Review: Three Solid Mahogany Soprano Ukuleles – Flight MUS-2 + Ohana SK-38 + Sigma SUM-2S

The ukes have been recorded with a Citronic RM-06 ribbon microphone plugged into a Cranborne Audion Camden EC2 preamp. All EQ-settings were kept identical between the three models.

Alkuperäinen suomenkielinen juttu on ilmestynyt Rockway-blogissa.

Vintage C. F. Martin Style 2 soprano uke

Most of us will have started learning to play the uke with an affordable instrument, whose soundbox is probably made – at least in part – from laminated wood. Over time our playing will have improved, making us feel that it was maybe time to step up to a higher quality uke, which in most cases will mean an all-solid instrument.

If you’re interested in the history of this diminutive instrument you will have noticed that C. F. Martin & Co is a legendary maker of ukuleles. Even though Martin is a company based in Pennsylvania, they have started crafting ukes during the ukulele boom of the 1910s already. Not content making mere copies of Hawaiian instruments Martin almost singlehandedly developed the ukulele further, raising the benchmark for how a great uke should look and sound in the process. Martin also sold bucketloads of the little instruments – their ”economy model” alone, the Martin Style 0, sold almost 90,000 units between 1922 and 1994, when the original production run ended (temporarily).

The Martin Company originally introduced three soprano models in 1915, named Style 1, Style 2 and Style 3. The higher the Style’s number the more intricate the cosmetic features, like bindings and rosettes, would be.

My personal favourite is the dark brown all-mahogany Style 2, which is why I’ve chosen three all-solid Style 2-copies for this review.

A word about friction tuners

Most ukuleles these days are made with geared guitar tuners, which make tuning relatively easy for beginners. This is due to the so-called gear ratio, meaning the number of turns on a machine head’s knob relating to a full turn of the actual tuner post. This is normally somewhere between 14:1 and 18:1, meaning 14 or 18 turns of the knob shaft will give you one full turn of the tuner’s post.

Friction pegs aka patent tuners

Originally, all ukuleles came with simple wooden friction pegs that kept the strings in tune by simple friction between the hole in the headstock (aka peg head) and the wooden peg. This is exactly the same type of system that’s still in use on violins or cellos.

In 1920 Martin started introducing new-fangled friction pegs – first on more expensive models, but then across their whole uke range – which offered a much smoother tuning action. Friction tuners contain no gears, meaning their ”gear” ratio is 1:1 (like on a wooden peg), but here the friction is caused by metal washers, or plastic washers, or metal springs, that are forced against the front and back surfaces of the headstock. Their ”action” or stiffness can be adjusted with the screw at the top of the tuning button.

I would never recommend giving a beginner an instrument with patent pegs, because learning to tune your uke properly is hard enough in the beginning. But there is no reason to be afraid of friction pegs, either, once you know the basics of tuning your instrument. Just keep in mind that very little goes a long way with patent pegs, when it comes to hitting the correct pitch. You should also keep the right screwdriver handy for quick adjustments of the pegs’ stiffness, which can shift between summer and winter, due to the headstock wood expanding and contracting according to the relative humidity.

Nowadays friction tuners are mostly found on vintage-style ukuleles, like on the three instruments reviewed here.

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Flight MUS-2

Flight is a Chinese brand concentrating mostly on ukuleles.

The Flight MUS-2 (current price in Finland: 199 €; incl. gig bag) is their version of a Martin Style 2 soprano ukulele. This is a beautiful instrument that invokes its vintage mojo with the help of a matte open-pore finish over a rich brown wood stain.

Flight’s own additions to the recipe include wooden body binding – instead of the celluloid plastic used on the original – as well as a cream rosette around the soundhole.

The Flight MUS-2’s neck is solid mahogany, too, but made of three parts, with the neck heel and the upper half of the peg head glued to the neck’s long main part. This way of doing things is both more economic and better for the environment than carving the neck out of a much larger wooden blank.

The Flight’s fretboard and bridge have been made from walnut, while the top nut and the bridge saddle are genuine bone.

The MUS-2 uses a set of Gotoh friction pegs, which employ plastic knobs, silicone washers and metal sleeves to build up the necessary friction for keeping the strings under tension.

