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Thread: Music - Laminated Rosewood Concert scale Ukulele - UK-23

  1. #1
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    Default Music - Laminated Rosewood Concert scale Ukulele - UK-23

    I ordered this Concert scale Ukulele online via eBay, it has taken close to a month for delivery, and has just arrived yesterday.
    It's Brand Name is "Music" , and I suspect some people have likely seen these on eBay, probably other Marketing Platforms also.
    It's made in China, and from what I could find out, it apparently seems to be a "Chen Sheng" Ukulele, although personally I was unable to find out exactly what that name refers to.
    I couldn't find a review (or other detailed information) on these so I decided to start a review.

    This is a Laminate Rosewood Concert scale Ukulele.

    Attachment 102742Attachment 102743Attachment 102744Attachment 102745Attachment 102746

    It's a Laminated Rosewood Concert Scale Ukulele, the model UK-23 name implies it's a 23 inch length instrument, which is basically what it is.
    This Uke has a slight difference in construction to my other Concert Ukes in the way the Neck meets the Body at the 12th Fret, rather than at the 14th Fret.
    I've found it doesn't to seem to make much difference in playing for me personally, it simply means the positioning of the Bridge is slightly altered in relationship with the Soundboard also, and if you like to play up past the 12th Fret you have to simply stretch your fingers a bit over to reach, it's not an issue for me, as I don't usually play past the 12th Fret that much, and I have other Ukes also, but if I do want to reach out to 15th fret or beyond it is manageable.

    I liked the design, the appearance, and I have a bit of a taste for Rosewood, I personally find the Tones are excellent, and I like the visual contrasts as well.
    The Tone is Clear, quite deep and clear in the Bass and pleasantly clear in the Trebles, though it also sounds even across the spectrum, making it ideal for Fingerpicking or Strumming alike.

    Overall the instrument is constructed very well, it's very neatly built and finished cleanly with a Satin Coating.

    The Soundboard is Laminated Rosewood, it seems like a good quality Rosewood laminate, and in my honest opinion it plays very nicely.

    The Back and Sides are also Rosewood, and I'll assume it's laminated also.

    The Body is finished with a nice timber binding that contrasts with the Rosewood nicely, and a white coloured pattern design. I'm not sure what type of timber the Binding is, it could be Mahogany or something else, but that does not seem important to me as long as it is good.

    The Headstock has a Rosewood Veneer layered over the face to match the body, with the "Music" brand Logo on it.

    The Neck is Okoume, it's a well made Neck, it's light yet strong, and provides a very well balanced instrument weight-wise.

    Fretboard is Rosewood, with total 18 Frets, and simple Dot Markers on the Fretboard, but No Markers for reference on the Side Edge of the Fretboard. The Fretboard/Neck meets the body at 12th Fret.

    The Bridge is Rosewood, it's the kind where you simply tie a knot in the end of the string and slip into position in the appropriate slot provided on the Bridge.

    Machine Heads are Chrome finished, Closed Geared type Machine Heads, and they seem to work very smoothly and are efficient. No Brand, although you wouldn't expect expensive Machine Heads considering the overall cost. The Buttons are reasonably small, and are a good sizing for Ukulele. I can't complain about them at all.

    Nut and Saddle, as far as I am able to tell so far, are Ox-Bone.
    The Saddle is quite narrow, and Non-Compensated.

    Nut Width is close to 33 mm from the measurement I took, which is pretty standard, though some people prefer a wider Nut and Fretboard, so if you like a Wider style this probably isn't for you.

    Action was great right out of the box, I haven't found any need to make any adjustments at all, and it plays great as it is.
    I'm willing to say it seems suitable for any beginner an intermediate player to use immediately, with a simple tune-up, if the one I have got is anything to go on.

    Strings, listed as Aquila Nylgut, though whether they are genuine or not I can't confirm, they do work well and I'd say they are either genuine or if they're not they're a good imitation.
    Strings can be changed if desirable. I'm happy to leave these strings on for now and possibly change at a later time, it plays sufficiently well as is for my simple purpose currently.

    No Strap Buttons fitted to this particular Uke.
    No Cutaway.
    No Pickup/Preamp.
    No Gig Bag or Accesories.
    It's a simple Full Bodied Acoustic Concert scale Ukulele.

