Mainland Ukuleles – A New Shop in Nashville, Indiana

mainland-1

I don’t live in a big city and it’s rare to find a ukulele store within 100 miles radius of my town. For that reason, I was super excited when I learned about a new ukulele store opening up only 8 miles from my house! Mainland Ukes in Nashville, Indiana is run by Mike Hater and his wife Tookta. Mike was the instrument setup person for another well known uke company and recently had the opportunity to strike out on his own.

mainland-2

The store itself is in an easy to find location, so if you ever find yourself in Nashville, Indiana, you can find it at 90 Washington Street.

mainland-3

Tookta and Mike in their workshop.

mainland-4

They already have a selection accessories, such as replacement tuning keys…

mainland-5

Chromatic tuners, gig bags, wall hangers, etc.

mainland-6

As far as instruments, they have a few Fluke and Flea ukuleles for sale.

mainland-7

But of course, the instruments that you would primarily be interested in if you visited the shop or the online store are their own Mainland Ukes.

mainland-8

They have a gorgeous matte or gloss finished solid Mahogany model that comes in soprano, concert and tenor. The matte finish looks really nice in my opinion.

mainland-12

They also carry a gloss finished solid Cedar topped / Rosewood back and sides model that looks equally nice. It’s also available in all three main sizes.

If you order online, you can specify different types of tuners, friction, sealed, button type, etc.

mainland-9

Check out that cool rope binding.

mainland-13

Even their logo is the rope binding. :)

I didn’t get a chance to sit down and play any of the ukes, but Mike might let me review one at some point.

mainland-10

Before I left the store, Mike took me to the ‘nursery’ where almost 200 babies were sleeping. To be in a room with that many ukes… ahhhh :)

mainland-11

The affordable ukes look really nice and from what little I played with them, they sound equally nice.

Mike also mentioned that he’s hoping to make a banjo ukulele available soon. I was really interested in hearing that bit of info as I’d like to try one.

Mainland Ukes motto is that “not all great ukuleles are made in Hawaii”. I wish them luck in their new venture. :)

36 Responses to “Mainland Ukuleles – A New Shop in Nashville, Indiana”

  1. i’m glad you got a uke store close to you.

  2. so does mike make the ukuleles or do they come from somewhere else?

  3. They are imports. Solid wood. Surprisingly nice. I have the soprano that I will review at some point.

  4. I was wondering how they compare to the bushman imported ukuleles that John Hall was selling just down the street in Nashville IN.

  5. As far as I understand, they are made in the same factory.

  6. I dropped in with some friends to attend the free beginners workshop last Saturday – Mike and Tootka (sp?) were great, and we all had a great time.

  7. Julie, I was just there too! Only 2.5 hrs drive, I will definitely be back. Also, John Hall has a restaurant with a great burger, out there on Country Club Road, and will be hosting his 2nd annual Ukulele Luau on May 8th and 9th. Aloha!

  8. [...] were downsized last summer. Mike was the luthier who finished all the Bushman ukes. He and Tookta opened shop in Nashville recently to much acclaim. His ukes are produced in the same factory in China as the Bushmans to [...]

  9. Dan&Deb Butterfield on May 28th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    My wife and I were in Nashville and stoped in to see Mike and his wife and his ukes. They are very good people and we would recommend to all uke lovers to do the same. We picked up a new one,now we have six and one Mexican four string.We hope to get back down to see them (Mike,his wife,& Ukes) soon. The Bluegills Band

  10. [...] to let the cosmos manifest it into existence. Back in January Mike, owner of the recently-opened Mainland Ukes in Nashville,  posted on UU that he had a great site for a ukulele campout. There was no planning [...]

  11. why should i buy a mainland instead of a bushman?? any takers??

  12. Chad,

    As they’re both made in the same factory from the same design, the only difference in the two would be setup, customer service and speed in getting your order.

  13. Question:
    I played a Mainland concert with red cedar and rosewood and it looked and sounded very much like the Ohana 50G Concert. Are they related?
    Alan Maeda

  14. Hi you guy’s,pleased to meet you.I’m trying to find a ukulele neck to buy.Can you steer me in the right direction,anyone?Thanks for your time…Patrick

  15. well l should receive my new tenor cedar Uku in the morning l will post a message on here when it arrives

  16. If the Mainland Uke Co. motto is: “Not all great ukuleles are made in Hawaii”, yet Mainlands are made in China, I don’t get it. I would prefer a lower priced made in USA uke, (the ones made in Hawaii, USA, are pretty expensive), but apparently “Mainland Ukes” are not made on the mainland?! Someone please explain.

