Enya Feather questions

revdocjim

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2013
Messages
160
Reaction score
614
I've got a hankering for an electric uke. After hearing Kalei and Corey play the Pono TE-MD I got very interested. But I'm in Japan so with shipping it would come in at a bit over $900. So I started looking around at Japanese sites and the Enya Feather popped up. In the U.S. it goes for something like $599. But here in Japan I can get it new for around $380. I've searched this forum and didn't find too much other than one post about a possible flaw and the user didn't like the sound.

Are there any others who have experience with this instrument? Would I be disappointed? I assume it isn't at the level of the Pono, but given the price difference, it seems like a good deal. Both instruments are very playable without amplification, and the Enya has some tricky sound alterations that I'm not sure are needed. I saw the good review on Got A Ukulele.

Thoughts?
 
As much as I loved the Feather, that Pono is in a completely different league in my opinion.
 
I have thew blue feather and the one above it in Maple/blue with lots inlay on fingerboard
both play nice, look out of this world, got em both 2 years ago with 10% off, I will buy the feather if you decide to pay that price for it , close to Oregon?
 
As much as I loved the Feather, that Pono is in a completely different league in my opinion.
That's the impression I get, and if I was in the U.S. I would probably save up for the Pono as the price difference is less than $300. But here in Japan, the Pono costs 3 times what the Feather does. So I'm gonna try out the Feather for now.
 
I owned one for a little while.

On my particular one, the undersaddle piezo unit was a bit meh (unbalanced), which is a bit of a cardinal sin on an instrument that is supposed to be predominantly electric.

Fortunately I have some experience in fixing and jigging electrics and I ordered my own replacement undersaddle piezo (an Artec) and it fixed the problem. Had to route out some of the wood in the saddle slot because it wasn't long enough to fit the pickup, but I got there with a few basic tools.

Once I replaced the piezo and did a bit of a setup, it was a really cool instrument.
Not designed to be a loud acoustic, but it'll make a pleasant & mellow sound just like a semi-acoustic guitar.


As for Pono's, I'm actually pretty sure that the undersaddle piezo unit they use is an Artec, the same one I installed after-market on my Feather and frequently on other ukuleles. I know because I've pulled apart Pono ukes installed with "Pono passive piezo" during setup and noticed them to look identical and behave identically. That being said, this was from a few years ago so I can't say for sure whether Pono still source from Artec.

And here's the thing.
The Artec undersaddle piezo unit is really really good, but it's also really cheap like $10-15.
So the rest of the price you're paying for is the craftsmanship & design that went into the ukulele's body.

However, knowing Artec and knowing Pono, I would expect their electrics to function perfectly out of the box.


Side note: My preferred electric ukulele are Risa Uke Solids.
They are passive just like Pono's and use Shadow Nanoflex piezo's (made in Germany).
They also cost a lot less than Pono's for somewhat similar level of electric performance (minus volume knob and a few other things).

If someone was to give me either one for free, I'd pick the Pono as it's just a more conveniently crafted instrument (Risa has quirks and limitations). But due to the cost difference, I'd rather buy the Risa if it was my own money.

If you're interested in affordable electric ukuleles, Bugsgear Eleuke are also pretty good out-of-box (though I lower the action on mine):
I think they have quite a market share in Japan.
 
Last edited:
I owned one for a little while.

On my particular one, the undersaddle piezo unit was a bit meh (unbalanced), which is a bit of a cardinal sin on an instrument that is supposed to be predominantly electric.

Fortunately I have some experience in fixing and jigging electrics and I ordered my own replacement undersaddle piezo (an Artec) and it fixed the problem. Had to route out some of the wood in the saddle slot because it wasn't long enough to fit the pickup, but I got there with a few basic tools.

Once I replaced the piezo and did a bit of a setup, it was a really cool instrument.
Not designed to be a loud acoustic, but it'll make a pleasant & mellow sound just like a semi-acoustic guitar.


As for Pono's, I'm actually pretty sure that the undersaddle piezo unit they use is an Artec, the same one I installed after-market on my Feather and frequently on other ukuleles. I know because I've pulled apart Pono ukes installed with "Pono passive piezo" during setup and noticed them to look identical and behave identically. That being said, this was from a few years ago so I can't say for sure whether Pono still source from Artec.

