Eddy Finn v. Lanikai 6″ Banjo Ukulele Full Review

6

April 19, 2011 by Tim


For the first review of Banjo Uke Week we have a double header. The Eddy Finn EF-UB-1 versus the Lanikai LB6-S.

NOTE: Eddy Finn is Morgan Monroe, they decided to come out with the Eddy Finn brand to separate the banjo from the ukulele world, really no big deal, Just in case you are wondering about a Morgan Monroe banjo uke that looks the same…it is.

To say this is a competition would be funny, these two are really the exact same thing except for a couple small choices, like head material and hardware finish. These are really just 2 banjo uke from quadruplets that came from different parents! the other 2 are the aNueNue Banjo Ukulele I Soprano and a Rally soprano that you see in the UK and eBay.

In the end it is which one speaks to you. Do you like the headstock, the finish, or the type of head they used. Because they are the same in every other way.

Read on to find out more about these brothers from different mothers, or is it sisters from different misters? I can’t decide.

Specs: marked the differences in red

Eddy Finn EF-UB-1 (E for scores)
Soprano : 19 Fret
Tuners: Open Geared
Maple & Ebony  3-Leg Bridge
Bone Nut
Head Material: Coated Plastic
Head Size” 6″
Rim: 8 Layer Mahogany
Tone ring: None
Back: Open
Neck: Mahogany, Rosewood Fretboard
String attachment: Knot
# of J-Hooks: 10
Coordinator: Metal
Finish: Satin, Chrome hardware
Weight: 2.5 LB
Case: Padded gig bag
Full Specs:
http://www.eddyfinnukes.com/EF-UB1-Banjo-Juke.html
Lanikai LB6-S (L for scores)
Soprano : 19 Fret
Tuners: Open Geared
Maple & Ebony  3-Leg Bridge
Bone nut
Head Material: Synthetic Skin
Head Size” 6″
Sides: 8 Layer Mahogany
Tone ring: None
Back: Open
Neck: Mahogany, Rosewood Fretboard
String attachment: Wrap Around a Post
# of J-Hooks: 10
Coordinator: Metal
Finish: Satin, Antiqued hardware
Weight: 2.5 LB
Case: Padded gig bag
Full Specs:
http://lanikaiukes.com/laniblog/ukuleles/stage-series/#specs

 

Looks

First look: (E:4 L:5) One of the great things about writing a review is that I get to state my opinion.. The reason for the point difference is that I think the Lanikai is much nicer on first inspection if you looked at them side-by-side. The antiqued hardware and synthetic skin head gives it this really old-time feel that people equate banjos in general with. The Eddy Finn is fine and nice, but it looks like a boring banjo. But as my late stepfather use to say “Opinions are like assholes..everyone has one, and they all stink”.

Fit and Finish: (E:5 L:5) I look at both of them and find no issues with either. They are both have no glue marks or frets sticking out and everything is as straight as can be on both. The only small, and I mean so stupid that I even mention it, is that on the Lanikai’s coordinator rod there are some small scratches from when they adjusted it. It is such little thing that I almost didn’t mention it.

See the little scratches?

Sound:

Sound Type: The sound is different between the two, just like siblings, they kind of sound alike except for some small differences. the Eddy Finn is a brighter in comparison to the Lanikai’s mellower sound, but that may have to do with the strings and the head difference. The Eddy Finn has a coated plastic head with clear strings of some sort, while the Lanikai has a synthetic head with Aquilas (assume they are Aquilas). Just another choice that makes them just a little different. one major similarity is the shallow sound since it is samll and the head is stretched over the rim instead of a tone ring

Intonation: (E:5 L:5) If the intonation is off, it is your own fault for the most part. most banjo ukes are shipped with the bridge laying down and you have to set it up, or find someone to do it for you. These were both easy to setup. I will have another article this week talking about the basics of setting up a banjo ukulele.