Neck width at the saddle is 34 mm, which is the de facto standard for most modern soprano ukuleles, even though this is two to three millimetres narrower than on most vintage ukes. The MUS-2 has a scale length of 34.9 cm, which is three millimetres longer than on a Martin soprano.

The MUS-2 has a nicely rounded D neck profile.

The workmanship on the Flight is on a really high level. My only, tiny bit of criticism points to the matte finish which is something of a fingerprint magnet on the test sample.

The MUS-2’s string action is modern and low. I measured 2.4 mm at the 12th fret for the g-string and 2.1 mm for the a-string. The action and the nicely rounded neck make for a very comfortable playing feel. Despite the low action, the Flight offers a very good dynamic range without any string rattles.

The Flight MUS-2 has a surprisingly big and full-bodied voice that projects very well, both to the player and to his (or her) audience.

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Ohana SK-38

Ohana is brand situated in the US, but with most of its production in China. Ohana is the Hawaiian word for ”family”.

Ohana’s 38 Series comprises of all-solid Style 2-copies in different body sizes, with the Ohana SK-38 (current price in Finland: 348 €) being the soprano model.

Cosmetically the SK-38 probably comes closest to the spirit of a vintage Martin Style 2, except for the slightly larger-than-vintage soundhole (about 2 mm more in diameter) and the position markers copied off a Style 1 instrument. Our test sample was a tiny bit heavier than the Flight ukulele, but still super-light compared to most string instruments.

In terms of colour and finishing the Ohana SK-38 is almost identical to the Flight, with the finish seeming even thinner here. Visually the SK-38 evokes the pre-1926 Martins that sported a brushed on cellulose-based finish. In 1926 Martin phased in spray finishes to speed up production.

The soundbox’ top sports three-ply plastic binding (b/w/b), while the back is single-ply. The vintage-type rosette is made up of alternating thin black and white rings.

The Ohana SK-38 sports a modern solid-mahogany neck with separate parts for the neck heel and the headstock’s top half. The Gotoh patent pegs are the same model found on the Flight, too.

The fretboard and bridge have been carved from ovangkol. The top nut and bridge saddle are both bovine bone.

Neck with at the nut is 34 mm on the SK-38, while the scale length is 34.9 cm.

I would call the Ohana SK-38’s neck profile a slightly flatted C-profile, which comes close in feel to modern Martin soprano uke necks. In terms of playing comfort there’s not much to divide the three reviewed sopranos.

The SK-38 displays a very high level of workmanship; I own an older version of this uke – one that sports a nut and bridge saddle carved from ebony – and I must say the build quality on the new version has clearly improved.

The very low string action on the test sample is a good indicator of the quality of the fretting. I measured 1.3 mm for the g-string and 1.4 mm for the a-string at the 12th fret. Despite this low action I experienced no problems whatsoever with fret rattle.

The Ohana SK-38 has a very balanced voice with a tiny bit less bottom end and a tad more sparkle, when compared to the Flight. The Ohana projects very well.

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Sigma SUM-2S

Originally, Sigma Guitars was C. F. Martin’s far-eastern brand, founded to combat the ever-increasing flow of Japanese Martin-copies in 1970. In 2007 Martin sold the brand to German company AMI GmbH, who has done quite a lot to raise the brand’s profile. Apart from copies of Martin guitars Sigma’s model range now also includes several Gibson-style acoustic guitars. Sadly, Sigma’s ukulele range has been discontinued at the start of 2022, meaning that the current stock of Sigma ukes in shops now will be the last, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Sigma SUM-2S (current price in Finland: 315 €; incl. gig bag) looks a bit more refined than the other two instruments in this review, due to its flat matte finish. The finish is very thin, but has been buffed to a flat matte sheen.

The SUM-2S is in the same weight class as the Ohana SK-38.

Anoraks would say that the Sigma SUM-2S is more of a ”Style 2.5” soprano, because it comes with the longer fretboard – offering 17 instead of 12 frets – of a Style 3 (and Style 5) uke.

In some respects, though, the SUM-2S comes closer to vintage Martin specifications than the other two contenders in this review:

Arguably the most important point here is the one-piece mahogany neck, which is a genuine rarity in this price range. Other features include a 36 mm wide neck at the nut, a smaller soundhole, the vintage-correct size and spacing of the position markers, as well as the original (shorter) Martin-scale of 34.6 cm.

