View Full Version : Red Cedar Soprano Review

09-09-2009, 03:44 AM
Price: $226, that's with shipping from UkeRepublic.com
First Impressions:

Features- 8
This particular Red Cedar Soprano was assembled in June, 2009, in the USA. The soprano comes with fifteen frets; twelve to the body. My understanding is that all Mainland Ukuleles are solid wood instruments. So that should mean this ukulele will sound even richer as time goes on. I believe the Red Cedar ukuleles only come in a glossy finish, but I don't mind. The gloss isn't heavy and it DOES NOT muffle the sound or anything. The Bridge of this ukulele is just one of those simple bridges where you tie a knot on one end of the string and pull it tight through a slot. Nothing fancy, but that means the strings will require less effort to change. Mainland also offers a "semi-customizable" option. By that I mean you can choose your type of tuners, friction or geared; the color of the turning pegs, and the cover for geared tuners. Personally, I despise friction tuners and can't understand why someone would put them on ukuleles that cost more than $400... like Kiwaya. (rant) Anyways, I have golden covers and black pegs. They look nice, but I don't know the brand because the brand's name isn't printed on the tuners, like you would see on Grovers. The neck on the uke... it's about 1.25-1.5 inches at the top and about 2 inches at the bottom, wide! Overall, the neck is skinny, which makes for easy playability, but with my chubby fingers, a soprano is rather difficult. When you order the uke, nothing normally comes with it. It has a mainland poster, but that's about it. No Gig bag, no case.

SOUND:10 or higher
If you're looking for an ukulele with a cannon inside and not looking to spend too much, these Mainlands have to be it. I try any play anything happy and up-beat, so as long as my chubby fingers can move fast enough on the smaller frets, things will work out. by chubby I mean.. like 3/4 in. THe sound... for now is bright. It comes setup with Aquila strings, not sure how I feel about them yet. But it's a pretty versatile ukulele, not too expensive, and a great sound; overall a good value. I really can't say whether those tone is richer or anything...because it's so loud I can't really listen to it :D IF you play it right, the tone can sound like a banjo, which makes this ukulele almost.. a two in one purchase. haha

Action, Fit, Finish: 8-9
Strings are very easy to press down and when viewed on its side, they're not high from the fret board. A very Marvelous Instrument. Now.. the finish. Overall, the body was done beautifully, but I noticed that there were some spots in the sound hole that weren't covered completely with finish. It's no big deal. After all, the finish detail that small wouldn't affect sound or anything. Not sure whether Mainland does that a lot, but frankly, it's not noticeable unless scrutinized. Everything else seems fine. Hardware on the uke is wonderful, again, not sure of tuning brand, but regardless, they serve its purpose.

Reliability/Durability: 8-9
Well, it's made of solid wood and the build inside is definite different compared to my koaloha. I intend for this ukulele to be my beat around uke. I can throw this one around... take it underwater... light it on fire. No. But this ukulele seems durable and it always makes noises when I strum, so I can say it's reliable. Strings are always in tune. The hardware, to me, looks very professional and she seem to be reliable. The turning pegs look kind of cheap, but meh, they're just pegs. Would I use it for a backup ukulele? Sure. I wouldn't know why I would need a backup, but if it the time were appropriate, I suppose so.

Customer Support: 10
Mike is a nice guy. Well, both Mikes are (www.mainlandukes.com,www.ukerepublic.com). Got the uke to me.. eventually. I ordered it Thursday, over the labor day weekend, so I can't blame them. I took UPS for ever to get it to me on Tuesday, luckily, I was at school all day long. I don't think Mainlands come with a warranty, but I could be wrong. Not terribly worried however. They're relatively inexpensive so if it broke on me, I'd just go something else, like another one!

Overall Rating:10
Nice ukulele, for the money. Great sound, great finish, looks great. And especially with the soprano size, it's very portable. I played it in the car the other day, while driving. I think everyone should have a Mainland. I once thought they looked stupid and were going to be like... a western fad going around, due to the rope binding. Anyways, it's a good ukulele. If you buy one, you should not be disappointed. I like KoAloha, but when it comes to paying $500+ for an ukulele that you'll treat like... gold, ehh... Not saying I won't buy another one again. But Mainlands are pretty nice. If you have two hundred to spend, buy a mainland, you'll love it.

video:lookee (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03FTtIS7x38)

http://i635.photobucket.com/albums/uu75/mhu09/IMG_0850.jpg << yeah, I look pretty stupid.

