Ashton Ukulele

Ashton ukuleles are similar to Mahalo ukuleles. They’re colourful and cheerful ukuleles and, above all, cheap. They’re one of those ukuleles that schools will buy by the dozen for classes.

The ukuleles are made from laminated maple with a fingerboard that is described as ‘ebonized’ (that means the wood has been stained to look like ebony).

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Ashton Ukulele Review

I bought an Ashton Soprano Ukulele From Hank’s Guitars in Denmark Street, London for £18 including bag in December as my first Ukulele.

It has a number of good features, it is cheap, It is easy to tune and stays in tune very well.

I found it to have one major negative feature in that the nut is very pronounced, making the strings quite high in relation to the fretboard, meaning you really have to press a long way down to play anything on the first fret. As a beginner I dreaded any songs featuring Bb or F as they were both difficult and painful to play on this uke.

I decided it didn’t have to be like this so I used a knife to make the grooves in the nut deeper meaning I don’t have to press anywhere near as hard. It is now far easier and the sound is still good.

I like the ukulele but intend to graduate to a more expensive one in the next few months.

Review by Oliver.

Ashton 400750 Ukulele Review

Where to start on a review of a thirty dollar Ashton Ukulele intended for small children? Well, firstly that it greatly succeeds expectations. Sure it’s never going to be a Martin, but the ukulele works and is surprisingly playable. The string sustainability is superb so you don’t have to tune every time you pick it up and the ukulele is very durable. I have had mine battered around and it still plays superbly.

Playability

The Ashton 400750 is shaped well and is comfortable to play. It sits well in your arms and doesn’t fall out, plus the ukulele is not too big or too small. The neck is slightly too short for my arms and I’m reasonably small so it loses a few brownie points there, but regains them with having a light headstock which does not weigh the ukulele down. The frets are also slightly small due to being made for small people but this does not detract from playing much and it still works very well. Playability gets a seven out of ten.

Durability


This ukulele is stronger than concrete and can basically be dropped off a building and not be damaged too much. Mine has a fair few dents due to being dropped lots but still plays fine. It also stays in tune brilliantly and the paint even stays on. The only minus for this ukulele is that the screws can sometimes come undone. This is easily fixed as you can tighten them up again very easily. Durability gets a nine out of ten.

Presentability

The Ashton 400750 is not bad looking and comes in almost all the colours of the rainbow. Mine is orange and looks like your stereotypical ukulele. Kind of like something you would see on “Spongebob Squarepants” or “The Simpsons”. The tone of this ukulele is very inconsistent however. For example, a friend of mine has one the same, and is a lot more bass heavy than mine. My one has a sharper tone and works better on single-note-at-a-time songs, whereas the bassier uke works better on chord-orientated songs. So, if you are planning on buying one of these ukes, best to listen to the ukulele first. Presentability gets a six out of ten.

Overall

Overall, this ukulele is above average when you consider the price. It is fun to play and is best aimed at beginners. The uke is very good to learn how to play and if you want a durable ukulele for cheap, this is your best buy. Although Jake Shimabukuro or Eddie Vedder would probably spit on a uke like this, it suits most uke players’ needs perfectly. Overall gets a seven out of ten.

Verdict

Much too good for children.

Review by Riley.

14 Comments

  1. Michael Madden December 17th, 2010 11:04 pm

    I tried to correct the high action on one of the beginner Ashton ukuleles, and once the action was ok, it still was very out-of-tune below the third fret. I measured from the inside of the nut to the 12 fret, the measured from the 12th fret to the saddle, and there was a 6mm difference! That uke will never be tuneable without moving the saddle 6mm further away from the 12th fret.

  2. Jack Zvaigzne January 10th, 2011 6:40 pm

    Definately a good buy for someone who wants a cheap first ukulele. The build quality is a bit rough in some places, but the price you pay definately makes up for that.

  3. Mike April 21st, 2011 10:03 pm

    I have just got this ukulele. I did not want to spend lots of money for one till I was sure I was going to spend time playing it. After two weeks I already want to get a better one as I just don’t like how it sounds. It is in tune as I have had it tuned twice by good musicians. But the sound is just not great. . You can tell it is cheap and the paint work is coming off. Looking inside the cheap wood is chipping. Good for learning chords but now I have learned how to play some songs I want one that sounds good.