The fretboard and the bridge have been made out of Indian rosewood, while the top nut and bridge saddle are genuine bone.

The Sigma SUM-2S uses Chinese Ping friction pegs, which produces the require friction by pressing the plastic tuner knobs into fat plastic washers. These pegs have been in for some criticism in a number of reviews, but to be fair, I haven’t had any tuning problems with the Ping pegs over the whole duration of testing the Sigma uke.

The neck profile on the Sigma SUM-2S is fatter than on the Ohana, but flatter than on the Flight, combining the best aspects of the two necks.

Even though the difference in neck width at the nut is only two millimetres, the Sigma’s neck feels roomier. This can make a huge difference in feel for people with large (or thick) fingers!

The Sigma’s set-up is very comfortable. I’ve measured an action of 2.1 mm for the g-string and 1.8 mm for the a-string at the 12th fret. The fretwork is excellent, meaning I’ve experienced no string rattles.

Like the other two instruments in this review the Sigma, too, came with Aquila Nylgut strings. Due to the slightly shorter scale length the strings feel maybe a little bit too slinky. I’d recommend trying fluorocarbon strings on the SUM-2S, which generally tend to feel a bit stiffer.

At first I thought the Sigma was quieter than the other two ukes, when in fact it even offers more of a vintage-style ”bark” for the audience (or a microphone). The smaller soundhole simply makes this ukulele project slightly less in the direction of the player himself (or herself). In terms of its sound the Sigma SUM-2S is the brightest sounding of the three reviewed models.

Ukulele Strings – Nylgut or Fluorocarbon?

Where there’s a forum, there’s a fight – or at least that’s what it looks like.

Electric guitarists like to argue for ages about valve amplifiers and digital amp modellers, and which one is ”better”.

Uke players, for their part, get all hot under the collar when it comes to ukulele strings. There are two main camps – Nylgut-fans and fluorocarbon-connoisseurs. Although the uke is classified as an nylon-string instrument, very few instruments are strung with straight nylon anymore.

Nylgut and Supernylgut strings have been developed in Italy. A string company named Aquila came up with a patented way of manufacturing plastic strings, whose sound and feel is as close as possible to traditional gut strings. Gut strings have always been somewhat problematic, because it is hard to produce a string of uniform quality, when the basic material is of animal origin. Additionally, gut strings react far stronger to changes in humidity and temperature (resulting in pitch fluctuations), compared to plastics like nylon.

Aquila Nylguts have become a de facto industry standard, especially for affordable and mid-price ukuleles.

Nylguts are easy to spot thanks to their milky look and silky surface. First-generation Nylgut strings tended to have a coarser surface, which made them susceptible to a bit of handling noise (faint squeaks), but current versions have managed to do away with this problem (almost) completely.

Aquila Nylguts tend to produce a crisp, bright and open sound, which is why they can be a good choice for darker sounding ukuleles (like many plywood-bodied instruments). Some players, though, dislike the soft bendiness of Nylgut strings.

Fluorocarbon strings are a quite recent addition, too, despite the fact that the material has already been in use for fishing lines for quite some time. Fluorocarbon is a sturdy and dense material that makes it possible to make slightly smaller gauge strings than Nylgut. Fluorocarbons also tend to feel a bit stiffer.

C.F. Martin’s ukuleles come strung with fluorocarbons as standard, and many high-end makers have started to follow Martin’s lead. Fluorocarbon strings are also quite popular with progressive players and many vintage ukulele owners.

Most fluorocarbon strings are clear, even though you can also buy coloured versions of this string type, too. In Finland Martin-strings are the most widely available, but many other manufacturers, like D’Addario, GHS or Worth, make their own quality fluorocarbons.

A seldomly mentioned advantage of fluorocarbon strings is that – because of their slightly smaller diameter – they can sometimes solve intonation problems, if a uke pitches slightly sharp with a set of Nylguts.

Fluorocarbon strings tend to sound meatier and punchier compared to Nylgut strings.

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The audio clips have been played on a pair of Martin Style 2-type sopranos – a Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) and an Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).

