noah 8-string concert

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before i saw this instrument in a review on gotaukulele.com i did not even know 8-strings existed in concert scale. i love my pono, but i still struggle with the tenor scale every now and then. so the combination of 8-string sound with my preferred concert scale sounds almost too good to be true.

noah ukuleles are handmade in vietnam by luthier ton that anh and sold out of the uk by matt cohen; unfortunately brexit added quite some (financial) obstacles, purchasing anything from the uk is at least subject to import sales tax and customs clearing (see my other post for more details). but still: if you want to own a handmade luthier instrument at a really decent price point noah ukulele is a good way to go.

specifications

  • body: solid mahogany back and sides, solid spruce top, maple binding on top and bottom,
    maple heel cap, maple tail strip, gloss finish, abalone soundhole rosette – and a strap button
  • neck: mahogany, gloss finish
  • fingerboard: gō gō mật (vietnamese hardwood); 16 frets (12 to body); pearl dots & side markers on 5, 7, 10, 12
  • bridge: gō gō mật (vietnamese hardwood)
  • nut & saddle: bone
  • slotted headstock
  • open geared tuners with white pearl buttons
  • strings: black ghs lili’u strings, wound low-g (tuned g4-g3-c5-c4-e4-e4-a4-a4)
  • weight: 680g
  • length: overall 64cm (~25″) +1cm for the strap button, body 28cm (11″)
  • upper bout: 14cm
  • lower bout: 20cm
  • depth: 6.3cm
  • fretboard width: 40mm at nut
  • string spacing: 35mm at nut, 42mm at 12th fret (measured from outer edge g-string to outer edge a-string)
  • scale: 383mm (15”) from nut to bridge
  • serial #17 (built november 2020)

first hands-on impressions

as to be expected it feels (and in fact is) more massive than a standard concert ukulele; apart from very few spots the gloss finish is flawless. frets could have been dressed a tad more, running your fingers along the fretboard sides you can clearly feel the fret ends; no uncomfortably sharp edges, but still noticeable. the back is bookmatched and flipped which gives a nice v shape grain pattern and some interesting optical effects in the shimmering light brown to orange wood (see pictures below). the neck’s mahogany is more greyish coloured with some subtle purple dots and the headstock is topped with some of the more reddish mahogany from the body.

since this is not my first 8-string i already knew what to expect soundwise in general: the two octave strings add some tangy mandolin sound to the ukeness. i was not overly happy with the original strings; can’t say exactly why. after replacing them with a custom set (prototype) of clear fluorocarbons by Peter Sedlmeyr in combination with a fremont soloist squeakless i am much happier, the sound became crisper and more balanced with clear ringing trebles and nice sustain.

here is barry’s review (i asked matt explicitly for matching tuners and all screws :-))

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