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What to Look for When Buying a Ukulele on eBay

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What to Look for When Buying a Ukulele on eBay
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How to Buy a Ukelele on eBay

Buying a ukulele on eBay is a great idea for those who want to learn to play this great instrument.

Why Buy a Ukulele?

Ukuleles are significantly smaller than guitars and most other stringed instruments. The small size and better portability makes ukuleles great instruments for those who like to travel a lot or for those who simply don't have the living space to accommodate larger instruments. The small size also means that many mid-level models of ukuleles are more affordable than mid-level models of other instruments. The affordability of most ukuleles makes them a great instrument for children or anyone else who wants to dabble with an instrument without making a large financial commitment. Finally, since most ukuleles have only four strings, they are more straightforward to play than a six-string guitar or banjo. Those who want to slowly build up musical skills will find that the ukulele is a great instrument for building confidence and learning the basics.

Finding a Ukulele on eBay

To navigate to eBay's selection of ukuleles, start from the main page. Locate the list of categories on the left of the page, and hover the cursor over the tab for All Categories. A pop up menu will appear; from that, click on the link for Musical Instruments & Gear. Find the link for String instruments in the list of categories on the left. Then, click on the link for Ukulele in the category list.

Different Types of Ukuleles on eBay

While a standard ukulele is the type that most people are familiar with, that doesn't mean that it's the only choice. Different sizes and styles of ukuleles can affect the sound of the instrument as well as how difficult it is to play.

Ukulele Size

Ukuleles come in four different sizes. The soprano size is also called the standard size. This is the smallest and most popular ukulele size. For those who want a traditional sound and feel, the standard is the best option. The concert, tenor, and baritone ukuleles are each slightly larger than each other, and this gives them progressively deeper and richer tones. The baritone, the largest ukulele, has a total length of 30 inches. While some players may prefer the deeper tones and wider range of the larger models, the size also makes them harder to carry around. The different sounds may also cause confusion for those who want the traditional ukulele sound and range.

Ukulele String Number

Standard ukuleles have only four strings, which makes them easier to learn to play, but it also limits their range of notes and chords. However, some ukulele models have paired strings, called courses, in which the pair of strings are tuned to the same note or an octave apart. These models can have six or eight strings. While the strings in courses are generally played and strummed together, the extra strings can seem overwhelming to a beginner, and the sound of the ukulele will be somewhat different.

Ukulele Material

Ukuleles are primarily made of wood or some form of wood product. More affordable ukulele models are made from plywood or laminate, which are not actually solid wood. If this type of ukulele is the best price range for a musician, look for models that at least have a soundboard made from real wood, like spruce. This will make the ukulele sound better. Higher-quality ukuleles are made from real hardwoods, but this quality always comes with a higher price tag. Mahogany is a popular wood for quality ukuleles, but the best possible wood is koa, which is a tree that is native to Hawaii. Ukuleles are available in plastics and other materials, but the sound may not feel as rich and resonant with these models.

Ukulele Shape

The most common shape for a ukulele is the curvy figure eight shape that most guitars have. However, there are also some variations. A square ukulele is not uncommon; many times, this shape is because the instrument's body has been constructed from an old wooden cigar box. A pineapple ukulele has a rounded, oval shape, and other models can be found in a boat-paddle shape. The shape generally does not affect the overall sound too drastically. Musicians may notice a deeper or higher tone in some shapes, but casual players will not have trouble with these different shapes.

Buying a Ukulele on eBay

Once a person has decided on the size, shape, and string count of the ukulele that they want, it is time to find the best deal.

Auction or Buy It Now

There are many ukuleles for sale, both in the Auction and the Buy It Now sale formats. Generally, items up for auction are initially offered at a starting price that is a little lower than the actual value of the item. This means that searching for ukuleles that are up for auction means that one can find a great deal. The drawback is that other people are looking for similar deals. Affordable ukuleles can quickly have their prices bid up, and it is possible to lose a good deal because another person placed a bid at the last minute. Ukuleles offered with a Buy It Now option can be purchased immediately, like a traditional sale. This gives the buyer peace of mind and the convenience of a guaranteed purchase. However, the Buy It Now prices are often slightly higher than the auction price, and a person may feel that they'd rather take the chance and save some money.

New or Used Ukuleles

eBay lets shoppers sort through ukuleles by condition. Common ukulele conditions include new, refurbished, and used. New ukuleles will generally be the most expensive category, but a person buying a brand new ukulele can feel comfortable knowing that their purchase will be in a good condition and will last for a long time. Refurbished ukuleles mean that the ukulele was used or broken in some way but was repaired and restored. Often, refurbished ukuleles are guaranteed to be in like-new condition, so they are a great way to save money while getting a quality ukulele. When looking to purchase a used ukulele, remember that the low price may come with some problems. Often, sellers may simply be looking to get rid of an unused item, but sometimes, the ukulele may be broken or marred. Simply read the description carefully, and look at pictures to identify any scratches or cracks in the ukulele's body. It is always possible to contact the seller to obtain more pictures or to confirm any flaws.

Shipping Costs

Even though ukuleles are relatively small and lightweight instruments, shipping costs, especially across great distances, can drastically increase the cost of a ukulele. Use eBay's navigation menu on the left side of the page to choose to only see sellers offering free shipping. This ensures that there won't be any surprise costs after winning an auction or making a purchase. Alternatively, eBay allows buyers to find sellers located within a certain distance of any location. Buyers can use this tool to find ukuleles that are closer to their own location, which will generally cost less to ship.

Returns

If a ukulele purchase is intended as a gift, or if the buyer isn't sure that they will enjoy owning a ukulele, they should use eBay's filters to find sellers who accept returns. Many sellers accept returns after a specified number of days. Before making a purchase that is not certain, double check how many days can pass before a return is no longer accepted, and see who pays the shipping costs. Often, the buyer pays the shipping costs for each way, so a return may not be cost-effective. Many sellers will pay for return shipping in case of a defective item, so if there are any problems with a ukulele that requires a return, immediately contact the seller to find out about the return procedure. Since some sellers carry more than one type of musical instrument, it can also be a good idea to ask about exchanges.

Conclusion

Finding ukuleles on eBay is easy, but finding the perfect ukulele can take some time. Learn about the different types of ukuleles in order to make an informed decision on the best model for any situation.

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