Acouway Zodiac Uke Quick Impressions

Saw this interesting uke on sale online and I thought there’s no harm in getting one for about $100 shipped to my door.


This one’s got a solid spruce top and laminated rosewood body. I really like the wood bindings and abalone trims all around the uke. Looks great.


Look at the flame on the neck. Cool.


It’s called the Zodiac uke because you can order one with your Zodiac sign inlaid on the fingerboard. Another look of the abalone binding in this shot.


Initial impressions were good as it definitely sounds better than many cheap ukes on the market. The solid top really made the difference. But then again, this is a $100 uke, so don’t expect Made in Hawaii tone and quality. I found some tiny imperfections such as smudge on the gloss finish. No biggie at this price.

The uke came with a nicely padded gig bag and some accessories like polishing cloth and some souvenir. Strings are in fact Aquila Super Nylguts.


I gotta praise the seller for the good packaging. The entire package was wrapped in two layers of thick “air pillow” that looks like it will survive any abuse from freight staff. That’s the way to ship instruments.


Here’s another look at the nice creamy spruce top which the seller claims to be AAA grade. It’s got a compensated bone saddle too.


Clover likes it. 🙂





Alvarez AU70C Setup & Pickup Installation

Worked on this uke last month.


The AU70C belongs to the missus and it’s been sitting there for some time. I figured it’s time to install the last few pickups I have and do a setup too.


It’s a pretty well-made uke with a solid spruce top and laminate rosewood b/s, and really aesthetically pleasing with the satin finish, abalone rosette and herringbone binding on the body.


Lowering nut height

The strings at nut tend to sit a lil’ high so I guess it’s better to sand down the nut instead of filing each slot individually. I used a flat chip board and gently knocked off the nut.


Warning: Be very gentle or you risk breaking off the headstock. Most nuts should have some glue to hold it in place and it may also be a good idea to heat up the area before removal.


Sanding nut and saddle

So we got both the nut and saddle ready to be filed down.


Just a tiny wad of glue will do.


And we have the nut nicely glued in.


I took the time to give the fretboard and frets some TLC. Ax Wax and steel wool perform their magic with Bowie overseeing the work.


Installing JJB 110 pickup

Drilling for the end jack

We need a 12mm hole at the base. Always tape up to prevent cracks on the finish. The exact point to drill was located using a simple caliper and ruler.

I work from 3mm – 5mm – 8mm – 10mm and finally 12mm. This is actually faster than using a step bit. We’ll clean up the wood dust later.

OK, we got a nice 12mm hole.

Some filing is needed to smooth out the insides which will have some splinters. I use a cheap small file for this.

The trusted copper wire is inserted from the end…

Then it exits via the sound hole for me to attach the endjack…

And finally I “fish” it back out at the bottom end.

Screw in the end pin and it’s done.

Since there’s only one transducer to be glued, it’s a fairly easy job. But try to glue the single transducer as near as the centre of the bridge plate.

Restrung with Aquila Nylguts

Tune up, and we’re good to go. 🙂 Bowie had been the sole assistant for this project.

Let’s see when this will get a chance to be played plugged-in.


New Fender California Coast Ukes

Fender has announced the new California Coast series of ukes.

California Coast Ukeleles

There are 5 models in this series, retailing from US$59.99 to US$249.99.

Features include no-tie bridge for easier re-stringing, Fender in-line tuners on some models, and bindings on higher priced ukes.



This is the most affordable and smallest uke. Basically a soprano, this has all laminate construction and should be targeted at beginners.



The Seaside is also a soprano, but comes with a more traditional 2X2 headstock design.



A bigger model, this concert sized uke has bindings on the neck and body. Still laminated construction though.



The Rincon is considerably a step higher in the lineup. Solid ovangkol top and electronics are added to this one.



This is the top-of-the-line uke. Has a solid koa top, abalone bindings and a gloss body.

Read more

*photos from MarketsInsider and