Guitar Audio and Lanikai LU-21CE Reviews

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Lanikai-LU-21CE

I was searching for a ukulele for a few weeks and I finally found a website that sold the one that was on my Christmas wish list. The site is called Guitar Audio (http://guitaraudio.com). Don’t be fooled by the name. I was confused at first, I thought they only sell guitars but I found out that they sell the things you’ll need as a professional musician.

I was looking to buy a Lanikai LU-21C Ukulele. Guitar Audio’s site popped up on Google shopper as one of the cheapest places to buy. I had to take advantage. One of the first things I liked was the fact that they take PayPal as a payment. The second thing was that their website is laid out neatly and I could find the ukulele really quickly. The third is their free shipping button. I really had to take advantage of the great deals.

It’s been a while since I ordered stuff from the internet. I’d say a good 2-3 years and this is a musical instrument. Buying an instrument online violates my internal dialog where you need to listen to the instrument before buying it.  Also, I was a little hesitant especially since I was getting the ukulele at a really great price ($121.95). Other sites list this ukulele at $139, $159, and $195. I put my order in on Tuesday, used the free shipping option, and received the ukulele on Monday. They shipped it on Wednesday (I ordered it really late on Tuesday).

I was tracking the package the whole time. The tracking slip said it was 10 pounds. I was a little confused. How does a 3 pound ukulele weight 10 pounds. The answer? Really good packing. The people at Guitar Audio really know how to pack instruments. The whole time I thought the ukulele was just going to ship in a small box. Nope, Guitar Audio took time in packing my precious ukulele in several layers of padding before shipping it out.

I’m definitely going to use Guitar Audio again in the future!

 

The Lanikai LU-21CE is a beautiful ukulele. I’ve had it for a couple days now and I’m blown by the sound quality coming out of this tiny box.

Here are some technical specifications:

MODEL: LU-21CE
SCALE LENGTH: 15in.
WIDTH AT NUT: 1.375in.
TOP: Nato
BACK/SIDES: Nato
FRETBOARD: Rosewood
FRETS: 18
MACHINES: Chrome Die-Cast
BINDING: White

The E in LU-21CE means it’s an acoustic/electric ukulele. The non-electric is LU-21C. The C means it’s a concert size ukulele. There are different sizes of ukuleles (soprano, concert, tenor, baritone). Put it all together, it’s a concert sized acoustic/electric ukulele. In this case, the preamp is a Belcat UK-2000. I’ve read other sites that say their LU-21CE came with a Shadow preamp. This preamp, according to their site, uses a UK-4000 for the pickup. The UK-4000 is a piezo style pickup (sits under the bridge). From the Belcat website, it looks like this combo is the best that they sell.

The ukulele comes with Aquila strings which are already prestrung. This model uses Nato for most of the body parts. For the most part it sounds really great and I can definitely hash out a song without confusion. The sound quality isn’t as great as it’s spruce or mahogany counterparts. This ukulele is made from Nato wood. To me, the Nato wood seems very light and not as sturdy as maple, spruce, or mahogany. I’m going to admit that this is my first Nato based instrument. Overall, it’s a great play if you are starting out like me.

The electric part of this ukulele was a little disappointing. I was expecting a nice chorus, tremolo, sustain sound coming from any ukulele that has a preamp and a piezo pickup. I was wrong. The sound came out raw. Almost as if all we did was place a microphone inside the body. I guess this is what’s supposed to happen but then it got me thinking that if that’s the original sound, then the whole ukulele is off. Sure I can adjust the bass and treble from the preamp but it didn’t change the fact that I really felt like it was pumping out a raw sound.

I’m going to have to try it out with some of my BOSS pedals. For amplification, the electronics do a great up in amplifying the sound. I guess I just need a better way of managing the output.

Out of 10, I’d probably give this ukulele a 7. The price is perfect and I wasn’t able to find another ukulele in the same range that was an acoustic/electric. Like all my other instruments, I buy low when first starting then upgrade as I get better. I’m sure you follow the same philosophy.

Enjoy!

References:
Guitar Audio
Lanikai Ukuleles

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah I have this uke in black, it’s great aside from when it’s plugged in. I struggle a little on what to adjust the bass and treble to for a good output, any advice? Thanks

  2. Hi Baxter,
    You’re not alone. I’m having the same struggle. I’ve tried different amplifiers to see if that was the problem and I’ve tried adjusting the bass/treble on every level. It sounds great unplugged but when plugged in I can’t get it to not sound like a toy.

    The only way I would use it in public is by running it through some effect pedals. I throw in a little chorus and some reverb effects. I’ve also rocked out with some distortion and delay. I have not tried using an equalizer or an acoustic simulator.

    Rock on!

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