Beauty Without A Beast
Oscar Schmidt OU28T Ukulele Review by Rozer Ruind
Amazon User Rating: 5.00/5 stars
Best ukulele brandWhen I started doing my research on ukuleles, I was pretty surprised at how many people kept talking about this uke. I think it is really eye-catching with its spalted mango wood body – it is simply stunning. It also has classy Grover tuners and ebonite buttons, with abalone binding and rosette. Truly, this ukulele is a piece of art.
On the practical end, the OU28T is made to sing as beautifully as it looks. The included Aquila strings give the uke a very clear sound that projects well. A quick strum of the strings give back a loud but sweet sound with no muffling or muted sound like many ukuleles. The tenor size makes it easier to use for anyone with larger hands but is still a comfortable fit for someone with smaller hands.
Here’s a list of some of its features of best ukulele brand:
- Gloss finish – A gloss finish on a ukulele helps protect the wood from moisture as you play, and also makes it easier to play by decreasing friction on shirtsleeves and whatnot. It also helps the appearance and really brings out the grain of the wood.
- Deluxe Grover chrome tuners with ebonite buttons – Grover makes some of the most well-made machine heads and have a great reputation for uncompromising quality in their products. Ebonite buttons are sturdy and crack-resistant which make them very long-lasting.
- Tenor size – Tenor ukuleles are a very popular version of this instrument, played by famous musicians such as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and James Hill. They are the third largest ukulele, which gives them a little deeper and richer tone than a Soprano ukulele which is the “standard” uke. Due to their larger size, they are also a lot easier for people with bigger hands to play.
- Handcrafted quality – Handcrafted speaks for itself. Mass-run, factory produced items of any sort are never the same quality as when you have a artisan craft it themselves. The OU28T is handmade and so has a much higher level of quality than a cheap machine-made ukulele.
- Spalted Mango top, back & sides – Spalted wood is a result of the first stages of decomposition in certain woods that produces a beautifully colored and patterned wood. You would think it isn’t as sturdy because of how it is made, but it is in quite very hardy and long-lasting. Spalted wood, and particularly spalted mango, is always in very high demand for woodworking. Mango especially tends to make somewhat of a “curly” wood grain pattern in light & dark browns, yellows, pinks and black.
- Synthetic bone nut & saddle – Synthetic bone is much sturdier and long-lasting than plastic or wood counterparts. Using synthetic bone imparts most of the qualities of using real bone without the additional costs. It makes a big difference in the tone and resonance of the ukulele, vs. ukes that use wood or plastic.
- Abalone binding & rosette – Real abalone shell accents the binding and the rosette, bring a little bit of sheen to the uke without being too glitzy or distracting from the beautiful finish of the spalted mango wood.
- Aquila strings – Aquila makes the best ukulele strings in the industry, hands down. Their strings do take a few plays to “break in” but once broken in they will not continue to stretch out and require frequent re-tuning like many other brands do. I give big kudos to Oscar Schmidt for including them instead of a cheaper option, especially in a ukulele at this price point.
One of my biggest impressions of this ukulele is really just how they seemed to pull out the stops a bit for a ukulele at this price point. When I do research, I really do research into each little feature and when you combine the fact that this uke is handmade from a high-demand spalted wood, with the best-in-the-industry strings and tuners, I am surprised that you can get it for under $500. But the real question is this – what’s the bottom line… how does it play??? Well, check it out!
Here’s a video of the Oscar Schmidt OU28T:
Amazon.com usually has pretty nice discounts on this uke but it changes daily.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
All in all, the Oscar Schmidt is a dramatically beautiful ukulele with a dramatically beautiful sound. I generally prefer to try and find at least something wrong with an item I am reviewing but I couldn’t even find anyone online who had complaints. There ain’t no ugly about this uke, folks! This is a ukulele that you could easily expect to cost twice as much as it does. It retails for $339, although right now Amazon has it on sale for under $200 with free shipping (at the time of this review). And, like all Oscar Schmidt ukes, it comes with a lifetime warranty. You simply can’t lose with this great little masterpiece – perfect for a beginner who wants a high quality sound without spending a fortune.
Let’s take a look at what a current owner has to say:
I’ve used the OU28T for a month and it has become my favorite instrument. The stunning appearance of this ukulele caught my eye immediately and I figured it is either a great wall decoration or a serious instrument. After a quick tuning of the Aquila strings (the best uke strings anywhere) I realized it was both. The delightful sound from the OU28T is a rich blend of crisp but not bright, attack and mellow sustained resonance that I never expected from a uke at this price point. The neck action is smooth and has no string buzz. I like the portability of a soprano and the simplicity of a baritone uke but due to the distinct mango wood and incredible sound of the OU28T make this my “to go” uke. I highly recommend this delightful instrument for anyone wanting a ukulele with superb sound and visual appeal that won’t break the bank.