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dog8food
05-04-2014, 12:51 PM
So I've heard that China's musical instrument manufacturers are getting smarter and creating some quality products at fraction prices. I just ordered a Rubin Concert ukulele with electric pick-up for $70. Aquila strings, close geared tuners, zebrawood, etc... I've heard a few positive reviews on it, but nothing on here yet.

I'm also about to try a $38 TUP-200 Tom pocket uke.

If anyone has some feedback about either of these, please share.

Ukejenny
05-04-2014, 01:17 PM
I got nothing, but very interesting that the Chinese are gaining steam in so many markets, ukulele included.

itsme
05-04-2014, 01:24 PM
There's a guy in the meetup group I go to who bought a soprano Rubin from ebay and was so pleased with it he also ordered a concert.

I got to try it briefly... looked pretty well made and with a pickup for $50 shipped (many Chinese/Asian sellers charge a small fortune for shipping) it seemed like a real bargain.

Mattyukaholic
05-04-2014, 09:35 PM
I've got the Tom pocket uke. I love it. Especially considering how cheap it is. It's not the best looking uke but it plays in tune with acceptable intonation and the tone is really nice for a pocket ukulele. It sounds better than the Ohana sopranino I tried.
If you restring it with Martin m600s it sounds best, much better than the faux aquillas it comes with.
And mine also came unexpectedly with a gigbag, electronic tuner, capo, plectrums and spare strings!! A bit of an odd combination of freebies but a couple of them were useful.
I have heard they are hit and miss though so I might've got lucky!

Skinny Money McGee
05-05-2014, 03:41 AM
80 dollars for a solid spruce top tenor? delivered? do they make the uke for 20 dollars, and the rest is shipping? Even if the uke is a complete POS, it's still incredible they can do this. (and this uke doesn't look that bad in the pictures)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rubin-RT-301-Quilted-Ash-27-Tenor-Acoustic-Electric-Ukulele-/261467403354

MickeyD
05-05-2014, 08:17 AM
I actually just ordered the Pocket Rubin Uke http://www.ebay.com/itm/261448485542 a few days ago. I had trouble finding any information on the company/any detailed reviews of the quality so was a bit skeptical, but for $40 I thought it would be worth giving it the old college try. I'll reply to this post with some pictures and a review. If the pocket uke is made well and looks as good as it does online I may just end up with one of the electrics. Now to wait the 15-30 estimated shipping time! BTW, first post!

MickeyD
05-05-2014, 12:38 PM
I have a feeling the pocket uke is laminate. There are two options for the soprano size of this model, one laminate and one solid top so my guess is that the pocket is laminate. If they mention that one is solid top then I would imagine they'd tout it on any solid top in the line. No evidence though, just my opinion.

itsme
05-05-2014, 12:55 PM
I have a feeling the pocket uke is laminate. There are two options for the soprano size of this model, one laminate and one solid top so my guess is that the pocket is laminate. If they mention that one is solid top then I would imagine they'd tout it on any solid top in the line. No evidence though, just my opinion.
Agreed. For the most part, if it doesn't say it's solid, you can assume it's laminate. No one really touts laminate as being a selling point.

dog8food
05-11-2014, 01:41 PM
I've got the Tom pocket uke. I love it. Especially considering how cheap it is. It's not the best looking uke but it plays in tune with acceptable intonation and the tone is really nice for a pocket ukulele. It sounds better than the Ohana sopranino I tried.
If you restring it with Martin m600s it sounds best, much better than the faux aquillas it comes with.
And mine also came unexpectedly with a gigbag, electronic tuner, capo, plectrums and spare strings!! A bit of an odd combination of freebies but a couple of them were useful.
I have heard they are hit and miss though so I might've got lucky!

Thanks for the post. Might be worth picking up for $40, even if I don't get as lucky as you :cool:

bborzell
05-11-2014, 03:58 PM
80 dollars for a solid spruce top tenor? delivered? do they make the uke for 20 dollars, and the rest is shipping? Even if the uke is a complete POS, it's still incredible they can do this. (and this uke doesn't look that bad in the pictures)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rubin-RT-301-Quilted-Ash-27-Tenor-Acoustic-Electric-Ukulele-/261467403354

It is a very nice looking build. Feels like 3 am on the Shopping Channel. Pretty tempting.

MickeyD
05-16-2014, 04:32 PM
6682266823

I just got my Rubin Pocket Uke a few days ago. I purchased it on May 2 and it arrived on May 15, so pretty quick from China (with no shipping cost!). They packaged the uke well in a small triangle box that was surrounded by styrofoam. After a few days with it I'd say that I'm happy with the purchase. Here are some initial thoughts after strumming it for while.

First off, it's tiny! I knew it would be, but it really sunk in when I picked it up and starting playing it. I took a picture of it next to my Tenor Kala for a bit of scale.

I have to say that this uke looks almost identical to the pictures shown on eBay, which I find very attractive. I was slightly worried I'd open the box to see an approximated toy version inside. Luckily it's a real ukulele (or real enough to justify the $40). A few quick thoughts on the construction. There is a light gloss finish on all wood parts (laminate), and I'm pretty sure the Aquila strings are actually Aquila (which I suppose is good or bad depending on if you like em, it seems some people on the board aren't the biggest fan of Aquila). The saddle and nut are predictably plastic. The saddle is a bit high, making the action just a touch high as well. Other than trying to fit all of my fingers into a scrunched chord the neck actually feels pretty good. The frets are smooth on the sides of the neck, and the neck is straight. The tuners seem decent as I haven't had any serious slipping issues (I've had to tune it quite a bit, but I attribute that to new Aquila strings and the size of it, I feel I'll be tuning it a couple times every time I play it).

