REVIEWED: FENDER CALIFORNIA COAST UKULELES

Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au | Expect To Pay: Zuma - $299 | Seaside - $199 | Venice - $149

Fender is, of course, synonymous with electric guitar, bass and amplifiers. You might have played one of their acoustic guitars, resonators or even a banjo or mandolin depending on your situation and location too. Well, now you can add ukulele to that list of instruments with the California Coast series offering a range of sizes, models and price points. Taking some cues from the California beaches and surrounding vibes, Fender have incorporated traditional ideas with some new design aspects for players of all ages and abilities. Let’s take a look at just a couple of the new models available.

Zuma

 

A concert sized uke, the Zuma features a laminated mahogany and sapele body with a nato and rosewood neck/fingerboard.  The classic Fender Tele headstock shape has been harnessed with a version of the skinny spaghetti logo font and some vintage styled tuners to top it off. Loud and clear, it projects nicely, and feels and looks the part.

 

Seaside
 

Small and easy to handle, the Seaside takes more of a traditional look with the 2x2 tuners and headstock. The white body binding looks great against the natural stain body too. Again Fender have utilised mahogany, resulting in a clear and chirpy tone. As a soprano sized uke, it’s easy for even the smallest hands to get around.

 

Venice

 

For those wanting the Fender looks on a soprano, the Venice features the Fender Tele headstock shape with 4-in-line tuners. Available in Black, Natural and Cherry Red, it’s a cool small sized uke that’s portable and manageable for a range of players.

 

Fender might not be doing anything revolutionary in the build process here, but they’ve added a solid lineup of good looking and sounding ukes that won’t break the bank. All have a little touch of Fender about them, and features such as the ‘no tie’ bridge that makes for quicker string changes will appeal to many. The ukulele has gone from strength to strength over the last few years for anyone from kids to touring bands. Portability and accessibility (it can be really easy to make a start on the instrument) make them great learning tools or something that you can use to branch out from your usual instrument of choice. 

Hits and Misses

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A range of models cover most sizes

Some cool Fender design looks and ideas

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