View Full Version : Makai MB-70 Spruce Top Baritone?

01-12-2012, 07:18 PM
Any good for a beginner bari? It will be set up. I want to stay under $200 on this one...

I'm also eyeballing Kala's and Lanikai's in this price range.

Any feedback?


01-13-2012, 08:55 PM
I haven't tried the baritone, but I have the tenor version (MT-70) and I think it's a very good uke for the price. I understand the Makais are made in the same factory as at least some of the Ohana and Mainland ukes.

01-16-2012, 06:46 AM
Nice! Thank you. I haven't seen anything negative about it so far, except stuff that is to be expected in that pricerange anyway...

01-16-2012, 06:54 AM
I have the Lanikai sprucetop tenor, and I think it's a great uke for the $, they make it in a bari and there's one on ebay now with no bids and free shipping for $155. If I didn't have an awesome Gibson bari I'd probably buy one. they come with a very high nut, so plan on having to set it up.

01-16-2012, 06:53 PM
I need one that's set up. That's a must for me... I learned the hard way with a Makala tenor. I really like the look of that spruce top! I think I'm becoming a baritone player! I've got strings on order from Southcoast to set up my Rogue with a linear C tuning... should be a good transition for me into getting this bari with standard tuning...

01-18-2012, 06:39 AM
I recently bought a Makai MB-70 for my daughter and am happy with it. When I initially got it, while it physically looked good, I wasn't wild about the tone. I changed the GHS strings it came with out for a nylon set I had sitting there (Savarez Red nylon guitar strings) and the tone improved, but the intonation on the G strings (thickest one) was off, because the string was too thick. I just put flourocarbons on it last night (Southcoast) and now the tone is improved, and the intonation is back where it should be as well. So, if you got the Makai, I would get flourocarbon strings as well. I didn't try Nylgut one it (Aquilas), so those might be OK, but it definitely sounds good with Southcoast flourocarbons.

I have a Mainland mahogany baritone, so I have been comparing the two. The physical dimensions of the two are identical, the only obvious differences, aside from the different tonewoods, are the finish (Mainland is gloss, Makai is matte), and the tuners look a little different. The frets on both look fine; the Makai came with higher action than the Mainland, so you may want to adjust that.

The Mainland has much greater sustain and sounds warmer, but that is likely just a function of mahogany versus spruce. Between the two, I prefer the sound of the Mainland; it not only sounds warmer, but it seems like you can hear multiple tones in the decay of the notes, where on the Makai I hear fewer tones. Maybe this is a result of less sustain (faster decay of the notes). I don't know. I like them both quite a bit. I prefer the Mainland, but the Makai is a great deal, and they both should improve with age as they are both solid-tops.

Regarding the different tunings; I have the Makai now set up in the key of G, and just set up the Mainland in the key of A last night (both sets of strings are from Southcoast). While I have only had a few hours to play around with them, I am happy with both; I have already found a few songs that sound better with the "non-standard" A tuning.

01-18-2012, 08:01 AM
Thanks a bunch for the input! If it's even in the same zip code with the Mainland I'm in. Obviously I realize you get what you pay for but the Mainland bari is just out of my price range currently. Plus the cost of a hardcase, worrying about humidity... yadda yadda.... I don't own any all solid bodied ukes yet so that will be my next big leap.

Thanks for the string recs too... it comes strung with Aquilas so we'll see how that sounds. Otherwise I've recently tried Worth's on my concert and was highly impressed. I see they make a couple of sets for baritones too. One cool thing about Worth is they give you so much string you can string your uke up twice with it. :)

02-01-2012, 04:58 AM
here's another option, the OS ou53, assuming solid sprucetop. probably similar to the Lanikai and Kala. a little cheaper.

02-01-2012, 07:49 PM
Went with the Makai... around $160 delivered from Uke Republic. Seems like a great deal. If I can manage to learn to play this one I might upgrade to a Mainland in a year or so, and retire/give away the Rogue and make the Makai my "beater."

So I don't have any reason (until I make one up) to get any more ukes for a while... these should keep me busy for a while. I hardly ever play my Flea, but I want to keep it around to travel with and play around in standard tuning.

Thanks for the input everyone!

02-02-2012, 04:43 AM
Sounds like you made a good choice. I just got a Ohana BK10 (baritone) from Uke Republic and I am enjoying it immensely. I am with you, I always pay the extra dollars to get a professional set-up and I trust Mike at Uke Republic to inspect and perfectly set up every uke he sells. I looked at the one you bought. Please let us know how you like it. I have never had a spruce top uke.

02-02-2012, 08:24 AM
Thanks, Rox.

Yeah Mike seems like a great guy. I bought a Dolphin for a gift this Christmas and he set it up pretty good.

I'll bump the thread when I get a few days to play around with it and give you my impressions :)

It's shipping out Friday according to Mike.