Flight Iris Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

4 Mar 2023

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

Back this week with a ukulele model that a lot of people requested on review. This is the new Flight Iris Concert Ukulele.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele

And it needs to be said from the off that one of the reasons for the requests was the fact that these have reminded people of another ukulele that I raved about almost endlessly - the aNueNue Color Series ukuleles. That is not to say these are a direct copy, but it's clear there is some inspiration going on (coloured solid top on plain wood back and sides, with a pickguard for a similar value price), and in fact Flight themselves refer to this as 'their take' on painted top ukes. Also to be fair to Flight there are a fair few differences here too which are worth looking at. Naturally this review has to draw comparisons..


The Iris is a new range of concert ukuleles made, as I say with coloured tops on plain wood bodies and are available in Red, Blue and Black like this one. Like the aNueNue these pair solid painted spruce for the top with laminate mahogany back and sides to give a two-tone contrast look that so many people fell for. The obvious difference to the aNueNue offering is that rather than going with pastel colours, Flight have gone bolder so the red is clearly red, the blue is very blue... you get the idea. A nice alternative I suppose as I did see a few people dismiss the aNueNue's off hand as the colours were not bold. Otherwise it's the same sort of concept - double bout uke, painted top, plain body. Size wise it's similar to the aNueNue, but a more traditional double bout than the swoopy curves on the Color series.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele body

The bridge on this example is both curious and a little disappointing. Firstly this is not a shape I have seen from Flight before, and is remarkably similar to that on the aNueNue. In fact I'd go further than 'inspired by' here - it IS the same shape more or less, and I think Flight should have gone with their own design - I mean, why not? It's a tie bar made from rosewood and is stained /painted black. I have no issue with stained wood, but I know it is in this case here because it's not been finished properly as the slot into which you tie the strings is unfinished. And having checked shop pictures of other models this is not deliberate and in fact you can see the brush marks. That's shoddy QC to let it out of the door like that and particularly odd when you realise this was loaned to me by Hal Leonard who really should have spotted it.. Otherwise it's tidy and functional but subject to those irritations. Spacing here runs to 42mm.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele bridge

Decoration (other than the flat colour top) consists of top and back binding in pale cream plastic (the aNueNue uses maple which I much prefer), an inlaid pearly plastic sound-hole rosette and the pick guard. At risk of a review spending inordinate amounts of time on a pick guard, I suppose it's inevitable because they are divisive on ukes generally and the cloth effect guard on the aNueNue really put some people off. First things first is a totally subjective point and that is that I do not like the blue they use on this model, but I find the white guards on the other two offerings to be much nicer. In fact I don't think this blue and black work together here at all. That's strange to me as I rather like the blue on their Nighthawk ukuleles, but I think it's because it's a large flat area of blue against the matte black here that stands out to me in a way I don't find pleasing. I fully understand that your views may differ of course. Second, I DO like the shape which is very 'country guitar' in look and also that it actually protects more of the top than the aNueNue guard does (so it's much more functional). That said I actually prefer the aNueNue because it's less obvious on the eye. The aNueNue is also easily removed, but I can't comment here as this is not my uke to pull apart! Ultimately your view on the pick guard on either instrument will be totally personal. I don't think either instrument needs them, but as a bit of aesthetic they do no harm. I just prefer the white ones here. [Pause for breath...]... moving on - the body is finished in a smooth satin that is really cleanly done and easily on a par with the aNueNue.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele decor

Inside is tidy with notched kerfing and top braces that have been drilled through, Kanile'a style, to reduce weight but maintaining rigidity. All very nice in here.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele

The neck is made from Okoume wood in three pieces which are obvious at the heel, but well hidden at the headstock. It tapers to a similar nut width as the aNueNue (36mm total and 28mm G to A) and is also not too rounded in profile either.  I also like that it's satin and not gloss.