As for the sound...it's actually pretty good! It's obviously a little thin what with the higher tuning and extremely small body, but it's got a nice tone to it.

My biggest issue with the uke is the intonation. When playing a combination of open notes and fretted notes past say, the fifth or so fret, the issue becomes apparent. But, eh, forty bucks. Hopefully the company is able to ethically treat the builders.

So there's my quick two cents on the whole "Rubin" ukulele situation. For $40 you can certainly a get much, much worse product. I'm glad I bought a cheap pocket uke and not the Kala, because while I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this little guy, I wouldn't be able to justify spending $175 for something that I feel is at least kind of gimmicky. I'm still interested in playing one of their aco/electric solid tops to see if they are worth the money. If I get some time I'll do a quick recording to give everyone an idea of what's up, and hopefully throw up a couple more pictures with different angles. Cheers I hope this wasn't too talky and helps anyone interested in this mysterious company!

CJay
05-19-2014, 01:57 PM
I have the Tom thin body tenor uke from Amazon and I have to say I am very pleased with it. I've been playing it for about six weeks nearly every day. The build quality is very good and the intonation is spot on. I wouldn't hesitate to order another Tom uke.

MickeyD
05-21-2014, 11:11 AM
669456694666947

Just another couple of pics. Cheers! The Tom thin tenor looks really cool! Must...resist...buying more...

Nickie
05-21-2014, 03:18 PM
it's just TOO cute!

bellgamin
05-21-2014, 05:20 PM
I await delivery, to my home in Hawaii, of a Rubin solid-spruce-top tenor. The tracking showed delivery by China Post to USPS at San Francisco, where it has been sitting for 7 days. No wonder FedEx & UPS are taking more & more of the parcel business away from USPS.

Same sort of slowness holds true for Media Mail packages (books & so forth) shipped via USPS from continental U.S.A. to Hawaii. They usually reach the Richmond CA USPS in a reasonable amount of time. But then the packages often sit there for 2-3 weeks before they are released to Hawaii. Worst case -- I ordered a book 3 weeks before Christmas. After a month without delivery, the seller gave me a refund. The package reached me Feb. 17. Good grief! (I then paid the seller, much to his amazement.)

As for the Rubin -- I have my fingers crossed. I hope it's as good-for-the-$ as you folks have experienced.

(By the way, I asked the Rubin guy if he sells baritones. His "No!" reply was more than a little stand-offish. Hmmm... wonder why?)

Hammond
05-21-2014, 11:54 PM
Give them a try if few tens of US dollar not too hard to spare.

In these countries (i.e. China, Vietnam, etc...) a dollar would allow a worker live a day. Another few dollars would cover the wood & materials. This is not a miracle to make it happened with such low price. The product could be ok. Do not worry.

Yet the workers' education & technique levels are very low. The most expensive cost, is to keep things controlled. Thats why every buy has the risk. The rate of blemish could be high.

pondweed
05-22-2014, 12:05 AM
The tom pocket is stupidly cheap at the moment in UK.. Something like 23 posted. My early one is still the one that gets thrown In the car and it does seem to play beyond its means. I wonder whether it will improve with fluorocarbons or whether it's better with the oversize Aquila.
I think that it would be perfect for school groups starting young... They would fit in book bags and could be tuned GCEA.. A bit floppy... For when they start out with chords.
(It is also a good size for playing trampoline ukulele with the kids... Bouncing music with the occasional use of it as a comedy bottom slapper.)

bellgamin
05-23-2014, 09:00 PM
The Rubin Tenor arrived today, after 8 days in SF. Pristine condition. It's a rather small tenor -- more like an oversized concert actually. Very bright sound. Action & intonation A+. I like it enough to give it to somebody, but not enough to keep it for long. Excellent value for the $$, now that the postal rates from China have become VERY cheap (in some cases).

justinlcecil
05-24-2014, 06:50 PM
I may have found another uke to paint on. =) Thanks for sharing it.

Cuchman72
05-26-2014, 05:37 PM
The Rubin Tenor arrived today, after 8 days in SF. Pristine condition. It's a rather small tenor -- more like an oversized concert actually. Very bright sound. Action & intonation A+. I like it enough to give it to somebody, but not enough to keep it for long. Excellent value for the $$, now that the postal rates from China have become VERY cheap (in some cases).

Any thoughts on how the pickup sounds? I am feeling like I want a tenor to add to my (small and inexpensive) collection, but I play out a bit and love he idea of another AE uke.

bellgamin
05-26-2014, 07:45 PM
Any thoughts on how the pickup sounds? I am feeling like I want a tenor to add to my (small and inexpensive) collection, but I play out a bit and love he idea of another AE uke.Does anyone have a round tuit? I'll try the electronics if I get a round tuit. Maybe tomorrow.

Azeke
06-02-2014, 11:23 AM
Rubin electric/acoustic ukes are pretty cheap, but there isn't any full review about ukes of this brand. Are they worth if their price? I have makala dolphin soprano, which is really good for its price and now want to go to bigger size and acoustic/electric ukes.

bellgamin
06-02-2014, 01:12 PM
Rubin electric/acoustic ukes are pretty cheap, but there isn't any full review about ukes of this brand. Are they worth if their price? I have makala dolphin soprano, which is really good for its price and now want to go to bigger size and acoustic/electric ukes.I bought a spruce top Rubin tenor via Ebay. Out of the box, this uke is loud, with good action & intonation. My daughter fell in love with it so I made it a gift to her. I will buy from the Rubin folks again some day. Excellent bang for the buck!

