Twisted Wood SE-900C Sierra Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

10 Apr 2022

Twisted Wood SE-900C Sierra Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

A return to take a look at another ukulele from this Canadian based brand. This is the Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele

I had my first look at a Twisted Wood ukulele in the form of the Ember Concert Ukulele and, despite some confusions between Canadian pricing and UK equivalent, it did very well and was a tidily made, very nicely finished pretty instrument. This one is in the same solid top series but goes with some different wood types. The brand is based in Alberta where their Chinese made ukuleles are designed and then finally quality checked and distributed.

With the Sierra we have a standard shaped double bout concert with a solid cedar top.  It's in two pieces and on this example has some slight angle in the book matching to create a sligh V pattern down the middle. It looks great. That is paired with two piece back and sides made from laminate koa which again is nicely bookmatched. The pairing looks very classy to my eyes and works well. It has a high end feel and look to it.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele body

The bridge is not specified, but may be the same purpleheart as used on the Ember. It's a through bridge and very nicely finished bar a touch of polish that has not been rubbed out on the top edge. Sitting in that is a compensated bone saddle. I like this style of bridge.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele bridge


Decoration is classy too. We have rosewood binding to the top and back complemented by a thin pale wood purfling line. It's just enough for the instrument without it looking gaudy. Around the sound hole we have a koa rosette tying the face in with the back and sides. The whole thing is then finished in a slightly open pore satin which is flawless as far as I can see.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele decor

Inside is very tidy and standard too - tail block, notched linings, regular bracing. No complaints here either.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele inside


The neck wood is not specified and it's made in three pieces. Whilst the joint at the headstock is well hidden the heel joint is very obvious.  It tapers to the same rounded profile as the Ember and the same 35mm nut width (28mm G to A). That's not to my personal preference i'm afraid, but it may be yours.

Topping the neck is a richlite fingerboard which is flawlessly smooth in finish and deep dark in colour all over. It's edge bound in more rosewood to hide the 20 fret ends (14 to the body). They are dressed really well too. Pearl position dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th, double 12th and 15th and thankfully they are repeated on the side.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele neck


Passing the bone nut is the same crown headstock as on the Ember with the stylised Twisted Wood logo etched into the koa veneer top facing. Again, I think i'd prefer to see that logo inlaid, but then I have a 'thing' against laser etching. 

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele headstock


Tuners are unbranded sealed gears with small black buttons. Not much more to say about them, they work though they do all have different tensions and I think could be improved. (Ignore the blue colour on the gears - that is just protective film you peel off, but as this uke is not mine, it's not for me to do so!)

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele tuners


Finishing the package are a set of Aquila strings and a nice quality padded bag with the brand logo embroidered on the pocket. Price wise I made a bit of fuss in the Ember review as I was finding the RRP conversion both confusing and working out to be expensive. They were however discounted down in stores as this one is, so all I will say is that the price is $269.99 Canadian.  The straight comparison to UK pounds comes out quite high, but I am probably being unfair as these are not sold in the UK! I'm giving it the same value for money score as the Ember though as I know there are keener street prices in the US of about $220. Not bad.

Twisted Wood Sierra Concert Ukulele back

Overall there isn't much to dislike here and I would stress that the build is clean, exact and very well done. The finish and decor too is very nicely done rolling things up into a very classy looking instrument that looks to to be more expensive than it is. In fact I put some 'sneak peek' pictures of this one online before the review and that saw people saying things like 'looks expensive' and 'looks like a luthier build'. I can see why. I prefer the look over the Ember too. In fact my only real gripe is the nut width and neck profile, but as ever, that's a subjective opinion.

It's not heavy at 490g g and balances well in the hands. The whole thing feels re-assuring and well made. Volume and sustain are both very good too and it doesn't take a lot of effort to get a sound. Certainly lively.

I sensed the tone of this would intrigue me - cedar is a warmer, woody sounding wood, but the inclusion of laminate back and sides may have an impact to change that up. Not a koa impact of course, as this is laminate, but an impact all the same. And sure enough it does to my ears. The tone is a touch brighter than I expected, though not overly so and that's a good thing. Strummed it has a very clear precise tone which means it's easy to get a jangly, non muddy sound with rhythmical play. It's extremely pleasant I think and has a character of it's own. It's very balanced across the range.

Fingerpicking is much the same and very pretty right up the neck, helped by the sustain allowing you to add in frills. Again, the notes are clear and exact played this way.. if only the neck was wider for me!!

I think the term 'exact' applies in spades to this ukulele - it's exact in playing clarity and is exact in the very good build. As I say I prefer the looks on this over the Ember so it gets a slightly better score. Whilst not in the giddy heights of the 9 out of 10's, the gripes I mention are largely subjective and will not matter to many people. I think it's a fine alternative to some of the more household brand names and certainly comes with build quality better than some of those. Another recommendation for Twisted Wood - they clearly have their quality control right with these and I think you'd do well to check them out if they are in your locality.




UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Twisted Wood SE-900C Sierra
Scale: Concert
Body: Solid cedar top, laminate koa back and sides
Bridge: Unspecified wood, through body style
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 40mm
Finish: Satin
Decor: Rosewood binding, koa rosette
Neck: Unspecified
Fingerboard: Richlite
Frets: 20, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 35mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded sealed chrome gears
Strings: Aquila
Weight: 490g
Country of origin: China
Price: $269.99 Canadian

UKULELE PROS

Very classy looks
Excellent build and finish
Great fingerboard feel
Good volume and sustain
Clear, non-muddy balanced tone played in any style

UKULELE CONS

Would personally prefer wider nut / shallower profile
Tuners could be better quality for the price


UKULELE SCORES

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

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 8.8 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW



 


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1 comments :

  1. I approve of laminate koa. You get the prettiness without the expense, and it sounds perfectly good if you are an average strummer like me. I would prefer a gloss finish though...

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