09-09-2009, 03:47 AM
I don't believe you have one until I see pics! :D

09-09-2009, 04:17 AM
Thanks for the review. As far as the warranty, I assume mine has the same. It's the "I'm the guy and I stand behind everything I sell" warranty, which I prefer to a piece of paper any way.

The shipping, over a holiday, sounds reasonable, since I assume Mainland installed the tuners and strung it after the order came in. In my case they installed a pickup as well.

I bought mine from UkeRepublic as well. So easy. Unlike you, SpecialMike, I didn't know my way all around a uke, so it was nice to have somebody I trusted check it out before it was sent, and again after it was shipped, to catch anything I might have missed.

09-09-2009, 04:20 AM
I don't believe you have one until I see pics! :D

picture?! look for a video instead! ... and a few pics too. :D


Matt Clara
09-09-2009, 05:24 AM
I once thought they looked stupid and were going to be like... a western fad going around, due to the rope binding.

Funny you should say that, I find the rope binding a total turnoff. To me they look like they should be in Toy Story II. It would seem Mainland should offer some models with some other type of binding/rosette, too. As it is, I won't even consider them, even though mahogany is my favorite.

09-09-2009, 05:31 AM
Rope binding is found on many of the oldest, original Manuel & Leonardo Nunes ukes and the Mainland binding is a tribute to that.


With a Mainland you get something better than a warranty. You get Mike!

09-09-2009, 05:53 AM
I don't understand how a bit of rope binding would ever be a deal breaker on ukuleles that feature such lovely sound and playability.

Style over substance, I guess, but the again, I don't mind the rope binding one way or the other.

09-09-2009, 06:08 AM

09-09-2009, 06:09 AM
^no case yet^
^the two.. cousins^

09-09-2009, 06:12 AM

It looks so tiny and delicate in that pic. Beautiful! I'll bet it sounds great!

09-09-2009, 06:35 AM
I see some photoshop possibilities with this one.

I hear those Mainland posters are fairly valuable.

09-09-2009, 06:42 AM
I hear those Mainland posters are fairly valuable.

How so? You print them and that's it. Or did you design them?

09-09-2009, 07:10 AM
Awesome pics! Congratulations on the new member of your family.

09-09-2009, 07:15 AM
Or did you design them?


09-09-2009, 07:35 AM
I see some photoshop possibilities with this one.

Don't do it, man!

09-09-2009, 09:55 AM
Hey Mike,
Glad your liking your new one. It sounds great!!! I really like the pineapple I got at the fest the other weekend.
Take care and have fun with it.

09-09-2009, 09:57 AM
Poster? Clue me in! I want to see one. Heck, I WANT one!

09-09-2009, 11:09 AM
Looks like this:

It's based on the Mail Pouch tobacco ads on barns in the midwest. Here in the east we have "See Rock City".

09-09-2009, 11:22 AM
Looks like this:

It's based on the Mail Pouch tobacco ads on barns in the midwest. Here in the east we have "See Rock City".

Excellent work! I've seen Mail Pouch ads near here, in fact.

09-09-2009, 12:18 PM
I saw your youtube review and your Mainland looks and sounds fantastic....gulp, even better than the KoAloha did. I can't believe I said that. I never thought I wanted one until now....thanks alot!

09-09-2009, 02:16 PM
Welcome to the club, specialmike!!:smileybounce:

Susie A
09-09-2009, 02:16 PM
I will chime in here.

I have a Mainland Honeybee that I purchased as my first Uke, good decision. Beautiful instrument, nice sound, easy action. I am loving it! :love: The rope binding on the mahogony top is very dainty and delicate.

However, I want my money back because it came sans poster.

Susie A

09-09-2009, 04:35 PM
Here in the east we have "See Rock City".

Rock City, ugh. Am I missing something about it? Or is it meant to be ... as much fun as a pet rock?

09-10-2009, 01:12 AM
Y'know, I bet Rock City was a beautiful natural point of interest once. Then it got overrun by gnomes and fairy tale characters.