First look: (4)The newer laminates from OS seem to be more red than before. I would almost say that the color is more of a cedar red. It is obvious that it is not an expensive uke since it has a plain white silk screen logo and it says gAlohah at the top. I wish they would leave that off, it is really cheesy. One of the things that I think shows that it is at least of some quality is the binding on the fret board and the fret markers are actual inlays. The satin does not do much for it either. I have seen much nicer looking ukuleles. The fact that it has 6 strings will make most uke players pick it up above all other aspects.
Fit and Finish: (4)For the price it is really well made, saying that, it is a tank. The finish is very smooth and there are no glue marks or weird wood patterns that you may find on some other cheaper ukuleles. The laminate they use is very thick and makes it a bit heavy but sturdy. I would give this to any kid and not worry about serious damage. With a basic 3 piece neck with a nice smooth finish it is nice to play. The saddle could use a little work, it seemed kind of rough to the touch. One of my big gripes is that the edges are very sharp, not like a knife, but if you play it for an extended period it will leave a crease and become uncomfortable to play. Over all it is straight and all the parts that you would want someone to pay attention too are taken care of such as the nut and saddle are really well done and the frets are nice and dressed. I know that having the instruments setup in the USA helps with the end product.
Sound Type: Fuller than any 4 string ukulele. The extra 2 strings make it almost lute sounding and give that base note that helps round out the sound without having to have another instrument like a guitar helping to boost the sound or having to have a low G string.
Intonation: (5)Intonation is perfect. The compensated saddle may have something to do with it. Also OS is constantly improving their ukes. Tom Ferone seems to always be tweaking the different ukuleles in the OS line to make them the best production ukes he can make.
Volume: (4)With the extra strings it is louder, but still not as loud as many of my other ukuleles. I think the thicker top is to blame for volume.
Sustain: (5) I like the way that it sings. The Wrapped A it seemed to die sooner than the others. Not a big deal.
String Height: (Medium) Very playable. The neck is nice and straight so the strings are at a really good height
Neck RadiusDepth: (3/4) Average radius depth for a C shaped neck.
Frets: (5)I really like it when the fret board has binding on it. It is a cheat in some ways, but you canft feel any frets on the side of the neck. All the frets are dressed nicely. Not too low or high.
Tuning: (4)This is one of those instruments that if one string is off you will notice right away. Since there are an extra 2 strings it is harder to tune and only hit the one string you want to tune. I ended up using a pick to hit each string.
Comfort: (4) HEAVY but you almost donft notice it. Unlike the OU-2 it is very balanced. Usually the geared tuners make the head really heavy but not on this one. I think that since you know it has 6 strings you excuse that it is heavy. What bugs me is how the edges are not rounded at all. It can make it uncomfortable to play for an extended period of time.
Smell: (Elmerfs Glue)
I think that anyone who wants to have some fun and have a very different uke then this is a great addition to any ukulele players collection. I would not recommend this as a daily player though. I found that there are many songs that donft sound right when played with it, like most songs. I really liked it for a list of Beatles songs like Let It Be, but beyond that it takes some trial and error to find the right songs to use it for. The other thing that I found is that I had to use a felt pick to get the full sound out of it, otherwise I was not hitting the low A and it sounded weird. Other than that I did like it a lot, too bad I had to give it away.
I figured that not very many people would be super excited about an Oscar Schmidt uke as a give-a-way so while I was checking out the Bluestone Folk Schools Uke building class I met Spencer, Jonifs son. Joni was nice enough to let me stay at her house so I would not have to rush home that same day. Her son Spencer is very talented and the night I stayed over we pulled all the ukes I brought to show people, I brought 6 in total, and Spence seemed to gravitate toward the OU-26. So the next morning I got up and took some pics of the ukulele and then handed it over with the promise that he would make a video. The rest is history.