Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

25 Oct 2020

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

There's been a fair few Enya brand ukuleles on the Got A Ukulele reviews, and it must be said, most have been 'away from the norm'. Plastic ukes, HPL ukes.. But this week we go back to something far more traditional with the new EUC-MS Concert.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele

And at first glance, this model will look extremely similar to the HPL range of double bout ukuleles made by Enya. In fact you may be thinking that it's another one of those , perhaps like the EUC-X1M I reviewed. Actually it isn't - this one is made from real wood not composite. In fact it's made of all solid mahogany which is really interesting to see. The only other Enya I have looked at made from all solid wood was the striking looking EUT-M6 tenor ukulele, a uke that did pretty well on the scores to be fair and showed me that Enya could put out a real solid wood uke and they are not just about the alternative materials. It was really rather good.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele body

The EUC-MS is a double bout concert in a curvy modern style with an attractive rounded lower bout, very much in the same layout and look as their HPL models. It's made from two pieces of solid mahogany each on the top, back and sides and whilst it must be said that it is not the most striking mahogany in the world, it is decently book-matched. Inoffensive if very plain in the body looks and a bit paler than I like my mahogany.

The bridge is a style you will recognise from some of the HPL Enya ukes and is made from Richlite paper composite. It's a through body design (string changes afforded by feeding the string in, retrieving from the sound hole, tying a knot or stopper and pulling back) which, whilst not as easy for some as regular slot bridge, is really no more work than a tie bar. It's fitted with a compensated bone saddle and, like other Enya ukes the whole affair is very low profile, not too large and really tidy on the finish. I do applaud the increased use of Richlite as it's next to indistiguishable from ebony and doesn't involve quite so much 'tree chopping'. String spacing here is nearly 42mm G to A.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele bridge

Body decoration is limited to an abalone sound hole ring, so you get nothing around body edges, but when we come to the price you may see why. The body itself is finished in a satin which is largely grain filled and feels nice. What is also pleasing is that the top and back edges have been dressed back a little so there is nothing sharp to dig into the forearm. A nice touch. Other than that you get a gold strap button in the base and that is it for the body

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele decor

Inside is pretty standard. Regular tapered cross braces and kerfed linings with minimal mess bar a bit of glue seepage under the bridge support plate. You will also see the through body strings tied off with brass rings. Looking at the edge of the soundhole this is pretty thin wood too, so it's nice to see Enya didn't go down the usual 'cheap solid' route of making the tonewoods far too thick.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele inside

The neck is made from three pieces of mahogany with fairly well hidden joints at the heel and headstock. Like the HPL Enya's the neck is actually bolted on by the neck heel strap button making it removable. When I first saw these I thought 'what's the point?', and then I took one apart and had it fit in two pieces inside my carry on luggage dimensions for an airline flight. I immediately became a convert for that reason! It's typically Enya / far eastern profiled meaning it's a bit too rounded on the back of the nut for my liking, but it's still a reasonably roomy 36mm at the nut with just over 28mm from G to A so I could live with it.

Topping the neck is more richlite for the fingerboard meaning it is jet black in colour and completely smooth. Very attractive and very comfortable on the fingers. Even better is a very slight radius on the frets giving a bit more comfort. The sides are bound black meaning no visible or sharp edges to the 18 frets joined at the 14th. Pearl dot markers face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th and these are repeated on the side with an extra dot at the 15th. 

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele neck

Beyond the extremely tidy bone nut (incidentally, it's not only tidy, but the setup and action on this is just right for me) is what I consider to be the prettiest part of the uke. In fact, dare I say it stands out for being far prettier than the plain body? It's an asymmetric shaped top headstock faced in piano black wood under a gloss which looks classy and expensive. Inlaid into that are a range of petals in a pinkish pearl material, and the Enya logo in white pearl. It looks wonderful and is extremely well done.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele headstock

The tuners are gold Enya branded sealed gears with amber coloured buttons. They are OK (ish) though are a bit too loose for my liking at lower tensions. Being gears, they hold of course, but I would like a bit less slop in them.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele tuners

Finishing off the package are Enya branded fluoro strings and the same sort of good quality padded bag as comes with the HPL ukes and the usual Enya goodie bag containing spare strings, cloth, tuner, capo, rhythm ring, picks and strap. I don't mark instruments up for coming with such things, but they are still nice to get. Where I was really surprised though was the asking price of only £99 (and just under $140 in the USA). For a very well put together, all solid wood instrument that's a great price. OK, for now, they also incur extra shipping from China, but if this is like anything else from Enya they will eventually come direct for free. Saying that, even at the total £130 with shipping I think this is still patently a very good deal and doesn't really change my scoring.

