What’s Up With Music Guy Mic?

Everyone knows Michael Aratani, right? aka Music Guy Mic aka MGM ?  For those of you who don’t already know, Music Guy Mic is a well known Ebay Ukulele seller. He goes to  most of the ukulele festivals and is very loved in the uke community.

I became concerned a while ago when his posts started to getting a little crazy. Then I heard he was shutting down his store because of health problems.? We were just hangin’ out at the NAMM. He took me and Noa, my brother, out for dinner, talked about buying every single model from every builder. He was totally fine. And now he can’t even type?

As I step into Mike’s house it reminds me of the old days when Mike ran his store out of here. There is a young boy setting up ukes on his “house work bench”, aka his mom’s washing machine padded with towels. There are ukes everywhere. His poor mother, lol. Mike is still Mike, but just more sick.  He isn’t as cuckoo as his typing makes him seem. He is just his regular crazy self, which is good to see. ” You da one the one dat help me start up”, he says to me in his excited raspy voice.  That makes me feel good because Mike has really helped a lot of people.  And he had come far from when we first met. He first came to our Kaneohe store with yellow eyes and labored breathing. He had just gotten out of the hospital and nearly died. A problem with his liver. He had overcome that though for years now. His health stabilized and his ukulele business went through the roof. He also managed to help me build a third level storage and remodel the bottom level of our old store in Kaneohe. I would give him cost on things he needed , and in the past few years he’s returned the favor many times.

What I saw when I got up to his house was not a man on his death bed. In fact I doubt he will be able to go without selling ukes. Mike buys ukes like an alcoholic buys drinks. And there is only one way to fund that….

But for those of you wondering “what’s up with Aratani?” I would say, “he’ll be alright, it seems”. I enjoyed his company, like always.

This one’s for you Music Guy Mic, one of the most loved restaurant manager/ contractor/ ukulele salesman of all time. Who knows what’s in the next chapter.Good job in the last 7 years, though. I am sure you will be slingin’ ukes for many more~

Comments 25

  1. Yo. Mahalo for this post. As a first time Uke buyer who is afraid to part with more than 10 bucks on bay, I am very relieved to find out that this person is not a scam artist. Sometimes it is very hard to know who to trust when you cannot see anything about them. It is a bit worrying to part with large sum of cash and then find the next day the store is gone, and no phone number works. Bless him and I will hold some Aloha for the brudda.

    Well what do you know! Just as I am typing this, the Uke just arrived at my door.
    I will leave good feedback for mgm for aloha.

  2. I’ve been going nuts wondering what had happened to my favorite ukulele man. I’ve
    brought ukueles for the past six years from Mike and he was always an absolute
    pleasure to do business with! I’ve been checking his ebay store regularly hoping that he was merely at a ukulele festival somewhere. So sorry to hear that he has been ill. I hope and pray that Mike makes a complete recovery and can return to his ukulele store &/or other pursuits. He is so appreciated and so good as a top notch ebay site.
    He is also sorely missed. Blessings be upon Micheal Aratani from another ukulele enthusiast and customer.

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  4. This answers some of my questions but not all. I am in the process of buying a ukulele from Mic. I have already sent $250 and called to make the last payment, but the number to his shop is out of service. Everything is the same online, like he is still in business, but there is no one answering the phone or my emails. Did I just loose my $250 and my new uke? He seems so nice, and I hope he gets back on his feet and gets everything straightened out.

  5. Andrew, I just found this thread. Did not know Mike was ill and am so sorry. Your blog was written in April and now it’s July 9th. Can you give an update on Mike’s condition? I have bought 2 ukes from him. The first one I bought directly from him in Oahu 4 years ago. The other at So. Cal. Uke Festival in Cerritos about 2 years ago. He is one of the kindest and nicest guys I know. I am praying for his recovery.

  6. wow been searching for a uke for awhile now and kept reading bout “MGM and finally found out who that is just to find out he closed shop. Hope he’s well…guess it’s off to Amazon for my uke

    1. Well one of the main reasons everyone loves MGM so much was because of his custom setup he did on every ukulele. He was busy running his store so most of all of the setups were done by a young man named Joel. After Mic closed Joel came to work for us here at Hawaii Music Supply. Now either myself or Joel sets up every uke we ship out. We take this very serious. I worked for Ko’olau Ukulele for 10 years before starting Hawaii Music Supply and I know about ukulele setup. I did setup almost every Ko’olau for 10 years and those typically go for 1-3 thousand dollars. We send nearly 20% back to manufacturers for defects. This is the type of expertise we bring to the table. I often hear or read in emails people saying they had to return it to Amazon because it was not correct in some way. We give service and commitment to giving the world better ukes. Visit us by clicking on the tab on the side advertising Hawaii Music Supply. Aloha!

  7. Hi, Sorry to hear about his illness. I hope he gets well soon.
    Do you know how I can get in touch with him or someone in charge of his shop? I’ve left email for him and had no response. We brought my son’s ukulele to him for repair a while back and want to get it back even if it has not been repaired yet.
    I would really appreciate a response.

    Thank you,

  8. I was very saddened to hear of Music Guy Mics poor health and would be interested in knowing how he is fairing in his health as I too have poor health and understand what a roller coaster health concerns can be. I have found great comfort in the ukulele as it is an instrument among all that I can carry with little effort and enjoy in any location with relatively good reception.

