Donner Ukulele Review | Their Best 4 Models Covered [2019]

Buying a good ukulele is not something that can be done on a whim. This curious instrument may seem universal, but there are subtle and elegant differences to be appreciated when picking the best ukulele for you.

The first choice you need to start with is the brand. There are a variety of options on the market, but out of every ten, six risk being cheap and poor quality, one is hideously expensive, and the last two are the ukulele equivalent of gold dust.

Tucked within this final category is Donner, a renowned and respected ukulele provider who can turn your experience from beginners luck to musical masterpiece by merely upping the quality of the instrument.

Our Top Pick

Within the brand are a range of options which can seem scary and overwhelming: have no fear, we have the ultimate Donner ukulele review for you to peruse at your leisure, and make this valuable decision with confidence.

Our top selection for the brand is undoubtedly the Donner DUC-1 23-Inch Concert Ukulele Mahogany; a medium-sized ukulele which shows you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy quality.

Brand Product Reviews

Donner DUC-1 23-Inch Concert Ukulele Mahogany

At a respectable 23 inches, this offering is the perfect size for a concert ukulele. Made of sturdy mahogany for a rich tone, this could be the perfect pick for those players looking to build their skills.

 

Key Features

  • 23 inches long – a perfect concert size
  • Mahogany body and rosewood bridge/fingerboard
  • Advanced carbon nylon strings
  • Comes with a chrome-plated guitar style tuner
  • Eighteen brass frets, with fret positions marked at the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th frets
  • Includes accessories such as bag, strap and extra strings

 

What I Like About This Product

The Donner DUC-1 is a high-quality instrument, and the inclusion of both mahogany and rosewood harmonize to provide a rich and pure sound. The size is comfortable for most players, offering plenty of room between the fingerboard and the spring to keep you comfortable as you strum.

Even better, the kit comes with a case and strap to keep your ukulele safe and protected when not in use.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

It is disappointing that Donner chose not to include Aquila strings— these tend to be more comfortable and can provide a more authentic sound.

 

 

Pros

  • Clearly marked frets make it easier for new players to find their feet
  • Includes accessories in the price
  • Solid mahogany body for a rich sound
  • Rosewood bridge adds a high-quality shine and a more expensive feel to the instrument
  • Includes a tuner to help make sure your notes are perfect
  • Good size – perfect for a range of players

 

Cons

  • The choice of strings can be uncomfortable if played for an extended period.

 

We picked this concert model to top our Donner ukulele review thanks to its versatility and flexibility, as well as the popular size. The ukulele is attractive and appealing and offers a warm, rich sound.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Donner DUS-3 21-Inch Soprano Ukulele Spruce

Spruce is typically used as a popular choice in budget instruments, but there is nothing cheap about this soprano offering. It uses a great combination of woods—mahogany, rosewood, and spruce – to produce a unique and lively sound.

 

Key Features

  • Eighteen frets
  • Mahogany back and sides with a spruce top
  • Stunning rosewood bridge
  • Unique designs to add some individuality
  • Comes with a range of accessories

 

What I Like About This Product

One of the best features of the soprano is the cool and unique cloud and sun designs which pattern the front of the ukulele. This element adds a twist on a traditional design and really encompasses the relaxed, outdoorsy vibe from the instrument.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

As with the concert ukulele, the strings selected by Donner are not the best quality and become uncomfortable to play on very quickly. I also found the strap which is included to be a little flimsy, and not very supportive while playing.

 

 

Pros

  • Uses a variety of wood types to create a unique sound
  • Patterned designs add an attractive aesthetic edge to the instrument
  • Includes accessories as part of the cost price
  • Perfect size for those looking to move to the soprano option, or start their ukulele journey

 

Cons

  • The strap is quite thin and flimsy, and I was worried it would break easily.
  • The instrument is tricky to tune and tends to fall out of tune quite often compared to other models.

 

This soprano model is far from being all fur coat, but the outside appearance does seem to be higher quality than the extra accessories included. This model is still an excellent choice for players looking to switch to soprano, but it may be worth investing in a sturdier strap, and better quality strings.

 

Overall rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Donner DUB-1 300Inch Electric Bass Ukulele

If you find yourself torn between a rock-and-roll electric sound, or the traditional ukulele experience, this offering from Donner may give you the chance to have it all in one beautiful instrument! Originally designed as a companion to traditional bass guitars, this is a great chance to try something a little bit different.

