Mahalo Les Paul Ukulele Review

Mahalo UkuleleI felt like a Burmese monk that hadn’t been through Poy Sang Long, I really did. It’s a rite of passage for any UK uke player to own a Mahalo ukulele and I never did. Back in my day, there was no useful website to tell you which ukulele to buy, so I ended up with a real piece of junk.

But my Mahalo deficiency was set to change when I saw their Les Paul copies.

Mahalo don’t have a great track record when it comes to Gibson copies. Their version of the Flying V looks awful and sounds worse. But when I saw their Les Paul copies, I just couldn’t resist.

The Good Stuff

The Look – The uke looks great. It’s available in tobacco sunburst, cherry and black (I went with the black – to match my heart). They all look great. From a distance at least. As you’d expect from a cheap, Chinese made uke, the attention to detail isn’t quite there. There are a couple of areas that are a little messy up close. But they’re nowhere near bad enough to spoil how it looks.

The Price – Not as cheap as the cheapest Mahalos, but at £35 it’s irresistible.

Plays Easy – The action is low and it feels right.

Good sound – Even with the strings it comes fitted with, the uke sounds great for the price. These mp3s were recorded without any adjustments other than tuning up.

Strumming test:


Strum Test – Sister Kate (MP3)

Picking test:


Picking Test – Staten Island Slide (MP3) (written by Craig Robertson)

The Less Good Stuff

Intonation The intonation leaves a bit to be desired. I don’t know why they’ve bothered with a compensated bridge if they’re not going to take care with setting up the intonation. Having said that, the problem doesn’t rear its head in the first seven frets. So it’s fine for basic chord strumming.

In this example, I’m playing a harmonic at the 12th fret then playing the note at 12th fret itself.


Mahalo Intonation Test (MP3)

Overall

While there’s no danger of the Mahalo becoming my No. 1 uke, I’m very happy with it. It’s perfect little strummer to have lying around. And it looks like a Les Paul for chuffs sake.

More Mahalo reviews on buy a ukulele.

It’s obviously a very popular uke as it’s pretty tricky to find one right now. They’re few and far between on eBay and ‘Out of Stock’ signs are appearing on websites.

Search eBay UK

Search eBay US

Search eBay Germany (as I write, they have an electric ukulele version of the Les Paul Mahalo which I haven’t seen anywhere else).

Search eBay Australia (oooh, their Mahalos have solid cases)

Search eBay Canada

Also, for those who’ve asked about my tabbing software: Guitar Pro Review.

UPDATE: The little lick I throw into Sister Kate goes like this:

ukulele tab sister kate

View Comments

86 Comments

  1. Claire January 10th, 2010 2:48 am

    Thanks for the review!

    I was able to get the electric model on sale for $50 Canadian. This is my first ukulele and I’m really enjoying it so far :)

  2. Mahalo Flying V Ukulele Review | Ukulele Hunt March 10th, 2010 9:53 pm

    […] think of a worse ukulele to learn on. If you must have a ukulele that looks like a guitar, get a Mahalo Les Paul instead. They’re a much better […]

  3. byjimini April 28th, 2010 8:56 pm

    Has anyone’s come with Aquila strings fitted? Ordered from SouthernUkuleleStore on eBay and they *look* like Aquila (and are taking ages to stretch out).

  4. Punk November 11th, 2010 5:02 pm

    Just got mine, having a mess with it now. Seems to be a lot of critisms with what i consider to be a very good ukulele for the price. Iv’e got the electro acoustic one btw, will test it out plugged in tomorrow.

  5. Punk November 18th, 2010 5:15 pm

    Just tried it through an amp with the band. Had a problem with the electrics but after opening up just realised one little bit of metal was out of shape, really easy to fix. Right, stays in tune great for songs, sounds great for the price, but NOT through an Amp. Sounds disgusting. Much much better through monitors. Hope that helps on the electric side!

  6. Plinky January 30th, 2011 6:11 am

    Hi Folks.

    I’ve been playing one of these Les Paul Mahalo’s for maybe a year now. Bought it in Melbourne, Australia.

    I perhaps got lucky as the fret-intonation down low is workable, but up higher I have to do a fair amount of string bending.

    BIG troubles with the electrics. I tried several in the shop and most of them had the same thing going on as someone mentions above – persistent sound of wind across microphone when plugged into an amp. I found one without the problem and the shop-owner sent the rest back to the manufacturer.