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Read Kitarablogi’s Ukulele Round-up 2017 HERE.Save

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Ukulelekielet – Nylgut vai fluorocarbon?

Missä nettifoorumi siinä ilmiriita – tai siitä ainakin näyttää.

Sähkökitaristit kinastelevat siitä, onko putkivahvistin parempi kuin digitaalinen vastine.

Ukulelesoittajat taas riitelevät kielistä. On olemassa kaksi pääleiriä – Nylgut-fanit ja fluorocarbon-ystävät.

Nylgut- ja Supernylgut-kielet on keksitty Italiassa. Aquila-niminen kieltenvalmistaja keksi tavan valmistaa muovisia kieliä, joiden soundi ja soittotuntuma on mahdollisimman lähellä laadukkaita suolikieliä. Suolikielten huonot puolet ovat – eläinperäisyyden lisäksi – tasalaatuisuuden saavuttamisen hankaluus, sekä se että kielet elävät tuntuvasti sään mukaan (niiden vire muuttuu).

Aquila Nylgut -kielistä on tullut edullisien ja keskihintaisten ukulelejen keskuudessa tietynlainen laatustandardi.

Nylgutit tunnistaa yleensä kielten maitomaisesta värityksestä ja silkkisestä pinnasta. Vanhoissa Nylgut-kielissä niiden karheammasta pinnasta syntyi joskus kummallisia sivuäänejä (vikinä) soittaessaan, mutta nykyisissä versioissa ongelma on saatu (lähes) sataprosenttisesti halttuun.

Aquila Nylgut -kielten sointi on suhteellisen kirkas ja hyvin avoin, minkä ansiosta ne ovatkin hyvä valinta tummasti soivalle soittimelle (esim. vanerikoppainen ukulele). Jotkut soittajat eivät kuitenkaan tykkää Nylgut-kielten taipuisuudesta.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat myös melko uusi keksintö, vaikka materiaalia tunnetaan jo pidemmän ajan kalastussiimoista. Fluorocarbon on hyvin kestävä materiaali, josta saa valmistettua Nylgutia (tai nylonia) ohuempia kieliä, joilla on kuitenkin jäykempi tatsi.

C.F. Martinin ukulelet toimitetaan tehtaasta fluorocarbon-kielillä, ja niiden suosio vintage-ukulelejen omistajien ja progressivisten soittajien keskuudessa on yhä kasvussa.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat usein täysin läpinäkyviä, vaikka värillisiä vaihtoehtojakin on olemassa. Yleisimmät fluorocarbon-kielet Suomessa ovat varmasti Martin-kielet.

Yksi etu fluorocarboneissa – josta ei puhuta niin usein – on, että kielet voivat joskus, pienemmän läpimittansa ansiosta, parantaa hieman ylivireisesti soivan ukulelen intonaatiota.

Fluorocarbon-kielet soivat tavallisesti hieman isommalla keskialueella ja volyymillä kuin Nylgut-satsi.

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Esimerkkipätkät on soitettu kahdella Martin Style 2 -tyylisillä sopraanoukuleleilla – Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) ja Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).

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Kitarablogin suuri ukulelekatsaus 2017 löytyy TÄÄLTÄ.

Rockwayn sopraanoukulele-katsaus ilmestyy marraskuun alussa: blog.rockway.fi/

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Review: Tanglewood TU-1CE, TU-3, TU-3E & TU-5

Tanglewood TU-3E – headstock VID

The humble ukulele’s popularity has been on the rise over the last few years, not least because these instruments are easy to carry around and plenty of fun to play.

This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by British brand Tanglewood, who have recently broadened their range of ukes.

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Tanglewood ukuleles – teaser

The quartet of ukes we’ve received for testing – the TU-1CE, the TU-3, the TU-3E and the TU-5 – are all part of Tanglewood’s mahogany-bodied Union-series.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – headstock

All Union-series ukuleles have mahogany necks with glued-on neck heels and headstocks.

The fingerboards have been crafted from rosewood.

Tanglewood – uke tuners VID

Tanglewood’s geared, open tuners work very well.

Tanglewood TU-3 – bridge

Ukuleles come with one of several different bridge designs, depending on the manufacturer.

Tanglewood has chosen the most practical ukulele bridge, which anchors the knotted string ends in little slots cut into the top of the bridge.

