View Full Version : Lanikai O8-E 8 String Ukulele

07-25-2010, 03:53 PM
They say lanikai makes you happy, how'd they do on this one....FANTASTIC
Lets dive into it

Sound (1-10) 7 ....In my opinion 8 strings just sound better than 4 strings, so i tried to factor that idea out. So compared to other 8 strings, I'll give it an 7. The top is solid spruce, which no surprise, gives an exceptionally bright sound to this uke. The back and sides are laminate Ovangkol wood, which is a mahogany relative from Africa. This Helps balance this ukes brightness out in two ways. First the mahogany like ovangkol wood would have a warm tone, contrasting the brightness of spruce. Also the fact that it is a laminate wood might actually not be a huge problem, as laminates also tend to take the edge off of brightness, in my opinion (However they are also a little dead sounding, with less sustain). Overall the fullness of the 8 strings and the quality of the solid spruce top provide a very loud and complex tone. the E in O8-E signifies this model is electric. It has a UK2000 pickup, which has on board battery making it an Active pickup, helping to reduce feedback and other common problems with a passive pickup. The downside to that is you do have to worry about the battery dying, but carrying an extra in your case will certainly make that a moot point. I played it through a fairly high quality Roland acoustic specific gig amp, and it was exceptionally clear and real to life sounding, with minimal feedback, even when touching the speakers.

Appearance (1-10) 7 Certainly less important than sound, but worth noting, the appearance of this uke, is...average. The Ovangkol on the back in sides is breathtaking. The contrast in grain between very dark brown and light caramel, really stands out. Without exception is it the most attractive wood on any of the ukes i own. It can best be compared to a zerba wood, but whereas zebra wood tends to be a little more grey and black, this is a rich warm caramel and dark chocolate, with a nearly holographic quality. I didn't give this uke a 9 or 10 on appearence for a few reasons. To me, spruce is pretty boring, though it has a nice banana pudding color, there is no real interest in its grain, tight and unremarkable (of course sound quality is a better reason for choice, and acceptable excuse for using any wood) The uke as a slotted headstock which really gets some people jazzed up, however, i don't care for them personally. I do very much like how they used several woods (mahogany, something light maybe maple or spruce, and a dark colored something or other)at the headstock and on the angled lead in cut for the strings, you see all layers in a striped fashion. The tuners are very attractive, with some stamped in decoration, which, along with the slotted headstock gives a nice classical guitar look.

Feel (1-10) 6.5.....I'll mark it down here, but just being picky. The neck itself is fantastic, a perfect average. For those who like a flat thin neck, its not too thick, and for those who like a fat rounded neck its not too thin. Very well shaped and easy to hold, I'm very happy about the neck choice. I mark this uke down because its awful darn heavy. I'm not certain about how it feels compared to other 8 strings, but compared to a 4 string it beastly. A few things likely make it heavy. First, there is two of everything! This should be no surprise, but it has 4 more tuning machines than a 4 stringed uke. Also the headstock is pretty darn thick, nearly twice as thick as my mainland tenor. in addition it has a gloss coat, and fairly heavy one at that, and certainly doesn't help the weight situation. Finally the, and one of the most significant weight additions is the pickup system. A pickup will always add some weight, though here they went with an active pick up, which means it has a 9 volt battery. ALLLLL of that weight issues (which don't mean a darn thing to me really, but it is noticeably heavy) aside, it is perfectly balanced. The heavy headstock perfectly counters the weight of the battery in the body. So despite being beefy, it is easily held without a strap.

Intonation (1-10) 9 The intonation of this Uke is extremely accurate. In beginners terms this means, if you play an open note, the note at fret 12 is still exactly in tune, and one perfect octave. As we know this is a common problem on less expensive ukes like this one, but all the way up the neck the variance was always less than 5 cents, and mostly within 2 cents, which is about as good as it gets, and by far my most accurate uke.

Tuning (1-10) 5 I put this in as a different section for two reasons, the unique problems of tuning an 8 string, as well as the tuning machines themselves. There is no getting around it, and an 8 string uke will always be more difficult to tune than a 4 string. The uke would typically be tuned to gG cC EE AA...meaning you have two strings very close together where a standard 4 string uke would only have one. The two lowest string sets (courses) are tuned at octaves, with one High g and one low g which are played together. The C course is the same way, octaves, but the E and A are in unison, nothing new to an 8 string. The difficulting comes in actually trying to play each string in the course independently to tune them. Its just not easy. Again, this is not unique to this uke, it is universal for all 8 strings, just goes with the territory. The reason I rated this lower has little to do with the quirks of 8 string tuning, but completely to do with the tuning machines themselves. They just seem a little cheap. When tuning this uke initially i noticed when making a complete rotation on the gear, there were tight spots and loose spots, showing imperfections in the machine. Just a picky issue. The uke stays in tune perfectly fine compared to any uke, and the gears do not seem to slip, so it is largely not a big problem.

