Lanikai Monkey Pod Ukulele Review + Aquila vs. Koolau- Tenor String Battle!!

Exciting, isn’t it! Well, I thought so. Maybe not the same as a mud wrestling match, or even playing UNO on your iPhone. But it’s like the excitement you get watching videos on youtube, or checking Facebook. Because in string battling, or even ukulele reviewing, there can be no defined winner or loser. Not everyone is trying to sound the same. And that’s a good thing!
The Lanikai reviewed was one I brought in to sample because I remembered Bruce Robbins commenting on it in response to the Kala or Lanikai? post a few months ago. Thanks for the tip Bruce.
If you have been trying different ukes out, please comment on what you are finding to be the best value in the uke market. We want to hear your opinions!
We sell this for $379 shipped and it is all solid Monkey Pod, also known as Rain Tree. It has a Fishman Sonitone undersaddle pickup, and a Fishman Sonicore preamp with volume and tone adjustment from two wheels mounted right under the soundhole. The sound is mean! (which means nice here in Hawaii). Ya, it’s weird….but back to the review, the Lanikai SMP-TCA may not win like a glorious mud wrestler champion. But with a slight adjustment, in the form of an Alohi wound 3&4 string set from the Ko’olau company, the uke came alive. AND when you factor the spectacular setup (because they need it) from our new full time tech -Mr. Danny Navarro, you get an instrument worth it’s tag and more. Let’s see… All solid wood, bone nut and saddle, slotted headstock, wood bindings, a killer fishman pickup, + custom setup from people who care for only $379! That’s a good value!~

Some ukes I prefer with Aquila. Most I prefer with the high G. But this one sounds sweet with the Low G Ko’olau set. At least that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Comments 3

  1. So you liked the Monkey Pod? My son (he’s the player) has had it (concert size) about two months now and loves it…takes it everywhere along with his “lunch box” amp…so you think it sounds better with Ko’olau strings? In what way? My son has been considering switching to a low G string…what are the advantages and disadvantages? I see a set of strings on e-bay now from music guy mike for about $10…we may invest in a set…is there somewhere we could hear the difference between the two kinds of string?

    1. Hey Bruce, It is different with concert though. I am usually not too fond of a concert with the low G, but sometimes it is good. We got in the Monkey Pod concert as well, but I have not tried it with a Low G. Sometimes you need the longer scale length of the tenor for the low G to have any punch. I have some string sound demoes, but mostly on tenor for some reason. Hmmm, concert might be due for a string review. Aloha!

  2. My bad…I posted the previous comment before looking at the video, which addressed many of the issues I brought up…John liked the low G Ko’olau string sound, altho he wouldn’t commit himself…anyway, we are going to order the strings and have them put on by our local tech…you can hear him play Jake’s “Me and Shirley T” on his Monkey Pod at his youtube site: johnnyelseweretv…the pretty little blond girl doing an impromptu dance is his five year old niece, Scarlett!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *