January 10, 2012 by Tim
I realized the other day that the two main ukes I actually own are spruce top ukes, I think it may have something to do with loving my first guitar, a Guild D4 (Spruce top). It seems that I review a lot of them lately. Are the spruce tops not getting a lot of love or what? I see them a lot and I know some people feel they are not traditional, but I say “Screw them”. I think they are another extension of what people are playing. Most folk guitars are made with spruce tops, so why would that not happen in the uke world as more people are playing folk type songs and want a punchy clear sound?
Read on to see what I think of this slim wasted blonde, and see if you maybe want to ask her out on a date some time.
They say blondes have more fun, and they may be right.
Soprano : 15 Fret
Tuners: Gotoh Friction Tuners
Nut & saddle: Bone
Top: Solid Spruce
Sides: Laminate Flamed Mahogany
Back: Laminate Flamed Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard
String Attachment: Knot in a slit
Case: Not included. Reviewed with a hard case
First look: (5) From the first look it looks like a regular glossy soprano. You may not pick it out of a crowd. It is the fine details, like the flamed mahogany and modified rope binding, and the flamed mahogany sides and back, that you notice this is a really nice ukulele. One of the things that I did not notice for a while, but knew something was different, was the bridge. It is not just some cheap squared off bridge. It has round sides that tapper down, not leaving some hard edge like other cheaper ukes. Although I wished they would have used the flamed mahogany as the headstock veneer, it is still very nice with the shinny Ohana logo and black and white binding.
Fit and Finish: (5) I gave it a 5, and I have one issue with it. Does Ohana not put their label in the middle of the headstock? The vita uke was the same way. Beside that this thing is made superbly. I found no issues at all. What I really like is the string attachment at the bridge. Sometimes with a slit style bridge you will eventually blow out a slit since they are so thin. They made a very beefy bridge with very thick walls to hold the strings and not let the knot pull out, chipping a piece with it. Beyond that it is pretty light, not the lightest, and it all is straight and good. Basically it is a well made instrument that people actually took their time with and made sure it was right, not just some quick factory build.
Sound Type: Punchy and Clear. I have read several reviews and some places that say they sell it, but are sold out, that this is the loudest soprano they have heard. It is really loud, but it has tone too. I would say it is walking the line of a sharp sound like the Ohana Vita-uke, but does not cross over. It is not the loudest, just an FYI.
Intonation: (5) Perfect. Not a single issue to be found. The Nut is low, and it is dead on up and down the fretboard.
Sustain: (5) Long since it is so loud.
Neck Radius Depth: (3/4″) Basic C shaped neck,
Frets: (5) No binding and it is still smooth as butter. You can see some of the slot that were made from the sides but they filled in and you can not feel a single fret on the sides. They are also well dressed and tapered off as they should be. Same thing I said about the Vita uke. Seems to be an Ohana thing.
Tuning: (5) Nice friction tuners. They are nice and easy to tune with and stay in tune.
Comfort: (5) Not the lightest soprano, but by no means a brick. Very easy to hold since the nice binding was rounded off. The balance is also really nice with the lighter tuners. it just feels right.
Sound Hole Smell: Glue with a hint of musk.
I like this ukulele. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a spruce top soprano, and at below $200 it is an amazing deal for the sound and looks. Although not a solid wood uke, it is pretty awesome. I really don’t buy into the solid wood uke idea as much, and this uke is an example of why. I think a good solid top, and nice sides are a great combination. One of my favorite guitars (I still have a couple) is a Guild D4, and it is amazing and blows a lot of $1200 guitars out of the water on sound and the low tones.
I found this uke hard to find on the interwebs. I hope more people will carry it. I know that if people could get these in their hands they will be blown away.
All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews
|Fit and Finish||5|
|Sound Type||Punchy and Clear|
|Neck Radius Depth||3/4″|
|Sound Hole Smell||Glue and Musk|
Places to buy on the web:
Hard time finding places that sell this uke. Found one lace that has a case just like it, but I know Ohana does not put their name on the cases.
Brindley’s $179 Shipped for the Ukulele
Uke Republic $65 for the case
HD Audio Sample: