|Body And Neck:|
Pyle is a well-known budget brand in the world of electric and acoustic guitar, but have also made a splash in the ukulele market with some excellent affordable ukes for beginners. One of these includes their gorgeous dark flamed wood soprano ukulele, the PUKT55 – a real eye-catcher, which is why we had to review it!
There’s a lot going on in the design of this soprano-sized (21”) ukulele, which certainly sets it apart from some of the others in our chart. Most noticeably, the choice of material used in the body is satin-finished laminated wood, which has been artificially flamed for dramatic effect. We’re not actually sure what variety the wood is, but on a uke this small we’re not too concerned. This striking wood is used on the top, back and sides of the instrument, and is all bound with tortoiseshell celluloid binding.
We’ll admit this look won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but we like the extroverted design – complete with an engraved sun soundhole rosette and headstock decal. Elsewhere, the neck is made from mahogany, with a black walnut fretboard that features 15 nickel frets. It’s all very playable and great for beginner fingers, with a good action and solid workmanship, even for a budget model.
Unlike some of the other models on our beginner’s chart, this soprano uke from Pyle doesn’t come with a selection of accessories – not even a case. But, considering the fact you can pick up most accessories relatively cheaply, it’s no big deal. What it does come with is some solid hardware, such as the set of closed die-cast tuners, which are very smooth to use and keep your instrument in tune well. Plus, instead of cheap plastic strings, it’s strung with a good set of Aquila strings, which are better for playability and tone out of the box.
For a ukulele coming in at around fifty bucks, Pyle’s offering sounds pretty good and provides you with enough of the desired soprano sparkle. It’s not the loudest uke we’ve featured, but definitely offers enough volume for practice and lessons – even impromptu performances.
We’ve established that the design won’t appeal to everyone, but the PUKT55 is a pretty little uke which is matched by a good build and nice tone. For the affordable price, it’s a very good instrument that beginners would love to be seen and heard playing.