Lots of research. (No, I didn’t go music shop crawling all in one day).
The Rock Shop
The Fiddle Shop
We live in South Auckland, so here’s where I went first:
Music Mania, Cavendish Dr.
Dark shop. Hard to get a good look at the instruments, they are covered with “don’t touch” signs, and the better instruments are locked up in a cabinet. Sad but true. This is Deep South Auckland.
No one in the shop plays the uke. One or two of the 6 or 8 string ukes had strings which were looking a bit tired. We bought a music stand, and 2 picks. Staff tried to track down a “spider” capo for me, unsuccessfully. Next!
Rhythm Rendezvous, Papatoetoe.
Super friendly and helpful shop owner. A really feel good shop.
Owner can play the uke, and showed us some chords.
Lots of cheap ukes for sale, but nothing that really appealed. I bought some wee maracas / egg shakers for our 2 year old because I liked the owner so much. Also a Baritone Uke Method Book. I’ll tell you why later. Next!
The Rock Shop, Sylvia Park.
Good place. The salesman knows how to be helpful without being pushy. He also can play the uke. A bit. A better range of medium quality instruments, in various sizes.
I bought a uke method book, with CD which has a lot of songs I like.
They have some cheap ukes made from MDF. Yikes, run a mile.
I did also buy a capo for my accoustic/electric guitar at home. Soon to be dusted off and revived as a baritone uke.
Mainline Music, Greenlane.
Store Manager John gave me the best advice about lower priced ukes – the plastic ones are better in the long run because they last. Anything else won’t stand up to wear and tear from being played by chil.
They have a small range of medium priced instruments.
Lewis Eady, Gt South Rd, Remuera
The cheap ones are by the door, the nicer ones are around the corner, hiding among the guitars. I didn’t see any accoustic electric ukes. Maybe one, a bass uke, high up.
The salesman was very nice, but admitted he couldn’t play any chords on the uke. None at all. “I am a pianist”. I feel very good about being able to play a C chord :-)
I like Lewis Eady – they have very good prices for sheet music, but they don’t carry a big range – we usually have to order stuff in.
KBB, Manukau Rd, Epsom.
Another dark shop. Another Super helpful salesman. They have a good selection of medium range instruments, and some electric accoustic ukes. I think I’ll be back, mainly because they have a good range of sizes.
I like KBB because they sponsor the best secondary schools music festival in Auckland, and also the Double Reed Society.
Piano Traders, Mt Eden.
No uke players here either. I bought a really cool little book by a NZ author “Now I Love Music Practice” by Ron Ottley. This book does exactly what it promises, with a beautiful selection of stories and ideas. “This book will encourage, support and inspire all music pupils”.
A range of medium ukes here also, but I’m suffering from indecision now.
Piano Traders is great for sheet music, they usually have what you want, but you pay for the convenience.
Oh man, the coolest shop. No ukes that we wanted (2 second hand ones only). But the experience of going in there was amazing. Its beautiful. Full of amazing guitars and the most friendliest nice owner. Bad alliteration, I know.
We bought a leather neck strap for a child’s uke. $30 made in Nelson.
The Fiddle Shop, Dominion Rd.
Last, but not least. The shop with the most beautiful ukes in the world. And the only place where the uke is played how a uke should be played.
Have a look at the beautiful ukes made from Hawaiian hardwood, and inlaid with paua. They sell them on eBay in the USA.
Sadly, by this time I had decided that we wanted a tenor sized uke for our son, and all they had was a Soprano in our price range. They plugged one in for us to try and were very patient with our son, who was trying it out.
Besides, by now I am really unsure about what to get. Need time to think.
So we buy a 3/4 violin bow, a shoulder rest for a violin and an electric pick up for putting on a violin or viola at home. Our salesman was a Luthier, who kindly gave useful advice about rosin, bows and shoulder rests.
Next task: make a spreadsheet with all the information I have collected about instruments.
And make some decisions.