Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

18 Jun 2023

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

This ukulele caught my eye recently in my search for more uke reviews that cater for my European audience. This is the Eko Evo Tenor Ukulele.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele

Eko.. now there's a brand. And there's a brand that I honestly had no idea made ukuleles. In fact there's a brand that I had no idea were still in business! Eko are an Italian brand that started out with classical guitars in the late 1950's and then hooked into the rock and roll craze of the 1960's and were, at one point, the largest guitar exporter in Europe. Their line up including some 'Fender-alikes' were hugely popular leading to the laminate Ranger acoustic, in six and twelve string which became the biggest selling European guitar of all time. They were built like tanks (and I still see surviving examples in second hand shops to this day) and were an affordable entry into the 'must get a guitar craze' of the 60's that actually played pretty well. Bluesman Jack Owens played one, but a Google search showed me images of the likes of Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Gerry Rafferty and Mike Rutherford with them. Anyway, fast forward and they were revived in the early 2000's, still make a modern version of the Ranger guitar and also a range of 'value' ukuleles in varying specs. This one is in the 'Evo' series.


Like their value roots, this is an all laminate ukulele in tenor scale, but also available in a concert, soprano and a sopranino and one with a pickup.  It's a standard tenor shape and my initial reaction on taking it out of the gig bag was 'well, that's pretty damn clean'. Regular readers of mine will know that I will often recommend a good light laminate over cheap thick solid wood ukuleles at the value end and this one certainly looks to be in the first category. The top here is cedar and the back and sides are mahogany. I say all laminate, and there is certainly no use of the word 'solid' in their product descriptions, but looking at the edge of the soundhole I can see the clear grain lines in the cedar running through the top in the right places. Could it be solid? I honestly don't know, but I could be fooled. Anyway, it's a classy combination of woods with the coffee coloured cedar contrasting nicely with the warmer orange mahogany. The mahogany isn't the most interesting I guess and the cedar is clearly not top grade with some shadowy colour variation in places, but i'm really being picky here.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele body

The bridge is a Roupana wood tie bar in an interesting asymmetrical shape. It feels kind of unfinished though and whilst not pale is not the smoothest finishing I have seen. The saddle is straight topped bone and spacing here is 41mm.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele bridge

The finishing is clean and sympathetic. Around the top and back are rosewood binding strips with some black and white purfling around the top edge. The sound hole gets a pale wood ring with black and white purfling edges which blends with the top wood nicely. Nothing ostentatious here. The finish is an open pore satin in which you only see the pores on the mahogany as cedar is a naturally smooth tight grained wood. It's done very well too.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele decor

Inside is pretty tidy too with notched linings, thin braces and only minimal glue mess that I can see. The top is vertically braced.

Eko Evo Cedar Top tenor ukulele inside

The neck wood is specified as okoume and is in three pieces with a noticeably wonky neck joint that irritates me. Intriguingly the neck has some very noticeable flame striping down the back that looks great. I'm sure this is just a 'chance' thing from the wood stocks as it's not specified or referred to in the specs, but looks great. That's in satin too. It tapers to a very average 35mm nut width with 27mm G to A, but on the plus side the profile is nice and flat which totally changes things for my hands. I could go with this myself.

It's topped with more roupana in an extended board that runs to the top of the sound hole.  It's in good condition and largely smooth and even bar one or two minor tooling marks. It's edge bound to which hide the 18 frets (joined at the 14th) from view. They are, however, close to being sharp and they've only just got away with this! Pearl position dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th, double 12th and 15th and they are paired with side dots.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele neck

Beyond the bone nut is a fairly generic but inoffensive headstock shape carrying the Eko logo in a silver screen print that looks a bit cheap. No real complaints though.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele headstock

It's fitted with very generic sealed chrome geared tuners which work ok too, but I'd prefer the even lighter open gear variety.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele tuners

Finishing things off are a set of Aquila strings and a functional branded zippered gig bag. And these can be picked up (at UK prices) for about £140 or considerably cheaper inside the EU. That's not a great deal of money at all and undercuts several other all laminate tenors from certain household brands, particularly those 'exotic wood series' models. Certainly not a price that should make anyone raise an eyebrow in the slightest.

So all looking pretty decent here for not a lot of money. Some minor things I'd change, but I'm really nit picking as it's a very clean, well put together simple but attractive instrument. It's nice and light to hold at only 535g, balances very well and whilst i'd personally take the saddle action down a small touch, it's certainly within acceptable tolerance.

Eko Evo Cedar Top Tenor Ukulele back

Volume first and this is very good. That's quite common with thin light laminate builds and rarely a cause for concern. This has awesome projection. Sustain is more average though and whilst not totally terrible, left me wanting for a little more. There's some, but it it's certainly more on the staccato end of the scale.

Another common trait I often talk about with some (not all) cheaper laminate instruments is a tendency towards the more nasally echoey tone - kind of that you KNOW you are playing a plywood box with strings on it. Not here though and like one or two other decent laminates I could name (such as Kiwaya and Baton Rouges) this has a character of it's own. It's not muddy and the clarity is good and has a nice range to the tones rather than being a one trick affair. Strummed it's quite jangly and peppy with a woody edge to the tone which I find rather pleasant. There's even a touch of harmonic shimmer going on with certain chords which gives it an attractive slight warble. Fingerpicking is chimey and sweet sounding but this is where I would like just a touch more sustain. Still, it's a very nice sound either way you play it. I am not trying to be over the top here and certainly not trying to suggest this is comparable to the high ends, but compared to a great many laminate tenors out there, this has put more of a smile on my face than most. In fact, I don't think it sounds cheap in the slightest.

So I am a little ashamed to have missed this brand making ukuleles as this one goes firmly into that small category of laminate ukes that I would gladly recommend over many comparably priced (or even higher priced!) 'solid for the sake it' ukuleles.  There's not a great deal wrong here at all. Loved looking at this one.



Model: Eko Evo Cedar Top
Scale: Tenor
Body: Laminate cedar top, laminate mahogany back and sides
Bridge: Roupana
Saddle: Bone
Spacing at saddle: 41mm
Finish: Satin
Neck: Okoume
Fingerboard: Roupana
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 35mm, 27mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded sealed chrome gears
Strings: Aquila
Extras: Gig bag
Weight: 535g
Country of origin: China?
Price: Circa £140


Classic understated looks
Very clean build
Very light build and thin laminate
Terrific volume
Characterful tone with good range
Good price


Bit of scruffiness to bridge and fingerboard woods
Average sustain


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









  1. I bought it 2 months ago on Amazon second hand France for about 65e and I love it. Mine has a pickup installed and it is my favorite uke (I have 10). I changed the horrible Aquila strings for Martins and it sounds just beautiful !!


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