Friday, July 28, 2017

Our Search for the Perfect "Budget" Ukulele


I don't know when my 2-year old son, Gavin, started his interest in guitars; everytime we're in the mall and pass by a music store, he would like to stop and check out the different guitars on display. As much as I don't want to show him my guitar at home (my wife was afraid that he'll always bug her to get it), it came to a point that I had to. :P I allowed him to hold it and strum the strings just to satisfy his curiosity. But because my classic guitar is still too big for him, I just told him that I'll buy him a smaller one next time. Since a ukulele seems to be the perfect size for him and I also want to learn how to play it, I told him that I'll just buy a ukulele. :P

Premiere Ukulele for Kids

Just like what I mentioned in a previous post, whenever I buy a musical instrument for my son, as much as possible, I want it to be the real instrument instead of a toy equivalent. And so for this ukulele, the challenge was to find a decent unit at an affordable price.


[Related Story: How We Survived the No TV / No Tablet Rule for our Toddler]


I stumbled upon a ₱700 ukulele in RJ Music Store - SM Megamall but didn't really like the quality. Honestly, it looked cheap so I didn't consider it. I checked JB Music Store but the ones they have were out of my budget (over ₱2,500). I suddenly remembered the row of stores in Sta. Mesa, Manila (near SM Centerpoint) that sell different musical instruments.

Last July 9, we finally had the chance to check out the stores there and search for the perfect ukulele that would satisfy my requirements. My initial concern upon going there was the parking space since the stores are close to the main road; I already considered parking my car in the nearby Shakey's branch in case we encounter difficulty with parking. Good thing that when we arrived there, several vehicles were already parked (with hazard lights on), so I just followed. Anyway, I knew we wouldn't take that long. 

The first store we checked looked promising, the ukuleles on display looked good. Unfortunately, the cheapest they have costs ₱2,500. So we then checked out the next store. I immediately told the one assisting us that my budget for the ukulele was ₱1,000 only. Too bad, the cheapest they have was ₱2,500 also. But I'm thankful that he directed us to the next store, Benjie's Music Haus, he said they should be able to provide options for my set budget. And so we trooped there with high hopes of finally getting a ukulele for Gavin. I inquired for a ukulele design I liked but it cost ₱1,700. I then mentioned my budget and was told that they have ukuleles selling for ₱500, ₱700 and ₱1,000. I asked for the ₱700 ukulele and immediately felt the connection. The design, build quality, and sound were perfect (at least for my taste). Finally, I knew we won't go home empty-handed! Curious, I asked for the ₱500 option, but it looked cheap (though I think it's still better than the one in RJ). I also checked the ₱1,000 option but I prefer the look of the ₱700 one.

We decided to get the ₱700 ukulele and was surprised to get a free bag! Not bad for ₱700. :)

Premiere Ukelele for Kids

Lastly, as I was checking the other items on display, I noticed the digital guitar tuner. I knew it would come handy so I told myself that if it's priced ₱300 or lower, I'd get it. I guess we were destined to buy it since it's ₱300 only.

Premiere Ukelele for Kids

My first trip to Sta. Mesa's music store strip was a success! I'm satisfied with what we got for ₱1,000. But the best part of it was seeing the smile on my son's face after receiving the ukulele−priceless. He was really excited with his ukulele that he was already playing it while we're on our way to his grandma's place.

Like a kid who brought home a box of chocolate, I was also excited to study it when we got home. And since I have a background on guitar playing, I learned the ukulele chords quickly, enough to complete Coldplay's "The Scientist" after a few minutes! :P

Premiere Ukelele for Kids



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