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ChrisRCovington
01-30-2012, 12:57 PM
Hello all,

So I've taken to solid ukuleles over laminates (although my Luna and aNueNue are both pretty sweet for laminates). While using the power of Google I saw on Amazon.com BadAax soprano ukuleles that they are claiming are solid mahogany for under $50. They have koa for under $75. The list prices are $250-330 (seems more like the going price for solid wood ukuleles made in the East). Is it just me or do these prices seem a little low for solid? Has anyone every played one? What are your thoughts?

WhenDogsSing
01-30-2012, 12:59 PM
Give us a link please...Thanks.

ChrisRCovington
01-30-2012, 01:23 PM
sorry.
koa: http://www.amazon.com/Badaax-Solid-Koa-Soprano-Ukulele/dp/B0048FVC1Y/ref=pd_sim_sbs_MI_2
mahogany: http://www.amazon.com/Badaax-Solid-Mahogany-Soprano-Ukulele/dp/B0048FZDGY/ref=pd_sim_sbs_MI_2

kaizersoza
01-30-2012, 01:31 PM
this sounds too good to be true, but if it is true..................

kissing
01-30-2012, 02:43 PM
Those are some crazy prizes.


But I will say this.

Don't judge a uke by whether it's a laminate and solid.
Only judge by the sound they make :)

I've played too many laminate ukes that sound better than solid ukes.

ChrisRCovington
03-02-2012, 06:55 AM
Curiosity killed the cat. I order one of the solid mahogany sopranos to try out. It should be at my house by the time I get home from work. I'll post a review when I've had a few min. with it. I'm not expecting much but we'll see. For $50 (shipping including) what the heck!?

Mouthy1
03-02-2012, 07:15 AM
Curious myself. I have played Lam's that sound better than solids so this should be interesting since you have some decent Lam's. Good luck!!!

ChrisRCovington
03-02-2012, 10:31 AM
Tuned it up and been playing for about 15 min. I'll do a better review later. There are some rough places in the finish but all in all not bad. Better than the $50 price tag (although they claim the original MSRP was $200 a bit steep for that). Not as loud as a Dolphin (pretty close though) but it has the complexity of sound that you expect from a solid instrument. I'm actually pretty suprised and happy with the purchase. I have to run out but I'll write more later with photos.

ChrisRCovington
03-03-2012, 09:36 AM
Hello all,

So I bought the BadAax solid mahogany soprano ukulele. I got it from ebay for $49.99. I got it from Music Factory Direct. I believe this is their own line of instruments made in China. The price included free shipping. It shipped in a small ukulele shape box, no extra boxing around it and really no padding. The worst could have happened but didn't. I wasn't expecting much for a $50 ukulele that is all solid so when I got it I was pleasantly suprised. There are some issues with it that would have been unacceptable in a more expensive instrument, but for the price I'm not going to complain. I'll break this down into two major part the build and the finish. The sound is a bit subjective and I cannot record anything to post so I'll touch on it briefly.

The Build:
I was rather suprised on this and I think it is the best part. The neck and headstock is made of three parts plus a veneer for the headstock. The body does appear to be solid mahaogany. It is a little thick but nothing out of line. The back is radiused and not flat (like my Martin S1, pretty cool for the price). Inside the braces look like spruce and they are well made and smooth. The lining is kerfed lining and it was glued pretty well. There are a few tiny bit of glue in a few places but for the most part it is a pretty clean build. The finger board and bridge are rosewood. There are fret markers on the 5, 7, 10. There are also side fret markers, too (a nice feature I enjoy). The bridge is fairly simple, but it looks fine. The nut and saddle are white plastic. The tuners are closed geared tuners and they are a bit heavy. Nothing too bad but I like lighter tuners if I can get them. They would have been fine on a larger ukulele. Not the best tuners but they do the job. The rosette is a decal but it was placed well and looks fine. The build is nice and I was suprised. The finish is where they cut corners I think.

The Finish:
This is where the factory got a little lazy. Starting at the top when they went to attach the tuners it looks like they started to screw on of the tuners a little off mark and you can still see the beginings of the hole. No effort was made to disguise it. The fret ends are sticking out a bit. They can rub against the inside of your hand a little. My aNueNue that was more than twice as much had the same problem though. I guess I can't complain. Nothing a file won't take care of. Also when they were cutting the angle of the headstock they were slightly off at one point and the break angle of the headstock is a little off on the A string side right above the nut. I'm not sure how to describe it so I'll post photos in another day or two. It is pure cosmetic and doesn't affect the instrument. The nut and saddle are a little bit cheap but they do their job. The finish job isn't bad, it is a matte finish and feels pretty good. The mahogany is a golden color. I like a dark brown mahogany better but that is a personal thing. There is a mahogany veneer on the headstock that is a dark rich brown... I wish the whole thing was that color. There are a few tiny globs of the lacquer (or whatever it is they used to finish it) on the surface that weren't sanded down. They aren't easy to see although one is on the neck right at the 2nd fret. It doesn't bother me when I play but still... To be honest for the price I really can't complain too much. It came with Aquila strings which are nice. The BadAax logo is silk screened on the headstock in gold. To be honest I think it looks a little cheap. Part of that could be because the logo is Just the word "BADAAX" in a very basic font (New Roman Times maybe?). If they had a cooler logo it might not have been so bad.

The Sound:
Well sound is subjective isn't it? It is loud. I was suprised since the wood is a little thicker than what I'm used to. I can't complain. The tone is a little bit more complex than a laminate ukulele, being an all solid uke. The intonation is good down the fretboard. The action is a bit higher than some of my other ukuleles but I like a little higher action. There really isn't a buzz on it anywhere I've played. It does have a pretty long sustain for a soprano and it tends to sound echo-y. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. New string like some Martins might change that a little. I'm going to wait until the Aquilas break in a little bit before changing them.

Is it better than ukuleles of a simillar price? That's up to you. I like the "complex" sound of a solid instrument better than the simpler sound of a laminate. It is about as loud as a dolphin and it is solid wood. To be honest I like it better than dolphins but that is me. The down side is it will require more upkeep since it is a solid wood. A thought on the price. The list price they have on the website is $200, but then it is marked down to $50. That is quite the discount. I'm not sure if they marked them down to just get rid of the overstock or if that's how they wanted it to be priced and they are trying to make it seem like a super deal.

I do like it better than many of the more overbuilt ukuleles I've seen at the Guitar Center from rather popular brands. It isn't as closed sounding as many of those are and it is much less expensive. It is a solid ukulele and I wouldn't be embarassed to play it out in public, infact I might consider it for my travel ukulele. It would be really good if I got it a nice set up. Not to say it is bad but there are some little things that could make a difference. I'm not sure how much more money I want to put into it since it is fine for me as is. I'll likely file the fret ends down myself. I might even get a nicer nut and saddle for it and put that on myself too. It doesn't come with anything like a gig bag or case so you have to get that on your own. I have enough old gig bags laying about so I'll be fine.

All in all I think it is a pretty good cheap ukulele that sounds a lot better than many laminates and even a few solids that cost way more, though not as good as a nicer solid. I doubt it would hold it's own against the Islander models, the Mexican Martins or some of the better laminates but it is still pretty good for the price. I like it better than the dolphins but I don't really like the bright colors and plastic bodies so that's just me. If anyone gets the solid koa model please let me know. Love to know how that works out. I'm pretty happy with the purchase to be honest. I'll try to get some photos soon.

Best regards,