Cuchman72
06-03-2014, 03:03 PM
Good intonation is especially important to me - and I'm sure there would be agreement that it is hard to find in inexpensive ukes. Very hard to sing with out of tune jazzy chords. More and more a Rubin tenor is looking like it is in my future.

croy
06-21-2014, 05:00 AM
bear with me as this is my first post. I just received my Rubin RT-301 acoustic/electric in the mail yesterday. It arrived in less than two weeks and the packaging was good. The uke is beautiful. It looks better than the pictures. The action is good (maybe a little high at the nut, but I will have to play it a bit more to really know). The intonation is surprisingly good. every fretted note is within 10 cents of what it should be and most are dead on, which is far better than the cheap soprano I have. It is pretty bright with the spruce top and aquila strings, but not overly bright. The tuners seem to be fine also. I have no complaints, in fact I am very impressed. I played a few nicer ukes at guitar center yesterday, and really don't think they were any better than this uke. The construction on this thing seems very high quality. The fret ends are very smooth. I have not yet tried the electronics so I can't speak about those, but this uke is well worth the money if it wasn't electric.

M.Badger
07-01-2014, 12:05 PM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rubin-RS-500-Solid-Indian-Rosewood-Top-21-Soprano-Electric-Acoustic-Ukulele
I bought one of these from Alixepress. The piezo slot wasn't routed deep enough and the saddle was too tall and not quite deep enough. These acted to lever the front part of the bridge enough to crack it.
Not a tricky repair or set up job. Intonates perfectly on CEA now, bit sharp on g. Stock Aquilias make it plunky, D'Addario Nylon or Living Water will sweeten it. Amplified sound is what you'd expect from a cheap eq. Still useful and no worse than many other systems really. Not feedback prone.
Basic, unamplified sound is a little quiet, but very nice indeed. Construction quality elsewhere is perfect. Flawless. Shame the bridge wasn't set up, but I didn't mind doing it.
In my opinion?, for a solid top that's well made, cute, sweet sounding and can go loud through an amp, worth it.
Just ordered a sopranino.

Bobalou
07-15-2014, 09:40 AM
This is my first post on this forum. I was looking for an inexpensive tenor uke to take to Burning Man this year, since it's a pretty harsh environment and i don't want to wreck my Pono. I found the Rubin RT401, all solid mahogany, with electric PU on eBay. At $90 w/ shipping it seemed too good to be true. This was the only place I could find a discussion on it, but the reviews looked good, so I decided to give it a try.

The uke arrived yesterday, actually a day sooner than the window they had said in which to expect it. I'm quite pleased with it overall. I expected it to come with a high g string on it, so I already had a low G string ready to put on it. As mentioned, they come with Aquila strings, which are also on a Lanakai concert I took to the desert last year, and although they tend to be a bit bright, I don't dislike them. A previous post mentioned that it is small for a tenor. I've compared it to my Pono, PKT-1, and although the overall length of the Rubin is about 1/2" shorter, the scale length on both is 17". Not really that small.

The wood and the finish are pretty good. It's an attractive instrument to look at. Some braces on the inside look a bit crude, and the rosewood bridge could have been sanded finer. The fret ends are smooth (unlike that Lanakai concert, which I had to file down.) It already has the fret marker dots along the edge of the neck, which I don't usually see on cheap instruments.

I'm still waiting for the strings to settle in - Aquilas take about a week - but I really like the tone of this uke. It's almost as good as the Pono. I don't use an amplifier much, so I dug one out, and the electrics are OK, but not the best. Unfortunately that amp seems to be not working so well, so that may be my next project.

M.Badger
07-15-2014, 01:52 PM
My sopranino arrived and it's fantastic. Flawless neck and body. The body is a laminate. Again, the saddle needed some attention. Intonation ok up to the 5th(ish) or perhaps the 7th. It varies. My guess is it is prone to temperature changes more than my others due to its size. The tuners are fitted. That's the last good thing about them. They are the weak spot. Mine have lash, tight spots and post wobble. Makes tuning a slow affair. Stock strings are white and don't suit it.
My Son has the concert version of it. We've both played it, and it needs a restring. White shipping strings, claiming to be Aquila. They may well be, but they don't feel or play anything like the Aquila set on one of my concerts. It plinks and it plunks and it cries out 'restring me please. I cannot tolerate making this dead sound any longer '. Again, basic bridge setup needed. Tuners not great but work with patience.
All in all then, we're very pleased with them. Shipping has always been fast. Good value, good looking ukuleles that need some minor work.

Bobalou
07-18-2014, 11:26 AM
I don't use an amplifier much, so I dug one out, and the electrics are OK, but not the best. Unfortunately that amp seems to be not working so well, so that may be my next project.

OK, replying to my own post. Turns out the amp (an old Mesa Boogie) works fine. I put AAA batteries in the battery case, because it had those little springs. After googling "UK-2000 pickup" I found out it takes a 9v. Doh!!! (Those little springs are a much better way to go than those 9v snap-on clips that always break). Also, the loose AAAs were causing a G string buzz. Now the pickup/amp work fine. Not the best, but adequate. And the string buzz is gone.

