View Full Version : Mainland Mahogany Tenor Review

04-17-2011, 10:59 AM
Hey guys,

I have completed a review of the Mainland Mahogany Tenor uke that I received almost a week ago. I have used bornagainjeepers format. I have a text and video review.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments!


Mainland Mahogany Tenor Review

Disclaimer: This is my first uke review, and my first tenor that I have owned. I have been playing for a little over a year and do not have a lot of experience with different uke sizes or materials!

As I was writing this I tended to compare it most to my Mitchell Concert uke because that is what I had been playing. I am not trying to make a direct comparison between the two, but these are my experiences.

I used bornagainjeeperís ukulele review form because I thought his were very well done and very informative. Thanks bornagain!

Appearance (all scales are 1-10) 8

It is mahogany, but probably the most beautiful mahogany uke I have seen (no bias here). Seriously though, it has a beautiful grain that can be seen in different aspects on each side of the uke. This uke is completely solid top, solid back and solid sides. I was surprised by this because most I have seen including guitars have a seam running through the middle of the top and the middle of the back. However it appears that Mainland is using one piece of wood for this with no seam. I like this and am not sure why it isnít more standard. Maybe Mike can correct me if I am wrong and/or explain?

I went with the gloss after talking to Mike about it on the phone. I have a matte soprano that I actually like the look of. I asked what was most popular and he indicated that it seemed to depend on what part of the world it was going to. Apparently the matte finish is very popular in Thailand.

He said that the gloss helps to bring out the grain of the wood a little more, and so after some debate, I decided to go with the gloss. He couldnít have been more correct, it really looks beautiful.

I really do like the rope binding as well. I have heard this from others, but agree that the picture on the website doesnít do it justice.

Sound 8

As I said in the disclaimer, I donít have much experience with ukes, but I continue to be surprised by ukuleles in general. It seems that is almost impossible to predict what one is going to sound like or how loud it is going to be.

Before I purchased the Mainland, I went to a few stores near me that have some ukes to try out different ones and sizes. I wanted to make sure that I wanted a tenor and wanted to see what was out there. The two most notable tenors that I tried were a Lanikai LU21T I believe and a Luna.

The Lanikai was quite loud. It was electric as well and I didnít like the way it sounded through the amp. Maybe it was just me but it seemed to be quite noisy just lifting my fingers of the strings. I knew I didnít want electric anywayÖ I am getting sidetracked hereÖ

The Luna was very, very soft, I felt like I could barely here it. (It was Koa, donít remember the model).

I would say that the Mainland is right between these two in volume. I think I was expecting it to be louder because the Mitchell Concert uke I have is quite loud. The Mitchell Concert is actually louder than my Mainland tenor.

To me, the Mainland has a soothing tone where the Mitchell is a little piercing.

The sustain is quite nice as well.

Overall I like the sound and volume very much.

Intonation: 9

I think the intonation is very good. I just got a snark tuner yesterday and it indicates that it isnít perfect but it is very good. For me, it is much more than adequate.

Feel in the hands: 7

I have been thinking about getting a uke leash or making my own strap for this uke, because it is just big enough that it can be a little uncomfortable or difficult to play.

I think this is just because of the size and has no reflection on Mainland. It is very playable and easy to move around the neck.

I would have liked it to thave dots on the side of the neck so that I donít have to look at the top of the fretboard to see where I am.

Quality 8

Construction quality is very good. There are a couple of minor blemishes, but it is built well. The frets are interesting because I have always seen frets that are round in shape, but these are flat on top.

I am not sure what the reasoning is behind this but I thought it was interesting.

The gloss finish is beautifully done, but I very quickly marked it up with fingerprints! I thought after that.. ďmaybe I should have taken photos before I touched itĒ 

Value 9

Again I donítí have much to compare it to in this size or price range, but I got it for $250 direct from Mainland. For a solid wood uke that is professionally setup and top notch customer service, I think this is a great value.

The setup was perfect and it is very easy to play single notes with very little pressure. Bar chords of course, require more pressure, but they are not too difficult.

I bought my Mitchell that I bought at guitar center had very high action. It was very hard to play bar chords, and I took the advice of another thread and sanded down the saddle. They are somewhat easier now.


So far I have really been enjoying this ukulele. I started with a soprano, then got a concert and now have this Mainland tenor.

The Mainland Mahogany Tenor sounds and looks beautiful. I really have no complaints.

I think this is a great first step into the world of solid wood ukes!


04-17-2011, 11:10 AM
Great review - thank you for this - lots of detail.

I particularly connected with the comments regarding the grain - I have a Mainland Concert in Mahog, and was also struck with how beautiful the grain looked under the finish. Just picked it up again now - 1 year on - STILL amazed!

mm stan
04-17-2011, 11:59 AM
Aloha Jim,
I had the matte finish on the mainland too....I used several coats of Nu finish auto polish and buffed it into a high gloss...I agree it looks much better....Thanks for the great review..Happy Strummings and enjoy
you new mainland...MM Stan

04-18-2011, 02:32 AM
Well I think you just pushed me over the edge Jonesjimbo! Looks Like I'm going to have to pick up a Mainland Tenor.

A couple weeks back I picked up a Mainland Concert Mahogany and love it!


04-18-2011, 06:07 AM
Thanks for the review and your thoughts on the instrument. I love the sound to a mainland mahogany, very nice instruments.

04-18-2011, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the comments guys. I know your reviews helped me decide so I thought I should return the favor!

04-19-2011, 04:18 AM
I forgot to mention in my previous post that your review was very informative...So much so I went ahead and ordered a Mainland Mahogany Tenor.


Little Island Nick
04-22-2011, 03:03 AM
Thank you for the excellent review.

I have been thinking about a Mainland for my second ukulele due to all the positive comments on UU and your review has helped me decide.

Going to Mike's Shop Saturday with hopes of bringing a ukulele home.

Are you self taught or have you taken lessons?

Having three sizes of ukuleles, if you could only have one size which would it be and why?


04-22-2011, 03:38 AM
Thanks for the feedback Nick.

I am self taught but have also spent some time playing guitar (also self taught). If you can go to Mike's shop I would definitely recommend that since you can take the opportunity to try the uke out first. You can see what wood you like, what size you like, which uke in particular may feel better in your hands, etc.

Right now, if I could only have one size, I think it would be the tenor because it has the biggest range, but I would like to try some other concerts. The Mitchell concert that I have was very poorly setup with very high action, which I tried to fix on my own. It is much better now, but still leaves much to be desired.

Good luck with your decision!