STOP PRESS - Literally the evening after the review went live they moved to Free Delivery - so the price IS £99!

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele extras

As you can tell from the above, there is not much that has made me frown so far. The whole thing is put together very well, I really like the fingerboard and headstock and it feels comfortable to hold and play. It's not heavy at 635g and is well balanced too. The setup is good, though, as usual with Enya, I am not a fan of their own brand string tension. I don't mark scores down for strings as you will either like them or change them to something you usually use, so it's no biggie, but I always mention it and would change these right away.

I was always suspicious that the lower volume of the HPL models came down, in part, to their string choice, but surprisingly that is not the case here. Whilst the volume is not 'out of the park' this is not quiet and really does hold its own. Sustain too, whilst not stellar, is not too bad either and I have heard much worse for a lot more money.

The tone is not what I would expect from mahogany, so don't expect dark and woody, but rather this has a peppy brightness and jangle which is really rather nice to be fair.  It's not overly in your face brightness, but sounds a bit more soprano to me than concert and I like that. Strummed it's comfortable to play and gives off a fun bouncy sound with some nice harmonic shimmer and jangle. What shines through is the clarity of the tone and individual notes in the mix. It's certainly one of the nicer sounding Enya ukes I have played on that front. Fingerpicking is no slouch either with a really pretty bell like chime from the notes that don't seem to lose power moving up the fingerboard - something else you don't always see at £99. 

I'm not getting ahead of myself here, and for sure this doesn't have the character of a Kamaka or a Koaloha.. but it's under a hundred quid and certainly punches far higher on tone than I'd expect of instruments for quite a bit more money (watch out Kala and Ohana....).  What also really surprised me is that I like the tone a little more than I did on the all solid M6 tenor from Enya. Maybe that's because I am more drawn to the smaller scales, and that the tenor model was more bright than I would like from that scale, I don't know. All in all though It's hard to dislike the tone and playability of this one for the low ticket price.

Enya EUC-MS Concert Ukulele back

OK, you may find the body look a little plain, but it's hardly an ugly instrument and certainly helped by the headstock design.  The build and finishing are great and thankfully the sound is not a let down either. And all for an extremely good price for a solid wood uke.

Once again, Enya have put a smile on my face. In a time of increasing numbers of 'who are they?' new Chinese brands hitting the online market, Enya just always seem to go a bit above and beyond the normal generic stuff out there.  I said in an interview recently that I don't think there has ever been a better time to be a ukulele buyer. I meant that at all price points, and this is another hearty example of that. Hard not to give this one a strong recommendation!

Best all solid wood value uke? Possibly!







UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Enya EUC-MS
Scale: Concert
Body: All solid mahogany
Bridge: Richlite, through body
Saddle: Bone, compensated
Spacing at saddle: 42mm
Finish: Satin
Neck: Mahogany - bolt on
Fingerboard: Richlite with slight radius
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 36mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Enya brand fluorocarbon
Extras: Gig bag, tuner, strap, spare strings, capo, rhythm shaker, cloth, picks
Country of origin: China
Weight: 635g
Price: £99 ex shipping

UKULELE PROS

Really tidy and precise build
Very good finish
Comfortable neck
Extremely pretty headstock
Terrific price
Good volume
Good sustain
Clear chimey tone with some nice harmonisation

UKULELE CONS

Very plain looks in the body
Rounder neck profile
Sloppy tuners
Would change the strings

UKULELE SCORES

Looks - 8.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 9 out of 10
Sound - 8.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9.5 out of 10

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 8.9 out of 10

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5 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. The strap buttons? Yep - as it says in the review - on bolts the neck on

      Delete
  2. Really nice. I think that it is well worth upgrading the tuners on this one, any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is this a good choice for a beginning ukulele player? Or is there a better option out there for around the same price? I'd appreciate your advice. :)

    ReplyDelete

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