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View Full Version : Opinion, Romero Replica



Django
02-25-2018, 07:11 AM
I like the look and sound of the new Romero Replicas, but I am not sure if it is worth the price, being produced in I believe Vietnam. Any options?

Choirguy
02-25-2018, 07:20 AM
If you’re talking this model (as seen at the Uke Republic) http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/romero-creations-the-replica-all-solid-spruce-mahogany-tenor-ukulele, the price seems fair for an equivalent solid wood, “blingy” import from Pono—and might even be a better price point than an equivalently equipped Pono.

Nothing against Pono...just using that brand as a comparable instrument (I can’t think of another brand that would fit in that range...A KoAloha Opio really isn’t the same thing).

UkerDanno
02-25-2018, 07:50 AM
A comparable Kala or Ohana would be several hundred less...

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/product/ohana-tk-470g-solid-spruce-and-rosewood-comfort-edge-tenor-ukulele

DownUpDave
02-25-2018, 10:05 AM
I agree with Choirguy in so far as the Romero comparing favorably to Pono in sound, detail and a lower price. Pono are made in Indonesia and Romero Replica are in Vietnam so I really don't see a difference or concern. I thought all three examples at HMS sound wonderful, especially the mahogany. If it came with a radiused fretborad I would have already purchased it, seriously

Django
02-25-2018, 11:30 AM
Thanks for the feedback. My wife likes the Mango. I like the appearance of the Koa, but it seems to bark a bit and I am leaning toward the hog top. They all look to be very nice and any of them would be a nice addition. I was initially looking at the Tiny Tenors, but the fingerboard and bridge are Rosewood, which defeats my purpose for international travel.

M3Ukulele
02-25-2018, 12:19 PM
I agree with Dave and choirguy. These are well priced. They likely compare to Pono quality wise. When I get to play one, if I like, i’d Buy one. I think RC are making terrific product. Try one, you will likely find you like it. Unlike a Pono, the Replica is a 12 fret to body joint. This is neither here nor there, but something to notice.
My .02 cents

Ukulele Eddie
02-25-2018, 12:26 PM
I looked them over closely at NAMM and was very impressed with the build execution and the tone. Personally, I think they are nicer than anything I've seen even remotely close in price. My $0.02.

Rakelele
02-26-2018, 01:35 AM
I am curious about these too. And I'd agree that their value can probably be best compared to Pono: They are both made in Asia (but not by one of the ominous Chinese factories), they are both the import line from well-respected luthiers, they are both made out of all solid woods and with wooden binding; they both have an impeccable mirror-flat gloss finish. The differences between the two are noteworthy as well: As mentioned above, the Romero Replica has the neck joint at the 12th fret, whereas Pono has 14 frets to the body; Pono offers a radius fretboard and now a side sound port along with other upgrade options such as a slotted headstock or armbevel.

Judging from the sound samples, I think the Romeros might have a bit more clarity, resonance and openness. Again, judging from distance, I think they are well worth the price, and I'd love to try one sometime. Out of the available wood options, I'd go for Mahogany. Personally, I could do without the Abalone purfling; maybe Pepe could think about having a slightly more affordable version without the bling.

Django
02-27-2018, 02:11 PM
I have decided to take the plunge. I will be getting the all Mahogany Replica that Cory played for the sound sample. I guess a sound sample from me won’t be necessary. For what it is worth, I will share my opinion. I went for the full setup, so it will be a few weeks, but should be worth the wait.

cyber3d
02-27-2018, 03:28 PM
Oh man. I DO want to know what you think of the Replica. I know a little bit about RC Vietnam instruments as I have an all mahogany tiny tenor. It's an amazing instrument. I know the build quality is high. I know that Pepe's unique internal design features are outstanding. I really want to get a Replica.

Ukecaster
02-28-2018, 02:23 AM
My first thought when I saw this thread was "what is this a replica of"? I assumed it was something very rare, special and well known, justifying a replica.

Their website says: "A production replica of Pepe Romero’s handmade tenor ‘ukulele".

Was his handmade uke a one-off, or were other handmade examples sold, and now the production model is offered to make them more widely available? Regardless, it looks great, but I was just curious on the history.

cyber3d
02-28-2018, 09:05 AM
My first thought when I saw this thread was "what is this a replica of"? I assumed it was something very rare, special and well known, justifying a replica.

