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Customer Email: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The vast majority of feedback we receive from customers is positive, but certainly not 100% of it. It seems a bit lopsided to show only our positives, ignoring the fact that our product is not right for everybody. Not all people who buy our products will be happy with their purchase. I briefly searched through my email and found all of the not so happy customer emails. I also found some of the happy customer emails. Both un-happy and happy are displayed below:


I have recieved the Ocarinas. They are lovely, but I do not like the sound that they make. I am going to return them today.

Warmest Regards,


Dear Karl, Cliff & Families;

This past week I received my two polycarbonate ocarinas (keys of C and G) as well as "Learning to Play Mountain Ocarinas." My order arrived in three days which is in and of itself outstanding. Your ocarinas are beyond explanation, they play great!

I have been making and playing Native American flutes for several years and you flutes, with the intuitive fingering, are very similar to the native flutes. I had very little difficulty fingering your flutes because of the similarities. Both your flutes and the native flutes are by their very nature and origin, meant to play by ear and your flutes are even more forgiving for this style of playing than are the native flutes. Your suggestion on your web site to purchase both the "C" and "G" flutes was right, because having both allows not only a reprieve from playing just one, but allows a much wider range of sound and type of music played.

While playing the native flute I never had a desire, or a need to learn to read music. The uniqueness of the native flute is the fact that they play best when the player improvises rather than playing by formal structured methods. Your ocarinas I believe fall into the same mode of improvised playing. Having said that, I quickly discovered that using your self learning music curriculum (which is a bargain) is actually a lot of fun! Incorporating the instruction manual along with the three CD's gives one the feeling that you are in the presence of your music teacher (hearing a voice) giving personal instructions, yet at your pace and not at the pace of the instructor. I can't believe that after all these years I'm actually learning to read music and enjoying it!

Your ocarinas and learning curriculum have filled a void for this 69 year old retired guy. I can't wait to get to my lessons and review the last lessons before going to a new lesson. I apply every lesson to both ocarinas and as a result each lesson is actually two separate lessons which produce separate enjoyments.


Closing, I wish you and yours health and happiness!

Barry Manning

Dear Mountain Ocarinas,

I received your curriculum and folk song book. It is not what I need. I would like to return it. How would you like me to ship it. Thank you for your attention to this.

Best Regards,


Hi Karl!

My Mountain Ocarinas and instructional books arrived today! They were nicely packed and arrived quickly all the way from you there in the States. When the box came I was so excited! I've only been able to play with my ocarinas for a little, and already I totally love them both! They do have such a sweet sound to them (and I *do* love the mellower C ocarina!) and I can't wait 'till after my exams (2 weeks) so I can spend some proper time not only learning how to play them, but also learning how to read music!

The teaching material seems to be so well written, and perfect for someone [like me!] who has no proper musical background at all. In fact I think it will not only help me to understand and play my wonderful new Mountain Ocarinas, but will also help me with my present ceramic English pendant ocarinas (as I know the fingerings well, but haven't put them together with the musical notation) because your teaching method seems to be very cross-applicable between instruments.

Thankyou for being so honest with me about your recommendations, for getting it all to me so quickly and for making both such exactingly designed, beautiful sounding instruments and well written, enthusiastic instructional material.

~ a very very happy xxxxxx excited to properly begin his journey into the world of music

Dear Customer Service,

I received my order and I am extremely disappointed. The Ocarina sounds terrible. It looks nice, but sounds like a toy. Sounded better online. I have a small clay Ocarina purchase in Argentina that sounds better. Good thing I did not buy the more expensive one I really wanted. Do you have a return policy?

Karl's Response

Dear xxxxx,

I'm sorry you are disappointed with your ocarina. Have no fear! We will cheerfully refund your money at any time. I encourage you to take your time and get to know your new ocarina. You are free to return your ocarina for a refund a month or a year from now without a problem. Ultimately, we want you to be happy with your purchase. While our instruments sometimes take a bit of time to adjust to, we find that our clients generally love their ocarinas after they grow accustomed to them, even if they were unsure about the sound "right out of the box."

