Eddy Finn EF-PNUT Peanut Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

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7 Apr 2019

Eddy Finn EF-PNUT Peanut Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

Another ukulele from a uke brand which has been around for almost as long as I have have been writing. This is the new Peanut soprano from Eddy Finn.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele

Eddy Finn are a US brand with a range of far eastern made value ukuleles, which, in my experience have always been pretty reliable. The last of theirs I looked at was the 'love it or hate it' EF-MOON ukulele, and it was one I rather liked. Also in that category of 'love it or hate it' comes this peanut shaped soprano, marketed as a travel ukulele.  This one didn't come to me from the brand themselves, and was bought for the review.

I quick diversion here to mention something about the shape of this one. Seasoned uke buyers will recognise this as being similar in stature to another 'Peanut' ukulele released some years back in solid electric form by Eleuke. I looked into this to determine if there was a relationship or a coincidence and I found that there isn't. I did however spot Eleuke making some very public claims online that the design is 'theirs' and Eddy Finn 'didn't have rights to it' (Their words, not mine!).  I actually found that statement odd because the design isn't particularly unusual, and in fact i'm not sure you can really call it a 'design'. It's just a narrow (side to side) double bout ukulele shape. In the same way that you really can't 'trademark' a narrow body front to back, I fail to see how you can protect a narrowed body in that way either. In fact some very old Hawaiian sopranos were extremely narrow in this dimension too. The point is, double bout ukes vary enormously in shape and dimensions and it would be a dangerous thing to start legally protecting double bout shapes. I'd also point out that the Eleukes I have looked at in the past, including their solid Peanut, were pretty shoddy, so i'm not sure Eddy Finn would particularly want to be associated with them either!  Add to that, these Eddy Finn's are carried by some of the most respected ukulele specialists I know of, Eleuke are not, so make your own minds up. OK, with that over with, back on with the review.

So yes, as I say, it's a double bout ukulele and it claims that 'travel' tag based on the fact that it isn't very wide side to side. It's a concept I don't really agree with to be honest, in the same way as I don't find that making a ukulele a thinline (front to back) like the Kala travel ukulele models makes it a travel uke either. For me, the challenge with ukulele travel tends to be the overall length of the instrument and this one (as well as the soprano thinlines) are just as big as any other soprano from tip to tail. Where I find any soprano comes unstuck (as a traveller who flies in and out of the UK) is that a standard length soprano will not fit in a hard cabin bag as authorised on size by all the UK carriers. People think they will, but they won't. And neither would this one... or a thin line. Before you mail me, yes I GET that it might make for a slightly easier packing job in a ruck sack, but come on, it's marginal. What are you saving over a regular soprano? The space for another couple of pairs of socks? Rant over. Let's just agree that it's a smaller body soprano. Oh, and that it looks like a peanut!

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele body

And having written those two long paragraphs, I haven't given you my thoughts on what I actually think of it. Well, no, it's not to my taste. In fact I think it looks plain odd. But still, I know there will be people who love how different it is. The world would be boring if we all liked the same things..

It's a laminate mahogany body all round, and apart from that shape it is essentially the same sort of build as on  something like a Kala KA-S soprano ukulele. That is to say, plainish mahogany finished in satin and decorated on the edges with cream binding. It's a look that works of course, if not an overly glamourous one. Incidentally the top, back and sides are made from single pieces

At the bridge we have a  walnut tie bar style mount holding what looks like a straight topped plastic saddle. I found this an odd choice in the same way I find tie bars on all sopranos a little odd. There isn't a lot of top area on a soprano, and ideally you want to cut down on the amount of wood in the bridge mount to leave the soundboard free to vibrate as much as it can. For that reason the best sopranos, including the Martins and the Kamaka HF-1 ukulele use slotted bridges as they are so diminutive. We shall see if that affects the projection. Correction - it WILL affect the projection - that stands to reason, the question is whether it affects it too negatively. As you will see, this is screwed in place.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele bridge

Aside from the binding there is no other decoration so whilst it's not totally plain, as I say, it's not glamorous either. What you will have spied though is the side sound port designed to help carry sound up to the players ear. They are not something I object to as such though I do find they are appearing more and more out of fashion more than function. Still, with a small body I can see some sense here as less body understandably means less noise. This should help you to hear it!

Looking inside (and one thing I DO like as a reviewer when it comes to sound ports is that I get a very good look inside!) and things are reasonably tidy. The kerfing is neatly notched and applied and the braces are not over done, though there is a bit of glue seepage from under them. I have seen worse.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele sound port

Up to the mahogany neck this is made from three pieces with very well hidden joints at the heel and headstock. It has a nice sweeping heel shape which I like. The profile is too rounded and far eastern for me, but on the plus side the nut is a roomy (for a soprano) 35mm with 28mm from G to A.

