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Thread: Review:Aklot Solid Acacia Gloss Concert Ukulele

  1. #1
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    Default Review:Aklot Solid Acacia Gloss Concert Ukulele

    Here is the Aklot Solid Acacia Gloss Concert Ukulele.

    It is quite nice, and is stifled by the string choice, I think. A change to Martin M600 strings is likely...might even make a follow-up (we'll see).

    Other than the potential string issue, the "big" issues really aren't that "big."

    1) They use "koa," pretty blatantly, in the title...and not even "koa acacia" or "acacia koa." I'd prefer that they all use just "acacia" if they are not koa, but I am incapable of making that change for the industry. However, removing acacia to a later part of the description ends up being misleading, and I'm not a fan of that. The wood is pretty enough as "only" acacia.

    2) The gloss finish isn't mirror smooth.

    3) I'm not a fan of the sandalwood fretboard and bridge. I'd like to see black or dark wood for both.

    $130 (US). It's certainly better than a lot of Kala laminates that cost more (not picking on Kala, but they have become the industry leader).

    The video review is LONG. There are chapters to skip ahead if there are only certain parts that interest you, and there is the One Minute Review, as well as the document at ukeguide.info if you want to check that out (One page summary).



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  2. #2
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    Nice review as always, really enjoyed it. A quick note on the gloss finish. Having that sort of ripple effect on the gloss isn't unusual and can even be typical depending on what kind of finish was used. The finish on Hawaiian-made KoAlohas is very similar. It's a slightly more open pore type finish compared to, e.g., Kanile'a whose finish is usually just perfect, and it also means that slight imperfections can occur. In fact, I have a KoAloha soprano where the finish, particularly at the back, is fairly noticeably a bit uneven. That's something I wouldn't be bothered about at all. Although, that's assuming Aklot are trying to use the same type of finish. If they were going for a more even mirror shine finish then that would be more sloppy than intentional, although I still don't think it's a huge issue.

    Regarding the strings, Aklot themselves describe them as carbon strings on their Amazon listing. That usually means fluorocarbon but I've also seen people describe D'Addario Titaniums as being fluorocarbon even though they're really not. If you just have a look at the strings and observe the gauges you should be able to assess whether they're fluorocarbon or D'Addario Titaniums or equivalent since Titaniums are noticeably thicker than fluorocarbon. I tried to do that by looking at photos of the uke and via the video as well but I just can't make heads nor tails of them. It's much easier to check it in real life. The strings do seem to have that purple tint to them which would suggest they're Titaniums but that's also a bit hard to see from photos. If they indeed are Titaniums then there's a good chance a string change can improve the sound. In my experience, Titaniums work best on very specific ukes where the uke has a lot of natural depth and warmth to its sound. On other types of ukes they can make the tone extremely thin and one-dimensional, so a string change would be very interesting to see (and hear) on the Aklot.

    Then again, I also do have to wonder if that extra bracing has some effect to the sound as well...
    Last edited by Dohle; 11-22-2020 at 03:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Dohle,

    Great thoughts. The gloss finish instruments I have (whether guitar or ukulele) are all mirror glass. There are just "dimples" all over the place. I don't have a gloss KoAloha, so I can't compare. I'm not bothered by it, as the fretboard itself is far less appealing to me (I so desperately want a black fretboard on it). So, in respect to the gloss finish, with your thoughts, I have something to look for as I review other instruments in the future.

    I had noticed that Aklot had listed the strings as carbon...and they were both purple-ish and thicker, both indicative of being Titaniums or a copy. Upon removal, they were also notched up pretty substantially already, which was odd. I've played this instrument, but not to the point that it should be wearing into the strings. I have completed the swap, and the sound is better. Better than any Kala laminate, for example (not trying to be anti-Kala, but using the "industry standard" as an example), but for less than many Kala models (plus the inclusion of a kit). So it is definitely recommended. It still lacks the depth of other acacia instruments that I own...which will make a nice video, too.

