View Full Version : Bad Luck Eleuke :(

06-16-2012, 07:13 AM
I refrained from posting this as I expected everything to resolve cleanly, but when my baritone Eleuke came back from the repair store with the strings put on it completely wrong, it pushed me over the edge :mad:

Basically, upon searching "Baritone Eleuke" on eBay, I came across a Chinese seller who had them for a very good price.

http://i01.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/110606983/EleUke_BCJ100_FMH_Flamed_Mahogany_Baritone_model.j pg

So I ordered it, and it arrived in about a week (which was surprisingly fast).

As soon as I opened up the package, and as I attempted to play it, something was terribly wrong. The strings were installed wrong.

What was supposed to be DGBE Baritone tuning came with the D and B string flipped around. How did this get through quality control :confused: It's also worth mentioning that the strings themselves were very old, the wound strings being in poor, oxidised state.

Nevertheless, thinking this was just a minor issue, I quickly switched the strings around and plugged it in.

And what do I find? The G string is ridiculously overpowered.
All the other strings sound relatively muted (especially the B and E string), but the G sounds like it went on steroids all by itself, distorting and shaking my amplifier.

There is even a sticker with some guy's signature on it acknowledging that it passed quality test. What exactly was tested? The strings were installed incorrectly, and the pickup was lousy.

I promptly contacted the eBay seller, who replied with great surprise and tried to offer easy solutions like "How about changing the strings to new ones? I'll refund $10 for cost of strings".

The eBay seller also recommended that I contact Philip Kwak, and showed me the email address.

I wrote the email explaining the story, but I never got a reply.

I asked for a refund to the eBay seller, but then he said I would have to ship it back to China via air parcel at my own expense, which will end up quite expensive for me..

So I opted to try to have it repaired on my side and took it to the music store. (I took it to the store, because in the past I've attempted to fix Eleuke's pickup issues myself, and failed after many frustrating hours).
The folks at the store were surprised at how grossly loud the G string was on its own. But they said it should be something they can fix, and I also asked them to replace the current strings with some new Aquila baritone strings (DGBE) after they were done.
I negotiated with the eBay seller a "reasonable*" partial refund to cover part of the repair costs.

Anyway, today I got it back from the store and brought it straight home (I really should've checked at the store, but I was in a hurry, and they were about to close)... to find that they installed the new strings completely wrong, and the strings themselves were wrong... D:

They must have gotten the Baritone GCEA set by mistake, and attempted to tune it with the thickest string at the 4th, not knowing that this is a re-entrant set *facepalm* But the situation was kind of hard to believe.. surely they would have noticed that these are nothing like the strings that were originally on it...? Just goes to show that there isn't a great understanding of ukes, let alone baritones.

My poor poor baritone Eleuke - seems to be the most misunderstood instrument. It was strung wrong at the factory, and then strung wrong again at the repair shop. Hence the title "bad luck Eleuke".

Luckily I had a spare Martin Clear Fluorocarbon baritone DGBE set at home, which I used to tune it up. And what do I find? The G string is still a bit overpowering :mad: Not as noticeable as before, but still there. I then spent a few hours jiggling the position of the saddle to find the best compromise.

At the moment, it's still not perfect (the wound strings still overpower a bit), but I think it's as close as I can get it to be balanced (it may just be due to wound strings being thicker and powerful than plain strings).

But overall, I gotta say, I'm pretty dissatisfied with Eleuke this time round. I had thought the horror days of Eleuke's unbalanced pickups was put behind when they switched factories, but it seems duds like this still get through.

Ah well, I'll make do for now. Not worth sending back due to shipping.

Lesson to take from this - buyer beware! Only buy Eleukes from sellers who are actually familiar with the products they sell, do their own testing and setup (like Mim).

I would not buy an Eleuke directly from China ever again... or any Eleuke for that matter. This is the second Eleuke I've purchased that was a dud.

My Risa electric ukes have never had quality issues like this.
Upon changing the strings on this Eleuke, one of the tuners have gone bad already, feeling really stiff as though the cog wheel inside has become uneven. I changed the strings on my Risa electric today as well, and the tuners feel as smooth and reliable as the first day I bought it.

*-in the point of view of the seller

06-16-2012, 07:21 AM
It seems that Eleuke has been cursed by their own success. From what I've heard the QA has gone quite far south as their volume has gone up. I've heard quite a few horror stories about the latest ones and I believe even Mim is not planning on ordering any more of them until their QA improves.

I'm glad I got one before the QA started sliding because it is a fun little uke. But, IMHO, not special enough to lose sleep (or money) over. I think the Risa's are much better (albeit more expensive).

06-16-2012, 07:25 AM
That is a sad, sad story.

06-16-2012, 07:30 AM
Sad. The very first eleukes were reportedly dreadful on QC. I thought Kala took over their production and they improved overnight. Sad if it has all slipped again.

06-16-2012, 07:48 AM
I got my tenor pineapple eleuke from MIM and have had no problems with it. Sound and action was good. I've had it about 6 months now.

06-16-2012, 07:52 AM
I've owned 5 Eleukes in total... 3 of them were very good. My very first Eleuke (which was an old generation one) and this current one were severely faulty.