  4. Tom C April 23rd, 2011 10:48 am

    I love this instrument! it’s gret for the price and i loved the sound. i would like a better one as i am a guitar player and after 3 days i’m pretty damn gd at the uke. Overall it’s very fun and is uite a beautiful instrument to say the least

  5. David G June 14th, 2011 4:02 pm

    My wife bought one of these for Christmas for our 18 month old daughter, as she loves playing with my guitars and I thought it would be best if she had one of her own to trash. In fact trashing is about the only thing worth doing with it as the action is so high it’s unplayable. The neck is set far too low, so no adjustment to the saddle or nut would make much difference. I’m not too bothered, except that a reputable music shop had the gall to sell something that can’t really be classed as an instrument. On the plus side, six months on it’s still intact!

  6. Dan October 2nd, 2011 8:26 am

    I just bought an Ashton UKE240MH Concert Ukulele for AU$90. I was extremely happy with my purchase after realising it had a mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard and bridge and geared tuners. It sounds nice and sweet but can still be quite loud. It stays in tune *fairly* well. I would definately recommend it. I wish the rating for “Value for” would go up to 50 though :P

    Great Uke :)

  7. Cargy February 5th, 2012 11:29 am

    Just a few thoughts on the Ashton:

    I set myself the random New Year’s resolution to learn the ukulele for 2012, and picked up an Ashton from DJM Music for about eighteen quid.

    I also found it painful to begin with, atleast for a couple of weeks, until I finally took a needle-file to work on the nut to lower the action. Problem solved!

    But my biggest revelation came when I decided to try some Martin strings to replace the originals. Suddenly it went from a rather “plunky” sound to a far nicer, almost mini-guitar, sound.

    When they went, I bought some D’Addario strings, but was disappointed to find the “plunkiness” had returned. They were quickly consigned to the bin and a couple of sets of Martins ordered in.

    Barely a month in, I have upgraded to a Clearwater tenor uke, which I’m just getting the feel of as I write this. It wasn’t dissatisfaction with the Ashton, it’s just that I’m 6’2″, with rather large hands, so I fancied something with a bit more finger room.

    I still love my little Ashton, and find I switch back and forth depending on what I’m playing.

    Overall, my advice with these remarkable little instruments is to carefully lower the action as soon as you can, and to bin the stock strings, trying an assortment of other brands till you find one you like.

  8. Brookey July 12th, 2012 6:53 am

    I own an Ashton 220EQMH and I absolutely love it! for its price, it is very good quality, and has a pick up. I have played mine for about 9 months and it has always been perfect. Has a lovely strong sound, not like a crappy cheapo uke.

  9. beckie gardner August 26th, 2012 2:41 pm

    i got my union jack ashton ukulele for xmas 2011 was very happy, i played it nearly everyday, until a day at a friends house! he was tuning it for me and the wooden slat that was holding the strings tight at the bottom had snapped on his finger, making him bleed slightly! i could see it was going to break because it was chipping bellow the line

  10. Debbie Scott October 25th, 2012 3:18 pm

    Don’t buy the Aston uke100.
    I bought a few for school as they are cheap, thinking they’ll last for a year or so with regular use but one has broken after two weeks and some others are going the same way.
    The issue is with the bridge. One has bent in half and some of the others are starting to lift away from the body of the instrument. As a teacher I can’t risk them breaking while being played by a pupil so they have had to be sent back.
    A complete waste of time and money.

  11. Francesco December 31st, 2012 12:04 pm

    I bought this ukulele and it’s a fantastic instrument! The only problem I think are the strings… I’ll change those.

  12. Annie January 12th, 2014 8:29 pm

    I bought this as a Christmas gift for my 16mth old son who loves watching others play the guitar. I knew for the price that it wouldn’t be a high quality instrument, but I expected to be able to play a few nursery rhymes on it at least! I should have saved my money and just bought him a toy guitar; by Christmas night, the bridge had lifted right off the body of the instrument (when I was playing it – my son had just diddled the strings) We weren’t treating it roughly at all. Really disappointed.

  13. Ellen June 25th, 2014 7:32 pm

    It’s a great instrument and very cheap but you get good value for money.
    I would strong recommend getting new/better strings for it though because it is sometimes hard to tune because the strings aren’t as good as the ukulele itself

  14. Paul Smith July 24th, 2014 1:36 pm

    I bought an Ashton 100 Uke from GAK as a present for my 6 yr old nephew. How can a reputable company sell such rubbish? It wouldn’t stay in tune for more than a couple of minutes and after two days the bridge came away from the body. Don’t buy one.

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