|Body And Neck:|
Fender is usually a name reserved for electric, bass and acoustic guitarists, but they also make a small line of quality ukuleles. This Nohea Tenor ukulele, which sits in the under $300 uke market, is one of their higher-end models, with an appealing style, great playability and a tone to match. Nohea is the Hawaiian word for ‘lovely’ or ‘handsome’, so let’s see if it lives up to its name…
The Nohea is unmistakably Fender in its design – who doesn’t recognize that distinctive Telecaster headstock shape? But it’s not just the design as this tenor uke is very Fender in its playability, with a slick and comfortable mahogany neck. This neck joins the body at the 14th fret and features a rosewood fretboard with a total of 19 frets.
The body is a standard tenor size with a non-cutaway shape, which feels a bit odd for this uke as we expected easier access to the higher frets – it is a Fender after all! However, the body is very nice, made entirely from a koa laminate, which shows off a delightfully rustic grain with a high-gloss finish. The acrylic abalone rosette and body binding adds a little sparkle to this already good-looking uke. As you’d expect from a higher-end Fender instrument, it comes ready to play, with a low action out of the box, showing good craftsmanship with no need for any major setup.
Electronics – another thing we were expecting from a Fender uke isn’t present on the Nohea! But it comes with some decent hardware that enhances the playability. For example, there’s a solid rosewood bridge with a bone saddle, while the ukulele comes strung with good-quality GHS tenor strings. It comes fitted with four sealed die-cast tuners, with vintage-style buttons, that feel nice to use and keep your tuning very stable. It also comes with a nice Fender gig bag, which is no less than you’d expect. Overall, it’s a pretty good selection for this price range.
The sound really is lovely, as the name suggests – very mellow and soothing. It’s nicely balanced, with great warmth and plenty of brightness to keep things sounding happy. With the larger tenor body comes a larger sound, with full projection, so is more than suitable for acoustic performances. In fact, for a laminated uke, it’s excellent in the sound department.
If you’re looking for an easy-playing uke with a premium feel, this Fender Nohea is certainly worth adding to your shortlist. Electric guitarists buying this ukulele will benefit from the familiar neck and low action, while everyone can appreciate the mellow sound and unique Fender styling on offer.