Gear Spotlight: Mitchell MU-70 Ukulele

The ukulele has undergone a renaissance as of late, even Eddie Vedder is hopping on the bandwagon and releasing a whole album centered around this tiny Hawaiian instrument. I didn’t even know how to play one when I bought mine, but it’s easy to learn, and a lot of fun.

My main gripe with ukuleles, in general, is that the majority of them sound like those plastic-stringed toy guitars you used to find at department stores. They don’t stay in tune very well, and sound “plinky” even with quality strings. The Mitchel MU70, on the other hand, doesn’t have any of these problems. It has actual sustain and beautiful tone and sounds like a real instrument rather than a toy…which is slightly ironic, considering the majority of the instruments I own actually are toys. My other gripe is all the hipsters on YouTube recording bad ukulele covers, but that has more to do with its current popularity than anything else.

Mitchell MU-70 Ukulele

Source : Top Music Gears

Somehow I managed to pick this thing up for under $100, even though Guitar Center’s website is listing them for $199 at the time of this writing, so I must have found a good sale on whatever day I walked in there. It stays in tune fairly well and has good fret action, which makes a simple instrument even easier to play.

It’s completely acoustic so micing is necessary for recording, but beautiful results are had with both my Bluebird as well as my Korg MR-1. The MR-1’s stereo condensers actually make it sound like a bigger instrument, sounding a bit like a mountain dulcimer or a lap harp.

Ukuleles are naturally tuned to C, and its limited fret count makes it a bit difficult to play in other keys without going into higher registers. The sweet spot for the MU70 is near the nut, it starts to lose its sustain as you get closer to the bridge, so playing in a key that mostly uses the upper frets brings out the usual plinkiness.

I did play every ukulele in the store when I purchased this one, and this one was the best sounding one in my price range. There was really only one ukulele that I liked better than this one, but it was nearly $500, and I didn’t feel like paying that much for an instrument I didn’t even know how to play.

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