View Full Version : GREAT inexpensive 8 string

01-21-2010, 11:55 AM
About 3 months ago i ordered the Lanikai O8E 8 string tenor uke. It never showed...I ordered it from a local music shop and apperentely it was a very special special order...but they cut me a deal, let me pay it off over time, and i love supporting my local community...Evenually i just asked for my money back that i had paid (which immediately went to the rent an food i was forgoing for my uke) and today (about a week later) got a phone call that it had shown up. I said put it on the self and try to sell it, but i stil intended to buy it...Retail on the uke is approaching 400 and they matched the best online price i could find of 269...nice fellas.

So today after class i went in to play my long lost love. It was a dream. It was the first 8 string i'd ever played, and found it immediately playable, no issues with fretting both strings at once (a 8 string is just like a regular uke, except you push down two very close together strings at once, still tuned lowGCEA...the strings are gG cC EE AA meaning the low strings have octaves, the E and the A are simply the same gauge twice)

This uke is a Solid spruce top,
laminate Ovankol wood sides and back (a relative and similar in most ways to mahogany)
rose wood fingerboard
cutaway headstock
gold geared tuners
and a belcat preamp and pickup

I sounded amazing, as i'm not a soloing kinda fella too much at this point, and mostly play uke to sing with, the full sound of the 8 string compliments me, and my voice very very well.

the intonation seemed spot on all the way up the neck, something i was worried about with a less expensive uke, though it was hard to tell as the nylon strings of course were stretching, and would be for quite some time.

I had the opportunity to plug it in to a small roland acoustic amp and way blown away, it sounded full and warm, and lacked the constant buzz from low quality electronics that my ovation soprano has (the worst uke choice i've ever made) The amp had a built in reverb which just made this uke pop (i'll likely be buying that amp at some point as well)

The action of the strings, unset up and out of the box, was uncharateristically perfect, better than many ukes i've played, with it being moderately low.

and finally the looks are perfect, though spruce has almost nothing i would call grain, the semi gloss finish made it look beautiful, and the ovangkol wood laminate was breath taking, ovankgol grain being very pronouced parallel markings. Though i'm not a cutaway headstock nut like some of ya'll, the cutaway portion revealed three beautiful layers of wood, most wonderful looking on the countersunk portion between the tuners and nut.

the feel of it in my hands way also wonderful. the owner of the music store noted it was one of his favorite uke necks besides my mainland, and i would have to agree, though i think it was equally as good. I prefer a fairly thick neck and an ever so slightly curved fingerboard, both of which this had. It was also quite heavy, but balanced, which i also prefer as it stays put when rocking out (and simply feels more...substantial?)

In summary:
Pros- its and 8 string, at an amazing price
beautiful wood grain
very full sound
great feel in the hands

cons- the tuners were open geared and seemed a little cheap. they were no very responsive to tuning and the gear ratio seemed also TOO low, i felt like i wasn't tightening the strings at all. The low G is also a wound string, which causes it to stick and then suddenly jump up 30 cents when tuning, but that is fairly common, a little sanding of the nut can help that

the spruce sound board (top) was a little too thick also. I felt it impaired the sound a little, giving it a slightly dead sound, compared to what it might have if the soundboard were a few whatevers thinner.

other than that, i can't give anything but a resounding accolade to this uke and highly recommend it, especially for a first 8 string

Looks 8/10 Feel 9/10 value (at 269) 10/10 Sound unplugged 7.5/10 and plugged 9/10

go out and get yaz one

oh and i can't afford it anymore so....is santa wants to come late....haha

01-21-2010, 12:12 PM
Will I would say get it that is a very good price. I have a MELE 8 string costing 3 times that. I did change my tunners to gold, standerd mandolin tunners will work got mine off e-Bay. I changed to Worth strings, you can get them from MGM or Elderly. I think you will fall in love with it all over again with these changes made.

01-27-2010, 03:35 AM
I have the same ukulele and I thought i'd throw in my two cents

Perhaps production quality varies somewhat, because the intonation on mine is somewhat off. It's bad enough that it's impossible to accurately tune the instrument to itself.

Previous to using this instrument, I had an Ohana sk-35 and was impressed by the build quality on it. I'd say this uke is a step backwards compared to the build of the ohana. Before I could use it, i had to lower the action of the instrument, and had to shave the nut into a more comfortable shape (mine had sharp edges). The way the action is setup, all of the strings are level instead of being adjusted for the string gauge. As a result, it is quite difficult to play harmonics on the Cc and Gg strings. Still, the spacing between the strings is just about perfect, you can still control the pairs with your left hand, but the strings are far enough apart that with enough practice, one can control the individual strings instead of simply playing pairs.

Sound quality wise, i'm relatively happy with this instrument. I have worth strings on it (Which seem to be shreading apart, has anyone experienced this before? I play with long nails, that could be the cause). The pickup works reasonably well, i have no complaints about it. The instrument is also loud enough to put on a performance.

It's pretty for sure, i like the spruce top and the cut away headstock quite a bit on this design. It's also relatively easy to play for an 8 string ukulele, there's a rather large transition when moving up to the string pairs for those who have not played an 8 string before.

My use for the instrument is a bit different than the author. I'm playing primarily finger picking compositions in the style of james blackshaw or leo kottke, so the specific demands of the instrument are a little bit different.

This has been my primary instrument for the last six months or so. After using it for that time, i'd say that it's a pretty good starter instrument for people who want to learn the 8 string ukulele. It really is an entirely different creature than a 4 string uke, so the learning curve may be enough to turn off many to the instrument. But for those looking to take their uke playing in a new direction with a fuller, richer sound and a more complex array of finger picking patterns, this is a good investment.

I paid less than half of retail cost for this instrument however, so i may be biased.

01-29-2010, 04:17 AM
I've got the O6, the 6 string cousin without the electronics and I'm very happy with it. I'll throw another +1 for worth clear strings on it, I switched to them and it's a whole new monster, much crisper and with a lot more sustain. The lanikais are a great way to step into the 6 or 8 string ukes without spending a fortune.

01-29-2010, 04:37 AM
Thanks for the info. I'd buy this one if I hadn't already bought a darn Lawson 8 string off Ebay. The bridge popped off the first time I tried to tune it. 2 drill holes and 2 screws and nuts later (and sawing off the designer sound hole), it works and sounds fine for a beginner uke. But it looks like excrement.