    Overall, i think this Uke plays very nicely.
    I'm not at all concerned about it being laminated, and I think the fact that it's a laminate gives this Uke a nice strong feel to it despite the fact that it is lightweight, it feels like the kind of Uke you could enjoy without any excessive worry or concern (for those who worry), and I would even feel confident to install a Pickup/Preamp myself, without damaging timber structure, if I think I want to do that at any time in the future.

    It has a good resonance, a bit of punch, though perhaps not as much Punch as a good Solid Top would have it is not insufficient either, you can feel it while playing which is good, and as mentioned the tones are good, nice and clear.
    I'd say it's on the better side of "moderate" with regards to Volume and Projection, it depends on what your comparisons are of course, it's actually pretty good just not quite so good as most my Solid Tops, but then again they're Spruce or Mahogany and not Rosewood either so not a fair comparison. Anyhow on the plus side of that it seems it will handle being driven pretty well, and with clear tones as well I think it would be good for those who strum a little more aggressively at times, and it's loud enough for regular playing also. It's got a good sound with fingerpicking, and combined playing styles.
    Not as sensitive as a Solid Top, though still reasonably so, and fairly good responsiveness in general with regular playing.

    Cost - Purchasing Online via Marketing Platforms and different Sellers, costs are likely to vary somewhat, though I have seen these selling usually somewhere around between $52 and $64 (AU) or thereabouts.
    Currency rates vary, so I'd expect different costs and interested buyers would be best to check details for themselves personally.
    I got mine for around $52 AU, with Free Freight.

    I'm also expecting a Mahogany Tenor from the same "Music" Brand, another Chen Sheng Ukulele on the way for me, so will keep updated regarding that particular model after it arrives. It's another model that seem to have sold quite a few of, though finding info and reviews is difficult, so we'll see how it goes, when it shows.

    If anyone has any info or any comments relating to these, please feel welcome to add or share if you so choose.

    Happy Ukeing ...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dean Beaver; 09-10-2017 at 08:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Congratulations. It looks nice. I assume geared tuners are generic closed geared. Is there one screw losing tuners is place? Sound sample would be good. For the price if it sound good to you and plays well that is a deal. I thin Canada and AUS $ are close to par so seem like a deal to me in our dollars. Enjoy and have fun. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
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    Hi M3Ukulele , yes that's correct, closed geared tuners with single screw at the rear and the nut on the front.

    image.jpg

    I can try and get a video done during the week. I think I have to load it onto YouTube and link it because last time I tried to post a video it seemed that's the only way to do it, I shall see if I can get something done, it shouldn't be difficult, just need to make a bit of time for it.
    I think it sounds good, and it's enjoyable to play, I'm thinking I'll put my el cheapo Soprano away for my granddaughter to play with, and I'll use this one as my All Purpose Uke, I'll still be taking good care of it. This one is much better I'll be able to enjoy it much more.
    Yes I think Canadian and Australian Dollars are similar currency rates atm.
    Last edited by Dean Beaver; 09-03-2017 at 06:29 AM.

  4. #4
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    I ended up recording a Video Review today, using my Mobile and a Microphone, with my Budgerigars.
    I've added the Review to my UkeBirdsRGo YouTube Channel. You can watch the whole overview, or skip towards the end of the video for a playing demo.
    Simply follow the link below.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srrua8zlSTU

    I also used a New Microphone, one I have never tried previously, it's a uni-directional condenser mic with long range pattern, kind of like a telescopic cardioid pattern. It's situated about Two Metres away, directed toward me, and I'd be interested to get some feedback (pardon the pun) particularly regarding the sound in the video, so feel free to comment on the video.
    Thanks.

