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Thread: Enya Nova U - Blue. Acoustic only version.

  1. #1
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    Default Enya Nova U - Blue. Acoustic only version.

    Part 1:

    Case:
    Semi-hard case unlike anything I've seen before. It feels sturdy, is custom fit, and covered with a fabric that matches the uke color. When opening it I had a little trouble with the zippers in the curves. This can be remedied by pushing in while unzipping around those areas, I later found out. No shoulder strap(s). No accessory pockets. I'd like to see a shoulder strap added.

    Accessories included in the box, inside of a cloth pouch, are:

    Capo: Plastic with rubber sleeves. Spring loaded with a strong metal spring. Personally, I would not use this capo on the uke. I don't use capos on any uke, but if I did it'd be one with adjustable tension (some G7th or Shubb models) so you can install it with only enough pressure to hold the strings down. This particular capo is like a Kyser, a spring loaded clamp. I would be concerned that the pressure would push the strings into the frets too firmly causing damage to the frets over time.

    Strap: Standard nylon type strap with leather-like ends to match uke color. The strap buttons on the uke are large so hold a strap securely. I can see (through the side sound port) that they are simply screwed into the material. That said, they feel secure so I'm wondering if they used some glue or other bonding agent to help hold them in. I will keep a check on them over time to make sure they don't loosen, as I do with any buttons.

    Extra string set: They feel and sound good on the uke. They hold tuning very quickly compared to a lot of other strings. To me, they seem comparable to Worth light gauge/tension clear strings.

    Onto the uke....
    Upon first look of the instrument it is immediately apparent that this isn't a traditional ukulele build. I can't think of another ukulele that is really similar to this. It is made of a mixture of 30% carbon fiber with polycarbonate. This should be a very stable and durable instrument.
    It is very sleek and modern. I find it to be incredibly well designed from top to bottom. Even the soundhole, headstock shape, and end of the fingerboard are all nicely designed details that really add to the aesthetic of this instrument. There is also a sound port in the upper bout. I can't say for sure how much this effects the sound perception of the instrument (I've determined it definitely does some), but it fits
    in nicely with the design. The body shape brings to mind some acoustic instruments as well as solid body electric instruments such as the LP guitar. It is a really nice shape with a florentine cutaway as well as a scoop on the back side of the cutaway. This allows easier playability and access to the high frets. This should be especially appealing to lead players who are much more often reaching for the high notes. I did see one person mention the frets not being very slick. This is true as this material is not as smooth and slick as highly polished metal frets. I wouldn't have even noticed this personally because I don't bend strings in an electric guitar fashion while playing. Could these be polished like metal? Perhaps so. Are the majority of uke players going to need that? I'd say no. Most of us don't do string bends.

    I measured the body dimensions. This will be in inches, and I'm not saying it's 100% accurate but it's very close:
    Total length of the instrument from the tip/point of the headstock to end: 25"
    Thickness of body at very bottom (lower bout) : 2"
    Thickness of body near neck (upper bout) : 1.5"
    It tapers in thickness, like some other instruments.
    There's an arch in the back. It was too hard to measure thickness including the arch, but either way it's still a thin body uke. I find it extremely comfortable to hold and play, and I know that's a big part of why.
    Width of the lower bout: 8.25" Width of the upper bout 6"

    Scale length (saddle to bridge): 15.75" (Long concert scale)

  2. #2
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    Part 2:

    I find this one to be blue-tiful. It really blue me away. *insert rim shots*
    I think it is important to note that the color you see with these is not built into the material itself as with some others using composites.
    These are painted. That said, I would expect a reasonable amount of care would be needed if you want to keep the paint job looking pristine.

    The tuning machines are a Grover copy. They work very well, but maybe not quite on par with the Grovers in smoothness. I have no intentions of changing them now as they do work fine. The tuner buttons also match the color of the uke.

    The neck of the instrument is neither bulky or super thin. For me, it feels just right. There are no side position markers on this uke. I'm sure you could paint some on, if wanted.
    There are fretboard inlays that match the color of the uke at 5, 7, 10, and 12. I'm not sure if the saddle is made of the same material as the rest of the uke or not. It is compensated and removable.
    Now is a good time to mention that the intonation is very good on this uke.

    Out of the box the action at the 12th fret was slightly more than the thickness of 2 dimes stacked (2.7mm). So it was perfectly playable, and lower than many out of the box.
    That said, I did decided I wanted the action on mine a little lower. When I removed the saddle I noticed there was a wooden shim underneath. This shim is about the thickness of a dime (1.35mm). I removed that shim and it brought the action down to slightly less than the roughly 2.7mm it was at. This seems just right for me. No sanding needed. Nice!
    One reason the shim could be there is so they could manufacture the saddles the same for both the acoustic and the acoustic-electric version of this instrument. The acoustic-electric may have an under-saddle pickup about the thickness of the shim. That is only speculation.

