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Oc's are hard to buy
Topic Started: 10 Apr 2017, 11:24 PM (516 Views)
Bobbie
ocarinas & etc
Well, here's my report after playing oc's for two months.

As a longtime woodwind player (saxes, flutes, recorders, etc), I've found taking up the ocarina a very rewarding experience. The transition in fingering, technique, and the like has been both easy and fun. I love unique the oc sound. I'm so glad I stumbled upon the ocarina.

But buying them... Oh, man. What an effort.

You've got those American companies that import oc's and don't disclose who the manufacturer is. Sometimes they have even rebranded or no-branded the instruments. As if who makes the instrument doesn't matter! So you have to figure out the true identity of some products yourself.

Then you've got the websites that only operate in foreign languages. And those you may not even trust to buy from, given their countries lack of support for IP rights or reputations as hacker-havens.

And yes, there some sellers that don't offer sound samples, and those that only sell on a restricted basis through a single medium like FB or Etsy.

It's been an adventure! This forum has been my life raft. Between the product reviews and reading old threads, I've learned most of what I've needed to know. A big thank-you to everyone here!





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Kitten Forest
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Double Ocarinist
It can be challenging to navigate finding good makers and where they sell. I have difficulty with some makers because the websites they use are not in English. I think once you find out who makes quality instruments (usually from people here) it doesn't seem bad as long as you know where to look. I've found that, generally, the more information a person posts (pictures, sound, video, etc) the better the quality. Things like ebay listings can be misleading, but the whole online market can be difficult to navigate especially to the less common things. I do miss going into music stores and finding an instrument that I want such as with recorder, but as you say, it is very rewarding.
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kissing
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tyrannical dictator

That's the fun :)
Some ocarinas in my collection, and others, are so rare and obscure you couldnt even find it for sale!
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Ocypode
Transverse Ocarinist x 4
Ocarina, difficult to buy?
Yes and no.
You can't try them at store, true, but you can equally chose between the numerous makers out there the one that produce the one you like the most...
You can even ask for a customized one (even the big markers Focalink and TNG do that). It is not that easy to ask for a customized laptop, phone, or microwave oven, is it?

Also, true, it is a bit of adventure, but if you choose to contact directly the maker, you'll be able to discuss exactly what you are buying. To me, it is more satisfactory than buying some mass produced item, and so far, it has helped me stick with the ocarina, even when my schedule is tight.
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Vendace
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Double Ocarinist
Ocypode
11 Apr 2017, 09:32 AM
Ocarina, difficult to buy?
Yes and no.
You can't try them at store, true, but you can equally chose between the numerous makers out there the one that produce the one you like the most...
You can even ask for a customized one (even the big markers Focalink and TNG do that). It is not that easy to ask for a customized laptop, phone, or microwave oven, is it?

Also, true, it is a bit of adventure, but if you choose to contact directly the maker, you'll be able to discuss exactly what you are buying. To me, it is more satisfactory than buying some mass produced item, and so far, it has helped me stick with the ocarina, even when my schedule is tight.
I completely agree about the customisation part. My Takashi from Mr. Pan has an abnormal firing design, due to my asking about it. It makes it feel very special to me, so it's something I like playing more as a one of a kind piece, as opposed to mass production.

I think overall we are all spoiled by the wealth of knowledge on the forums here :) before coming to the forums I had absolutely no idea where to look for Ocarinas, and there were few other places to look.
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Bobbie
ocarinas & etc
>>>>> That's the fun

Absolutely! Being new to oc's, I've probably been overwhelming myself by trying to learn too much too quickly. Better to let go of the pressure of buying the "right" Oc right off the bat, and instead, enjoy the journey!

>>>>> It can be challenging to navigate finding good makers and where they sell.

I have to say... I'm really surprised that importers disguise their products so. Especially given the high quality of some of the name brands they bring in! In contrast, with recorders, almost all are made outside the country, but importers take great pride in showing you their Moeck or Yamaha or Mollenhauer or whatever. No vendor would survive a day if they rebranded or de-branded their imports.

>>>>>> customization

There's an idea I hadn't thought of. I'm too inexperienced for that now but it's an interesting twist to keep in mind.