One of our biggest fans is a guy who posted on the internet that he didn't like our sound. (This was his "right out of the box" experience.) Now, however, he loves our instruments, has ordered several, and regularly sends people our way.

Here is an excerpt from a follow up email that we send to all our clients:

> ...you will probably NOT achieve
> your optimal sound during the first few days of,
> playing. Rather, your tone will improve DRAMATICALLY
> over time as you gradually grow accustomed to the
> proper airspeed and other nuances of the instrument. In
> fact, Mountain Ocarinas are specifically designed for
> you to grow into them, rather than grow out of them, as
> your skills improve.

So, I encourage you to take all the time you want to get to know your ocarina. With all that said, people have different tastes, so here is how to obtain a refund. Simply return the instrument to us at the address below:

Mountain Ocarinas Inc.
71 Hoskins Rd.
Bloomfield, CT 06002

In the package, please include your name, address, and your desire for a refund. After receiving your package, we will refund your full purchase price.

Please don't hesitate to call me toll-free or email again if you think I can help in any way.

Warmest regards,
Karl Ahrens

Mountain Ocarinas Inc.
Toll-Free Phone: 888-4-A-Flute (888-423-5883)

I would like to request an Return number for this order. I much prefer my Polycarbonate in G over the C. Thank you.


Thank you for returning my call today. I really appreciate you taking care of the defective CDs.

And thank you so much for including Favorite Hymns in Easy Keys and Favorite Carols in Easy Keys and one of your new design Polycarbonate ocarinas! I'm really looking forward to getting to play it.

Since first seeing your ocarinas and books, I have remained hugely impressed by your design skill, perseverance, and enterprise. There were a lot of things to spend money on at the Florida Home School convention, but your instruments and books were the only things that "got me". I've used the Learning to Play book and the three ocarinas I bought from you at the convention on several long road trips to work with my kids on music. Their durability and portability are wonderful. It is a GREAT design, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks so. I will enjoy showing the instruments to students I find in this new adventure of The Family Music School. Your instruments and books could fit in all kinds of ways. We'll see what the coming year brings!

I am eager to explore a method for converting the 300 Celtic Folksongs to MIDI files. I'll let you know what I discover. For me, the best way to learn software has been to take on a project, so this should be good. I hope to be able to get back with you within a week to report what I've learned. Thanks again, and God bless you!

Hello I just received one of your flutes and I'm not very happy with it can I get a return label?

Susan's Response

Dear xxxxxx,

We will be happy to process your return. Simply send the ocarina back to us by USPS first class mail. You may send the return to:

Mountain Ocarinas Inc
71 Hoskins Rd
Bloomfield, CT 06002

When we receive your return we will issue a refund to your credit card, including postage, and notify you by email.

Best wishes,

Susan Ahrens
Shipping Manager
Mountain Ocarinas Inc.

Dear Karl,

I just recieved My ocarina on Friday, and have been playing it. I just HAD to say:

THIS IS THE BEST OCARINA I EVER KNEW!!!! It's so sweet, and it has an awesome range-- I would seriously sell all of my instruments to own this amazing masterpiece! I read somewhere on the web that your ocarinas are "ugly". I disagree 100% ! They are gorgeous! your QUALITY Instruments are just that-- Q U A L I T Y.... and your Guarentee Roc's too.

Your ocarinas rock! It is taking a bit to learn the new finger tequnique, but Your ocarinas have great tonal quality, and I wear it everywhere. I tried the fingering pattern sent with my ocarina, and found that you can also use various combinations to make some of the notes. I don't play the songs like the ones on your website, whereas I am learning to play by ear, and prefer a slightly diffrent style. I find that your ocarinas are rather versitile, and the pie's the limit as far as your ocarinas seem! Talk about Concertage ;) . well, I've got to go and clean my humble living quarters, but will be sure to make time to practice my-- er, YOUR ocarina!

