Baton Rouge UTM-T rECOtimber Ukulele - REVIEW

12 Nov 2023

Baton Rouge UTM-T rECOtimber Ukulele - REVIEW

Another brand new ukulele model this week on Got A Ukulele - this is the UTM-T Spruce and Flamed Maple Tenor from their new Baton Rouge rECOtimber series.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele

Baton Rouge have appeared several times on this site and have always done very well for their extremely keenly priced and great sounding instruments. Whether that is the excellent Sun series (of which their sopranos still sit very firmly in my recommendations for first time buyers) or their, frankly, 'has no right to be that good for the money' 8 string uke, they've always punched well above their asking price for me. When I started to see reports about this new series I had to get in touch with the distributor, and thanks to Mark at Stones Music, this one arrived.


The rECO timber series are a range of new instruments (guitars and ukes) which they bill as 'guitars from your backyard. I think there is a fair bit of artistic licence in this bit, but to cut to the chase they are a range of models that use sustainable European woods that you don't often see on commercially built ukuleles, like cherry, pear, spar and the intriguingly named serviceberry - the sorts of things you may find in a back garden. I'm all for that and there is no doubt that using woods like this is more eco friendly that using things like rosewood and mahogany. In order to prepare them for instrument building the woods are also thermally treated (in other words baked) to season them. It's all a nice story, but for me what matters is how they play and sound. So on with the review!

This model is a tenor in a traditional double bout shape in all solid woods. For the top we have solid German spruce in two pieces. It has nice tight grain and a pleasing darker grain colour on the middle edges, nicely bookmatched to give it a kind of centre stripe. There is also a touch of 'bear claw' happening in the bouts for interest. For the back and sides we have solid flamed maple, again in two pieces nicely bookmatched to show off the attractive striping this wood delivers. The two woods pair together very nicely to my eyes and have a classy feel.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele body

The bridge is a tie bar made from Eucalyptus with some detailing inlay in the bar. The wood on this element is a little rough on the outer finishing but I have seen worse. That holds a NuBone saddle and spacing here is 38mm

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele bridge

The decoration here is mixed, but not ostentatious. There are wooden bindings to the top, back and tail stripe made from walnut which meld and blend with the body woods nicely. The top edge is also paired with a black and white purfling strip to finish it. Around the sound hole is an abalone ring edged in black and white purfling, and is one of those that doesn't look like 'mother of toilet seat' but rather blends nicely. On the lower bout we also have a comfort edge in walnut. I think I would still like it a bit paler to blend with the body more naturally, but it's a far cry from those that some builders use that look like sticking plaster. Generally though, the jury is out with me on these either way though i'd be happy without it here as I think it still stands out too much. The whole body is then finished in a satin coat which looks largely well done bar a tiny amount of 'over pour' around the fingerboard end.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele decor

Inside is extremely tidy with no mess I can see. The kerfing is notched and the top is X braced. I can also see that the top wood is nice and thin, meaning this is not one of those 'solid for the sake of it' instruments that tend to go very thick here.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele inside

The neck is made from maple that has been stained a darker brown and is satin coated. I usually gripe about mis matched colours on necks, but that is more about pale necks jarring against dark bodies. Here the dark neck works well I think. It's in three pieces with joints visible at the heel and headstock. It tapers to a nut that I measure at a roomy 37mm, 31mm G to A, and whilst the back profile is rounded, the width is just great.

The fingerboard is made from more Eucalyptus in great condition and, whilst it doesn't say so anywhere in the product spec sheet, to my eyes there is a very slight radius to the top. It could be an optical illusion, but I am seeing something slight. If I am right though, that's great! That is edge bound in dark wood to hide the ends of the 18 frets joined at the 14th. Position markers are in mother of pearl offset half moon shapes at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, double 12th and 15th with the 12th double employing a mirrored half moon on the other side of the board. Not just a 'parts bin' approach to the neck then, and something a bit different though I would personally like them a bit smaller, particularly the third! These are also repeated on the side at the 5th through to 12th.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele neck

Beyond the NuBone nut is a 'different but familar' headstock faced in black and holding the Baton Rouge 'BR' logo in pearl inlay. Simple but no complaints.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele headstock

The tuners are unbranded open gears in gold with small amber buttons that look attractive. They are not super high end, but I find they work ok. I think I'd prefer chrome though.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele tuners

Finishing things off are set of Aquila strings and a gold tail strap button. And that comes in at a price of £139... And no, that's not a typo. It's £139 for an all solid wood tenor instrument with lots of appointments. I was going to bemoan the lack of a gig bag, but at that price that would be churlish. I genuinely thought the price was a mistake as i'm struggling to think of a half decent all solid tenor ukulele that gets anywhere near that price without going to Amazon trash. Remarkable.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele back

As you will have seen there is not a great deal I have found fault with here. I have one or two subjective dislikes on the looks, but it's put together very well and the use of thin woods is a delight. The setup is great, though I would expect that from Stones Music as Mark is very conscientious on this point. Because of those thin woods, it's extremely light at only 565g and balances perfectly.

Volume here is great and I have no complaints on this score. It punches well and with little effort. Sustain is acceptable, but I have heard longer on that front. It's not problematically low, just middle of the road. Bear in mind though, with all solid woods this will open up over time and I suspect will improve.

Baton Rouge UTM-T Tenor Ukulele comfort edge

Being made of spruce and maple you'd expect the tone to be bright and it certainly is that. The clarity here is superb with each string cutting through the mix very well. Strummed it has a kind of fizzy edge as it harmonises with itself, lending it a more concert vibe than a tenor. Sound is very subjective of course and I would personally prefer a darker, woodier sounding tenor played this way, so I would be intrigued as to how the other woods change the sound. Saying all that I know a great many people who adore the crisp bright sound which is why spruce is so popular on ukes, so I am not chipping the score for my subjectivity as it's a very good sound. 

