For this review, the ukulele was provided free of charge by Strong Wind. My impressions are based on an “out of the box” ukulele with no tweaks or adjustments of any kind. No form of payment was given in exchange for a positive review. All views and statements are honest and stem from my experience with the ukulele over several weeks. All pictures are of the actual Strong Wind ukulele I’ve received for this review.
This ukulele is quite the looker, but more on that later. How well is it built? Very well. On the ukulele I’ve received I couldn’t find any big deficits such as leftover glue residues or small chips (which is more often the case than not on budget ukuleles). The bridge was installed properly and the action is actually quite good. Could always be lower, but looking at the price point, this is perfect for beginning ukulele players. It’s unsure what material the bridge and nut are made off, but they appear to do there job of transferring the vibration of the strings to the body as the ukulele has a nice volume.
Another thing that’s well thought out are the open back tuners. They are attached to the headstock with two screws which may aid in loose tuners and thus reducing potential ukulele buzzing. Tension is quite good on the tuners, and in my period of testing (several weeks) it has kept its initial tuning very well. The Aquila Nylgut strings it comes with are of course the standard these days. If your ukulele comes with anything less than these strings, replace them now.
The body has an okoume top and “tiger wood” mahogany for back and sides (laminated) which gives this ukulele a warm typical soprano ukulele feel. The fretboard is constructed from rosewood and the frets are well aligned with none of the frets sticking out more than the other. They are filed away nicely at the edges so there are no sharp edges, unlike some other ukuleles in its price range.
Tone & Playing
There are three primary ukuleles sizes: soprano, concert, and tenor. This particular Strong Wind ukulele is a soprano-sized ukulele, which is the smallest of the three sizes with 12 frets. If you need something bigger, Strong Wind offers lots of alternatives.
This ukulele has a rather big volume for its size, which is always nice. It doesn’t sound muffled at all. It has that typical hawaiian ukulele sound although it sounds a bit too boxed for my taste. While this is related to the ukulele being soprano-sized, it is more present than on other soprano’s I’ve played before.
It plays very nicely, no issues at all in that departement. For both (heavy) strumming as fingerpicking you can use this ukulele and its very playable. The lower action definitely plays an important role here. Furthermore, I couldn’t find any fret buzzing on my ukulele, which might save a lot of headaches for beginning ukulele players.
This is a wonderful looking ukulele and I think that the photo’s do it justice. It has a warm look with it’s okoume top and mahogany back and sides. The subtle abalone inlay around the soundhole could perhaps be done with a bit more eye for detail.
Fretmarkers are basic, but nevertheless present, both on the fretboard as on the side of the neck, again very helpful for beginning ukulele players. Strong Wind branding is also quite subtle and is something that I can always appreciate.
It comes in a matte finish, which I prefer to be honest as it doesn’t attract as much fingerprints as a glossy one, but it might look a bit “cheaper”.
The $70 price point seems reasonable for this ukulele. It’s not the “budget-budget” ukulele at $30-$50, but the ukulele you get does justify the extra $$$. On the other hand, it does stay under that 3-figure mark, making it within the range for beginning ukulele players looking for their first ukulele. On top of that, it comes with a decent padded gigbag, a ukulele tuner, an extra set of strings and a strap.
It’s a good looking ukulele and perfect for people searching for that typical ukulele look. It has the perfect sound and size for that as well, although a bit boxed in for my taste. The ukulele has a more than decent build quality for its price point.
Where to buy?
This ukulele can be bought directly from the Strong Wind store through this link.