Wow! They're finally here. It's taken a while to get our heads around them - but 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 Ovangkol, which looks nice and sounds decent enough unplugged. But these are really designed as stage instruments, and 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.
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, which 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!
THIS HYDRA ARRIVED HERE AT SUS WITH A SPLIT IN THE NECK OF THE 4 STRING PART OF THE INSTRUMENT. OUR LOCAL LUTHIER AND ALL AROUND MAGICIAN LEE NORRIS REPAIRED THIS AND THE ONLY EVIDENCE NOW IS A VISITBLE REPAIR ON THE HEEL JOINT OF THE NECK.
Laminate Ovangkol top, back and sides
Faux tortoise binding
Walnut 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