Rubin ukes? Tom Uke?

bellgamin

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 
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dhoenisch

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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

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I recently took delivery of the "Rubin RP-400 All African Mahogany 17" Pocket Ukulele For Travel" from the auction site for £24 shipped.

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.
 
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SookeUke

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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

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Photo on 9-3-14 at 9.43 PM.jpgPhoto on 9-3-14 at 9.43 PM #2.jpg
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

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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.

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Part 2 Tom...coming up
 
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SookeUke

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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.

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SookeUke

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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.

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SookeUke

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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.

 

bnolsen

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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):

ruth_kala.jpg
 

bnolsen

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unnecessary unboxing video:


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.

20141004_111556_resized.jpg
 
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