After several days with this uke, the only remaining complaint is that it did not come with any instructions - especially for the pickup.

M.Badger
08-06-2014, 03:33 AM
UAS got me and a Tom pocket TUP-200 arrived today.
What a delightful little thing.
Very well made indeed. Mahogany laminate, braced on the top behind the sound hole. The bridge sits atop a small plate glued inside and is a glue on. No sign of flexure of the top on its initial tuning to C. Bookmatching and finish very good indeed. Satin finish without flaw too. Seriously, can't find a thing!. Even inside is pretty clean of swarf/scurf/glue splodges etc. Really well made.
Saddle OK. Won't bother lowering it as very unlikely to stray where it matters much. Nut perfectly done. Tuners are good quality, smooth operating with no tight/slack/dead spots. Yet to come to tuning stability on the supplied strings. Appear to be stock soprano strings fitted and cut to length. Aquila ticket supplied with what may be a guarantee card. A product hang that wishes me the following :
It's a Tom Profeesional Performance Ukulele
Profeesional accomplish Excellence
Quality cast Brilliantness.

Spellling as is.
It also came with a manual in Simplifed Cantonese only which is mostly useless, but it features a good, basic chord chart. So far, so beginner. Nice to see. Basic instruction on strumming. Ie, up and down with the tip of the finger. That's it.
First and only tune is a finger pick delight. I'd rate it intermediate. Nice for a beginner to aspire to. No strum songs or basic scales, no.From what I can work out, it sounds nice
plinky-plonky-happy.

Ps. Happy making machines in miniature.

dhoenisch
08-08-2014, 04:03 AM
I picked up the Rubin Zebrawood pocket uke as more of a gag gift for my mom for her birthday for $45. She's more of a tenor person, so this uke my sit most of the time, but what else do you get a uke player with 15-ukes of all sizes? A pocket uke, right?

Anyhow, I got the uke late last week and the action was high at both the nut and saddle. Not unplayably high, but high enough where first position required a bit more downward pressure to fret the strings. No problem though. Took down the action at the nut, and just a hair off of the saddle, and the action is right where it should be.

I have to say though, the uke is nicer than I thought. The finish is glossy, not perfect, but not bad or sloppy. The body is thin and the back is flat, so there isn't much volume to it, but it doesn't sound bad, tuned to aDF#B. Also, I noticed the neck/fingerboard is more comfortable than the Kala pocket uke. I tried the Kala at a music store, and it was really hard to play that thing, but I was doing fine strumming the Rubin. Fingerpicking is hard for me though due to the size of that little body, but to strum along... no problem.

Anyhow, my two cents,
Dan

theabsurdman
08-17-2014, 06:49 AM
I recently took delivery of the "Rubin RP-400 All African Mahogany 17" Pocket Ukulele For Travel" from the auction site for 24 shipped.

http://i01.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v1/1782253497_1/Rubin-RP-400-All-African-Mahogany-17-Pocket-Ukulele-For-Travel.jpg

It arrived from China very promptly (about a week!) Securely packed in a foam lined box.
There were some issues with it that I was easily able to fix after which I'm more than satisfied for the price paid.

These included:
- a very high saddle: swapped-out for another I had sitting around.
- tuners all needed their screws tightening and one had a loose face plate that needed a bit of superglueing (didn't affect function).
- the 2nd fret was slightly high and needed filling back to fix a buzz.

Other than these, finish is decent. Fret edges are smooth. The action is nice and low at the nut. There are fretboard edge markers but annoyingly none on the top. Construction is solid with good support inside the body but the instrument is light as a feather. And the mahogany laminate has a nice grain to it.

In play, given the shallowness of the body (and possibly how much I've lowered the action), and despite the nice Aquila strings, there isn't a lot of projection and the sound is thinner than a proper soprano. Intonation seems OK. The smaller fretboard takes a little getting used to. Strumming is easy enough but I wouldn't like to attempt any Bach on it (even if I could pull it off!).
Going back to my Ortega soprano feels like I've picked up a tenor!

All that said, given how small, light and cheap it is, it's close to being the perfect disposable travel uke.
Probably also a great choice for kids. My 11 year old daughter has already tried to grab it for herself. She particularly likes the patterned sound slots better than the usual round hole.

I can't wait to compare it to one of the expensive travel ukes like the Kala.

SookeUke
08-17-2014, 08:21 AM
We received a Rubin RT-301 for my wife about two weeks ago. It has a spruce top, mahogany sides and back with a quilted ash veneer. It came quickly from China, arrived before the estimated arrival date. As the post above it was packed quite well. The satin finish is nice and it looks good. The two piece veneer on the back is not aligned with the center line of the body though. The uke is very light and plays nicely. It is also surprising loud when strumming moderately hard. I do like it's bright airy tone as well. Alas all is not well in Rubin-ville, the battery carrier does not stay closed when a battery is installed and it has developed a rattle under the bridge. You can see to top is warping at the back of the bridge and the bridge is also pulling away from the top along the back edge. Some slight pressure just behind the bridge stops the rattling. I emailed the eBay seller about these concerns. Within a few hours I had a response from the seller apologizing for the issues and they noted that the issues were not something I could fix myself, they promptly sent a tracking number for the replacement uke. So far I'm impressed with their customer service and I hope the new uke plays as nicely as the original. The fit and finish isn't as good as my Kala KA-TE but I wouldn't expect it to be for less than half the price. All in all, if the replacement doesn't have the issues that the first one has I'd say it's a pretty good uke for the money, and a good first uke.

greyghost
09-03-2014, 04:59 PM
7050170502
I just got mine yesterday--it's tiny, it was under $40 shipped, came from China in about a week, and it's in pretty decent condition. I had to file down the bridge saddle quite a bit, but it plays well, has fairly decent intonation, and I'm having a lot of fun with it! For the price, hard to go wrong...