Brandon P Buchholz ~The Great Brando, collector of musical instruments

I am fond of Irish whistle. So, when I happened across a polycarbonate G on eBay, I was intrigued. I bought it.

I find I'm very pleased with the shape, size, fingering, and durability of the instrument. So much so, that I immediately ordered the course, the Celtic song book, and the WarmStone "ivory" G from you.

After I have made more progress on the G, I will probably order a polycarb and WarmStone C. I find the G's shape more attractive, though.

I find your instruments a bit more "packable" than my Irish whistles, because they are smaller, tougher, and shaped for any pocket. I also seems that your ocarinas offer all of the ornamentation potentials of Celtic whitles.

Congratulations or excellently engineered, and highly affordable instrument!


Kari S.,
San Diego, CA

Hi Karl--

Howdy from Texas!

I have been playing your G ocarinas for several years now --i had one that resembled a lego brick [as someone else described it. i kinda like that description, but i have a huge respect for legos!]. We received new ocarinas last year that were updated. I have yet to find an instrument that brings me as much joy as your little ocarinas. I feel sappy saying that [can you tell I'm not a sappy kinda gal? LOL!], but it is SO true!! I take my little ocarina along w/ me EVERYWHERE! i like the C's too, but the little size of the G's appeals to me. What do you expect from someone who prefers the little hatchback to the Dodge Ram...? snicker.

For years I have demonstrated the durability of your ocarinas by twirling them at high speed on their lanyard and whacking them full force against any brick or concrete surface. One of these days it will crack [maybe??] and i will cry, but i can not beLIEVE how strong they are!! Takes a licking and keeps on playing.

I also like that my little kids can play with them unsupervised--i don't have to worry about them getting scratched, broken, drowned, or messed up. Shoot, the kids can even leave them in the mud, in the Texas heat, in the NY freezing winters, run over them w/ their bikes, and just wash them out and play them. [we've done all of the above, by the way.] Even the dog and teething toddler can't dent these things very easily. I have 5 kids and adore that I can let them "play" with the ocarina --catching those little ocarina blurbs here and there by a 2yo and 4yo is too cool. Stuff in my house needs to be virtually indestructible, and these ocarinas make the cut!!

I admit it: i am one of those diehard players that you will see playing the ocarina while driving down the road. But only on looooong straight stretches --i promise!! It also serves as a great way to call the kids on the playground a la Sound of Music. The older model gave a better short blast than the new one.

I must confess --I *really* prefer the older smaller rectangular one. Mostly cuz it WAS smaller, and also because the finger holes had a raised ridge around the holes --that makes it a LOT easier to find quickly. i put my older one away and spent the last year focussing on the new model, THEN pulled out the old one. I'm still hooked on the smaller compact model. The thumb holes were easier to cover as well. A completely subjective opinion is the way the lanyard is attached-- i preferred the separate hole as opposed to the lanyard being strung through the instrument itself. Not sure why though --it was easy enough to use a twist tie to thread my own lanyard through the new model.

i do like the new ocarina's squeak-proof quality and extra hole. i kinda wish the extra hole stayed w/ the linear fingering idea, but I realize that for those of us who were used to the original fingering it simply made sense to add the note to the finger that wasn't being used! My only regret is that I can't easily play The Star Spangled Banner. But that song has a range that rivals the rift between Heaven and Hell. Can't really blame the ocarina for that :-)

My oldest has been working through the curriculum and we all enjoy the cd's. i use a beginning recorder book for introducing the ocarina to my younger students --we just ignore the fingering instruction. I played clarinet in marching band, so I started off w/ enough music theory experience and the ocarina was very intuitive. BUT --even my musically-challenged friend could play Mary had a Little Lamb w/in 30 minutes on the ocarina!! not very well, but you can't have everything, eh? lol. did I mention she was NOT a music person? that's an understatement!

We have several students that have progressed rapidly on these instruments. I'm convinced that the portability and easy maintenance are key to this success. An excellent product that makes it easy to sound professional.

