May 14, 2019

Ohana has been incredibly lucky to work with some fantastic music shops. We rely on these great spaces to provide additional information and guidance to ukulele players world wide. The knowledgeable people who run these spaces are sure to help you find your perfect instrument. We’re excited to introduce our Dealer Spotlight Series —check out some of the unique places and people, we’re oh so lucky to work with.
We kick-start this series with none other than Elderly Instruments located in Old Town Lansing, Michigan.

About Elderly Instruments

Elderly Instruments has a long and interesting history, and has been a ‘go to’ source for acoustic instruments for nearly a half decade. The team’s commitment to quality and quality inspection of each instrument echos our own ethos on instrument set up— it is key!

Not only does Elderly carry new stock, they also specialize in vintage and project instruments. This store is a natural choice for those seeking true vintage or unique models.

Ohana is happy to be carried in a store with such a rich and long history of providing excellent service. Our student series are regularly featured as top ‘staff picks’ for beginning students and we regularly work with Elderly on special requests and orders.  Having a great partner with excellent technical staff on board is a true gift.

We sat down with Ray Alshire, the Purchasing Manager, for a little insider info on what makes this store such a cornerstone. If you ever happen to be in Lansing, MI, Elderly Instruments is definitely worth a stop!

Interviewee Details:
Company: Elderly Instruments
Name: Ray Aleshire
Position: Purchasing Department Manager
Years at Company: 24.5
Main Focus: Fretted instruments



How long has Elderly Instruments been on the map?

Since 5 July 1972, so almost 49 years


How does Elderly stand out from other stores, and what’s your niche?

We are nationally recognized for our vintage instrument expertise and we have an awesome repair shop. We’re a family-run business that prides itself on our customer service and our focus on all things strings – we ship all over the world. We are often considered “one of the giants”, but we are really one small store full of folks that love making music and welcoming others into our world.

Repair Shop at Elderly Instruments. Image Source: Elderly Instruments


Community programs you’re involved in?

There are many – we view our support of the community (local and around the country) as one of our prime missions. We often donate instruments to charitable causes for fundraising activities and we support festivals and camps all over the country.

The Guiness World Record Largest Ukulele Stationed outside Elderly Instruments for Mighty Uke Day. Image Source: Elderly Instruments


How did you get your start at Elderly?

I was a High school teacher that grew a little disenchanted with the governmental directives for the profession and I wanted to spend more of my time playing with my band. Elderly allowed me to do that and learn the business at the same time.


Do you have any favorite ‘tales of retail’?

Too many – lots of which probably should not be shared here! Elderly is a destination store and attracts a lot of very talented performers and musical celebrities. It is pretty cool when you walk into the showroom (or pick up the phone) and one of your musical idols is there checking out instruments. I’ve met a fair number of my influences because they came here, and that is pretty awesome.

A lesson I have learned while working here is that if you are going to give a tour of the place to a bunch of students, do not give them their free kazoos until they are headed out the door!


Does Elderly have a Performance or Workshop Space?

We do teach some lessons here, but our best offerings are small in-store concerts and quality workshops. We do host some regular acoustic jams, too. We are pretty involved with both the Mid-West Banjo Camp and The Mid-West Ukulele Camp here in mid-Michigan.

Workshop for Mighty Uke Day. Image Source: Elderly Instruments


What makes Ohana ukes a good fit for Elderly Instruments? Why do you enjoy working with Ohana?

It is easy to recommend Ohana to our customers because, as players, we like them. The people at Ohana are great to work with and they always stand behind their products. They are a small company, not a giant, faceless corporation.

Quality and value— Ohana products are among the best in the industry, often exceeding the competitors’ products at the same price points.


Do you have a favorite model?

I personally like the CK-28. It really sounds great and I especially dig the vintage look.


For more be sure to check Elderly Instruments at!