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Thread: Played two fender ukes today....disappointed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Makanda, IL USA
    Posts
    623

    Default Played two fender ukes today....disappointed

    Today i went to a music shop i had never been to in Anna Illinois, and was suprised to see the only two ukes they had were both fenders. I was really excited at first since i had yet to get my hands on one. I tuned them up and started with the mid ranged model (of three i believe) the Nohea model. It was obviously koa wood, but when i looked inside i could see it was laminate (for 199.99 thats pretty expected) It looked beautiful with faux abalone accents and all. I was suprised to see a tenor uke with a wound C string (all three do). The finish was poorly applied as around the sound hole you could see unfinished wood, and the bridge was pretty ugly as well. When i played it i was shocked at how terrible it sounded. At another music store i've played 60 dollar lanikai laminate mahogany ukes that sounded easily 4 times better. It was quiet and tinny sounding, probably a function of the sound board being about twice as thick as my Mainland tenor. the intonation was spot on but other than that sounded horrible. It sounded much like i was playing a true fender telecaster, unplugged. The tuners were off fairly low quality as well, stamped out metal parts rather than the nice solid ones found on my mainland and kala.
    though 200 dollars is certainly within the entry level of ukes, it was worth much less than that.fender fans may love the classic fender shaped head stock , though I, a fender player my whole life, find it awkward looking on an acoustic instrument. After playing both the laminate koa and laminate mahogany models, i couldn't recommend these ukes to anyone except for a wall piece or collectors item. Save your pennies and go for a different brand as kala, ohana and lanikai all make far superior instruments at a lower price.

    i give it a 2/10 for sound 8/10 for feel in the hands and 3/10 for value
    From smallest to largest. Kala Pocket Mahogany- Ohana SK-21- Kala Travel Uke- Hilo soprano (my first!)- Kamaka 1960's Soprano- Ovation Soprano- Bruko Concert- Mainland Mahogany Concert- Lanikai Banjolele Concert- Lanikai 08E- Mainland Mahogany Tenor- Savannah crappy (but loved) baritone

    http://www.youtube.com/user/BornAgainJeeper

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    813

    Default

    I agree with everything you've said, but I'll add that I found the action to be quite low for straight-from-the-factory.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Interesting. I have the Nohea model and I'm very pleased with it. I believe its my best sounding uke so far. Although i did change the strings to D'addarios which made THE difference in the sound. but i do agree that it didnt sound good with the factory strings, especially with that wound string. I'm actually surprised that the Nohea is the mid-level of the 3 because its looks AND sounds better than the Hau'oli version. the first time i picked up the Hau'oli i thought i was the lower model until i looked at the price tag and confirmed that it wasn't a mistake. I guess its a hit or miss when it comes to these ukes. luckily i got a winner.

  4. #4

    Default

    The stock strings really make these ukes sound like crap. I really enjoyed mine once I changed the strings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Herts, UK
    Posts
    3,601

    Default

    Good point.

    I know people say that you're best advised to try an instrument before buying. That works well for guitars, fiddles, mandolins... but I've never known an instrument where a change of strings can so transform it as an ukulele.

    Why do manufacturers get cheap when fitting strings? If you make a good instrument, why make it sound less than its best by saving pennies on strings?

    Might make superficial sense for your manufacturing costs. Makes no sense at all from a marketing POV.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    596

    Default

    I own one, and while I've definitely played better, I still think it's a really nice instrument. I've got it strung up with Worth browns and I actually think it sounds really nice, if lacking a bit in sustain. But I wouldn't say awful by any means.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    210

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    Quote Originally Posted by deach View Post
    The stock strings really make these ukes sound like crap. I really enjoyed mine once I changed the strings.
    I had the solid mahogany model..Like Deach, when I changed the strings it sounded fine. I gifted it to my brother when I bought my 1st KoAloha and he also enjoys playing it. The stock strings are GHS I believe, but when I put D'Addarios on it was like a totally different instrument.
    My handmade ukuleles, Jonathan Mann Custom Electric Tenor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    San Pedro, CA
    Posts
    3,931

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bornagainjeeper View Post
    i give it a 2/10 for sound 8/10 for feel in the hands and 3/10 for value
    I'm sorry to hear that, I thought those looked kind of cool. Too bad the sound doesn't measure up to the looks.
    Moore Bettah Kauai Dreams undersea inlay tenor "Hui Nani"
    Moore Bettah slothead offset soundhole tenor "Kula Leo"
    KoAloha KTMS-00 "Lokomaika'i"

    Building and Owning a Bettah Ukulele: The story of Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    Listen With Your Heart: The KoAloha Ukulele Story
    Listen With Your Heart: The KoAloha Ukulele Story e-book edition

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default

    My first uke, which I've had for about 9 months, is a Fender Nohea, and I love it. Of all the ukes I was able to play around here (which isn't a lot, I'm in Vermont), the Fender Nohea sounded the best. My husband is in a band (played in the Marine Band) and thinks it sounds great. He's a bass player, mostly, but also plays acoustic guitar. One thing I'm confused about - you all talk about changing out the strings, and someone said they changed the strings to D'Addario, but on the Fender website, under specs, it says the uke comes with "D'AddarioŽ J54 Hawaiian Ukulele Tenor (1-A, 2-E, 3 Wound-C, 4-G)"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    210

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    Quote Originally Posted by vermontcathy View Post
    My first uke, which I've had for about 9 months, is a Fender Nohea, and I love it. Of all the ukes I was able to play around here (which isn't a lot, I'm in Vermont), the Fender Nohea sounded the best. My husband is in a band (played in the Marine Band) and thinks it sounds great. He's a bass player, mostly, but also plays acoustic guitar. One thing I'm confused about - you all talk about changing out the strings, and someone said they changed the strings to D'Addario, but on the Fender website, under specs, it says the uke comes with "D'AddarioŽ J54 Hawaiian Ukulele Tenor (1-A, 2-E, 3 Wound-C, 4-G)"
    Fender may have have changed the specs because mine came with GHS strings and they were horrible!!!! I changed to the D'Addario Pro Arte J-71 strings and it sounded like a completely different instrument...in a good way. :-)
    My handmade ukuleles, Jonathan Mann Custom Electric Tenor

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