Sunday, 7 November 2010

Review: RISA Solid Electric Ukulele

My RISA Solid Concert Size Ukulele + Amp + Can of Coke
I have a small confession to make, true ukulele enthusiasts please look away now, but the fact is that I bought this uke because it is "cool".  Yes it's true, as much as I love the ukulele you can't ever accuse them of being "cool".  Most people, including me - a strapping 6' tall, big boned man - look bloody ridiculous playing them.  But the RISA solid electric ukulele is just, in a word - cool.

This is no gimmick uke.  It is a quality made item, crafted from a single solid piece of maple wood hence the name the "Solid".  The satin finish is a joy to caress.  The design can only be described as a possible future classic.  The strings appear from 4 small holes at the end of the fretboard and bend around a shiny metallic cylinder bridge,  finally ending up at a set of 4 pegs on the top of the body.  This reverse setup of the pegs allows for the small profile design and, this is the best bit, for a traveller like me it fits right into my case comfortably. I have read that people find this uke difficult to tune, this has not been my experience and it will hold it's tune for a remarkably long time.  Play it without amplification and you won't hear a great deal, I see this as a positive, you can practice without upsetting your long suffering ukulele widow.  Plug in an amp and the quality pickup sounds great.

That was everything I love about the instrument, let's talk about a couple of the negatives.  The action is very very low.  Now this is great for a player with ability, I am of moderate ability and I find that if I am clumsy with my finger position or don't press hard enough I am going to get fret-buzz, amplified it can sound bad.  That said, you get used to it, and on a positive note it has made me more precise in my playing.  The lack of headstock means that your left hand can slip right off the end of the instrument causing your to flail around in a comic fashion.  My final comment is - apparently - the shape is not everyone's cup of tea! Amazing, but there you go.  Some people have no taste.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my first (completely unbiased) review of a ukulele.  Many more will come.  Check back soon!

Playing us out, the amazingly talented Wilfried Welti playing Saint Saens organ symphony.


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