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jehicks87
07-09-2010, 07:09 AM
Hey all. This is my first review... I'm kind of free-handing it, so bare with me.

MP CONCERT CEDAR TOP/MYRTLEWOOD BACK AND SIDES

Today I got a little gift in the mail today. My MP Concert Uke arrived! I would say "finally," but even over here the shipping was much speedier than I assumed it would be.

I don't have a camera yet, so you'll have to go to Mike's page at www.mpukuleles.com/For_Sale.html and scroll to #091 to see pictures. I can be pretty descriptive, so I will walk you through my first impressions.

When I opened the box, I fell in love. There she was, my new baby, all cozied up inside her gig-bag. I brought here out and looked her over really quickly. Now, I hear alot of people claiming that "the pictures don't do (their uke) justice..." I am not going to say that. I will say she is an absolutely stunning instrument, but there is a bit less grain-flection (yes, I made up a word) in real life than she shows in the pictures. I was expecting her to look slightly different, but I am not upset at all. She is pretty, and not just because she's mine.

When I got back to my room, I tuned her up and played a bit on her. I would like to say that the sound... ooooooh the sound. It is exactly what I want every ukulele in the world to sound like. She absolutely sings. It's miraculous. As with most concerts, the lower you go on the fretboard the less sustain she shows, but chord-ists will love a wood combo like this from MP.

The workmanship, I will not say is flawless, but I cannot find much to complain about. A few things I will point out though, in the essence of fairness.

The only place there is any excess glue is where the fretboard meets the soundboard. A tiny amount of glue must have squeezed out from between the two and left a residue when it dried or was wiped up. Not a big deal.

There is one small part of the maple binding that shows some separation from the maple binding. If you look for it, you should be able to find it. If you don't look for it, it would be hard to spot.

I found the same thing with two frets. Two frets either were not completely seated prior to shipping, or the humidity fluctuations she incurred in transit popped them ever-so-slightly out. I did not notice any buzzing or anything of the sort when I played her, so I am going to say it is not an issue in playability, but perhaps cosmetically (again, if you are looking for it.)

The Neck is flawless. The neck is fantastic. The neck was made for my hands. Chunky, which I love, with a flat spot running the middle. SOOOO easy to barre the frets with a neck like this.

The Fretboard, however, I found to be a bit too thick for my tastes. It juts higher from the soundboard than I have seen before, but I admittedly have not seen many higher-end or handmade ukes. The fretboard is smooth, though, and very easy to play on. I just kept hitting my finger when strumming more noticeably than I have before. I'd like to point out, I do not consider this a design flaw, or even a "quirk." I consider it something that MP Ukes may simply have that I have not come across yet. I don't even dislike it, but I am not "in love" with the fretboard thickness.

...Everything else, though. Yes. I am in love with this uke. She is beautiful, if understated, well-put-together, if imperfect, and she has a set of golden lungs on her that I really just cannot get past.

The price... the price was very, very right.

The man... Mike is one of the absolute best people I have ever done business with. I mean that in all sincerity.

If this Uke were stolen would you buy another one like it? I would. And I would have it sent to the State Penitentiary so I could play it will serving my life sentence for hunting down and hurting very badly the person who stole my uke in the first place. :)

Caveat:
I hope this review was entertaining and informative. I hope, also, that it was not too colored for a valuable opinion to be taken from it. I reported the imperfections I found, as well as the good, and derived an over-all impression and judgment based on my findings. I suggest that anyone interested contact Mike at MP, though not because I own one of his instruments. I suggest so because I feel that his instruments are very, very fine quality. I certainly am happy I did.

molokinirum
07-09-2010, 07:44 AM
Congrats!!! That is one beautiful uke you got. Glad you love your new uke and the great people you dealt with. Maybe you can put up a sound sample for us to hear???

fumanshu
07-09-2010, 09:06 AM
Hi jehicks!! It,s good to hear that you did receive it!!! As for the fretboard to be thicker, it's true that you might not be familiar with it at the beginning just like I did a few years ago, but if you use MP ukes as primary intrument, you will find out that the fretboard is way easier to play than other ukes. I do own Koaloha, kanilea, G-string, Ana'ole etc....and Mike's uke is much easier to play when you get used to that fretboard.

So how does your uke sounds like?? Does it ring well at the 12th, 13th fret and so on?? I personnaly think that Mike's uke sounds and ring everywhere on the neck...

Do a clip so I can hear how your uke sounds like!!!

By the way, I don't know if you saw the little clip that I did to test my Zoom Q3. I played with my MP Madagascar Rosewood tenor if you want to hear how it sounds like.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5makP0zHJk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5makP0zHJk)

Talk to you soon!

jehicks87
07-09-2010, 09:25 AM
Hey Foo!

yeah man, I checked the strings all the way down, they ring true and true-er. haha.

