View Full Version : The dilemma caused by UAS

07-11-2008, 03:26 AM
Damn. I was all set to buy a six-string uke and my only decision left was whether to buy the Kala or the Pono, a $200 difference (so a big decision, mind you). But then I started reading some threads here and on other forums about resonator ukes and it has thrown my carefully laid progression to a new uke into chaos. They're a sweet instrument! I must have one.

I'm now looking at a resonator uke with a line of drool dribbling down my chin. But has anyone any experience with these Chinese metal-body ukes like this one:

Sure looks nice:
But how's the tone? The action? The intonation?

07-11-2008, 04:51 AM
I have an identical resonator, except for the pearly headstock (engraving and all). I am a tuner weenie, so I had Rich replace the friction tuners with sealed gear tuners.

Tone—rock-a-billy-ish: twangy and loud
Intonation—very good.
Action—a little high for me, but not enough to do anything about it

That said, I almost never play it. For one thing the volume is so loud that I have a hard time singing over it. And it's just not quite my style—I like something a little sweeter sounding and this ukulele has a little too much attitude for me. :D

07-11-2008, 05:02 AM
i think the idea is pretty cool, ive played steal guitars and it just doesnt do it for me. So ive always though the same would hold true for steal ukes. Now i needed a really loud uke i would get this.

07-11-2008, 05:03 AM
That's a cool uke and website you have linked.

07-11-2008, 08:43 AM
I have a Republic (http://www.republicguitars.com/ukuleles.html), which is pretty identical to the Johnsons, and I really love it. You need really thick, tough strings-- it's the only uke I've got that I took off GHS's only to take off the replacements and put new GHS's on. Stringing 'em can be a pain-- who knew metal could cut nylon? :p

That said, I love the sound, the feel, etc. of my Republic. I also replaced the friction tuners with geared, just 'cause I hate 1:1 tuning ratios.

Republics are cheaper than even the other Chinese-made metal bodied ukes, and I think their quality assurance is a bit higher, as they're actually assembled and set up here in the states by Frank, the owner. The only wierdness is that one of the markers on the fretboard is one fret off on all their ukes. It's not much of a problem for me, but it's strange. (Although, in fifty years, it'll mean that the Republics are easier to spot and identify than Johnsons or the other budget brands, which makes me wonder if they might end up being more collectible...) The cone's decent, with a nice sound. You'd be better off getting a National, but they're 5 times the price.

They *are* loud, but they're not insanely so... The uke player from the Winin' Boys (http://www.wininboys.tk/) actually told me he bought a National for volume, but ended up never using it, 'cause his classic Martin had more volume.

A trick about the volume, though-- if you get one, or get a chance to try one out, you won't get a good sense of the real volume when you're playing. The resonator cone directs all the sound out and away from you. If you want to get an idea of the actual volume, have someone else play it in front of you, or play it facing a wall, so the sound'll bounce back at you...

I say go for it, though.

And check out Republic. They're available on ebay:

I haven't seen any of the reso-ukes in a little while, but Frank's really good about communication-- shoot him an email and see if he expects to have any soon...