Millar PD-210MN Phil Doleman Signature Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

22 May 2021

Millar PD-210MN Phil Doleman Signature Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

I'm very pleased to have this new (ish) ukulele brand back on the reviews page, and particularly with a collaboration model that I must admit has my mouth watering... This is the Millar PD-210MN Phil Doleman Signature Soprano Ukulele.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele

Millar ukuleles have featured once before on Got A Ukulele in the form of the SP-210LL Long Neck Soprano uke which you may recall went on to get a very good score. They are fairly new to these shores and represent another of the Chinese (Taiwan in this case) builders who have bucked the trend of the mass produced factory ukuleles and are putting out impeccably made, small volume workshop instruments. That long neck was a lovely instrument so I was watching with great interest when I saw that a collaboration ukulele had been developed between a brand I admire, a store I admire and a musical artist I like too.

Regular readers of Got A Ukulele will know that I am very choosy about which stores I recommend on this site and stick to those who really DO know their ukuleles. World of Ukes in Carlisle are one of those. To add to the trio, Matt at World of Ukes paired the store and Millar ukuleles up with a British ukulele performer I have known for donkeys years now, Phil Doleman - officially one of the nicest chaps in uke circles - to develop a Doleman signature uke. I love Phil's style of playing, I love Matt Warnes choices of instruments in his shop and I loved that Millar long neck what could go wrong?

For those who don't know him, Phil Doleman is a whizz on the ukulele (and other instruments). His style is certainly the more old timey, jazzy, bluesy stuff that's also resonated with me. I don't think he will mind me saying that we share the same tastes in the more traditional ukuleles too. All of that will probably suggest that it's hard for this review to be objective and I suppose that's right to a point, but... It just so happens that Phil has specced a ukulele here that ticks a lot of my boxes, so it stands to reason. I will however point out anything I don't like. Naturally.

First up.. it's a soprano. My favourite scale and the one that I think needs to be championed MUCH more. Still, it's on record that sopranos sell less than other scales.  It has an image problem, not deserved, and not helped by the media (who suggest they are for 'beginners' or 'toys') or non-specialist uke shops who stuff their walls with poor quality examples covered in thick paint.  On top of that you have the total myth that they are harder to play due to space on the neck, when that is really down to the cheap ones being narrow and cramped. There are plenty of sopranos out there with more space than most concerts. Decent sopranos are NOT harder to play. The fact remains that, for me, the soprano is the de-facto ukulele, the most traditional and, arguably, the most revered. It's also the scale Phil chose for his model. First tick in the box for me. It's a traditionally shaped and scaled soprano.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele body

Next tick is the use of mahogany for the tonewood, and, naturally all solid mahogany sourced by Millar specifically for this model. I understand why the islanders revere the use of Koa in ukuleles and I love that sound too, but for me the traditional ukulele soprano tone I prefer comes from a mahogany body. Think vintage Martin and you will understand why. It's a woody, less spritzy tone that I love. This uses two pieces on the top, sides and very slightly arched back. Being mahogany it's rarely blingy to look at but I like the wood for that reason too. Still, there is some nice grain stripe here and it's bookmatched neatly. The first thing that jumped out at me was the attention to detail on the simpler parts of the construction, in particular where the sides meet the top and back. The edges here are dressed off and chamfered down meaning there are no sharp lines to dig into your arm. That's usually the preserve of very high end instruments. 

The bridge is made of rosewood and is a slot style. That's not a nod to the beginner player as such (though it will help) but that is the traditional Martin method as it takes up less real estate on the vibrating top of the uke. This one couldn't BE smaller. Sting spacing here is just shy of 39mm and it's fitted with a straight topped bone saddle.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele bridge

Next tick is that there is no other decoration - no binding, no abalone, nothing. Why do you need it? It doesn't make sound. The body is finished in a semi open pore satin which is smooth as silk and has no flaws anywhere. When I say 'semi' that is to say it's not covered in wide open pores. It's really smooth and nice to hold and reminds me very much of the Kiwaya KTS-4 and KTS-5. In fact the whole uke does.

