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'The Calthorpe' by Barnes and Mullins

Issue #14

This is a high gloss finish, solid spruce top, flame-maple neck, back and sides, concert uke with a pick-up. And I want one…

It is beautiful to look at, with the flame of the wood accentuated by the professional stain and gloss finish. The ebony fingerboard compliments the colour scheme and the pearled buttoned machines glide as smoothly as one could ever ask. Maple and spruce are hardwoods that can often sound brittle and too bright when combined, but instead, here we find a perfect blend of toppy, confident projection balanced by a warmth and clarity that you would only expect in a much more expensive instrument. The note separation is clearly defined and tonal balanced and none of these tonal properties seem to be lost when you D.I. it through the 2-band pick-up. Remarkable…

Many ukuleles are moving towards a modern, deep, bassy sound, and there is something quite wonderfully old-fashioned about The Calthorpe. Even the curvature of the headstock makes you want to reach for a stovepipe hat and a pipe, but there is much more to its versatility than that. It coped with every style thrown at it and did no more than raise an eyebrow and tweak its curly moustache at me. An impressively inexpensive aristocrat. Yes please...


Issue 14

Issue #74

Jim Root

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