Donner DUC-3 Concert - REVIEW


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Sep 5, 2009
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Doesn't sound so bad, especially at that price point.

Thanks for always doing write-ups too, not just videos. It's appreciated!
Thanks both - yeah - my gripes with this are purely personal and cosmetic - sound wise it's really not too bad. That setup is dreadful though.

One question I had is if you communicate with the companies directly? With the Caramels we purchased for our school, I e-mailed the company after every "batch" with feedback, particularly with set-up concerns.

Vic has been doing reviews on the Caramels (he has two) and one of his concerns was the lack of side markers, and I wrote Caramel about it. I have been told that side markers will be back on nearly all models by June. On recent Caramels (the last 12 to 18) the action has been good, and fret ends smooth (at least until subjected to winter humidity levels in a classroom), which were concerns I brought up in the past. I feel that they listen--and I would guess that most of the companies might do so with the increased competition in the market.

In regards to the Donner, the all Mahogany seemed to be a better choice...more simple on the front (rosette and regular fretboard dots). The Mahogany Concert model is sold out as of yesterday. I totally agree with the fake AAA wood rating...just say, "Mahogany laminate." We're okay with that.

Anyway...I know they could watch your video, but a direct e-mail to a contact (if they sent you a review unit and you didn't have to spend your own money) reinforcing the misplaced side marker, bad action, and fretboard design concerns might very well result in a change in QC and design from the company. Or it might not.

Then again, you are a busy man with a family, so you might not have time for all of that...

Thanks again for all of your work in this field.

The short answer is yes, but whether brands actually listen or not is not so clear. I've known some brands who have taken things on board and actually changed specs following one of my reviews, which is nice. Some I never hear from again.

My concern with the likes of Donner and Caramel is that they only seem to sell through Amazon. And for that reason they never get a setup beyond what is done in the factory. That's not a gripe on the factory model and in fact I have seen instruments from some major brands, some high end, that have left the factory needing a setup - it happens, and it's not necessarily a huge issue IF they go through a dealer who checks them first. So there's my issue here - choosing to sell through Amazon means the issues never get weeded out as Amazon don't have a team of instrument techs checking each one!

They have been sent a link to my review of this one though
Just one note about Caramel (I know a review is coming)...they sell through eBay, Amazon, and their own site--not just Amazon.

And if Donner addresses those issues you mentioned--people will be getting even a better entry level ukulele for a great price.
Late to the party I know - I bought this exact instrument bundle on a whim prior to even informing myself even a little bit & w/o even having read Barry's excellent review.
I'm pretty well chuffed with it. Couple of notes follow.

1. Discard the strings it came with (srsly). They are shite.

2. Put some some strings you like on it & see... in my case Aquila nylgut then reds. Both of which greatly improved its sound. I prefer Aquila reds. & have kept same.

3. Whilst changing strings do lets give the fret board a bit of love, mine was so very parched, with one's potion of choice; in my case bore oil; YMMV.

4. Why yes the setup leaves something to be desired - a bit high on mine too but I feel for circa $60- this Ukulele is also an excellent chance to begin learning setup skills 'cos nothing to lose. It does seem playable out of the box; just a little fine tuning required to optimize is all which I fully intend to do.

5. Cosmetics - As Barry noted they made some odd choices & dumb mistakes especially where the fret markers were concerned (topside/neck). But hey for ~$60.- I'll happily live with that.

PS - as an aside I play her every day & enjoy this ukulele's sound. Truly not a bad entree.
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