    But your assessment of Titanium is spot-on. The tone was very thin and one dimensional in this case.

    Thanks for your thoughts...they are appreciated and informative.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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    No worries. I like giving my thoughts on these things because even if you review a ton of ukuleles there's always so many more on the market that you can never grasp every single aspect and variable there are. The ukulele community is excellent in regards to this. I've learned so much from others so I like to also share what experience I've gathered myself.

    I'm glad to hear the string change has improved the sound. I've been a bit surprised that D'Addario Titaniums (or equivalent like the Ko'olau Alohi strings) are becoming more common on certain ukes/manufacturers. They are a quality string (I personally like the feel of them over any other string) but they don't suit every ukulele. Some brands like Flight and Kai really make the most of them but they're not the safest bet when it comes to strings. Certainly if they're worn out I doubt they'd sound good on any instrument. I'd be interested to hear how the Aklot sounds with fluorocarbons (I promise I won't ask for a string change for every uke review you do ).

  5. #5
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    Weight sounds heavy for a solid wood concert ukulele. I bet the heavy build has at least as much of an effect on the sound quality as the strings.

  6. #6
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    Just an encouragement to UUers to subscribe to the Ukulele Stuff YouTube channel
    for alerts regarding your videos.

    Thank you Choirguy for sharing your very informative videos.

    PS I enjoy watching you use your Jawoon tuner. I can see why you use it as an
    instructor in charge of a couple dozen ukes to tune often. it sure is tempting to
    get one, just for the 'neat' factor

    keep uke'in', and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( rohiguchi@gmail.com )

    MP3s: http://www.mediafire.com/?50db7nls4o6m6
    Ukulele Boot Camp, FREE Songbook, Holiday, Hawaiian & More: http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com
    Crazy G tutorial on YouTube ( uncle rod crazy g )
    pdf file for Crazy G:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0o6id06c06...20TAB.pdf?dl=0

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    Very nice....thank you.

    And what kind of tuner is that? I did a google search and didn't find it.

  8. #8
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    It is the Jowoom Smart Tuner T2. You can find it on Amazon. Great for many ukuleles at one time; I posted a video about it on the channel not too long ago.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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  9. #9
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    How does the sound of the Alkot compare to the Koa Kalene concert? Since they are similar prices, is there one you would recommend over the other?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wykhuh View Post
    How does the sound of the Alkot compare to the Koa Kalene concert? Since they are similar prices, is there one you would recommend over the other?
    Tough question, but a fair question. They are two different instruments altogether.

    I think it's going to depend on your personal taste.

    Aklot has received (fairly) a bad rap for the way it entered the market two years ago, but that was then, and this is now. The instruments themselves have always been well built and meet the needs of many players, whether the solid top mahogany, bamboo, or solid acacia. So you get a sense of quality control with their instruments (set-ups have always been spot-on) plus a good starter kit. Their new bags are definitely a benefit. Plus you get a strap and a tuner. All good.

    The Aklot's acacia is gorgeous--and as mentioned by Dohle, the finish may be a feature rather than a quality control issue. If it had a dark fretboard and saddle, I'd like it more. That's so terribly picky and driven by personal opinion, but it is how i feel.

    With other strings, the Aklot Solid Acacia is improved.

    I haven't played a Koa Kalane Solid Acacia Concert (the Concert was a solid top, and is now in the hands of one of my students). I'd say that the Koa Kalane models have a more "wild and woody" sound...reminiscent of the qualities of my Martin S1. But you don't get anything with the Koa Kalane other than a very light gig bag, and I'd recommend other strings as well. I do love the neck of the Koa Kalane. However, the internal build was messy.

    So here's what I would say...

    For the beginning or intermediate player, the Aklot is probably the better bet. For the intermediate player (and beyond) wanting a solid wood ukulele, with that traditional wood tone, it's hard not to suggest looking at the Koa Kalane.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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