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Thread: Review: Noah pineapple soprano

  1. #1

    Default Review: Noah pineapple soprano

    Hi all,

    I thought I'd try my own review as a way to contribute to the community. Back in March I reached out to Matt at Noah ukuleles in Britain, following one of Baz's reviews for the same ukulele. I was in the mood for a soprano ukulele to primarily strum and fiddle with aimlessly, as I have primarily tenors and of course they generally sound different. Matt graciously worked out some shipping to the US (45 pounds on top of the base price), and the ukulele came within about a week. For other US residents just reach out for a quote, I think his larger instruments would cost more to ship.

    I've copied over the specs here:

    Body: Solid Mahogany body, back and sides, and Spruce top
    Neck: Solid Maple neck
    Nut/Saddle: Bone
    Tuners: Available with either friction or geared tuners
    Strings: Set up with Aquila strings
    Nut width: 36mm
    It also comes with a nicegig bag.

    According to the website, this has a spruce top and mahogany back. Both of them look nice, although the back could perhaps have been matched a little better. However, for the price (especially in Britain) you have to be reasonable. It came with a small dent of some sort on the spruce top.

    The binding and abalone rosette are tasteful, although a bit sloppy with some leeching of the black color into the top wood in a number of places throughout the instrument and around the rosette. It is noticeable but you'd have to be looking closely. Looking from a foot away I think it blends in and isn't too bothersome.

    There are a couple other awkward finishing spots; there's some tiny space under the fretboard on the top side where it meets the body. I checked with Matt to see if this might be anything besides some gloss/finish gap and something structural, and he reassured me it was just finishing. There are also a couple thumbtack sized holes on the fretboard, and the fretmarkers on the top and side of the instrument are also a bit unevenly placed.

    The final nitpicky thing to mention before I go to the sound of the instrument - the friction tuners are pretty finicky. Hard to tune the instrument. I imagine this is going to open up with time. I asked Matt if I ought to apply some graphite, and he said yes but give it some time to open up.

    The instrument was set up well. Action is reasonable, very little buzzing to note on the C and E strings first few fret but I'll tinker with that. It may well just be weather as I didn't hear it a couple weeks ago.

    Now to the sound - very punchy, as one would expect from the size and instrument. I don't think it's super bright, there's an element of warmth to it which may be because of the deeper pineapple body. It has been fun to idly strum in front of my computer or on my couch and just try out some new chords and progressions. I am going to switch the strings eventually as I am not a fan of Aquilas so open to suggestions.

    Couple sound samples
    Random strumming: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yh1bbg16ui...mming.m4a?dl=0

    Playing "The Ash Grove"
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/d4ec6t6126...Grove.m4a?dl=0

    Bottom line - I enjoy this instrument. I wish it was a bit neater, but I knew going in that the construction might be messy. I am mainly pointing out the flaws in the finishing to assist others who may care more about having flawless instruments. I think it's probably a better deal for UK folks or those with good exchange rates with the UK, but still a fun, punchy solid wood and luthier made instrument.

    Bazmaz's review: https://www.gotaukulele.com/2020/03/...le-review.html
    Buy at:
    https://www.noahukuleles.com/product...apple-soprano/

    PS - I am not sure how to rotate the pictures so welcome input on that.
    IMG_3795.jpgIMG_3796.jpgIMG_3798.jpgIMG_3799.jpgIMG_3800.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    78

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    Thank you for sharing, a green field. I've been interested in Noah ukes for a few months but with the shipping and duty fees I calculated, the soprano I wanted would work out to $500 Canadian. I'm not sure if I would be better off spending that $500 (eventually) on another uke.

  3. #3

    Default

    I think $500 can probably buy you more from a Pono or that tier of instrument, but I am not sure about the Canadian exchange rate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    UK
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    I like Noah ukes a lot and the guy behind them is a top bloke. I know they sometimes have flaws, but this is where personal service and back support comes in. He will bend over backwards to sort issues. That kind of guy.
    Got A Ukulele - leading independent uke review site
    https://gotaukulele.bio.link/
    Help Support Got A Ukulele!



