Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

13 Aug 2023

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

This week  on Got A Ukulele a brand return with a mix of a couple of my favourite things. This is the Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

Uma are a Taiwanese company that have featured in various guises on Got A Ukulele before and always done well on all counts, particularly the 'bang for buck' element. Their 'Baby T small bodied tenor ukulele' was a particular standout for me, but honestly they've all done well. This is one that caught my eye some time ago so I bought one blind to give them a tester. And those two of my favourite things - well that it's a soprano, and that it's a pineapple. 

Pineapple ukuleles are incredibly traditional in shape (the first Kamaka instruments were pineapples) and lose the waist on a regular double bout. That has the effect of boosting the mid range frequencies and I find that on smaller scale instruments in particular they can remove some of the nasal frequency some small ukes can have, in fact it can turn them into very different instruments altogether!


The body on this one is made of all solid mahogany with two pieces on each of the top, back and sides.I It's in that very trad pineapple shape and I immediately fell for it on those grounds alone. There isn't much more to say about the body bar how it's finished, but i'll deal with that separately below.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele body

The bridge is a tie bar made from what they call 'engineered technical wood'. That usually means an unspecified hardwood that is stained dark rather than a naturally dark wood. To be fair though it's very neat and nicely carved, although being a soprano i'd much rather see a smaller slot bridge rather than the extra real estate these give. It's fitted with a NuBone saddle with a compensated top and the string spacing here is 40mm.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele bridge

The body is then stained on this example (something they call  'black' on this one which is more of a smokey whiskey barrel dark brown) and is also available in blue, natural and possibly some others. The stain is not totally flat so you see the wood grain through it, and it's then covered with a gloss which looks to be very nicely done too. It's not totally first class with a touch of pooling around the end of the fingerboard, but it's not heavy anywhere else as you can tell when you sight across the top over the sound-hole ring.. I must say that I think it looks absolutely smashing and of a much higher end type look than the price would suggest! Around the sound hole is an abalone ring which blends with the top rather than stands out so no complaints for me there either. It's largely all positive so far.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele decor

Inside is tidy with notched linings and no mess I can see. The braces do look a bit chunky and industrial to me though. The top is very thin.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple soprano ukulele inside

The neck is specced as mahogany and is made from three pieces with well hidden joints at the heel and headstock. It's glossed (which I would prefer to be satin) and tapers to a far eastern rounded profile, but slightly wider than average nut at my measurements, with 36mm width and 28mm G to A.

The fingerboard is more engineered wood with some end shaping above the sound hole. It's pretty variable in colour though looks to be in good shape and in fact I think the colour variances work with the colour of the body grain. It's fitted with 16 frets joined at the 12th and these are edge bound in dark wood with absolutely no sharp edges - in fact the fret dressing is superb. Simple pearl position dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th and these are repeated on the side.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele neck

Beyond the NuBone nut is my first gripe, and it's a subjective one. I find slot heads on ukuleles can be too big and chunky. I can live with them on baritones and tenors, but when I start to see them on concerts my hackles start to rise. But on a soprano? Oh, come on - it's totally out of place - look at the size of it. It's finished in a gloss piano black wood which isn't specified which looks smart enough and has the usual Uma logo (which I still think looks child-like) inlaid in the top. Still, this 'look' is not for me regardless.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele headstock

The tuners are unbranded side mounted gears in chrome which I can report work very well and are clearly of good quality.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele tuners

It comes finished with a set of un-named fluoro strings and the usual Uma gig bag which is really decent quality. I've been struggling to find these in stock though I'm afraid, but if you see one you can expect to spend about £199. That's not a bad price in the slightest for a fully solid instrument and certainly not one with looks and finish like this. A great deal I think.

Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple Soprano Ukulele back

The build feels solid and it's nice in the hands and not too heavy at 490g. But, stick a large headstock like that on a soprano and you are asking for issues on balance. Sure enough, this is neck heavy. I don't use a strap with a soprano which would counteract that, so this means this would bother me to hold. Grrr..

Play wise, the volume here is excellent. A proper punchy little thing with bags of projection. Sustain too is very good meaning it's not going to be a staccato one trick pony. Two important positives. What I would change though are the strings. That isn't to say I dislike the sound, but the tension is far too light for my personal taste and they are far too easy to bend. Easily changed of course.

Tone wise this is typically mahogany soprano sound with a peppy bounciness when strummed, yet with something more going on in the mids on account of the body shape. It's a fuller sound and if anything sounds more like a concert to me (and that is no bad thing). It's got great clarity too and that also shows when fingerpicked which has a bell like quality all over the neck. And with that ringing sustain you can be really expressive played this way too. All in all the sound here is punching well above the asking price I think. A more high end sound if you like.

So all in all this is a ukulele I have liked a great deal yet irritated me a bit. I love the look of the body which is classy and far more than you'd expect for the money, but the overall look is let down (for me) by that overly large headstock. The volume is great and the pineapple shape does just what it should to the soprano sound giving this a far fuller tone than you'd expect from a soprano yet still having enough pep and jangle to remind you what it is. Though whilst my views on the looks of slot heads on sopranos are subjective, the fact it has made this neck heavy is an objective issue. 

But still, little details I suppose... It's got a great sound, and what a good price. Recommended!


Model: Uma UK-20SSP Pineapple
Scale: Soprano
Body: All solid mahogany
Bridge: Engineered wood, tie bar
Saddle: NuBone
Spacing at saddle: 40mm
Finish: Gloss
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Engineered wood
Frets: 16, 12 to body
Nut: NuBone
Nut width: 36mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Side mounted gears
Strings: Un-named clear fluorocarbon
Extras: Gig bag
Weight: 490g
Country of origin: China
Price: £199


Good overall build and finish
Lovely looks to the wood and staining
Great volume
Good sustain
Rich full, peppy tone
Great price


Would prefer a slot bridge
Don't like a slot head on a soprano
Neck heavy


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









  1. I do agree about the sound of pineapple ukes. I own a Kamoa that sounds almost like a concert uke, very different tone from all my other sopranos.
    That headstock put me off, though.

  2. Thanks for the review. So impressed and as I was in the market for a new concert ukulele I ended up visiting the Southern Ukulele Store and buying the concert version last Friday after having tried a few concerts around the same price. Early days but really impressed with the quality and sound. I will probably play it for a few weeks and then maybe try some Worth Brown strings on it. Cheers

  3. It's very frustrating when no one is selling a ukulele that I want to buy.

  4. Give it a week or so, and you might get to buy this one on ebay. Baz has a wife 😄


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