B-STOCK Baton Rouge UR101-ST Soprano Travel Ukulele
B-STOCK - THIS UKE HAS A CHIP ON THE BACK, NEAR THE NECK JOINT. IT IS STRUCTURALLY SOUND!
This thinline soprano ukulele from Baton Rouge is dubbed a travel ukulele. Because of course, the regular soprano ukulele is just SO bulky, you'd never consider taking it anywhere would you! Well... aside from the dubious terminology, it is true that the thin body takes up less space, but the basic fact is, this is a really nice, light, full-sounding uke - with 'magic volume', in that the sound is louder than the thin body would suggest!
Some of that power must come from the body, which is all solid spruce. Not that you'd think it was spruce to look at it, given the dark, antique finish. Increasingly these days, marketing speak talks of hands being involved in processes. 'Hand applied', 'hand finished' and even pizzas that say the topping has been applied by hand! To be honest, whether a machine evenly distributes my pepperoni is as important to me as whether the fiinish on this UR101 is appled by hand - but it certainly looks that way, in a good way!
The uke has a slightly arched back, which again delivers on the volume front, while seemingly taking the edge of the spruce's natural brightness, to deliver a rounder, fuller sound. There are good quality tuners and Aquila strings too (the latter which seem to suit these thinline instruments given the added punch they deliver).
With a 35mm nut, this is an ideal uke for a player of any size ukulele really - given that it is wider than some tenor instruments - so those with a 'tenor only' attitude can still get to grips with one of these quite easily. In fact, it plays really nicely, with a good playing action and incredibly smooth-feeling neck (yes, I slid my hand up and down a fair few times to test this!).
All in all, if you're after a uke to take on holiday, you could do a lot worse that wrap one of these up in your socks and pants in your suitcase... expensive enough to deliver a really good sound, and not so expensive you'll despair should your luggage be re-routed to Casablanca by accident.