  17. ““Not all great ukuleles are made in Hawaii”, yet Mainlands are made in China”
    Last time I checked, china was not part of Hawaii.

    “Mainland Ukes” are not made on the mainland?
    Maybe mainland China?

    The fact is, many uke manufacturers, even some with hawaiian sounding names, have their ukes manufactured in asia then sent back to the USA for final assembly and setup. Mainland does this. So does Kala, Lanakai, Oscar Schmidt, Ohana, Pono, Bushman, etc,etc,etc….

    Mainlands are great sounding all solid wood ukes for a great price. If you want something that is totallt made in the USA that’s great! Just be prepared to open your wallet a little wider.

  18. Without wanting to “flog a dead horse”; if a product like this is called a “Mainland” and the Company motto is “Not all great ukes are made in Hawaii”, the clear assumption is that the ukes from this company are made on the US mainland.

    Yes, the joke is, they are made on the “mainland” all right, but apparently it’s–as cb on 2/26 writes–mainland China! This is pretty funny.

    But I only brought up the whole matter because it’s–shall we say–”somewhat misleading”. I was going to say “duplicitous” but that may be too strong a word. It sure had me fooled though.

    All this aside, I guess the bottom line is, are they any good? From what I have read, heard, and seen so far, the answer is yes.

    In fact the new concert pineapple with tenor neck–picture of which is inexplicably missing on the Mainland web site–is a beaut. (You can see it on Ukerepublic.com.)

    Hoping my wife doesn’t read this, I think she will be getting one for her birthday, and I’ll probably follow soon thereafter. It’s a stunning looking instrument and a great idea combining the concert and tenor features. Aloha.

  19. Further to place of manufacture discussion: why don’t the uke businesses just tell us where their instruments are made? Ashamed to say “China” or “Asia”? And why not some photos of the “factory” and craftsmen who make them? Make it a human interest thing. Perhaps they are ashamed of that too, like made in Chinese sweatshops by prison labor or something?

    A well informed customer is a good customer in my opinion, unless the company has something to hide (and it would be unethical to do that, now wouldn’t it?). Heck, Pono, Kala, and I’m sure others, won’t even call their “mahogany” ukes laminate mahogany–which they are. They have to say “solid” mahogany when they mean that. Some deception here. Mainland Ukes doesn’t seem to do that–to their credit.

    A BIG, FAT SUGGESTION to all the uke companies: less deception about where and by whom made, and of what made. Let us have FULL DISCLOSURE PLEASE. You should be proud of who makes your stuff, not secretive about it. Aloha.

  20. Mainland name? No big thing. Still remember Martins and they rode on the reputation of their fine guitars. Many Hawaiians grew up playing them and they were affordable. You either played a Kamaka or Martin with old brands like Kumalae hard to find. As a retired machinist, I hated to see my jobs going to asia, mainly China. Remember when made in Japan was cause for sour face? Lol. Quality control is key. The Japanese learned quickly. The Chinese will too. Some real fine musical instruments of all stripes are starting to come out of asia. IF they adhere to the standards of successful makers like Kanile’a, Koaloha, Kamaka, Collings, etc. then everybody wins. No matter what Mainland calls their instruments, if they’re quality at a fair price, then good for them.

  21. Please see my previous comments above.

    Well, I took the plunge and ordered for my wife’s birthday a Mainland mahogany (not laminated mind you) gloss concert uke with gold geared tuners, Aquila strings, “ebony” (black plastic) tuner knobs, and the result is fantastic. What a nice piece of work and look forward to playing it. Excelling pricing too.

    Got a nice light “hard” (it’s really rigid foam in there) case with it.

    Special praise too for proprietor Mike Hater who took care of all my special needs. What a pleasure to do business with him!

    If you like the Mainland tone–and I think I will from those I have heard–this instrument will not disappoint because it’s really beautiful and well made. I highly recommend it.

    Aloha.

  22. I live in the UK where there is only one Mainland stockist ( the importers), which is 90 miles North of me.

    I recently bought a Mainland baritone , mahogany with matte finish.
    There is no doubt that the finish and sound is of a high quality.
    The tuning is pretty stable. I will probably buy a concert or tenor from the same company.

    The discussion regarding where they are made is pretty pointless -isn’t just about everything made in China these days – think Apple !
    This is likely to continue for a considerable time because the Chinese currency is locked – artificially low- to the US dollar.
    Good luck to the Nashville ukulele store.

  23. Just ran across this discussion and got a good laugh. Nothing is implied as to the origin of the instruments other than that they are NOT made in Hawaii (and that these are good instruments).

    I, too, would like to see pictures of the workers and learn about them and their skills. I’d also like to see more detail about these ‘ukes. For example: Is the binding a decal, painted on or an inlay?

