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Thread: Review of TODA Tenor Cutaway

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    McDonough, GA
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    Default Review of TODA Tenor Cutaway

    Another uke on my bucket list arrived recently, a TODA Tenor Cutaway. Until this one, I'd only seen videos and read reviews.

    The instrument lived up to the reviews and my expectations.

    Here's the specs:
    • Body:Tenor Cutaway
    • Head stock: Slotted
    • Top: Solid German Spruce
    • Side & Back:Solid Madagascar Rosewood
    • Neck:Honduran Mahogany
    • Finger Board (flat):Ebony with custom markers and side dot of Paua
    • Finger Board Binding: Madagascar Rosewood
    • Body Binding: Koa, front and back
    • Bridge:Ebony
    • Bracing:X-Bracing
    • Back Construction:2 piece
    • Neck Width At Nut:35mm
    • Scale Length:435mm
    • Tuning Machines: Gotoh gunmetal color
    • Rosette:Hawaiian Koa with paua dot
    • Pick Guard:Hawaiian Koa
    • Bone nut and saddle
    • Finish: Satin lacquer


    The construction is exactly as you would expect from a Japanese master builder, perfection. The neck profile is comfy, I'd say as thin as a Ko'olau or MBU. I believe the re-entrant strings could be a version of Worths or other FC strings. The notes are clean and crisp (as you might expect with spruce and rosewood). It has the clarity near that of a koa Ko'olau with similar chime-tones, but with a little more warmth, just the right amount.

    This is one of those ukes that sounds great either played fingerstyle (nice separation) or strummed. This TODA has good volume, but it's not my loudest uke. The very even and balanced tone is definitely more uke than guitar. My cedar rosewood LFdM might have the edge on re-entrant tone, pleasing to my ears (at the moment), but Luis' ukes are part Flamenco guitar. Weight wise, Ko'olau and Collings tenor feel a bit little lighter. It might be the weight of the Madagascar Rosewood showing.

    Had to sell a couple great ukes to get this one, but it was worth it.

    The sound and build quality are right up there with the very top builders.

    Here's a first day sound sample:
    https://app.box.com/s/0bb2550xrimepmo6lgsqr4parqijantk

    ... and a few pics.



    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    McDonough, GA
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    Default

    More pictures




    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Burbank, CA
    Posts
    992

    Default

    Hodge, thanks for this review and pics. I'm curious about Japanese uke builders and Toda is by all accounts a standout there. I like the balance of warm to crisp. Even the strumming stays clean to my ear. Your playing really brings the sounds out. Great score!
    Craig


    Beau Hannam Spiral Rosette tenor
    Moore Bettah tenor "Ki Uke"
    Kinnard mahogany tenor
    Koa Works tenor
    Koa Works concert
    Pohaku custom mahogany concert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Shanghai, China
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    1,367

    Default

    Hodge,
    Great review and what a beautiful uke.
    Congrats.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    CH
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    Default

    Thanks for another great review, and for stirring up my UAS, again! Is that an open pore finish?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
    Posts
    3,422

    Default

    Congrats again, Hodge! Such an elegant uke. We all support your continue exploration of fine ukes and happily look forward to your sales! ;-)
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    McDonough, GA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    Thanks for another great review, and for stirring up my UAS, again! Is that an open pore finish?
    Yes, it is an open pore finish. It works with the Madagascar Rosewood to give a 3rd dimension to the finish. This uke really does embody most of the elements of Zen aesthetics in the design philosphy:

    • Simplicity or elimination of clutter - Kanso
    • Asymmetry or Irregularity - Fukinsei
    • Naturalness - Shizen
    • Subtlety - Yugen
    • Break from routine - Datsuzoku
    • Stillness, Tranquility - Seijaku
    • Austerity - Shibui/Shibumi
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Woodbury, CT
    Posts
    570

    Default

    Great looking uke Hodge!

    Mitch

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    309

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    I think DownUpDave said it all in another thread - it's all about the sound. And this is one sweet sounding instrument. Its a bonus that it is also absolutely beautiful. Very interesting about the Zen aesthetics. I'm certainly growing fond of rosewood...........

    I always love your sound samples. I don't know what it is that you play but it sounds so familiar and something I would like to learn how to repeat.

    Thanks for posting!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
    Posts
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    This instrument exudes the pinnacle of class, perfection and understated elegance. The sound certainly matches the looks, you really have a bucket list uke Hodge. Great review and sound sample as always. We really appreciate your indepth reviews and as Eddie said the subsequent sales of "herd thinning" ukes

    Congratulations on a marvelous ukulele.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

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