What I was talking about was sustain... they (concerts) don't tend to have the same sustain that you hear from tenors. Now, this is all relative. It beats the wazoola out of my Kala tenor for playability, sustain, and workmanship. I also like it hands-down better than my Honu. It's just a concert, which I always liked anyways (a concert was my first choice for my beginner uke, but everyone here said "go with a tenor").

Maaaan, I CANNOT WAIT till I get my redwood/koa tenor. I'm already in love with mike's work!

As far as a sound sample, I am waiting for my snowball mic to come in. I don't particularly want to do any sound samples on the built-in mic on my netbook. Wouldn't do the Uke, or yall, justice.

Take care and be well!

Jake

SailQwest
07-09-2010, 09:52 AM
It's gorgeous! That myrtle is really pretty!

Ronnie Aloha
07-09-2010, 11:08 AM
Nice review. Great to hear an honest, unbiased review. I have also contacted Mike but am waiting for him to restock with some higher end curly Koa.

pulelehua
07-09-2010, 12:02 PM
Keep posting about your new ukulele! I think a handful of us are looking at MP quite seriously, and as a smaller-scale luthier, it's good to get the word from the people that know, as there aren't the usual glut of reviews and clips on Mike's stuff. Also nice to hear a warts and all review. Thanks! And enjoy. ;)

jehicks87
07-10-2010, 06:50 AM
Nice review. Great to hear an honest, unbiased review. I have also contacted Mike but am waiting for him to restock with some higher end curly Koa.

I know what you mean there. I am having a custom tenor made right now (redwood top, curly koa back/sides). I wasn't head-over-heels with the pictures of the plates he showed me at first, but then he sent me a picture of one he had already cut. He was hesitant to show it to me, because he cut it with the "v" pointing down, as opposed to up which is normal. It had a wonderful pattern to it, and I asked if he would mind if I took it off his hands. Sure, it may look "off" to most people, but this is MY uke and I'll be able to know everything about her when I get her in. I was excited to get the final plate. :)


Keep posting about your new ukulele! I think a handful of us are looking at MP quite seriously, and as a smaller-scale luthier, it's good to get the word from the people that know, as there aren't the usual glut of reviews and clips on Mike's stuff. Also nice to hear a warts and all review. Thanks! And enjoy. ;)

Mike is a fantastic person to deal with, and I have heard nothing but good things from others who have purchased from him. Now I can add to the chorus of praise. His work is great. I would highly suggest anyone looking in the Kanelea and Ko'Aloha range to check him out.

jehicks87
07-11-2010, 08:05 AM
Ok Guys, here's an update:

After playing her a bit more, I am more and more in love with the sound she produces and the neck on her. The fretboard I am getting more used to.

I spoke with Mike about the minor cosmetic blemishes. He said that the instruments he builds to sell on his website may not get as thorough a comb-through as his custom instruments, but apologized nonetheless. I found his honesty refreshing, though for the price I couldn't be happier with the quality of the instrument. As I said in the review, the blemishes are very minor.

I also ordered a Blue Yeti Microphone today. My last order (with the snowball mic) got rejected for whatever reason (actually, the bank canceled my debit card without me knowing because they found some "fraudulent activity" taking place on my account. One time I was actually happy I had Bank of America! :)

Anyways, when the Yeti comes in, I will post sound samples post haste!

UkeNukem
07-11-2010, 10:31 AM
:drool::drool: BEEE-U-TI-FUL

fumanshu
07-11-2010, 11:52 AM
jehicks87 wrote:
I spoke with Mike about the minor cosmetic blemishes. He said that the instruments he builds to sell on his website may not get as thorough a comb-through as his custom instruments, but apologized nonetheless. I found his honesty refreshing, though for the price I couldn't be happier with the quality of the instrument. As I said in the review, the blemishes are very minor.


Hi Jake! I was surprise too, to hear that there was a few blemishes on Mike's uke!!!! I own 4 customs from him and I'm very picky and I can say that they are flawless, not a trace of glue or whatever on them...From my experience, Mike's work is as well if not better than any custom from other builders that I've got.

Another thing that I like about his work is that he has some very very nice pieces of wood!!! Nice quality tonewoods and you can see and hear it when you play his instruments!!

jehicks87
07-12-2010, 06:31 AM
Indeed Fu, I was suprised as well. But, as I have said several times I was not miffed one bit. They are minor, but in the interest of a fair and honest review I included them.

Other than that, as I have also said, I am iiiiiin looooooove.

pulelehua
07-12-2010, 11:14 AM
Could you talk a bit more about the neck action? I understand that it's different, but I'm not totally clear on how. How is it shaped/built differently, and how does that affect the playing/sound? As I understand, Mike spent quite a long time building mostly necks, so I assume there's a method to the madness.