    Happy Ukeing
    Last edited by Dean Beaver; 09-10-2017 at 08:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    I've spent some time re-finishing this Uke, rubbed it back and resprayed it (approx 5 times), to acquire a smooth finish. It's a Satin finish and I like it more like this, it feels better to me, and I trust my finishing work to endure a good time
    It was quite a lot of work, I eventually removed the original coating on the Sounboard and got it back to a even smooth finish with natural colours and grain showing as best I could before applying final coat , and with the back and sides I simply have a light and even rub back and re-sprayed a couple of coats.
    It was an interesting project for me. I've never worked with Rosewood previously and was surprised how oily the timer is, but also I found it to be a timber with good characteristics, kind of difficult to explain in short but it was nonetheless a good project with good outcome. The Sounboard looks nice, I'm not sure what type of Rosewood it is, it's different to the Back/Sides which I think are Indian Rosewood, whatever type it is it seems like a good Soundboard to me.
    I've noticed a couple more things with this Uke also, the Logo on the Headstock is inlaid in the Rosewood Veneer using a lighter coloured timber, and the Nut and Saddle were actually seemingly a hard Plastic although it seemed to do the job pretty well ...
    Anyway, I've also replaced the Saddle and Nut with a new Ebony set which I've purchased recently.
    Awaiting new Strings, I'm going to be putting a set of Aquila Super Nylgut Low G on this, I've got a couple of Spruce Top Concerts which are Re-entrant and I think this one will well suited for Low G so will see how it goes.
    And I've added some small dot markers on the side edge of the Fretboard, easy done

    image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
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    Last edited by Dean Beaver; 09-26-2017 at 01:30 AM.

  6. #6
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    I've had the chance to play a couple of Caramel Rosewood (Lam) Uke's, a Tenor and a Baritone. They both had substantial volume and nice tone. I was looking for a more traditional Rosewood Uke and that one looks very nice. With Worth Browns they sounded like chocolate!

    I have a solid Rosewood with Cedar top Ohana that has a lovely tone but is so responsive it isn't good for strumming. It is too bad that Rosewood is on the controlled list and may be hard to get instruments made with it, even fret boards(!) in the future.

  7. #7
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    Hi Jack , thanks for your comments.

    It's kinda funny that you mention Chocolate because that's what I was thinking of while I was working on re-finishing this one, Chocolate. I've got some Mahogany which reminds me of Honey and some Rosewood which reminds me of Chocolate
    I actually considered Worths Browns for this one, it was a last moment decision to get the Super Nylguts Low G set for it, I guess because it's got a good Bass response and the Soundboard feels strong to me, but it's also got nice Highs in contrast, I thought maybe if I'm going to have Low G on any of my Concerts then this one may bring out the best of the sound, not sure so I guess now I have to just try and then find out.
    I also was deciding between Bone or Enony for Nut/Saddle, decided with Ebony for now, so yes there's options and choices, and much to be learnt from it all
    I think the Uke is good value, when I started learning Uke I had Ukes that cost twice the price of these and weren't half as good to play.

    I agree it's a pity about Rosewood supplies/availability, and the Dalbergia (Rosewoods) is just one of probably thousands of plants on the vulnerable/endangered listing, so maybe a lesson for future generations, we'll see, or maybe we won't get to see, it could be another hundred years or quite possibly much more until the natural growth of Dalbergia Genus recovers. I don't think we're going to run out of Rosewoods for instruments just yet, but yeh, I don't think it's going to pick up in a hurry either, so moderation and management is essential for the trees to prosper into the future. I think from what I've learnt that a lot of the problem has been illegal plundering of forests without care for sustainability, and that's why the restrictions are in place to kerb that. That being said, the restrictions has really only just begun, and I reckon in the next year or two the efficiency of Customs will improve more and I consider due time will reveal just how much the musical instrument industry will be affected, and I don't believe we've seen much yet. That's just some of my thoughts on the subject anyway.

    Anyway, for now, I'm looking forward to getting more acquainted with this Uke, considering it was playing fairly well with Plastic Nut/Saddle, I'm expecting some further improvement to come out of my recent efforts, so will be interesting to see how it goes.
    It would also be good if someone has one of these I'd like to know how they go with it too ...

    Late Edited Note (November) - A couple of months have passed, the Ebony Nut and Saddle is fine on this Uke, however I've taken the Wound Low G string off and replaced it with standard high G string, the Wound low G worked fine, it's simply not my taste and I find this Uke (as with my other Ukes) sounds and feels much more pleasant with standard reentrant tuning. Basically with Low G I really felt no enthusiasm to play it, the Bass response seems overpowering in contrast, so, with reentrant tuning back again it's back to being a personal delight again, a broad range of lovely tones


    Happy Ukeing
    Last edited by Dean Beaver; 11-18-2017 at 06:14 PM.

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