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Thread: Any updates on Twisted Wood Ukuleles?

  1. #1
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    Default Any updates on Twisted Wood Ukuleles?

    Hello everyone and happy belated Thanksgiving to those of you in the USA.

    I started playing uke this past summer and have been using an Eleuke. I really like the quietness of the electric so that I can practice without disturbing others around me, but my particular uke is . . . not the highest quality. Two music repairs techs told me that the bridge appears to have been installed slightly too close to the neck so if you tuned an open string, then that same string at the 12th fret was like 20 cents sharp. A setup from one of the shops made it playable, but it still has some issues so I've been considering purchasing a slightly better acoustic concert sized uke.

    Being in Alberta, Canada, the dollar exchange, shipping and duties add a lot to the purchase from the American sites that are usually recommended here, so I've been considering purchasing from a local store. We have the general big box instrument stores but I don't particularly trust their setups. Then there are two stores in town that specialize in stringed instruments. One leans a little more towards guitar/bass, and there other towards orchestral strings but they both carry ukuleles. I also read a thread on here recently where one of these two stores got very high praise from UU members.

    One store carries Kala, Ohana and Twisted Wood and the other carries Kala, Twisted Wood and apparently Martins and Collings, though I don't see any in their current stock and I believe those would be way above my price range.

    I see lots and lots of recommendations for Kala for starter ukes on this site, as well as Ohana but my local stores carry a larger selection of the Twisted Wood (Alberta company, etc.) and the prices of the TWs and the Kalas are basically the same.

    I tried looking up Twisted Wood on this site and found a couple of threads but they're 18 months to 3 years old. Nothing recent so I was wondering if anyone on here had any more recent experience with these instruments? One of the threads from about 2 years ago is about a "horrible" purchasing experience from Twisted Wood directly, but I'm looking at purchasing though a local, trusted store, not direct from the company. Discussion about the instruments themselves seem positive.

    I don't have a very large budget if I go ahead with this. It would only be around $200 CDN, maybe $300 if I really had to push.

    Also, one of the stores had a November sale where if you buy an instrument that's over $100, they'll give you 4 free lessons, which is a $96 value.

    So yeah. . . Anyone with any more recent experience with TW ukes?

  2. #2
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    If your budget allows for a solid mahogany Ohana, that would be one to look at, I have three, (mine are long necks), they are a great uke for their price.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #3
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    My blanket recommendations for ukes under $300.00 is always Kala and Ohana. They are very well made instruments from established long term manufactures ( you can read between the lines here). Nothing against Twisted Wood but if it was my money I would buy Kala (I do own one) or Ohana.

    Now that being said if you can play and inspect a Twisted Wood ukulele in that shop against Kala and Ohana you can come to your own conclusion. I have no personal experience with Twisted Wood unstruments but I understand wanting to support a Canadian company.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 11-25-2017 at 02:25 AM.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  4. #4
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    Go play them in the local stores, if you can, and then pick the one you like best. If that happens to be Twisted Wood, then why not giving them a chance, and perhaps providing a review here?

    Another question would be as to how Canadian they are. For those prices, they are probably imported from China/Asia, and they might even come from the same factories as some of the more renowned brands. To me, it looks like they buy sets of ukes from different manufacturers and simply have their logo pasted on them. Their "Banyan" model, for instance, looks a lot like "Koa Pili Koko", now sold by "Aiersi". Their "Solid Koa Ukulele" is very similar to the "Kaka" KUC/T-KAD model. Other ukes in their lineup have the same body shape as Kala/Lanikai, but some features like rope binding added to make them look different.
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies.

    In terms of how Canadian the TWs are, the company claims they're "designed" in Canada, but they're made in China, like so many others. I wouldn't be shocked if they're made in a factory that's. . . shared . . . with other brands.

    I ended up getting a chance to visit the two stores yesterday and tried a number of different ukes from the intro laminates, up to some solid body Ohanas. (Approx $150 - $350 or so.) The solid body Ohana ukes are above my budget, and I do have a bit of a concern with the care of a full solid body because I live in a super dry climate, especially in the winter. They're definitely really attractive instruments though.

