View Full Version : Another Irresistable impulse buy - "Tribute" Koa tenor

02-02-2015, 11:04 PM
I was at JB-Hi Fi (Australian electronics store) just to have a browse.
They also happen to sell some guitars and ukuleles and I noticed that they had a few cheap "Tribute" Chinese ukuleles to offer.

I played a few of them, and they were actually not bad for the price. Some were a bit overbuilt and sounded dull while, while others had a bit of a high action.

However, one of them really stood out. This Koa (laminate) acoustic-electric tenor. It was (for some reason) superbly setup with a medium-low action. And the tone was simply amazing for such a cheapy. Keep in mind, it is very rare for me to need to do absolute zero setup work on a store-bought ukulele. This one is perfect just the way it is.

It simply outclassed all the other models that were on display. The tone was rich, deep, sustainful and pleasant.

And the finish and appearance does closely resemble a Kamaka.
They even somehow managed to use the gloss finish that resembles Kamaka's nitrocellulose finish and is lightly built.

I know it will be considered heresy to compare this cheap Chinese copy to a Kamaka, but I have actually owned a very nice Kamaka in the past and this ukulele does emulate that feeling for the poor man.

The shop assistants wanted to get me a "new" one in a box, but I insisted on getting the display model that I had tried. Chances are, this one is a gem.

The electronics work OK - the standard UK-2000 active system. I could upgrade the piezo unit with an Artec, which I know will enhance the output, but it seems to be playing well enough for now.

The finish is not flawless, but at $98 Australian dollars, it was an absolutely irresistible buy for me.
I have brought it home and I am comparing it with some solid-wood ukes of better known brands such as Kala, and it doesn't struggle to keep up.

I feel like Australia is lifting its game for inexpensive ukuleles as of late.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/20150203_205202_zpsea75cc01.jpg (http://s4.photobucket.com/user/pactio_kiss/media/20150203_205202_zpsea75cc01.jpg.html)

edit: upon playing it some more, I suspect these ukes are made in the same factory as Anuenue. I feel a close resemblance.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
02-02-2015, 11:21 PM
ooh i say that is very lovely

50 quid?


02-03-2015, 02:13 AM
As expected, the undersaddle unit that it came with was pretty crappy (left). I replaced it with a better undersaddle piezo (right) and now it plays beautifully plugged in.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y121/pactio_kiss/20150203_2356431_zps7768c760.jpg (http://s4.photobucket.com/user/pactio_kiss/media/20150203_2356431_zps7768c760.jpg.html)