View Full Version : Honu Traditional Concert Ukulele Review

09-03-2009, 08:43 PM

* What year was it made? Where was is made? 6/6/09. Assembled in Vietnam
* How many frets? 14 to the body, 20 overall
* Solid-Top? Laminated top? Solid koa body
* Any pickups or electronics? No
* Body and neck woods? Koa top, back, and sides. Mahogany neck.
* Finish - Glossy
* Body style - Concert size
* Tuners - Friction Tuners (Koa!)
* Neck/Scale - 15" concert scale, rosewood fretboard
* Any included accessories? Came with a case, humidifier, and setup from musicguymic


* How does it suit your music style (and what is that style)? I was looking into getting a concert uke because I liked the sound of strumming a soprano and the fingerpicking on a tenor. Overall, I tend to favor fingerpicking and this uke does at great job with it. The koa gives a nice clear and bright sound.
* What amps and effects are you using it with? N/A
* Is it noisy? On what settings? N/A
* Rich/Full sound? Bright sound? I think it has brightness than a full sound. Some of that might be the Aquillas that it's strung with. I've heard that Worth CDs sound wonderful on these Honus.
* Likes and dislikes? I like the tone overall. I'm somewhat underwhelmed with the volume though. It's perfectly manageable but maybe I was expecting more from my first koa uke. I jammed with a tenor uke player (solid koa uke as well) and they were pretty much the same volume. But this seems to be a tad quieter than a Kala solid mahogany tenor I've owned. The strings will make a difference on it.

Action, Fit & Finish

* How well was the ukulele set-up at the factory? (How was the action?) Action wasn't as low as my Flea but still comfortable. No buzzes were found on any frets. Has a compensated bone saddle for more precise intonation.
* Properly bookmatched top? Yes
* Properly routed bridge? Yes
* Did the ukulele contain any flaws? I wish I could say it had some cosmetic flaws but it really doesn't. No excess glue or anything.


* Will this ukulele withstand live playing? I haven't gigged with it yet but I wouldn't be worried if I used it in that situation.
* Does the hardware seem like it will last? Yes
* Is the finish good enough to last, or does it seem thin and easy to wear off with lots of playing? The finish is good. Since it's a glossy finish, a quick wipedown after playing keeps it in good condition. I foresee no problems with it.
* Can you depend on it? Yes
* Would you use it on a gig without a backup? Yes

Overall Rating

* How long have you been playing? 3 years
* What other gear do you own? As far as ukes go I have a soprano flea
* Is there something you wish you had asked before buying this ukulele? I wish I would have asked how the volume of it compares to the "K" brand ukes.
* If it were stolen or lost, would you buy it again or get something else? Yes I would buy it again if I had the same budget.
* What do you love about it? The aesthetics of the uke are perfect to me. Also, this is my first koa uke so it may be a quality of all koa ukes, but I love how it sounds when fingerpicked or strummed loudly. It has a wonderful, naturally compressed sound. Not distorted at all
* What do you hate? The friction tuners, although I'm getting used to them.
* What is your favorite feature? Solid koa body for a great price. It's a few hundred dollars less expensive than most "K" brand ukes just because it's not assembled in Hawaii. Fingerpicking on this is awesome.
* Did you compare it to other ukuleles? Which ones?
* Why did you choose this one? It's my first foray into solid koa ukes. The price and Honu's reputation was right.
* Anything you wish it had? Open geared tuners would be nice. Then it would not be neck heavy but still easier and quicker to tune.
* Anything else you'd like to share? The neck feels very comfortable. It's not as thin as the Kalas and not as thick as the Fleas. Overall, these are great deal. Solid koa concert uke for about $400 is what sold me on it. If you can get over the idea that it's not built in Hawaii and get used to friction tuners you'll probably be happy with one.

If you'd like to hear it in action check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8vJ4NAsA4

09-04-2009, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the thorough review. That is one nice looking uke. The grain is really gorgeous.....makes me want a shiny new toy, too :-)

I've heard the same thing about the volume before, and I think they tend to be a bit thinner (overall depth, not wood thickness) than some other ukes, which may be part of it. The overall sound is really nice though. I think those geared tuners may steer me to a tenor, though. Not sure if I wanna mess with the friction ones or not.

Keep the vids coming, too. I'm working on your version of stir it up as we speak. I have to stick with instrumentals since my singing voice can scare small children and make dogs run for cover, lol. Which is a shame because I just learned And They're Red Hot (Robert Johnson) and you really need vocals on that one, haha.