Tanglewood TU-3 – body beauty 2

All Union-series ukuleles have a sound box made from laminated mahogany.

The instruments have received a clear satin finish.

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – beauty shot

Tanglewood’s TU-1CE (current price in Finland 116 €) is a soprano ukulele with a deep cutaway. It comes with a pickup and preamp installed.

The soprano is the smallest of the common four ukulele sizes. The TU-1CE has a scale of only 34.5 cm.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – cutaway

The workmanship on this Tanglewood (built in the Far East) is very good in relation to its low price. Look at that clean neck joint!

Tanglewood TU-1CE – frets

The TU-1CE sports 16 small frets, as well as dot position markers.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – back beauty 2

This soprano comes factory-equipped with top quality Aquila Nylgut strings.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – preamp + tuner

The Tanglewood’s preamplifier is powered by a button cell and offers controls for volume and tone, as well as a chromatic tuner.

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Tanglewood TU-3 – case

The Tanglewood TU-3 (119 €) is a concert-sized uke. A stylish hardcase is included in the price.

Tanglewood TU-3 – soundhole

A Concert-ukulele is the next bigger size to a soprano.

This model has a 37.5 cm scale.

Tanglewood TU-3 – beauty shot

This TU-3 has an exceptionally nicely grained body…

Tanglewood TU-3 – back beauty

…with a highly figured back.

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Tanglewood TU-3E – preamp

The TU-3’s electroacoustic version – the Tanglewood TU-3E (129 €) – comes equipped with the same preamp model we’ve already seen on the TU-1CE.

Tanglewood TU-3E – body angle VID

The TU-3E’s fingerboard offers you 18 small frets.

Tanglewood TU-3E – rosette VID

The simple rosette found on all Union-series ukuleles complements the organic, woody look of the instruments very well.

Tanglewood TU-3E – body back angle VID

The output jack is situated on the lower rim.

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Tanglewood TU-5 – case vs2

Just like the two Union concert-ukuleles, Tanglewood’s baritone uke, the TU-5-ukulelessa (149 €), also comes in its sturdy case.

Tanglewood TU-5 – beauty 2 VID

The baritone is the largest traditional ukulele size, with the TU-5’s scale length measuring 51.2 cm.

Tanglewood TU-5 – bridge + rosette VID

The TU-5is equipped with 20 small frets. Our test sample came with a set of black nylon strings tuned to High-g-tuning (d4-g3-h3-e4), meaning that the fourth string is one octave above a regular guitar string.

Tanglewood TU-5 – back beauty 2 VID

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – full front

This is what the TU-1CE sounds like when recorded with a condenser microphone:

The built-in piezo system results in a very decent direct sound:

This clips mixes the microphone with the piezo output:

Tanglewood TU-1CE – full back

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Tanglewood TU-3 – full front

I recorded the concert-sized Tanglewoodin TU-3 with an AKG C3000 and a Shure SM57:

Tanglewood TU-3 – full back

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Tanglewood TU-3E – full front

Acoustically, the piezo-equipped TU-3E sounds virtually indentical to the all-acoustic TU-3:

Sadly, our test sample displayed some sort of trouble with its under-saddle transducer (probably an uneven bridge slot), which rendered the pickup sound rather useless, because the middle pair of strings was much louder than the two outermost strings:

Here’s a mix of the TU-3E’s electric and acoustic signals:

Tanglewood TU-3E – full back

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Tanglewood TU-5 – full front

I recorded Tanglewood’s TU-5 baritone uke using an AKG C3000 condenser microphone and Shure’s dynamic model SM57:

Tanglewood TU-5 – full back

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – beauty shot 2

Tanglewood’s Union-series ukes are well-made, lightweight instruments with a very down-to-earth charm.

Regardless of their low price tags these ukes are decent musical instruments, not toys!

I must say I enjoyed Tanglewood’s fat neck profiles a lot. These are neck a grown-up man can hold on to!

Judging by the fine performance of the TU-1CE’s pickup system, I’m willing to believe that the TU-3E’s underwhelming pickup sound is just a one-off oversight in quality control.