The fingerboard is made from more (stained I imagine) rosewood and is in very nice condition on this example. There is no choice of a maple board on these like on the aNueNue, but I am cool with that. It also tops the aNueNue on fret dressing as whilst neither example I saw had sharp fret ends this goes with semi-hemi fret shaping which is ultra smooth and looks great too. It comes with 19 of those with 14 to the body and because of that dressing it doesn't need to be bound. Position dots add more interest than the aNueNue as they follow something Flight has done before with offset outward pearl dots at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, double 12th, and 15th. I like those. And, naturally, the are repeated on the side.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele neck

Beyond the bone nut is a design choice that is not to my taste. I don't mind slot heads on larger instruments but from concert down I think they dominate and I really wish they had gone more standard here. Your view may differ of course and this comes with a piano black gloss facing which is really classy. The Flight F is inlaid in the top face in pearl. Sadly there is some really ugly polish left inside the slots though which also should never have passed quality control. 

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele headstock

Being a slot head the tuners are side mounted rear faced open gears in chrome. These are arguably better than the tuners on the aNueNue as are made by Der Jung, but saying that I had zero issues with whatever was on the aNueNue.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele tuners

And finishing it off is a gig bag which whilst not as thick and funky as the ubiquitous Flight red bags, is still pretty decent and works. It comes with clear fluoro strings and is priced to be kind of similar to the aNueNue with a UK street of about £139. That's very decent and affordable for many people.

So all in all I've not found a great deal wrong here bar some purely subjective points and the build and finish is certainly on a par with the aNueNue if you ignore that bridge and polish residue. The core constructions feels just as sound.

Flight Iris Concert Ukulele back

The volume is good enough, but doesn't have as much bark as the aNueNue which is really 'in your face'. That's not to say it's quiet, but just a touch more stifled. Sustain is comparable though and very good indeed.

Tone wise this is a very nice sounding instrument in its own right. Strummed it has a pleasant concert jangle and shimmer that is enjoyable, and fingerpicked it holds volume right up the neck and has a chimey ring to it played that way. As this review has been a lot about comparisons I'd suggest that it is just as good on tone as the aNueNue, yet 'different'. Sure it lacks a touch of punch in comparison, but I think it's a more rounded, fuller tone than the Color series ukes which some people found a little brittle. It's a much more laid back sounding instrument and mellower which is a nice thing in and of itself. That is not to say I think either are 'better' sounding than each other on tone, just that they slightly differ and you will need to make a choice with your own ears! I'd be happy to play either to be honest.

This is a very good instrument for not a lot of money at all, so i've scored that element the same. The tone is different to the aNueNue but very pleasant in its own right so that gets a match on the score too. Where this has lost points is partly the subjective (I don't like the blue pickguard or the slot-head), but also the objective (scruffy finishing). If you take those out of the equation this would score exactly the same as the aNueNue because I think the core instruments are as good as each other and this would not be a mistake to buy at all. As such, if you think the colours on offer here are for you, this certainly gets a recommendation from me. Just be sure to use a decent uke dealer who will weed out the QC issues!!


Model: Flight Iris
Scale: Concert
Body: Solid Spruce top, mahogany back and sides
Bridge: Rosewood, tie bar
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 42mm
Finish: Painted top, all over satin finish
Neck: Okoume
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 19 Semi hemi frets, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 36mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Der Jung gears
Strings: Fluorocarbon
Extras: Gig bag
Weight: 535g
Country of origin: China
Price: £139 street


Well built construction
Nice neck, board and frets
Good tuners
Good sustain
Rounded clear tone
Great price


This colour combo is not for me
Scruffy QC issues


Looks - 8 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8.5 out of 10
Sound - 9 out of 10
Value for money - 9.5 out of 10









  1. Your macro shot of the bridge had me thinking it was an aNueNue!

  2. Hi Baz. Just had the opportunity to compare this Iris to the aNueNue AC10 with those fine people at SUS. Came home with the AC10 because I thought it sounded better (more "bell-like"), and the cosmetics we're more tasteful. Had I bought online from SUS, think I'd have ended up with the Flight, so it goes to show how valuable it is to be able to try in person before you buy. Loving my new aNueNue! Don't worry, Flight, I also got the Ultra Travel soprano for outdoor funsies.

  3. Oops! I meant UC -10, not AC-10...


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