View Full Version : Tenor Outdoor Ukulele

07-17-2015, 04:16 PM
While I know the soprano model that has been out for a while gets mixed reviews, I thought some people here might be interested in this. Just went on pre-order today. They say they have a limited number in this run and that they'll ship on Monday (7/20). This run only has the 'bottle brown' model. The next run (end of the month/beginning of next month) will have bottle brown and 'natural' (translucent). $150 isn't bad in my opinion and I've always liked my OU soprano (for what it is).

Link to their site:


Demo video of their prototype:


More pictures and videos are available on their facebook page.

I already bought one... can't wait to get it. (I know this probably sounds like an advertisement, but I just like the concept of these ukes.) :-)

EDIT: 7/25/2015 - A quick review and images of the OU I just received today:

First let me say that I have been a fan of the OU for a while. Opinions seem to be pretty divided on the original OU soprano. It would be a generalization (but I don't think entirely untrue) to say that you either love it or you hate it. I've always loved mine. That being said, I have had a few complaints about the soprano (keep in mind that I was one of the first 10 orders, so they may have made improvements to the soprano later that I didn't see):

- The squared neck is difficult to get used to and I was never able to get 100% comfortable with it.
- The grooves in the nut are far too shallow. On more than one occasion I had the A string pop out of place while playing hard and/or fast. This is disappointing when you can't replace the nut.
- The frets are WAY too tall. This video does a good job of showing how you can easily sharpen a note by playing too hard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r89dXr9JbpM

I mention my issues with the soprano OU because they have all been fixed in the tenor! The neck is rounded and comfortable, the grooves in the nut have a proper depth, and the frets are much shorter. The action is nice and low and you only have to press lightly to get good tone. However, even if you have a bit more of a heavy hand, you won't make the notes go sharp as was possible on the soprano.

In terms of sound quality, I feel like the tenor has a great tone and sounds less 'plasticy' to my ear than the soprano. The tenor also sounds a bit milder and perhaps a tad quiet. However, I think some of that can be attributed to the strings that come on it. I have Aquila reds on my soprano and they made a huge difference in the volume and quality of sound I was able to get out of it. I imagine the same will be true for the tenor. The strings that come on the tenor OU are not horrible, but they just don't cut it for me. Overall I would rate the sound quality 'good' even when compared to similarly priced wood ukes. I would rate it 'excellent' if it is only compared against other plastic/non-wood ukes.

Obviously the tenor is heavier than the soprano. A lot of the weight seems to be in the neck, rather than just at the headstock with the metal tuners. The neck feels solid and high quality (much more solid than the soprano's neck). I imagine it is reinforced against the additional tension of the tenor strings. The OU comes with Grover open tuners that work well and as you would expect. I also really love the color. It's hard to tell that it is brown until you bring it into sunlight. It has a translucent, chocolate color to it in the right light that I like more than my original black model soprano.

Overall I would say that I am quite impressed. It's obvious that the people at OU learned from the feedback given by people who purchased the soprano. I think it's a steal for $150 as long as you don't expect it to sound like a more expensive wood uke. I think most people understand that this is not meant to replace their nice wood uke. That being said, at this price point I don't think I'd choose anything else. :)

Comparison pictures with the OU soprano (sorry a couple are a bit blurry):

Front Compared:

Side Compared:

I have too many pictures so I've included more as links:

Soprano Nut (http://i.imgur.com/0h6E0cP.jpg)

Tenor Nut (http://i.imgur.com/MrIP4D4.jpg)

Soprano Frets (http://i.imgur.com/WAHnhY5.jpg)

Tenor Frets (http://i.imgur.com/iIM6Qx5.jpg)

Headstock Front (http://i.imgur.com/9GI80ZF.jpg)

Headstock Back (http://i.imgur.com/aDRP28S.jpg)

Sound hole (http://i.imgur.com/PXfWUMs.jpg)

07-17-2015, 07:18 PM
Darn you! Why did you do this to me? I ended up putting in an order for a tenor! There goes the money.

07-17-2015, 07:53 PM
I'm glad they don't make a cutaway or I might be tempted.

