GOT A UKULELE - Ukulele reviews and beginners tips

22 Sep 2018

Gold Tone Little Gem Banjo Ukulele - REVIEW

An interesting ukulele this week and one that has been creating quite a buzz around the world. This is the 'Little Gem' banjo ukulele from Gold Tone.

Gold Tone Little Gem Banjo Ukulele

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15 Sep 2018

Bonanza Ukuleles Oreo Tenor - REVIEW

It's good to be back looking at a small luthier builder again on Got A Ukulele. And a return for Bonanza Ukuleles of Minnesota, USA. And this striking model is called 'The Oreo'.

Bonanza Oreo Tenor Ukulele

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9 Sep 2018

Koaloha KTM-00 Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

Back from a short break from Got A Ukulele to holiday with my family, and what better way to return to uke reviews than with a truly stellar name in the world of ukuleles. This is the Koaloha KTM-00 Tenor ukulele.

Koaloha KTM-00 Tenor Ukulele

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6 Sep 2018

A Quick Catch All Note Of Thanks

Just a quick public note of thanks (that I should probably do more often!) for the kind donations to either the Got A Ukulele Patreon, or through the tip jar button on the website.

barry maz ukulele

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18 Aug 2018

Antica Ukuleleria UFOS Tenor - REVIEW

Not so long ago I reviewed my first ukulele from Verona based and Milan trained luthier Marco Todeschini, and what an utterly superb musical instrument it was. This week we look at another of his, the frankly bonkers but striking looking UFOS Tenor from Antica Ukuleleria.

Antica Ukuleleria UFOS Tenor Ukulele

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12 Aug 2018

Freshman UKASH-TE Electro Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

A swift return for the Freshman Guitars Ukulele brand this week on Got A Ukulele. This time it's an electro tenor in the form of their UKASH-TE model.

Freshman UKASH-TE Tenor Ukulele

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4 Aug 2018

Cordoba Protégé U100CM Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

It's been a while since I featured this brand on Got A Ukulele, but seeing as they are popular with buyers I figured it was time for a return. This week I am looking at the Protégé U100CM from Cordoba Guitars.

Cordoba U100CM Ukulele

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29 Jul 2018

Kiwaya KSU-1L Long Neck Soprano - REVIEW

I always enjoy it when I get to feature the Kiwaya brand on the Got A Ukulele reviews section. But this time it's something a little different for a variety of reasons. This is the Kiwaya KSU-1L long neck soprano ukulele.

Kiwaya KSU-1L Ukulele

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21 Jul 2018

Freshman UKWAL C Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

This week, another brand makes their debut on Got A Ukulele. It's a brand I have heard much about but only until now have played one. This is the Freshman UKWAL C Concert Ukulele.

Freshman UKWAL C Concert Ukulele

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15 Jul 2018

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

Staying in the more affordable part of the ukulele spectrum this week, and another first for a uke brand on the site. This is the RFU11Z Concert Ukulele from Ortega Guitars.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele

Ortega are German musical instrument brand with more than ukuleles to their name. As well as ukes you will find Ortega guitars, basses, mandolins, banjos and accessories. I say a 'German' brand, but that's really just the HQ. What they oversee though are ranges of far eastern produced, good value instruments. Nothing wrong with that at all. But together with having a range of instruments, this one comes from only one of a large range of ukulele product lines that they offer. Honestly, I gave up counting how many there are. You can go for the Raven series, the Eclipse series, the Lizard series, the Bonfire series.... and so on, and so on. This one forms part of their 'Friends Series' which appears to comprise a range of scales made from either laminate mahogany or laminate zebrawood. This one is, obviously, the zebrawood variant. I'm not entirely sure what the 'friends series' relevance is.

It's a standard concert scale ukulele with a traditional double bout shape made from that laminate zebrawood on the top back and sides. I've made my views known on this wood before, and that is that I don't really like it. But not only that, I think it's a wood that has been totally over-exposed. A quick search on Amazon for ukuleles will show you what I mean. Zebrawood laminates are ten a penny at the cheap end. The first thing this reminded me was the Caramel ukulele I reviewed some time ago. That one still gives me nightmares, so this does not bode well. I know some of you will like it but sorry it's not for me. And yes, I guess mahogany is just as ubiquitous in the ukulele world, but mahogany is not so, well, 'in your face'.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele body

Thankfully though, the finising on this is better throughout than the Caramel with no flaws, bare patches or mess in the satin outer coat. It's nicely put together, despite me not liking the look. It's an open pore satin so the thing actually feels like wood too which I always prefer. The top, back and sides are all made from pairs of woods and the back has a slight arch.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele back

