My 15 minute review of the German RISA electric ukulele stick

PeteyHoudini

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Hey Gang,

I finally did a review of the German RISA ukulele solid stick (soprano). I know that uke's been kicking around for a number of years now but it's such an interesting beast that I had to tame it with a review. There are so many things to discuss about such a uke and I decided to take it on. I hope my comments will give you some insight into this headless electric and silent uke—the headless horseman of ukes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ5Qp2PGXl0

I also give a quick sound comparison with two mini amplifiers: the Fender Deluxe and the HoneyTone.

All in all, it's a very fun uke. #1 advantage: best meant for silent practice in my books. It's a 9/10 for me.

Petey
 

NewMexicoKid

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Thank you very much for the review. I'm new to ukulele's but have been considering buying a Risa Uke-Solid tenor based on the information in this forum and on youtube (I've been collecting and organizing links to keep track of the information).

Your review was helpful, especially with the comparison of mini amps (I had been leaning towards the Honeytone because it appears to be the least expensive usable amp; but I confess I liked the sound of your Fender better). And as I am wanting to learn how to play the ukulele but also want to avoid bothering my family with the learning pains, I think this uke fits the bills.

The only big question for me is where to order it. It looks like there are three options (for folks in the US):
1. go to the source at ukulele.de (which looks like the least expensive option but the slowest--they are currently projecting July as the date of availability)
2. Ukulele Pua Pua in Hawaii--three day priority mail
3. www.ukuleleworld.com in Texas--slightly more expensive but in my timezone.

Thanks
 

Olarte

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Nice review. I love my risa sticks. Like you said, I too would never get rid of them.
 

coolkayaker1

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There is so little on the internet about that ukulele; your review is so welcomed, Petey. I like my Risa stick, just like yours, only I don;t play it one tenth as you do. I'm reminded of how deft you are on the soprano scale by your samples during this video. You are, in a word, amazing.

-0STeve
 

stevepetergal

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Funny thing, I had one (a concert) and loved it. I still think it's a great idea and beautifully executed. I gave it a 10/10 review, but I never played it after the first few weeks. Never. Maybe it's because I don't travel (and don't care if my playing bothers anyone). But, I recommend them very highly. Thanks for the review.
 

coolkayaker1

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Steve, you wrote the quintessential review on UU. The thread with the popping A string thoughts. Please check your threads started by you under My Profile and link it here; I'd like to read it again and ask Petey if he's had a popped A yet.
 

Olarte

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For what it's worth I have a soprano and a tenor, with the old and new tuners. I have yet to have any issues with the strings popping or not staying in tune.

And while I don't play them a lot, I do play them from time to time.

I like them so much I just snagged a concert in the marketplace which should now be on its way to me.

Also, if you want to see them in action, check out Steven Strauss on Youtube...

 

PeteyHoudini

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Thanks everyone. I’m glad the review was fun and useful.

@NewMexicoKid: I saw your thread about the mini amps. That's how I learned about the mini Fender. That's real dedication to have a site devoted to the Risa stick. Good work! When I did this review and compiled my findings, I watched everything I could about this uke. I actually do research like you. Too bad I didn’t know about your site. That would have really helped! I tried to find the best settings on the mini amps to get the best sound. I wanted to like the Honeytone better but the Fender sound was just better. Though, it’s red ON LIGHT is way too bright. I call it the Devil’s nightlight! hehe I like how you can keep your settings on the Fender because it has a separate on and off switch. Too bad there is a delay at RISA in Germany.

@coolkayaker1: thanks Steve. I used your idea of the “headless horseman!” Thanks! I even had an appropriate Schumann song (transcribed from a piano score). My A string never popped out so I didn’t mention that fact. I’ve had the uke since Feb. 2013 with no popping A.

@stevepetergal: I don’t travel that much but this uke comes in handy when I get bored and out of town. I read your review and it was very helpful. Thanks!

@Olarte: that video of yours was great! Great playing!

***
The only thing I forgot to mention with this uke is that the nut around where you plug it in keeps coming loose.

Petey
 

Olarte

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Just to be clear, I'm. Of on that video. That is Steven Strauss and his band. But I have used his videos to jam along and I must say I can hold my own... Hehehehe.
 

PeteyHoudini

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No probs! hehe That band is pretty slick. They're probably the first RISA uke band ever. I like how they alternate between the tenor and the soprano.

Petey
 

Olarte

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Ont thing about the videos is that it makes it look so simple, and it is easy to follow for some reason without the headstock the fingering seems cleaner and easier to spot.

In any case yes I actually do jam along with some of these videos and can do my own version of a medley including besame mucho, sway and and I also ass autum leaves. Maybe I'll tape it one of these days.

And interestingly enough the tenor and soprano feel different enough. I have the soprano with high g, and the tenor with low. Gotta say I love them both.

And I for a concert on the way, most likely will keep that I with low g.

I guess I'm a Risa Fan.

Hey if you are interested here is a video of me with the Risa LP now that is like a beautiful Italian race car.... It starts at the 1:30 mark

 

Chopped Liver

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So . . . I've been researching quiet ukuleles, and have read all the UU stuff I can find. I spend Friday nights in a seminary dorm room (old Days Inn motel room). I wanted my uke with me so badly this weekend but I didn't take it for fear of disturbing someone (I don't get out of class until 10:30 pm).

Those of you that still have the RISA, are you still happy with it? Has anything newer come along that would work as a quiet uke?

P.S. Thanks for the GREAT reviews from this thread and the starter one, too.
 

PeteyHoudini

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So . . . I've been researching quiet ukuleles, and have read all the UU stuff I can find. I spend Friday nights in a seminary dorm room (old Days Inn motel room). I wanted my uke with me so badly this weekend but I didn't take it for fear of disturbing someone (I don't get out of class until 10:30 pm).

Those of you that still have the RISA, are you still happy with it? Has anything newer come along that would work as a quiet uke?

P.S. Thanks for the GREAT reviews from this thread and the starter one, too.

You're welcome. The uke is pretty quiet but still can be heard so if your dorm room has more than one person, they will hear it. Though, if you fingerpick, that can be done very quietly. If you're the only one in the room, you can certainly play it "quietly" without bothering others in another room.

I'm still very happy with it and I even took it for last week's vacation. You can easily place it on top of a single carry-on bag on the plane.
ukecarry.jpg
 

Chopped Liver

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A Dolphin and a can of expanding foam from a hardware store.

If this takes off, remember you read it here first :)

:D

I just bought a dolphin! Don't tempt me!!

Of course, it might actually work and would be a cheaper alternative. Hm . . .