Thursday, June 07, 2012

Schoenhut Flea Copies

Schoenhut, makers of toy pianos, is marketing knock-off copies of Dale Webb's wonderful Flea Ukulele. Made in China (real Fleas are made by the Magic Fluke Company in the USA), Schoenhut's copies sell for around $30 at various online retailers. Compare that to the starting price for real Fleas at $180 (and most are much more), and it begins to spell real trouble for Dale.

Ukisociety Jones has a comparison posted on Ukulele Underground, along with a sound comparison here. The sound of the real Flea is superior, but it'll be hard to convince the average consumer that it's worth an additional $140.

The availability of high quality Chinese-made ukes has undoubtedly fanned the flames of the ukulele's current popularity. But this move is pretty shameless, IMHO. Link

7 comments:

hoosierhiver said...

Wow, the irony of American business ripping off and original design from another American business and then having copies made in China with an American flag on them.

Gary said...

Good observation. I missed that. Here's something from the Schoenhut site that makes the irony even thicker: "For several years, a staff of craftsmen (numbering 20 to 36, depending on the season) hand-built all Schoenhut toy pianos and other musical products at our factory in Florida. As the business grew, so did our exposure. Competitors began manufacturing slightly altered copies of Schoenhut toy pianos in China. Unfortunately, the majority of retailers demanded "lower costs" over "made in the USA." To stay in business and remain competitive, most Schoenhut toy pianos are now manufactured at our facilities overseas."

David said...

" it'll be hard to convince the average consumer that it's worth an additional $140" That's true. And the average consumer good ends up at garage sales and Goodwill. --Ukester Brown

Gary said...

So long as they drop off a vintage Style 3 Martin at Goodwill just before I show up!

Anonymous said...

The sound is so much different that there is no comparison. It's a toy. That's all it is. There are plenty of instruments that have the same design. This isn't the only one.

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