Thanks. As I mentioned, I'm seriously looking at an MP, and just want as much info as possible.

I feel like Aretha. "I'm about to give you... all my money, and all I ask, in return honey..." I suppose technically, I feel like Otis Redding, but anyway. ;)

Ahnko Honu
07-12-2010, 11:51 AM
Nothing is perfect and flawless, look hard enough and I guarantee you will find something which makes anything not 100%. That being said it's doesn't mean the thing is not 100% acceptable. To me small subtle imperfections give an item it's "soul". Some Chinese factory 'ukuleles made using CNC machines, etc. come as close to flawless as an 'ukulele can be, but they are antiseptic without life. My few custom made 'ukuleles have minor flaws if you look close enough and that's what makes them unique, and show the "mana" of the builder. Just my 2 cents.

fumanshu
07-12-2010, 04:46 PM
Ahnko Honu wrote:


Nothing is perfect and flawless, look hard enough and I guarantee you will find something which makes anything not 100%. That being said it's doesn't mean the thing is not 100% acceptable. To me small subtle imperfections give an item it's "soul". Some Chinese factory 'ukuleles made using CNC machines, etc. come as close to flawless as an 'ukulele can be, but they are antiseptic without life. My few custom made 'ukuleles have minor flaws if you look close enough and that's what makes them unique, and show the "mana" of the builder. Just my 2 cents.

I think you're totally right on this one!!! All those factory CNC machines uke look antispetic!

jehicks87
07-13-2010, 04:24 AM
Could you talk a bit more about the neck action? I understand that it's different, but I'm not totally clear on how. How is it shaped/built differently, and how does that affect the playing/sound? As I understand, Mike spent quite a long time building mostly necks, so I assume there's a method to the madness.

Thanks. As I mentioned, I'm seriously looking at an MP, and just want as much info as possible.

I feel like Aretha. "I'm about to give you... all my money, and all I ask, in return honey..." I suppose technically, I feel like Otis Redding, but anyway. ;)

The neck is thick for a ukulele. There is a flat spot on the back of neck running the length of it. The Fretboard is set rather high, and the frets themselves *seem* to be larger than normal (or at least, larger than the Honu and Kala that I have.) I believe this is what makes the action so incredibly low. I mean, the action is like butter... or maybe buttah ;)

Very smooth all the way up and down the neck, and though I don't know all there is to know about "intonation" I can tell you I haven't come across any deadspots. At all. None. So, there is something to be said for that.

The finish on the neck is incredibly smooth as well. It almost feels like naked wood, so that it is easier to slide your hand up and down the back. Other Ukes (and guitars) I have played had glossy finishes on the back of the neck, which would catch my hand at inopportune times. This one, however, does not.

I think the Neck and the Sound are the two biggest things I'm crazy about in this uke.

I hope that answered some more of your questions. And, as far as looking into an MP, as I have said many many times, I HIGHLY suggest it. You will thank Me, Fu, SnakeOil, and all the others who point you in that direction once you get it. I know I did. :)


Nothing is perfect and flawless, look hard enough and I guarantee you will find something which makes anything not 100%. That being said it's doesn't mean the thing is not 100% acceptable. To me small subtle imperfections give an item it's "soul". Some Chinese factory 'ukuleles made using CNC machines, etc. come as close to flawless as an 'ukulele can be, but they are antiseptic without life. My few custom made 'ukuleles have minor flaws if you look close enough and that's what makes them unique, and show the "mana" of the builder. Just my 2 cents.

I'm afraid you may be missing the point.

I included the small blemishes into the review to 1) give the review some credibility, as I know I hate reading "I love it cause it's mine" reviews, and 2) to be as completely honest as I know how to be when sharing information about an instrument I love from a company (man) I admire to a group of people I call friends

I have also said many, many times that I simply LOVE this uke. So not, I don't think that little imperfections diminish the acceptability of this Uke at all. But, I included them nonetheless.

Jake

pulelehua
07-13-2010, 10:47 AM
Thanks, Jake. That's a very thorough explanation. Box ticked. Bank balance getting nervous...

Ahnko Honu
07-13-2010, 11:03 AM
I'm afraid you may be missing the point.

I included the small blemishes into the review to 1) give the review some credibility, as I know I hate reading "I love it cause it's mine" reviews, and 2) to be as completely honest as I know how to be when sharing information about an instrument I love from a company (man) I admire to a group of people I call friends

I have also said many, many times that I simply LOVE this uke. So not, I don't think that little imperfections diminish the acceptability of this Uke at all. But, I included them nonetheless.