07-18-2015, 06:17 PM
I'm glad they don't make a cutaway or I might be tempted. How about a resonator?

07-18-2015, 07:47 PM
How about a resonator?

Not sure why you mention resonator, my preference is for a cutaway, which I've never seen on a resonator.

07-18-2015, 11:14 PM
Wow, that sample sounds great. Looking forward to reviews of you and others who got one.

Captain Simian
07-19-2015, 03:45 AM
I previously owned a OU soprano and I liked it a lot. The only reason I don't have it anymore is because it was stolen but I digress. Anyway, while I liked the OU and the square neck it seems to me that a lot of other folks didn't. I think that's the biggest reason why they haven't been more successful. They should first figure out a way to make a more traditionally shaped neck before putting out another model imho.

07-19-2015, 04:47 AM
I got a chance to strum one of the tenor models this weekend at Uke University in Bend, Oregon. The neck is not "squared" like the soprano model, but rounded. I found it quite comfortable to play - if you can call what I do playing. :)


Captain Simian
07-19-2015, 05:08 AM
Well, that changes everything. Good thing for me they're sold out right now.

07-23-2015, 01:20 PM
Dear angrygnome
would you be so kind post some review and photos when you got it? I am contemplating getting one as well when the stock become available.. I would be very keen to know how playable it is and the sound of it.

07-23-2015, 06:29 PM
Sounds cool- post a review and pics when you get it please

07-25-2015, 08:38 AM
I've edited my original post with a really quick review with images.

07-25-2015, 12:02 PM
I've edited my original post with a really quick review with images.

Thanks for the quick review! I assume you will change to a better set of strings. Keep the review flowing!!?

07-28-2015, 09:23 PM
Thanks for the good pics and comparison to the soprano (good that you have both to compare). I like the root-beer / beer-bottle brown color. Love the soundhole logo too. Seems pretty good - and made in the USA - can't go wrong supporting local businesses like them. I might have to pick one of these up.

07-29-2015, 02:27 PM
Mine is on the way (:

07-31-2015, 03:46 PM
Got mine yesterday. It looks good, the neck feels good in the hand, and it sounds GREAT !

08-01-2015, 05:49 PM
So, I did receive my OU brown tenor last week - part of the first batch sold. For $150 I wasn't expecting much, but am I ever impressed. The sound exceeds my expectations. This is one fun and indestructible uke! It has been a blast playing it. And the neck is not bad as it is rounded at the corners/edges - not an issue as far as I'm concerned. Recommended.

08-02-2015, 03:11 AM
I got one and immediately put a wound low G and Seaquar clear fluorocarbon strings on it. Has a plastic sound to it but what would you expect with it being made out of plastic. As others have said, the neck is rounded and is comfortable to play, action is nice and low. Plenty of volume. The instrument is well made, solid, not heavy.

Overall, this is a very nice instrument for the money.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2015, 03:34 AM
Wow! Good, complimentary words and no worries about cracks, etc. One needn't worry about humidity and all that humidification fuss either. Maybe if enough people buy 'em, they'll improve them even more. :old:

08-02-2015, 06:04 AM
I got one and immediately put a wound low G and Seaquar clear fluorocarbon strings on it.

if the frets are polycarb I think a wound string will ruin your frets in short order.

08-02-2015, 06:41 AM
if the frets are polycarb I think a wound string will ruin your frets in short order.

I'm not the least bit concerned about that.

08-02-2015, 08:59 AM
How is the neck thickness? Thinnish or kind of thick/squared like Flea/Flukes?

08-02-2015, 10:16 AM
How is the neck thickness? Thinnish or kind of thick/squared like Flea/Flukes?

I have a Flea and the necks are very close to being about the same width and thickness. They are about 1-7/16" wide at the nut.

08-03-2015, 01:52 PM
Got mine delivered a couple of days ago and here is my two cents:

• The ukulele came with clear fluorocarbon strings which I promptly changed to Worth Low G Brown so can’t comment on the strings that come with it. First thing I notice is that the groves at the head stock seem to have identical width and quite tight fit. With the fat low G string it does not fit in completely, may needs another 0.02mm for perfect fit but I will leave it as is for now. I may file it bigger in the future.
• The volume is decent and it is indeed distinctly different to the wood ones. It is not loud however it maybe because the brown Worth strings have mellow sound characteristic.
• The ukulele is a 2 piece joint construction – front and back with a 0.1mm gap around. Some might like a zero gap around but it is subjective person to person.
• The neck is round-ish and slightly thicker than my wood ones – the thickness is probably needed to have sufficient strength to counter the tension for the neck. It is comfortable to hold and play. Weight distribution is also very even.
• There are a bit of ‘character’ to the look of this ukulele as the colour is slightly lighter around the sound hole, presumably due to manufacture process but it looks good to me. On the backside where the base of the neck is has a cut mark presumably is the mould inject point - doesn’t look too pretty but I can live with. Colour is nice.
• Overall well-designed and very pleasant to hold.

Here are the opportunities for improvement
• I made a mistake of adding the passive pick up to the ukulele – in my opinion it is the wrong set up. The ukulele has a matt finish which also prone to create a lot of noise. I can hear my left hand moving around the neck when playing (as the neck is virtually hollow), and when my clothes and my hand get in contact with the ukulele. I tried reduced the gain to lowest still can’t eliminate the noise. The saddle is not replaceable so I can’t think of other solution to get around installing a proper pick up.
• The neck is slightly bendable which makes tuning slightly tricky with the string tension changes.
• In my opinion the biggest drawback is the hollow sound board. The string vibration hitting the frets and bridge is very noticeable as the hollow sound board/neck act as a drum and amplifier. As soon as I pick a bit harder or start strumming, the noise become very pronounced. From my experience playing the Blackbird Clara which also has a hollow neck, it is not an issue at all as Blackbird added a solid sound board and metal fret which eliminated the vibration issue.

Overall I am happy as I mainly do finger picking, for $150 it is what it is. On the hindsight I shouldn’t have added the passive pick up which is not a good set up.

Happy to hear others view

08-04-2015, 06:28 PM
^^^ good review pumbaaaa!

08-06-2015, 03:39 AM
I've given the uke a couple of days of play and 2 string changes. First I put on Guadalupe colored stings for a bit of bling. Didn't like the sound. Then I put on Living Waters, sounds better. Low G. Uniform slots make some strings not fit well. While the uke is set up nice, action low like I like it, does seem to buzz a bit, I would like to be ABLE to change the action so, a separate saddle would be nice. The neck is very bendable and weak in my opinion. Sounds nice when picked or strummed with the pad of the finger. Intonation is good. Sound is loud but most is projected straight out, sounds better to others than to self. Could easily put in a side soundhole myself. I like the color and transparency'ness of it. They must be confident in it's indestructible quality for it came packed in a box with a sliver of padding, literally like 1/16 of an inch padding, lol. Loose in the box, rattling around.

I would keep it except for the loud clicking sound that is unbearable when I strum with my nails. Which is how I usually play. Ultimately though I don't think this is a keeper. I actually prefer the Koaloha concert I got for 45 bucks on Amazon. I may return it or take a bigger loss by lowering the price to 125 plus shipping for a small discount so that another person can try it out.

08-06-2015, 04:41 AM
I am still using the original strings, although I did order a set of Aquila Reds for changing out. I also noticed the clicking of the nail, especially the right forefinger. I usually strum down with thumb and up with forefinger. It did seem to abate the more I played it - I think I was unconsciously adjusting the angle that I strum. It does great when strummed with the pads of the fingers, as bonesigh noted.

It sounds very good when fingerpicked, or chord/melody.

It is my first tenor, so it does seem huge, but I am getting used to that as well. It is a keeper for me. I was Team OU last year when they first attempted the production, and I want to support their perseverance and willingness to listen to the feedback from their soprano. It has a home in my travel trailer - which can get quite warm/cold - and I have brought it along in the car and truck on a couple of occasions.

