April 11, 2011 by Tim
A little over a year ago I was able to review a solid body concert Eleuke (the CCK100BL-MP3, review here) and I really liked it, so did the guy I was able to give it to. All I ever knew Eleuke as was a solid body ukulele with really cool electronics. A uke you could play and listen to with your headphones without bothering everyone around you. Now they have acoustic models? I was so confused, and many people that I showed it to ask the same question “Why did they make that?” My only answer was “Because they could!!” and I am really happy they did. I see the need and how it is still as relevant as the solid body ones. Sure you can’t be as discreet with it but really it is still awesome to have an instrument that you don’t need headphones to hear and you can plug your mp3 player into it and a set of headphones and play a long, how cool is that? Another thing that I do is plug the headphones in and plug it into my amp, kind of works as a monitor so you know how well you are playing. The cool thing about Eleuke is that they keep coming up with new products and they also listen to their customers. I am pretty sure people had asked for this uke and they delivered. (Keep your eyes peeled for the peanut)
Read on to see what I thought of this ukulele.
And did I mention that I am giving away 2 of these? Stay tuned for more after Banjo Uke week April 17-23.
Concert : 19 3/4 Frets (E and A have 2 more than G and C)
Tuners: Silver Sealed Geared
Nut & saddle: Bone
Top: Solid Spruce
Sides: Rosewood Laminate
Back: Rosewood Laminate
Neck: Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard
String Attachment: Tie
Pickup: Under saddle piezo Eleuke custom pickup. MP3 Input, headphone output, 1/4 inch output
Case: Super padded Custom bag
First look: (4) I would give it a 3 if it was not for the off center sound hole and the fretboard coming down into the body really far. Honestly from a far it is pretty plain, it is the sound hole and the knobs sticking out that will grab many people’s attention. If it was not for those two things it would look like any other plain Jane uke with a spruce top. I wish it had some binding to cover the laminate edges and that they would make a nicer headstock logo, instead of the gold that blends into the wood.
Fit and Finish: (3) I think I have the first 2 off the boat so they may have fixed the issues, but the review ones I received have some issues. The first one I received had the sound hole all beat up and some minor finish issues that are hard to see unless you look at an angle in the right light (Yes I look at everything) also both have some rough edges that needed to be sanded down. I think these things are the result of keeping it under $200. NOTE: When I had the sound hole issue they fixed it right away and I know these people, they stand behind all products they sell.
Sound Type: Mellow, but clear, plugged in it is smooth and not over driving. You can really tell that it is an acoustic
Intonation: (4) Found that it is about 5% off at the 12th fret. Not uncommon for most inexpensive ukes. If you are super sensitive about that kind of thing then don’t get this one unless you are willing to have it professionally setup. 99% of players would never notice. The nut is pretty low, so the issue of going sharp on the first fret will not happen.
Volume: (4) The top is solid spruce and respectably thin. It could be louder, it seems to not want to push the sound out as much as I thought it would. In the end it is not bad, but could be better.
Sustain: (3) Not super long. Seems to die quickly. in some ways this is good since it is meant to be plugged in.
Neck RadiusDepth: (3/4″) Basic C shaped neck.
Frets: (3) The first one I received the frets are perfect, dressed right. The second one is not as good and you can feel them all the way down the side of the neck. I would expect it from a cheaper instrument.
Tuning: (5) I do like traditional friction tuners, but it seems that few mass produced ukes do that anymore. These are nice and easy to tune with. Kind of wished it had a built-in tuner, which would be nice.
Comfort: (4)You don’t notice how heavy the solid body Eleukes are. The battery and other electronics make this acoustic version feel heavy. Still easy to play, I wish they would round the corners a little more; it leaves a line in my arm that feels like it is cutting in a bit.
Sound Hole Smell:Glue
I don’t want to leave you with the feeling that I don’t like this ukulele. I think it is a weird mix of compromises. On one hand it sells for under $200, but it has a ton of features like solid spruce top, sealed tuners, and a custom Eleuke pick-up system with a personal amp. To do this, things like binding, better back and side woods, and maybe quality had to be compromised a little bit to keep affordable.
When it comes down to it I would say this is a good all-around uke for someone who can only have one ukulele and they need it to be durable, play pretty well, and have a pick-up in it. The heavy gig bag alone is worth $25, and the pick-up system would be $100, so the $80 you pay for the actual instrument seems to be dead on for the quality.
All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews
|Fit and Finish||3|
|Sound Type||Mellow, nice plugged in|
|Neck Radius Depth||3/4″|
|Sound Hole Smell||Glue|