Six years back I reviewed the Outdoor Tenor and I was a fan, it was durable, well balanced and sounded pretty good. Since that review Outdoor have updated their ukuleles and I’ve taken a look at the latest version.
For those that don’t know, the Outdoor Tenor is a polycarbonate ukulele that is built to endure.
It is injection moulded at 600˚F under 420 tons of pressure and reinforced with carbon fibre strands. This isn’t your average plastic ukulele.
The tenor version comes in at $175 – $215 depending on colour choice and there’s a soprano that costs $145 too. As far as I’m aware there’s no concert version.
You may also note that I haven’t included the price in GBP. At the time of writing there are no UK distributors for the Outdoor Ukulele (more on this in the conclusion), you can order direct from Outdoor themselves but you’re going to be hit with a pretty hefty customs charge if you go that route.
I paid close to £50 in import duty on the Tenor.
For the money you get the instrument which comes with D’Addario Pro-Arté fluorocarbon strings, a chord sheet and a reusable box.
It has 19 frets, open geared tuners, a 38mm nut width and weighs in at 0.79kg.
I’m not exactly sure why it doesn’t come with a gig bag, it would seem like a better choice to me than the box. If you’re making a ukulele for adventures and then not really giving people a means to carry it, that seems a little unusual. Admittedly, it’s a pretty small gripe though.
Look and feel
There’s definitely an industrial look to this ukulele, I like the fact that it plays into what it is. This is a modern instrument, it’s not trying to pretend to be anything else. There are no painted frets here, it is what it is.
It feels very well balanced, there’s a lovely grain to the finish that adds a little character and gives more of a tactile feel. It also helps to stop it feeling cheap like some plastic ukuleles can (I’m looking at you Makala Waterman).
I’m a big fan of the neck, it’s flattened at the back and it just feels great to play.
Writing about sound is incredibly difficult, so I would highly recommend watching the video above with some earphones in to get an idea of what it sounds like. That will be far more effective than me trying to explain.
What I will say is that it’s a pleasant sound, it’s not overly loud but it does have that fullness that you get with a plastic ukulele which is something that I do tend to like.
Picking or strumming, it performs pretty well at both. Some ukuleles have a tendency to be better at one over the other but that’s not something I would say here.
When I wrote my original review of the Outdoor, I liked pretty much everything about it. The only real issue that I had was a percussive like click when strumming, I didn’t dislike it but I couldn’t detect where it was coming from.
It’s been a few years since I had the original Outdoor and I think this clicking sound has been corrected on this version. Certainly it’s not something I can hear on this one.
I like the Outdoor, I liked the last one I had and this one is an improvement in pretty much all areas.
It’s designed to withstand extreme conditions and is perfect for those that like a little adventure in their lives and want to take an instrument with them.
If that’s you and you live in the US then I think it’s a great fit.
If you live in the UK, those import duty prices just put me off a little too much to justify it.
There was a time when I wondered why Outdoor didn’t have a UK distributor but it makes sense to me now. The Outdoor is really designed for that great outdoors lifestyle and has really been built with the US in mind.
All in all I think the Outdoor is a great, durable ukulele that holds it’s own well enough to be a part of anyone’s collection.