My oldest son takes his ocarina on Boy Scout campouts. I braided a burgundy and gold lanyard for my ocarina -- I'm partial to the burgundy color :-) I'd love to get the green one, but am hesitant to spend that much money on something that i am not very careful with [did you catch that things in my house need to be ridiculously durable?]. The amazing part is that while I lose car keys and other odds n ends, i have yet to lose my ocarina!! My husband keeps asking me why that is --I just tell him "A gal's gotta have priorities, ya know."

I am always impressed at your attention to customer needs. Many families have benefitted from your generosity and talent. You truly have a product that is pleasing to the Lord! i pray your family is blessed w/ your ministry.

Thank you so much, and please let me know if there is ever anything we can do to help *you*.

take care-

Amy Hedtke
Red Oak, TX

We are having so much fun with these. I had to order another G so it will be easier to play with my daughter. I was a serious flutist before I had kids, but the flute never comes out of its case anymore. I've never played a folk instrument before that feels like I can make it my own. I can't stop messing with these ocarinas, though. Thanks!


Well, now that I've got my order in, I can sign up for MOM! And by the way, I am incredibly delighted with my instruments! The polycarbonate isn't as pretty as some of the other models, but with my rough n' tumble life I needed something that I could take with me into the field. Wow, I'm just gushing, again, but its so great to be working with you - I really feel that personal touch so lacking in today's world! Hope to hear more from you soon!

From our forum...

I purchased my Mountain Ocarina at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I went to a school for the performing arts (I majored in acting), and purchased the oc to play at lunchtime so I could join in with the guitarists and people that sang (myself being in the latter group).

As the school year passed, I really improved, to the point where we would get a pretty good audience to watch us. I played it whenever I had a significant break; In the mornings before school, after school, as I transitioned from class to class. Finally, roughly a month before school was over, the guitar teacher approached me before school started one day.

"Hey...Will, right?" He asked.

"Yeah, that's me." I smiled.

"You play the ocarina right?" He continued. I held it up to him from my neck. "Can you play me a little something now?"

So I played "And So It Goes" by Billy Joel. He stopped me mid-song. "We're having a concert next month, would you mind playing in our concert?" He propositioned.

"Sure." I said, not skipping a beat.

And so it would be that I would go to practice once or twice a week on a certain song he needed me for. Not just any song, but possibly one of the most well-known rock and roll songs of all time: Stairway to Heaven. He wanted me to join the flute section of the song.

It was an electrifying moment to be an acting major playing in a concert. One of the orchestra students that was onstage at the same time looked back to see me and his eyes opened wide. "Will?! What are you doing here? Are you gonna play the ocarina?" He gasped.

"You bet." I told him. "Oh man! This is gonna be the best concert ever!" He laughed.

I can't speak for everyone, but I would certainly agree with him on that. It was fantastic to see all those people looking at me, thinking "what on earth in that thing he's playing?", and just sitting there enjoying all of the good music we all played together.

- wcclark

I've had my poly G for over a year now and love it! I've played flute and keyboards for many years and the rest of my family plays drums, elec guitar, bass guitar and a few other instruments. We all get together and have a blast playing together. My daughter has given up her concert flute and stolen my MO. Now I need another one!!

I've only been playing the MO a bit over a year....in fact, I just got an email from MOM congradulating me on completing my goal of a new song each week for a year. I love to play Celtic music most of all on it, but I am always trying to mimic something I heard on the radio. I cant seem to get the special sounds that Karl does. Decoration I think is what they call it. Of all my ocs, the MO is the one I enjoy the most. I used to play them all here and there, but since getting the poly g I haven't touched the others.

Mine has been to the bat caves on Dorset Mountain and the top of Mt Equinox (fyi: BATS FLY AND SCARE YOU if you play high enough notes)....and RUTH mine has been on the Green Mountain Railroad excursion too! It has been played at the bottom of a defunct marble quarry. I was told that from the top of the quarry (me far below) it has a spooky sad sound. Must have been the acustics. I take it everywhere so that I can play when and where the urge and inspiration hit.

I hope everyone enjoys their MO as much as I do!

