Another first for a ukulele brand I have known for many years, but not managed to feature on the website until now. I'm pleased to welcome Eddy Finn musical instruments to Got A Ukulele with one of their new offerings - the EF-MOON Ukulele.
As I say, i've known them for some time, and they are perhaps best known for their 'shark fin' sound hole shape on some of their more regular ukuleles. I've played a few and always been rather pleased with them, so I was delighted to hook up with them recently to take a look at this new model.
The EF-MOON is immediately striking for it's completely round shape. Whilst some may think that is novelty, the round shaped ukulele is actually a seriously old design shape that goes back to the 1920's, and made famous by brands such as Lyon and Healy and Gretsch. Back then they tended to be known as 'camp style' ukuleles, but i've equally seen them called 'pancake style'. Either way, it's a very old school design and a lot of fun that appeals to many.
This one is made of laminate mahogany and is in a concert scale and feels very tactile on account of the open grain and thin matte finish. If anything it feels really old and played and I quite like that.
The one thing you cannot ignore is that graphic on the top face of the ukulele of a moon and stars emblem. It's not really to my taste, but when I released a sneak peek picture of this on on social media some weeks ago, people went crazy for it, so what do I know? It's certainly striking, but not so much as to be gaudy. Because of how it's been done, the paler areas are the parts of the top that haven't been etched, whereas the darker areas (most of it) are the etching. It's not too deep though and actually looks kind of old like the rest of it. It's growing on me and doesn't look cheap and over done like on Luna instruments
The top and back are made of two pieces of laminate and the sides are a single sheet. The back is completely flat, but supspect it would feel and look odd if it was anything else. All the pieces seem to have been put together nicely too.
Bridge wise we have a small slotted bridge in walnut holding a composite straight saddle. It's nice to see a small bridge plate and a bridge plate not set too far down like on the Enya EUR-X1. Both of these things mean the top is being interfered with as little as possible to allow resonance. I suspect the bridge is screwed in place, but never really understand why people see that as such a bad thing. Trust me, some high end ukuleles do it too.
Other than the moon and stars though, there is no other decoration on the top, back or sides, and nothing around the sound hole. I think it works to give it an old time feel.
Up to the neck and this is made of thre pieces of mahogany with a joint at the heal and headstock. It's generic far eastern in profile (chunky) and nut width at 35mm.
Topping this is a fingerboard made of blackwood which looks nice enough. Like the bridge being walnut this is another example of how CITES restrictions are forcing brands to change woods. It's fitted with 18 nickel silver frets with a body joint at the 14th, so pretty standard for a concert. They are dressed nicely enough, but the edges of the fingerboard are not bound. We have dot position markers at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th and, oddly, the 14th, although sadly there are no side markers at all.
Beyond the composite nut is a nice looking, asymmetrical shaped headstock with the Eddy Finn logo engraved in it. It's just different enough to please me.
Fitted to this are unbranded open gears with small 'ish' cream buttons. On closer inspection they are of decent enough quality and work ok too, but still look a bit cheap.
Completing the package is a set of Aquila strings, but sadly no gig bag. I say 'sadly' because it's an unusual shape. Eddy Finn say it will fit a mandolin bag made by Stone Case Co (the STBAG-M13 model), but that's besides the point. At that will set you back an not unreasonable $129 RRP. That's a US price as I am yet to see these in UK stockists.
So as I say, it's put together well, and whilst the looks will be love it or hate it, they don't seem to have gone wrong with the build. It's also nice and light and well balanced too. Thankfully that bridge placement is indeed on a resonant part of the top as a rap of the soundboard shows. Setup at the nut is ok on this one, but the saddle is too high for my liking. Still, that's easily adjusted.
And that resonance comes through in the sound as it has great clear volume and good sustain too. It's a brighter tone than I would have expected for a round bodied instrument, which usually sound fuller, but it's not offensively so. It certainly has a good punch though.
Sure, it sounds like a laminate instrument insofar as it has a slightly boxy feel, but it has an attractive chime and jangle and is one I certainly liked more for strumming than fingerpicking. It's a 'characterful' tone I think, and that's always a good thing with a laminate bodied instrument and something you don't always see at all. I rather like it.
All in all it's something of a strange mix for me. I wouldn't personally go with the looks and wish they made a plain one, but it is put together well and sounds pretty good too. And for the reasonable price it's well worth a look I would say.
Camp style will appeal to many
Good build quality
Thin laminates and resonant body
Good volume and sustain
Pleasing jangly sound
Moon logo may not please everyone
Missing side fret markers
Could do with a fitted bag
Looks - 8 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8.5 out of 10
Sound - 8.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10
OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 8.5 out of 10
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© Barry Maz
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