Their website says: "A production replica of Pepe Romero’s handmade tenor ‘ukulele".

Was his handmade uke a one-off, or were other handmade examples sold, and now the production model is offered to make them more widely available? Regardless, it looks great, but I was just curious on the history.

You can always ask Pepe himself. But, I believe he makes a series of handmade versions (that Pepe make with his own hands) for sale. But, offers the Replica (made by some very, very talented Vietnamese luthiers) in larger quantities and at lower prices. Excellent quality control.

Ukulele Eddie
03-01-2018, 07:27 AM
My first thought when I saw this thread was "what is this a replica of"? I assumed it was something very rare, special and well known, justifying a replica.

Their website says: "A production replica of Pepe Romero’s handmade tenor ‘ukulele".

Was his handmade uke a one-off, or were other handmade examples sold, and now the production model is offered to make them more widely available? Regardless, it looks great, but I was just curious on the history.


Pepe builds very few custom ukes per year and being high end customs, there is a large part of the market that could never own one. So he decided to make a production replica of his custom uke to put a quality instrument in the hands of a lot more people.

Ukecaster
03-01-2018, 07:55 AM
I get it, thanks!

quiltingshirley
03-28-2019, 07:02 AM
Other than bling, is there a difference between the replica and the grand tenor uke?

gochugogi
03-28-2019, 07:19 AM
Other than bling, is there a difference between the replica and the grand tenor uke?

The grand tenor has a slightly larger body (deeper I believe). I don't own a grand tenor or replica but sure played them a lot when I was shopping for my TT6 and Baritone 6 last month. And they feel and sound great. A couple things stood out compared to the abundant Pono on the wall was a little more room on the neck, especially at the bridge for us fingerpickers and a more silky tone with a more guitar like sustain (rather than the more percussive fast ukulele decay). The grand had a little more boom to the bottom end but otherwise was similar on character to the other RC tenors. I liked them all but was leaning towards the spruce top variants—a little more timbre contrast and bite as you pick towards the sound hole and bridge (more like a guitar response).

gochugogi
03-28-2019, 09:15 AM
Here's one of the series 5 spruce/koa originals:

https://www.guitarsalon.com/store/p4210-2013-pepe-romero-quotseries-5-ukulelequot-spko.html

Price isn't shown but the few I priced ranged from $3500 to $5000. This one looks to be more on the expensive side.


My first thought when I saw this thread was "what is this a replica of"? I assumed it was something very rare, special and well known, justifying a replica.

Their website says: "A production replica of Pepe Romero’s handmade tenor ‘ukulele".

Was his handmade uke a one-off, or were other handmade examples sold, and now the production model is offered to make them more widely available? Regardless, it looks great, but I was just curious on the history.

M3Ukulele
03-28-2019, 09:34 AM
I've been on the fence for awhile. I have a very nice MTD-SP all solid wood - spruce top/mahogany Pono with excellent gloss finish. I've never bonded with it. I want to try the UPTL tuners on the Replica . I like my Pono AT so much I think that is why my MTD-SP sits. MTD-SP is very nice. Radius fretboard. I like Spruce tops. I like Acacia back and sides. Seems like a match in heaven for me. I also, prefer a matt finish. But, at same time the Spruce/Mahogany all blinged out Replica sounds pretty nice. Maybe is Cory...…… I know , if I could play the two spruce tops, I'd pick one and trade in my Pono. I'm just to far away so...………… interested to hear from others who play. I did immediately like both the matt and the gloss spruce top sound samples. I've never tried a 12 fret to body instrument and I'm a HUGE fan on Pono with there 14 frets to body. I think these compare well to each other. My .02 cents worth.

quiltingshirley
03-28-2019, 10:06 AM
The grand tenor has a slightly larger body (deeper I believe). I don't own a grand tenor or replica but sure played them a lot when I was shopping for my TT6 and Baritone 6 last month. And they feel and sound great. A couple things stood out compared to the abundant Pono on the wall was a little more room on the neck, especially at the bridge for us fingerpickers and a more silky tone with a more guitar like sustain (rather than the more percussive fast ukulele decay). The grand had a little more boom to the bottom end but otherwise was similar on character to the other RC tenors. I liked them all but was leaning towards the spruce top variants—a little more timbre contrast and bite as you pick towards the sound hole and bridge (more like a guitar response).