  9. thank you so much for filling us in re: musicguymic … i was very concerned abt him … sounds like he’s back in the swing of things again …. whew … been trying to find out how he’s been doing … this is great to hear he’s doing well

  10. I’d like a status update on MGM, too. I saw him last just over a year ago at the 2010 uke fest in Cerritos, in September. He actually DIDN’T seem fine then, to me. There was something written in his eyes. I didn’t guess he had health issues arising but if I’d known that was probably the last time I’d ever see the dude, I’d have bought a uke from him. I didn’t have the money at the time but I woulda used one of my other ukes to busk for the cash!!!! 🙂

    My best ukulele is a tenor acoustic-electric Pono which was purchased several years back via Mic’s eBay store. Actually it’s strung with Worth Clears also purchased from Mic. I love that instrument and every time I pick it up I think of Mic.

    Mahalo for the lifetime of magic, MGM. I hope for your wellness, brother.

    For other cyber uke shoppers out there – I have thus far purchased only strings from Hawaii Music Supply, but I can vouch for their sincere professionalism and excellent service. When the time comes for another online ukulele purchase, I’ll be looking there first.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Tom. A lot of people feel connected to Mike and his success was because he is genuine. He recently ended up back in the hospital and may not have too much time left. It’s really sad, but when I go to visit him he is building furniture or designing wood trinkets, and all excited about his projects. Joe over at Kanilea is giving him scraps of wood and he’s making things. Things that spin and look cool on a shelf, and pretty much staying creative with his time. For years he has been under the gun to get out 20-100 ukes a day and to make everyone happy. And he loves doing that. ‘Cause he’s crazy, in a wonderful way. But it got to be too much as he went back and forth with illness and its effects on his abilities. He has helped Hawaii Music Supply and continues to help us with support and advice . I want to work with Mike, but we’re on opposite ends of the island and he can’t drive. Or shouldn’t drive. MGM, just like HMS, made very little profit on many models, when you are factoring in the non-discriminatory time we put into each instrument and the cost of running a business and affording professional help in Hawaii. But as overused as the setup gets discussed, that is what Joel does all day straight. And often I am working into the night on it. And it is not a waste of time or hype or marketing at all. It can really make the difference in someone’s growth musicaly and appreciation of the instrument. Mike aproached it more from just perpetuating the instrument. But doing that takes hard work and man power. Mike had 5 boys doing setups and shipping, which is why he is not doing that now. It is a consuming and demanding ambition to maintain even with great health. He’s still sharp in the mind but his liver is at less than 20% and they are not giving him any hope of a transplant. As a side note, he has a pretty cool, hot-rodded wheel chair, and talking about it put that huge smile on his face. Hope to share more positive news next time. Aloha~ Andrew

  11. Thanks for your words about MGM, i will be in the islands in a week and was hoping to pick up my first uke. Kept reading all over about him. Wishing him health and happiness. I’ll make sure to check out the store.

  12. I’m sure thinking good thoughts about MGM, and not just ’cause I got my favorite ‘uke from him last summer. he is wonderful to work with and I wish him all the best. and thank you for the info. he’s touched a lot of us out here in cyberspace. thanks for the info. Helen in Seattle.

  13. Very sorry to hear about Mike’s health. He shipped me the wrong ukulele once, then sent me the correct one at no charge — as long as I gave away the first one. I gave it to someone I knew who wanted to play but couldn’t afford one. This kind of customer care is so rare these days. Thank you, Mike! Best Wishes!

  14. Just an update – Mike has been doing much better! He seems to beat the odds (with the help of the ukulele, haha). I am glad to say that he is working with us now as part of the Hawaii Music Supply team. With his help HMS is set on course to be the best ukulele experience. Selection and service. You can now reach Mike at musicguymic@hawaiimusicsupply.com

  15. I bought my first uke from MGM in February of this year via eBay…a VERY well set-up Kala concert. Holds its tune exceptionally well as I’ve been learning this year. Glad to hear he’s doing well!
    Cheers Mike

  16. almost 5 years ago, i ordered a uke from Mike (online ebay but with a lot of correspondence). Mike helped me select a sweet sounding big island concert uke which he set up with a low g and restrung (giving me the original strings too if i want a different sound). he took great care of me and i’ve been really loving this delightful instrument. i’ve been reading the above with such concern… i truly hope Mike is on the mend and he has some quality to his days. i sometimes use milk thistle to support my liver when i have to take meds. i’m sure he has his support network – it doesn’t always work that way but music brings people together so i know it will surround such a caring and helpful guy!

    be well Mike!

  17. Just saw Mike last week (May 2012) at the new North Shore Hawaii Music Supply store in Haliewa. He looked good but a lot smaller. He said he closed the store in Kaneohe after he got ill and is helping the guys at the new store in setting up an internet sales system for them. I noticed that the music store in Wahiawa is vacant so this one must be the new store.

  18. thank you so much for the update … hope this finds music guy mic well and happy … still using those grrreat oahu tuners i got from you … you are the best!

  19. I bought one of my ukes from Mike and I was just going through my business cards, cleaning up, and I found his card, it made me look him up on the internet and it’s good to see he’s doing ok as I last checked about a year ago and I was concerned. Anyway, he treated me great and I pray that the pay it forward Mike approach gets many happy returns. God Bless and Mahalo

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