SookeUke
09-05-2014, 03:40 PM
I have an update on the Rubin RT-301 that was replaced and the Tom TUT-200E that I had ordered in July. The Rubin seller on eBay is fantastic to work with. Very fast to respond and very customer oriented. Sadly, the second uke he sent was a little damaged in shipping. He gave me the option to wait until he had stock again or get a refund, I chose the refund because I didn't feel good about him sending a 3rd uke. I'm going to see what I can do about fixing the rattle in the Rubin because otherwise it's a decent player.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1227_zpsd09c41b7.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1228_zpsa1090010.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1229_zpsfced552e.jpg

Part 2 Tom...coming up

SookeUke
09-05-2014, 03:43 PM
Part 2

The Tom I received yesterday and boy howdy was I impressed with this uke. Roughly half the cost of my Kala KA-TE and the fit,finish and playability is every bit as good. The neck is a dream, your hand slides up and down like silk. The fret ends and fingerboard nicely finished as well. Intonation is ever so slightly sharp at the 12th. Sound wise it is louder and has a deeper tone than the Kala. I'm thinking of going with a low G because of it. Plugged in it sounds pretty much like the Kala. I think it would make for a good first uke or a good take with you anywhere and not worry about uke.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1231_zps078ce9d0.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1232_zpsd9a1f713.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1233_zps4c2c0ef9.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1236_zps4b82b203.jpg

SookeUke
09-06-2014, 04:08 PM
Not sure why this didn't post yesterday, but here goes again...

Part 2 Tom uke

The Tom I received Thursday and boy howdy was I impressed with this uke. Roughly half the cost of my Kala KA-TE and the fit,finish and playability is every bit as good. The neck is a dream, your hand slides up and down like silk. The fret ends and fingerboard nicely finished as well. Intonation is ever so slightly sharp at the 12th. Sound wise it is louder and has a deeper tone than the Kala. I'm thinking of going with a low G because of it. Plugged in it sounds pretty much like the Kala. I think it would make for a good first uke or a good take with you anywhere and not worry about uke.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1231_zps078ce9d0.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1232_zpsd9a1f713.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1233_zps4c2c0ef9.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1236_zps4b82b203.jpg

SookeUke
09-08-2014, 03:34 PM
For some reason my part 2 post won't post...allegedly waiting for mod approval...I tried to post it twice. No matter I picked this little beater up today and am quite impressed with it. A Beaver Creek concert size that I'll be leaving at work. The neck is very nice, with smooth fret ends. Outside fit and finish are pretty darned good. The tuners are open geared with pearloid knobs. Inside there's a little glue smear by the label but otherwise clean. The bottom brace is on a bit of an angle though. The body is designed thicker at the bottom bout than the top and the back is slightly curved. It projects well and sounds close enough to my Kala. The strings aren't great but will do for now. All in all I'm pretty happy with it.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q298/jbk_edm/Ukulele/IMG_1239_zpseb021a7d.jpg (http://s139.photobucket.com/user/jbk_edm/media/Ukulele/IMG_1239_zpseb021a7d.jpg.html)

bnolsen
09-23-2014, 11:08 AM
We'll see. I bit the bullet and bought an acacia sopranino from rubin's ebay store as well as a soft case. I've sort of been UAS'ing since messing with this kala travel ukulele (with my daughter here):

71142

bnolsen
10-03-2014, 03:06 PM
unnecessary unboxing video:


http://youtu.be/gUNIe9A4eu4

update:

so far so good. I took almost 3mm off the saddle, got the strings to 2mm off the 12th fret. intonation is good up the frets.
these strings must be fake aquilas. they feel squeaky just like the bugsgears and take forever to settle. I'm messing with it using GCEA tuning but the C string is probably going to need more tension, it really visibly travels a lot during vibration.
tomorrow i'll work over the nut, will run a comparison video, try to work more bugs out of my video taking.

To me as a player it sounds more like my martin oxk than any of the others. It seems to project forward well.

initially i'm impressed with the build, the finish, the fretwork.

71612

bnolsen
10-06-2014, 07:07 AM
Some pics I took saturday:

7160771608716097161071611

bnolsen
10-06-2014, 11:33 AM
I couldn't stand the very unstable stock fake aquila strings so I replaced them with Worth CHs which are great even with GCEA tuning!

Ukuleledad
10-12-2014, 09:31 PM
My Pocket Rubin arrived a couple of days ago. I must say that I'm very pleasantly surprised with just how much Uke I've got for the money (around 30 delivered) I'm a big fan of Pocket Ukes and I would have no hesitation recommending this for anyone who is thinking of trying one out.

theabsurdman
10-23-2014, 12:53 PM
i liked my rp-400 so much (see review upthread) i bought another Rubin: the RP-700 Solid Cedar Top Zebrawood 17" Sopranino

72139

but this time not so happy.
problem is the fretboard, see image below:
72138
if you look closely you'll see the frets don't actually span the board as there is a strange edge-strip on either side; however the nut is a standard width with the result that the G and A strings fall off the ends of the frets when you play them near the nut!
As a temporary solution, I cut new nut slots for the outer strings further in which of course means the strings are now unevenly spaced, but at least I can play it.
The ultimate solution will be to fit a completely new narrower nut.

