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View Full Version : 14 Ukuleles on a sofa, or the trials and tribulations of an instrument reviewer



SamWise
09-30-2008, 04:52 AM
I was going to call this something like "I don't have UAS but....." and then I thought, some people then wouldn't look at it who would enjoy it, so I went for "does exactly what it says on the tin"!

7 of these Ukes I've already reviewed. The other 7 have just arrived, and they have to be reviewed by Thursday night. I'm away all day tomorrow. I guess Thursday will be a day of playing!

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a322/Samuelw72/P9300024.jpg

NukeDOC
09-30-2008, 04:55 AM
i just wanna know how i can get a job like yours!

deach
09-30-2008, 04:56 AM
I think I just had a uke-gasm.

SamWise
09-30-2008, 05:08 AM
i just wanna know how i can get a job like yours!

Well, I knew I could write, so I just emailed a bunch of magazines that focussed on subjects that interested me, and offered to write an article for nothing, and if they liked it, from then on if they used me, they'd pay me normal scale. Acoustic asked me to write a paragraph or two about my own guitars. On the basis of that, they sent me CDs to review. I did those well, and because I have more technical background than others on the writing staff, they started giving me amps, pickups, pedals etc. When I'd been doing that for a while, successfully, I pushed for guitars. Now I get more guitars than anyone else, and this month, ukuleles too. It's really hard to write a useful review of a uke in 100 words though; I'm used to 2000 for guitars.

uke142464
09-30-2008, 05:38 AM
I think I just had a uke-gasm.

lol
those are some pretty ukes!!!

SamWise
09-30-2008, 05:56 AM
Some of 'em are. The Clearwater Pineapple is as ugly as sin!

dnewton2
09-30-2008, 06:45 AM
So you you get to keep them after reviewing them?

oh yeah that is a beauitiful picture!

SamWise
09-30-2008, 07:08 AM
God I wish. If that were the case, I would have the most enviable collection of fine acoustic guitars you've ever seen! Sadly, they all have to go off for photography on Friday, and I'll never see them again. Now I need my own!

Given the funds at hands, first will be either a bottom of the range Mahalo, or maybe a Mahalo tenor, and that may be followed by a Clearwater Vita, which impressed the hell out of me today, in place of the Ohana soprano I'd been thinking of. Down the line, a decent tenor would be the order of the day, maybe cedar top with walnut back and sides.....

For those who want to know, the Ukes on review are, in order of size followed by price:

Clearwater Pineapple Soprano (with pickup)
Mahalo U320 Soprano
Clearwater Vita Soprano solid top (with pickup)
Moana UK150 Mahogany Soprano all-solid
Moana UK55 Maple Soprano all-solid
Koloa KU600 Mahogany Soprano all-solid
Moana UK150 DX Mahogany Soprano all-solid with more bling
Hamano H100 Mahogany Soprano all-solid with excellent Headway pickup

Clearwater Roundback Concert solid Spruce top (with pickup)
Hudson Spruce/Maple Concert all solid
Moana CK 55 koa Concert all solid
Hudson mahogany concert all solid (with pickup)

Ashbury koa tenor all solid
Hudson Spruce/Maple Tenor all solid with pickup

Given that I've only been given 100 words about each in the magazine, I'm quite happy to share more info here!

seeso
09-30-2008, 07:14 AM
HellooOOooOoo nurse!! :eek:

dnewton2
09-30-2008, 07:50 AM
Given that I've only been given 100 words about each in the magazine, I'm quite happy to share more info here!

Might I suggest adding some reviews to the review section on the main page. Since you obviously know about musical instruments I think they would be extremly helpful for anyone.

ke leo
09-30-2008, 08:06 AM
Well, I knew I could write, so I just emailed a bunch of magazines that focussed on subjects that interested me, and offered to write an article for nothing, and if they liked it, from then on if they used me, they'd pay me normal scale. Acoustic asked me to write a paragraph or two about my own guitars. On the basis of that, they sent me CDs to review. I did those well, and because I have more technical background than others on the writing staff, they started giving me amps, pickups, pedals etc. When I'd been doing that for a while, successfully, I pushed for guitars. Now I get more guitars than anyone else, and this month, ukuleles too. It's really hard to write a useful review of a uke in 100 words though; I'm used to 2000 for guitars.

This is an inspiring story of how to couple your talents with your passion to generate $$$!!! Thanks for sharing.

ke leo
09-30-2008, 08:07 AM
Might I suggest adding some reviews to the review section on the main page. Since you obviously know about musical instruments I think they would be extremly helpful for anyone.

I'll second the motion.

SamWise
10-01-2008, 05:29 AM
Might I suggest adding some reviews to the review section on the main page. Since you obviously know about musical instruments I think they would be extremly helpful for anyone.

Well, whilst I don't mind sharing a bit about some of these, I think posting in-depth reviews for free before the paid-for ones get published would be presumptuous, even if most of Acoustic's readership are unlikely to read it here, so that'll have to wait til after the next issue comes out (2 months). I will share my favourites and particular dislikes.

The Clearwater Vita was great, specially for the price. Very bright, but not clunky, lovely to play, came with Aquilas, looked great. Pickup was over-bright and required serious EQ to get it in hand (would've been even worse through an electric guitar amp), but you can't expect a good uke AND a good pickup for 70! The Moana Maple Soprano was also ace. In guitars, I tend to like mellow, dark, warm sounding instruments, yet I went big time for the brightest two sopranos! It also looks fantastic, in my opinion. I want one. The Hamano really impressed me to, but it wasn't sufficiently better to justify being 3 times the price, even with the wonderful Headway pickup. Concert wise, the Moana Koa won out comfortably - nice sound, very blingy looks, perfect intonation. I didn't really fall for either tenor.

Worst - the Ko'aloa soprano was awful. Nicely built, but bland, with glossy finish but no embellishment at all. Sound was decent, but the intonation was flat out awful, much worse than either of the 40 ukes, to the point where it was actually unplayable. Any note above the second fret was painfully out.

At concert, the bowl back Clearwater was less than ideal. Acoustically it's ok, though I hate the aesthetics, and I never like the Ovation sound (which it has). Plugged in it's appalling - so very trebly, and fed back, even in my little office, which none of the other ukes did.

At tenor, the Ashbury, which LOOKS wonderful, but sounded absolutely dead, very quiet, with no sustain at all, as though the top and bracing were badly overbuilt.

pryce4267
11-13-2008, 04:47 AM
Which do you think had the best action.:biglaugh:

hoosierhiver
11-13-2008, 05:46 AM
I'm panting

nikolo727
11-13-2008, 06:12 AM
If jelousy was as bad a sin as murder, i would be sent straight to hell. period.


:D

so do you get to keep the ukes after you review them??

SamWise
11-14-2008, 02:37 AM
If jelousy was as bad a sin as murder, i would be sent straight to hell. period.


:D

so do you get to keep the ukes after you review them??

If I did, I wouldn't now be playing a 13 purple Mahalo in all my Youtube videos! I get to keep CDs I review, but not instruments. The one exception is a really nice acoustic guitar amp that I still have, because no matter how often I called them, the distributor just would not arrange to collect it.

As far as action - meh. They were all much of a muchness. The cheaper they were, the higher the action tended to be, but I didn't have a problem with any of them. I guess the Hamano had the lowest action and the best dressed frets.

nikolo727
11-14-2008, 06:24 PM
If I did, I wouldn't now be playing a 13 purple Mahalo in all my Youtube videos! I get to keep CDs I review, but not instruments.



thats still the sweetest job in the world lol!