It is perfect for my use, and adds a tenor to my little stable of ukuleles.

08-29-2015, 06:13 AM
thank you for sharing your insight. I've had my eye on this for a bit now.

A gentleman that goes by PeteyMack64 reviewed it recently:

Your feedback on the passive pick-up was really helpful too.

12-10-2015, 05:58 PM
I originally ordered the Tenor a year or two ago and was refunded when they were delayed ... so I was excited when they finally came out this year ..... As I'm an avid backpacker, it is a no brainer for me .... The stock strings weren't working well for me, so I put on Aquila Reds with a low G. As this is a poly Uke, my bar in terms of tone isn't very high, but the sound seemed overly dull and dead to me ..... Which was a bummer, I REALLY wanted to love this Uke! I got the camo version and the camo seemed to applique / sticker, so I'm sure that isn't helping the tone and I noticed it was coming off on the frets as it is applied directly over the fretboard, frets, everything ... Had to return it and will be bringing a similarly priced wood uke for outdoor adventures, sadly ..... The reward of having it be indestructible just didn't make up for the dead tone to me .... :( High five to all that like theirs! Cheers!

12-11-2015, 04:02 AM
I like mine. Using the strings it came with.got the pickup and would not if I did it agian. Had a buzz and it turned out to be the strap button not being tight. Sounds good to my ear and like the no worries take along factor. Nice when finger picked ok when strummed.

12-12-2015, 03:06 AM
I actually prefer the Koaloha concert I got for 45 bucks on Amazon. I may return it or take a bigger loss by lowering the price to 125 plus shipping for a small discount so that another person can try it out.
You must have meant Kohala or something, if you got Koaloha concert for $45 you got the deal of the year! I've had several and they are one of the best sounding concerts out there @ any price!

02-04-2016, 05:59 AM
Yes, must admit, I enjoy the brown bottle at each traffic light stop during the 15 minute commute to and from the office.

Got a brown bottle tenor for Xmas and really enjoy it. The brown bottle rests in an open Uke Crazy tenor case in the front passenger seat of my Toyota Tacoma truck and replaces a dolphin. Have to scoot the passenger seat back to make room for the tenor and case. As the crossing light changes from green to yellow I set the ukulele down in the open case in one swift move without bumping the tuners and while looking in both directions to ensure the intersection is clear.

When studying the double bass in college 30 years ago I became sensitive to the requirements of caring for a wooden instrument. Things like using a Dampit (http://www.westmusic.com/p/dampit-903ol-string-bass-humidifier-350398), not storing the bass against an outside wall, and only having the bass in a vehicle during transit, never for storage.

Not very concerned with having a dolphin uke in the front seat for the past year and a half. A few issues with the dolphin have been

needs new strings
the dolphin is a soprano, I play tenor, switching back and forth effects muscle memory
goes out of tune during a temperature change of more than about 5 degrees F. Tuning cuts into precious playing time during the commute. And tuners with an LCD do not display well in the cold
and it needs new strings ;)

The temperature here in Lincoln, Nebraska, is not uncommon to other central USA locations. Each year we have about twelve days where the temperature dips below 0 °F (-18°C), forty days above 90 °F with five of those going above 100 °F (38°C). Readings as high as 105°F (41°C) or as low as −20°F (−29°C) occur somewhat rarely; the last occurrence of each was July 22, 2012 and February 3, 1996.

The advertised range of the Outdoor Ukulele is -40F (-40C) to +250F (121C)! The range of temperature inside my vehicle will not exceed that. My Outdoor Ukulele brown bottle can be left in the car year-round without concern of damage due to temperature, and it's a tenor. Perfect!

Today there were four stops and each time I played the major chords in first position followed by the minor chords in first position.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
Am, Bm, Cm, Dm, Em, Fm, Gm, Am

Also jammed on a Dm7 to DM7 progression.

So if you ever get frustrated with having to stop at traffic lights, I recommend getting an Outdoor Ukulele to turn that frown upside down. :cool:

02-04-2016, 08:58 AM
Have had my bottle brown since the first shipments went out. It has stayed in my car over the winter. (But I did bring it inside during our January snowstorm/cold spell so I could play without having to uncase my wooden ukuleles.) I keep it in the backseat of my car in a Fusion F4 gig bag from eBay.