Besides this, the uke body is a bit deeper than the rp-400 (about 10%) and it's louder but not as sweet sounding to my ear -- more like a regular Chinese soprano. the C string in particular barks.
It does look nice though.
I'm going to give it to my 11 year old daughter once I've fixed the nut.

Ukuleledad
10-23-2014, 10:16 PM
My Pocket Rubin arrived a couple of days ago. I must say that I'm very pleasantly surprised with just how much Uke I've got for the money (around 30 delivered) I'm a big fan of Pocket Ukes and I would have no hesitation recommending this for anyone who is thinking of trying one out.

Now the Tom has arrived -this was only a little over 20 delivered!
72156

snowy
11-08-2014, 12:01 PM
Rubin Ukuleles seem to have disappeared from Amazon and EBay. Their website returns a blank HTML page.
EBay listings say the instruments were pulled offline by the seller. No reason given.
Anyone have news?

I picked up an RT-301 in July (solid spruce top tenor, laminate blonde back and sides, active "UK-2000" pickup).
My experience was much the same as earlier posters--the nut/saddle needed adjusting, and the electronics were roughly installed and needed some finessing.
But, all-in-all, the "fixes" were easy and the instrument is outstanding considering the $80 (shipped!) price point.

I planned to order a couple more Rubins as Christmas gifts. . .I hope they are transitioning, and not gone forever.

bnolsen
11-08-2014, 05:44 PM
thats a huge shame. i was considering one of their ukes with a pickup. wonder what happened?

Olarte
11-09-2014, 11:03 PM
That is strange that Rubin seems to have disappeared from the internet.
I just got the pocket one last week. For the price it's a beautiful looking mahogany laminate Uke.
I must have gotten one of the last oneS and for $40 it was well worth it.

chenx2
11-10-2014, 05:21 PM
For those who are looking for a well China made pocket/ mini uke, I would recommend a new brand called "iuke".

They get 11" (yup) and 16" available with options from laminates to all solids.

And they come with REAL Aquila strings specially developed for their mini ukes.

Here is a video of the owner of the Aquila strings, Mimmo playing an iuke when he visited the brand owner's ukulele workshop in Guangzhou, China.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9cMVuKwHXQ

actadh
11-11-2014, 02:33 AM
That is a pretty strong video - it sounded wonderful with Mimmo playing the iuke

bnolsen
11-11-2014, 03:02 AM
iuke isn't available across the pond and they look to cost almost 3x as much as the rubins.

Cuchman72
11-11-2014, 05:31 AM
I'm very glad so far that I broke down and bought one a couple weeks ago. It is still in transit from China - I hope it all works out.
I bought the acoustic-electric tenor with the solid spruce top.
I noticed that EVERYTHING dried up from these people - ebay, amazon.....vanished.

chenx2
11-12-2014, 12:19 AM
Rubin Ukuleles seem to have disappeared from Amazon and EBay. Their website returns a blank HTML page.
EBay listings say the instruments were pulled offline by the seller. No reason given.
Anyone have news?

I picked up an RT-301 in July (solid spruce top tenor, laminate blonde back and sides, active "UK-2000" pickup).
My experience was much the same as earlier posters--the nut/saddle needed adjusting, and the electronics were roughly installed and needed some finessing.
But, all-in-all, the "fixes" were easy and the instrument is outstanding considering the $80 (shipped!) price point.

I planned to order a couple more Rubins as Christmas gifts. . .I hope they are transitioning, and not gone forever.

I struggled to find any Chinese information about this Rubin brand....but I did come across a Chinese online factory store called "Boyale (http://boyale.tmall.com/category-511933121.htm?spm=a1z10.5.0.0.X3M5cs&search=y&parentCatId=511294595&parentCatName=%D3%C8%BF%CB%C0%EF%C0%EF%BC%AA%CB%FB %CF%B5%C1%D0&catName=%D3%C8%BF%CB%C0%EF%C0%EF#)" which ukuleles resembles quite a lot to the Rubins, though without the pocket uke option.
My guess is that Rubin store operator made custom orders from these low-end factories while requesting a more decent looking pickup.

actadh
11-12-2014, 05:21 AM
iuke isn't available across the pond and they look to cost almost 3x as much as the rubins.
They seem to be available in the USA on Amazon under Aquila iukes for the spruce version.
Would still like a Rubin for the price as it would be for occasional use for me. Hope they resolve whatever the issue was - that cedar top/zebra wood one was nice.

snowy
11-13-2014, 01:50 PM
I struggled to find any Chinese information about this Rubin brand....but I did come across a Chinese online factory store called "Boyale (http://boyale.tmall.com/category-511933121.htm?spm=a1z10.5.0.0.X3M5cs&search=y&parentCatId=511294595&parentCatName=%D3%C8%BF%CB%C0%EF%C0%EF%BC%AA%CB%FB %CF%B5%C1%D0&catName=%D3%C8%BF%CB%C0%EF%C0%EF#)" which ukuleles resembles quite a lot to the Rubins, though without the pocket uke option.
My guess is that Rubin store operator made custom orders from these low-end factories while requesting a more decent looking pickup.

