Morelli, Santini, Expensive Tiples

Some dizzyingly expensive instruments from MGM this week: a pair of Lyon and Healy 5k ukuleles $22,000 the pair, and a John D’Angelico Tiple at $30,000.

On the subject of tiples, there’s a Kamaka Tiple up for sale.

The cavalcade of oddly shaped Lyon and Healy ukuleles continues this week with a Lyon and Healy bell shaped uke. As I write, bidding is lower than the price of one of Oscar Schmidt‘s bell ukulele modern copies.

Six Reasons I Wouldn’t Buy a Santini/Morelli Ukulele

1) “Hand Built by a Master Luthier” – really?
3) What the hell happened at the bottom of the fretboard? That’s the picture they use to advertise it? This is the work of a ‘Master Luthier’?
3) I could only find them for sale via one distributor.
4) This looks very photoshopped to me.
5) ‘Teacher Approved’ Thank God for that.
6) They don’t seem to have any ideas of their own.

View Comments


  1. Nelson July 11th, 2008 7:50 pm

    Sketch to the max, hombre.
    I’m with you one that.

  2. Nelson July 11th, 2008 7:50 pm


  3. Rick December 2nd, 2008 2:35 pm

    Have you ever played any of the Santini’s. I just bought a tenor Santini and, yes, the stock strings are sub-standard, at least to my standards. But after replacing the strings with Aquila low-G, this Ukulele performs. And it was very affordable. Great sound and easy to play, and with the discount coupon I had, all for under $50.

  4. Dewain Belgard December 6th, 2008 12:25 am

    I recently puchased one of the Santini baritone ukuleles sold on eBay. The scale is a standard 19 inch baritone scale, but the physical size of the instrument is smaller than you would expect. It’s only 2 inches deep and is a inch or two shorter than you would expect in a baritone. The inlaid ivoroid purfling is all for real (not painted on) and is very well done. The finish is beautiful though it could have been better on the edges of the f-cutouts, and a litle varish was smeared up on the purfling here and there (which I removed easily). The frets were accurately placed, leveled, and dressed, and well-embedded. The saddle is compensated for standard baritone strings. but it came with soprano (or tenor) strings for reentrant tuning. I replaced them with baritone Aquila nylgut and tuned it to DGBD (open G). The low D was not very resonant – I’m no expert, but my guess was that the wave was longer than the sound box. So I raised it to open A tuning (EAC#E), very carefully, since I wasn’t sure how well the bridge was glued on. But as it turns out, the instrument easily tolerated the increased tension. In fact it seems made for open A tuning. The improvement was dramatic. I fell in love with the sound quality and the volume is quite adequate. The action could be lowerd a tad , but I found it easy to play just as it is, so I decided not to mess with it. For the first day or two, it had to be retuned every few minutes as the strings stretched, but after that I had no problem. I found the geared tuners hold quite well–they’re not the best but they’re adequate and look good. I had bought it thinking it was likely not of much use except as a nice wall hanger. But as it turns out, I can’t put it down. I became so attached to it, I bought a padded bag for it (the one that comes with it doesn’t provide much protection.) My total investment (instrument, strings, and bag) is less than $85. I don’t think this can be beat for value. The quality control isn’t often very good in very cheap instruments, so it may be I lucked out and got one of atypical quality. No way to know about that unless others who have purchased it share their experience.

  5. Woodshed December 7th, 2008 10:45 am

    Dewain: Thanks for the info.

  6. Ukelele_Acolyte March 7th, 2009 7:07 am

    I can’t speak to the quality of their instruments. Looking at that image though, you’re right, definitely looks shopped. Looking more closely the shadows don’t seem to track together. According to the signs shadow the light source is up and to the left. According to the people’s shadows the sun is up and to the right. I can understand why they would want to seem hometown, local, and just like us. But this is pretty cheesy of a gimmick.

  7. Woodshed March 7th, 2009 11:03 am

    Ukelele Acolyte: Yeah, it’s an even more obvious fake than the moon landings.

  8. Stephen October 31st, 2010 3:28 pm

    I bought a baritone (i think?) Santini Eukulele from Ebay because I thought I could learn it. I bought an battery powered tuner and tried tuning it from a book I bought. First thing I did was break a string because I started with the wrong string. I replaced the strings (figured if I was replacing one, might as well replace them all) with Nygut strings. I don’t have time or patience enough to learn this instrument. It’s very very beautiful. Super nice finish!! I have it stored in a bag and now want to sell it. I have over $100 in the instrument. It is shaped like a pineapple or a bell… which ever you knowledgable people would call it. If you are interested, please contact me at I will ship for free. Price $75 and I’ll include the tuner.

  9. Woodshed November 2nd, 2010 4:29 pm

    Stephen: Thanks very much for the info.

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