21.9.14

Do You Know Your Ukulele Bling?

I think it is fair to say that we all love a good looking ukulele right? A weekend or two ago I found myself drooling on a ukulele stall at the GNUF festival as there were some truly stunning instruments on display. I'd even go so far as saying some were breathtaking. But in the wide range of ukes on the market, do you know what you are buying?

This blogger is actually a self confessed lover of the plain ukulele. It's a case of few adornments, and letting the wood speak for itself for me. It's partly a taste thing, but also one about value for money, and I am talking about both here today.

First off, as this may come across as a 'rant', a word of explanation. It seems some who read posts on this site actually enjoy being offended by them and will get quite verbal to me. I am NOT telling anybody what to buy in this post. I am not saying anybody is wrong. You should buy what YOU like, what makes you smile. I just thought however that some thoughts would be useful for those starting out on their ukulele journey as there are a few myths about.

So what do I mean by 'bling'?. Well firstly (and mainly) I am talking about adornments on an instrument. You know, bindings, inlays, rosettes, fancy fretboard markers and the like. But I also include in this post the use of fancy woods that are used to make the instruments bodies. And there are variances within these factors too depending on price.

Lets look at standard bling first of all. They are merely pieces of 'eye candy' (if you excuse the americanism) designed to make the uke look good and stand out. Here is the thing to remember though. THIS DOESN'T CREATE TONE. Simple as that, and pretty obvious really. As I say above I tend to prefer plainer instruments, like my Kanile'a K1 pictured below. Absolutely no adornments whatsoever, not even a gloss finish. Just Koa wood, and it sounds heavenly. The company make more expensive grades of the exact same uke, by adding gloss, a sound hole rosette, changing the tuners to a gold finish but keeping the exact same underlying uke. And they cost SIGNIFICANTLY more. Same uke, fancy finish. Nice if you have the budget, but it doesn't make the uke play any better. In fact some argue that by avoiding a gloss finish the uke can actually ring a little more naturally.

Kanile'a K1 Tenor ukulele in Koa Wood


And as such, if you are buying to a budget, such things should matter. For me it was an easy choice - I wanted a uke that sounded great and played well for a budget.  But this is not just about high end ukes.  There is actually a worrying trend in the massive number of ukes that are now being imported from China to dress them up like Christmas trees. As I said above, your uke, your choice, and I am not saying that these are wrong if you like the looks, but take a look at the prices. I am now regularly seeing discussions on music forums where Mr X posts a picture of his latest glossy uke, covered in faux abalone, pearl, tortoiseshell. Fancy inlays in the fretboard, you name it. Then the other posters coo about it... 'That is SO beautiful man!".  Perhaps it is beautiful, but that is not really my point. It's when you find out that it cost about $140 that I start to raise an eyebrow.  If that is the cost of the fully loaded model, how much is the underlying uke worth? You know, the bit that is there to make the music?  The answer in my experience is, not a lot. Corners are cut somewhere (even with the ridiculously low labour costs in China). Simple maths really.

Some of you may be aware of the super blingy Vietnamese ukes that crop up on ebay for bargain prices. I have some friends who have bought them. Blingy to the max, very detailed adornments, but often they are shoddy ukuleles underneath (either overly thick woods with no tone, or ludicrously thin with dipping sound boards, bows or splits).  Sure, there may be some good ones that come through, but I am repeatedly told of some horror stories. Style over substance in my book. Why spend your money on the stuff that doesn't make music?

Credit: Fleamarket Music

At the end of the day adornments cost in time and money. Personally I would rather put my funds into the core instrument myself.  If you are getting a custom uke made, then I get it. Nothing will be nicer that specifying detailing that will make the instrument personal to you - I totally understand that (and have done it myself). But please don't confuse the work of a master craftsman / artist on a hand made ukulele with the same sort of adornments on cheap ukes. It is one thing paying a craftsman for his time, but the cheap varieties are made on factory production lines. That isn't craft, that is a lure to make you buy.  So if you are browsing online or in a music store and see a plain $150 uke hanging there and one next to it that looks like it was made for Elvis at $140, perhaps be careful (and of course play them first). Chances are the plain one may have more care put into the core instrument.  Perhaps there is some psychological effect I can't account for. Perhaps a pretty uke makes you happier and then in turn makes you play better. Perhaps you enjoy going to events and have people admire the uke. All of that is cool. But no amount of mother of pearl flowers inlaid into the headstock  will change a badly made instrument into a good one.

