Imua Koa iTG-CWYF-C Cutaway Tenor Ukulele
I am going to stick my neck out and say that for chords, this Imua cutaway tenor ukulele is the best uke I can remember playing. That’s not to say it isn’t good for picking too – just that other ukes have equally impressed me on that particular score. It is just that there’s something about this Imua and chords. They shimmer and shine, with all four strings coming beautifully together in harmony and balance. I know that sounds a bit overblown but I can’t overstate how much I like this uke for chords, I really can’t. Picked, it sings clearly, with the trebles ringing loudly, while there’s a depth there – an almost in-built reverb effect that is great too.
When the World of Ukes store first opened, this Imua Cutaway Tenor also got another accolade. My wife, a graphic designer of very definite tastes, declared this to be the best looking ukulele in shop. It is hard to argue with when you look at that gorgeous Florentine cutaway – something that isn’t just a visual aid, as this instrument sounds very sweet right at the top of the neck, so better access is helpful. And the wood is just wonderful. The all solid koa not only delivers the goods on sound but also looks first rate too. Imua was set up by a Hawaiian timber specialist, so it is no surprise that such a gorgeous tonewood should find its way into this uke.
The bone nut is 35mm in width, around average for a tenor ukulele. It feels nice and comfortable to play as the neck isn’t too thick. There are abalone fretboard markers, matching the Imua logo on the headstock (my wife also gives Imua the ‘best ukulele manufacturer logo prize’, just in case you were wondering). This model also features black-buttoned Grover open geared tuners, which are common these days, but common because they’re trusted and good quality. And Imua have gone for Aquila Super-nylguts with this uke, which I think is a good match. The body of this tenor uke isn’t the biggest I’ve seem, so the Aquila ‘punch’ and volume is a well thought out choice of string.
The actual designation of this Imua is the ITG-Cwy-FC, Imua Tenor Gloss Cutaway, with the cutaway being a Florentine design. It doesn’t roll off the tongue does it!? Do you remember when there was a Vauxhall Nova, an Astra and a Cavalier? Things were simple then. Now everything has to have letters and numbers to describe it. I want a Vauxhall Cavalier to drive around in, not a ITG-Cwy-FC. However, I’d rather play music on one than a Vauxhall Cavalier. Well… has that cleared that up?
How about a sensible paragraph instead? This ukulele has a fantastic gloss finish. It is perfect as Imua go through several steps, including a hand-applied pore sealer, that prevents the finish sinking into tiny pores in the wood. To be honest, I didn’t realise there was so much work involved in applying a quality gloss finish, but if you want to know about the large number of steps and processes, have a look on the Imua site. If you do, at the time of writing at least, you’ll not find this ukulele there as one of their production models – meaning it is even more desirable as there are so few available.
This ukulele really struck a chord with me (groan), with the overall package of great looks, good playability and impressive sound. We’ll fit a Mi-Si pickup to it as well, should you require. That option is available, at a few extra pennies and in a few extra days – but will deliver a fantastic electro tenor ukulele.