Johnson ukuleles are a budget range of ukuleles. They are made in China and laminated. Johnson's most popular ukulele is their resonator. It's very similar in look to the much sought after National Reso-phonic ukuleles. Obviously, the quality of the Johnson is not the same as the National, but it's a good alternative for those who want a resonator ukulele but can't afford a National (UPDATE: these ukuleles are now being sold under the name the Recording King resonator ukulele, but I have it on good authority they are exactly the same).
Rawuke busts out the blues riffs on his Johnson Resonator. Sounds really good to me.
Johnson Ukulele Review
Johnson Baritone Ukulele Review
I have a Johnson Baritone (JUK-30). I'm not really a baritone player, I just wanted one to play around with so I went for a cheap one. The uke is sturdy and well put together. I've not been careful with it, but never had any problems. The tone is warm and rich for a laminated ukulele, but it isn't that loud. It doesn't feel that easy to play.
Considering the price, it's a good ukulele. Despite its shortcomings, I enjoy getting my Johnson out now and then.
Review by Woodshed.
Johnson UK-120 Ukulele Review
I needed a inexpensive soprano ukulele to use as a travel uke to take on the plane back and forth to Florida to see my Granddaughters. They love to have me play and sing to them. The oldest, 5 years old, likes me to play "In the Good Ole Summertime". She calls it the "Tootsie Wootsie" song. The younger one, 3 years, likes to strum and put the pick in the sound hole.
I bought the UK-120 for $40 and spent $10 for a gigbag. So far the ukulele has held together well. It comes with Martin Black nylon strings, after a few days of breaking in I was still having problems with the "C" string being to high. I did a little filing on the nut it is now settled in and is playing fine.
For a ukulele made in China it plays and looks good. There are a couple of cosmetic defects, but none that affect the playing ability.
So if you are looking for a uke to throw in the back set of the car, or in a backpack, or to take as a carry on bag on a flight to see the grandkids, this uke makes the grade. On a score of 1 to 10 I would give it a 7.
Review by Toby Russell