View Full Version : Awesome unexpected New Uke Day!

01-16-2012, 02:47 PM
EDIT: I just recorded a sound clip of this uke for you all...the first uke is the Fender with the stock Aquilas, the second is with a new set of Worth Clear Low G strings, and the third is a short clip of my KoAloha soprano for comparisons. The strings are still settling but I definitely like this one with low G Worths...much sweeter and richer. Almost like real koa! :rolleyes:

Anyways, here's the clip: Fender Sound Sample on Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/ben-young-napkin-art/fender-sound-sample)

Well about 6 months ago I bought a Lanikai LU21T to get me started on my uke obsession. It took me getting a couple of other ukes to realize that the Lanikai was a complete dud. Terrible intonation, lifeless sound, terrible tuning, awful set up on the nut and saddle...just all around very bad. Needless to say it was frustrating realizing that I spent $100 on a useless instrument, and a pang of annoyance at the Lanikai struck me every time I looked over and saw it collecting dust in the corner.

This is why I deal with local businesses whenever possible. The shop I bought it from was very apologetic when I brought it to their attention finally in November, and they told me to stop by sometime after Christmas when management wasn't looking over their shoulders so much and they could work something out with me. I went in today to take a look at what they had, and sitting high up on the wall was a brand new Fender Koa Nohea. This one was different from the ones I had seen before, it really looks like Big Island Koa, and not the bland yellowish laminate they were using before. Playing it, I knew I had to have it.

They took back the Lanikai at full price, plus they were having a sale, so I ended up walking out with a brand new Koa Nohea for $60!



It looks very nice...looking at it without the headstock you wouldn't believe it was a $200 instrument. I was a little dubious because I really don't like when companies that don't know what they're doing stick their hands into business that they shouldn't (I've never really found Fender acoustics inspiring, but that's me). The sound is actually quite nice, though; it's much mellower than my KoAloha, and not quite as loud, but it surprisingly still retains that sweet Koa tone.

I'm really surprised, to be honest. I didn't expect Fender to produce a quality ukulele, and I don't really know how it compares to some of the Ohana and Mainland offerings, but for $200 this is a fantastic ukulele that looks and sounds great. For $60, I couldn't really back away.

It also didn't hurt that it was 70 DEGREES AND SUNNY IN JANUARY IN MISSOURI. Needless to say, me and my new laminate uke went straight outside to play!

Here's a couple more pics for you all:


01-16-2012, 05:05 PM
Very pretty uke. I had discounted the Fender ukuleles unitl I saw this. I've never been inspired by their acoustic guitars, either. Congratulations!

01-16-2012, 05:27 PM
I have never tried the koa model. The mahogany model didn't thrill me, but then I'm comparing to an instrument that costs quite a bit more... I'll have to try the koa sometime :)

VERY pretty uke though. LOVE the looks, without being able to play it.

01-16-2012, 05:48 PM
That's why I was apprehensive, because the Mahogany model was so disappointing to me personally. I think what really works for the Koa is the laminate seems thinner than the previous Fender ukes I've tried. It isn't the best tenor out there, absolutely not. But, I will say that comparing it directly to a top of the line uke like the KoAloha is eye-opening.

The KoAloha's sound is noticeably more complex than the Fender, understandably. The KoAloha is also louder and more percussive than the Fender. But even though on paper those all sound like negatives, the Fender has a very pleasant tone that has just a tad more low end than the KoAloha. For the price difference and size difference it's actually a little shocking how similar they sound. The more I play the Fender along with the KoAloha, the more I get excited about ordering a set of Low G Worths for the Fender and seeing how it sounds.

I didn't really buy this uke to buy a great tenor...I just wanted a tenor that works. As my stable has grown, I realized that I'm investing more money and time into solid wood ukes that I have to worry about. There's something pretty liberating about getting this Fender, which I don't have to worry about financially or worry about the wood moving as much as I would have to with a solid Koa uke. Plus, it is very pretty, and I don't really have a pretty uke. The KoAloha is beautiful, of course, but it's something I keep in the case and I don't get to just stare at it very much. The Fender gets to stay out and be pretty.

If it wasn't a Fender and it was just another laminate Koa uke, and I knew nothing about it, I'd probably spend up to $300 on it. I will say one thing though: the solid Kalas and Lanikais that I've played recently don't hold a candle to the tone and looks of the Fender, IMO. With the exception of the Solid Acacia Kalas, I think that I would pass on every model from both companies and get the Fender if I had a choice. But that's me :P

Dan Uke
01-16-2012, 05:53 PM
You can't go wrong for $60. Great find and buy!! Also, you sing so well that you could make any uke sound good

01-16-2012, 06:03 PM
You can't go wrong for $60. Great find and buy!! Also, you sing so well that you could make any uke sound good

Wow thanks for the compliment! :o

mm stan
01-16-2012, 06:31 PM
Aloha Ben,
Congrats on the new koa Fender.....Betcha havin' fun with it......Thank you for sharing...Happy Strummings..

01-17-2012, 04:08 AM
Very pretty uke. I had discounted the Fender ukuleles unitl I saw this. I've never been inspired by their acoustic guitars, either. Congratulations!

It's actually prettier than these photos show. They picked some really good Koa veneer for these. (I've owned two - my son has one of them & the other one was sold to fund the next uke in my "collection").

01-17-2012, 05:46 AM
I have to confess that I've always loved the look of these. And the headstock.. dreamy...

They really should come with a pickup though. A uke with that headstock and those looks that says Fender on it, shoulda come with a pickup. But for 60 bucks are you kidding?? Congrats!

01-17-2012, 08:15 AM
Congratulations on the new ukulele! It looks really nice. I haven't had the chance to play a Fender ukulele yet, but I'm glad to hear that you're happy with yours.

01-17-2012, 12:50 PM
I took a few more pics in the sunlight to try and catch the wood's look:





01-23-2012, 01:51 PM
Clip up on soundcloud: first take is the Fender with stock Aquilas, second is the Fender with new Worth Clear Low G's, and third is the KoAloha soprano for comparison.

Fender Uke Clip on Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/ben-young-napkin-art/fender-sound-sample)

01-24-2012, 10:55 AM
The ukes (both of them) sound great. So does your voice!

01-24-2012, 11:29 AM
Congrats on the New Uke!! Happy New Uke Day, though unexpected, what a great score for $60!!! :drool: