aNueNue Lani II Concert Ukulele Review

anuenue ukuleleBefore you read this review, you should know that aNueNue sent me this ukulele to review for free. I’m anyone’s for a bag of Wine Gums, so feel free to take this review with whatever degree of salt you see fit. They asked me which of their ukuleles I’d like to review. My initial reaction, of course, was, “The most expensive one.” But I realised that you can tell a lot more about a ukulele maker’s prioritise by their less expensive ukuleles. So I opted for one of their ‘beginner grade’ ukuleles (yes, I really am that stupid).

So after giving the aNueNue Lani II a good going over (and many hours spent singing ‘a-nu-way-nu-way oh baby’ to the tune of Louie, Louie) here are my impressions.

Stats

Size: Concert
Construction: Laminated Koa
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck: Mahogany
Frets: 20 (14 to the body)
Tuners: Open, geared Grover 9N STA-TITE
Finish: Matte
List Price: $278

The Sound Tests

Strumming Test

Strumming Test (MP3) – Sister Kate

Picking Test

Picking Test (MP3) – Larry O’Gaff

Intonation Test

Intonation Test (MP3) (12th fret harmonics followed by fretted notes)

The Good Stuff

Construction: It’s a very nicely put together piece of kit. They obviously take a great deal of care with the construction because it’s faultless. The usual areas where things get a bit messy (when the fretboard meets the body, inside, around the soundhole) are perfect.

Playability: It’s a very easy uke to play. Well set up. The feel of it is very slick and the action is very low (lower than I prefer but right for most people’s preference).

It plays well all the way up the neck, there are no dead frets, the sustain is impressive and the intonation is spot on.

The Look: The wood looks beautiful and the design is appealing. I love the shape of the headstock and the little petroglyphs are cute.

The Not So Good Stuff

It’s Laminated: Compared to solid wood ukueles in the same price range, the sound of it is a little disappointing; slightly muddy. It doesn’t have the punch I like from my ukuleles. I do get a better sound from my Kala and Ohana than I do from the aNueNue. But neither of them are made with anything like the care and attention to detail that the aNueNue is (the Ohana looks positively slap-dash in comparison).

It’s an inevitable trade-off and you’ll have your own priorities.

Conclusion

The aNueNue Lani II is massively ahead of the usual laminated, beginner ukuleles. Easily the best I’ve ever tried. There’s absolutely no compromise on the quality of the construction and it plays beautifully. They’re obviously not willing to cut corners in quality for the sake of a lower price. It’s just a matter of whether you want to make that same judgement.

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25 Comments

  1. Dan September 30th, 2009 7:37 pm

    Nice review, Al. Do you know anything about this company–where they are based, how long they’ve been around, where the instruments are sold, etc.? I’ve never heard of aNueNue before.

  2. Woodshed September 30th, 2009 7:46 pm

    Dan: I did an interview with them last week which should clear things up.

  3. cardboardfrog September 30th, 2009 9:15 pm

    well done avoiding the temptation to aim for the top quality uke there al, i have to say the websites very slick and the construction on them appears to be much higher than any ukes i own, but at £175 you’d be a bit miffed if it wasn’t. might have to keep a look out on my local music stores for them

  4. Nick Bardy-Chivor September 30th, 2009 10:25 pm

    …once again, thanks for the selfless review of the entry level option…what confuses me is…in the accesories bit on the site they do the black strings…there is a soprano/concert low G option…wonder if they will cut the mustard…or just the cheese…did you get sent any…

  5. Woodshed September 30th, 2009 10:42 pm

    cbf: Yet to be seen how well distributed they’ll be over here.

    Nick: I should have mention, the strings on them are Aquilas. The black strings are Orcas. They did ask me, separately, if I wanted to review the strings but I decided there’s very little I can say in a string review.

  6. cardboardfrog October 1st, 2009 12:13 am

    when it comes to black strings, i’m always surprised by the quality of ghs black nylons (which come as standard on lanikai’s) i’ve never seen a pack sold anywhere but it does a nice job on new lanikai ukes

  7. Nick Bardy-Chivor October 1st, 2009 10:24 am

    …cheers guys…it’s just the soprano/ low G thing really…I’ve read on some of the snootier forums, that I wouldn’t dare post on for fear of ridicule and much snottyness, that low G tunings on the smaller uke don’t really sound good…I’ve got Lanikai tenor with Aquilas on and it sounds ,to my untrained ear, fantastic in re-entrant tuning…so I was thinking of having a bash with my soprano in low G…maybe I’ll just have a punt and see…

  8. CharlesHugh October 1st, 2009 4:25 pm

    Very self-less going for the beginner ukulele.
    But what do you mean by the action, and how is it low?

  9. Nick Bardy-Chivor October 2nd, 2009 8:26 am

    …Charles…the action is how close to the frets the strings are situated…this is governed firstly by the grooves in the nut (the bone/plastic string guide at the head stock), then also to some extent, the bridge…if the action is low, as I like it, the strings are quite easy to depress onto the frets…if your action is too low you’ll get “fret buzz” when strumming or picking…if you buy a uke from a good supplier it should be nicely set up…

  10. Woodshed October 2nd, 2009 6:57 pm

    Nick: Thanks for clearing it up.

    Charles: The action on the aNueNue is about as low as it could be without getting fret buzz.

  11. CharlesHugh October 2nd, 2009 11:53 pm

    Cheers for that Nick + Woodshed, just been given tickets to see the ukulele orchestra of Great Britain for my birthday. Amazing

  12. Nick Bardy_Chivor October 3rd, 2009 9:15 am

    Which venue…I will be going to see them in York…then we’ve got the Re-entrants and Lancashire hotpots in november…WOOHOO!!

  13. Woodshed October 4th, 2009 12:18 pm

    Charles and Nick: Have a good time.

  14. Jerry January 10th, 2011 9:03 pm

    Well, i disagree with the reviewer; there was a compromise on the quality. I bought this ukulele, based somewhat on this recommendation. But, the bridge was slowly separating from the body. After a month or so, i could slide a piece of paper between the bridge and the body. I returned it. Despite all the claims of quality, I couldn’t find any guarantee from the manufacturer?
    Other than that fatal flaw, and maybe it was an aberration, the ukulele was nice. I liked the rest of it…

  15. Woodshed January 16th, 2011 11:17 am

    Jerry: My aNueNue is still in fine fettle. No bridge problems.

  16. Jerry February 1st, 2011 6:59 am

    I’m glad to hear that. I did like the one I owned; until the problem…

  17. royce hood February 10th, 2011 4:13 pm

    Hi, great site..

    Do you know where the aNueNue Lani II is made?

    I am looking for a good acoustic / electric ukulele, trying to find something not made in China and preferably made in the USA. Any suggestions?

    Best wishes,
    Royce Hood

  18. Woodshed February 11th, 2011 11:44 am

    royce: I’m not 100% sure where they’re made. But I’m 100% sure it’s not in the US. If you’re looking for US made, go with one of the higher end Hawaiian makers like KoAloha.

  19. royce hood February 11th, 2011 1:41 pm

    Thank you for the tip

  20. Bob Robertson November 30th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Thank you for this report. any information to help a beginer is welcomed, however you say you tested a cheaper model ($278)I am going to look at two on Friday in Nuneatonwho have the Lani LS-50 at £39.00 and a LS70 at £60 british pounds now these are much cheaper than the one you tested, both would come in well under $100. what would your oppinion be for these two models? and did you find out where they were based. once again many thanks for your most informative test.
    I hope you will be able to reply to my questions.
    regards

    BR

  21. Woodshed December 1st, 2011 7:16 pm

    Bob: The Lani in this article is a model (of aNueNue) the Lani you’re talking about is the brand. I haven’t tried any of their ukes.

  22. Glenn December 15th, 2011 12:04 am

    Well, I’ve recently started carrying more ukuleles in my shop in western Massachusetts and am contemplating ordering some of the aNueNue instruments. I Stayed up until 3 in the morning the other night contacting every ukulele maker on this site and set up dealerships with Kanile’a, Big Island, aNueNue, KoAloha, Melokia and others. I plan on getting some of the Papa and Lani aNueNue ukes in. I like hearing from your review that the construction is really nice, a little concerned the laminate wood will sound flat..any opinions and input on these and other ukes is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Glenn

  23. Woodshed December 16th, 2011 6:20 am

    Glenn: Thanks. Glad you found it useful.

  24. Sherry September 1st, 2012 7:32 pm

    I recently got the Anuenue Papa I electric from Ebay. It’s a long neck soprano. I have several other ukes ranging from beginner to K brand.

    The review is spot on. The quality of the construction is excellent. The intonation is the best of any ukulele I own regardless of price. Playability is outstanding and the sound is sweet. The downside is that the sound does not project very well and it is a quiet uke. Since I specifically got it with a pickup with the intent to plug it in, this is not a problem. The quality of the sound is very nice and sweet. But it really isn’t loud compared to just about any other uke I’ve tried. it’s not muffled, just doesn’t project. I’m not sure I’d recommend the pure acoustic version because I think a uke should be louder than this.But it is very nice to play.

  25. Woodshed September 3rd, 2012 12:26 pm

    Sherry: Thanks very much for the review.

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