That’s what I was thinking but have never seen the ukes side by side. I recently got a grand tenor from HMS and love it. The wider neck makes it easy to play and it sounds “big”. My Kamaka is my all time favorite but on the Grand the outside strings are further from the edge. Makes pull-offs easier.

AQUATOPAZ
03-28-2019, 06:04 PM
My first thought when I saw this thread was "what is this a replica of"? I assumed it was something very rare, special and well known, justifying a replica.

Their website says: "A production replica of Pepe Romero’s handmade tenor ‘ukulele".

Was his handmade uke a one-off, or were other handmade examples sold, and now the production model is offered to make them more widely available? Regardless, it looks great, but I was just curious on the history.

There is a very long wait if you want one made by him. These don't have that wait. That is what they say in their marketing.

LPeacock
03-28-2019, 09:44 PM
I like the look and sound of the new Romero Replicas, but I am not sure if it is worth the price, being produced in I believe Vietnam. Any options?

I see you went ahead and ordered one. You will love it. I have the same one you ordered and it is wonderful.

Jerryc41
03-29-2019, 12:26 AM
A "Romero Replica" sounds like a knock-off of a genuine Romero. Why in the world would they choose such a name? "Want to buy a Romero Replica?" "No! I want to buy the real thing."

LPeacock
03-29-2019, 04:46 AM
A "Romero Replica" sounds like a knock-off of a genuine Romero. Why in the world would they choose such a name? "Want to buy a Romero Replica?" "No! I want to buy the real thing."

Because the Romero Replica is a more affordable version of Pepe Romero's custom tenor ukulele. It's also more readily available. Both factors are why Romero Creations started making these. I have the mahogany version and it is wonderful.

quiltingshirley
03-29-2019, 06:27 AM
Several years ago he came out with a small guitar. I met him at a festival and played it and it was nice. Really nice. I asked my local uke shop if he could get one. (Hadn’t decided for sure at the festival) Next time I was in he’d talked to Pepe and he said he’d make one for $$$$! What? I quickly told him I wanted the “cheap” imported one. The real stuff takes time and cost a lot. Even if I could have played well, which I can’t, at that price I wouldn’t want to touch it. The import from Vietnam is high quality work. Just thought I’d share my experience.

gochugogi
03-29-2019, 06:48 AM
A "Romero Replica" sounds like a knock-off of a genuine Romero. Why in the world would they choose such a name? "Want to buy a Romero Replica?" "No! I want to buy the real thing."

I don't associate negativity with the term "replica." To me, the term simply implies precision since it is an exact copy of something. In this case, an exact copy of Pepe's one-off custom luthier made models. I too would prefer owning the actual luthier made instrument but coughing up the 5 grand or so (and waiting 4 or 5 years) for the "real thing" makes the replica look pretty darn good. Now if Pepe would have named it "fossil" or "clone" that might been a bit negative.

Kenn2018
03-29-2019, 07:28 AM
I have been curious as to how accurate the copies are to the originals?

Do they have the same bracing and kerfing as Pepe's originals? Same tuners? Etc.

I have read that these ukuleles are very close to the originals in design and build.

The term "replica" has gotten pretty loose over the years. From an "exact copy" to a "model" of the original. Similar in superficial appearance only.

gochugogi
03-29-2019, 08:12 AM
I would consider the replica series to be both similar in superficial appearance and design to the originals but not exact clones. In other words, the replica designs seem to be as close to the originals as a production line build can muster but have obvious compromises to meet the price point. Pepe makes a big deal about use of the same reverse fan brace, Spanish foot, etc. However, unlike production line builds, each luthier made instrument is tweaked by the builder for optimal sound. He might make slight changes to the soundboard and bracing to compensate for the characteristics of a particular piece of wood. Also, the custom instruments normally have a French polish rather than the plastic based finishes used for the replica. French polish is the ultimate in acoustic tone but isn't very durable. All of mine turned to goo on the neck and other areas where I touch. The Polyester finishes, while not as open sounding or loud, can take sweat and splashes of beer without flinching. The replicas have an inlaid graphic on the head stock whereas the custom line sports a plain unadorned head stock. Finally, most of the replicas have position dots whereas the originals have clean fingerboards (my preference).