Jake

No, I didn't miss the point at all, just added to it my post directed not at you but for the benefit of others here who may expect flawless perfection in a handmaid 'ukulele. We are in 100% agreement.
Read my review on my custom Bader 'ukulele from back in 12/09, I hold no punches but love it to death. Not perfect but what, and who is? :D
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?23764-S-amp-J-Craft-%28Emil-Bader%29-Milo-Pineapple&highlight=bader+milo
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?23767-S-amp-J-Custom-Milo-Pineapple-has-Arrived!&highlight=milo

mm stan
07-13-2010, 11:34 AM
Aloha Jake,
Congrats on your new ukulele, and thank you for your fantastic full review of it!!
I just bought a back packer ukulele for captain ukes and you mentioned that your had
a thicker higher fretboard which made it easier to play with the lower action. Mine is the
same way and I've also noticed on mine that at the sound hole, the strings are higher.
giving it more volume in sound. I've also notice the substain and the clear, clean, and
crisp tone too. As for the harmonics on the 12th fret, it pretty clear with added volume.
And those small perfections or blemishes, just adds charather to your instrument and
not making them clones... Enjoy the sweet sounds of your Ukulele....MM Stan....

iDavid
07-14-2010, 04:00 AM
I spoke to Mike the other day about building me a uke and he seems like a great guy. As far as imperfections go, there are a couple on my KoAloha.... but the spirit in it is strong :)

fumanshu
07-14-2010, 04:33 AM
Hey David, if you want to hear another sound comparaison of 2 tenors that I have from Mike, I'll post later today. It will give you a better idea of what you like or prefer.

Thanks

pulelehua
07-14-2010, 04:50 AM
Does anyone have a recording of a small MP? I'm looking at a soprano body, but most what I've heard of MPs is from tenors, which is clearly not the sound I'm going for. TJF has a bit of a soprano in one of his YT vids, but as with all things MP, it's hard to get a high quantity of information.

fumanshu
07-14-2010, 05:02 AM
Hi pulelehua! I do have a concert MP...but not soprano. I think his concert's sound is quite similar to his tenor maybe just a little bit less loud...but not that much.

Thanks

jehicks87
07-14-2010, 06:57 AM
No, I didn't miss the point at all, just added to it my post directed not at you but for the benefit of others here who may expect flawless perfection in a handmaid 'ukulele. We are in 100% agreement.
Read my review on my custom Bader 'ukulele from back in 12/09, I hold no punches but love it to death. Not perfect but what, and who is? :D]

Good to hear! Phew, I thought folks may be getting the wrong impression from what I wrote there. Yes, soul is soul. In fact, on my custom he is making me, I snatched a "reversed-chevron" back from him. He was only going to use it on a personal instrument because the V in the bookmatch goes from neck down, whereas it normally goes from the bottom to the neck. I liked the figuring and said, hey, I don't mind it looking "odd" to someone else. It looks good to me!


I spoke to Mike the other day about building me a uke and he seems like a great guy. As far as imperfections go, there are a couple on my KoAloha.... but the spirit in it is strong :)

Do it! haha


Thanks, Jake. That's a very thorough explanation. Box ticked. Bank balance getting nervous...

Well, your bank account need not get too nervous, his prices are pretty darn reasonable for a fully hand-made, custom instrument. I have only seen/heard TheJumpingFlea's soprano videos, but I can ask mike if he has any sound samples of sopranos he has built if you'd like. I'll also be posting some sound samples/videos of my concert uke when I get my darned microphone in.

iDavid
07-14-2010, 01:10 PM
Hey David, if you want to hear another sound comparaison of 2 tenors that I have from Mike, I'll post later today. It will give you a better idea of what you like or prefer.

Thanks

TOO COOL!

I can't wait

fumanshu
07-15-2010, 01:35 AM
iDavid wrote: Hi David! You can check in the ''Uke talk'' section, I did the post ( MP Sitka vs.....) yesterday, I think it will help to take decision if you have some question concerning how wood combo can change a sound...

Thanks

iDavid
07-20-2010, 09:41 PM
do guys find the MP ukes to be lighter than or heavier than most ukes?

fumanshu
07-21-2010, 01:40 AM
iDavid wrote:
do guys find the MP ukes to be lighter than or heavier than most ukes?

Hi David! I think Mike's uke might be a little bit heavier than let's say Koaloha or G-String, but I have to say that all the MP ukes that I have have a slotted headstock. So because the slotted headstcok is thicker than the traditional headstock, this might make it a litlte bit heavier. Mike is not making small, skinny slotted headstock like those found on Kala acacia or Mainland...he's making real big slotted like what you find of most of customs ukes.

But it's still a balance uke. If you take a look of Mike's uke, you will see that he's using very thin top soundboard, very similar to Koaloha, Kanilea and G-String...that's why I think the weight comes more from his slotted headstock.

I think his traditional headstock uke is more like other ukes in term of weight.

Hope this can help you in any ways.

Thanks