    Mine has since died electrically, come back to life and developed the erratic-static effect itself. I traced it to the battery contacts, but it’s just cut-out on me completely again last week and I’m digging around inside trying to find something to fix (difficult task).

    So in my estimation, it’s an OK uke, especially for the price of course, but if you want reliable electrics, perhaps look elsewhere.

  7. Woodshed January 30th, 2011 3:10 pm

    Plinky: Thanks for the review. Mine is an acoustic so I couldn’t comment on the electrics. Although I’m not surprised they’re sub-standard at that price.

  8. loopylungstuffing February 28th, 2011 7:11 pm

    SWOOOON……I am in love with it..I bought it to resell in my little herb/novelty shop…but Yaaarrr…I took it out of the box and birds suddenly appeared…my heart will break when I send it away…

  9. loopylungstuffing February 28th, 2011 7:12 pm

    Also, thanks for the review, it was very helpful..

  10. loopylungstuffing February 28th, 2011 7:56 pm

    I went ahead and made my own you tube review..you tube zombie that I am..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwaO53Xi__g

  11. Woodshed March 6th, 2011 11:29 am

    loopylungstuffing: Thanks for the review, glad you like it.

  12. Lory July 22nd, 2011 3:07 pm

    Hey Guys ;)

    I would like to buy me a ukulele…. my first ever but I cant decide which i should take….

    Im between Flying V maholo and les Paul maholo?

    Would would you say????

  13. Woodshed July 22nd, 2011 4:17 pm

    Lorry: Don’t get a Flying V as your first ukulele! I wrote a review here. The Les Paul is a decent first uke though.

  14. Lory July 22nd, 2011 8:45 pm

    Oh ok thanks and the sound is much better then by the flying v or its the same? ;)

  15. Woodshed July 23rd, 2011 1:02 pm

    Lory: The Les Paul sounds much better.

  16. Lory July 24th, 2011 6:18 pm

    Ok thanks ;)

  17. Fredriik August 22nd, 2011 10:44 pm

    Well, ive been reading alot of theese comments and i cant really decide reather i should buy the Mahalo Les Paul or not… Well the price is ok, but im a little scared that i will get dissapointed, i already have a RENO ukulele, and well, its a crappy ukulele…

    Just wondering what you would do? Or if you would suggest a good ukulele.

    Ty :)

  18. Woodshed August 23rd, 2011 10:48 pm

    Fredriik: I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it. Definitely suitable as a first ukulele.

  19. chrispix August 24th, 2011 3:54 pm

    Frederiik, since my first review, my Mahalo Les Paul has grown on me. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fun uke and a reasonable value for the price. Worst case, you could turn around and sell it on eBay for 80% of the purchase price.

  20. Laura September 1st, 2011 11:44 am

    Hi Guys…..

    I look for a nice and good ukulele and im not sure witch I should take so…..

    Im between HARLEY BENTON UK-10S UKULELE or Maholo les Paul…. whitch is better?

    And is the pickup a good idea by the Mahalo les Paul?

    thx

  21. Amanda September 7th, 2011 1:27 pm

    Right so I was originally messing about my my lil sisters Ohana uke and when I expressed orgasmic delight she went and bought me a Les Paul electro-acoustic model as my first uke. I do love it, there’s no getting away from the fact that it is simply delicious to look at.

    But I came up against a few minor niggles. The wires inside buzz. Fixed that by unscrewing both of the external panels in turn and sticking the wires down with miracle tape, aka duct tape.

    Then found that it was still buzzing when I played the C string with any sort of gusto. Traced that one to a cable tie inside that hadn’t been trimmed down. So long pair of scissors and a long jewellers tweezers fixed that.

    Other than that there are some minor intonation issues with some frets beyond the 9th or 10th fret. But they are minor and since I have a bit of a tin ear from too many concerts, nightclubs and raves in my 20’s to my mind at least they add to the unique sound of my particular L.P. Although they do make my violin/guitar playing partner wince a lot of the time, she being one of those perfect pitch type people. By minor I mean that on a chromatic tuner the note on a given fret is either only slightly high or low. And I mean slightly.

    I would agree with most people here, the Les Paul is a good first uke. It’s a joy to play, a joy to look at, and it makes me smile everytime I pick it up. It’s a budget uke so you do get what you pay for, which is cheap and cheerful. But be warn this one will lead to a very severe case of U.A.S. I should know I’m already planning on getting my next one, once I finish paying for my mandolin.