This is topped with a blackwood (a form of acacia) fingerboard which whilst pale is in good condition and smooth, complimented by some nice end shaping. It's fitted with a soprano standard 12 frets which are dressed only reasonably well and are on the edge of being sharp. Fret dots face outward at the 5th, 7th, and 10th so nothing crazy here. Side dots are very sadly absent.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele neck

The headstock has an attractive assymetric shape and holds the Eddy Finn logo which is etched into the wood.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele headstock

Tuners are open gears with an attractive burnished finish and small cream plastic buttons. You KNOW what I am going to say here so won't bother...

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele tuners

Finishing the deal are a set of Aquila strings and these are appearing in stores for around £75, so not a huge amount of money.

All in all the build is pretty decent on this one and whilst I don't personally care for the look it's certainly different.  Call it a talking point ukulele I suppose. But that doesn't matter a jot if it plays badly. Perhaps it's because of the narrow width to the top and back, but it feels solid as a rock.

To hold, it's about as comfortable as any other soprano, but I do find holding it in the arm when standing is a touch harder on account of there being less body. Still it's light and reasonably balanced (a touch neck heavy), so it's hardly a chore.

Volume is surprisingly good for a small instrument, with the side port certainly helping. That isn't to say that it's not pushing forwards either because it is. Sustain is only reasonable, but on a par with the likes of the other laminate sopranos like the KA-S. It works.

Eddy Finn Peanut Soprano Ukulele back

It's the tone though that I struggle with. Sure it sounds like a ukulele, but it's a very thin sound, almost brittle and without a huge amount of character to it. It intonates and plays well so it's not failing on that score, but it just left me a little bereft.  You are not getting much jangle here, and fingerpicking is extremely one dimensional too. Don't get me wrong, this is still leagues above thickly painted coloured ukuleles that litter the lower end (the Mahalos Ashtons, Martin Smiths and Diamond Heads of the uke world), but it's lacking compared to the one I keep mentioning - the KA-S. In fact it's thin compared to even smaller models like the John Daniel Pixie ukulele and the Ohana O'Nino. The body width and shape is no doubt dictating this of course. Like with the sustain comment above, I guess 'it works' though. It makes a noise and it plays in tune reasonably well, so perhaps I am missing the point. Perhaps the travel angle really is something here - something cheap to throw in a backpack so you can play a bit and practice wherever you are, hotels, trains, in the park etc. To perform with at a club or on stage though? No thanks.

One of those with hits and misses then. I guess it's not supposed to be a serious instrument, and is more a bit of fun / ad-hoc / practice ukulele. On those points it ticks boxes for sure, but if you are looking for an all rounder, I would go elsewhere.

https://www.eddyfinn.com

SPECS ROUNDUP

Scale: Soprano
Body: Laminate Mahogany
Bridge: Blackwood
Saddle: Plastic
Neck: Mahogany
Nut Width: 35mm (28mm G to A)
Fingerboard: Blackwood
Tuners: Open gears
Strings: Aquila
Price: £75

UKULELE PROS

Generally good build
Side sound port does work well
Good volume generally
Reasonable price
'Different'

UKULELE CONS

Big eared tuners
No side markers
Very thin brittle tone
Overly large bridge

UKULELE SCORES

Looks - 7.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8.5 out of 10
Sound - 6.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 7.9 out of 10

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3 comments :

  1. Hello Barry!
    Alot of times,your comments on tone, etc.are marginal due to what I listen to your reviews on (my phone...)
    But the thin tone on this one was highly audible. Wow.Kind of like one of those crank music boxes that the clown jumps out! And the design belonging to the other guy? Patents and copyright are necessary evils that can be taken to the rediculous. Look at Harley Davidson. Also... I call B/S on the airlines storage issue. If they can transport a freaking shuttlecraft on top of a 747, you'd think they could accommodate the masses more appropriately by a little more storage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s not BS on the storage thing, well not in UK at least. We’ve caused it ourselves with our demand for low cost airlines. Some carriers in UK charge for any cabin baggage and that you do take on can’t be bigger than fixed dimensions. And a soprano will not fit in one. You could take the soprano on alone but only in a soft bag of its own, not a hard case. Some people risk it but some people get caught and it goes in the hold (at cost!). Maybe that’s just the UK but there you are.

      Delete
  2. I have this peanut uke and just thought of the sound as more mellow which I like. I'm thinking about putting a low G fourth string on mine and wondered if you thought that was a terrible idea. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete

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