NUD: L.Luthier Le Koa tenor ukulele

Arik

“Where words fail, music speaks.”
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Hi all. Just wanted to share some love of a lesser-known brand L.Luthier (Malaysia). I pick up L.Luither Le Koa tenor ukulele from reverb a couple of weeks ago. The brand was pretty unknown to me but I have been eyeballing it for a while due to its really great price for a Koa ukulele with a ton of bells and whistles (binding, purfling, soundport, gloss with satin neck). The uke has a really cool design with an off-centered soundhole (looks very similar to the Kanile'a D series). And larger wider body tenor. I had found only 1 sound sample on youtube but it sounded like it had some good volume, nice tone, and was very resonant.

What made me pull the trigger was I chatted with another UU member that picked up a hog version (mahogany) and he loved it. Decided to pull the trigger and took about a week to get from Malaysia. Ya getting stuff from overseas can be nerve-racking and I wasn't sure how to return it if I didn't like it.

When I got the uke my initial thoughts were this is beautiful. It has some curly koa and nice sap on the back and front of the uke. The uke has curly maple bindings around the body and on the sides of the fretboard. Something that the vendor didn't list was that the uke has an active pick (piezo and mic). Big win! The uke is a little bit heavier than my other ukes. Not sure if it's the build or maybe the combination of the build plus the electronics. The action was a little bit high so I ended up sanding down the saddle a bit to drop it.

As far as sound. The uke sounded good but tight right out of the box. I try not to jump to conclusions with sound because it's rare that I am amazed right when I get a uke (with the exception of my MoonBird Cedar top). I swapped out the savarez strings with Joel's uke logic soft tension low g strings. After playing it for a couple of weeks it really has begun to sing. The uke has very good tone with nice resonance. Sounds really good in the mids (what is expected from koa). The volume is also very good.

For the money, this is a very good uke, especially if you are looking for a quality koa uke for less than $800 (maybe less because they take offers on reverb.com).

thought I would give L.Luthier some love and share my thoughts with the UU community. I tried to share my thoughts with my wife but she was not impressed that I had bought another ukulele. lol

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Congrats!
You can always share you new uke day posts with us, we'll be impressed!
I love the contrasting sapwood in this uke, it really is very pretty. I hope you play the heck out of it. You'll love the radius fretboard....
 
That looks fabulous. I love the asymmetry everywhere on the top. The shape of the body reminds me of aNueNue Bird ukes. The soundhole is indeed similar to the Kanile'a D shaped soundhole. The bridge is similar to aNueNue as well except it's really nicely asymmetrical. Congrats.
 
Thanks everyone!

Nice! Interesting body shape. That lower bout looks rather wide, how wide is it? Looks like it would put out great volume. Enjoy!

Yes the lower bout is wide (10 inches). Wider than my Mood Bird and my Super tenors. Uke came with a nice padded gig back but I wanted a hard case. It didn't fit most of the hard cases (for my other ukes) but it does fit my Mood Bird case but I have to squeeze it in. Yes it does put out some great volume. Thanks!!
 
The shape of the ukulele is really very unusual and interesting. I think because of such a wide part there should be good surround sound. I bought myself a new Lanikai MA-P and I also think to write a review about it. I usually use https://studymoose.com/essay-types/descriptive-essays for this and special online writing services. I am thinking of opening a YouTube channel and recording video tutorials on playing ukulele for him.
 
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Is this the one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8--ENU082rs

Nice! Above all, enjoy it.

Bluesy.

Hi Bluesy. The link you posted is the Le Maho (Mahogany) but they very similar in look. They actually sound very similar as well, with maybe a little difference in the low end and overtones. The Koa version is about 100 bucks more so I was like let's just go for the koa!
Here is a link from the same shop/artist/song.



Thanks. Really enjoying the uke. It gets a lot of playtime.
 
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Nice write up. I came across L.Luthier on Reverb, sold by different Japanese sellers. So I assumed it was a Japanese maker. The wide lower bout caught my eye.
 
