Tauro solid spruce top concert review


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Aug 4, 2010
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Oak Park, Illinois
First, I must say that my expectations are usually very high, but for this review, I will try to compare apples to apples. The Tauro ukulele (made by Sinye Musical Instruments) is not a “K” brand or custom. But it is a real musical instrument, in that it has a solid spruce top, and should be held to some standards, in my opinion.
The ukulele was shipped from China to Chicago and arrived in 16 days. I think that’s pretty good. Kudos to Aliexpress, the distributor. It came with a beautiful, nicely padded gig bag, embroidered with the Tauro name and logo. In the package were a strap (soundhole hook type) and a couple of felt picks. This is more than I expected for a solid top concert ukulele under 100USD. Here's the instrument: http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6709535591.html?orderId=67652519759859
Initial inspection revealed an ukulele that has been pretty well made. One tiny flaw, a very small bit of wood flaked up just at the bridge, under the strings. I could probably cut it off without much trouble, and I may, if I restring it. The uke has a matte finish. Not my preference, but it’s well done. It could be polished up a little. No rough spots, but the sheen is just a tiny bit inconsistent on the top. I’ll take care of that easily. The neck is straight, the geared tuners work very well. The top is a lovely piece of spruce, perfectly book-matched. (Yes, I mean perfect) Simple MOP rosette, BWB binding, Excellent MOP inlay on the fretboard (It’s a lion, not a bull!?) and MOP name on headstock. The rosewood veneer on the headstock is very thin but lovely. The only fret markers beside the inlay are on the side of the fretboard. I think this looks great. The manufacturer uses the arched back as a selling point. Here’s a shocker: the back is actually arched! No kidding, not radiused, but arched like a jazz guitar. I couldn’t believe it, and wonder how this was accomplished with a laminate back. It’s very well done. There’s one other surprise regarding the back. It has no bracing whatsoever. It’s just a piece of arched lam. Hmm… Maybe a laminate doesn't need reinforcement. Inside the instrument the kerfing is not neat, and there’s a little glue squeeze-out here and there. Still, it's about what I’d expect. And, all joints seem solid and very neat indeed on the outside of the instrument.
The frets need to be polished. Other than the surface looking a bit discolored with patina, they look good. Very level across the fret board, ends nicely smooth. The ebony Fretboard is bound with ebony, making it look very neat. This was unexpected and I like it very much. As far as looks, it’s a clean look and the imperfections are almost not worth mentioning. I think far nicer than most instruments for this price. Beyond looks, the action is just high enough that I find it noticeable. Nearly right. This can easily be addressed. The frets I’ve already mentioned feel fine and there’s no buzzing. Well done. The neck is somewhat thicker than I’m used to playing. I think it’s about like a Pono. Thicker than some, but thinner than others and very smooth. I can play it easily. The surprising thing about the Tauro concert is the sound. I have an Oscar Schmidt that cost about the same that I like very much. This one sounds a little darker (a good thing). It’s not a tinny sound. For a 100 dollar uke, there’s a lot of color and character. And the intonation is surprisingly very good. I credit the intonation and the solid spruce top with the instrument’s rather lovely sound (for its price).
Overall, the Tauro is an excellent value when compared to others in its price range. Its flaws are so minor they’re almost not there. Its shortcomings as an instrument are all easily addressed with set-up and polish. Unquestionably worth the money and worth ordering from an unknown builder, seller.
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Thanks for the review. I've been looking at concerts to try out different tunings so my mahogany can stay in low G. This may be one to consider, especially price wise, which I hate to admit is a big factor. :eek:
Thank you for the review. I've been looking for an inexpensive concert size uke for a gift to a beginner, and this one my be the best for the money.