Billie Eilish Ukulele from Fender
This isn’t a review of the new Billie Eilish ukulele from Fender: this is simply a reaction to the ukulele. I’m always open to review one, but I’m probably not going to spend $299 to review one.
Here’s the new ukulele:
I totally agree with Billie’s take on the ukulele, and I’m happy that her fans have a way to show their love of her work and to start playing their own instrument. That’s all good. It looks different (cool) and that appeals to me. And from the recordings, it sounds fine (more about that later).
That all said: $299 is a lot for a laminate sapele ukulele. It does appear to be a limited production model (for now), and comes with a Fishman Kula pickup. It features a walnut fretboard and small slotted bridge. The ukulele has a bone nut and (uncompensated) saddle. It has a bound fretboard, but it is unclear from any of the photos if it has side position markers.
The big question is: why would you buy this?
- You love Billie Eilish
- You love the print (“blohsh”)
- You love the Fender telecaster headstock
I cannot speak for the quality, tone, or action; I would need to hold one in my hands. Barry Maz at Got a Ukulele has not been overly impressed by Fender ukuleles. I’m inclined to like Fender ukuleles, as I own a 60th Anniversary Telecaster–if the new models had a sunburst like my 60th Anniversary model, I’d have one already.
All in all, Fender ukuleles are overpriced and this one does not even come with a case or a gig bag. For me, it would be a “pass” until I could buy one used at a 60% discount. That said, I don’t have a Billie Eilish collection with a ukulele-sized hole in it, and I’m not in any hurry to own a Fender ukulele. I have reached out to review one, but never heard back (Fender is a big company…why would they even want to respond to an independent reviewer?).
I do wonder what the kickback is for a sponsored artist like Billie Eilish. I’m sure it is more than what Grace Vanderwaal receives per ukulele. $10? $20? $50?
I simply had to buy a Fender, I would opt for the Grace Vanderwall Signature Ukulele ($199) or the newer Fender Fullerton Tele Ukulele ($199).
But realistically, I’d go elsewhere. Perhaps a Flight Gemstone ($139 or less), or an Enya, Aklot, or Donner model with a pickup. There are others, but that’s just a first thought.
I guess what I’m saying is that I wish Fender’s ukuleles were less expensive overall, and that this particular model would be less expensive for Billie’s fans–and I don’t think that is an unjustified opinion.
- Posted in: Miscellaneous Items