Imua iSLN-C Long Neck Koa Soprano Ukulele
If you buy an Imua ukulele, you get a fine combination of expertise from Hawaii. The founder of the company is a leading expert in Hawaiian tonewoods, and works with master luthier Shinji Takahashi to produce very fine instruments indeed. It does sound a little like a mysterious tale of a legendary samurai, but basically, we’re actually talking about a man who knows his wood, and another man who knows how to use it!
This iSLN-C ukulele is a lovely, all solid koa, Hawaiian made, long neck soprano. In essence it is similar to their iSN model soprano, but with a longer neck! (A 39cm scale length, as opposed to 35cm, to be exact). This allows lovers of the soprano sound to be able to venture further up the neck than a regular soprano – something well worth doing with this particular ukulele as it retains power, volume and sustain right up to the highest high notes.
Now, with a Hawaiian koa specialist at the helm, anyone who invests in this Imua iSLN-C ukulele is going to be spoiled with the quality and beauty of the wood. Pale streaks, dark streaks, curls and a wavy grain all come into the spotlight as you inspect this gorgeous uke – rich brown in colour and natural in finish. Visually, the koa is the star, although the Imua Ukulele logo and fret markets and both pretty in inlaid abalone.
Playability-wise, there’s a wide, 37mm nut, coupled with a relatively shallow profile neck – making it feel light and accessible to play. The Aquila Supernylgut strings are slippy to touch, adding to the ease of fingering, while the long neck does nothing to prevent this instrument feeling well balanced and nice to hold.
The tone is nice and woody, distinctly natural sounding, with plenty of volume too. The sound has warmth and balance across the strings, yet individual notes are very distinct and stand out. This makes it particularly pleasing for songs with a mix of chords and picking – which emphasise both the rich backdrop of well balanced chords and the sweet, singing nature of picked notes. Even a single strummed C chord sounds great, with long sustain and a warm afterglow. For a ukulele fan, it must be the equivalent of the sound of a Jaguar E-Type starting up for a motoring enthusiast – a really evocative noise.
As well as the regular acoustic version (although it is anything but 'regular'), we can fit a Mi-Si pickup for you, which will delay the arrival of your new, beautiful electro long neck soprano uke for a week while it is fitted.
How would you sum up a review of this Imua ukulele? Is beautiplayablicious a word?