View Full Version : Lanikai Manana-T

04-26-2015, 09:57 AM
*edited and condensed a bit... It might still be a bit random in spots. sorry.*

I haven't seen any first hand reports of these here yet, except from the manufacturer. I'm about to make one. :)
I have one of these in my possession right now.

Here are my thoughts:

This is a very well made instrument from top to bottom. Both materials and workmanship are top notch. For those who may not know, these are some of Lanikai's top of the line and built in Hawaii. I love this mango top. It's beautiful. It is also nicely rounded over on the edges, which makes it more comfortable to play. This is something I'd expect from a quality instrument.

It doesn't have a lot of acoustic volume, but definitely enough to play in a fairly quiet room and still hear it okay. The unplugged sound is sort of dry...I'm not sure how else to describe it. Since you don't have a big sound chamber you don't have a lot of resonance and overtones. I'd consider it bright with good note separation. The more I've played it today on my off day, the less I like the unplugged sound....even though the lower volume was a selling point.
I think, especially for unplugged quiet playing, this uke needs very warm sounding strings.
The setup was good so playability is nice. Compensated bone saddle helps.

For plugging in I have a Roland Mobile AC. It's a really small amp that runs off batteries or power adapter. It has inputs for instrument, mic, and another audio device. You can use all three at once. There isn't much I can say about sound because you can dial in so many different ones from bright to warm to anywhere in between.
The pickup on this uke is passive, and I actually like not having batteries onboard the instrument. To get to the same level as an acoustic tenor uke would be, I barely have to turn the volume knob up at all. It's probably on 2 or 3. So the pickup is plenty hot with this amp without an onboard preamp.
The onboard volume control works well.
It comes with a strap button installed in the end, and 2nd strap button installed into the heel of the neck.

The gigbag that comes with it is okay. The uke is worthy of a much better case than this though, in my opinion.

A dislike I have that may just be a personal preference thing: I think every semi-hollow or solid body uke I've ever played or seen has the output jack in the same place an LP guitar has it. With guitars, that jack placement wouldn't bother me because that part of the instrument is hanging off to the side when sitting. With these ukes, the way I like to hold them puts the jack against my leg. Of course playing with a strap and the uke up some would take care of that.

For anyone who likes this kind of instrument, this one is definitely worth trying out. Several years ago I had a Ko'olau CE (can't remember if that model number is right) and as best I can remember this one compares favorably to it.

It's good to have a tenor in my hands again. That LoPrinzi soprano I sold to Peter was a really, really nice uke but I found out I'm just more of a tenor guy. This Manana is my one and only uke for now, but I may not keep it. It is being handled with gloves, so to speak, since I have it on a trial basis. After playing it some more this a'noon

04-29-2015, 03:49 AM
Thanks for the review Jer! Glad you got to try one of these out!