View Full Version : Collings UT-1 ukulele review

01-01-2010, 06:45 PM

Collings UT-1 Purchased at Acoustic Music Works, Pittsburgh, PA

The UT-1 is a solid Mahogany tenor size ukulele. The neck is also of mahogany and the fingerboard is rosewood as is the headstock vaneer and bridge. There are 19 frets and the neck joins the body at the 13th fret. The fingerboard is radiused. There are geared black pegs which resemble violin pegs and have a 4:1 ratio. The bridge has slots where the string is knotted and fitted in rather than the Spanish style tie block or pin bridge. The nut and saddle are bone and the saddle is compensated. There are simple white plastic dot markers at fret 5, 7, 9, and 12 and side markers at those same positions. The rosette is a single 5 layer black as white ring. The Collings logo is inlaid in the same white plastic as the fret markers. The finish is satin. It comes strung with Aquila Nylgut strings. I had Steve put a black strap button at the bottom.

The mahogany UT-1 costs $990.00 plus tax. The price includes a hard shell case.


The intonation is as good as it gets all the way up the fingerboard and chords played with open strings together with noted fretted around the 12th fret sound true and in tune. The instrument was well set up from the factory and I had no issues. The tuners are positive, they are not at all stiff or sticky, and the 4:1 ratio means that it'll only take a little adjustment to get a noticeable effect.


The fit and finish of this instrument are as good as it gets. The UC-1 and UT-1 are the 'plain jane' models. What you don't get in frills and decoration you get in what's probably the best craftsmanship in any production instrument anywhere. For what it's worth, I LIKE plain jane instruments. The beauty of the wood and the form is what I want to carry the visual aesthetic of the instrument and this ukulele does that in spades. The mahogany used is a dark rich reddish brown color that has an almost dappled appearance. If I'd have ordered this instrument as a custom build I would have opted for flamed or beeswing mahogany with a single abalone ring and a bound neck. . . Perhaps one day I'll get a little froggy and I'll ask Steve to ask Bill. . . . It's MAHOGANY, beautiful mahogany. . . did I mention I LOOOOOVE mahogany? Dark pore filler is used and it accentuates the organic wavy grain in the subtle figure of the wood.


The UT-1 sounds wonderful. There is no brashness or harshness. The sound is beautifully mellow and woody and sweet. there is wonderful separation, the notes in a chord do not run together, they each sound distinct and present. The instrument feels alive in my hands. It's lightly built and felt a little fragile at first but now that I'm used to the lightness of it the best way to describe it is RESPONSIVE! I intimated earler in response to one person that the mahogany instrument has a darker almost fatbox jazz guitar diapason than the koa equivalent. Together with the range and re-etrant tuning it just gives an unbelievably rich woody sound.

The word::cheers:

I Love this ukulele. It's a professional grade instrument with a wonderful sound. This instrument is the real deal. I would recommend it for consideration to anyone who is serious about max sound.

08-13-2015, 03:42 AM
Have a UC 2. It is also superb.

08-13-2015, 04:31 AM
I hadn't paid much attention to these, until your review. It turns out, that was a major mistake on my part. I didn't realize they had anything available under $2K, and that wasn't going to work for me. A search on YouTube showed me what I was missing. Congratulations on getting such a wonderful bargain on such an outstanding instrument. Please favor us with pictures and a sound sample in the near future.

08-13-2015, 10:58 AM
A very thorough and thoughtful review. Thanks!

08-13-2015, 04:36 PM
I briefly played a UT1K today. It was several hundred$ more than yours, sounds like you got a good deal :)

The one I played was quite austere, aesthetically, although very cleanly crafted. For my taste, the sound was clinical. The strings seemed very tight to me, but perhaps that is from mostly playing sopranos. The intonation was off-the-charts good!

08-14-2015, 12:33 PM
Congrats on the UT1, that's a fabulous Tenor.

I have a UC2 so I'm a big fan of Collings and Mahogany as a tonewood.

04-23-2016, 05:46 PM
​ was able to score a used UT-2sb here on uu. THEY ARE FABULOUS