And that second type of bling I talked about - the wood itself. I would need a separate blog post entirely to discuss the dark art of tone wood choices, but generally speaking they are split into laminates and solid woods. There are good laminates and bad (ignore anyone telling you they are for beginners only - just play a laminate Kiwaya if you don't believe me). There are also good and bad solid woods depending on the builder. In fact I have played laminates that sound far, far nicer than some cheap solid wood ukes. Not everything is as it seems. Woods can come with vanilla looks, or with 'flame' and 'curl' in the grain. I strongly believe that the jury is out on whether the fancier curls make a single bit of difference to the sound - it is all about aesthetics. And those nice woods DO look very nice, but they are only worth their salt if the build of the instrument lives up to the looks.

So I wanted to focus on another growing trend that is flooding the market, and that is the fancy finished laminate uke gaining respect for the wrong reasons. You know the type, the laminate finished in 'spalted maple', 'curly Koa' or similar. Striking to look at for sure. But I genuinely read a discussion online the other day where somebody was advising a uke buyer along the lines that certain blingy laminate uke X was better than something in 'plain old solid mahogany'. And not just advising in terms of looks either. They were advising that such and such a laminate had a warmer tone.  Nonsense.  Sure, as I said above, some high end laminates can have their own distinctive tones, but at the $100 end of the market it may as well be a transfer stuck to plywood. I've even seem some laminates labelled as 'grade AAA' or similar....   And there are people choosing super glossy fancy laminate finishes over plain solid wood of the same price. As I say, I can't argue with anyone who chooses based on looks IF that is what makes them happy, but please don't recommend them as being better or having their own unique characteristics.

If you are in the market to start experimenting with beautiful solid tone woods, then the world is your oyster and there are some stunning examples out there.  The reality is though that this doesn't apply at the cheap end. If you find a fancy covered laminate that you really like, then go for it. But please, don't overlook the similarly priced plain uke that may well be made from far better materials.

Big Island Concert ukulele in Koa Wood Gloss

End of the day though, the choice is yours not mine. But do buy carefully and think about where your pennies are going on the uke you choose.  For me though, well... I never understood why people spend $1000 extra on getting sparkly paint on a new car. I'd rather save the money or put it towards something that makes the car drive better....

(My car is black by the way)


AND! Be sure to check out my other ukulele RANTS - where I explode the many myths and bad advice that surrounds the instrument - CLICK this link! http://www.gotaukulele.com/search/label/rants

19.9.14

Uke East 2014

From one festival to another, I am pleased to pass on details for what looks like being a great event organised by and featuring some friends of mine on the ukulele circuit. Uke East!


Uke East Festival


Uke East takes place on 25 October at Hellesdon Community Centre, Norwich and has some great acts billed.

Sophie Madeleine is performing in her only 2014 live gig and will be a huge draw. Good friend Phil Doleman is also on the bill performing his superb finger style jazz styled set. Also billed are the Bijoux Toots, Liam Capper-Starr, Artemiss, Ben Rouse and the Norwich Ukulele Society.

Tickets are £16 and all profits go to the Musical Keys charity http://www.musicalkeys.co.uk

Festival organiser Nic Rigby told me,  "We are hoping to bring some of the best musicians and songwriters from around Britain to Norfolk and at the same time help the wonderful Norwich charity Musical Keys.

"The festival should be a great celebration of music and not just a ukulele festival.

"To get Sophie Madeleine, in her only live gig of 2014, should be a great attraction, while Phil Doleman is one of top ukulele players in the country and will be also be running a workshop."

Sounds like a great one to check out. Details are on their website at http://uke-east.co.uk

15.9.14

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival - Diary 2014

The dust settles and WHAT a weekend to look back on. Time for me to share my memories of this fantastic event - the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2014 held in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, UK.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF



FRIDAY

A slow start for me heading up to Huddersfield on what should have been a 90 minute journey. My thanks go out to the Department Of Transport for kindly laying on road works on every single stretch of road on my route, meaning my trip was more like 200 minutes. I arrived, road weary but immediately uplifted in the hotel bar seeing many old friends, main stage acts and thoughts of a night in the town.