Fingerpicking is really nice with bell like chiming clarity all over the neck. Couple that with the nice roomy board and it's a joy to play this way (if you ignore my shonky playing in the video due to a hangover!).

All things considered this has really taken me aback. Baton Rouge have done it again it seems, in delivering an instrument that punches WELL above it's asking price. In fact, as I say in the video I think this easily matches instruments that will cost you two to three times the price, which is quite remarkable. A great, thin build, interesting appointments and an absolutely clear tone and punch for less than laminate Kala money. What on earth is not to like here?

Very highly recommended!


Model: Baton Rouge UTM-T rECOtimber
Scale: Tenor
Body: Solid German spruce top, solid flamed maple back and sides
Bridge: Eucalyptus tie bar
Saddle: NuBone
Spacing at saddle: 38mm
Finish: Satin
Neck: maple
Fingerboard: Eucalyptus
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: NuBone
Nut width: 37mm, 31mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded open gears
Strings: Aquila
Extras: Strap button
Weight: 565g
Country of origin: China
Price: £139


Good build
Classy looking woods
Thin top
Great neck
Good volume
Crisp clear tone
Remarkable price


I'd ditch the comfort edge and shrink the fret markers
Not much else wrong!


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









  1. Sadly the nut width of the soprano version measures only the usual 35 mm - otherwise I would hahe been tempted... And it hasn't got the comfort edge. But that may count as bonus...

  2. Ukuleleplein also says the fretboard has a radius in their review.

    I got my utw-t about a month ago (germany). Great instrument, too. Slighlty less brilliant and a bit more sustain I‘d say although it is difficult to compare a video with a real instrument. Mine also arrived with fluorocarbon strings as the seller did not like the original strings during setup and recommended the change.

  3. Uke: $115. Shipping: $94. That's from Thomann USA to me in NY - for the concert version of the Baton Rouge. I paid less in shipping for a uke from Thomann Germany. The shipping cost is a deal killer.

  4. The uke costs $115 from Thomann, but shipping costs $94. That's a deal killer.

    1. World of Ukes will ship to the USA for $25. Thomann is a terrible choice!

    2. When there is only one choice, that's the only choice. 😁 I tried World of Ukes, but the total cost was about the same as Thomann. I don't want to pay $100 shipping for a $100 uke. I'll wait till they become available in the US.

    3. I think at $200 it's still an absolute steal. It stand up to ukes that cost three times the price.

  5. Hi Barry. I really fell in love with this uke, based on your review. I tried tracking one down but was struggling. I contacted Alex at Sothern Ukulele Store who said that the very uke you reviewed ended up with Matt at World of Ukes. So, I browsed their website, found it, and ... bought it!!! I'll hopefully get my hands on it soon. Could it really be the very same uke you reviewed?

    1. If World of Ukes had told me that it was the one that Baz reviewed, I might have bought it, even at $200.

    2. Hi Jerry. I think it's highly unlikely to be the ACTUAL one, but when it arrives tomorrow I'll look for that big scratch on the lower side that's clearly visible in Barry's video (at around 4:00)!!

    3. Not a scratch - grain mark in the wood under the finish. It's sat on the desk in front of me.

    4. Thanks, Barry. Well that answers that one! :-D

    5. Ordered mine from Thomann £125 delivered, should arrive today, at Thomann all under the £139 that Baz mentioned

  6. Resistance is futile where Baz is concerned. I placed an order with World of Ukes this morning. I like those comfort edges, and this one could be larger. I prefer bridges that are a step up from basic rectangles.

  7. As a further update, my BR UTM-T arrived yesterday from World of Ukes. It's a joy ... every bit as cool as Barry made out. They seem to have more in stock (as evidenced by Jerry's post above). I also understand from Alex at Southern Ukulele Store that he'll be getting some in stock this weekend to expand their existing BR range. And for the record ... I like the comfort edge, but wouldn't it be a dull old world if we all liked and disliked the same things! ;-)

  8. My Baton Rouge arrived today, just eight days from England to NY. Very good. It's just as nice as the review.

  9. UPDATE: Still enjoying playing my new BR uke. What I have noticed more and more, though (and this might be entirely down to my cr@p playing technique!), is how sharp the bottom corner of the nut is compared with my other ukes. I might have to file it down. I do recall having to do that with the Kala KA-ZCT-T ziricote tenor I bought from SUS a few years ago. Oddly, it's something I don't notice right away ...

    1. Mine is very well rounded, unlike so many other ukes I've played. I'll leave this one as it is.

  10. Hi folks,
    I bought a Spruce and Flamed Maple Concert the other day at my local music store ( for 109 Euro (c. 95 £). No setup issues and yes, a radius fretboard. After changing the strings to my favorite combo (Aquila Red Series and a Fremont Soloist polished low g), the instrument chimes and sings beautifully with lots of sustain. The sound is brighter than my moonbird, for example, but that is what I was looking for.
    Happy strumming in 2024!

  11. Be careful buying this atm. Mine (utw-t) has a crack in the top after 4 months . A problem with the bracing in the whole series. Will be replaced on warranty when it is available again in summer.

    Still think it is a wonderful instrument and want it replaced although I was offered a full refund.

    1. I wouldn't warn against a whole model line based on one split - these things can happen with any uke. Not heard of any recall which would happen if on WHOLE series (at least not in UK). Will keep an eye out though.


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