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Thread: Review: Cocobolo

  1. #1

    Default Review: Cocobolo

    A few weeks ago I received one of the Cocobolo ukuleles from Nicaragua. At the price, approximately $350, curiosity got the better of me. I was also attracted to the very pretty wood. I was given a choice of several ukes via pictures, and I picked the one that I liked. But it was hard to choose. I got one with a Cocobolo top. I'm not sure that's the best choice for a top wood from a sound perspective, but it sure is pretty.

    This is kind of an odd uke. It is shaped more like a Charanga than a typical concert uke. I would prefer a more standard uke shape, just for aesthetic reasons. It comes with grover geared tuners that work well. I know a lot of people prefer direct tuners for the look, I do too. But geared tuners are easier to deal with and cause fewer problems over the long run.

    The fit and finish is excellent. Set up was perfect. The neck is radiuses and easy to play. However,I can feel the frets extruding when I run my hand up the sides. It does not cause me a problem when playing but could be improved upon.

    It plays great up and down the neck. It comes with Aquila strings which I have not changed. Volume is good but slightly to the quiet side. The tone is very very warm. To some extent this is a result of the Aquila strings. The lower end of the sound spectrum tends to predominate and there is not a lot of sustain on the high strings, but they are not dead either. I think the sound might be brighter with fluorocarbon strings but quieter.

    It's a nice uke for the price solid wood, playable, nice looking. I would pick it over a similar Kala or Ohana because it has more of handmade unique look and feel. But is is a bit of an oddity due to the shape and deeper sound. I think my sound sample gives a pretty good idea of what it sounds like.

    sound file:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    Congrats, really pretty.
    Who sells them?

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul December View Post
    Congrats, really pretty.
    Who sells them?

    Kevin Keith who sells them is a member of this forum. If you email him and tell him you are from UU he'll give you a good deal and let you pick your color.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014


    That's pretty! Very pretty!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Thanks for the review. Mine is now in the pipeline, probably 2 months or so away. Looking forward to it!
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Kala KA-GL-Koa, G EFS, O Warm/Worth B


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    Gorgeous! You think this is a keeper?
    In order of purchase:

    Blackbird Tenor
    Blackbird Clara
    Boat Paddle A-style tenor (spruce/walnut)
    Pono TE Mango Deluxe
    Koaloha KTM-00-R
    Kinnard Series 2 tenor (cedar/Honduran rosewood)
    Barron River custom tenor (Huon pine/Aussie Blackwood)
    Outdoor tenor in Bottle Brown
    Outdoor tenor in Camouflage

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Chen View Post
    Gorgeous! You think this is a keeper?
    Probably not over the long run. Mostly because it is a concert. Also, I've got some really really nice ukes. This is sort of an odd duck. I think it's a great start for the company, and the wood is gorgeous but I'm shedding most of my concerts and it certainly is not at the level of a high end custom uke, of which I have a few. It has a 12 fret join and I'm tending to play mostly ukes with a 14 or 15 fret join. I'd say this uke is comparable to other $350 ukes. What it offers different is unique wood and a great neck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL


    I had two of them to demo to our members at TBUG last year. I noticed the same sharpness feel from the ends of the frets. I'm not so sure it wasn't due to the drop in humidity from Nicaragua to florida. These had mahogany tops. They were quiet at first, and weren't set up. But after some minor niggling and playing, the cocobolo wood and the mahogany began to respond really well, and they got louder and louder. The radiused fretboards were awesome! Due to the fact that I couldn't keep them due to budgetary limits, and there was so much competition from other makers, I sent them on to Uke Republic, who is a dealer for Cocobolo. There are several other dealers in the USA incase you don't want the longer wait from Central America. I did miss the other three frets my other concert ukes have, but the necks are great. I didn't notice the spicey smell I've heard of, and my sniffer is real sensitive.I think they are well worth the money, and that one is a beauty Katysax! I hope you fall in love....
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Stratford, Connecticut


    I'm 50/50 on the wood like mango it kinda looks cool and it kinda looks dirty in areas at the same time.

    No sopranos either from what I see.
    This space reserved for a smart or witty comment or a famous quote. It may also be used to promote my accomplishments should I ever accomplish anything worth sharing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Arvada, Colorado


    I was just in touch with Kevin with Cocobolo Ukuleles and (accidentally) ordered one of their new tenors. It shipped today, so will share my impression after receiving and breaking it in a bit. They are quite distinctive in appearance which is why I'm adding one to the collection.

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