It's something in the ukulele world, in fact actually something in the musical instrument world generally that has always made me think.Why don't ukuleles come with cases as a matter of course? Do we have a strong case for cases?
Whilst there are of course some exeptions to this rule, it's fair to say that the majority of new ukuleles won't come with a case unless one has been added by the dealer as part of a store package - in other words - they don't tend to come with cases from the factory. And I wonder whether they should.
The other observation I would make is that the vast majority of ukulele buyers getting hold of anything above the cheapest of the cheap instruments, tend to look to get a case. It's a given. On that basis, wouldn't it be helpful for the brands to include one? I mean, the players are going to get one anyway!
First of all, I am not naive to what is going on here - a lot of ukulele manufacturers would like you to pay more to get one of their cases - it's more business for them. And I suppose, yes, it's the same as all sorts of things. Apple want you to spend more on a case for your iPhone, camera manufacturers want you to spend more on a case for your new camera. But just because it's the norm... you know... meh. That annoys me too.
And I am not suggesting that they should be free at all, but it stands to reason that the stronger buying power of ukulele brands would surely enable them to include a case with their ukuleles for a lower total price than we customers could buy the two items separately, so why not? They still sell their ukulele, plus a bit extra for a case and everybody is happy?
To be clear, what am I talking about here? A hard case? No, not necessarily. I just think it would be great if the 'norm' when you bought a ukulele was that it came with a branded good quality gig bag. I actually dont think it should blow the budget either - I mean Mahalo include a really nice zippered bag with pockets and straps on a solid wood ukulele and still keep it under £80. And it's not only the cheapest brands - Godin include a really nice padded gig bag with their MultiUke, Martin do with their Koa series and Kala do with their travel series (but sadly not as a matter of course with their others unless you get an Elite.). Fleas used to come with their own bags, but to the best of my knowledge they then started making them an extra. I think that's a crying shame.
But, there is another angle to this. The constant drive from customers to get the absolute cheapest they can get - because after all, as the myth goes - 'The ukulele is cheap'.... A ukulele without a case even if it was only £1 less in price would sell more than one with the case because so many people shop around to get the absolute lowest price they can. It just seems to be the way it is, and it's the same mentality that sees people buying badly set up instruments from Amazon, because they are £1 cheaper than getting one from a bricks and mortar ukulele specialist...
But if you are going to end up buying one anyway, and you will then probably end up spending MORE anyway to get the two items separately - wouldnt you accept, say, a £10, £15 or £20 premium on an instrument if you knew they came with a decent branded gig bag? It wouldn't bother me.
You may say 'but I dont want a gig bag, I'd only get a hard case anyway' - but still, I am not talking a huge premium here and you'd still get a case that would come in handy I am sure. Heck - having them arrive in padded gig bags would probably make for safer postage and delivery too! Even better - offer them with an included gig bag, but offer an inflated price version and include a hard case!
So I say, lets make a case for cases - come on brands. Some of you are doing it, but don't you think it would make sense for all? Nothing hugely fancy, nothing hugely expensive, but something protective and something you can advertise your brand name on? Given the choice of two similar ukes, I'd almost certainly go for the one that comes with it's own case.
But maybe it's just me...
© Barry Maz