Thanks for the response. It's great to have someone in Asia voice their research/experience.
Strictly from the images, I'm inclined to think Boyale isn't from the same factory, or craftsmen, as the Rubin ukes. This mainly because of the different bridge styles, as well as the different top ornamentation.
I could certainly be wrong though.
I have noticed a few Rubin look-a-likes on EBay lately, with no name printed on the headstock. Wondering if maybe these are some leftovers from the Rubin brand?
At any rate, sad the Rubin are gone. As are others, judging by the posts on this thread.
I'd never propose a Rubin as a first uke for a complete beginner, but for the intermediate player they were a great pairing of price and material

theabsurdman
11-18-2014, 03:37 AM
i liked my rp-400 so much (see review upthread) i bought another Rubin: the RP-700 Solid Cedar Top Zebrawood 17" Sopranino

72139

but this time not so happy.
problem is the fretboard, see image below:
72138
if you look closely you'll see the frets don't actually span the board as there is a strange edge-strip on either side; however the nut is a standard width with the result that the G and A strings fall off the ends of the frets when you play them near the nut!
As a temporary solution, I cut new nut slots for the outer strings further in which of course means the strings are now unevenly spaced, but at least I can play it.
The ultimate solution will be to fit a completely new narrower nut.

Besides this, the uke body is a bit deeper than the rp-400 (about 10%) and it's louder but not as sweet sounding to my ear -- more like a regular Chinese soprano. the C string in particular barks.
It does look nice though.
I'm going to give it to my 11 year old daughter once I've fixed the nut.

Update:

I'm starting to warm to this uke. After replacing the nut with one with narrower-spaced slots and getting the action down even lower, it's sounding much sweeter with loads of projection from the solid cedar top.
I think my daughter is going to be very pleased with it at Christmas.

Brian1
11-18-2014, 06:34 AM
I have three Rubin ukes the pocket zebera, a zebra soprano, and a spalted maple tenor.

The pocket is my favorite uke of all I wish I bought two of them. However, I think when I left in the house with the air conditioning turned off for a week last summer the texas heat may have not done it any justice. (or it could be my imagination) The soprano is pretty good it is built solid, maybe a little bit too solid. (not solid wood it is a laminate) My only complaint on the soprano is the first fret on the G string is a little tricky. The tuner heads might be plastic made to look metal on the soprano. That said when I pulled it out of its case I have been accused of having bought a very expensive ukulele. The Tenor was damaged in shipping and the seller was quick to reply and "did right by me" I also found a gig bag for the pocket uke from the e-bay shop. (I bought separately for $12) With all of my ukes, the Rubins sound much better to me when someone else plays them so I won't comment on the sound.

The iukes look very interesting to me I have never played one but I have played a Bruce Wei Art pocket, it is much smaller than the Rubin pocket and it is well made like the several other Bruce Wei ukes I have seen (But all the B.W. Ukes I have seen have one cosmetic issue or another I don't care for so I don't own one)

The reason I bring up the Bruce Wei and Iuke in the Rubin thread is that Both Rubin and the much more expensive Kala pocket ukes (which are similar but I like the Rubin better) both have regular geared tuners. The Bruce Wei pocket ukes tend to have "peg-style" tuners that stick out of the back of the headstock. On a tiny uke this style of tuner can get in the way of the left hand making many chords (like G7) very difficult because my hand runs out of room and risks throwing the 1st string out of tune and maybe even the 4th string . For a man, I have medium sized hands and slightly long fingers and although on the Rubin chord positions are "cozy" they are not particularly difficult. I doubt you will be playing like Jake on a Rubin pocket ukelele but I doubt you will playing like him on a Tenor Kamaka either. :)

bnolsen
11-18-2014, 06:54 AM
just checked ebay and they're back again! lots of sopranino seconds that look like small dings.

Squalus
12-01-2014, 07:09 AM
It seems the Rubin website is up and running http://www.rubinukulele.com/ with a contact address in the UK.
But all the categories are empty, so it's still not operational.

I recently got my Rubin RT-301 Quilted Ash Solid Spruce Top Tenor uke, and I'm very happy with it, much nicer than the cheapo started uke I had.

bnolsen
12-01-2014, 08:01 AM
they've got a few of the laser cut mahogany sopranino factory seconds available for 29.99usd. Order with gig bag for under 43usd.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/rubin-ukulele

JayS
12-01-2014, 06:04 PM
A few months ago I purchased a Rubin RT-301 Quilted Ash Solid Spruce Top Tenor ukulele and 15mm padded case. They arrived quickly to the US (10 days). My only issue was the nut was not level. My local music shop removed the nut and needed to file down a high spot on the neck under the nut. Now it is great and I love playing it. Also, the case had a strong chemical smell for 1-2 weeks, but I left the case open in the garage until the smell faded.