Nice review. Very good looking and sounding tenor.

From the videos, the Koa version seems to have a little warmer, more full sound than the mahogany. Which is what I often find between the two woods.

I'd heard the name before, but hadn't heard any sound samples.

What's you opinion of the craftsmanship, construction & finish?
 
Nice write-up. I came across L.Luthier on Reverb, sold by different Japanese sellers. So I assumed it was a Japanese maker. The wide lower bout caught my eye.

Thanks! Ya I assumed it was a Japanese maker but did some research on the brand before buying and found out it is a Malaysian luthier-brand. Also, the Japanese vendors that sell this brand from reverb charge a lot of international shipping. I picked it up from a Malaysian vendor on reverb called Mahogany Music. They were the cheapest for shipping.


I'd heard the name before, but hadn't heard any sound samples.

What's you opinion of the craftsmanship, construction & finish?

Hi Ken2018. I think the craftsmanship, construction, & finish are great! No imperfections in the finish. All the lines in the bindings, purflings are straight, turners are nice and smooth (Derjung branded. I think that is who KoAloha gets their turners from now). The neck is satin so it is very comfortable. The koa wood used looks like it might be in the 2-3A range (Kanile'a deluxe). Doesn't show up well in the pics.

I mentioned in my orig posting that is heavier, but I am comparing it now to my moon bird with an LR baggs five-0 pick up, it is slightly heavier. I think this is because of the electronics. The uke comes with a duel mic and volume knob (similar to the anuenue air air) next to the soundhole and the power supply (battery) looks like it might be 2 AA or 2 AAA (maybe 1 AA). Not quite sure because I haven't need to change the battery. But there is a small black box velcroed to the inside of the uke. For sure that would add weight compared to a single CR2302.
 
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YEah...so I picked up a Le Koa/Spruce Top and WOW! Mine came setup with a fret buzz, but when I contacted the seller they IMMEDIATELY sent a new nut which totally fixed the issue. It's even louder that the Mahogany model. And it's an amazing unit! Let us not forget the radiused fretboard. Highly recommend!
 
YEah...so I picked up a Le Koa/Spruce Top and WOW! Mine came setup with a fret buzz, but when I contacted the seller they IMMEDIATELY sent a new nut which totally fixed the issue. It's even louder that the Mahogany model. And it's an amazing unit! Let us not forget the radiused fretboard. Highly recommend!

Great to know. Always love to hear about good customer service like that.
 
Now that you’ve had it a while, what do you think? How does it compare to your Moon Bird? Do you like one better?
 
Now that you’ve had it a while, what do you think? How does it compare to your Moon Bird? Do you like one better?
I still really like my L. Luthier Le Koa. It got warmer the more I played it.

In comparison to my cedar bird, I would say that they are comparable in feel, sound, and features (rosette, bindings, satin neck). The Le Koa actually has more features with a cool sound port and pickup (duel piezo/mic). I stated before that it has a radius fretboard but I don't think so now looking at it. Sound-wise they are both x-braced. Very warm and project very very well. My moonbird has more sparkle on the highs and has a little more growl on the low end. Both sound very guitar-like if you are into that kind of thing.

I honestly think they are very comparable in every category (build quality, finish, sound, playability, features) but at half the cost of the Moonbird line. I'm guessing that the Le Koa might be made in China because of the cost and they don't list where their ukes are built. But both L.Luthier and Anuenue are some top-tier Chinese builds.

If I had to choose one I would still go for my cedar bird. I like the sound better, and Anuenue has more notoriety (if I'm being honest). I could have bought 2 Le Koas for the price I paid for the Moon Bird so L.Luthier punches way above its weight class. Would I recommend L.Luthier over import ukes (Pono, Rebel, KoAloha-Thailand, Romero Creations), 100%. If they contracted with HMS, I'm sure they could grow their profile significantly and increase prices.
 

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