 

Key Features

  • A mahogany neck and body help to provide a rich sound, as well as look fantastic
  • Comes with Aquila Nylgut strings for a comfortable playing experience and tuning stability
  • Eighteen brass frets, with position marks at the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th frets
  • Includes a preamp, for amplified use with bass, volume, mid and treble control
  • Includes integrated tuner

 

What I Like About This Product

Put simply: this is cool. Whether you are an experienced player looking to try something totally different, or a newbie who thinks the ukulele is too boring, this could be an excellent opportunity to change things up and create a whole new sound.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

One of the only issues with the model is that the integrated tuners may start to struggle. I tuned the strings with no problems, but after a few days of play, there seemed to be some resistance, and a risk that the tuners would break, rendering the instrument unusable. This could simply be a faulty batch, but it is something to consider before purchasing.

 

 

Pros

  • Offers a unique ukulele experience
  • Comes with Aquila strings for the best sound quality and comfort
  • Range of essentials included with purchase
  • Clearly marked frets to help newbies

 

Cons

  • There may be some issues with tuning, which could become a more significant concern down the line as players grow more experienced.

 

If you are looking to switch up your ukulele experience, this is a great place to start. For the reasonable price, there are very few criticisms to be made, but serious players may be better off splashing a little more cash.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Donner Zebrawood DUC-2 Concert Ukulele

This zebrawood ukulele is a stunning offering from Donner and stands out from the crowd with a combination of unique zebra patterned wood, and shiny rosewood for the bridge and fingerboard. Not only do these two kinds of wood look fantastic, but they also offer a warm, rich melody which shows off the sound of the ukulele to its full glory.

 

Key Features

  • Combines rosewood and zebra wood for a bright and unique sound
  • Includes chrome plated tuners
  • Eighteen brass frets, marked at the 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets for guidance
  • Concert size – one of the most popular selections, and comfortable for almost any player
  • Includes a protective carrying bag and strap

 

What I Like About This Product

The primary appeal of the instrument is its beauty, and this is definitely the first thing you notice. In addition to gorgeous packaging, the ukulele also benefits from a rich and strong sound, and the whole combination makes the product feel more high-end and expensive than the modest price tag belies.

 

What I Don’t Like About This Product

The main issue I had with this model was the strings. They are hard to play and don’t produce the best sound quality compared to other instruments. You could just change out the strings, though.

 

Pros

  • Stunning appearance and a top quality wood
  • A clear, rich sound which is in line with a traditional ukulele
  • Comfortable for players, with plenty of space to move your fingers

 

Cons

  • The quality of the strings could be improved to help boost the playing experience and sound quality.
  • The zip on the carry case is quite cheap and has to be handled very carefully to avoid breakages

 

For players looking for a ukulele which offers a gorgeous mahogany as well as top sound quality, this could be a top pick. It stands out with its distinctive zebrawood and is an all-around pleasure to play for players of any level and experience.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

About the Brand

No Donner ukulele review would be complete without giving you a little more information on the brand you are buying.

Compared to other brands, Donner is practically a newborn on the ukulele scene. They were founded in 2012, but since then have built up a fierce and respected reputation within the industry.

They state their primary goal as being to “…create new experiences in music and performance. Donner is resolved to continue to create innovative and excellent instruments which maintain the high quality that inspires professional and creators, and yet are approachable for anyone to play.”

This quote is clearly reflected in the array of products the company has to its name. They offer a range of very high-quality instruments, at prices which even the humble beginner can afford. This combination is tricky to get right, but reviews suggest that Donner has managed to pull it off.

They combine high-quality woods, including spruce, rosewood, and mahogany, to create an affordable blend, but still offers that distinctive, warm ukulele sound, slightly adjusted depending on the make-up of the instrument.

In particular, Donner is talented at using spruce to form the majority of many of the ukuleles, and topping up with a more expensive wood type, such as mahogany. This aspect not only increases the affordability—spruce is one of the cheaper woods—but also creates a unique, bright sound which has become something of a trademark for the company.

Donner’s commitment to accessibility is also apparent in the range of accessories included with their instruments, such as carry cases, tuners, and spare strings. This package-deal approach makes the ukulele a more affordable option for beginners, who may not want to fork out a fortune for gear if they do not bond with the instrument. This emphasizes Donner’s commitment to offering a top-quality experience on an affordable, everyman budget.

 

Final Thoughts

Donner is a thoughtful and innovative brand that manages to blend quality and affordability in all of their instruments. The top pick for me has to be the Donner DUC-1 23-Inch Concert Ukulele Mahogany, an option which is the most versatile and flexible for a range of players and blends a gorgeous body with a truly lovely sound.

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