I recently did an insurance review for my instruments and I was amazed at how many have greatly increased in value. There are various reasons including the decline in sterling value, new regulations on making some woods less obtainable and the fact that anything of quality usually increases in value over a period of time.

In the world of ukuleles my own experience is that there are a huge number of “ukulele shaped objects” some reasonable instruments and a few really exceptional instruments. I currently have 22 different ukuleles and have passed on 10. The core 22 are really exceptional and include 7 Shimos, 3 Collings concert ukuleles, a Pete Howlett, a James Triggs Gibson prototype, and a 100 year old Martin soprano. These are all terrific playing instruments, many of which have been used extensively in the studio. They are also hard to find, especially in the UK. I’ve not seen a Collings uke for years and I am delighted to have a pre production concert, a custom doghair finish concert and a concert signed personally by Bill Collings.

Shimo ukulele

In terms of guitars, I have a number of high end instruments that are great playing/recording guitars which have also become superb investments. The Collings I35 Deluxe with Tom Holmes pickups has increased in value by 160% and the Sobell acoustics are also great investments. When I interviewed Bill Collings I commented that I have never played any Collings instrument that was less than excellent. My last Collings purchase was a Waterloo guitar which is one of the best instruments I have ever played, truly superb and I’ll be recording with it later this year. I also have a Collings 4 string tenor guitar which is rare and fascinating to play. I also have a Stefan Sobell mandola which is in pristine condition and an old Gibson mandolin that was previously owned by Martin Carthy and sounds great.

Waterloo Guitar

There is an old saying “Buy cheap, buy twice” I fully appreciate that everyone has budgets to stick to, but I’ve never regretted buying any quality instrument, even if I’m financially stretched for a period. The two biggest impulse buys are from Gregor Nowak in Vienna, a Brazilian cavaquinho and a guitarelle, both of which are outstanding. All these instruments bring immense joy and are tools for playing live, recording or writing. I’ve reduced the collection to 35 instruments at this point in time and they all bring great joy and inspire all manner of creative thinking.

Collings I35 Deluxe work out
Instrument investments

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