I have been saving my toonies for over a year now with the goal of buying a new uke.
They've really added up! Now I find myself shopping for a ukulele, which is a little overwhelming because of all the choice and options.
I got it in my head that I wanted a Koaloha, which is widely renowned to be a top-of-the-line uke. They're made in Hawaii, have a beautiful stylized sound hole, use beautiful wood (the traditional Koa), and have a reputation of sounding like butter.
The problem is, the standard soprano, which is the size I want, costs about twice as much as I have saved. Bah.
So, I'm faced with the quandary: do I get a darn good uke with the money I do have (probably a Kala or a Ohana), or wait for another year and buy the one I really want?
Well, my friends at my ukulele jam have come through again! One of them wrote to Koaloha about "factory seconds." They are perfectly fine instruments, but have some sort of superficial flaw, like a bubble in the finish, or a misaligned wood grain. I had heard about these creatures, but was timid about asking. I felt like I would be begging for a fine uke at a discount, as if I was pulling the wool over their eyes.
Of course, seconds are a totally symbiotic relationship. Koaloha gets some money for a complete instrument, and I get a slightly flawed instrument at a discount!
So, hopefully soon I'm going to get a call from Brian in Honolulu and we can talk about a new uke!
I should say: Duke is good. Well, not really. Duke was good enough. Duke (my present uke, a Hilo soprano), is actually kinda shitty. It was good enough to learn on, but now that I've improved and heard how good a quality uke can sound. Duke's sound is not good. It sounds like a shoebox with 4 rubber bands strung around it. The nut is too high, so the lower frets are out of tune. It's some sort of shitty plywood/glue amalgam, which resonates like a Birkenstock. I'm really ready to move on, and saving for over a year gives such a great feeling of delayed satisfaction.