Ukulele Window Shopping

One of the many joys of YouTube is being able to find demonstrations and reviews of some of the more recent or more obscure ukes. Here are a few I found to be of interest:

– Solid-body electric ukes are a difficult thing to get right. I haven’t tried one that’s really nailed it. I like my RISA but I have reservations. And I hate my EleUke and I don’t care for the sound in most of the videos I’ve seen. So I’m always interested in new ones and Airline is a recent addition to the scene. Here’s a video of one in action (an nice little song as well).

– There is no way on earth I’d touch a Luna ukulele but people have been leaving positive reviews of their Luna’s (even for the person who had a bridge pop off). And Barnkicker Steve has been putting Luna’s range of ukes through their paces.

– Another guitar maker turned uke maker I’ve been a little suspicious of is Ibanez with their Iceman ukulele. Here’s a review of it from a guy who doesn’t like Guitar Center or commenters.

SpruceHouse is a name I’ve seen cropping up on eBay for years. They’ve always caught my eye but I hadn’t heard one until this video of Slim Symes

– Despite having their doojigggers on every page of the site, I’ve never investigated Boat Paddle Ukuleles very much. Here’s a comparison between a Boat Paddle and a KoAloha.

– Review of a Dave Talsma ukulele with a quick peek of the GOTOH stealth tuners at the two minute mark

Phil Re-entrant with a Rob Collins Travel uke. It sounds a bit weedy on the video (which you’d expect with such a small body) but he’s obviously very pleased with it.

Photos: The gang’s all here. Dark eyed man with ukulele.

View Comments


  1. Ron Hale November 12th, 2010 11:42 pm

    I’m not nearly as big on electric ukes as I was
    when we last hashed them out here, Al. Maybe the amps used by most ukers just aren’t up to producing good sound. The tiny amps a lot of people use may look cute next to their ukes, but the sound is just not up to snuff as far as I’m concerned Risas sound nice, but aren’t most Risa players better players to begin with and don’t they generally use better amps? Maybe not, but Steven Strauss is my reference point for Risa.

    Well, you’ve had it in for Luna ever since you saw their logo (which I still like). They get pretty good reviews on Amazon which sells them, and the sopranos (sold on Amazon) are entry-levelish, perhaps a bit more, basically equivalent to the Lanikai LU-21 figure-eight and pineapple shape. And in that particular role people like them. I like watching videos of their guitars which sound very nice to me.

    I’m assuming Slim Symes had permission before breaking out his uke at the gallery/museum. Let’s hope so anyway. But just what is the propriety of
    uking in public like that? Can you expect to get your uke playing bum tossed out if you just wander in and start playing? In the video, he’s the only one there. Is that because he’s playing and people are keeping away? Maybe Armelle could tell us how French authorities would react if a flash uke mob descended on the Mona Lisa to the strains of YMCA.

    Boat Paddle and KoAloha are a bit high-end for an old scruff like myself.

  2. Brett November 13th, 2010 2:19 am

    The world of electric ukes has been really fascinating for me lately. However, the more I think about it, the more I think it’d be more about the novelty of it than the practicality. It seems like a fun thing to be able to run a uke through my pedal board and amp, although the instances I would ever do this would be very slim.

    Plus, I think if I ever needed to be able to plug my uke in to a PA, I’d be more prone to install a pickup on it and then run an external preamp. Might be cheaper than buying a whole other uke. I dunno though. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

  3. Rob NY November 13th, 2010 2:21 am

    I have Sprucehouse soprano S-1c.I keep it in my car. One of my favorite ukes. Weighs 10 or 11 oz. Light,loud and durable. Spends all four seasons in the car. Stands up to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. A pleasure to play. I hope to get a concert size one day.

  4. thebot November 13th, 2010 9:11 am

    I’m desperate for one of those Airline at the moment. The makers (Eastwood Guitars) just opened a UK store this week ( which makes a purchase easier (and resistance harder!). Not involved with them in any way by the way, just thought people might be interested where they could get one.

  5. Woodshed November 13th, 2010 10:51 am

    Ron: Being a RISA player myself, I wouldn’t like to comment on whether RISA players are universally wonderful and handsome. But I do think they sound much better than EleUkes.

    Brett: There’s definitely a novelty appeal to sending a uke through effects for me. But I don’t see that as a bad thing at all.

    Rob: Thanks, glad to hear it.

    thebot: Thanks for that, I didn’t know Eastwood had launched in the UK. I love the look of their guitars. And that Mandola on the site is fabulous.

  6. cardboardfrog November 13th, 2010 3:43 pm

    i wouldn’t be surprised if the luna’s are actually quite good little ukes, i recently bought a luna acoustic guitar and it really is a lovely instrument both to play and look at.
    however i wouldn’t disagree they do look quite girly.

  7. Scott November 13th, 2010 5:20 pm

    I love my Risa too and I also have a Schmidt and a Applause with electrics… neither are as good as the Risa. I think I’d just add a really good pickup to a better sounding acoustic before I spent money on another factory electric. my 2 cents

  8. Tinpan Chuck November 16th, 2010 5:17 am

    I’ve never seen a Luna, but I’ve also heard some scare stories about Mahalo Ukes. The one I bought recently was bought at a local music store which has been in business for almost 60 years now. I’m not sure on the manufacturer of my uke, I’ll ask the store owner when I pick up the Gig bag for it.

  9. Woodshed November 17th, 2010 12:02 am

    cbf: I’ll bow to your superior experience.

    Scott: Fair enough. But I do like solid bodies for LOUD playing.

    Tinpan: Mahalo’s do tend to vary quite a lot in quality. There are some good ones around.

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