Wow, the new Ortega Hydra double neck tenor ukuleles are finally here. It's taken a while to get our heads around them. We've come to the realisation that they are actually pretty cool, and very useable, and not just a triumph of style over substance. As you can see, there are two necks - a 4 string tenor, and an 8 string tenor. So, you can easily change between the standard tenor sound, and the lovely jangly 8 string sound.
It is made of a laminate ziricote, which looks nice and sounds decent enough unplugged. But these are really designed as stage instruments. Plugged in with the EQ working, you can get a lovely full sound for accompanying vocals, or a cutting trebly sound to pierce the mix with your lead breaks. You can easily switch between the two pickups using the full up or full down positions on the 3 way toggle switch, or use the centre position to keep them both on, for when you want to make super quick changes mid number.
Lets talk about the fretboard inlays. The maple fingerboard has a slightly different feel to most instruments, and mellows the sound by soaking up some of the fret noise and brighter tones. Plus, the tree of life style inlays are gorgeous!
The intonation on each neck, whilst not perfect, is good enough for confident playing up the neck. Both necks are fitted with Aquila strings which are never the best intonating sets of strings, so you could make it more civilised by using a set of fluorocarbon strings. These would also tone down the treble in your sound, if that is something you want to achieve.
In the hand, they are not as cumbersome as you might expect. Although heavier than a single uke, it is lighter than two separate ukuleles, and it is made easier to hold by the addition of the bevelled armrest, so you won't get painful forearms and wrists whilst playing even for long periods. It has a strap button fitted at the factory as Ortega sensibly realise that most people will be using a strap with this instrument.
And, by the by, it is the first time that we've had to list something as having plural nut widths, pickups, fretboards and bridges!
Pictures show an average example. To see photos of actual stock, please drop us a line.
Laminate ziricote top, back and sides
Maple fretboards and bridges
Strap button fitted to bottom bout
18 frets per neck
38 nut widths
430mm scale length
Geared tuners with gold hardware
Ortega active pickup/preamp, 3 position selector switch
Padded oblong gigbag included