Fender Ukulele

Fender are, of course, the biggest name in guitars. So they caused something of a stir when they moved into ukuleles with the release of three ukuleles: Pa’ina, Nohea and Hau’oli. Their biggest supporter (by some huge margin) is Ukulele Ray who seems to be continuously pimping them. The word from the rest of the ukulele community is not so enthusiastic. A number of people who posted a comment on my Fender interview found problems with their ukes – there seems to be a particular issue with the bridge. They did only start making ukuleles in early 2009 so let’s be kind and say they are still working out a few kinks in the production process.

Despite the problems they have found there way into the hands of a number of professionals including Train and Billy Corgan.

If you’re looking for a more reliable tenor ukulele in the same price range, take a look at Kala or Lanikai.

On Video

Train using a Fender ukulele for their smash hit song Hey, Soul Sister.

Models

Fender Hau’oli – Tenor, laminated mahogany.
Fender Nohea – Tenor, laminated koa.
Fender Pa’ina – Tenor, solid mahogany, electro-acoustic.

On Musician’s Friend

Hau’oli Price: $149.99
Nohea Price: $199.99
Pa’ina Price: $299.99

On Amazon UK


15 Comments

  1. TVR December 12th, 2010 4:39 pm

    My first Ukulele, i love it and i play it almost non-stop. I’ve had it for about a year and it keeps its tuning EXTREMELY well. I’ve had no problems with the bridge (knock on wood) so far. I love the fender head howver it makes it difficult to find a case because the head is longer than average ukes. Overall great Uke

  2. AD January 19th, 2011 5:49 am

    I’ve owned two of these ukes, The Hau’oli and the Nohea. I lost the bridge on the Hau’oli after about 3 months, and was sent the Nohea as a a replacement. I found the quality and sound to be decent, but not great. As noted the first one had the bridge rip right off the body, I’ve had the Nohea for about 8 months following this, though I don’t like the high gloss poly finish that much. The necks on both ukes are straight, the action is good, if a little “tight” on the Nohea. The sound quality is decent,though I feel like there are much better instruments out there for the money.

  3. Talisker January 3rd, 2012 12:46 pm

    I got a Fender U’uku for Xmas – the soprano with the non-standard fender shaped head. Very plain and functional in design

    My first uke and I’m pretty pleased with it.

    It’s a laminate uke, so although it sounds fine to me, it’s probably not top-notch tone.

    Open geared tuners feel and perform well. Stayed close to in-tune after a few days of strumming.

    More than happy with this uke and would recommend to any beginner with £90 to spend.

  4. Jake January 22nd, 2012 7:08 pm

    I have had my Nohea for a few months now and I love it. full of bright tones, action is great. I bought it from Hawaii Music Supply and they set it up perfectly. Not to mention Andrew was really helpful through the whole process and recommended the Nohea for what I was looking for.
    I have a low G set up and wow does this thing have bass. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming but I have found ways to use it so for really pretty sounds.
    The uke is solid, very pretty, the abalone shimmers in the light and makes me pick it up and strum a few every time I see it. The headstock is just really cool, too. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to upgrade from their first uke.

  5. Alfa April 25th, 2012 10:58 am

    I’ve had my Pa’ina Fender uke for about 2 years now. Never had a problem with it and it works great with the amp. It’s just not easy to find a hard-case for it because it’s a little longer than other Tenor ukes.

  6. James October 28th, 2012 8:22 pm

    I have the Fender Pa’Ina ukulele and it was amazing!… until the electric component inside broke and and is no longer electric the jack also slides in and out of the ukulele its self. very frustrating but it is very loud even without it. Overall a very good ukulele and I recommend it but BEWARE.

  7. Captain Vinnie December 12th, 2012 3:52 pm

    I have had my Finder now for about 5 years and I have played with bands in North Florida for a while now It sounds as good as my old Guitar and has been a good companion on many trips. I have made many friends just sitting around playing and singing anything I could play on my guitar I can play on my ukulele.

  8. Diana February 3rd, 2013 1:36 pm

    I’ve had the Nohea for about two years. The bridge IS an issue with Fender.

    The plastic part of the bridge was cutting my strings and breaking them within hours of putting them on. Had to file down the edges where the bridge and the strings met.
    Then the bridge broke off completely.
    I love the looks of this uke, and frankly bought it more for the look than the sound, but I’m happy.

