This is the first ukulele I ever purchased while on my first trip to Hawaii. I bought it at the flea market in Honolulu, and I confess, as more of a novelty than anything else. I couldn't leave without a ukulele! I paid about $15 for it and as musical instruments go it was probably not worth it.
Being very new to the ukulele world, I struggled to tune the ukulele while learning the sound of the tuning I was not yet familiar with (I played guitar previously, so was a bit befuddled by this strange new 'slack string' tuning). This ukulele cannot be tuned and will not hold a tune for anything. One dramatic attempt to tune it ended in a violent snap as the tightness of the strings ripped the neck right off the body. This was startling to say the least and convinced me I should get a real ukulele.
The ukulele seems to be made of wood, but it really seems to me more like really dense cardboard. I think it is actually some sort of particle board. The fretboard is painted wood with metal inlays (I didn't get the lowest of the flea market bunch. I did have some standards at the time). The keys actually seem to be pretty good quality plastic. They seem sturdy and when the first attempts to hold a tune failed miserably, they were easily tightened to hold on a bit better. On the other end the bridge is made of plastic and looks to be merely glued in the same fashion the rock steady neck was casually squirted with a few drops of wood glue and slapped on. It however has not budged a bit, unlike the neck. The body has taken a beating and has chipped and scratched very easily. The front of the body was printed with a surfboard and flower pattern and the word 'Hawaii' written in curly font. Below the bridge the word 'Aloha' is printed. This was the 'coolest design' of the cheap ukuleles I could find.
As for the sound of the thing, I never could really tell since I could never get it tuned. But judging from the tinny sound of the mal-tuned strings it would not be pleasant.
All in all it is a bad ukulele. But it has 3 redeeming qualities for myself. 1) it was purchased on my first trip the land of paradise 2) It is adorned with many stickers I collected on said trip 3) It still holds some sand from the beaches of Oahu. Therefore it holds great sentimental value and that is why I still own it today.
Buy one at the Universal Worldwide Trading Website.
Review by Ben Lew.