Baton Rouge V2C Sun Concert Ukulele REVIEW

1 Sept 2014

Baton Rouge V2C Sun Concert Ukulele REVIEW

A new one for me in this ukulele  review, an instrument I have heard the name of in the USA, but never got my hands on. It's a Baton Rouge brand concert scale uke, kindly supplied on loan by the UK distributor, Stones Music.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele

The V2C (C standing for concert) Sun (read on and look at the pictures) is a very keenly priced laminate mahogany ukulele, made in China, and available now on this side of the pond for a shade under £85 which is a great price.

But wait you say... 'laminate.... not a real uke..... bleurggg'. Don't talk nonsense. Sure, high end ukuleles tend to keep in the stable of solid tone woods, but just because we see the word 'laminate' doesn't mean that a uke should necessarily be overlooked. There is laminate and there is laminate and I would argue that a well made laminate uke will beat an over built, over glossed heavy solid wood uke every time. This is a well made laminate!

It actually showed the quality of its build from the moment I took it out of the box. It is light to hold (so certainly not over built) and is pretty much flawless in its construction. All over the uke, the build is extremely good with no odd gaps in joints, rough edges or obvious finish flaws. Finish is in satin, but nothing too heavy and allowing the wood grain and pores to be clearly visible. The grain in the mahogany laminate is straight on both the top, back and sides and creates a nice shimmer under the right lighting. The back is slightly arched to help with projection and is otherwise pretty much 'bling free'.

That is to say, bling free with the exception of the laser etched sun motif around the sound hole, but that doesn't really say bling to me at all. I am often a little cautious of laser etched uke finishes. Commonly I think they are over done, and in some cases they can add unnecessary price to the base ukulele. That doesn't apply here thankfully, and I think the design is pretty and far from over the top. In fact considering the rest of the body is plain, I think it sets it off quite well.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele sound hole etching

I said above that I considered this a well made laminate and you can see the edges of it around the join between the top / back and sides. The effect is actually one of edge binding and looks quite nice, but it also shows you that the woods are not overly thick (something also given away by the weight of the thing).

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele sides

The bridge mounting is a tie bar affair in rosewood with a straight NuBone saddle piece and some white strip edging in the bridge mount being the only other departure towards 'bling'.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele bridge

Inside the uke the interior is spray painted jet black. I did wonder what that may be trying to hide, but an inspection with a torch didn't give anything away. In fact, the inside is nice and tidy, with standard looking bracing, notched kerning on the edges and little in the way of glue spots. Why do I talk about glue spots all the time? Well I consider a messy interior to be an indication on the quality of the build - usually a mark of a uke that was thrown together with little care and attention. This is not one of those ukes.

Up to the hardwood neck and this is made from four pieces with two joints at the heel and one at the headstock. A little excessive, but necessary to keep the uke on budget. You can see them though. Otherwise though the neck is nicely finished and narrow and shallow in profile. A little much so for my large hands, but pretty standard in the world of concert uke necks really.

The fingerboard is uniform in colour and made from Rosewood. It has 18 nickel silver fret in total and 14 of those run to the body. They are by no means jumbo, but again, fairly standard.  It is finished well, and whilst the edges are neither rolled or bound (they are painted to hide the frets), the feel is good and the fret dressing just great. Its a very comfortable player.

We are missing outward facing fret markers (no biggie for me, but they do leave the fingerboard looking a little empty I suppose) but thankfully they have included side markers at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th, so full marks there.

We pass the NuBone nut (cut and fitted well) to a nicely shaped headstock that is faced with a piece of mahogany and bears the Baton Rouge logo in similar laser etching.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele headstock

Tuning is provided by silver finished, unbranded open geared tuners with small plastic buttons. They work just fine for me and also have no rough finishing on them. The package is completed by standard Aquila Nylgut strings.

And so far, so.... great actually. For £85 I am really struggling to find anything wrong with it. The finish, feel, weight, balance and looks are all great. I do go over my review ukes with a fine toothed comb, and found a very slight finish blemish on the butt, but honestly it is so minor and not something I would ever complain about. So on to the playing.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele tuners

It is surprisingly loud for a laminate box, but no doubt that is on account of the good laminate, light construction and arched back. It projects very well when either strummed or picked (see video below) and sounds great. Sure, its not a high end complex tone, but its surprisingly good and up there with some ukes that cost considerably more. It arrived setup in a way that draws no questions from me - just spot on, and extremely playable.  Fingerpicked its a joy, and more so than many other concerts at this price or above and sings quite nicely. Its fun to play too, and I've struggled to put this one down. My readers will also know that I am not a huge fan of Aquila standard strings, but they seem to suit this well, they don't bark or boom and the whole thing sounds sweet.