    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
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    1,338

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    Quote Originally Posted by a green field View Post
    I think $500 can probably buy you more from a Pono or that tier of instrument, but I am not sure about the Canadian exchange rate.
    Is the pound that high or import duties so excessive? Maybe I’ve not understood but I thought that this instrument was circa 240 pound including shipping to the USA?

    As I understand it Canada does have import duties, a lower value dollar (than the USA) and shipping charges can be higher. Even a Pono import from the USA is going to have some cost increase issues.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 04-10-2021 at 08:28 AM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    Is the pound that high or import duties so excessive? Maybe I’ve not understood but I thought that this instrument was circa 240 pound including shipping to the USA?

    As I understand it Canada does have import duties, a lower value dollar (than the USA) and shipping charges can be higher. Even a Pono import from the USA is going to have some cost increase issues.
    I was mostly thinking that it might be a bit too dear after the pound>Canadian dollar than the US>Canadian, all other things held equal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
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    Quote Originally Posted by a green field View Post
    I was mostly thinking that it might be a bit too dear after the pound>Canadian dollar than the US>Canadian, all other things held equal.
    Shipping and customs duties impact a lot of things: by way of example a Bruko No6 is (IMHO) pricy in Canada but a real bargain if you live in Germany (where they are made).

    Here in the U.K. a basic Pono Soprano would retail at circa 330 pounds, that’s well over the Noah’s price for a much less ‘fancy’ instrument. The Pono isn’t cheap but shipping charges from the USA and local taxes are significant so that price is sill locally ‘competitive’. If I was in the market for a Soprano then, compared to the Pono, the Noah would be the more obvious choice here in the U.K.
    https://theukeroom.com/product/pono-...ogany-soprano/
    https://www.noahukuleles.com/product...rano-ukuleles/

    In the USA a Pono Soprano would be circa 359 USD so when shipping, currency exchange and Canadian taxes are are added it’s going to be pricey. So circa 450 Canadian plus shipping plus Canadian Taxes ... heading towards 600 Canadian Dollars?
    https://alohacityukes.com/collection...oprano-ukulele

    It would be for the customer to reach out to suppliers for their best costings, but I’d have thought the Noah to be relatively good value.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 04-10-2021 at 11:02 AM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    Shipping and customs duties impact a lot of things: by way of example a Bruko No6 is (IMHO) pricy in Canada but a real bargain if you live in Germany (where they are made).

    Here in the U.K. a basic Pono Soprano would retail at circa 330 pounds, that’s well over the Noah’s price for a much less ‘fancy’ instrument. The Pono isn’t cheap but shipping charges from the USA and local taxes are significant so that price is sill locally ‘competitive’. If I was in the market for a Soprano then, compared to the Pono, the Noah would be the more obvious choice here in the U.K.
    https://theukeroom.com/product/pono-...ogany-soprano/
    https://www.noahukuleles.com/product...rano-ukuleles/

    In the USA a Pono Soprano would be circa 359 USD so when shipping, currency exchange and Canadian taxes are are added it’s going to be pricey. So circa 450 Canadian plus shipping plus Canadian Taxes ... heading towards 600 Canadian Dollars?
    https://alohacityukes.com/collection...oprano-ukulele

    It would be for the customer to reach out to suppliers for their best costings, but I’d have thought the Noah to be relatively good value.
    I think when you put out the math like that, I agree. I think that the examples I've seen/heard sound great, but you may get a ukulele with some/significant blemishes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    Is the pound that high or import duties so excessive? Maybe I’ve not understood but I thought that this instrument was circa 240 pound including shipping to the USA?

    As I understand it Canada does have import duties, a lower value dollar (than the USA) and shipping charges can be higher. Even a Pono import from the USA is going to have some cost increase issues.
    I was interested in Noah and the mahogany soprano. I emailed Matt and he does indeed seem like a great guy. He quoted 189 pounds for the instrument, 40 pounds for shipping, and i had duties calculated at approximately $100 Canadian. With exchange rate of that instrument, shipping, and the Canadian duty, it came to $500. Just FYI.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    78

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    I'm not saying it's not worth it though, or that I won't consider it for a future instrument. I've been following bazmaz's Noah reviews and still like the idea of them.

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