Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mainland vs. Collings Smackdown: The weigh-in

To kick off my planned comparison between the Mainland slotted headstock concert and the Collings UC-1, I will go over the vital statistics of the two ukuleles.

Mainland Slotted headstock gloss concert:
-Height: 24"
-Weight: 1.25 lbs.
-Scale length: 15"
-Nut width: 1-3/8"
-Body material: Solid Mahogany
-Fretboard/Bridge material: Rosewood
-Nut/Saddle material: Bone
-Neck material: Mahogany
-Headstock veneer: Mahogany
-Logo: Decal
-Finish: Gloss (poly)
-Tuners: Generic slotted headstock tuners w/pearloid buttons
-Fretboard position markers: 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 (no side position markers)
-Fretboard radius: None
-Fretboard binding: Simulated
-Number of frets: 19
-Neck join: 14th fret
-Binding: Plastic w/rope purfling
-Made in: China
-MSRP: $239.50 (no case included)
-Price paid including shipping: $$249.50

Collings UC-1 (prototype):
-Height: 24"
-Weight: 0.9 lbs.
-Scale length: 15"
-Nut width: 1-3/8"
-Body material: Solid Mahogany
-Fretboard/Bridge material: Rosewood
-Nut/Saddle material: Bone
-Neck material: Mahogany
-Headstock veneer: Rosewood
-Logo: Plastic inlay
-Finish: Matte
-Tuners: PegHeds
-Fretboard position markers: 5, 7, 10, 12 (side markers at 3, 5, 7, 10, 12)
-Fretboard radius: 16"~18"
-Fretboard binding: None
-Number of frets: 18
-Neck join: 12th fret
-Binding: None
-Made in: Austin, Texas
-MSRP: $990 (mine is a prototype w/haircut headstock that cost $1050, Panther case included)
-Price paid including shipping: $1100 (yeah, I got jobbed on the shipping)

These two ukuleles represent a high-end production solid mahogany uke (Collings) and an inexpensive import solid mahogany uke (Mainland). While they do not actually compete in the marketplace, I think it would be interesting to compare them because they are technically in the same category if you ignore price. Both are solid wood mahogany ukes in the concert scale. The Collings is about 4 times more expensive than the Mainland, but is it worth the extra cash? Should someone who owns a Mainland concert be lusting after a Collings? Or should be Mainland owner feel content that his/her ukulele is just as good? These are interesting questions and I hope to have some answers by analyzing these two ukes head to head.

What I hope to do in this comparison is to compare these two ukes in as many categories as I can come up with. I'm not sure about the format I'll do the comparison in, but it'll at least cover the looks, build quality, and sound. I'll try to mix in a video comparison of these two ukes somewhere too.

What this won't be, is a sugar coated evaluation of either brand (something I see entirely too much of in reviews online). I will point out all the good and bad points in my personal opinion and try to give you an unbiased view of both ukes. You may wonder how I could not be biased given that I paid 4 times as much for the Collings. All I can say is that if I'm biased about it, doing this comparison would be both a waste of my time and your time.

So stayed tuned for the first installment of the Ukulele Smackdown between Mainland and Collings! I will start with appearance and build quality and should have something up within the next week.

1 comment:


Awesome. Can't wait for the reviews.

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: