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Thread: Lanikai Tuna Uke.....Really?

  1. #11

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    I think it's a marketing ploy to attempt to differentiate some of their cheap ukes from other cheap ukes. It might help some with intonation on ukes that don't have the best intonation because they are produced with less than the best care. All string instruments have intonation issues, ukes have additional ones because of the short strings. With the right fret height and the right nut, saddle and bridge positioning, played by a good player, a uke will be in tune. Ordinarily Lanikai ukes (at least some of them) are prone to intonation issues so if the tuna uke marketing thingy helps with that - then great. On the other hand they could try doing what some of their competitors do, which is use a little more care in their manufacture.

  2. #12
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    Have to agree with oldephart on this. As long as the ukulele isn't grossly mismanufactured (bowed neck, really bad bridge placement, etc) the strings can make a bit of difference. Example: I had martin m600s on one ukulele I had messed with. On my snark tuner it seemed like i had 1-2 slivers sharp at the 12th fret, I was fine with that since I knew my modifications may have lifted the saddle a bit. Swapped over the strings to oasis lights (I had to move the martins to another ukulele), the e and c strings now go 4 slivers sharp at the 12th fret. Obvious answer with this ukulelel is to put martin m600s or another thinner lighter tensioned fluorocarbon back on.

    I guess a tunauke style bridge could be used to compensate for those 2 particular strings. In fact if this idea works, the proper use of this type bridge would be exactly for allowing very fine tuned adjustments to compensate for different brands of strings.

    With these ukuleles at the price they are at, I would almost hazard to guess that this bridge will be used primarily to get more poorly manufactured ukuleles through QC.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  3. #13

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    You know, when you think about it, this thread and the one on whether different kinds of strings are snake-oil might be clumped together -- maybe a player's hearing picks up small differences in intonation and causes that player to prefer the strings that come closer to his or her perception of what sounds best. Some folks might prefer slightly sharp to slightly flat, or vice-versa, and maybe one brand of strings alters things the way they like.

    It's a theory, anyway …

    Steve

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steveperrywriter View Post
    You know, when you think about it, this thread and the one on whether different kinds of strings are snake-oil might be clumped together -- maybe a player's hearing picks up small differences in intonation and causes that player to prefer the strings that come closer to his or her perception of what sounds best. Some folks might prefer slightly sharp to slightly flat, or vice-versa, and maybe one brand of strings alters things the way they like.

    It's a theory, anyway …

    Steve
    There's probably a lot to that. Also, of course, some people like a more mellow sound while others like something a little brighter, and so on. Different strings definitely can intonate differently up the neck, though.

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  5. #15
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    When I heard about the Tune-A-Uke, I was pretty excited. There is a seed of a great idea there. Some very high quality guitars have something very similar with great results. I was thinking Lanikais are pretty nice instruments, they are great to look at, they come in a huge variety of styles. I have never bought one before because every one I've tried has had fairly poor to seriously poor intonation. Well, I bought a concert Tune-A-Uke. I've had it for a couple of months and couldn't be more disappointed. Lanikai put the movable saddles on the cheapest model they build, and it shows. Adjust all you want and the cheap ukulele is incapable of good intonation. The principle is a good one. Move the saddle for each individual string until the pitch at twelve is exactly an octave above the string played open, and everything else should line up. It doesn't work on the Tune-A-Uke. The intonation is so bad it doesn't warrant serious analysis, restringing, attempt to set up. The instrument sounds like a toy in a garbage can.

    Now, Lanikai claims to have plans to bring this technology to their higher-end instruments. I hope they do because the first generation is useless. Can't imagine why they started with this lousy a model. I don't even feel right selling the one I've got to some unsuspecting soul.
    Last edited by stevepetergal; 01-03-2014 at 12:11 PM.
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  6. #16
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    You can tune a ukulele but cha can't tune a fish...sorry, had to

    "It's not on a map, it's right on your lap" ~ Sailor Jim

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  7. #17
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    When I saw the thread title, I thought Lanikai had come up with an answer to the Makala Dolphin.

  8. #18
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    Ironic that Lanikai introduces this because back in 2006-2008 they flooded the market with ukes that had horrific intonation. It was easy to fix if you knew how to adjust the string height and compensation but the beginners that bought cheap Lanikais didn't know how! Anyway recently they have been better (although Steve got a bad one I have seen more decent-sounding ones lately).

    This does sound like a nice option for an advanced player with an expensive uke who changes string brands for a different sound but wants intonation perfect. It seems wasted on a cheap uke.

  9. #19

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    You can only get so far with intonation on a nylon-strung short scale instrument...
    Especially if you come from a background of steel-string instruments.. especially electric ones with adjustable saddles, truss rods and adjustable everything!

    An acoustic steel string (usually) lacks adjustable saddles like an electric, so their intonation is not usually regarded as perfect, but they have long scale and harder tension metal strings to fall back on.

    Next level down in intonation accuracy are nylon-strung Classical guitars which also (usually) do not have adjustable parts. Just a simple nut and saddle (sometimes compensated, to be cute). Again, the longer scale makes it easier to achieve reasonable intonation. Generally in a more expensive instrument, the maker would have gone to more trouble to get it intonate more accurately... but the moment you decide to use a different brand of strings.. or the weather fluctuates a bit... intonation never stays stationary.


    Coming from all this, I think it's almost laughable that people expect perfect intonation on SHORT SCALE, NYLON-STRUNG instruments with relatively FLOPPY STRING TENSION and usually NON-ADJUSTABLE saddle/bridges nor truss rods, etc. Most ukes just beyond the cheapest kind intonate "reasonably" well in my opinion. Just change strings to whatever makes you happy, get a playing action you like and enjoy. Even if you do, after hours of painstaking tinkering, achieve a near-perfect intonation, all it takes is for the weather/temperature/humidity to change a bit, causing the wood to expand/contract and affect how it plays..

    This Tuna-uke is a cute idea though. I wouldn't be opposed to the fact that a ukulele I happen to want comes with it.. but it'll never be a deal breaker. If it was really all that great, it would already be an industry standard.
    Last edited by kissing; 01-04-2014 at 07:01 PM.

  10. #20
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    Jun 2012
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    The upside to all this is Amazon and Musicians Friend ran some deep discounts on the old models for a time adding that they LU series had been replaced. The LU21 Pineapples got down to $39 at Musician's Friend. I think Lanikai may have shot themselves in the foot if they replaced their entry level LU series with these (Just because of the initial additional purchase cost).

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