No need to stretch to outlandish reasons to buy a new ukulele for this one. I needed a tenor (and, no, a Fluke with a tenor neck doesn’t count) particularly for fingerpicking. The Ukulele Shop had a sale on the Ohana TK-35G and after watching Ken Middleton’s review of his tenor Ohana.
Sound: A lovely warm tone to it. The sound is plenty strong enough for single note playing. But when you’re strumming chords, the sound isn’t as sharp and defined as I’d like.
I’m not too sure how useful MP3 examples are once they’ve been through all the equipment, but here are some anyway.
Sustain Test (open C string then A string 12th fret) using the Aquila strings it came with.
Construction: Solid mahogany body. Rosewood fretboard. Rosewood binding on body, soundhole and headstock. Chrome geared tuners (MGM lists them as friction tuners – unless there’s some funky mechanism in there, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case). Genuine bone nut and bridge (that’s how it’s listed but they seem quite plastic-y to me – and obviously to Ken too; he refers to them as being plastic in his review). It’s reasonably well put together but not perfect – more on that later.
Playability: Like Ken mentioned in his video, the action is very high. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘unplayably high’ though. I quite like the high action – it means a whole lot less fret buzz and cleaner fretting. But it does mean it’s not an easy instrument to play. I’m tempted to lower the action a little.
A gripe I have with it is the fret marker is at the ninth fret (guitar style) rather than the tenth fret (ukulele style). It has thrown me off on a number of occasions and I’m still not used to it. Looking at the Ohana ukuleles on eBay, it seems like TK-35G is the only model with this. Very annoying.
Intonation: I’ve got no complaints here. It’s playable all the way up the neck.
Looks: It’s a pretty sexy ukulele. The mahogany and gloss finish look great. But, like most of the girls I go for, it’s pretty on the outside and a complete mess on the inside. There are splashes of glue all over the place and some splintering around the joints. It is the sort of slapdash stuff you’d expect from a Chinese made instrument, but it doesn’t worry me unduly.
Overall: I’m very pleased with it. It is my first choice fingerpicking uke. It was less than £150 for a solid tenor ukulele and a very sturdy case – I’m a happy bunny.