The bridge is made from walnut and is a tie bar design with a curved plate. Ortega call it their 'Ortega Bridge for easy string change and perfect tune'. That makes it sound like it's something they specially designed, but it really isn't. It's just a regular tie bar bridge. I wouldn't say that was the easiest style to string change at all, and as for 'perfect tuning', I have no idea what they are on about. Never mind, it's a pale bridge and holds a straight top plastic saddle. It really didn't need 'bigging up'.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele bridge

There is no other decoration on the body which is a good thing. The last thing a wood as gaudy as zebrawood needs is an abalone strip on the top. What you do get, curiously, is a black painted edging to the sound hole. That used to be a 'trick' used by brands to hide the fact that the wood is laminate, but that can't be the case here. Ortega clearly state that the wood is laminate, plus you can see it is because the outer edges are not bound (another trick to hide it). So I'm not sure what it's for, but I think it looks a little weird and out of place.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele sound hole

Inside is tidy, and tidier than many I see at this price. Fairly chunky braces, notched kerfing but no mess or glue drops. Interestingly you see a veneer of zebrawood on the inside of the ukulele too, so the laminate part is the unspecified sandwich wood in the middle between two thin sheets of zebrawood. That doesn't stop it being laminate by the way, as certain other unscrupulous brands have started suggesting in their marketing. But again - fair play to Ortega. It's made quite clear what it is on their website.

The neck is extremely pale mahogany with a joint at the heel and one at the base of the headstock.  It's finished in satin too, and whilst it has a typical far eastern rounded back profile, at least the nut width is a more 'standard' concert of just under 35mm with 28mm between the G and A strings. Oddly, the Ortega website specifies the nut width as 36mm, which is patently incorrect. I'd prefer 36mm,  and this is a touch narrow for me.

It's topped with a walnut fingerboard holding a concert standard 18 frets with 14 to the body joint. The edges of the board are stained / bound black which still isn't helping the fact that most of the fret ends are sharp on this review model. Badly so too. That's a shame. We get outward dot markers at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 14th (14th??) and they are repeated on the side in white. An unremarkable neck let down by poor finishing.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele fingerboard

Beyond the plastic nut we have a distinctive headstock shape also faced in zebrawood. The Ortega logo is a thick screen print in silver which was scraped off a little before I even opened it. Examining it further tells me there is absolutely no way this will stand up to a clip on tuner. It's just not very permanently applied.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele headstock

Tuners are unbranded sealed chrome gears with small black buttons. They work ok, but are otherwise unremarkable.

Ortega RFU11Z Concert Ukulele tuners

Also in the package are Aquila strings and a really rather nice padded gig bag with strong zips and a very well padded handle. Certainly one of the better gig bags I've seen come as standard. And these can be picked up in the UK at least for just under £100 or about $145 in the USA. That's a keen price and one that will surely attract a lot of buyers.

In the hands it feels nice enough (apart from the sharp fret ends) and it's balanced ok too. Setup is a touch high at the saddle, but that is easily remedied and the nut looks just fine to me. Not bad really.

And the sound has impressed me too. Yes, you can tell it's a laminate instrument, but the volume is very good and the sustain reasonably so. It has a very direct and clear sound with the individual notes coming through clearly. It's a bright tone that is quite snappy, and I like it for that. Strumming gives me a bright jangly sound, and picking has a bell like clarity which makes that very enjoyable. Not top end but far from a bottom end sound, and for only a hunded quid. For a player looking to get a first sensible ukulele or a second step up from the likes of cheap Mahalo's, then this would not disgrace you at all.

It's really surprised me as I don't mind admitting that the first look led me to believe that I wouldn't like this ukulele very much at all. It has some issues, but I suppose they are not hugely major - just annoying, and still sounds and plays ok. The looks are not for me, but many will like them. Not a bad ukulele at all really if a little generic. Fair play Ortega.


Generally well built
Good price
Great gig bag
Good volume
Decent enough sound for the price


Not personally a fan of zebrawood
Poor fret finishing and setup
Badly applied headstock logo
Would prefer slightly wider nut as per their website description!


Looks - 7.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8 out of 10
Sound - 8 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10




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11 Jul 2018

Kala KA-SLNG Long Neck Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

It's actually been quite a while since I featured the very well known Kala brand on Got A Ukulele. Over the years I have looked at a variety of models from them, from the very cheapest to their top end ukes. But one that missed my attention is also in a scale combination that I have never featured before either. Today we look at the KA-SLNG Long Neck Soprano ukulele.

Kala KA-SLNG Ukulele

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7 Jul 2018

Antica Ukuleleria Moderno Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

This week we have ukulele brand I have been longing to feature on Got A Ukulele for quite some time. It's a first for them on the site, and it's also the first instrument from Italy to feature. This is the Moderno Tenor from Antica Ukuleleria.

Antica Ukuleleria Moderno Tenor Ukulele

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