  24. Mike in Portland on December 31st, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Everyone dreams of a handmade in America Ukulele for under $500, or at least under $1000. The tag Line, “Not all great ukuleles….. etc.” combined with the name of the uke “Mainland”, immediately spoke to this widespread desire.
    It was enough of a hook to pull me into researching the purchase of a Mainland ukulele. Maybe nothing is implied, yet I did “feel” mislead and disappointed EVEN WHILE I APPRECIATED THAT THESE ARE PROBABLY VERY NICE UKES.

    Other name brands and tag lines I’m jadedly/ jokingly thinking about to help me cope with the global economic/ labor situation, at least they aren’t misleading!

    Home Grown ukuleles “Some Chinese ukuleles are darn good!”
    Beijing ukues “Not all Hawaiian Ukuleles are made in Hawaii”

  25. I got a Mainland mahogany (matte) tenor uke from my kids (adult guitar players) for Xmas and am very pleased with the mellow and for uke, rich tone. It’s a beautiful uke and my audio engineer son chose it having compared it to many (I live in uke country, in our little county we have 5 stores that carry ukes and the biggest uke club in the US -2,000 members) other ukes. He tuned (the music stores love him) each uke and would play and compare, even compared with some very expensive ukes. He settled on the Mainland. He just got my granddaughter, a cellist and guitar player as well as uke, a Mainland soprano — beautiful tone. Living on the coast in California, Hawaiian koa, etc. are very popular, but frankly my uke has a wonderful tone compared to these.

  26. Great photos of the shop. I’m glad for business partnerships that keep skilled luthiers like Mike and Tookta hard at work in Indiana. Those of you who live near the shop are lucky: this is much better than dealing with Guitar Center, where many of the ukes are flat-sounding and often not well set up.

  27. I made the mistake of sending my email to Julie that was intended for Mike. Thanks Julie for forwarding it to Mike. No reply so far.

    What string would you recommend for the Classic Solid Mahogany Tenor. Matte or Glossy, Silver/Ebony or Gold/Ebony tuner? If and when I receive a reply, I’ll order. This will be my first and hopefully my last. My daughter is just dying to lay her hands on it!

  28. Well, looks like this is a “Dead” site. No takers, no reply, no nothing. Too bad!

  29. @Mike The site isn’t dead :) Your question about which strings to pick based on the finish of the ukulele threw me off. Strings are like blue jeans, everyone has their favorites. A lot of people swear by Aquila strings, but I don’t like them. I like Fremont strings.

  30. Sorry about the “dead” comment. It is alive and well. Reason I asked about strings is because I read in many post changing their strings after buying or requesting for a different one.I do not know anything about the nuances of a Uke. This is my first time, and so I want to get it right from the experts. Likewise is true about Glossy and Matte. Thanks Julie. Again I am sorry. mike

  31. No offense taken. My suggestion is google ukulele strings and find the best price on Aquila and a couple other brands and buy a few sets. Then you can try a few to see which ones feel the best to your fingers.

    For glossy and matte, that’s another feature that is personal. You either like shiny things or matte things. Or both… Go to a music store and check out their ukes and guitars and see if you prefer the look of the ones with gloss or matte finishes best. There’s nothing “wrong” with either one. It’s just want looks best to you.

  32. I am eagerly waiting for the arrival of my Classic Mahogany Tenor.
    I opted for a UPS three day delivery, but the tracking record reads it will take more than two weeks. Bummer!!!

    Julie, I know this is an Import, but where is it made? Thailand, China or Philippines?

    Looking forward to see if what I heard on the Internet about this Uke is true. I have my uke lessons lined up for me.

  33. @mike Congrats on your purchase! Are you already a guitar player? Or is this your first instrument? Either way, you’ll love it.
    I can’t recall now where the Mainland Ukes are actually made. I used to have one, but I gave it to my Dad. I’ll email Mike at Mainland and find out.

  34. I was into guitar in the early eighties, but after many years, my interest slowly died down. Now, occassionally I pick up my Takamine C132s guitar and played a few chords. Hopefully, this uke will revive my interest and together with my daughter, we can jam.

  35. The ukes are made in China, but they do the final setup there in Nashville, Indiana.

  36. Thanks Julie. It is nice to know where the instrument you will keep came from. My violins are from Germany and Italy. My cars are from Japan, some of my clothes are from Mexico, Peru, India, etc. and my flat T.V. was assembled in Mexico. It is a United Nation kind of things nowadays. LOL. Whatever happen to the made in the good old U.S.A.? Don’t tell me it is the salary thingie.

Leave a Reply