Baton Rouge V2C Sun ukulele back

And there is my summary - this now goes firmly in the camp of ukes I will recommend for beginners looking at the concert scale on a budget (and, by budget, I mean a proper budget and not £19.99 for a musical instrument). It should be a well considered choice if you are going for a Lanikai LU21 concert or the starter Kala ukes in many respects. In fact, it beats the over built guitar makers 'solid' ukes that cost considerably more in many ways (I am looking at you Oscar Schmidt, Fender, Ibanez etc).  It comes highly recommended by me and sits as one of my favourite entry level concerts.




At this price - none at all.


Looks  - 9
Fit and Finish - 9
Sound - 8
Value For Money - 9.5




  1. Heyup, thanks for this site - wish I'd known about it before I got my first uke. I'm thinking of getting something a bit better and am undecided between this and the SUS branded solid. Which would you get? I've been an unsophisticated, stuck-in-a-rut strummer for a few years but am starting to learn picking and some tricks. Or should I forget both and save a bit longer for the Kala KA SGCE that SUS have for £150. I live in rural Finland so can't try before buying and online shops like SUS or Thomann in Germany are my best option. Thanks for any advice!

  2. First up I would choose SUS over Thomann every time - even if the price is a bit more. Thomann just ship from the factory - SUS will inspect them before shipping. Worth a bit extra in my view.

    Between the two - well one is solid wood and one is laminate, but on the ear I think there is very little between them actually!

  3. Thanks - reading around I thought SUS sounded the better place to buy but the shipping is significantly more. But so is the selection and service so I guess it's worth it!

  4. Hi Barry thanks for this video...I like your shirt...

  5. Last week I've bought the Sun V4-s soprano based on this review and it's absolutely wonderful! Thanks for making my search for a proper uke easier!

  6. It kinda bugs me, that Baton Rouge always gets a high score and also the guy from the company posts here. Smells like some kind a deal between them to promote their ukes. Cmon, it gets a 9 for looks ?(all fake mahagony)...

  7. Oh please..... I know the distrubutor.. I also know the distributors for virtually every brand featured on the site, Kala, Ohana, Noah, Mainland, Fluke, Snail, Amumu, you name it... - that's kind of how there came to be so many reviews. If the ukulele was poor I would say so, and in fact I have reviewed some instruments that he also distributes not so well - he knows that if I don't like it I will say so. As it happens, there is pretty much nothing wrong with the Baton Rouge instruments for the price - unless you are the sort of person who has an unreasonable aversion to instruments that are not made of solid wood.

  8. As someone who has had my own brand ukuleles reviewed by Barry I can definitely say there's no deals involved! I sit nervously and wait to hear what the review will say in the full knowledge that if it is not up to scratch, the review will say so. I'm never more nervous than the day the review comes out!

    And as it happens - this is the range of ukes that I personally recommend for serious beginners. I also know the distributor and count him as both a friend, but more importantly in this case, someone who knows ukes very well.

  9. Did you order this from the UK? i cant seem to find this in the US at all!!!

  10. Hey!

    I just got mine a week ago, and it is now made with a walnut fretboard and bridge, still very pretty! Also the seam of the sides is not noticeable AT ALL! It actually looks almost seamless now!

    It plays beautifully and I absolutely love it! Thanks to you for your review I got a beautiful and perfect ukulele.

  11. Yes they changed the woods due to a change in international law on shipping rosewood.

  12. Ah makes sense! Still, Thank you so much for your reviews, I had no prior knowledge about the instrument.. But ever since I found your reviews I have learned so much and I am now practicing every day to get better! Keep up the good work for sure! Looking forward to your next reviews and videos. Cheers!

  13. Hi

    thx for the amazing review. what is the difference between the V2-C and UR21-c model? I didn't find any reviews on the UR21-C which is a bit more expansive than the V2-C.

    Any ideas?


  14. Not a lot as far as I can see - no sun decoration on the sound hole. Sorry - never seen the UR21 in the flesh

  15. thx barry for the quick response!

    I can't deceide between the V2-C (currently 88 euro without gigbag) and thr makala MK-C (currently 77 euro with gigbag) - so more bang for the buck.

    do yozmu think the V2-C is worth the extra money (105 euro vs 77 euro - with gigbag)?

    you have tested both (MK-S but that is similiar) and hopefully can judge if it is worth.

    Is the new wood on the board better or worse than the old rosewood? or just another color due to the new wood restrictions.

    thank you so much!

  16. I finally got my V2 and I am very happy with it... looks great and sound is also noticable better than on my cheap soprano. Also the fredboard is faaaar nicer!

    overall: nice uke with a lot of value for the money.

    baz thanks for the recommandation!!!

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  18. Hi, did you have the chance to try Ortega Ukes by chance? What do you think of them?

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