>>>>> I think overall we are all spoiled by the wealth of knowledge on the forums here :) before coming to the forums I had absolutely no idea where to look for Ocarinas, and there were few other places to look.

So true. I'm really grateful for this forum. Reading old threads has been a great education (and I'm not done yet).

I can't imagine buying Oc's prior to the internet! It must have been so hit and miss.
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cuallito
Beginner
Yeah, and what's up with sellers on eBay never responding to your messages?
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Kitten Forest
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Double Ocarinist
cuallito
25 Apr 2017, 03:56 PM
Yeah, and what's up with sellers on eBay never responding to your messages?
It's better not to order instruments from ebay if the seller doesn't answer any questions about the instrument. It's also really hit or miss unless the seller specifies it as a good brand. I got my bass on ebay, but I talked to the seller on this forum first so I knew what the quality was like, and he said who made it. It's so much easier to order from websites specifically for selling ocarinas. My personal favourite is Songbird as they sell their own instruments as well as some from Focalink, and they have really good customer service.
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kissing
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tyrannical dictator

Because sellers on eBay are generally not the best ones to buy proper ocarinas from.. nor the ones with any ocarina knowledge.
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Amerred
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Can't play pendants
Hey, it's a couple months old but there's nothing else going on here and I want to be a bit more active now that my schedule has cleared up, so...

First, not sure about American companies importing foreign ocarinas without saying the brand? STL is a foreign retailer but it is common knowledge that the majority of its ocarinas are from TNG, with the other makers (Chen Ching and Thousand Leaves) being labeled on their site. Sixth Street makes their own, Songbird makes most if not all of their own... Not sure to whom you're referring, exactly. A lot of makers in the US are small, one-person operations who make their own stuff.

I actually bought almost all of my ocarinas off of eBay. They don't generally know anything about ocarinas, and this can be good and bad. They don't know if they're broken or not working, and they can't answer any questions about them, which is why they may not respond. On the other hand, they also don't really know enough to properly price them. What's most important when buying off of eBay is knowing what to look for. You really have to use the pictures to figure out if the maker is good, if the ocarina is in tune, if there are any cracks, so on. If you want a new ocarina and you want to be sure of the quality, though, you should order from the maker. Anyway... some tips would include, for instance, to avoid ocarinas made in/sold from Bulgaria, and also the cheap, generic ones from China that use stock photos. It's hard to find legit sales, but you can get some good antiques on there, and some really great deals even. Look really carefully for cracks or repairs. Also, eBay requires a seller to return your money, even if they don't offer a return policy, if the item is not as described. Many of the sellers will list ocarinas as "Used" (eBay has you pick new, basically new/returned/whatever, used, or something like that, off of a set list). This entails the item being in working order. If you get it and it doesn't work, then you should be covered. Also look at the tone holes to make sure they have the proper ratios in size. If you don't know what those are... basically the holes shouldn't be uniform sizes, or anywhere close. L5 (left pinky finger) is usually large... I think right-hand middle finger is generally very small? Or maybe RH ring finger. You get the idea, though. That's how you know it's in tune.

Anyway, back to branding for a second, I think part of the fun is that, unlike saxophones and other mainstream instruments, there isn't really any objectively superior brand. Clarinets have Buffet, Saxophones of Selmer, flutes have Gemeinhardt, and even if that's changing more nowadays, there are these giants in the industry. The ocarina market is much easier to enter, and the instruments themselves (largely due to a lack of standard repertoire or a universal style) vary a great deal in tone and other features. What makes it fun, as said before, is that there are so many options. Unlike other instruments, there are so many makers to explore; an ocarina player has a much greater opportunity to develop his own preferences, style, and so on.
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acox
Andy Cox
Bobbie
10 Apr 2017, 11:24 PM


You've got those American companies that import oc's and don't disclose who the manufacturer is. Sometimes they have even rebranded or no-branded the instruments. As if who makes the instrument doesn't matter! So you have to figure out the true identity of some products yourself.

I have just found that I have two plastic soprano recorders sold under two different names and they appear and measure exactly the same---Harmony and Woodnote. The retail prices were certainly different to!

This is all very interesting.

Andy

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