And here's the thing.
The Artec undersaddle piezo unit is really really good, but it's also really cheap like $10-15.
So the rest of the price you're paying for is the craftsmanship & design that went into the ukulele's body.

However, knowing Artec and knowing Pono, I would expect their electrics to function perfectly out of the box.


Side note: My preferred electric ukulele are Risa Uke Solids.
They are passive just like Pono's and use Shadow Nanoflex piezo's (made in Germany).
They also cost a lot less than Pono's for somewhat similar level of electric performance (minus volume knob and a few other things).

If someone was to give me either one for free, I'd pick the Pono as it's just a more conveniently crafted instrument (Risa has quirks and limitations). But due to the cost difference, I'd rather buy the Risa if it was my own money.

If you're interested in affordable electric ukuleles, Bugsgear Eleuke are also pretty good out-of-box (though I lower the action on mine):
I think they have quite a market share in Japan.
Thanks for the great info. My feather arrived today and I'm having fun playing with it. Not blown away, but not terribly underwhelmed either. It my be my amp, but the C string sounds a little boomy. Is that the unbalanced issue you were talking about? I looked at the Risa Uke Solids and the one I saw has the tuners at the other end of the strings! Very weird looking indeed. As for the Bugsgear, my local second hand shop has one in stock. I actually picked it up and brought it home, but I think it's broken. It sounds OK with soft picking, but as soon as you strum it, the sound breaks up badly. I returned it, but noticed in subsequent visits that they have put it back on the shelf for the same price as before... I'll keep playing with the Feather and see how it goes. I'm not sure I have the courage to do any routing to put in an Artec... but it sounds interesting! Thanks again.
 
Thanks for the great info. My feather arrived today and I'm having fun playing with it. Not blown away, but not terribly underwhelmed either. It my be my amp, but the C string sounds a little boomy. Is that the unbalanced issue you were talking about? I looked at the Risa Uke Solids and the one I saw has the tuners at the other end of the strings! Very weird looking indeed. As for the Bugsgear, my local second hand shop has one in stock. I actually picked it up and brought it home, but I think it's broken. It sounds OK with soft picking, but as soon as you strum it, the sound breaks up badly. I returned it, but noticed in subsequent visits that they have put it back on the shelf for the same price as before... I'll keep playing with the Feather and see how it goes. I'm not sure I have the courage to do any routing to put in an Artec... but it sounds interesting! Thanks again.

Regarding one string sounding boomy, yes that is the exact issue I had on my Feather.
If you're lucky, you may be able to resolve it by sanding the bottom of the saddle atop a flat surface in case there was some unevenness on the saddle's bottom; or replacing the saddle altogether with a new one. If no avail, then your only option may be to replace the piezo piece altogether.

There are other replacement undersaddles you could try on the Feather that won't require any modifications.
I haven't tried it specifically on a Feather, but I don't see why a SHADOW SH1110-UK shouldn't work.
They're a bit narrower and shorter than the Artec and you should be able to relatively easily unplug the stock one and replace.
(However, ensure to check the measurements & spacing so that the piezo crystals line up with the strings)

The Risa Uke Solids always perform flawlessly. Given its minimalistic design, there's really nothing that can go wrong.
The only notable negative is that they use a unique saddle made of soft plastic which doesn't handle wound strings well; which most people won't need to anyway given the prevalence of unwound fluorocarbon low-G strings like Worth and Fremont.

Regarding Eleuke, they have undergone several generations and improvements; with the latest models being ones powered by an internal Lithium ion battery and recharged via a USB cable. Older, discontinued models used 9V batteries. Which one did you try?
If the strumming caused the tone to crackle, could you resolve it by turning down the volume and adjusting the tone on the ukulele?
The output with the volume cranked to maximum is quite powerful and could overdrive amps even on clean settings.

Recent model Eleukes have been pretty good in my experience, especially with strings sounding balanced (older models had some unbalance, but they have upgraded the parts used in current models).
 
Top Bottom