3 SONGS TO PLAY “On the Beach at Waikiki”

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3 SONGS TO PLAY “On the Beach at Waikiki”

kulelePRESENTSENTS3 SONGS TO PLAY“On the Beach at Waikiki”“After You’ve Gone”“C.C. Rider”JAMES HILLFrom Virtuoso to Singer-SongwriterBlues on the UkeLESSON WITH FRED SOKOLOWCONTEMPORARYUKULELE MAKERSUke EntrepreneurJIM BELOFFSPRING2013REVIEWSBOULDER CREEK Riptide UC-5NSKALA KA-SMLTE-C TenorOHANA CKP-70 ConcertHOW TORESTRINGYOUR UKEUkuleleUnlimited.com


gear reviewsBoulder CreekRiptide UC-5NSAn affordable concert uke with moderndesign features and great sound.See video review atUkuleleUnlimited.comBOULDER CREEK is known forits distinctive line of guitarsfeaturing a “dual port” soundholesystem, and the company’sRiptide line of ukuleles willdoubtlessly be recognized byanyone familiar with those instruments.We had a chance tocheck out the Riptide UC-5NS,which features the company’stwo-soundhole design in a satinfinished,concert-size ukulele,with a mahogany body and neck,capped with a rosewoodfingerboard.Dual SoundholesThe UC-5NS’s design relieson a pair of soundholes:a small soundholeon the upper bass boutand a larger port on theinstrument’s side, poised todirect sound at the player’sear. Of course, shiftedsoundholes and side portsare nothing new in theworld of high-end acousticguitars, but seeingthe design on aninexpensive ukulelelike the UC-5NSshows how muchthe idea has becomeaccepted.After several weeksof the side portbeaming sweet ukulelesounds straightBy Greg Olwellinto my ears, the appeal becameundeniable. The Riptidemade the concept’s promisesof tone and projection verypersuasive.The Riptide’s neck, whichjoins the body at the 14th fret,has a relatively thick andslightly flattened C-shape thatwas very comfortable to play forextended periods. (For electricguitarists, think more ’50s Telecasterand less ’80s shredmachine.) With no high spotsor sharp edges, the fretworkwas very good for any pricerange and the setup of the nutand bridge left the UC-5NSsmooth and playable. The highratiosealed tuners were smoothand precise, which was helpfulfor tuning the stretchy and warmAquila Nylgut strings that camesupplied on the Riptide.Peeking inside the sidesoundhole I noticed that thebridge is screwed to the top andthat there was a considerableamount of glue run-out fromassembly. However, these elementsquickly seemed irrelevantafter the ukulele’s warmth,projection, and inviting playabilityearned my appreciationand admiration as it broke-induring testing.Rich and Loud SoundLike you might expect froma mahogany guitar, the mahogany-bodyUC-5NS had a warmsound, but where this littlelaminate-body ukulele reallystood out was volume. It’s acannon, and not just because ofthe hole shooting up toward myhead. For a ukulele in this pricerange, the sound’s richness andcomplexity were applaudable,though it made me wish for alittle more of the presence youcan find in some older ukuleles.Although the Riptide isn’tavailable with a case (youshould consider factoring thecost of one into your budget),at just over $100 you’ll get awarm, loud, full-sounding ukulele,a very appealing option forplayers interested in a concertsizeukulele. In short, it’s awinner.lConcert-size body. Laminated mahogany top, back, andsides. Flame mahogany neck. Rosewood fingerboard andbridge. 14 7 ⁄8-inch scale. 1 5 ⁄16-inch wide nut. Sealed geartuners. Aquila Nylgut strings. Made in China.$156 list/$109 street.Riptide by Boulder Creek Guitars: (408) 779-3845;bouldercreekguitars.com.44 UkuleleUnlimited.com Ukulele Spring 2013

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