06-16-2012, 09:01 AM
It sounds like maybe the pickup was not properly installed, or the saddle is only making good contact over the G string. I'd check to make sure the bottom of the saddle and the bridge groove is flat and the pickup looks uniform beneath the saddle.

I suppose it could also be a wonky set of electronics setting up a resonance around G, but that is probably less likely.

Maybe Kala needs to start making a solid body electric besides the UBass. They could probably do well at a price point above the Eleuke but below the RISA.

06-16-2012, 10:36 AM
As sweetwaterblue says, any Under saddle piezo requires a very flat saddle base and flat placement in the bridge slot. If those are adjusted you may be ok. You are right though, a uke whose whole raison d'Ítre is to be an electric really does need to ship with electrics working!

06-16-2012, 11:35 AM
Yeah, Risa is the best. People complain "But it's expensive" Yeah, you get what you pay for. The tenor uke solid that I thought might have a dodgy pickup? I did finally find some "clean power" and confirmed it's me and not it. I can get around that by either not using AC in this apartment, or making sure the effect box touches skin. Rigk was the one who suggested that trick. :)

Another complaint that's pro Eleuke that's said against the Risa is the lack of a headphone out on the Risa. So? The Eleuke's headphone out is not as good as say, a Vox Amplug. You'd still want one of those anyway, so it's a moot point.

If you get an Eleuke from someone reputable, like Mim for instance, I think you're ok. If it gets checked out and setup, it'll be pretty cool. It'll have that lame headstock logo, but it'll be really good at its job. I got mine from Musique83, and he's one of the good guys as well, but it was before the Rise of Mim. :)

Ok, this entire post sounds really down on Eleuke, and it's not so much that, as a reminder that Risa is really great and doesn't need all the extra aftercare. Just listen to Kissing. This man knows his electric ukes, if you get or got an Eleuke from a seller that gives a damn, it'll serve you well. It's just a pity the quality control there. Makes you wonder about factory conditions.

06-16-2012, 05:59 PM
I just got back from a 5 day offshore trip with my peanut Eleuke. I loved it because it was tough, portable and quiet. Perfect for trying not to disturb anybody while practicing.

06-16-2012, 10:40 PM
I feel even luckier that I got a good one from the bug gear era after reading the OP's horror story.

I'd be after a full refund nothing less.

I guess there is such a thing as a hungover Monday morning batch of anything from meat pies to BMW engines or maybe a worker got put on to quality control whos mother was dying of the great Siberian itch and his heart wasn't in it, who knows, but it is a shame to see a down hill slide in quality and therefore value in what can be a great instrument (apparently now as a matter of good luck more than anything else).

So the Eleuke saga continues, this I fear will not be one of the proudest eras in the brands history.

07-11-2012, 10:57 AM
Plainsong has it right. I hope you'll get a Risa next time you want another strictly electric ukulele.

I will go even further. We're our own worst enemies sometimes. "I know what I want. I know what it should cost, but I will find it cheaper from an unreliable source. Or, if I can't get it cheaper by eliminating the middle-man (or woman, Mim) I'll get something else that probably won't be as good. Then, I'll be all disappointed."

07-11-2012, 04:25 PM
Ahhhh! I can help you!!! Don't sell it yet!!! I can help! I know these suckers like the back of my hand. Heck, maybe even better! But I am on my phone on the way to NAMM. Will write info when I can!!!

mm stan
07-11-2012, 04:57 PM
I'd tell you to grab this one, but you have one already...I was thinking of it as it is in mint condition and half price...http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/msg/3125723176.html

07-11-2012, 06:13 PM
In defense of Eleuke as a uke... they are not a bad ukulele... once upon a time. There has been a switch in production that has led to some questionable quality of some of the models. If you notice my ebay, I normally would have over 100 Eleukes in stock and I am down to 20ish. I scooped up the old production runs. That being said, THEY ARE FIXING IT!!! There is going to be some really great things coming down the pike with these, so don't let this destroy your confidence in the brand. It is going to get better!!! I got some Baritones like you did and sent them back, except for a few that were right, but I know exactly what you are talking about and it is fixable. It is a fix as a dealer I am not comfy with in order to make it right, but it is a fix that will make it playable, even string volume, and you may just end up falling in love with it when fixed!

That being said... it can be fixed! And I have helped someone as far as England fix these through skype. I could try to describe it, but I am not good at that and it is way late for me. But please dont give up on your uke yet. There is hope :) ! Do you have Skype? If so, I am at Summer NAMM, but I will be home on Sunday and will happily Skype with you and show you how to fix it!!! I would recommend getting a full refund, plus shipping, but if they wont do so, I would hate to see you give up on it. And if I walk you through it, then even if you do decide to re-sell it, you can at least sell it with the string volume even and you can tell the seller how you fixed it.

My Skype is: MimsUkes. Or if you dont have Skype, call me sometime Sunday (after 3pm, I have church then Sunday nap! ) Business #: 704-238-3555. If you want to try to fix it earlier, PM me your number and I will call you when I am not at NAMM and we will work through it. Seriously, it can be fixed!