Uma Baby T Small Body Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

25 Jul 2021

Uma Baby T Small Body Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

A return for a brand that really impressed me with their Pulse ukulele. This is the new Baby T from Uma.

Uma Baby T Ukulele

Uma are a Taiwanese company with a range of instruments made in China, and as I say above the Pulse fan fret ukulele really impressed me despite being unconventional. The Baby T also breaks with convention in terms of the size and scale of the instrument. I do like brands that shake things up!

At first glance it's still a very traditional looking double bout tenor ukulele, but where this differs from the norm is that the body is of a size that you would normally see on a concert ukulele. Interesting, and I am really pleased they didn't choose to call it a 'long neck concert' - because it is the scale of the instrument that dictates the category it's in. This is a tenor but will likely have the snappier less resonant tonal characteristics of the concert body size whilst still giving the tenor range on the neck. 

Uma Baby T Ukulele body

The body here is made from all laminate acacia with that attractive honey and chocolate coloured stripe that the wood often has. It's made from two pieces of laminate on each of the top, sides and very slightly curved back and all looks very pretty.

The bridge is a tie bar and made from what they call 'engineered wood' which usually means either a lighter wood chemically treated to darken it or reconstituted wood.  Either way, it's not too large though is a little rough looking and feeling on the finishing. The saddle is straight topped and made of NuBone. Spacing here is 42mm

Uma Baby T Ukulele bridge

Decoration comes in the form of dark brown edge binding to the top and back, complemented on the top with black and white purfling to the inner edge. That black and white motif is also used around the sound hole and matches it well. I think the look goes well with the acacia, but it must be said that there are one or two blemishes in the application that are noticeable. On the top of the lower bout you also get a comfort edge in more of the dark finishing. I prefer comfort edges to be less obvious in colour but to be fair, they didn't go with cream like I have seen on some ukes, leaving it looking like a sticking plaster. The whole body is then finished in a semi open pore satin which is nicely done.

Uma Baby T Ukulele decor

Inside is tidy enough with notched kerfing and thin braces with end shaping. There's a dab of glue here and there but nothing hideous. I can also spy that the laminate top is extremely thin too which bodes well.

Uma Baby T Ukulele inside



The neck is made from mahogany with fairly well hidden joints in the heel and headstock. It too is satin finished and not too grippy. That tapers to a nice shallow profile at the nut and a roomy 37mm width and around 28mm from G to A. That's right up my street. 

That is topped with more engineered wood for the fingerboard which is uniformly dark, almost black all over the face.  The sides are edge stained which almost but not quite hide the fret ends. None of those ends are sharp and you get 19 of them with 14 to the body. Pearly dot markers face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 15th and they are repeated on the side. Nice

Uma Baby T Ukulele neck

Beyond the NuBone nut is a ubiquitous crown shaped headstock that appears to be faced in a thin veneer of acacia. The Uma logo is not one I like as I think it reminds me of something from a toyshop, but that's a highly subjective gripe.

Uma Baby T Ukulele headstock

The tuners are unbranded open gears with small black buttons. The gear mechanisms look to be of decent quality here and they work very well.

Uma Baby T Ukulele tuners

Completing the package are a set of un-named clear fluorocarbon strings and a decent quality branded gig bag. And the price... ok, yes, I know it's a laminate ukulele, but it really surprised me. These are only £139. I think that is staggeringly good.

Overall I am very impressed with this ukulele so far. I think the looks are wonderful, classy and understated and aside from one or two minor blemishes in the binding the construction throughout is extremely good. It's not heavy at all at 550g and despite that extra neck real estate is nicely balanced at the 12th. Much to like here.

That thin top is certainly helping because both the volume and sustain on show here are both extremely good. In fact the resonance sends a pleasing vibration out of the back of the instrument into the chest. 

The tone is kind of what I would expect from acacia, even if it is a laminate. It's a peppy, jangly sound that suits fast strumming really well. The strings here seem to be quite a light gauge that I like, and it has a real zing to the tone. Like acacia and koa instruments there is a breadth of tone here, although probably slightly tipping on the brighter side than darker, but still very attractive. Each note is really clear in the mix and it has that knack of harmonising with itself when strummed making it sound to the ear that you are playing more than four strings.


Uma Baby T Ukulele back

Fingerpicking is no slouch either with bell like chimes that do not drop off in volume up the fretboard. When you couple all of that with the real comfort of that neck (for my hands at least) and the easy to cradle smaller body giving great playability it all wraps up as a joy of an instrument to noodle around with. 

No, it's not at Kamaka levels of greatness, but it's under 140 quid and I think it's remarkable for that money. When you think about other instruments around for that sort of price, such as the Luna I looked at last week, it shines a bigger light on this Uma for being quite the bargain. This one certainly punches well above it's price point and is very much Got A Ukulele recommended.

Many thanks to Mark Pugh at Stones Music, the UK distributor for lending me this one.


UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Uma Baby-T
Scale: Tenor scale (small body)
Body: Laminate Acacia
Bridge: Engineered wood, tie bar
Saddle: NuBone
Saddle Spacing: 42mm
Finish: Satin
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Engineered Wood
Frets: 19, 14 to body
Nut: NuBone
Nut width: 37mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded open gears
Strings: Clear Fluorocarbon
Extras: Gig bag
Country of origin: China
Weight: 550g
Price: £139

UKULELE PROS

Classy looks and finish
Nice thin top
Great neck and nut width
Good tuners
Good volume
Excellent sustain
Balanced tone
Great clarity of tone and nice harmonic jangle
Great price


UKULELE CONS

Very minor blems in binding and rough face of bridge


UKULELE SCORES

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

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 9.3 out of 10

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1 comments :

  1. “ The Uma logo is not one I like as I think it reminds me of something from a toyshop, but that's a highly subjective gripe.”

    I think the logo is adorable! Maybe it’s a chick thing ha!

    Kathy

    ReplyDelete

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