Some first impressions of the Epiphone Les Paul concert uke:
- Heavy! It inspired me to weigh all my ukes:
- Grizzly soprano: 12.3 oz
- Kala soprano: 14.3 oz
- Makala Dolphin soprano: 1 lb 0.2 oz
- Islander tenor: 1 lb 3.8 oz
- Lanikai baritone: 1 lb 8.0 oz
- Epiphone Les Paul concert: 1 lb 11.2 oz
Yeah. Weighs more than my baritone! But less than a guitar, so do I care? Not especially. The balance point matters more, and I think all but the Grizzly balance about a fret or so up the neck from the top of the body. The Grizzly balances at the top of the body. That and its light weight would be due to the friction vs. geared tuners. I usually use a strap anyway, so neither weight nor balance point matters so much to me.
- The pick guard is, from a practical standpoint, silly. I mean, who plays a ukulele with a hard pick? Or a pick at all, in most cases? I don’t. And who strums a uke at the sound hole or below? I don’t. A number of people in the Amazon comments speak harshly of the pick guard and one commenter says it can be removed with the application of heat from a hair dryer to soften the glue. I’m leaving mine on. I don’t think it’s meant to be practical, and if you don’t like the looks of it, that’s fine, but it’s part of the whole Les Paul visual character. To me, removing it would detract from the design.
- Speaking of where I strum: The tone quality of the instrument, played acoustically, is decidedly less bright than, say, my Kala soprano (with its light weight and solid spruce top), and in fact it was seeming downright muffled sometimes. Not that it needs to sound as bright as the Kala — for a lot of songs a warmer kind of tone is more appropriate — but I do want more definition than I was getting. Then I discovered it sounded a lot different if I strummed it a little below where I had been. Not over the sound hole, but closer to it. I’ll have to experiment some more but I think I’ll need to train myself not to play this one where I instinctively tend to.
- Played through the amp, it certainly does sound like the pickup works better than the one on my Dolphin — which is a two dollar (if that) piezo disk from Radio Shack I literally taped in place as best I could reaching through the sound hole, so that’s no big surprise. Other than sporadic goofing with the Dolphin I pretty much have no experience with electrified instruments so this one will require some learning.
- Action seems fine. No buzzing. First fret barre chords aren’t too problematic.
- Weird thing: The strings are holding their tuning. I tightened them up when I got the uke and I’ve hardly moved them since. It’s as if someone else had already spent two weeks or so stretching them out. But it really didn’t look as though it was a used instrument.
- First impressions of concert scale: I dunno, I’m used to soprano and tenor and baritone, so this fits within that spectrum. Nothing relevatory about it to me.
- Two things about the fretboard:
- At 19 frets it has one more than my tenor or baritone. (No, I don’t think that accounts for the higher weight.) I don’t see myself using fret 19 much, even with the cutaway…
- Dots are at frets 3, 5, 7, 9, 12 (double), 15, 17, 19. Versus 5, 7, 10 on all three sopranos and 5, 7, 10, 12 on the tenor and baritone. That 9 versus 10 thing may cause trouble.
Anyway, I like it so far, but will need to get used to it. And I don’t see it supplanting any of my other ukes. They each have their place.