Still, the whole picture is really very positive, both in terms of workmanship and sound. The inclusion on classy-looking hard cases in the price of the three ”bigger” models on test makes these Tanglewoods even more enticing. In my view, Tanglewood’s Union-series ukuleles are a great, and affordable, way to get to know the Hawaiian cousin of the guitar.

Tanglewood TU-5 – beauty shot VID

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Tanglewood Union-sarja ukuleles

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

TU-1CE – 116 €

TU-3 – 119 €

TU-3E – 129 €

TU-5 – 149 €

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Pros (all models):

+ workmanship

+ satin finish

+ fretwork

+ Aquila-strings (except for TU-5)

+ case included (not with TU-1CE)

+ TU-1CE: good-sounding piezo system

Cons:

– TU-3E: piezo system’s performance in review sample

– TU-5: spongy feel of factory-installed strings

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Tanglewood TU-3 – body back angle

Testipenkissä: Tanglewood TU-1CE, TU-3, TU-3E & TU-5

Tanglewood TU-3E – headstock VID

Ukulele on tällä hetkellä kovasti ”in”. Kompaktia soitinta on hauska soittaa ja se kulkee helposti mukana.

Tämän asian on huomannut myös englantilainen brändi Tanglewood, joka on hiljattain laajentanut ukulele-valikoimaansa.

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Tanglewood ukuleles – teaser

Testissä käynyt kvartetti – TU-1CE, TU-3, TU-3E ja TU-5 – tulee Tanglewoodin mahonkikoppaisesta Union-sarjasta.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – headstock

Kaikissa Union-sarjan ukuleleissa on mahonkikaula, jossa kaulakorko ja lapa ovat liimattuna pitkään pääosaan.

Otelauta on palisanterista.

Tanglewood – uke tuners VID

Tanglewoodin avoimet virittimet toimivat moitteettomasti.

Tanglewood TU-3 – bridge

Ukuleleissa käytetään valmistajasta riippuen useita eri tallaratkaisuja.

Tanglewood on päättänyt käyttää niistä helppokäyttöisintä mallia, jossa kielet kiinnitetään solmulla tallan edestä.

Tanglewood TU-3 – body beauty 2

Union-sarja ukuleleissa on kaikukoppa mahonkivanerista.

Soittimet on viimeistelty ohuella mattalakkauksella.

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – beauty shot

Tanglewood TU-1CE (116 €) on soololovella ja mikrofonijärjestelmällä varustettu sopraano-kokoinen ukulele.

Sopraano on tavallisista ukulele-kokoluokista pienin, ja näin ollen TU-1CE:n mensuuri on vain 34,5 cm.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – cutaway

Kauko-Idässä valmistetun Tanglewoodin työnjälki on hintaansa nähden erinomainen, mikä näkyy esimerkiksi erittäin siististä kaulaliitoksesta.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – frets

TU-1CE:n otelaudassa on 16 pienikokoista nauhaa.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – back beauty 2

TU-1CE on varustettu laadukkailla Aquila Nylgut -kielillä.

Tanglewood TU-1CE – preamp + tuner

Tanglewoodin kylkeen on asennettu nappiparistolla toimiva esivahvistin TU-1CE:n pietsomikrofonille. Volume- ja tone-säätimien lisäksi esivahvistin tarjoaa myös oivan viritysmittarin.

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Tanglewood TU-3 – case

Tanglewood TU-3 (119 €) on konsertti-kokoinen ukulele, ja se toimitetaan omassa laukussaan.

Tanglewood TU-3 – soundhole

Concert-ukulele on yksi kokoluokka sopraanosta ylöspäin.

Tämän mallin mensuuri on 37,5 cm.

Tanglewood TU-3 – beauty shot

Testissä käynyt TU-3 on kaunis yksilö niin etu-…

Tanglewood TU-3 – back beauty

…kuin takapuoleltakin.

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Tanglewood TU-3E – preamp

TU-3:n sähköistetyssä versiossa – Tanglewood TU-3E (129 €) – on sama etuvahvistin kuin TU-1CE-mallissa.

Tanglewood TU-3E – body angle VID

TU-3E:n otelauta tarjoaa 18 pientä nauhaa.

Tanglewood TU-3E – rosette VID

Union-sarjan ukuleleiden yksinkertainen musta rosetti istuu tyylikkäästi soittimien luonnonläheiseen imagoon.

