May 10, 2010 by Tim
I am perplexed by this ukulele. first of all it goes by two names, Koloa KU-600 and Silver Creek soprano. Why? I have no clue, but they are the exact same instrument. Either way this is a review for both. (Side note: if it is a Silver Creek, it is one of The Music Link’s brands)
The other part that I struggle with is the overwhelming feeling that I should really like this ukulele. It is solid wood, super high gloss, looks like the tuners are high end, and is sturdy as a rock. So why am I not in love?
As I look it over I can imagine a group of people purchased ukuleles from all the major ukulele makers and decided what they liked from them all, but they really had no idea on how those things worked together to make an instrument to compete in the price point it is at. read the review below to see the good and the bad of this ukulele.
• Solid Mahogany Top, Back & Sides
• Mahogany Neck
• Deluxe Adjustable Friction Tuners
• Bone Nut & Saddle
• D’Addario Strings
• Scale Length: 13-9/16″
First look: (5) I have never seen such a high gloss instrument. This thing is so reflective that I use it as a mirror, believe me I know what shinny is, just take a look at my bald head. Most ukuleles have binding and ornamentation, but this one is very sleek and plain and this is good. My first impression when I saw one in a store was “Man does that look expensive” One of the other striking things on it are the large tuners. they look like the ones you find on Kamaka ukuleles.
Fit and Finish: (4.9) It is almost perfect, and I looked it over from head to heel and only found one issue. Between where the fret board ends and the sound hole there is some cloudiness in the finish. I felt every edge of it looking for a part that was not touched and smoothed. The body edges are all rounded, frets are filed back, the butt of the neck to the body is even with the back and is almost seamless. Craftsmanship is really well done.
Sound Type: (Shallow and muted) The best way to describe the sound is to call it trapped. It is in there but seems to be stuck. I know it is weird to say but I think it has to do with the top. I do not have calipers to measure it but it is definitely about 50% thicker than most ukuleles I have. I even changed the strings to Worth clear CM to try to liven up the sound and let it escape. The other thing that may affect the sound is how deep the body is. Most ukes are 2.5″ deep, where the koloa is just under 3″. this can make a difference in the sound and make too much room for it to make good sound. That also explains why the hard-shell case does not work with any of my other soprano ukes. If this was a sub $100 I would not say any of this, but for the price it seems like it should be better.
Intonation: (4) Better than most sopranos that I have been playing lately. I find that playing an A that the C is sharp, not the case as much with this ukulele. From open string to the 12th fret it is pretty much dead on.
Volume: (3) Back to the trapped sound, it is not all that loud. You can’t even feel the body vibrate when you play it, so I am assuming that the soundboard is not vibrating much either to produce volume.
Sustain: (4) It holds a note for a reasonable time, but without volume it fades faster than most instruments. If you like the old time short sustain this is that kind of ukulele.
String Height: (Low) I prefer low strings, with this it is well done and as low as you will find. It does not buzz and you barely have to push down to get a clear sound. A lot of care was taken to get it just right.
Neck Radius Depth: (3/4″ and Very Wide) One of the selling points to this instrument is the fact it has a wide neck. It starts at about 1.5 inches and it ends at just below 2 inches. Most sopranos start at about an inch and get up to 1.5 inches. If you have large hands or issues with movement on a soprano, this is a great ukulele for you. Plenty of room get your fingers on the right strings.
Frets: (5) Well dressed. Can not feel anything when you run your finger down the sides of the neck. Also it is a flat fret board, it is preference, and makes no real difference.
Tuning: (2) If you buy this, change the tuners out, they just plain suck. sorry to be blunt, but they are a huge pain to try to tune a ukulele with. I either went sharp or flat, never really could get it tuned in less than 7-10 tries per string. I tried adjusting them a million times. Tuning gets a 2 because it at least stays in tune when it is finally in tune. I think they thought if Kamaka had them them, they should, except Kamaka tuners work.
Comfort: (5) The edge of the body is nice and rounded off so you won’t get a nasty line in your arm and it is also very light and easy to play. The tuners make it seem like it would be head heavy but it is nice and balanced. I also like how solid it feels.
Please do not get me wrong, if you own one of these or are thinking about getting one, and you want something that is crafted really well, this is your instrument. The people that made it really tried to make a top notch ukulele. Also if you have big hands and want to play a soprano (Because you think those that play anything but are cheaters) then this is the best you will ever find.
I kept this for two months to make sure that it was not just a new ukulele thing. It did open up after a while, but I feel the sound is just a little dull for me. I play my Lanikai CK-S, 1920′s Richter, and Rogue (With the same strings that I put on the Koloa/Silver Creek) and they are all louder and more full sounding. All I can say is find one and play it. It is a dream to play and hold, just don’t lose your mind trying to tune it.
The case that came with it, sold seperatly, was really nice. It is bullet proof (have not tried it) has a humidistat built in.
All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explan5tion of reviews
|Fit and Finish||4.9|
|Sound Type||Shallow and muted|
|Neck Radius Depth||3/4″ and Very Wide|