Okay guys, I know, I’ve been quiet for the last little while. I still owe you a bunch of song recordings that I haven’t done, and I am still working on the chapbook project (though I admit I needed a bit of a break from that after banging out five of them, so it’s on a very brief hiatus while I give my poetry-brain a breather), but, I’ve also got two new toys to talk about, so I figured, since I’m unexpectedly home today while waiting for a dentist appointment, I could at least talk to you about that. I’ll do them as separate posts, for sake of efficiency.
The first thing I’m going to talk about is the Vorson Concert Ukulele.
I’ve had this on my to do list for a while. While I have several ukes, I just didn’t really have any I was fully comfortable calling a beater. My Kala KA 15S would technically fit the bill. It’s reasonably inexpensive and I don’t play it often, but it’s also my primary soprano, since my Rubin RS 400L tends not to be the best at staying in tune, and overall the build of the Kala is just plain better. Sure, a soprano upgrade is in my future at some point, but even then, I probably won’t feel comfortable chucking a wood uke in the back of my car for any extended period of time. That’s just me.
So, I have had it in my mind for a while to get an all-plastic uke with the purpose of using it as a car-lele. I wanted something cheap and plastic that I could chuck in the back of the car and mostly forget about, so it would be there to work out ideas on when I find myself out and about with some time to kill. Basically, I was shopping for something that I’d be comfortable beating the hell out of.
That’s where the Vorson came in. It’s all plastic, except for the tuning pegs, so can stand heat, water, or whatever else I want to throw at it, it had good reviews, and as a bonus, it was even a concert size, which happens to be the size I tend to favor.
At the time that I write this post, it’s retailing at around $30 USD. So, I forked over for the blue one, because it was the 2nd cheapest when I was shopping. I wasn’t willing to have a pink ukulele, even as a beater, just to save a buck. I would have totally gone for the orange one, since that’s my favorite color, but I wasn’t willing to pay an extra twenty bucks for it. So, blue it was.
When the uke arrived, I had a few surprises in store. First of all, I liked the sound of it way more than I expected to. Don’t get me wrong – it still sounds like you’re playing a hollow hunk of plastic, but in a way that’s more kitschy than outright crappy. It ended up being sort of acoustically fun and quirky. Buuut…the first try had to go back due to two crappy tuners. It would have been easy to fix myself by just swapping them out, but since getting replacement parts was not an option, replacing the entire uke was how it had to go.
Soo, they shipped me a replacement uke. The 2nd one arrived in a completely unsealed box. Okay, let’s back track, the first one, which was defective, arrived in an uke box inside a box almost as tall as I am, filled with paper padding. The second one arrived in an uke box, with no padding, that wasn’t even taped shut. Guys, this is a $30 plastic uke. my issue is obviously not the lack of padding. My issue is that they took a box off a shelf, stuck a label on it, and sent it on it’s merry little way without sealing it at all so anyone could have just opened it up and taken it right out without disturbing the packaging, that if someone dropped that box, the uke would have fallen right out and gone flying. Also, a bit confused about the packaging inconsistency.
But, I digress on the packaging issue. The 2nd uke arrived…better. While the first uke had one tuner that was a bit stiff and one that was almost completely immobile (you could hear grating metal when you attempted to turn it), the 2nd uke arrived with one tuner that was stiff, but usable. I decided to leave well-enough alone. I could be exchanging a $30 uke into infinity if I didn’t.
Still, the lesson here is that the Vorson comes with some of the crappiest tuning pegs I’ve ever seen, and I will eventually swap them out. Even with that, though, it is a good deal for what it is. Remember, everything is about perspective.
-inexpensive, durable, keeps tune reasonably well in spite of the horrible tuning pegs, the plastic uke sound is honestly kind of fun
-horrible tuning pegs, action is a bit too high
The down sides, I think, for an uke in this price bracket, are to be expected, and it’s still entirely playable in spite of them, so I’m overall calling this a win. It will make a good beater uke, or a beach/pool uke since you don’t really have to worry about getting it wet. I would, however, go in planning to replace the tuning pegs if you buy it, and just be pleasantly surprised if you don’t have to.