Value (1-10) 15...yeah thats right...15 This uke retails for around $400 USD but actually sells for more like $275 at most online retailers. It is completely worth the money, amazingly so. For the same price as most companies sell a similar tenor sized uke, you get 4 more strings and tuners, as well as a very capable pickup system. I would never suggest this uke sounds better than a kamaka or Kanilea, but the phrase "for the price" is even a little demeaning here. It is REALLY SUPER AMAZING "for the price" and honestly ignorant people would likely happily pay $500 or more for a uke like this.

Overall (1-10) 8...All things considered this is an incredible instrument. The first time i played it, it sent chills down my spine. It gets a lot of help in "smile factor" by simply being an 8 string, which makes it sound amazing despite the quality. But looking beyond the 8 string advantage, it is an impressive value, being of both great quality and relatively low cost. It should be noted that they make a lesser model, the LU8, which also comes in an electric model as well, for about 80 dollars less, give for take, It is a completely laminate model, and while still sounding pretty good, i would rate it much lower overall (maybe 6.5 or 7) and the extra cash, if you've got it laying around, is completely worth the upgrade. In the case (and most cases) Lanikai really does make me happy. From their 60 dollar sopranos, to their higher end models they always having me saying "Hey wow, thats really pretty good for the money." being above average for their price range. This particular uke is WELL above average in the price range, and i can not but completely recommend it.



07-25-2010, 04:04 PM
Great detailed review. Much appreciated!

07-26-2010, 08:35 AM
heya Alex- An excellent review: loaded with tons of details, comments and personal observations. I have a Kamaka 8-string (2005) but no Lanikai ukes as yet (although I do have the new zebrawood tenor on order). I l-o-v-e an 8-stringer... wonderful octave sounds that add color to any song. Thanks for sharing your comments on the Lanikai. I might have to consider one, especially with the electronics. Cheers! :)

07-26-2010, 04:46 PM
thanks for YOUR kind words in return, I'd be curious to hear the kamaka in comparison to the lanikai....it seems to me that lanikai really did something special here, and i'd be curious to see how it stacks up against a top shelf uke like a kamaka....

mm stan
07-26-2010, 05:57 PM
Aloha Alex,
Thanks for the awesome detailed review, very imformative...Thanks for sharing the video too!!
MM Stan "Keep strumming them strings" Uke On!!! Ukuleles are foreva's...

07-26-2010, 06:21 PM
Just bought an O-8 today, can't wait to play it!

07-28-2010, 01:43 PM
Mim has an O-8E with my name on it. We're just waiting for the hard case to come in for her to ship it out. I'm very excited! Great review! I'm really looking forward to its arrival!

Coconut Willie
07-29-2010, 09:15 AM
Great review and video. Plus that 8 stringer sounds incredible!!! Thanks for sharing!!

07-29-2010, 10:53 AM

thank you for the awesome review. i'm way excited to get my lanikai 8-string (should be soon!!). i just can't get enough of the sound.

Just bought an O-8 today, can't wait to play it!

hubes, did you end up getting that through mim?

Mim has an O-8E with my name on it. We're just waiting for the hard case to come in for her to ship it out. I'm very excited! Great review! I'm really looking forward to its arrival!

mim's amazing, yeah? hopefully she gets your case in quickly so you can partake of your 8-string awesomeness!!

07-30-2010, 06:15 AM
Yes, I got it through Mim. its on the way as we speak, just playing the waiting game now :)

Paul December
07-30-2010, 06:39 AM
I had the same uke and really loved the sound but just didn't have the finger strength to pull off making some chords. Mine had a really pretty linen-like top on it, and the spruce while having a thick gloss finish was still quite thin overall.
I sold it and got the 6 string version which sound *nearly* as full, but imo much easier to play.
...I then traded-up to the koa lam version with I really am happy with. The laminate is much warmer and the wood is very thin (as thin as the top on my Kiwaya). While not as loud as the Spruce, it is noticeably louder than most 4 string tenors.

07-30-2010, 06:52 AM
Thank you for such an awesome, detailed review! I have really been wanting one of these, and I am so excited so many people are talking about them lately. It helps me justify my wanting one. But doesn't help with the UAS!

Super well done. :)

08-27-2010, 01:48 PM
I"m glad you all appreciate my reviews, i try not to be long winded, but detailed and interesting....any comments that would boost my reviews i'll certainly take

05-17-2011, 12:23 PM
This is the first I've heard an 8 string played and I am astonished at how awesome it is. Great review too!

07-25-2011, 01:37 PM
Very helpful review - thank you!

07-26-2011, 12:16 PM
Hey, great review! Very thorough, detailed, nice video. You just cost me $280. Thanks a lot! ;)


06-20-2012, 08:44 AM
I was looking at the Lanikai Koa Baritone, but after hearing how nice and full this one sounds, I ordered the 8-String Tenor.