4/20/2016

2014 Covered Bridge Flamed Mahogany Tenor Ukulele




Being mostly-familiar with antique instruments, I'd never heard of Covered Bridge ukes before, but this is certainly a well-made (Oregon-made) instrument of quite high-quality materials. Its voice is "extremely mainland" to my ears as it basically sounds an awful-lot like an old Martin tenor uke. This means chocolate-voiced, sweet, mellow, and jazzy in a way that suits backup for singing and lounge-ish instrumental tunes. Notes are round and full without many distracting overtones.

While made in 2014, the instrument itself is essentially "as-new," though there are a few swirly "polishing marks" if you look closely. It's gorgeous, though -- look at the absurd flame to the mahogany on the body -- and then mixed with the (nicely-chosen) tortoise binding and Martin-ish appointments.

It looks like a uke of similar specs (fancy-wise) to this would list new around $900-1000 these days.



The headstock recalls some 1920s Regals with its "roof-top" looks. Note the nice flamed-mahogany veneer to the headstock. Both the 1 1/2" nut and saddle are bone. The tuners are Peghed 4:1 geared tuners and the maker has done a very good job at installing them (personally, I find installing them frustrating to say the least).

The only work needed on my part was to replace the strings with fresh fluorocarbon ones and slightly nudge the setup. It plays spot-on at 1/16" action at the 12th fret.


The board is ebony, flat-profile, and has pearl dots. Fit and finish are excellent, here, and 14 frets are free of the body.

The neck has a vintage-feeling C shape that starts out thinner front-to-back (on par with an old Martin) and thickens past the 5th fret to the heel.




Ouch! My eyes! That's a lot of flame.



The neck joint appears to be a Spanish heel on this one (judging by the internals), though I might be wrong on hat. The thick ebony heel cap looks "luxury" to me.





The tortoise binding looks really good as an offset to the mahogany. The finish is thin and semi-gloss.







I fuzzed-out my first picture of the bridge, but this gives you an idea of its nice back-angle on the saddle.

This has a "string through" string-loading type with tiny holes drilled right through the top. You shoot the string through the hole, pull it out the soundhole, and extra-knot it before pulling it back up to the headstock to secure it against the bridge plate. This is an efficient way to make a uke bridge as it ensures good back-angle and puts the least sideways pull on the bridge itself (ie, the tension that pulls a bridge off the top).

I often modify old uke bridges to this style of stringing if the old bridges are worn or need better back-angle to work properly after action is adjusted (read: a lot of old Hawaiian ukes from the 20s).


The only "flaw" I could find is the join/break of the purfling on the top edge.


The uke comes with a nice, well-fit, hard case.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very nice Uke. Are you selling?