The (un) official opening evening for the festival was arranged for the Head Of Steam pub in Huddersfield - a smashing real ale venue that had been the choice of a range of pre festival events for the GNUF team during the summer. On arrival I was greeted to a completely full front room that was already in full swing with a uke jam in progress.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Friday Jam
Friday Jam in the Head Of Steam

Some beers later and the evening entertainment started with some beautiful playing from Lionel K Hubert in solo mode, and thereafter, the stage was taken over by other GNUF acts giving it what for.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Lionel Hubert
Lionel K Hubert

With a late night ahead, retirement beckoned to the hotel bar, and 'late' does not really do it justice. Needless to say I had about two hours sleep before needing to get down to Huddersfield Town Hall the next day (same day?) for the start of the main event. Safe in the protection of my blog I blame Tim and Jake Smithies of Dead Mans Uke for leading me astray.... (my own free will doesn't come into it..)

SATURDAY

So, early start and a trek down to the Town Hall with a bunch of loan ukuleles that have featured on this blog that I needed to hand back. Wristbands picked up, hellos to the organising team.  Its when you look into the programme that you realise just how much was actually going on this weekend. My apologies in advance, but I cannot include everyone in this diary. I really wanted to get a broad view of the variety at GNUF this year so please don't take it to heart if you are a workshopper or performer and I couldn't fit you in!

GNUF were keen this year to introduce more acts and another venue to the festival so had introduced the Festival Fringe, taking place at a rather wonderful record store in Huddersfield. The Fringe was also FREE to locals and really did create a kind of inclusive vibe to the event across the town. I managed to get there in time for Dead Mans Uke who absolutely blasted the place with a superb set. You may have seen pictures of them on this site, but you have to go see them - its only when their music starts and Jakes bass kicks in that you will really 'get it'. The venue was rammed and their reception was hot. Other artists on the Fringe Stage included Peter Moss, Lionel Hubert, Phil Doleman, Ukulelezaza and Michael Adcock, but with my young daughter in tow it was time for her lunch and for me to return to the HQ before the main stage opened.


Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Dead Mans Uke
Dead Mans Uke


This also gave me time to pop my head into a few workshops (and there was some serious variety here too - not just how to play lessons, but really interactive stuff like learning to play and sing with Tricity Vogue and The Mersey Belles, or making your own recording with the Mother Ukers). I also had a bit of time now to explore the Market place - a must for any uke festival. Such beautiful instruments on display - I could have spent a fortune.  Sadly for me I am keeping the collection static for the time being, but I did come away with some loan ukes that will be featuring on the reviews section in the near future!

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Del Rey Workshop
Del Rey Jug Band Blues Party workshop

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Team SUS
Team SUS at the marketplace

Opening the main stage were 'Some Like It Ossett' comprising Tony Casey from the GNUF team plus Jacqui Wicks, Joe Grant- Mills and Ralph Dartford. They went down extremely well and have a smashing sound. Then an act that will be featuring on Got A Ukulele very soon in the form of the Mersey Belles with their absolutely top drawer close harmony singing. In fact, as you will read on below, they offered their singing skills to festival visitors with their singing workshop too.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Mersey Belles
The Mersey Belles


Next up, an act who I was really pleased had come to GNUF. I last saw Krabbers at N'Ukefest 2014 and his beautiful (and funny) songs were really appreciated by the audience and sounded just great.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Krabbers


Closing the first half of the concert were a band I have been dying to see for years - Mother Ukers. I think a lot of the audience may not have known what to expect here, but the reception they were given was tremendous. And why was that? Well they just exude energy, fun and talent. Pop covers like you have not heard before!  Loved it.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF mother Ukers
Mother Ukers

