[Concert] Clearwater UCW3 Plastic – not the new Maccaferri Islander.

Aloha Forum Ukulele: le nostre recensioni [Concert] Clearwater UCW3 Plastic – not the new Maccaferri Islander.

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  • #15298
    lardyfatboy
    Membro

    I read a review of this Ukulele on Ukulele Underground that was quite favourable and when I came across one on sale at a “Special Introductory Price” it seamed worth the gamble to buy one. Now I have it I thought I should add my opinion of it to the web in case someone else reads the favourable review of it on Ukulele Underground

    Mine has a red all plastic body, (though it does come in other colours), with a red plastic neck and headstock, a black plastic bridge with a white plastic saddle and a black plastic fretboard. The neck meets the body at the 14th fret and the fret board continues over the body to 18 frets, the frets themselves are plastic and moulded into the board, but there are 4 white markers on the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th frets that are inlaid separately. The tuners are open geared, 14-1 (or there about) and have cream plastic buttons, (a different kind of plastic). It has a scale length of 37½cm (13¾ in), so a Concert with a fairly traditional figure 8 body shape, some plastic moulded fan bracing on the underside of the sound board and quite a narrow headstock with a Clearwater decal logo in it. Finally as the advert for it promised it came with Aquila Nygut strings – so it looks like a Ukulele, but smells like a washing up bowl, and here’s where it all starts to go wrong, sounds like a washing up bowl too!

    Up close the build, though very solid feeling, is not great, there are noticeable ridges where the soundboard is not glued exactly onto the back and sides body shell. The tuners are not very smooth either and give those experiences where you turn and turn with nothing happening then you turn a little more and it goes up half a tone. The biggest issue though, because after all it was very cheap and manufacturing flaws like that are to be expected, is the neck is not straight. There is a noticeable bowing when you look at it side on and this leads to a very high action from about the 4th fret onward making it a very awkward and unforgiving player. It also puts the intonation out as you go up the fretboard, not that you would want to much as the action is so high. And then you come back to that other BIG issue the sound.

    Despite the effort made putting fan bracing in on the sound board it still sounds like someone has put rubber bands around a washing up bowl. There is no treble, very little bass and no sustain, (probably a good thing, you wouldn’t want to torture the notes any more by dragging them out for to long). This leads to a very muddy, percussive thunk when you play it. Its sound is also not well balanced, the C string for example comes across much louder than the A string (probably not helping with the tone) and this gives a real lack of chord definition.

    Given its plastic nature I do fear this Ukulele will last… Forever! In millennia to come when the human race is all but forgotten and the dominant species on the planet is the super intelligent, highly evolved descendants of the Humbolt Squid, who are making their first exploratory forays onto land. They won’t find the Taj Mahal, the Mona Lisa or even a copy of Photographers Monthly from 1993, but they will find one of these Ukuleles, string it up, strum it and think “Blimey those monkeys were cloth eared! and we don’t even have auditory organs!”

    That said I think if you left it in the back of a car it would melt and if you got it wet the tuners would rust. All in all this is pretty horrible Its an awful choice as a first Uke given its tone and unpleasantness to play and I don’t think it would be a particularly good take anywhere beater. Sad really I have a couple of other Clearwater Ukuleles and I think they are really good. I was hoping for more

    As ever go to http://www.ukulelecorner.org.uk/home/in-the-corner/alto-or-concert/clearwater-plastic for pictures and a sound clip

    #34347
    Jontom
    Amministratore del forum

    Nice review Lardy. There was another user, @buccinson (if I heard it right) that was specifically asking for more info on plastic ukes…

    #34349
    buccinson
    Membro

    Thank you Lardy, your review is so funny and now i know what kind of plastic ukulele not to buy…Sorry for my English from “brooklyno”(italian mafia slang!!!)

    #34372
    JoMas
    Membro

    Thank you Lardy, I always enjoy your reviews – and your website as well, a true goldmine for uke lovers.

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