Tanglewood TU-3E – body back angle VID

Mikkijärjestelmän lähtöjakki on asennettu kopan sivuun.

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Tanglewood TU-5 – case vs2

Myös Tanglewoodin baritoni-kokoisessa TU-5-ukulelessa (149 €) laadukas laukku kuuluu hintaan.

Tanglewood TU-5 – beauty 2 VID

Baritoni on isoin perinteinen ukulelekoko. TU-5:n mensuurin pituus on 51,2 cm.

Tanglewood TU-5 – bridge + rosette VID

TU-5:llä on 20 pientä nauhaa. Tämä malli toimitetaan tehtaalta mustilla nylonkielillä korkeassa g-virityksessä (d4-g3-h3-e4), jossa D-kieli on viritetty oktaavin verran ylemmäs kuin akustisessa kitarassa.

Tanglewood TU-5 – back beauty 2 VID

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – full front

Tältä TU-1CE-sopraano kuulostaa studiomikrofonilla mikitettynä:

Linjasoitostakin lähtee laadukas versio pienokaisen akustisesta äänestä:

Ja molemmista äänilähteistä yhdistetty signaali on tällainen:

Tanglewood TU-1CE – full back

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Tanglewood TU-3 – full front

Äänitin Tanglewoodin TU-3 konserttiukulelea samanaikaisesti sekä kondensaattorimikrofonilla (AKG C3000) että dynaamisella Shure SM57:llä:

Tanglewood TU-3 – full back

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Tanglewood TU-3E – full front

Mikitettynä pietsolla varustettu TU-3E kuulostaa käytännössä samalta kuin täysin akustinen TU-3:

Valitettavasti testiyksilön tallamikrofonin asennuksessa (tai sen toiminnassa) oli jotain häikkää, minkä takia ukulelen kaksi reunimmaiset kielet eivät kuulu käytännössä lainkaan:

Tältä kuulostavat TU-3E:n akustinen ja linjasignaali summattuina:

Tanglewood TU-3E – full back

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Tanglewood TU-5 – full front

Äänitin Tanglewood TU-5 -baritoniukulelea samanaikaisesti sekä AKG C3000 -kondensaattorimikrofonilla että Shuren dynaamisella SM57:llä:

Tanglewood TU-5 – full back

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Tanglewood TU-1CE – beauty shot 2

Tanglewoodin Union-sarjan ukulelet ovat laadukkaasti tehtyjä, kevyitä soittimia, joilla on mattaviimeistelyn tuoma hillitty charmi.

Nämä ukulelet ovat jo ihan oikeita soittimia, edullisista hinnoista huolimatta!

Pidän todella paljon Tanglewoodien tuhdista kaulaprofiilista, joka tarjoaa myös aikuisen kädelle reilusti mistä pitää kiinni.

Testissä käyneen TU-3E:n sähkösoundissa ilmentynyt ongelma on toki harmittava yksilövika, etenkin kun sitä vertaa TU-1CE:n mallikkaasti toimivaan pietsojärjestelmään.

Kokonaiskuva on kuitenkin hyvin positiivinen, niin työnjäljen kuin soundin osilta. Kolmen ”isompien” mallien kovat laukut tekevät näistä Tanglewood-soittimista entistäkin houkuttelevampia. Mielestäni Tanglewoodin Union-sarjan ukulelet ovat erittäin hyvä (ja edullinen) tapa tutustua ukulelen soittamiseen hieman vakavammin.

Tanglewood TU-5 – beauty shot VID

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Tanglewood Union-sarja ukulelet

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

TU-1CE – 116 €

TU-3 – 119 €

TU-3E – 129 €

TU-5 – 149 €

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Plussat (kaikki mallit):

+ työnjälki

+ mattaviimeistely

+ nauhatyö

+ Aquila-kielet (ei TU-5)

+ kova laukku kuuluu hintaan (ei TU-1CE)

+ TU-1CE: laadukas pietsosoundi

Miinukset:

– TU-3E: pietsosignaalin epätasaisuus testiyksilössä

– TU-5: ensiasennuskielten löysähkö soittotuntuma

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Tanglewood TU-3 – body back angle

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