Had it with me last night while I was waiting for my husband to get off work. He was delayed by phone calls before we could leave for dinner. No worries - I just went inside and played for an hour. Nothing like playing for your supper :) I love having it always with me for spontaneous times like that. My grandkids now expect me to bring it in from the car when I visit.

It is so nice to have a a worry-free ukulele that I am revisiting getting a Clara as my next ukulele.

02-04-2016, 12:51 PM
I received a Outdoor Tenor ukule for Xmas, and I love it. Despite it being made of polycarbonate, the tone is pretty decent. My wife really likes it, which is a plus. Almost all my playing is done in the car waiting for kids, so it has been tremendously handy. I'm also looking forward to camping and fishing with an uke I don't have to worry about getting wet or temperature extremes.

02-04-2016, 03:16 PM
I recently got a green one. I disliked the soprano model very much, to say the least. I didn't like the way the neck felt and especially didn't like the sound. Ack. Other than that, I really dislike friction tuners. The shipping was also way slower than expected and they were hard to contact... I hesitated a lot due to those things, but decided I'd give them a second chance. The verdict is........
I'm really glad I did. I think this tenor is a real winner. It shipped out promptly (the day after I placed the order). The build quality is very good. It's durable, as noted. I think it sounds really nice too. It has it's own sound and it's very pleasant to my ears. The tuning machines are the same ones I have purchased myself to replace friction tuners with on previous ukes I've owned. They are high quality. The setup is really nice. It plays easily. I think they really got it right with this one.
I've heard some say the nut slots are all the same width, but it doesn't look like that to me. The part that goes towards the headstock is the same width, yes...However, when I had all strings off I looked at the front part of the slots (this is the part that matters most) and it appears to me the C slot is wider there, as should be...etc.

I've heard of a few people complaining about the price...I don't get that. I think the price is spot on where it should be. Keep in mind it includes Priority Mail shipping. Also, you get an instrument that is made in the USA. Of course that's going to make it more expensive than it would be if it was made elsewhere...but to me it means something. I can happily play it knowing it was built by people who were in good working conditions, etc. The material used isn't just some cheap plastic that you'd find in a plastic cup or whatever. It's just an alternative to wood, in a sense. It's pretty in its own way. Of course it's not going to have the striking beauty of something like koa, or the nice smell of wood either....but it is what it is. In all fairness, they do market it as an OUTDOOR ukulele....an instrument meant to take what wooden instruments can't. However, I enjoy playing mine at home just fine. It's nice to be able to leave it hanging on the wall and not worry about lack of humidity during the winter months.

The only thing I can think of that I might do slightly differently is going with the longer post version of the tuning machines they have. There isn't much space to wind the strings around as I'd like to see. I think the headstock would support the longer post version of those Grovers, but I haven't measured the depth to see.
It's not as big of a deal when using fluorocarbon strings that don't stretch quite as much as some others. I tried some D'addario Nyltech strings that worked out alright with the posts, but I felt like I ran out of room way too fast. I'm playing Worth CT on it right now, but haven't settled on a string for sure. I might still try the browns as well as some Martin flouro. The Rye Rabbit strings sounded really nice. I had the G string start shedding on me though. I've never had that happen with a flouro string before. I've heard of it happening, just never experienced it personally. It could've just been a bad one.

All in all, It's a really good experience for me this time. I'd recommend the uke.
I much prefer tenor ukes now, but if I was in the market for a soprano I'd be wanting to give the re-release a try if it had geared tuning machines.

02-05-2016, 04:24 AM
I'm glad to hear it is more playable and smoother feeling than the sopranos. I have a soprano and the playability was just not good for me. I am now using it as my signature uke, if I go to a concert. I never enjoyed playing it, or the sound of it.

Sounds like the tenor is vastly improved in feel and sound. I'm glad!!!

