Magazine: Akustik Gitarre 05/2019 | Author: Harald Wittig
For ukulele players with highest demands luthier Christian Stoll offers an attractive model: His tenor ukulele "Local Wood" is built from local woods and meets high-end demands.
Besides the acknowledged high class classical, steel string guitars and acoustic basses Stoll Guitars also offers ukulelesand a bass ukulele. For the virtuoso ukulele picker there is now a special tenor instrument: The new "Local Wood" Uke belongs to the premium class of the maker, is completely made of local woods and wants to excel as "first rate soloist model". Offered at the established price of 1.875 Euro with a shaped case, the noble ukulele really has a lot of thrilling things to offer.
The Stoll ukulele is completely built of solid woods. The outstanding feature: Only local woods were used. The wood used was a Black Locust tree from immediate vicinity of the luthier: "This Black Locust stood less than 20 metres away from my house. The community wanted to cut down and dispose of the tree, which I, who am fascinated by wood in general and this tree in particular, did not want to accept". So he secured the log, processed it himself and used it to make back and sides and fingerboard of his tenor ukulele. Black Locust, also known as "False Acacia", has characteristics that are very similar to Rosewood. A hard timber, in other words, which can be used like the protected tropical wood Rosewood: "When we darken the Black Locust, it is also visually reminiscent of Rosewood, to which it is then a good alternative," Stoll is confident.
In the case of our ukulele, the darkening was omitted. Together with the top made of fine German Alpine Spruce, the instrument presents itself as a natural blonde beauty. It is striking that the Black Locust fingerboard, which is borne by the Walnut neck, reaches up to the soundhole. This gives an indication of the constructive characteristics of the ukulele. Christian Stoll builds his instruments, also the ukuleles, by conviction in accordance with Spanish tradition. The "Spanish heel" is superior in sound and in the case of the tenor ukulele it brings more resonance to the soundboard: "The sustain is clearly improved, the frequency spectrum is extended. The typical ukulele 'plop' is missing", he says.
Furthermore, the Blonde is particularly loud and has a crisp, assertive tone. The workmanship is excellent: starting with the perfectly glued components, the artfully trimmed nut and bridge saddle and the 19 perfectly trimmed frets to the silky shining nitrocellulose finish. Schaller's open "Grand Tune" machine heads are convincing in terms of function and tuning stability, and an elegant shaped case is included in the package.
Handling and Sound
With a nut width of 38.5 mm, we are dealing with a comparatively wide neck, which together with the optimally adjusted string action ensures exceptionally good playability. Especially fingerstylers immediately feel comfortable on the Stoll ukulele. The fact that the instrument intonates excellently and thus encourages playing over the extended range thanks to the 19 frets further enhances the fun of playing. The tenor ukulele impresses already at first play: with a remarkably fast and direct response it is extraordinarily loud and powerful in tone. It responds to the touch in an exemplary manner and offers considerable dynamic reserves, so that the player can indulge in a wide range of sounds from the wafer-thin pianissimo to the powerful forte. At the same time, the sound always remains clear and exceptionally colourful. Thanks to the resonating overtones, individual notes and chords are given a multidimensional quality that is only found in top-class instruments. Such a professional ukulele demands a high level of skill from the player: It is necessary to tune and play precisely, sloppiness is not forgiven on this instrument. If everything is perfect, playing on it is a great pleasure: From sophisticated legatos to tapping, complex chord-melody arrangements, polyphony or single tone cascades - everything is possible with the Blonde. If you still don't take ukuleles seriously, this tenor ukulele will teach you a lesson.
The "Local Wood" ukulele by Christian Stoll is a top instrument: Exemplarily built from local woods, it stands out with its excellent response, very good intonation and powerful, crystal clear sound, which is second to none. Given these qualities, the instrument is undoubtedly worth its price.
|Ukulele tested:||Tenor Ukulele Local Woods|
|Download PDF (german):||Review Akustik Gitarre 05/19 Stoll Tenor Ukulele|