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View Full Version : NUD - Risa solid concert 'stick'



igorthebarbarian
03-18-2015, 09:26 PM
I just received a new Risa solid concert "stick". And in a whopping 10-day turn-around from ordering it online from ukulele.de in Germany to delivered in AZ - that's fast! Plus the exchange rate is down a bit so it's a good time to buy.

I really like the solid feel of it. It sounds great through my Honeytone amp. It is great for practicing at night, which is the only free time I really have. It doesn't wake up the neighbors either when unplugged.

The pickup is nice. I had an Eleuke before and this is much better than that one was.

The action is nice and low with the zero fret up top.

I thought it would be weird to not have a headstock but it's really no different/ you don't really miss it or even notice it after a little while.

Mine shipped with Aquila strings, which I thought was odd. I swapped them out quickly and easily for Worth CM strings fluorocarbons. I much prefer Worths and am now waiting for them to settle in. It was a fairly easy process, especially if you change them out one string at a time (also a good idea for banjo ukes with the floating bridge). The break angles didn't seem too extreme when tightening up the strings, which was surprising since I was worried about that initially.

When I usually use Worth strings though, I almost always (dumbly) just blindly cut them in half and string them up. However, on this Risa concert stick, I think they might have been too short on the E & A strings, due to the long angle-break to the tuner peg from the wrap-bar. So that is a warning for anyone to watch out for. I'm not sure I could string up two concert sticks with one set of Worths... maybe a soprano would be ok though. So maybe I'll have to go with Martin fluorocarbons in the future or Living Waters. Does anyone else have experience with that potential problem? I much rather prefer re-entrant fluorocarbons (Worth, Living Waters, Martin, etc) over Aquila but that's a separate subject :)

Re-stringing it up challenged my knot-making ability for the headstock! It's a bit of a tight fit up there but it's not too difficult. I basically double-knotted at the end and passed them through. Although I do have a little bit of the tip-end sticking out through the hole on the under-side. I need some smaller scissors to trim them (maybe nose-hair trimmer scissors!) since it's a small delicate space there.

The tuners are nice quality. Solid. The 4:1 ratio is a good compromise between frictions and geared tuners.

The bag it comes in is decent. The strap, however, is pretty flimsy/cheap-feeling, but should do the job.

It's a good-looking uke, but it is an odd-looking uke. I like the size and the feel. It'll be great for travel and for sitting on the couch playing. As I mentioned in a separate post, I'm now in an apartment so this is perfect for quiet practice at night.

Overall I really like it and would consider getting a tenor 'stick' now (tuned down to either re-entrant Bb with normal strings, or dGBE re-entrant with those specific strings). Or maybe the full-on electric kidney-bean one and try to tune DGBE (not sure what strings that would use). Damn you UAS!

igorthebarbarian
03-18-2015, 09:42 PM
77636
77637
77638
Here are some moderate-quality photos!

Tootler
03-18-2015, 11:18 PM
I have a concert Risa 'stick' ukulele. They're great. Mine came with brown fluorocarbons (Worth BM?) I had it tuned down to Bb for a while but have gone back to GCEA.

I also have a tenor Risa Uke'Ellie. I've tuned that down to dGBE. The default strings were a bit too slack at that tuning so I've replaced them with Worth CFs. The tension is fine with them - similar to a soprano in C-tuning and I'm fine with that. I don't like the high tension of a tenor in C-tuning.

The two ukes complement each other nicely.

StacyAZ
03-18-2015, 11:57 PM
I'm happy for your new acquisition, fellow Arizonan! Thank you for your review!

A Risa Soprano solid was my second ukulele purchase, shortly after I bought my first ukulele and realized that I love playing. I wanted a quiet uke, and I have used my Risa that way quite a bit! I've also enjoyed traveling with it already, and it is so tiny that it is very easy to travel with. I also wanted a uke that could be amplified should the need arise (my first uke has no pickup). I've already used my Risa in an "open mike" online (via Jamplay), and that worked out well plugged into the computer via my husband's Line 6 effects pod (I played clean). I purchased mine though Ukulele World, but you are right, the dollar is now much stronger against the Euro than it has been and ordering from Germany would be a good deal. I do not know what strings mine came with but they sure look like the Aquilas that came on my Luna Honu Soprano. I am thinking I will try Martin M600 strings for the Risa when I next need to restring.

