Acoustic Electric for 100-200$


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Mar 20, 2010
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My current ukulele is the Makala MK-T, but my band has started gigging recently so I am interested in buying an acoustic electric tenor.

I bought a Lanikai LU-21TE but something about it just doesn't feel right, if you know what I mean?

So I will be returning it and looking at some others, and I was wondering if you could help me out here..

So far I'm looking at these (I am open to other suggestions) :


If it helps at all, I really love the tone I get from my MK-T
and it doesn't have to be exactly 100-200 it can be a bit over.



Can someone explain to me about laminate woods, satin finishes, gloss finishes and such?

Is my Lanikai any of the above?

I want the wood to expand so I get more tones out of it over time, does one of the above prevent that from happening?
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Out of the 2 you linked to, definitely get the Kala from MGM.
MGM sets the ukes up so they're in their best playable shape.

You can also get this one:

It's just a little bit over $200, but is fancier than the KA-TE, with newer electronics and an in-built tuner!

-Soundboard is made of 2 or more thin layers of wood glued together, generally with a prettier looking 'veneer' on the outside.
-Durable and maintenance free
-Sound remains fairly consistent throughout lifetime

-Soundboard is made of 1 single layer of one piece of wood.
-Generally louder and 'punchier' sound than laminate, but requires some humidity maintenance (generally just keep a soaked humidifier in the case and refill every few weeks)
-Sound changes with time as wood 'opens' up more to being played

To my ears, Laminates sound good enough acoustically. If you're mainly going to be using your uke connected to an amplifier for gigs, and you're not so fussy about acoustic sound - a laminate uke is fine.
It's a better choice for durability and price.

If you're not satisfied with the acoustic quality of your MK-T, and want something that sounds deeper and louder, try a solid or solid-top ukulele (they are usually labelled as such). But it is highly recommended to maintain solid ukes with at least a humidifier. They are more vulnerable to humidity changes in the environment than laminates, and this is no exagerration. You sometiems read horror stories of solid ukes cracking and splitting in Uke Talk.

Satin and gloss finishes make a subtle difference in tone in general. Not quite sure how to describe this.. Satin ukes often have a more 'open', robust sound to my ears, whereas gloss has a mellower, rounder sound.. (?)
But there are so many other factors that make a uke sound as it does.
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