Millar Taroko - T Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

24 Apr 2022

Millar Taroko - T Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

The third outing for a fairly new ukulele brand that hasn't really put a foot wrong on Got A Ukulele. This is the Millar Taroko - T Tenor Ukulele.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele


Millar are a Taiwanese brand that first came to my attention through World of Ukes (who loaned me this one). I've reviewed a couple including this Long Neck Soprano ukulele and the signature Phil Doleman soprano. Both did extremely well, punched well above their price point and went into my box of 'exciting new far eastern brands who are showing that far eastern can also mean high quality'. So I don't mind being a little exited to see that World of Ukes have developed an exclusive model with Millar. Matt Warnes at the store has a long history of working with brands to create store exclusives going back to times even before he had opened World of Ukes and was at Omega. To my memory, he's never get gotten one 'wrong' so when I see a partnership with a brand that has already impressed me.. well... i'm interested!

So this is the Taroko tenor from Millar, a standard shaped and scaled double bout tenor made from all solid tonewoods. I really like the name which is apparently the name of a National Park in the area it is made in Taiwan. Wood specs here follow a pairing I am seeing more and more and is really classy. We have solid cedar on the top with beautifully straight grain paired with solid mahogany pairs on the back and sides. The cedar is a wonderful biscuit colour and the mahogany is hardly boring either though my own OCD is shouting at the difference in colour between the back and side woods on this example. That minor point aside I think the combination of these two woods gives it an understated air of class.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele body



The bridge wood isn't specified but looks like rosewood to me. It's a very tidily finished tie bar holding a bone straight topped saddle. String spacing here is 44mm.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele bridge



Decoration consists of dark wood (rosewood?) edge binding to the top and back, with an abalone strip with white purfling trim to the top face. Sometimes I find abalone is over-done in this area, but the strip is quite thin and I think works nicely with the cedar. We have more of the abalone around the sound hole and the whole thing is finished in an excellent gloss with no pooling or issues.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele decor


Inside is very tidy with carved braces and notched linings. The Millar logo is engraved in the neck block and the top bracing runs vertically from soundhole to the lower bout . At first glance the soundhole edge looks thick which was a worry, but putting a finger inside tells me it's just a thicker ring in this area to strengthen it and the rest of the top is much thinner. Good!

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele inside



The neck wood isn't specified but I think it's mahogany. It's in three pieces with a well hidden headstock joint but glaringly obvious heel joint.  A big part of Matt's spec on this one was to provide something for the numerous buyers (like me I guess) who prefer a wider nut. So whilst this tapers down to a fairly rounded profile (though not the roundest i've seen) it also has a very wide 38mm nut with 30mm from G to A. As I always say, this is an area of personal preference, but for hands like mine, this sort of width is right up my street!

That is topped with more rosewood for the fingerboard which is in great condition with a very pretty reddish glow to some of the grain. It's edge bound hiding the fret ends of the 18 nickel silver frets (14 to the body). None of these are sharp and the wood edges feel slightly rolled too. Pearl dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th and a double 12th and thankfully there are white side dots too.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele neck


Beyond the bone nut is a slot headstock shape I am always partial too. Unlike some it's not overly chunky and is faced in more dark wood holds the Millar logo in pearl on the top face. It looks classy.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele headstock



The tuners are head turners also and made by Der Jung. They are, naturally, side mounted gears but are finished in a kind of burnished / antiqued effect in a kind of bronze. They look superb and are also very good quality.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele tuners



Finishing off the deal are a set of Worth Brown strings. The thing that always strikes me with Millar is that they have a build and finish quality on a par with more expensive far eastern models such as the higher end aNueNue ukes, but come in at a much more palatable price point. So it is here with an asking price of £569. That's not a low price, but for the level of ukulele this is (and I really can't find much wrong) is very good value I think though not quite as good a deal as the other Millar ukes I looked at.

Millar Taroko Tenor Ukulele back


To hold it feels great and isn't heavy at 640g. It's balanced well too and, unsurprisingly for a uke coming from Matt, perfectly set up.

The volume here is good, not out of the park but, still good. The sustain is superb with long ringing notes that kind of shimmer in and out. Extremely pleasing.

Tone wise, being cedar and mahogany I expected a woody darker edge and whilst there is some woody elements to the sound there is a crystal clear bright top to the sound that gives it clarity and takes away any muddiness. It's a wonderfully balanced voice. Strummed the sound jangles and has a peppy character to it with individual notes precisely where they ought to be in the mix. Great clarity.

Fingerpicking is similarly pretty on account of those ringing sustaining notes and again the clarity, right up the neck is extremely good. Add in the comfort of that fingerboard (for my fingers of course..) and I really enjoyed playing it this way. If I have one complaint it's only that I am not a fan of Worth Brown strings, but it would be fun experimenting with others.

All in all, Matt has done it again as I've never played a WOU house model that let me down. Of course, Matt knows what his customers like so it was unlikely that he would spec this unwisely. The Millar quality comes through and it's now three out of three for them on Got A Ukulele. This is a serious contender at the price point I think and is highly recommended.




UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Millar Taroko
Scale: Tenor
Body: Solid cedar top, solid mahogany back and sides
Bridge: Unspecified (rosewood?)
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 44mm
Finish: Gloss
Neck: Mahogany?
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 38mm (30mm G to A)
Tuners: Der Jung geared, antique finish
Weight: 640g
Country of origin: Taiwan
Price: £569


UKULELE PROS

Great build and finish
Extremely classy looks
Wonderful neck
Good volume
Superb sustain
Great clarity to the balanced tone

UKULELE CONS

Nothing much, some slight wood colour mis-match on this example

UKULELE SCORES

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

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 9.1 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW



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