- VTrish

I'm Rob and I'm a mountainocarinaholictm. I've been playing MOs for about two years now. I was researching a replacement for a 6 hole pendant ocarina, that my infant son decided to break, and stumbled upon Karl's instruments. I've been hooked ever since.

I try to get in my fifteen minutes a day. It's hard with four little one running around. I'm mainly into celtic and folk music. I've always enjoyed the bagpipes and can play a few tunes on the chanter, but never had the money to get a full set to play with.

I was playing my ocarinas on top of a parking garage at a local hospital, waiting to watch the fireworks at a nearby park in '07. I was only a year into learning and got quite a few compliments and questions about my MOs.

- rweagle

I'm Bill, a 54 year old software developer in Portland Oregon. I've dabbled with alot of musical instruments over my life -- starting with accordion as a kid (the parents couldn't afford a piano so they "surprised" me with an accordion and lessons ;) ). Played trombone in high school and college, and picked up guitar and keyboard over the years. Have also tried cello, violin, mandolin, and bass guitar. Got interested in woodwinds a few years ago after picking up a pennywhistle during a trip to Ireland, and an irish flute a little later. And a few months back picked up a shakuhachi -- a japanese end-blown flute.

Unfortunately, my skill on most of these instruments is pretty limited -- I really just enjoy "playing around" with them, and haven't really gotten far with most, except with those accordion lessons as a kid and my time playing trombone through college. As an adult I've tended to waffle back and forth between keyboard and guitar.

I was scanning the keyboard forum at Harmony Central a few months back, and one of the members mentioned an interest in ocarinas. I'd never really thought much about the instrument before then, but always enjoyed its pure distinctive sound. I started doing some on-line research, and came across Mountain Ocarinas. While Mountain Ocs didn't have that traditional pure ocarina sound, I was really attracted to their ruggedness and portability, and decided to try out a poly G. I've really enjoyed the little puppy, and even wear it around my neck at work, heading outside for occasional "ocarina breaks". A week later I picked up a copy of the 300 Celtic Folksongs, and am enjoying working out the pieces, even though I spend most of my ocarina time just picking out popular songs or doing free improvising. One of these days I'll break down and pick up a poly C.

It's hard to say why I find the ocarina so appealing. There's a spiritual essence with woodwind instruments, based as they are on the breath of the performer, that somehow puts more "soul" into the music than those that rely only on the performer's hands. And with the portability of the Mountain Oc, it's like a constant friend, always there to help manifest whatever emotions I might want to express -- loneliness, solitude, contentment, joy... Somehow it's simple tone seems an adequate voice for all.

I've really been impressed with Mountain Ocarinas as a company and with Karl and Cliff as its representatives -- their enthusiasm for the instrument is truly infectious, and I hope the company is successful. And it's nice to find a forum to share our interest in what is really a rather silly little instrument ;) . So why can't I put the darn thing down?

- Bill

My name is Karl and I have a polycarbonate G Ocarina. We bought 2 (one for me, one for my son) also the course, the Favorite Hymns book, and the Favorite Carols book.

I do not play any other instrument, I cannot read music.

I liked the concept of having an instrument readily available for practice and performance. So we bought these great instruments. Unfortunately I am like a third oyster I read about not too long ago. I am trying to be like another oyster, a fourth one. Anyway...

I do want to learn the ocarina so I do bring it with me to work (I'm a carpenter) and practice Mary had a little Lamb. I also pick out songs by ear, but only usually a few notes.

Changing traffic lights...