Mother Ukers Barnaby has his light bulb moment
A short break and then an act I have also been wanting to see for a long time. I first hooked up with Tricity Vogue some years ago on this site, but had never seen her perform live. This year she was at GNUF with her 'All Girl Swing Band' and WOW. Just WOW. They absolutely lit up the room with their sound, talent and energy. Originals, retro styled pop numbers and the wonderful tap dancing of Josephine Shaker (at one point dressed as a penguin!) blew the audience away. A REAL highlight of my festival weekend with no doubt.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Tricity Vogue
Tricity Vogue All Girl Swing Band
You know how a good festival should have one of those artists who just captures the room? Well say hello to Zoë Bestel who had the audience open mouthed with the quality of her performance and sublime vocals. Seriously people, watch this space with Zoë as she will be going on to much much bigger things in a very short space of time, I am sure of it. No word of a lie, there were people in the audience in tears.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Zoe Bestel
Zoë Bestel

Next up, a man who is probably the most experienced performer at the festival in Mr Andy Eastwood.  Dare I use the word 'extravaganza'? Andy is a multi instrumentalist (in fact I am not sure there is much he CAN'T play) who put on a high energy performance which left the audience speechless. There are those who just pin the act as a 'Formby thing' but that misses out SO much. Yes he plays a banjolele, but you need to hear his work on wooden uke, violin and more. Mesmerising musicianship.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Andy Eastwood
Andy Eastwood


Finally, the Saturday headliner, Del Rey. I have known who Del Rey is, but I will be honest and state that I had not seen much of her work on video. I am so glad she was there though. Appearing on stage with Adam Franklin this was a set of such talent, mainly on resonator instruments, but also guitars, or both. If you like your fingerpicked jazz and blues with style and humour this was the set for you. I totally adored it.
Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Del Rey
Del Rey with Adam Franklin

And finally - an all star jam  saw the performers re join the stage for a hugely fun play out to the end of the night.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF end of night jam

And with that, the night came to a close. More jam sessions were on their way in the pub, but I (please see above, 2 hours sleep remember...) needed to retreat to the hotel bar for a nightcap with a couple of the festival organisers and then bed...

SUNDAY

There was me thinking Sunday was a quieter day. Could not have been more wrong!

GNUF team member Robert Collins with a couple of mascots

Back to the Town Hall for the opening session on the main stage with a 'Mashup' of performances between the musical acts which was huge fun. Then on to a performance from a trio of guys I am proud to call good friends - Chonkinfeckle!  I could blog about how Tim got to bed at about 8.00am that day before needing to get to soundcheck for 10.30, but I won't (oops). Yet, they delivered a belting set - in fact they just get better and better the more I see them. This year they were joined on stage on tub bass by GNUF team member Paul McCann and Mia Lynch (her first time on stage) for a couple of songs and got a great reception from the crowd.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Chonkinfeckle
Chonkinfeckle


Next up, more good friends in the shape of The Anything Goes Orchestra. They tore the roof off the venue in their GNUF 2013 show did so again this year. They perform such a lively and tight set it really is hard not to dance (either in your seat, or in this case in the aisles and in front of the stage).  Electric performance with good humour and great songs.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF TAGO
The Anything Goes Orchestra

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF TAGO 2
TAGO

A quick but important word here about Heidi Bang Tidy, the compere for the weekend, and who was the perfect choice. So funny, and equally happy to joke at audience members as she was with performers. She just sparkles and keeps the thing moving with lots of style and good laughs. She even came down to the aisle during the TAGO set to dance with my 4 year old daughter... (her highlight of the whole weekend!).

Heidi Bang Tidy

And with that, the Town Hall came to a temporary close as the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain had arrived. Not only did they need to sound check, but they were also running a workshop in the hall.  But that didn't mean that the festival came to a close.

Just outside the Huddersfield Gallery and library, Space to Create had set up a marquee at the Piazza where more performances took place including shows from Ben Rouse (blistering) and Vonck and Vlam (spellbinding) amongst other workshops and open mic slots.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Vonck and Vlam
Vonck and Vlam

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival #GNUF Ben Rouse
Ben Rouse

As for this blogger, my day was not over as I had been asked to join the judging panel for the Mersey Belles busk off performance. Earlier in the festival the Belles had each worked separately with two workshop groups to learn and perform 'Tonight You Belong To Me'. Each group had been taught the vocal part of one of the Belles, and then came together to perform the whole song. I think they thought of me as a Simon Cowell type (grumpy blogger that I am), but in reality their performances were superb and it was huge fun to be a part of.

