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Whatever your stringed instrument, you usually don’t have to look further than Luna Guitars to find something unique and capable of turning a few heads. And their line of ukuleles is no different. Their eye-catching, wallet-friendly Tattoo Concert ukulele comes in at the top end of our chart on the best ukuleles under $100 and is a very popular model – let’s see why.
There are no prizes for guessing why it’s called the Tattoo! This attractive ukulele features an unmistakably Hawaiian design, featuring swirling waves inspired by traditional body ornamentation, tattooed in black across the lower bout, with a shark tooth-inspired soundhole rosette. Visually, this is one striking guitar, although not OTT. As for its build, it’s a full-sized concert body, with a length of 23”, so is perfect for experienced players as much as it is adult beginners.
The body is made entirely of satin-finished laminated mahogany, with a solid C-shaped mahogany neck that sports a rosewood fretboard and 18 frets. The body and neck look fantastic together with those matching shark-tooth mother-of-pearl fretboard inlays. It could do with a good set-up out of the box to optimize its playability, but otherwise it’s quite comfortable to play. Even though Luna’s budget line is factory produced, their instruments usually feel well-built and durable – and the Tattoo is no different.
There’s an electro-acoustic version of the Tattoo, which reaches a slightly higher price, but this standard Tattoo ukulele features no electronics. However, the hardware it comes with is good, and complements the fine build. There’s a set of open-gear tuners with charming pearloid buttons, which are decent – they are responsive to use, and hold tuning reasonably well. The bridge matches the fretboard in using rosewood, while the nut is graphite – better than plastic, as you’d find on some other budget ukes. Finally, it comes with a basic gig bag, which is a nice addition for storing your new instrument, although it’s not particularly protective.
So, what does it sound like? For a budget ukulele, it’s actually pretty great. It offers the rich warmth you’d expect from the mahogany, along with a crisp twang that keeps things articulate. Projection-wise it is by no means the loudest ukulele out there, but it is more than suitable for practice and spontaneous small performances.
When listening to the Luna Tattoo, you briefly forget this is a sub-$100 instrument as it sounds wonderful. It’s not bad in the looks department either! Luna don’t always hit the mark with their budget instruments, but in this case, they’ve done an excellent job. No wonder this is such a popular ukulele.