    To be perfectly honest, I'm such a beginner that my ear simply isn't very sensitive yet and I struggled to really notice much difference from one uke to the next but I did find myself somewhat drawn to a Kala KA-SSTU-C "Travel" uke. It's right at the top of my budget but it's a solid spruce top with a laminate back and sides. I found the thinner body much more comfortable to hold.

    Obviously, with the solid top I'd still need to be concerned with the humidity, but is it less of an issue than a full solid body uke?

    One of the stores also sells one cheaper line of ukes with brand name "The Classic." The laminate body one sells for $109 and they have a solid body one for something like $285. The store employee was recommending the $109 one as a very good intro uke, but it mainly seemed to be based on the fact that it was about $50 cheaper than an intro Kala and he seemed to think the quality was the same. He also kept mentioned that it came with a really nice bag, but I'm not about to base my decision on the case instead of the instrument. . . .Based on your responses here though, I think I'll go for the Kalas or Ohanas.

    My real decision seems to be how much money I want to invest right now. Thanks again.
    Last edited by 1890; 11-26-2017 at 05:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for sharing your observations, very valuable.

    As for solid vs. laminate: I think you should be fine with a solid wood instrument if you keep it in a case along with a humidifier or two (something like the Herco for five bucks). Laminates can be prone to the same problems of dryness, by the way, just a little less so. Personally, I think it is worth to have a solid soundboard that can vibrate to its full potential, while lamination will always tend to "inhibit" itself. Of course, many will rightfully point out that a good laminate instrument is better than a bad solid one.

    Did you like the Kala Travel uke solely for the comfort of the slim body, or was it better sounding, too? Normally, I'd expect a thinner uke to sound somewhat thinner, especially if you want to string it linear (low G instead of reentrant with a high G string).

  7. #7
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    I bought a (Baton Rouge) thin body solid spruce concert cutaway, & I have problems holding onto it, so be sure you are comfortable holding the uke, if that's the one you're looking at.

    Regarding sound, mine is quite loud enough, it has a rounded back, which I think helps project the sound out of the sound hole, or at least, that's the theory.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #8
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    Hi everyone, I thought I'd post and update on my ukulele decision. I've spent a few weeks thinking a lot about this, googling and reading lots of reviews of different ukuleles and brands etc. and in the end I decided to order an Eastman EU3C concert. As stated above, Eastman isn't known for ukuleles like Kala and Ohana, but they are known for several other kinds of stringed instruments, and the EU3C seems to have good reviews from what I can find.

    It's a full solid body, mahogany, concert uke, with nitrocellulose lacquer gloss finish. I found a shop out of Toronto (a shop that was recently recommended by several people in a thread about Toronto Uke stores) and they're selling off a few "shopworn" ones for nearly half of their usual price. The online listing mentions that the ukes are mint or near mint condition, but some of the cases got a bit beaten up, and some will come with a substitute case (thought still a wooden hard shell like an original.)

    This uke normally would have been well above my current budget, but this sale brought it down enough to fit. I'm really looking forward to it arriving.

    Thanks to everyone that responded!

  9. #9
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    Congratulations on buying the Eastman. They are a well respected guitar and mandolin maker and their ukes are first class. I have played a few of them and I think they are excellent. It is a very smart move on your part to buy a quality all solid wood instrument. You will love the looks and the sound so you won't be able to put it down. Well done, enjoy it.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  10. #10
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    EU3C.jpg EU3C back.jpg

    Hi everyone. Thought I'd update with one final post since my Eastman EU3C arrive this morning. Yay! It was a shopworn sale so I wasn't expecting absolute perfection, and while there were a few minor cosmetic defects, I'm very happy with it and excited. My first real NUD.

    It was shipped with a Uke Crazy case, and the company generously included an Oasis Humidifier as well. I was very relieved when I found that in the case because I'd been worried about the uke drying out in shipping. Also, I was very worried about the uke in the delivery truck in the brutal cold snap this week. (When the uke was delivered today it was -29 C, which is -20 F.) As much as I wanted to pull it out immediately, I forced myself to be patient and let the box and everything slowly warm up before before I opened the case.

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