Mersey Belles Busk Off performance


5pm brought the act that all had been waiting for - the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain. Sadly for me, a combination of being dead on my feet and day job commitments the next morning meant I had to bid my farewell to Huddersfield. Needless to say though, social media this morning has been FULL of compliments for their amazing set to close the festival. They even ended up performing in the hotel bar with other festival goers and performers. How cool?

So GNUF 2014 closes. In my book this one topped last year, and in fact has topped any uke festival I have been to.  It's all about the 'feel' that the organising team put onto the event and a very clever choice of acts and mix of workshops and ideas. This is far more than just a hall you turn up to and watch some ukulele performances. There were things at every turn, and acts to delight all sorts of tastes. And of course there were NO egos here. The main acts really threw themselves into affairs and mingled and mixed with the crowds. I for one was so pleased to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and having had a bit of an iffy ukulele time recently the very warm words from many mean an awful lot to me.  Well done to all of the organisers of this event and long may it continue!

The Main Hall

In fact, as for it continuing - the date has been set for 2015 already with a return to Huddersfield on 22-24 May! Early bird tickets are now available on the link below! And what a line up it looks to be - Manitoba Hal, Aaron Keim, Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee, Phil Doleman, Zoë Bestel, Chonkinfeckle, Dead Mans Uke and many more.

Grab your tickets now!!  http://www.northernuke.com/2015-festival/



Until next year!
GNUF 2015 flyer


12.9.14

Got A Ukulele Off To GNUF!

Well the car packing is about to commence, then off to the biggest UK uke event of the year - the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield!




Concerts galore, stalls, workshops, open mics, jams, festival cider! If you are going, I look forward to meeting you there. If you are not, then why not??

Keep an eye on this site during the weekend as I will be blogging my Festival Diary from the event covering as much as I can fit in from both days.

http://www.northernuke.com

7.9.14

Buzzards Field 'Afan' Ukulele Bass REVIEW

You spend four plus years reviewing ukuleles and never come across a bass uke, then in the space of a month and a half, two come along at once! Yes, it's time for some LOW END, and quite an unusual one this. The 'Afan' ukulele bass from Buzzards Field Basses.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele

These ukes have been intriguing me for a while, so was delighted to get my hands on one for a test before I take it on to the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival where it has been generously donated to the raffle. Buzzards Field basses were founded by Darren Field in the UK as an alternative to the Kala U Bass, which he (and me too!) thought were too expensive for what they are. Thinking laterally (and in my opinion, very cleverly!) Darren avoided the route of building his own basses from the ground up and hit on a clever solution.

The Afan model (he makes other slightly smaller ones too) is essentially a modified small bodied guitar. In this case a Tanglewood half sized classical guitar, and because of that, the bulk of the construction is already in place. These guitars are laminate spruce topped and linden wood back and sides and come in either red, or this rather fetching electric blue colour (me like!). They are roughly baritone uke sized (perhaps a little bigger), and thats really the trick here - a good sized bass ukulele! As I say though, his 'Tintern' model is a little smaller if that is what you prefer and I believe Darren will also take instruments you can supply to make the conversion. In fact, he also sells build your own bass kits with the requisite parts to turn any small guitar into a U Bass.

This puts me in a slightly different position in this review that I am in with other ukes, as the build of the main parts of the uke (body and neck) are not Darrens. As such, if there are flaws on the finish (and there are, just here and there), that is down to Tanglewood and not Buzzards Field Basses! Sure he could work with higher end guitars, but it is important to note that part of his build plan in creating these uke basses was keeping the price reasonable. The base price (excuse the pun) of the Afan model comes in at £170, so considerably cheaper than the Kala U Bass.

