I was looking for another ukulele before Christmas and had been looking at picking up an electric uke to accompany my Ohana soprano. After being outbid on eBay for an Eleuke I came across the Laka VUV100 with an initial bid of £30* from Mike’s Mega Music store so I figured that it was a small outlay and worth a punt considering that the retail price is between £50-95 making it a no brainer as long as it’s good.
Perfect for those late night jams without disturbing anyone, just plug in you headphones and go!
So onto the details, Laka (an anagram of “Kala” to try and sound Hawaiian) is manufactured by Vintage who are well known for producing budget instruments.
- Body Length: 637mm
- Body Material: Mahogany
- Neck Material: Mahogany set neck with 18 frets
- Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
- Scale length: 378mm
- Ebony nut and diecast covered tuners.
- Features a piezo pickup with volume and tone controls.
At the rear of the ukulele the strap button doubles as a 1/4″ line jack and there are also 2 x 3.5mm jacks, one for a “line-in” from a MP3 player etc., and the second as a headphone output for quiet practice. There are two controls on the front of the ukulele, the closest one is volume and the rear control for the tone.
In terms of the setup the Laka is spot on with a nice low action at the nut which was considerably better that that of my Ohana PK-10S soprano. At the 12th fret the action was a little on the high side but nothing that couldn’t be solved by sanding the bridge down a bit (a job for another time). The intonation was slightly off but could be corrected with the use of a flat needle file to tweak it a bit.
Anyway as this is an electric ukulele how does it sound? Well physically this ukulele is “very” quiet which is perfect for those late night jams without disturbing anyone, just plug in you headphones and go!
Listening through headphones reveals a pleasing tone which retains the characteristic ukulele sound without sounding too artificial. The overall tone can be varied by using the active treble control which can boost or cut the treble frequencies by turning the rear knob either side of the centre stop. The pickup is fairly insensitive to picking up body noise which can plague some piezo equipped ukuleles and is a welcome feature.
Connecting to an amplifier (in my case a Vox Valvetronix VT30) and choosing a clean pre-set I was rewarded with the same clean tone I got using headphones. Obviously when running through an amp we don’t always want to want to play clean. Choosing some of the more high gain pre-sets gives the Laka a serious crunch tone that can liven up a song that needs a “beefier” sound.
In conclusion I would say that if you are looking for a ukulele for either a live performance where feedback problems can rear their ugly head or as a quiet practice uke the Laka VUV100 is a steal for £30!
* Price subject to change so don’t forget to use your “Google-Fu” and search eBay for this model.