More and more manufacturers are offering ukes with built-in pickups and electronics systems that allow hassle-free amplification. No need to use a microphone onstage; simply plug into an amp or PA. Working with Fishman—one of the leading experts in acoustic instrument amplification—Lanikai has gone one step further, offering a line of instruments that include a USB port for plug-and-play interfacing with computers and even certain mobile devices. Why would you want a USB port for your uke? You might like its ultra-simple recording capability, or perhaps an easier setup, and more sound options for record- ing YouTube videos. Plugging directly into your computer could also make it easier to process your sound with effects plug-ins. I spent some time with Lanikai’s LK-CEU, a concert-size instrument with an all-koa body (Lanikai offers similar models in its UkeSB series in soprano, tenor, and baritone sizes, including versions with solid spruce tops).


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