Rim Laminate

Volume: (E:4 L:4) You would think that since they are banjo ukes that this would be a 5, right? These will both over power most ukuleles, but in the banjo world they are pretty tame. I say this because I have a smaller banjo uke and it is way louder because it has a tone ring. Neither of these do and I think it really makes a difference. On one side I think that is due in part to cost. Tone ring = $100+ more on most banjo ukes.

Sustain: (E:5 L:5)  Looooooooooooooooooong.

Feel:

String Height: (E:Med-Low L:Med-Low) Since both of them have coordinator rods and where setup right from the factory. they seem to be as low enough, but there is a little room if you want it lower

Neck Radius Depth: (7/8″) a lot thicker than a regular ukulele, it tappers out to a full inch at the 12th fret. Solid is a word that come to mind.

Frets: (E:5 L:5) Both are perfect. Normally to get no frets sticking out. I was amazed.

Tuning: (E:4 L:4) I found that with both I would turn the tuner and it would move up to the right place then just go sharp. I think the tuners work fine, it is just really annoying when you have to play around for a minute or two to get it in tune.

Comfort: (E:4 L:4)  I found that since both did not have an armrest that it was hard to hold comfortably. I used a Uke leash to correct the issue by latching one to the a j-hook above the neck and another below the tail piece. NOTE: Never attach anything to the bolt that hold the tail piece in place, it can make it move and cause you issues.

Sound Hole Smell: What sound hole? The rim smells like glue

Final Thoughts

If you add up the scores, sure, the Lanikai wins by a point, but it is for cosmetic reasons, and that is lame, instruments are about sound, right? I think so, and in that way they are tied. It really does come down to which one do you prefer, oh and price, since the Lanikai is about $60 more. just like some people love koa over mahagony, or a spruce top. Is one better than the other? Not really, it is a preference and part of the sound that you want. The great thing about a banjo uke is that you can change more about it than a standard ukulele to get the sound you want. you have strings like a regular uke, but you can change the head and bridge until you find that sound that you want.

Review 1 and 2 done, 4 more to go.
And if the pictures look nicer than usual, it is because my wife is starting to help with that.

All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews

Eddy Finn EF-UB-1                                          Lanikai LB6-S

First Look 4 First Look 5
Fit and Finish 5 Fit and Finish 5
Sound Type Bright and shallow Sound Type Mellow and shallow
Intonation 5 Intonation 5
Volume 4 Volume 4
Sustain 5 Sustain 5
String Height Med-Low String Height Med-low
Neck Radius Depth 7/8″ Neck Radius Depth 7/8″
Frets 5 Frets 5
Tuning 4 Tuning 4
Comfort 4 Comfort 4
Sound Hole Smell What sound Hole? Sound Hole Smell What sound Hole?

 

HD Audio Clips:
Eddy Finn

Lanikai

 

Places to buy on the web:

Eddy Finn – Music Land Central- $219
Eddy Finn – Daily Music –$209
Lanikai – Elderly Music – $269
Lanikai – Google Search – $269

Gallery:

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6 thoughts on “Eddy Finn v. Lanikai 6″ Banjo Ukulele Full Review

  1. P.J. says:

    Great review. If I were buying one based on the review and the sound clip, I’d have to choose the Lanikai. I think it sounds more “banjo like.”

  2. harpdog says:

    + 1 on the Lanikai sound. Fuller, mellower, plunkier. Not that the Finn is bad. I think your analogy is accurate, they sound like siblings

  3. uptownj says:

    I like the Lanikai sound much better, more banjo-y!

  4. bruce lambert says:

    Good job on the review. Helpful when trying to make choices.

  5. harrytape says:

    haw do i buy one me like lol

  6. Rhonda says:

    I bought one recently from Ebay but it was Morgan Monroe, does anyone know how long the soprano banjolele was made under the Morgan Monroe name? Just curious if it is rare, not that it matters, I just can’t find any info on it.

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