Inside is extremely tidy with notched linings and scalloped braces. No mess at all. The instrument label displays the Phil Doleman signature which is far less ostentatious than those other brands that plaster the name on the headstock.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele inside

The neck isn't specified in the shop listing, but I am guessing at mahogany. It's jointed at the heel and a scarf joint at the headstock. The heel joint is quite noticeable, though the headstock isn't. When I shared a preview pic of this one or two pointed out the joints and, yes, it would be nice for the neck to be a single piece (purely aesthetically), but when we come on to the price you will see how a compromise needed to be made. In the next tick in the box for me, the neck tapers to a really shallow, almost flat profile and a 35mm nut with 28mm between G and A. Absolutely no complaints from me.

The fingerboard is made of rosewood and is evenly dark, in great condition and shaped at the top of the fingerboard. Whilst I can't see a reference to it in the specifications, I believe the edges of the board are 'rolled' which is a really nice touch which takes off the sharp edge on the neck, much like the chamfered edge on the body does. Nice. It comes with 16 frets, joined to the body at the 12th and these are all smooth on the edges. Simple pearly position dots face out at the 5th, 7th and 10th and you get white side dots in the same places. You don't need a 12th because the top of the body marks that.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele neck

Beyond the bone nut the headstock finishes in a 'not quite crown' shape which is pleasing enough. The Millar logo is classy looking and despite feeling like a sticker (a la Martin) I think it's more of a heavy transfer. Either way, it feels like it's under the satin so it shouldn't rub off under a clip on tuner (but I would like more time to check that)

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele headstock

The tuners I also shared a sneak peek picture of and a lot of people guessed wrong. These are Der Jung planetary tuners, pretty much the same as Gotoh UPT's with silver aluminium hardware and black buttons. These are a joy and I have them on my KM Ukuleles Concert uke. They really are the best of both worlds. They have the dimensions and look of friction pegs, which suit a soprano so very well, but contain helical gears inside so work like geared pegs. No slipping at all, micro adjustment, no big ears. Lovely.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele tuners

Finishing it off are a set of Worth Brown strings and a really eye opening price of only £329. When I consider the flawless build here (and I do genuinely think this is at Kiwaya level of finishing) I think that's a steal. Assuming it plays well of course..

It's set up well (as anything from World of Ukes will be), is light at only 355g and balances at the 12th perfectly. It feels just like a soprano should. Volume is exceptionally good and it has a bark like a cannon. Sustain is not too shabby either. The ticks keep going in the boxes.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele back

Tone wise it has a darker voice than I had expected, though that isn't a criticism (and more likely down to the string choice - easily changed). But it still has that textbook soprano jangle. What struck me most was the range of lows, mids and highs that are all in there. It's a bouncy tone and the notes are clear and very nicely harmonise with each other. Just like a soprano should. Fingerpicking is chimey, clear and without any volume fall off up the neck. This is quite a short explanation of what I think of the tone, because there isn't much more to say. It sounds like a great soprano.  I guess I'd like a bit more 'zing' but I suspect a simple change to Martin Fluoro strings would do that in an instant. I made that comparison to the Japanese Kiwaya's and no, I don't think the tone is quite up there with the amazing character those instruments have.. However...

It's close. 

It's really close. And this is half the price.

Millar PD-210MN Soprano Ukulele soundhole

I think this is an astounding soprano ukulele and I am genuinely finding little if anything I dislike here. You may say I am being sycophantic, but it comes as no surprise to me. Phil and I like the same sort of things and, if I was speccing a 'Got A Ukulele' signature model - this is pretty much exactly what I would choose.  Very highly recommended.


Model: Millar PD-210MN Phil Doleman Signature
Scale: Soprano
Body: All solid mahogany
Finish: Satin
Bridge: Rosewood, slot style
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 39mm
Neck: Mahogany (?)
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 16, 12 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 35mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Der Jung Planetary
Weight: 355g
Country of origin: Taiwan
Price: £329


Wonderful traditional looks
Chamfered body edges
Thin top
Rolled fingerboard edges
Great tuners
Superb volume
Good sustain
Sounds like a soprano should


Nothing really, i'd experiment with strings though.


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









  1. Now THAT it a really sweet-looking ukulele! Understated yet beautifully elegant in its simplicity. No bells, no whistles, no adornments. It looks exactly like what a well-crafted musical instrument is supposed to look like, at least to my eyes. Great choice of tuners and it sounds quite nice fingerpicked but I do agree that those Worth strings may not be the best for that instrument. To my ears they make that soprano sound a bit constrained, especially when it was vigorously strummed. Anyway, great review. thanks!

  2. Great review and many thanks. As you've reviewed both how would you say it compares to the Martin S1?



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