Sunday, February 20, 2011

ashton uke

Okay, so I bought this cheap ukulele. Wanted to see if it's as bad as it could be. (Apparently this is the kind that schools normally get.) It is pretty bad.


  • price
  • 3 of the 4 strings sound almost okayish on the first 4 frets.
  • the other string sounds okayish open.
  • it has an easy clean laminate finish.


  • the action was set so high that it was painful to play. (note past tense)
  • the strings are awful. Really thick.
  • the frets aren't a semitone apart after #5. On the C string they fail after the first fret.
  • It has an easy clean laminate finish.

I wish I could be more positive about it, but it's a pretty poor excuse for an instrument. In my mind there is no excuse for the ridiculous height of the action or the misplaced frets. I feel wrong even considering buying a class set, but in the current ukulele crisis, maybe a poor uke is better than no uke. But maybe not.

I've been operating on it. Figured it couldn't get much worse... I got the knife onto both ends and cut away a significant amount to lower the action. This has made it easier to play. Tomorrow I'm buying a new set of strings. This might make a big difference. There's nothing I can do to fix the frets, but the kids won't be playing past the 5th anyway. The C string will always sound bad.

Here's what it sounds like now.


  1. Forgive my ignorance (especially as I have an elderly cheap one - bought when I was 4, about 32 years ago) but what does "height of the action" mean?

  2. Action = How high the strings are off the fretboard.

  3. Posts about Ukuleles = boringness. Said with love.

    A (C)

  4. The words boring and ukelele don't belong in the same sentence :) My cheap maholo is much the same. I think the bottom end of the ukelele market is basically a market in toys rather than musical instruments.

  5. Anon C.

    Shame on you. Shame shame shame. Just you wait. In the new creation I will station myself with a tribe of ukuleles players and hang there for the first century or so. If you want to talk to me you'll have to get over your aversion to all things uke. I suggest you start working on it now.

    Also said with love (and warning.)

  6. Huh! You and Jon can also run the Uke Tragics Club in the New Creation. You'll be the only members... For sure...:)

  7. At Lucy's school they are learning African drumming in music.