This is another article in our occasional look at ukulele stores. Note that if you buy from a store, it may cost you a little more than online, but you get access to advice and expertise, and you can try out the instrument. If you want your local store to survive, it’s worth paying a small premium for this facility.
Like Wunjo, Macaris are a London based shop, with branches on Denmark Street and Charing Cross Road. The main Charing Cross Road store is rather busy and has a lot of passing trade, but they have a much quieter basement.
As you enter Macaris, immediately on the right there is a ‘wall of ukulele’. There’s a significant number of ‘novelty’ ukes there, which can be quite fun. They’ve quite a few other instruments near the entrance that could be classed as ‘impulse buys’, such as the stylophone and mouth harp. Generally speaking, if you’re more than three feet from the door it gets both more serious and quieter.
Due to their location, Macaris get a lot of people wandering in from a busy street, and as a result it can feel quite busy. I have been in there several times and I regret to report that I’ve felt it to be quite a rushed environment. As a result the staff have on occasion been a little brusque. It is understandable given how busy they can get, but regrettable, especially when one is going from shop to shop deciding between different options – this is a store to visit outside of peak hours, if you can.
They’re certainly worth a visit, and they have items in their that you would find difficult to source elsewhere.
The ukulele has quickly got me to a standard where I can play along with a group of people in a pub, something which, when I first picked up a uke, was my goal. Now, my goal is to keep having fun with 'me little ukulele in me hand'.
I have been playing since 2011, and I am a teacher.