I agree with your review all the way. I do not miss not having a headstock, the build is very solid, the tuners of really good quality. One thing I notice is that when amplified, any sloppiness I make in fretting results in an annoying string buzz. Playing this uke may help me improve my technique! I don't know if the Aquila strings (if that is what they are) have anything to do with that.

I do not like to sew much but for my Risa I made an exception. I made a strap for mine: 77639

Enjoy your new Risa!

stevepetergal
03-19-2015, 03:46 AM
I had the Concert, too. It's unquestionably one of the best instruments I've ever owned. Anyone on the fence should get one.

Cnell
03-19-2015, 07:11 AM
I have small hands and was wondering about the Risa Stick. Is the neck rather wide on this uke?

igorthebarbarian
03-19-2015, 11:11 AM
I have small hands and was wondering about the Risa Stick. Is the neck rather wide on this uke?

Cnell, I think the neck is fairly wide for a concert. I have fairly small hands too but they're comfortable on this. It's a very high quality instrument. I would consider the soprano too. I was turned off by the pics initially on the internet because the sopranos look almost too-white. But in looking at StacyAZ's pic above, the wood color looks better on hers. Also nice strap! I might have to upgrade that in the future.

igorthebarbarian
03-19-2015, 11:13 AM
I have a concert Risa 'stick' ukulele. They're great. Mine came with brown fluorocarbons (Worth BM?) I had it tuned down to Bb for a while but have gone back to GCEA.

I also have a tenor Risa Uke'Ellie. I've tuned that down to dGBE. The default strings were a bit too slack at that tuning so I've replaced them with Worth CFs. The tension is fine with them - similar to a soprano in C-tuning and I'm fine with that. I don't like the high tension of a tenor in C-tuning.

The two ukes complement each other nicely.


Hi Tootler, on the tenor uke Ellie, how do you like that compared to the regular stick one? I know it has friction tuners, which I don't mind. For your dGBE tuning, do you just have regular gCEA strings tuned down a few steps to that? I have done that on a tenor before, but only down to Bb tuning, which I really liked. Down to G seems like they'd be floppy. Or maybe you have specific strings for that?

Also, could you maybe get a picture of the two of them side by side? I can't seem to find anything about the Uke'Ellie's on the internet. Thanks!

PeteyHoudini
03-19-2015, 02:13 PM
I have a Risa soprano stick. These silent ukes are great to have but great to be able to plug them in!

Thanks for your comments about restringing and knot-making. I was worried about that myself.

Strange your uke wasn't Risa (Worth) fluorocarbon strings.

Yeah, the bag is flimsy but I got another strap instead of using the bag's strap.

All the best on your purchase!

Petey

jer
03-19-2015, 03:13 PM
Awesome. I don't own one now, but have thought about getting another. There is just something cool about a stick with strings on it. ha. I often played mine without even plugging it in.
I noticed sometimes the side of the strings with the knots get stuck and they're hard to get out while changing strings. That and it seems a little trickier to tune due to the way the strings have to go over that additional part before they get to the tuners. Overall, I think they're great though. Very sturdy and portable. I hope you enjoy yours!

igorthebarbarian
03-19-2015, 05:51 PM
Thanks Petey. I enjoyed your video review on YouTube


I have a Risa soprano stick. These silent ukes are great to have but great to be able to plug them in!

Thanks for your comments about restringing and knot-making. I was worried about that myself.

Strange your uke wasn't Risa (Worth) fluorocarbon strings.

Yeah, the bag is flimsy but I got another strap instead of using the bag's strap.

All the best on your purchase!

Petey

greenie44
03-20-2015, 05:29 AM
I have a tenor, and I haven't tried to restring it yet. I may wait a few years . . .

But one thing I have recently discovered is a load of fun is playing with a slide. For some reason, the non-steel strings and the pickup seems to work just right and make a beautiful and crazy sound.