Fender Nohea Ukulele Review - 07-12-2010

uke_nohea_11.jpgGiven the recent resurgence in popularity of the Ukulele, Fender, who is usually better known, for there fine range of guitars, basses and amplifiers, have also produced a new range of ukuleles in Hawaiian tradition but with a Fender twist.

The particular model we will be reviewing is the Nohea, which together with its Hau’Oli and Pa’ina cousins make up the new product range.

The Nohea is a tenor sized ukulele which is tuned with re-entrant C tuning (G C E A) that is, the same as the smaller soprano ukulele’s. Being larger it has a louder voice which can also said to be mellower, chords etc are easier to play as well. The instrument is also easier to hold in my opinion.

The Nohea‘s body is constructed with mahogany, with scalloped fan bracing for support. Koa is used for the top which is the same type of wood used for Hawaiian dugout canoes. The top and rosette are complemented with aged acrylic abalone binding. This model is protected with a gloss finish (the other models are satin).

noheastock.jpgAs for the neck this is also made from mahogany, has 19 frets and features aged white binding. The Telecaster shaped headstock gives this instrument its distinctive Fender style and also practically provides straight string pull to the sealed tuners.

The instrument is supplied with a padded gigbag but I also opted to purchase a suitable hard case so as to take it on the road safely.

Onto the build quality, to me the instrument is flawless. It is well made and shows no issues or faults even the binding is well executed. Also there is no overspray on the paint work or any glue marks as sometimes found on cheaper instruments

uke_nohea_17.jpgNow that you know all the specifications, we’ll talk about playability. Firstly although I’ve been playing guitar for many years, I only took an interest in Ukuleles this summer. I first of all bought an inexpensive soprano ukulele, and now that was getting accustomed to the instrument decided to get something a bit more serious.

In that frame of mind the Nohea delivers. It is well made, has a nice neck which I can get my fingers around far better than the tiny soprano, intonates and tunes well and has a great mellow sound. I’ve actually been using the Peterson Strobo-Clip with its sweetened Ukulele tuning offset which works out great.

The Nohea doesn’t have any electronics but readers might find it useful to know that you can buy an inexpensive clip on tuner such as the Cherub Wcp-55, I however found better result clipping it to the soundhole rather than the headstock.

Hear and see the demos below and judge for yourself, I would definitely recommend you check out the Fender range of ukuleles at your nearest Fender dealer.

By Ernest H Slade