View Full Version : Bought a cheap 'TOM' Solid Top Koa Tenor from amazon (SORT OF) a top bargain ?

10-07-2013, 02:00 PM
Hi, I bought one of these Chinese made cheap ukes from amazon (uk), it's a Tom solid top koa tenor and it's 'sort of' a bargain because it only cost 58(what's that $80-ish) but it did need tinkering with, hence the 'sort of'.

Looks great for the cash, the nut's a bit rubbish, just looks a touch cheap and ill set (too high) but still plays. However the uke had a smidge of fret buzz on the c string first fret.

I tried the usual quick fix, checked the string (even changed it) messed with the saddle and the nut a wee bit, nothing too much as i suspected the fret due to it only being the first fret where buzz occurred, the rest of the c string was fine. So I very gently filed down/smoothed off the area on the second fret where the c string lies (this being the area i deduced buzz was coming from). I didn't use a file, i used a fine abrasive paper for metals, wrapped around a spare saddle. I simply smoothed off the area where the c string sits on the second fret, also a wee bit on the third. Nevertheless this has resolved the issue!

By no means am I a luthier, I can just tinker a wee bit as always played string instruments, but if you know what your doing, for 58 this is a top uke in my books, but as I've suggested, take a punt if you know what you're doing.

The sound (after the work), I have to say, for 58, is f**king fantastic The solid Koa top looks really nice, will post a couple of pics to show the wood colouring in the body and fret board.

If anyone is interested I will post a sound-shot of the uke being played, just let me know.

Overall, from a punt on a solid top Koa uke, to that depressing buzz sound, to being really happy, all in one day.


10-08-2013, 12:33 AM
A very good looking uke for 58 quid. Glad you got it "sorted out." That T looks a little like their take on the Tangi logo.

10-08-2013, 09:13 AM
A very good looking uke for 58 quid. Glad you got it "sorted out." That T looks a little like their take on the Tangi logo.

I think you're right about the 'T' logo, but from what I've seen these Chinese companies (as opposed to American or European companies which simple have their stuff made in China) tend to do that copycat thing.

Nevertheless, just got back in from work and had another look at it and I'm sort of shocked how good it is for the money. A solid Koa top (laminated body) that really does play well and sounds really good, very bright!

The downside is that I had to know what I was doing in-order to fix it. Saying that, I've bought ukes from established brands in the past, 'Kala' for example and the neck's been warped or the set up was terrible.

58 ($80ish) all in, including delivery and I now have this good looking, I know I keep repeating this, but honestly great sounding ukulele.

However, the fret buzz thing really is a nightmare for anyone! I was just lucky that I 'sort of' know what I'm doing and it turned out to be something I could fix. It's clearly a sign that they are mass produced and quality control may not be the best when there are uneven frets. Nevertheless 58, good looking great sounding (really does sound good) uke.

These kind of things normally end up a disaster for me! When I take a chance on something, I usually end up proverbially pissin money up the wall (this being the probable reason why I'm going on about this so much). Nevertheless, it appears this time I'm on a winner.