2009 Mainland Honeybee Soprano Uke

This Mainland "Honeybee" soprano came in a trade and it's near-mint save one tiny ding along the top edge lower bout binding (hard to see in any of the pics). It's Asian-import, solid mahogany throughout, plays well, and has a sound reminiscent of a 20s Oscar Schmidt of the same general makeup. Not too shabby, huh?

This one also has an undersaddle pickup and while it's low output (you'll want a preamp or at least a hot board input for this uke to get the most out of it plugged-in) it has a good tone. My paws only had to setup the nut for better action and slightly adjust the compensation at the saddle to get it to play spot-on. The strings look like Martin fluorocarbons and give a sweet, mellow, midrangey strumming sound but I'll bet an Aquila set would pump a bit more volume and snap out of this guy.

The satin finish, sure enough, still lets the mahogany grain pop through. The "rope" style rosette and purfling are real wood bits but they're actually more of a "half herringbone" trim vs. authentic period rope stuff which was larger and simpler. It does look nice, though.

Bone nut and bound peghead. Note a bit of glue or solvent creep on the board near the nut. I'm sure this is from when it was made at the factory. Not an issue to me but I could always color-match the rest of the board to match (you hardly notice it in person).

The board is rosewood and the bridge, too. The frets are in good order.

The gold-plated friction pegs are nice quality and have a celluloid-y-looking sort of button material.

Both the top and back edges are bound in some sort of wood.

The half-herringbone strip down near the endpin/jack area is snazzy, too.

If you look very closely you can see that there's just ever so slight of a gap under the rear of the bridge foot edges. I'm not worried about this as it's 1) firmly attached and 2) common for factories to leave a slight "dry gap" around the very outer edge of the bridge underside when gluing up so that the stuff doesn't smear all over brand new finish.

I wonder what bit of this was assembled in the US? Maybe putting the strings on...!

This comes with a nice gigbag, too.