02-05-2016, 06:15 AM
Whoopsy (: KE Aloha! From Amazon. I did finally get used to the sound of the Tenor Outdoor and it was good to have in the car for it does have good intonation. The school music teacher fell in love with it and wants to buy it.

You must have meant Kohala or something, if you got Koaloha concert for $45 you got the deal of the year! I've had several and they are one of the best sounding concerts out there @ any price!

02-06-2016, 07:35 PM
I got a call from my sales rep on Friday that Eddy Finn is coming out with a complete plastic line which also includes a banjo. He didn't have an exact date or any specs, and I know even less than he does. It seems to be an idea which is catching on.

02-07-2016, 07:27 AM
Have the Bottle Brown tenor OU. With two strap buttons (love this affordable upgrade). Got the k&k pickup too but don't really use it. Have Worth Clears on it and like them much better.
In fact I like mine so much I'm considering the silver coated one. Anyone know if they sound any differently side by side?
Also their Facebook page is now promoting the Soprano for only $95, which seems a great deal. I have too many sopranos though!

02-09-2016, 08:59 AM
Sounds like the tenor is vastly improved in feel and sound. I'm glad!!!
In my opinion, that is most definitely true.

Have the Bottle Brown tenor OU. With two strap buttons (love this affordable upgrade). Got the k&k pickup too but don't really use it. Have Worth Clears on it and like them much better.
In fact I like mine so much I'm considering the silver coated one. Anyone know if they sound any differently side by side?
Also their Facebook page is now promoting the Soprano for only $95, which seems a great deal. I have too many sopranos though!
I'm really liking the Worth clears as well. I've had them on several days now and I might just stick with them.

I doubt the paint would make any noticeable difference on these particular ukes as far as sound goes. I'd be surprised if anyone could hear any difference. I'm not saying it's not possible though.

03-15-2016, 05:41 PM
I recently bought the bottle brown tenor, not as a replacement by any means for my Kamaka longneck tenor, but, specifically for what it is, basically an almost indestructible take anywhere tenor! I love it, once the strings settled, customized and had them ship with Aquilas and strap buttons (can't leave home without my Sarah Maisel Chee handmade strap), no pickup, she sings for me as well as any under 200 uke can be expected, except that I don't have to worry about it in any environment or situation. My Kamaka can't ever leave my side, my hands or eyesight for any amount of time, so the O U tenor is more fun on the go, have uke will travel:) Definitely wouldn't hesitate to finish a set with her as a backup. These ukes aren't meant to be replacements for performance handmade wood instruments, nor are they imho, meant to sound like one. If you play tenor size uke and want to practice anywhere, jam in extreme conditions, i.e. 110 in the shade, or next to the snowman you just created, or IN the lake, or in front of the smoky campfire, then these help you create and share your love of the ukulele anywhere, without fear of cracking, ungluing, warping, water etc.:) And while the bugsgear and makala watermans are less expensive similar fun, they aren't tenors, and yes I did think for a moment about the Blackbird tenor, having tried one out in HILO, it raises the question again of why would I want to bring a $1400 instrument to the beach bonfire?:)Highly recommended fun!! Much Aloha and happy strumming!:)

Still Water Weapons
03-22-2016, 03:19 PM
Just ordered a brown tenor. Heading out of town in a couple weeks and looking forward to not being without a uke on the trip!:)

Still Water Weapons
03-24-2016, 10:25 AM
So, my OU is on it's way. I'm curious what strings you guys have tried and had success and failures with. I have heard that Worth clears sound good on them. What other strings are you guys using, and which ones do you think really didn't work well?

03-24-2016, 11:48 AM
I've got Worth Clear's on mine right now. Usually I like tuning down to Bb on Tenors, but the OU sounds better in the normal re-entrant gcea tuning. The stock strings weren't that great. I'd be curious what other people are doing with theirs.

03-24-2016, 07:05 PM
Mine was the very first run and have the original strings still on them - I bought Reds, but haven't changed them out as I kind of like the original strings. But I don't really know what they are - they might be the Rye Rabbit ones , but they didn't have any of them listed for sale when I purchased mine.