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Thread: Iuke Sunburst Standard-shape review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    North West England
    Posts
    65

    Default Iuke Sunburst Standard-shape review

    Hi there

    Back in 2014 Gotaukulele reviewd the Iuke Pineapple shaped piccolo ukulele.
    I've just brought back a standard-shape Iuke from China so I'm adding my review to shaow how things may (or may not) have progressed.
    I was in the market for something a bit different, so when I saw this in a musical instrument shop in China for 330 RMB (about 36) I couldn't resist it.
    It's a double-bout shape uke measuring about 17" long with an attractive sunburst finish. The top is solid cedar, the back and sides are laminate and it has a satin feel to it. It's nicely balanced and obviously very light to hold.
    Unlike the 2014 Iuke this has a through-body bridge style - how small do your fingers need to be to change the strings on this bad boy?
    There are neck markers at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th frets and these (unlike the 2014 Iuke) are repeated on the side.
    The friction pegs are the same, with cardboard washers - I'll probably replace these at some point. The headstock is very cute and has the Iuke logo etched into it.
    There is a sticker inside showing that the Iuke has been produced in association with Aquila.
    The strings made by Aquila come in 2 different types. The 94U (as used on the 2014 Iuke) are designed to be tuned gCEA, but one octave higher that a standard uke. The 95u (as installed on this one) are tuned gCEA, but at the same octave as a standard uke. Sounds like a winner - not so!
    The nut grooves appear to have been made to fit the thinner 94u strings, so the 95u strings sit on top of the grooves rather than in them. This means that the intonation is terrible - I presume this is magnified by the short scale length. I will be taking my nut files to these very soon which hopefully should remedy this issue.
    This is a real shame, because the sound is actually quite nice - obviously a lot quieter than a soprano uke, but for solo/practise play it would be fine. The neck is quite narrow, but I'm a 52 year old man with quite large fingers and it's not too bad.
    Another weird thing is that the body is asymmetrical. the bigger bout is bigger at the bottom from the top - it's not a problem, but why?
    Please see photos attached. One photo shows the size comparison with a standard soprano. I'll update this review when I've filed the nut grooves and let you know if it's any better.
    IMG_1347.jpgIMG_1348.jpgIMG_1350.jpgIMG_1353.jpgIMG_1354.jpg
    Ukuleles owned:-
    Laka VUC50 Soprano
    Laka LK-JBC Joe Brown Concert
    Rubin RS101 Zebrawood Soprano
    Barnes & Mullins UBJ1 Concert Banjolele
    Sinye YA26 Mahogany Tenor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    North West England
    Posts
    65

    Default

    A quick update to the above review.
    I've now had a go with the nut files. What a difference a 15 minute set up can make. The main problem was the C string (the thickest string). I filed down all the grooves and, although they still go sharp down the fretboard, this is now a very playable little instrument. The height at the 12th fret is an acceptable 2.6mm.
    It's gone from being a terrible instrument to a sweet little pocket-sized ukulele (if you have big pockets).
    I can highly recommend these if you're willing to spend a little time setting it up. this might not be required if you use the 94u strings, but I like the standard tuning sound rather than the high pitched noise.
    The other advice I would give to anybody into ukuleles is to buy the correct tools. A set of fret files and a string height gauge will set you back less than 10, but these are more useful than you can imagine.
    Ukuleles owned:-
    Laka VUC50 Soprano
    Laka LK-JBC Joe Brown Concert
    Rubin RS101 Zebrawood Soprano
    Barnes & Mullins UBJ1 Concert Banjolele
    Sinye YA26 Mahogany Tenor

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