    While talking about this area of the instrument, I will also say the break angle of the strings is more than I'm used to seeing at the saddle. This creates a good amount of down pressure on the saddle, so could really help drive the sound. I would think the model with the pickup would get a good, strong response due to this. With steel strings on a guitar this causes more wear and need to replace the saddle more frequently due to the strings creating deep notches in it because of the down pressure (small notches are common). I'm not sure how it will be with uke strings and on this instrument. Time will tell. Uke strings certainly don't wear on a saddle like metal strings do.
    I will also note there that the strings are loaded into the bridge in a key-hole type fashion. Tie a knot in one end, slip it into the hole then pull it forward. I really like this design a lot. I know some will think of the Outdoor Ukulele here as they use that same attachment setup. However, they did not invent it. The first time I saw this stringing style was on some electric bass or electric guitar.

    The nut slots are setup for low action/easy playability. The nut is built into the instrument, so I'm glad it didn't need any work.

    What about the sound? I don't like to comment a lot on sound usually because it's hard to describe with words and very subjective. I'll comment a bit though. I really like it! It sounds every bit as good as I hoped it would. It has a certain purity, crispness, and sweetness to it with a nice dose of percussion. I also find it has ample volume.

    How about the price? At the time of my writing this these are going for just under $100 USD and that includes the case and accessories mentioned above. If it were me, I'd just leave the capo out completely. That doesn't add any value for me personally. The strap and the extra strings do add a little bit of value. The main things here are the uke itself and the case. I personally feel like the price is right for this. I feel like it's a good deal for what you get.

    This is one of my favorite ukes that I've ever tried. I don't want to say THE favorite just yet as only time will tell...but it is a contender. The Enya EUC-X1M that I did a very positive review on here not too long ago is what really got me into Enya, due to the value. I like the Nova even better than that one.

    In closing, I would also like to say this:
    I have exchanged several e-mails with Enya-music and specifically Eric. I'd like to publicly recognize him for being everything I think a great representative of a company should be. I've found Enya to be very responsive, open to feedback, and get the impression they actually do listen to their customer base.

    Anyone else can feel free to share their own personal experiences here with this uke or ask any questions. I think I've said about everything I can think of right now.

  3. #3
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    I've already posted my findings in a different thread - I'll just repeat that I'm very happy with the quality and sound of the ukulele. I'd guess that for durability and price you couldn't find a better sounding uke. Well done Enya!
    "Got a whole lot of nothing, and I watch it like a hawk." - Louis Prima, 'I'm Living in a Great Big Way'

  4. #4
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    Agreed Toby. I find I'm liking it more and more as I keep playing it. I am very into the sound this uke makes. It suits my ears.

  5. #5
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    Nice review - I have a hankering for the blue one myself!
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    After seeing Feng E's demo of this ukulele, I put a set of Aquila Red low-G strings on mine, too. They really help to mellow out the plastic harshness of the instrument.

    I put stickers on the side of the fretboard; far less durable than inlay fret markers that I wish they had included. I agree with you that the case is disappointing. I like that it was included since the instrument shape is unusual, but the zipper is poor quality and a travel ukulele needs backpack straps on the case.


  7. #7
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    I wasn't freaked out by the case at all for a couple of reasons..

    1. They are identical to some other pod cases i see a lot over here in the UK - they are used by some luthiers as a good option for transport (postage) of ukes for protection, but not more than that. So I figured it was one of those

    2. That also - some time back I ran a poll on my website about cases. I argued a point for debate that all ukes should come with decent hard cases. The overwhelming majority said 'get outta town - I want to choose my OWN style case'. So for that reason too - I figured those that don't like it will find another option,

    3 But mainly - my fave plastic (or part plastic) uke that is bombproof is i my Flea. It cost 3 times the price of the Enya and came with a drawstring fabric bag. I still keep it in that and never felt the need for a case beyond it. It's fine - gets played daily and is my treasure!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    Nice review - I have a hankering for the blue one myself!
    Thanks! It was a tough choice for me between the blue and the white, 3rd was black which is always classy. I'm just really drawn to the blue.

    Quote Originally Posted by man0a View Post
    After seeing Feng E's demo of this ukulele, I put a set of Aquila Red low-G strings on mine, too. They really help to mellow out the plastic harshness of the instrument.

    I put stickers on the side of the fretboard; far less durable than inlay fret markers that I wish they had included. I agree with you that the case is disappointing. I like that it was included since the instrument shape is unusual, but the zipper is poor quality and a travel ukulele needs backpack straps on the case.

    I don't find the instrument with stock strings harsh at all. I actually really like the sound a lot as-is. To me it's simply bright and clear I usually do some string experimentation though. I'm glad you found something to make the sound more pleasing to your ears. Nice.
    Feng's playing is great!

    I did not mean to imply I found the case disappointing. I think it should be more than adequate protection for this uke and more protection than most gig-bag style cases. I haven't used it enough to comment on the longevity of the zippers. The case will live in the closet while the uke hangs on the wall or is in my hands. Really, I could think of it as pretty much a freebie. I think the uke alone is worthy of the price tag, but the bag does add value. That's my opinion at least.

  9. #9
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    Jer,

    THANK YOU for mentioning the action and the shim. The only mild dislike I had was that the action was just ever so slightly higher than I liked. Removing that shim did the trick for me perfectly!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashkettle View Post
    Jer,

    THANK YOU for mentioning the action and the shim. The only mild dislike I had was that the action was just ever so slightly higher than I liked. Removing that shim did the trick for me perfectly!
    Awesome. Glad to help.

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