I have had a number of discussions with someone (name unknown) at Rubin Ukelele through email. I asked about their product plans since they do not have much for sale currently. I also made some product change suggestions that I think many customers would enjoy, like changing the preamp from the Belcat UK-2000 to the Belcat UK-300T with the integrated tuner, moving the cable jack up to the end of the body, etc. I mentioned to him that this forum has many good reviews of the Rubin Ukulele products. He has given me permission to post his responses to my questions on this forum, so here they are, note the date of these messages was Nov 21, 2014:

-----------

From: rubin-ukulele - Amazon Marketplace <[e-mail address removed]>
To: Jay <[e-mail address removed]>
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2014 12:25 AM

Hi friend,
I am very glad to know so many people are interested in our products, also thanks for your help.
This is our plan:
1: zebrawood soprano with pickup (model no: rs-101) will be in stock within 15-30 days.
2: rosewood tenor with pickup (model no: rt-501) will be in stock within 30-45 days.
3: zebrawood high gloss finish thin body tenor with pickup (new model: rt-102e) will be in stock within 30-45 days.
4: spalted maple tenor with pickup (model no: rt-600) will be in stock within 30-45 days.
5: Exotic mahogany high gloss finish concert with pickup (model no: rc-402) will be in stock within 60-90 days.
6: solid spruce top + solid mahogany back/side tenor with pickup (new model: rt-302) will be in stock within 60-90 days.
7: 17" mahogany butterfly style pocket(Sopranino) ukulele (model no: rp-400) will be in stock within 45-60 days.
8: almost 15 new models will be available in 2015.
9: almost all rubin's models will be made to 4 sizes(sopranino, soprano, concert, tenor) in 2015 to make our customers have more choices.

Preamp is still UK-2000, but we will try UK-400T in some models in 2015.
About the electric instrument cable jack, we really have a plan to move it to the right position, but I don't know when.

Another news: all rubin's products will ship to the warehouse based in USA first, and then be sold to our U.S customers.

-------------------

I followed up his response by suggesting they use the UK-300T preamp/tuner instead of the UK-400T since it requires a simple hole for the cable jack. He replied by thanking me for pointing that out.

So, it looks like we have more ukulele models on the horizon from Rubin Ukulele. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. I am hoping for a solid Acacia Koa tenor with UK-300T preamp/tuner, and yes I did specifically ask him for that model. We will see if one becomes available.

Cheers,
Jay

pabrizzer
12-02-2014, 11:43 AM
Did a review of my Tom Pocket.
It ain't perfect but I really like mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36C31xHEgFQ

bnolsen
12-02-2014, 01:30 PM
jays: thanks for the interaction with rubin. Since you are our POC, for new products I would strongly suggest they do long neck sopranos, both traditional and pineapple styles. Not sure I have an opinion about pickups on any long necks they might do...okay I probably would be most tempted by a longneck pineapple with pickup.

bnolsen
12-12-2014, 05:36 PM
hokay did something dumb and bought a "factory item". What made it a "factory item" is to me not noticeable.
For fun I posted pics of the saddle of one I already set up and also this new one before going after it.

7405274053

One fret has some fuzz from the wood on it under the G string. Under the saddle was a sliver of wood from the bridge cutting that hadn't been blown out.

Measured the saddle at 9mm high. Over the last hour or so I've progressively taken 3mm off using 60 grit with a metal file to polish.
Will string change tomorrow (can't say enough how bad these chinese aquila knockoffs are), let it settle then may take off up to another mm.
Interestingly enough the nut slots are very good on this one...at least with stock strings.

Update: the fretboard takes a dive near the nut, the 'a' string side much worse than the 'g' string. very easy to see with a straight edge. second fret is a touch lower, the first fret really bad so that fretting 'A#' gets me a nice 'B' (E# and C# buzz really bad, G# some). Probably shouldn't have made it out of the factory. will see what the resolution is.

craig520
12-13-2014, 06:03 AM
I purchased a Rubin 301 with electronics. It arrived with a broken neck in shipping {This was not the sellers fault} I could clearly see that it was damaged in shipment the box looked like it had something heavy setting on it. I contacted the seller and told him what happened and also sent him some pictures of the damage. He immediately contacted me and said don't worry I've got another one on the way and both of them had fast shipping times. All in all the ukulele is a pretty nice instrument. The setup was a little high but noticed that the bridge set at a angle and as the strings quit stretching the strings started getting closer to the frets. It plays good and sounds great. At that price I may buy another one. The seller didn't want the broken one back so I managed to fix it and it plays and sounds great too. Great Seller took care of the problem fast don't be afraid to buy from him. I hope this review helps anyone that is thinking about buying a Rubin from this Seller.

ukegirl
12-31-2014, 11:19 AM
A friend of mine from the local uke club bought a couple and they were nice. Looked and sounded great for the money.

bnolsen
01-01-2015, 05:12 AM
rubin refunded the money on the factory sopranino with the bad fretboard. guess its a wall hanger...dont need one of those!

aarondminnick
06-10-2015, 04:38 AM
Just got a tenor rosewood Rubin, with pickup, for the unbelievable price of $55. It was a factory blem with a trivial bit of excess glue seepage around the bridge. Price included shipping. It arrived in 2 weeks, packed well, Aquila strings. Action was a bit high so my local shop did a setup and restrung the 4th string with my preferred wound low g.

This is a killer axe. Rosewood body is gorgeous, laser-cut inlays and offset tone holes are striking, and it plays great. Frets are smooth and pickup is perfect. Tone is a little darker than my Lanikai koa laminate, but very good. Highly recommended.

theabsurdman
06-10-2015, 05:52 AM
If anybody wants to know how these sound compared to a comparable regular soprano, here's a couple of samples:

Cheap "Rubin rp-400" Chinese Sopranino + (most likely fake) Aquilas

vs

Cheap "Homeland UK21-88" Chinese Soprano + (also most likely fake) Aquilas

https://soundcloud.com/theabsurdman/sets/rubin-sopranino-vs-homeland

JCryan
07-04-2015, 02:14 PM
The feedback and sound samples included within this thread have been extremely helpful in making an informed decision. I hope to see more of these theads in regard to other lesser-known ukuleles going forward. Thanks to all who have contributed.