyone!

I ended up passing based on the thoughtful responses above. Used the "savings" to order my dream dread (extreme ends of the spectrum, I know...) - when my senses caught up to me I realized I don't know enough about Ukes to make even a reasonable decision or have the time to learn a new instrument as a relative guitar beginner.

Thanks for talking sense into me!
Collings: OM1-TA (18)
Froggy Bottom: H-12 German/Koa (08)
Martin: OM-21 (13)
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:48 AM
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Kupuna50 Kupuna50 is offline
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Default uke

I live in Hawai'i and play ukulele semi-professionally.
$1800 is way too much for the uke. Yes, the Koa is beautiful, but the making of a uke takes MORE than beautiful wood.
As an example, several years ago I purchased a gorgeous Koa uke from an unknown builder. Sounded OK, not great. Ii thought it might be the strings or it needed a set up. Took it to an extremely qualified builder/luthier. One strum and he knew (one) of the problems: The top was too thick. It hindered the tone tremendously. No fix.
If you want a Hawaiian uke, get one of the "K's" - Kamaka, Koaloha or Kanilea.
Others are Moobetah by Chuck Moore (Big Island); G-String (Big Island); Island Uke (Kauai) and many others.
If you need assistance, reach out to me. Love to help!
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