Laka VUT80EA Electro Acoustic Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

24 Jun 2023

Laka VUT80EA Electro Acoustic Tenor Ukulele - REVIEW

Another, not much seen ukulele brand this week, but this caught my eye having had a good experience with them before. This is the Laka VUT80EA Electro Acoustic Tenor Ukulele.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele

Laka are a brand I have reviewed before and did rather well. They are a Chinese made brand connected to the Vintage guitar brand from the UK. This one is a step up in their offerings, but i'm a bit frustrated on availability now. Whilst I've only had this on the shelf for a few weeks, I think I may have acquired something that has had it's 'end of run' and is actually hard to find online now. I hate it when that happens as I like to review things that are readily available. Ho-hum.. you can still find it if you go looking, and of course, if it reviews well you can scream at the brand (managed by JHS in the UK) to make more!!


That out of the way, when I opened the box on this one I immediately saw a clean looking, attractive ukulele with some classic pairings. It's a standard tenor double bout shape with a cutaway using solid Sitka Spruce on the top and laminate Koa for the back and sides. A nice pairing, and both appear to be nice woods. The Spruce in particular is level edge straight in it's tight grain and whilst the koa is not jaw dropping it contrast nicely with the top wood. It looks classy.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele body

The bridge is generic tie bar with side 'wings' made from Pau Ferro wood, but is tidily finished. I also like the rope marquetry edge to the bottom of it which is hardly necessary functionally, but gives it a bit of extra flair. It holds a straight top NuBone saddle and spacing here is 39mm.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele bridge

The rest of the body is decorated in a classy way. It has what looks like maple binding to to top and back with a back and tail stripe too. All of that is edged with a thin black line to finish it off. Around the top face is some very nicely done wooden rope marquetry which looks excellent and this is repeated around the sound hole in a double ring that creates a herringbone look. Very nice. The body is then finished in a satin which is flawless.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele decor

Inside is pretty tidy with thin braces and notched linings. The top is vertically braced. My first gripe is all the unnecessary wiring and weight from the active pickup (a Fishman Sonitone) but at least they didn't go super cheap and stick the controls in an ugly box on the side.  Sadly, they did opt for a 9V battery in the base to control it rather than cell batteries so more weight. You can get away with these on a guitar, but really less so on a diminutive ukulele..

Laka VUT80 EA Tenor Ukulele inside

The neck is mahogany with no joint I can see at the maple capped heel and a well hidden one at the headstock. It too is satin and  tapers to a very average 35m nut (27mm G to A) with a profile that is fairly rounded on the back.  A subjective view, but this would not be for my hands.

That is topped with more Pau Ferro for the fingerboard which is in great condition. That's edge bound in black hiding the ends of the 19 frets (joined at the 14th) of which I can sense no hint of any sharpness. Nice. Small pearl position dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th and they are paired with dots on the side.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele neck

Beyond that NuBone nut is a simple headstock shape with the Laka logo and accompanying 'island scene' they use in the face. It's all very twee and had hoped this constant link back to Hawaiian flowers and palm trees in far eastern uke marketing was a thing of the past... Still, it's not TOO gaudy I guess.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele headstock

The tuners are a nice surprise in the form of open gears from Grover with small black buttons. Excellent!

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele tuners

Finishing it off are a set of Aquila strings and that pickup and street prices (if you can find one) seem to about £199. That's pretty fair value for the spec here and certainly for the build and finish quality which are both excellent.

So not much wrong here for me bar the subjective (nut width, active system with 9V battery). The rest is classily and tidily done and it's an attractive classic look overall. I love that binding and the wood combinations.

Laka VUT80EA Tenor Ukulele back

It's noticeably heavy though at 650g and heavy in the body on account of the 9V battery stuck in the tail. That's not good. On the upside, despite buying this blind from a non uke specialist high street music store, the setup is just fine with nothing I would change.

The volume is pretty good too, and whilst not the most punchy instrument I have played is about right and will not see you getting lost in a club setting. Sustain though is very average with some very quick drop off in the sound. That's a shame.

Sound wise this is clearly on the brighter end of the scale on account of all that spruce, but not totally so as I can sense the back and sides pulling it back a little. Strummed it's peppy and jangly and more importantly the notes are all clear in the mix without it getting muddy. I'd like the brightness turned down just a little, but only a touch and it's certainly not strident in tone. Very pleasant in fact.

Picked the lower than average sustain lets it down a little here. It's certainly a pretty chimey tone and the volume stays good right up the neck, but you are a little limited on frills and it sounds a touch staccato this way. Not terrible by any means, just a bit more generic. Where I find this style of play not to my personal preference is down to the neck profile. Your mileage may vary. Either way though this is a far cry better than the sort of limited ukuleles we used to see. I just with there were more of these about.

Still, all things considered there is a lot to like here. The overall looks, build and finish are superb and the let downs for me are the subjective ones such as the nut profile and daft heavy pickup. But if you are going on stage, plugging in and wearing a strap, this will do you just fine and certainly doesn't look cheap. It's a very good uke for not a lot of dough. Recommended, if you can track one down.


Model: Laka VUT80EA
Scale: Tenor
Body: Solid Sitka Spruce top, laminate koa back and sides
Bridge: Pau Ferro tie bar
Saddle: Nubone
Spacing at saddle: 39mm
Finish: Satin
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Pau Ferro
Frets: 19, 14 to body
Nut: NuBone
Nut spacing: 35mm, 27mm G to A
Tuners: Grover open gears
Strings: Aquila
Extras: Fishman Sonitone pickup
Weight: 650g
Country of origin: China?
Price: Circa £200


Great classy looks
Superb build and finish
Good volume
Clear crisp tone
Great tuners
Good price


Nut width / profile not for me
No to the pickup
Body heavy
Lacking a bit of sustain


Looks - 9.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8.5 out of 10
Sound - 8.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10









Post a Comment

Please leave me a comment!

Help Support Got A Ukulele

Please Help Keep This Site Going!

If you enjoy this blog, donations are welcomed to allow me to invest more time in bringing you ukulele articles. Aside from the Google ads, I don't get paid to write this blog and for reasons of impartiality a not sponsored by brands or stores. Your donations all go back into the site to allow me to keep bringing you reviews, and in the end the ukuleles acquired are given to local schools and charities.