  9. Mike May 8th, 2013 8:02 pm

    I’m a bit biased because I am a die hard Fender Freak! I have a Fender Strat Guitar, a Fender Mustang Bass, and a Fender Bantam Bassman Amp…now this absolutely BEAUTIFUL Fender NoHea Koa Tenor Uke. First, let me just say how important that a proper set up is. I bought mine on line from The Ukulele Site (Hawii Music Supply) and not only was it a good price, but they do their own set up! Now, these folks know Ukes…and they take about a half hour with each instrument, examining the instrument for any issues and fixing any problems. They have a great video showing just what they do to every instrument before it is shipped. I can’t compare this to one that is dropped shipped from the factory or other store, but mine is set up just fantastic! The strings are the perfect height, the fit and finish superb, the laminated Koa wood has a gorgeous gloss finish and the abalone binding is beautiful as well. It comes with Aguila Nylgut strings that play well and give a bright sound. I LOVE the Telecaster shaped headstock and the machined tuners hold the tune very well. The neck is nice, the frets seem to be just the right height and smooth, and it plays just fine. Also, the gig bag is very cool, with the Fender logo well displayed. It is not so much for protection, but great to carry the Uke in. If you want better protection, it would be wise to get a hard shell case. With all that said, I have not compared this to any other Ukes except for a cheap one that a friend of mine had. The Uke is my new instrument that I am learning now that I’m retired. However, I am a musician and I have played various instruments ever since elementary school and I have a good ear. I also sing. Bottom line…I highly recommend this instrument, but I also recommend that you get a good set up. I have played similar guitars that were set up and ones that were not (just factory set up) and the difference is like night and day. Get this Uke and have some fun! Finger picking good!

  10. Mike June 23rd, 2013 11:28 am

    I really like my Pa’ina, but there are definitely some quality control issues. Mine came at a discount because of visible glue drips by the bridge. The frets feel a little rough and could be smoother. It does have good tone both plugged in and unplugged, and the tele headstock is pretty cool. Although I do love playing this uke, I would personally recommend the kala solid mahogany electric over this as its cheaper and doesn’t seem to have the QC issues.

  11. nicholas martin September 10th, 2013 5:57 pm

    they make good guitars and also good ukuleles i have a fendr fa/100 guitar but i play the ukulele more then that

  12. Val Babin September 13th, 2013 5:18 pm

    I own a Fender Koa Nohea Tenor Uke and would really like to find a hardshell case to accommodate the extra length of the head – anybody have any luck finding one out there? Did Fender even make a hardshell case for this instrument? Sure would be nice to not have to baby it all the time and store it properly. Thanks to any future responders!

  13. Steve January 5th, 2014 11:24 pm

    This is my fourth ukulele. Each has been better than the last. The Fender® Nohea ukulele is the best I own. In comparing it to a Lanikai GCKC koa concert uke, the Nohea wins, hands down. Fit and finish on the Fender® is beautiful. The bridge not only looks better, it has a compensated saddle. It has nice sustain, which makes it sound like a music box rather than a dull toy. The only drawback? That iconic Fender® headstock! Ìt won’t fit into a tenor case, too long. I await my baritone case. Happy happy, joy joy!!

  14. Shao Yong March 4th, 2014 1:29 pm

    I owned a Fender Koa Nohea Tenor Uke for about 2 years now. It’s Made in Indonesia. I live and bought it here in Singapore and have paid much more than you guys over there. I have replaced it with a “Low G” string and simply loved it – the bass and the bright tones. I don’t have other problems with it. It comes together with a fitting “Fender” logo gig-bag. Your Fender Tenor Uke will fit nicely into a 30-inches length “Uke Crazy” hard-shell case. I know as I owned another Hawaiian made tenor Uke which comes in the “Uke Crazy” case. Good luck Uke buddies :D

  15. Garry October 29th, 2014 4:28 pm

    I have a few ukes, including a Kala Jazz ( it was my favourite) , but I just bought a second hand electric ukulele (eleuke) . Then a Digitech effects box( fantastic!) but now moved on to a Fender Mustang 80 watt Amp. ( which has more than enough effects to play and fiddle with)
    HELP! I’m 63 this week, played uke just the last few years , ( mucked around with button accordions and harps for years) but I’m totally addicted. Have had such fun for years .
    Cheers all.

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