When I am driving from one job site to another during the day I sometimes sit at traffic lights for a few minutes. Since I keep my ocarina on the center console in my van I usually reach down to take it out of it's holder and start to play it. Invariably within moments of my starting to play the light will turn green. This therefore stops my attempt at practicing. I am not sure if the Mountain Ocarinas send out a certain frequency that changes the light or if there are other things going on here. Perhaps I can get a government grant to study this phenomenon. :)

Perhaps Mountain Ocarina should consider selling these as traffic light changers as well. No, go ahead try it. See how long you actually get to practice when you attempt to do so at a red light. ;)

- Karl B, Naples, FL


i'm Hans from Belgium (Flemish (or Dutch) speaking part). Married and we have 4 daughters (between 15 and 19)

I play guitar (acoustic), ukelele, bassguitar(occasionaly), piano (daily), recorder (i own a tenor, sopran and sopranino). I used to play clarinet and trombone (but unfortunately i no longer have these instruments)

I ordered the polycarbonate ocarina in C and G. I used to have 2 clay ocarinas (about 20 years ago). Both were presents. and both fell.... and i can tell you: these crash tests are true! However i orderded at the same time 2 clay ocarina's (in C and F) :) As my wife never knows what presents to buy, i bought all of the ocarina's to cover Christmas, New Year and birthdaypresents. It will take some time before i can unwrap them Undecided

so i will keep you informed which last longer.

- Hans (aka Spatn)

I had a great weekend in a beautiful village in center Italy, named San Benedetto in Alpe. There were lots of teachers of traditional music and dances, of many regions of the world (while the main focus was about irish music, there was room for african dances, breton waltzes, and lots of more).

I went there mostly to learn something new about the tin whistle and the irish flute, so, I feared that people into that kind of stuff could be very skeptical to anything not closely related to the tradition, and I choosen to keep my ocarina in the pocket for almost all the time. BUT, when I pulled it out to show it off to a fellow musician I met at the restaurant table, well, he was stunned! "How beautiful it is" he said, and he asked for me if he could play it. Of course I agreed: in two minutes he was playing better than I ever did, well, ok, almost, anyhow, he was TALENTED.

After this (he asked me what instrument was that and I gave him some link on paper), I found the courage to play something around the restaurant on the way to the car. No more than a minute overall. And, a man followed me asking to see it, again! He too was stunned by it's beauty. "What it's made of?" "hem, it's a synthetic matherial used to build kitchen tops"). Really no more than five minutes with the ocarina out and I got lot of attentions, and I was forgetting about an irish player who told me... what's that? It sounds like a whistle!

Next year I will definitely not be so ashame and shy, and I'll show it off proudly. There are good chances that REALLY MANY musician will be interested in it, since it got all this attention in such a little time. I have my ocarina hanging all the time and at, only at a musical festival I've hidden it! What stupid I was. When I will be a good player for sure it will be easier not to fell into those mental, stupid traps.

Hope somebody enjoyed the story. Uh, the festival website is this one, if you care: http://www.folkfest.it/english.php

Over the autumn leaves

Today I had a nice walk in the woods with my girlfriend and some friends. I've been self confident enough to play music for them. We all enjoyed it a lot, never the less some error :-P. I played Scarborough fair and some classical american tunes, like "oh susanna" and "oh my darling clementine" on my Mountain Ocarina. I also played some irish tune on a tin whistle if this matter. That was a very good experience overall. Getting back home into a boat, I played some more tunes on the ocarina, with the wind blowing on me. Very moving. I liked that the ocarina can be played even in the wind, although it's note sounds like I'm playing underwater somehow: it was nice indeed. The tin whistle in the wind is plain mute (I discovered that before), perhaps the ocarina works better with the wind because the fipple and the windway are more "nested" into the body of the instrument, thus more protected from the wind? My girlfriend too had fun with the ocarina; I teached her "happy birthday" and she had fun. Very first song for her!

- Spatolo

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The only way to know if an instrument right for you is to spend time with it.

This is why we offer a 365 Days/Lifetime - Double Guarantee (see below)... so you can try our instruments at your leisure and see if they are right for you. Take your time. You'll have one full year to decide.

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1. 365 Days Complete Satisfaction Guarantee. Order any products directly from us (either from this website or over the phone). Try our products for as long as you like... up to one full year. If you decide for any reason that you don't want to keep any of our products, simply contact us by phone or email and let us know. We will cheerfully refund your full purchase price. We will also refund the shipping charges for orders shipped to the U.S.A.

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