    ————————————————–

    On a related note, does anyone have any suggestions on a suitable hard case for the Les Paul? The soft case it came with is frankly a piece of dog crap, I barely turst it to keep the dust off, much less anything else. An Amazon.co.uk link would be hugely appreciated.

  22. Woodshed September 9th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Amanda: Thanks very much for the review.

  23. ms November 2nd, 2011 2:22 pm

    hi all, read all your reviews and it gave me pretty good insight.

    planning on purchasing my first uke and the one im looking at is a ULP1. anyone have any comments or suggestions? its a toss up between this ($35) or an onxy ($40)

    would love to hear wht you have to say about this!

  24. Wilbur February 9th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Hey there, folks! I’m thinking about learning to play ukulele a bit and therefor I need a beginner’s instrument. I already was about to buy the Mahalo LP-style uke with the PU (I want an electric one) but then I came across this Tele-style Mahalo uke: http://www.scheerersmusic.co.uk/showView.asp?DB=Sch_ukesbanjosmandolins&ID=13

    Did anyone already check that out? What’s the results compared to the LP-style thing?

    Thanx for help!

    Greetings from Germany
    Wilbur

    PS: Hey, that’s a nice website!

  25. Woodshed February 10th, 2012 9:38 am

    Wilbur: I don’t have a Tele one myself but I’ve heard they’re similar to the LPs in terms of quality.

  26. Wilbur February 10th, 2012 10:43 am

    Woodshed: Thanx for the fast reply!

    So that makes sure that the difference isn’t as big as between the Flying- and the LP-style Mahalos, at least. On the other hand…nobody has told you about the unbeatable awesome stand-out quality of the Tele-style Mahalo, yet…hahaha…

    D’ya think it’s worth waiting for some more replies here?

  27. Woodshed February 13th, 2012 10:04 pm

    Wilbur: Probably not, I’m afraid.

  28. Wilbur February 14th, 2012 9:21 am

    Woodshed: Ok. Thanx anyway!

  29. Graciela March 19th, 2012 1:04 am

    Hello! Im interested on buying this product from ebay US for $60 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mahalo-ULP-30VS-LP-Style-Ukulele-in-Vintage-Sunburst-with-Gig-Bag-/251007775729?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a713ab3f1) but I want to know the size of this ukelele.. is this soprano or concert?

  30. Graciela March 19th, 2012 1:19 am

    Oh! And I also read over here some said “I recently got a set of Aquila nylgut strings, and they really made a difference. “.. do you recommend me to buy those? in that case which string should I buy? I need the exact name on ebay or amazon in order to buy it please. What about d´addario strings? do you recommned to buy those? and to this ukelele.. which strings, soprano or concert?

  31. Woodshed March 19th, 2012 11:11 am

    Graciela: It’s a soprano. You want these strings. I don’t recommend D’Addario.

  32. Ukufloyde September 26th, 2012 6:42 pm

    i have this ukulele i love it i play it everyday without fail although i am looking to find a new electric one i will always keep this one

  33. Woodshed September 26th, 2012 10:36 pm

    Ukufloyde: Hope you like your electric when you get it.

  34. Lisellio October 29th, 2012 9:25 am

    Hi all, I stumbled across this uke on Amazon as I am looking to upgrade from my cheap ‘novelty’ coloured one. I have been playing for about three months now, and the quality of my current uke is just not good enough anymore.

    Being a student, I am on a tight budget and this fits in with that perfectly. However, after reading through the reviews here and on other sites I cannot make my mind up whether it is worth it or not, as everybody seems to be very mixed!

    I’m not hugely serious yet, I do some covers on youtube but just want to upgrade from my awful novelty one! I was looking at Lanakai concert ones, but sadly they are just out of my price range.

    What do you suggest? Help please!

  35. Woodshed October 29th, 2012 11:27 am

    Lisellio: “Mixed” would be the word I think of when it comes to Mahalos. It’s a good idea to try it out before hand if you can. Even better if you can get someone who plays to check it out as well.

  36. Frank September 7th, 2015 6:10 pm

    You can get a Ukulele similar to Mahalo Les Paul in Germany at http://www.thomann.de
    It´s called Harley-Benton UK-L 100 .
    And for a few bucks more, it has a pickup.
    The UK-L 100 E.

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