Noah Super Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

12 Jun 2022

Noah Super Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

Back again this week with a ukulele brand that has featured many times on Got A Ukulele and always done rather well. This is the brand new Noah Super Concert.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele



Noah are the brainchild of Brit Matt Cohen who drew on his time and connections when living in Vietnam to set up a business that has instruments made by luthier Ton That Anh in a small workshop in the country before shipping them back to the UK for sale. I've looked at several going back to the very early days of Noah and always been impressed. They arrived on the scene and offered something quite different at the time - a truly hand made instrument that was a far cry from the factory production lines, but an incredibly keen prices that allowed players to get their hands on something that is, essentially a luthier instrument for a low asking price.

This follows the success Matt had with the last Noah I looked at (the super tenor) and goes 'super' on the concert instead. Unlike the super tenor which was a standard tenor scale with a larger body, this is actually a long neck concert - which is to say it's actually a tenor with a concert body. It's also serial number 001 - so the first in the run!

Noah Super Concert Ukulele body


Like all other Noah instruments this is hand made from all solid woods. In this case the body is made from solid mahogany with two pieces on each of the top, back and sides. I am a big fan of mahogany in ukuleles, particularly the smaller scales as I think the tone of the wood works really well with the uke sound. The wood here is rather lovely I think with a coffee / chocolate colour to it with a hint of orange that I really like. It also has very interesting grain and is very much NOT boring plain mahogany. I'm actually not sure what variety of mahogany this is, but it seems to have a wider, more wavy grain than what you normally see and I like it for that. It could, also, be down to how it was sawn. On the back you will spy a couple of small knot swirls which I don't think i've seen on mahogany before. That is likely unique to this one (wood is not consistent!) but is an extra bit of interest I suppose (though I am glad they are on the back and not the top!). Anyway, I think the body woods look great here.  

The bridge is made from the Vietnamese hardwood that Matt tempts me to pronounce on video (but I certainly won't!) called Gỗ Gõ Mật. It's a Taylor-esque shaped pin bridge and nicely finished. Sitting in that is a bone straight topped saddle. Spacing here is 45mm.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele bridge


Decoration is far less blingy than on some Noah ukes and is simply a case of having dark wood binding to the top and back coupled with thin black and white purfling strips. Around the sound hole is an inlaid ring of wooden rope / chevron marquetry, and there is a dark wood tail stripe too. I think it's just enough for a mahogany body and pearl or abalone would look odd against the darker wood. Being hand made, like other Noah ukes there are small inconsistencies in the decor here and there, but as I said with the last Noah review, the modern Noah's are far tidier than the first iterations. That is then finished in a largely well done gloss which really brings the wood grain out. I suppose it could be polished out a little more in some of the crevices, but remember that this was not made on a factory floor.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele decor



Inside is pretty tidy with notched kerfing, thin braces and vertical braces on the top above the bridge plate.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele inside



The neck is made from a sandy brown coloured maple, one of my favourite woods for instrument necks because of the feel on the hands.  It's made of two pieces with a single and obvious joint in the heel which is also capped with darker wood. It has a beautiful grain and tapers to a comfortable 37mm with 30mm from G to A. It's also not overly rounded making this a very nice neck for my hands. Taking on the benefit of maple it's nice to see that the finish is a thin satin rather than gloss allowing the naturally glassy smooth wood to do what it does best. Very nice!

That is topped with more Gỗ Gõ Mật which is in great condition all over and is even in colour. It's fitted with 18 frets joined at the 14th and they are dressed ok, but in places could do with a touch more dressing back though only slightly. The edges are bound too so there are no visible fret tangs. Pearl position dots face out at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, double 12th and 15th and these are repeated with white dots on the side. In both cases one or two are a little scruffy in their application and I remain unsure why anyone really needs a third position marker!

Noah Super Concert Ukulele neck


Beyond the bone nut is a simple shaped headstock faced in more mahogany and holding the Noah logo in pearl in the top face. I love the sandwich effect of the mahogany veneer over the maple and how skinny it is.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele headstock


The obvious tick in the box here for my personal tastes is the choice of rear facing friction pegs other than 'gears with ears'! They are actually unbranded but look to me like very close copies of Gotoh friction pegs and are decent quality with what I suspect are various washers inside the metal collar to help with smoothness.  I'm sure people with a real aversion to friction pegs could ask Matt to spec gears, but personally I think these are the only sort of tuners that should be on ukes!

Noah Super Concert Ukulele tuners


Finishing things off are the usual staples for Noah - a set of Aquila strings and a padded gig bag. This one also has a tail strap button and will be available from Noah at £239 including UK shipping. Matt will ship worldwide too but needs to be contacted directly to get a quote. As with all Noah's for a hand made, solid wood instrument that is really a very keen price when you think about it.

So a lot of positives here and a decent build with only one or two minor finish issues. I absolutely love the classy look of it and, knowing full well that looks are subjective, I think, personally, that it's one of the nicest looking Noah ukes i've seen. It just ticks the right boxes for me.  The setup is good too (and the neck is supremely comfortable for my hand profile) and it's not heavy at 570g and balances well.

Noah Super Concert Ukulele back


The volume and sustain are both good too - perhaps not totally out of the park but very respectable. Though I think I find myself naturally expecting more when I hold it because of that tenor neck, and forget it's only a concert sized body! And that confusion on my brain applies to the tone too.

Thinking I am playing a mahogany tenor i'd expect quite a dark resonant tone, yet this really surprised me for how lively and 'chipper' it is. Of course, once again, it's a concert body so it has a peppy, zingier sound. That's not to say 'bright' and it's got a slight mahogany edge to it, but it has a real jangle when played that reminds me of a very good high end soprano. It's kind of a 'double take' sound that isn't what I expected from the model, but is damn good in its own right. Zingy! In fact it reminds me slightly of the Eastman EU3T in tone (which is high praise!). 

Fingerpicking is a joy both on tone, but also helped by the sustain and feel of the neck. I don't perceive any intonation or volume issues right up the neck and it's a joy to play this way. Of course, that zingy tone is very welcome playing melodies as it spits them out with aplomb.

All in all - I always get excited when a new Noah appears as they do tend to get better each time. Yet I never 'expect' them to be automatically great because of that. The looks and tuners here were always going to win me over here, and whilst I know they are subjective points, this is still a very well made uke. Even if you prefer your bling you must surely see how classy this one looks? OK - for the purists out there still one or two irritating finish issues that creep through on account of where and how it is made, but they are not life and death. The feel of the play is wonderful for my hands and I suppose your decision is whether you want a tenor scale uke that sounds like a concert. At the end of the day though, one other thing I like about Noah ukuleles is the variety - you really can't say they are just sitting on laurels, but rather they seem to be offering options for all takers. Want a regular concert?  They make them. Want a regular tenor? They make them. Want something different? Well, why not? Very much a recommendation from me!




UKULELE SPECS ROUND UP

Model: Noah Super Concert
Scale: Tenor
Body: Solid mahogany
Bridge: Gỗ Gõ Mật pin bridge
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 45mm
Finish: Gloss
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Gỗ Gõ Mật
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 37mm, 30mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded friction pegs
Strings: Aquila
Extras: Gig bag, strap button
Weight: 570g
Country of origin: Vietnam
Price: £239 inc UK shipping

UKULELE PROS

Great classy looks 
Generally good build
Wonderful feeling neck
Friction pegs! Yay!
Jangly, peppy, characterful tone
Great price

UKULELE CONS

One or two minor decor finish marks

UKULELE SCORES

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

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 9.1 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW





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