LPeacock
03-29-2019, 08:12 AM
Several years ago he came out with a small guitar. I met him at a festival and played it and it was nice. Really nice. I asked my local uke shop if he could get one. (Hadn’t decided for sure at the festival) Next time I was in he’d talked to Pepe and he said he’d make one for $$$$! What? I quickly told him I wanted the “cheap” imported one. The real stuff takes time and cost a lot. Even if I could have played well, which I can’t, at that price I wouldn’t want to touch it. The import from Vietnam is high quality work. Just thought I’d share my experience.

Yes, exactly.

LPeacock
03-29-2019, 08:16 AM
I don't associate negativity with the term "replica." To me, the term simply implies precision since it is an exact copy of something. In this case, an exact copy of Pepe's one-off custom luthier made models. I too would prefer owning the actual luthier made instrument but coughing up the 5 grand or so (and waiting 4 or 5 years) for the "real thing" makes the replica look pretty darn good. Now if Pepe would have named it "fossil" or "clone" that might been a bit negative.
Ha, ha. My thoughts, exactly and I love my Replica Uke and am glad Romero Creations are producing them.

Kenn2018
03-30-2019, 05:52 PM
I would consider the replica series to be both similar in superficial appearance and design to the originals but not exact clones. In other words, the replica designs seem to be as close to the originals as a production line build can muster but have obvious compromises to meet the price point. Pepe makes a big deal about use of the same reverse fan brace, Spanish foot, etc. However, unlike production line builds, each luthier made instrument is tweaked by the builder for optimal sound. He might make slight changes to the soundboard and bracing to compensate for the characteristics of a particular piece of wood. Also, the custom instruments normally have a French polish rather than the plastic based finishes used for the replica. French polish is the ultimate in acoustic tone but isn't very durable. All of mine turned to goo on the neck and other areas where I touch. The Polyester finishes, while not as open sounding or loud, can take sweat and splashes of beer without flinching. The replicas have an inlaid graphic on the head stock whereas the custom line sports a plain unadorned head stock. Finally, most of the replicas have position dots whereas the originals have clean fingerboards (my preference).

Thanks for posting this information.

I had read that the French polish was the finest finish. But you have provided a new perspective. Expensive "goo!" :p

AQUATOPAZ
03-30-2019, 06:53 PM
A "Romero Replica" sounds like a knock-off of a genuine Romero. Why in the world would they choose such a name? "Want to buy a Romero Replica?" "No! I want to buy the real thing."

It IS a knockoff - of a CUSTOM Romero Tenor.

AQUATOPAZ
03-30-2019, 06:55 PM
I have been curious as to how accurate the copies are to the originals?

Do they have the same bracing and kerfing as Pepe's originals? Same tuners? Etc.

I have read that these ukuleles are very close to the originals in design and build.

The term "replica" has gotten pretty loose over the years. From an "exact copy" to a "model" of the original. Similar in superficial appearance only.

It's supposedly exactly the same except for the abalone rosette purling, abalone binding, and abalone logo, which the Customs lack.

CommonCurt
03-30-2019, 09:30 PM
The videos of the Mahogany Recreation do sound very good, and I like the 12 fret to body.

If I get back into playing more tenor one of these will be on my radar.

KaminTheWeaver
05-27-2019, 08:51 AM
I, too, am interested in the Replica, but would like to know more about the intention and difference in sound/playing with the 12 fret to body vs. the 14 FTB that Ponos have. Does anyone here know how it makes a difference?

gochugogi
05-27-2019, 09:46 AM
I, too, am interested in the Replica, but would like to know more about the intention and difference in sound/playing with the 12 fret to body vs. the 14 FTB that Ponos have. Does anyone here know how it makes a difference?

My collective impression across many instruments is the 12 frets to body neck design tends to a little more responsive to vibrato than the 14 and 16 fret to body models. Also, you have more room to move your picking hand around to produce different colors (from over the fingerboard mellow to bright bridge timbres). I like the 12-fret to body balance as the longer protruding necks are a little more tippy and top heavy (my GL-6 and RC Parlor are the worse in this respect). Of course if you spend a lot time playing around the or above the 12th fret, or often use a capo, a 14 or 16 fret to body design is nice. The only possible solution is to buy all three—12 fret, 14 fret and 16 fret—and you'll be ready for anything!