Saturday, November 10, 2007

UAS and me

'Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome, or UAS for short, is something that seem to affect quite a few 'ukulele players. As you can see from the picture to the left of this blog, I am a major sufferer of UAS. While you "only" see 10 ukes in that picture, I have actually purchased 15 ukes total since this past January when I picked up my first 'ukulele during a trip to Hawaii. I have set a limit of 10 ukes in my possession for myself in an effort to keep UAS under control (one might reasonably say that having 10 ukes constitutes "out of control", but whatever). In order to do this, I had to sell or give away some ukes. Here's a run down of the ukes that are no longer in my possession:
  • Leolani super-soprano: I kind of gave this to a guy who's more or less a friend of a friend. I'm not sure if he's actually interested in it but I was just glad to get rid of it somehow.
  • Tiki Flea soprano: Good little uke. I stopped playing it after getting the so I decided I might as well sell it. I actually made money selling this, which is a testament to the popularity of Fleas.
  • Harmony soprano: I got it for like $30 shipped out of curiosity. It had some super high action but sounded decent. I was trying to gather some funds to go toward a Martin so I sold it. I also got more money than I paid for it. I guess ebay has been good to me.
  • K-Wave Les Paul: When I decided to go for the Honu concert, this became expendable. I also wasn't playing it much at all. At the time it was my only acoustic/electric uke, so I got a Dean Markley under saddle pickup and installed it onto my Pono Cedar top tenor. I didn't get more money than I bought it for, but it sold for about $210 and was a little better than I expected.
  • Applause soprano: I just sold this one because I never played it and I really did not like the feel of the neck. This one also sold for more than I bought it for.

I have 2 more ukes slated for sale, a KoAlana concert and a Risa uke solid. The replacement for the uke solid has already arrived today, which is a BugsGear concert. I'll post my impressions on it soon.

I think 'ukuleles lend themselves to something such as UAS because they are relatively inexpensive (compared with other instrument such as guitars & violins), they are small and portable, and also because there are 4 general sizes. Having 10 ukes really doesn't take up all that much room, and if you want them out of sight (so your spouse doesn't get pissed), just put them in a closet. Try doing that with 10 guitars. Given that there are 4 sizes of ukes, just having one of each size and you end up with 4 ukes. Add different types of woods, pickup options, and different sounds, and you easily end up with 2-3 of each and your uke count shoots right past double digits! As for the cost, while a $500 Hawaiian made soprano seem like a lot, you couldn't even get a good starter guitar for that money, and some violin players pay 5 figures for their violin! Heck, I know a phD violin player who bought a violin for well over $50,000. While she is on an entirely different level musically from me, I couldn't find a $50,000 uke if I tried.

So, what are some reasons for getting so many ukes? Let me run down all the ukes I have bought as a case study:

  1. Leolani super-soprano: 1st uke.
  2. Tiki Flea soprano: Everyone says they're great.
  3. Pono Cedar top tenor: Needed a tenor.
  4. Harmony soprano: Interested in checking out a vintage instrument.
  5. K-Wave Les Paul: Love the Les Paul shape. Needed a uke with pickup.
  6. G-String soprano: Don't have a koa or Hawaiian made uke yet.
  7. Risa uke solid: Needed a night time practice uke.
  8. Martin style 1: Needed a Martin to experience "Martin sound".
  9. KoAloha Pineapple Sunday: REALLY loved the shape. It gets glowing reviews.
  10. Maccaferri Islander: Curious about all plastic ukes.
  11. Honu super deluxe concert: Always loved the honu motif.
  12. KoAlana concert: Wanted to check out a Chinese made uke.
  13. Applause soprano: Needed a travel uke. (never mind that I got rid of a Flea and has a Risa)
  14. Kanile'a super-soprano: Needed a uke with curly koa. Needed a super-soprano.
  15. BugsGear concert eleuke: Risa uke solid doesn't have enough frets. Needed uke with active pickup.

As you can see, all of these are legit reasons for buying ukes. Or not. I guess the point is, when you have UAS, you come up with all kinds of reasons to acquire new ukes. An overriding "reason" for me is that I live in MN and doesn't have access to any ukes other than Flukes & Fleas and some crappy Lanikai stuff. So I must buy them in order to try them. As mentioned before, I do try to sell off ukes before getting new ones, so I guess I'm doing good in that regard.

My UAS has so far taken me from medium priced ukes to some high end production ukes. The next logical step would be getting some custom made ukes. As mentioned in a previous blog entry, I have 2 such ukes on order. Since then, I have added a William King tenor to the list. I really think those customs will stop my UAS as they should be good enough to squash my desire to acquire more ukes. I guess only time will tell.

1 comment:

ukulele for beginners said...

That's quite a collection. I think that is one of the great things about ukuleles though, they are cheap comparatively to guitars which makes them easier to purchase.

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: