NAMM 2013 Guide to Selling Ukuleles

It’s tough trying to sell ukuleles in 2013. The selection of ukuleles gets more bloated every year. Recent new entrants include Eastman, Godin and Lâg Guitars, Moku and AmiAmi.

Looking at Ukeeku and Ukulele Underground‘s coverage of the music trade show NAMM it’s clear it’s too late to put out a well-made, sweet-sounding ukulele and expect anyone to give a shit.

Here’s your complete guide to ukulele selling tactics of 2013:

Get them endorsed by a dead guy:
Bill Tapia ukuleles (Ukeeku was particularly scathing about these in his NAMM roundup).
Martin’s IZ tribute ukulele.
Peavey’s Jack Daniel’s ukulele.

Hire musicians that can make any uke sound great:
Benny Chong and Byron Yasui for Kamaka
James Hill and Bakithi Kumalo for Kala
Yuna playing for Taylor
Sarah Maisel for DaSilva.
Gerald Ross and Ken Middleton for Ohana.

Make it gaudy:
– The route one of making your ukulele stand out. This has been a successful tactic for Luna so they’re stepping up their game with mermaids, fairies and dragons.
– The Mahalo “art series” goes with skulls, hearts, spiders and signs of the zodiac.
– Collings go with flowers, spaceships and snakes.
– Even the tuners are getting in on the act with Swiff’s cartoon tuners featuring aliens, batman and a reindeers.

Banjoleles and Resonators:
Magic Fluke’s new banjoleles (one designed by Janet Klein)
Kala’s banjolele and resonator ukuleles.
– Guitar resonator specialists Beard has introduced Beard ukuleles (no match for the moustache ukulele of course)

Outdated selling techniques:
– Mahalo go with cultural appropriation, sex and dancing Gangnam style. Knock it off, Mahalo.

Shapes and sizes
Eleuke’s peanut shape
– Kala have made their pocket uke even tinier. One day it really will fit in your pocket just like a pocket chord dictionary.

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