Ibanez Ukulele

Ibanez have a long history in guitars. Despite the name, they are made by a Japanese firm called Hoshino Gakki. They adopted the rather more Western-friendly name back in 1929 when they began importing guitars made by Spanish luthier Salvador Ibanez. As it happens, Salvador Ibanez made ukuleles. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that Ibanez the firm launched their first ukuleles.

One interesting thing to note about the ukuleles is that they have a radiused fretboard i.e. they’re curved outwards slightly. That’s a common feature on guitars but ukulele fretboards are usually flat. The idea is that they make the large barre chords on guitar easier. I’m not sure how much that logic would transfer to the uke.

With them only having been launched recently, there’s no consensus of opinion on them yet (and I haven’t tried one myself) but their reputation as a guitar maker suggests they’ll be worth checking out.

Models

Ibanez UKS10 Soprano Ukulele
Ibanez UKC10 Concert Ukulele
Ibanez Maple Concert Ukulele UEW10QM
Ibanez Spalted Mango Concert Ukulele UEW20SG
Ibanez Koa Soprano Ukulele UKS50

Yup, at the time of writing there’s no tenor Ibanez ukulele. Strange since the other big guitar to uke transfer Fender released only tenor ukuleles.

On Musician’s Friend

UKS10 Price: $49.99
UKC10 Price: $79.99
UEW10QM Price: $149.99
UEW20SG Price: $169.99
UKS50 Price $179.99

On eBay


Ibanez Review Video

There’s also a review here but it’s not in English.
On Video

8 Comments

  1. Ash C Young February 14th, 2011 1:21 am

    I just bought an Ibanez UKS50 (the koa) and it is awesome! I absolutely love it. The sound is super bright and pingy while the uke it’s self is BEAUTIFUL! I can not put it down!

  2. Tim Jacobus February 25th, 2011 5:53 am

    Love the site! Just started Ukulele. My son brought me back a Soprano Leolani when he was stationed (USMC)in Hawaii (I think it’s a novelty he bought in the airport, it’s the thought right). I’ve replaced the friction tuning keys with Grover geared keys and changed to GHS strings. I have been playing it for a few months. My friend sent me an email showing the Ibanez UEW20(mango) and I am considering purchasing it. I am so glad you had this bit of a review, I believe you have helped me make up my mind to get it. Thanks, Tim

  3. Molly Dyer December 29th, 2011 10:11 pm

    I recently was gifted the UKS50 (Koa) in acoustic-electric and the least I can say is how devastatingly delighted I am with it! I own two other ukes, but they don’t compare – they don’t come close (but they’re not well-made brands, so I suppose it goes without saying).
    ANYWAY – Ibanez knows what they’re doing, obviously. The sound that comes out of this tiny uke is bright and brilliant, and the uke itself it GORGEOUS to look at. They say God is in the details, just take a moments to LOOK at it! The elegant bridge, the binding, the inlay around the resonator, the gold and chrome tuners, the cutaway!!! – just lovely.
    Over-all, a well crafted and fabulous little guy.

  4. Dean O January 9th, 2012 7:59 pm

    I was bought the Ibanez UEW20SGE Concert Ukulele for Christmas the Spalted Mango wood one shown in the video above (also here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L98NHBZy2tQ ). I was so excited for it to arrive and I’ve not been let down. For the past year I’ve been playing the Makala Dolphin (baby blue if you’re wondering) which is a nice little starter level Uke/toy, but as you would expect the Ibanez blows it away. The wood grain is beautiful and it has such a full bodied rich sound. Also, CUTAWAY! :D Couldn’t recommend it enough, although it took ages to find one online, I ended up ordering from a German website and got it for about £200 incl P&P. The built in tuner is handy too, not had much chance to play it plugged in but from the ten minutes or so I have done it sounds great. If you’re looking for a unique looking ukulele with a beautiful sound for around £200 then go for it, you won’t be disappointed!

  5. carolynsanity December 8th, 2012 10:16 pm

    My parents bought me the UKS10 for my birthday. I have to say, despite it being only $50, it’s fantastic! The sound is great and it is very comfortable to hold. If you are just starting out, this is DEFINITELY the best bang for your buck that you can possibly get!

  6. Pineapple April 26th, 2013 3:38 am

    Bought the spalted maple recently… What a let down. The construction was okay, however there were come parts where glue was visible.. not good for a NZD $300 ukulele. The worst issue was the frets.. some high, some low, some pointy. This made quite a few frets buss when you played or plucked loudly, this was not as noticeable when playing quietly. On the upside, it’s very nice looking, and is comfortable to play. I would say if you are looking for a uke in this price range, try don’t buy Ibanez, or if you do, check it THOROUGHLY for faults. A friends lanakai that was priced $100 cheaper than this had a better sound.. all in all, I’d recommend another brand, maybe a kala, luna or lanakai. They are much better made and shouldn’t give you nearly as many headaches

  7. Ronaldo October 19th, 2013 3:11 am

    After two years with a concert sized Lanikai starter, I decided it was time to upgrade. I scouted the Uke dealers in my area and narrowed my choices down to the Ibanez UEW30RWE (Rosewood with a pick-up), the Luna High Tide (Koa with a pick up) and the Kala Spruce top flame maple. I was leaning towards the Ibanez when my birthday came up and my wife got me the Kala. I played the Kala for several hours last night and I’m liking it a lot. Today I went back into the shop and played the Ibanez again, this time with an amp. I don’t foresee me having much opportunity to plug in on my own, but I do like having the option. The action on the Ibanez works for me. It seems like some of the chords I often have problems with don’t buzz like they do on other models. The drawback is that without the pick-up it’s not very loud. I suspect the Luna is going to have the same issue. All three are gorgeous instruments. In order of aesthetic preference I’d rank them 1.Ibanez, 2.Luna, 3. Kala, but my bonding session with the Kala last night has me thinking I’m likely to stick with the flaming Maple and maybe pick up something with a pick-up a couple of years down the line. I’m told I have a couple of weeks to return the Kala if I change my mind, so I thought I ‘d throw my situation out there and see if anyone had a strong argument for going in a different direction.

  8. R February 16th, 2014 5:36 am

    I have an Ibanez concert uke, and it most certainly does NOT have a radiused fretboard. It is flat as a pancake. I’m kinda disappointed, because I was really looking forward to that. It was advertised as being radiused, so I feel like I was ripped off. I paid about $175 for mine, and I later got a Lanikai tenor that I think is a much better sound and playing instrument for about $115.

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