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Thread: Pepe Romero Koa Tenor Review

  1. #1
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    Default Pepe Romero Koa Tenor Review

    Pepe Romero Jr. has been making ukuleles since last year. He already has an impressive following for his guitars and he has been a luthier for about 15 years. I was very excited to try one of his ukes! Here's a quick review....

    Features: 10
    Tenor Koa made by Pepe Romero in San Diego, CA in 2011.
    12 frets to the body, 18 frets total.
    Solid Koa top, back, and sides with classical inspired fan bracing on the top. Rosewood binding and bloodwood purfling.
    Mahogany neck with Madagascar rosewood fretboard and string-through bridge. CSA rosewood peghead overlay.
    The finish is shellac with a French polish, very thin and very hard.
    Peghed brand tuners. The neck width at the nut measures a rather wide 38mm and the fretboard is not radiused.

    Sound: 10
    This is easily one of the best tenor ukes I have played, period. It has a loud voice and projects very well. The Koa adds a sweet warmth but it's still nice and bright overall. It just sings when played, and I would say it excels at classical or fingerstyle style playing the most. It actually puts a Collings UT1 to shame volume-wise (and that's saying something). It sounds good everywhere on the fretboard and plays just as well.

    Action, Fit & Finish: 10
    OK, so the finish shows some application marks and is not perfect but really, just holding the uke you can tell how good the build quality is. I love being able to tell that it was all handmade by an individual and not a factory. If I wanted perfection, I would have bought a Collings Other than the finish, everything looks and works very well. It's light as a feather and extremely responsive. I probably wouldn't take it out to a gig just because I never want to lose it or have anything happen to it!

    Customer Support: 10
    I didn't purchase this uke directly from Pepe but I have been in touch with him. Let me just say that he is a pleasure to deal with. He will take the time to answer any questions and he really wants his customers to be happy with one of his instruments. He's ben more than accommodating to me. He's top notch in my book.

    Overall Rating: 10
    I can't give this uke anything less than a 10, it's just that good. If you want beautiful workmanship as well as a gorgeous sound, you might want to consider one of Pepe's ukes. I'm still amazed at how much sound comes out of this little box! I know I rated this uke a 10 out of 10 in each category but I really think it was earned. I have played and owned many, many ukes over the years and this one stands at the top. I think Pepe has loads of talent and I can't wait to see more from him.

    Cheers!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by specialk13; 03-04-2012 at 01:34 PM.
    Specialk

  2. #2
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    Here are a couple more pics:

    PR7.jpgPR8.jpg
    Specialk

  3. #3
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    That's gorgeous!

  4. #4
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    McCabe's in Santa Monica, CA has had 2 Pepe Romero Jr. ukes since they first came out. A Mahogany tenor and a Koa tenor. The Mahogany has since been sold, but the Koa tenor is still for sale. I've played both many times. They are probably the lightest built tenor ukes around. Great workmanship, sound, tone, and projection.

    Guitar Salon International, here in Santa Monica as well, specializes in classical and flamenco guitars. They also received delivery from Pepe Romero Jr. himself when the ukes first came out and Pepe Sr. performed live, too! I believe that all of their Pepe Jr ukes have been sold.
    Last edited by KimosTherapy; 03-04-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  5. #5
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    Excellent review, specialK! The rosewood binding is sweet and I love that lighter stripe down the middle of the top. Did you buy locally? I remember HMS had one or two recently. Be sure to supply some sound files when you can.
    Craig


    Beau Hannam Spiral Rosette tenor
    Moore Bettah tenor "Ki Uke"
    Kinnard mahogany tenor
    Koa Works tenor
    Koa Works concert
    Pohaku custom mahogany concert

  6. #6
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    OK, here are a couple of sound clips. One has a bit of strumming, the other one has some picking stuff. I'm not sure how good the quality is, I used an Olympus LS-11 recorder.....

    http://soundcloud.com/specialktp/ls110027

    http://soundcloud.com/specialktp/pep...-koa-tenor-uke

    Craig, I picked this up at Guitar Salon International and I think HMS still has a koa model available.
    Last edited by specialk13; 06-12-2012 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Replaced Sound Clips
    Specialk

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by specialk13 View Post
    OK, here are a couple of sound clips. One has a bit of strumming, the other one has some picking stuff. I'm not sure how good the quality is, I used an Olympus LS-11 recorder.....

    http://www.mediafire.com/?75sz2vut4fahrw1

    http://www.mediafire.com/?75sz2vut4fahrw1


    Craig, I picked this up at Guitar Salon International and I think HMS still has a koa model available.


    Both of the sound clips are the same.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkguitarsandukes View Post
    Both of the sound clips are the same.
    Should be fixed now I think.......First time adding sound clips and such
    Specialk

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkguitarsandukes View Post
    Guitar Salon International, here in Santa Monica as well, specializes in classical and flamenco guitars. They also received delivery from Pepe Romero Jr. himself when the ukes first came out and Pepe Sr. performed live, too! I believe that all of their Pepe Jr ukes have been sold.
    Yeah, the site says they are sold out.

    A while ago they had a blog entry/video from Pepe Jr. stopping by and demo-ing three of his ukes (mahogany, koa, spruce). He's not a bad player, either.

    http://guitarsalon.com/blog/?p=2437

  10. #10
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    McCabe's Music also has one available:

    http://mccabesmerchandise.tumblr.com/page/2
    Specialk

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