So rather than go over the finish (its blue, its glossy, black binding, large sound hole rosette, 18 frets (12 to the body) no fretboard markers, side markers at 5, 7, 9 and 12), lets take a look at what Darren does to these guitars to make them all bass! First up, a standard guitar bridge is not going to be big enough to tie off bass guitar strings. (Incidentally, they come with Aquila Thundergut strings - you know my views on these....). So he has added in a wooden tailplate drilled through the body at the base of the top to take the strings. Not only does this provide the space for the strings to be tied off but also sets the spacing of the strings at the bridge end. Flipping the bass over and there is a hole drilled in the back with a rubber plug bung closing it off. It is through here that you feed the strings and tie knots behind the top to hold them in place. Clever.  And it works - the strings are spaced just great.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele bridge and tailpiece


Of course, this is not a ukulele sized neck, its a guitar, but that is just perfect for good spacing of the bass strings and feels very similar to other uke basses I have seen.

There is a similar issue with the gauge of strings at the nut, so he has removed the stock guitar nut and fitted a hand carved wooden nut that comprises four v shaped notches to hold the strings at the other end. It looks a little rough and ready, but it works. It is also removable if you wanted to adjust it easily.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele nut


Up to the headstock and what do you do with a guitar head that holds six tuners when you only need four? Well, the headstock is sawn down and the top two tuners (these are side mounted gears - typical classical guitar style) are removed, but the top of the headstock is reserved and then re fitted and held in place by the redundant metal frame of the tuners. Another clever idea, but another thing that looks a little rough and ready. To be fair though I am not sure what else he could have done and I do quite like it.

On the tuners, Darren warns that due to the tension, if mistreated one may shear the pinion cog on the tuner. One thing I have liked about Darren in his communications with me is how honest he is. I don't think they will shear, but he does go to the trouble of sending out spare cogs with the uke just in case! For me, if that concern is there I wonder whether he would look at fitting bass tuners for total peace of mind.


Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele cut down headstock

Tuning wise (and this is the key to pleasing true bass fans) it is tuned to EADG, but unlike the Kamoa E3E which I liked (and many readers didn't) its tuned an octave below that - so true bass. It is because of that the Buzzards Field needs to use the Aquila strings as steel string tension would be too much and pull the instrument apart.

Completing the deal on this particular model is a 4 band eq powered by a battery and a pickup fitted under the saddle, a jack socket on the butt off to one side and a butt end strap button. I think the whole thing looks great. Quirky, but great. And there is nothing wrong with quirky in my book.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele EQ


So how do I like it? Well I am not a bass player, but I just keep picking this one up. It's partly the looks, but it is very nice to play and I just like the whole concept.  The setup just works. His choices on the tail piece and the nut may look a little rough, but they do their job. Action is just right and I found it to be a fast comfortable neck to play, with comfortable string spacing too.

Sound wise, a couple of plus points - it is quite a bit louder unplugged than the Kalas on account of the larger body. Sure you will need to amplify it to be heard in a band or club, but for practice at home it has a punch and that is part of why I keep picking it up. This is a good thing. Plugged in is a treat too. I don't think that pickup is too high a quality model, but it works, doesnt sound too 'electric' and carries lots of thump. It is also nicely balanced across the strings.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele headstock

Negative points are simple, but as I say, I can't really blame the Company for the finish on the underlying guitar. I wonder whether a coloured finish / stain / gloss on the tailpiece may make it look a little nicer though, and the headstock joint does look a touch scruffy - but these are built to fulfil a requirement on cost and I admire them for that. Darren did tell me that he will work with buyers to meet all reasonable requirements so I suppose the sky is the limit. Personally though, I would try to respect his mission statement, and at the end of the day, a finish doesn't make sound. On sound it seems great to me. One other point on that - because they are bespoke and will depend on the core guitar used to make the bass, you are getting something unique every time too.

Yes I could moan about the strings, I still don't like them, but this is what it is, and can assure you that this review is not scored down in any way on account of the strings.

Buzzards Field Bass Afan Ukulele soundhole


Overall, I am always a huge fan of innovation and people striking out on their own. As such, if you are in the Uke bass market and put off by the price of the Kalas, I really do think these should be on your list for checking out. Support your local innovator!

More details at http://www.buzzardsfieldbasses.co.uk


PROS

Innovation
Unplugged sound
Playability and setup
Quirky looks
Sensible price

CONS

Some rough finishing


SCORES

Looks - 8.5
Fit and Finish - 7.5
Sound - 9
Value For Money - 10

OVERALL - 8.8 out of 10

VIDEO REVIEW