View Full Version : NUD: Pepe Romero XS - just an opinion, YMMV

04-12-2018, 04:14 PM
Just got this from HMS. Everyone seems to love their Fleas. May seem sacrilegious but we will sell ours now that we have the Pepe Romero XS Low G Soprano (developed with Daniel Ho). Couldn't be more surprised. Surpasses our expectations in every way.

We have 20 or so ukuleles, the majority sopranos - some costing over $1,000. We recently added a Magic Fluke Flea to the pack and were incredibly disappointed with both the friction tuners (I upgraded to better ones but still very frustrating) and the difficult to see fretboard frets. No side markers. But the XS model has surpassed the Flea in all these areas. If we upgraded the Flea's fretboard and tuners and added a hard case, the cost would be double what this Pepe Romero XS model is and we much prefer it. Also has 14 frets to the body vs 12 on the Flea.

The sound is that of a larger uke. Like butter - geared tuners, amazing sustain and big sound. What's not to love? And this COMES with a hard case that fits it perfectly. My wife and I are both surprised at this little guy. An instant favorite we will NEVER sell. Can't say enough good things about it. Great looking as well. Put it against your chest and feel the vibration. None of our ukes (including KoAloha, Kanilea, Kiwaya, Bruko and Pono) vibrate like this "little jewel" (my wife's nickname for it).

Of course HMS (theukulelesite.com) rocked it as always. Incredibly fast turn around. On our doorstep in two days. Not always possible but WOW. Just WOW! What a great team. Thanks gang! VERY happy customers.

The flea is superior in one major way. Back and sides are polycarbonate of some kind and much tougher than the laminate on the XS. Both have wood tops, however.

Flea will be sold next week. This XS has found a happy home.

P.S. No disrespect intended at all. I am sooooo happy people love their Fleas and hope that is reflected in its sale next week. For us it was less than expected. The Pepe Romero is so much more than expected. Happily surprised.

BTW - My wife just discovered a free included CD by Daniel Ho with 9 of his songs from various albums. What a treat. I use his TAB book Polani and enjoy it immensely.

Size comparisons:
108114Bruko. Romero, Kiwaya
108115Romero, Flea

04-12-2018, 04:23 PM
How is the volume of the XS? I have heard some say it is a little softer than a typical soprano.

04-12-2018, 04:32 PM
How is the volume of the XS? I have heard some say it is a little softer than a typical soprano.

I had the solid Koa version. Definitely softer than a typical soprano.

04-12-2018, 04:47 PM
Ours is the laminate. We just strummed it next to a Kiwaya and a Flea. Sounded very close to the Flea but the Kiwaya was MUCH louder.

Remember, the XS is actually a Sopranino - smaller than a soprano. The overall size is smaller than a regular soprano but includes a longer 14 fret to the body neck. It does have a 35 mm nut. I prefer wider but my wife is fine with it.

04-12-2018, 05:08 PM
I couldn’t help myself and bought the XS that was on sale here a few days ago. It arrived today. It was a ukulele that I had been interested in, it was priced right, and while I am happiest playing Concert, I have bought some small ukuleles lately (e.g. The Ohana Pineapple Sopranissimo).

This XS was also one of the The Ukulele Site “specials” (they are still in stock for $205 with the case), and I paid a little less that that, but it was still a good value to me. Like strat4me, it is the spruce with laminate sides, which I do not think Romero Creations is building any more and I’m pretty sure I’m seeing rosewood for the fretboard. When I saw what they were selling for elsewhere than The Ukulele Site without the case, I jumped on the purchase. I am trying to sell a Kala Travel Tenor (very similar build...spruce top & laminate) if anyone is interested...

I’m still in my first six hours of ownership of this ukulele, so I’m not sure what I think overall. The case is pretty nice (I wish the Romero Creations logo was embroidered or just left off altogether). I’m getting used to a low G on a soprano, getting used to a metal string (You really can’t tell as you play, but I’m predispositioned to dislike metal strings), and just not sure of the tone. I haven’t done any volume tests...but I will by the time I do a literal review of this instrument. I find that if I anchor the bottom corner on my body and do not hold the ukulele against my body, it really vibrates. If I hold it securely, it really deadens the sound. Lots of sustain on the solid spruce top, too.

The build is clean and impressive...the satin finish is nice (I’m a bit of a gloss person most of the time), and the harmonics pop better than many ukuleles I have played at the 5th and 7th frets.

I’m going to take this to school tomorrow and see how it handles things. I have not yet put strap buttons on the ukulele...something that I am likely to do. That will help to hold it away from my body. I just won’t be able to stand it up...but this isn’t a Magic Fluke, either.

I thought that this might be my travel ukulele (other than the Outdoor Ukuleles that I can camp with), but it cannot replace the Ohana Pineapple Sopranissimo that can fit into my bag on a flight with Spirit Airlines.

If the Ukulele Site $205 XS is appealing to you...no reason not to do it.

04-12-2018, 06:57 PM
Congrats Strat4me, remember...no photos, it didn't happen :D

You got me. Pics added above.


04-12-2018, 07:38 PM
I'm a big fan of the Pepe Romero Tiny Tenor. The build quality is superb. They all handle like they were fine custom made instruments. Congrats on the XS.

04-13-2018, 01:11 AM
Thanks for the pictures to compare sizes. Just out of curiosity. What's the nut size on your Bruko?

04-13-2018, 01:30 AM
Yes, those "invisible" frets can be frustrating. I bought a used Flea with wooden fretbboard and then ordered a Fluke with the wood. Much better. The Flea came with Pegheds, and I added geared Grovers to the Fluke.

XS Review -


12-05-2018, 07:40 AM
Have had both a Magic Fluke Flea (concert, so not that helpful to compare size-wise) & Romero XS Spruce Solid top.

One of the the advantages the Fluke Flea has over Romero is that it’s fully US made with emphasis on local-to-maker sourcing (well, didn’t check the raw materials for the “thermoplastic with fiber glass reinforcement” but...). Flea also has really solid intonation, is loud enough for me (louder than I expected) & is really solid all around.

The Romero seems quite solid too. Wished the Romero XS Koa or Mahogany solids came in matte or satin... In most cases, if the choice was between a satin solid top vs gloss anything, I prefer satin/matte.

visual comparison of Romero XS to Ohana SK21 Sopranino, Kamaka White label soprano & Ohana TPK-25G Teeny Tiny Pineapple sopranissimo

12-09-2018, 09:31 AM
I know exactly, what you mean, strat4me, when you write about the XS Soprano. I happen to own the same model (from the same dealer, btw), and I'm still amazed by the sound. It's rich, warm, full, has a nice "wooden" quality and is surprisingly loud, given the size of the instrument.

I could also play the XS Soprano made of mahogany at a meeting a few months back, but it didn't amaze the same way the laminate model did, but that's also due to the price, which is more than twice that of the laminate, if I remember correctly.

However, I don't see why I shouldn't have the XS Soprano AND a Flea. In fact, I just bought a pre-owned Koa Flea Soprano here in Germany, and it amazes me just the same. I think it's nice to have a low g/high g choice for a Soprano uke to go, so to say. I have a vintage Martin as well, and it beats both, of course, but then that's hardly the instrument to take along for a camping tour. I will definitely keep both, the Romero as well as the Flea. Just my 2 cents...