Lanikai Ukulele Review | Surprising Values [2019]

When it comes to picking an instrument, there is no substitute for trying out the model in person to make sure it’s a good fit for you. Before this stage, however, it is important to narrow down the potential options as far as possible to ensure that you are only trying out the very top contenders.

If you’ve already settled on a Lanikai ukulele, then we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the best of the brand in this Lanikai ukulele review and thrown in a buying guide just to make sure you have no trouble finding the right instrument for your needs.

Our Top Pick

If we had to pin a start-here sign on just one of the ukes we reviewed, it would be the Lanikai LK-TEU. We’ve reviewed it first below for your convenience, but to sum it up, this option offers superb flexibility and a modern twist on this traditional instrument with plug-and-play USB recording.

Lanikai Ukulele Reviews

Lanikai LK-TEU Koa Ukulele

This model is an excellent choice for those who are dithering about whether to make the leap to an electric ukulele and offers a fantastic bridge instrument that can help you get used to the sound and tone. The quality is high, and this has definitely earned its spot at the top of our Lanikai ukulele review.

 

Key Features

  • USB output for plug-and-play recording
  • Record your ukulele and share the performance easily and quickly
  • Tenor sized
  • Koa Body
  • Genuine mother-of-pearl inlays
  • Gold plated Grover tuning machines

 

What I Like

This model is a solid addition to any instrument collection, as well as being a great place for newbies to start. The finish and sound are both of high quality, and the USB output means that it is easy to share your new skills and music quickly and easily, allowing for greater creative collaboration anytime, anywhere.

 

What I Don’t Like

The only real criticism is that this model is relatively expensive when compared to similar competitors, but the extra features mean it is still great value for money.

 

 

Pros

  • Includes a Fishman preamp system for a great onstage experience
  • Pearl inlay is an elegant touch
  • Stunning appearance with wood graining detailing
  • Instantly share your music with the world with the USB output

 

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to similar models

 

A top pick for those considering an electric ukulele, this has everything you need to get started, whether you are a ukulele newbie or a seasoned vet looking for a change.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

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Lanikai LU-21C Concert Ukulele Bundle

With a classic appearance and great sound, this concert ukulele goes out of its way to tick as many boxes as possible. It also comes with everything you could possibly need to get started, making this bundle a great buy that offers good value for beginners who want to get started with their music as fast as possible.

 

Key Features

  • Bundle includes a gig bag, instructional DVD, polishing cloth, and clip-on tuner
  • Lanikai quality at an affordable price
  • Nato top, back, and sides
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • White binding

 

What I Like

This option ticks all the boxes for beginner players. The sound is clear and sweet, and the inclusion of all the necessary accessories is a fantastic bonus that allows you to get started right away without having to worry about finding any extras.

 

What I Don’t Like

The frets on this uke are very sharp, which can make playing an uncomfortable experience. They can be filed down, but this is not ideal for a beginner.

 

Pros

  • Includes high-quality strings as standard
  • Stunning rosewood fretboard for great sound
  • Comes with a host of extras
  • Sleek, stunning appearance

 

Cons

  • The tuner is quite complicated and could be very confusing for new players
  • The frets are very sharp without any filing

 

A fantastic pick for beginners, this combines a stunning appearance with a rich and high-quality sound for a great playing experience. This model does, however, need a little maintenance to be top quality, which is a bit disappointing.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

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Lanikai LUSJ-C Concert Mahogany Sailor Jerry Ukulele

This is a ukulele which demands attention from the outset with its stunning design and unique appearance. If you are looking to stand out from the crowd as soon as you step on stage, this is a great way to attract the attention of the audience before you hit them with top quality sound—something also offered by this model.

 

Key Features

  • All mahogany body
  • Concert size
  • Sailor Jerry art on the top and back
  • Hand-etched inlay on the 12th fret
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Aquila strings

 

What I Like

If you are looking for something truly unique, you can end your search with this Sailor Jerry ukulele. The artistic design is stunning and adds something remarkable to your ukulele playing experience. This uke is a collector’s item, and it is clear to see why. The design is truly stunning, with no detail overlooked. This uke is more than merely a musical instrument; it is a real work of art.

 

What I Don’t Like

As is to be expected with an instrument of this standard, it comes with a very high price tag which is likely to put it out of the reach of the more casual player.

 

 

Pros

  • Stunning and unique appearance with the birth and death dates of Norman Collins hand-etched on the fretboard
  • Exquisite artwork
  • Comes with Aquila strings as standard
  • Collector’s item
  • Stunning white body binding is the perfect frame for the artwork

 

Cons

  • Very expensive for beginner players
  • Some issues with the top string staying in tune

 

This uke has a stunning, unique design which adds something extra special to your playing experience. Though pricier than other models, its value as a collector’s item means it is well worth the additional cost.

 

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Lanikai TunaUke CMTU-S Ukulele

The cool, classic, and laid-back appearance of this ukulele goes hand-in-hand with the super-chilled ukulele sound it produces. Sweet, rich tones instantly transport you to that tropical dream island, and this is a perfect model for confident beginners who are keen to take the next step up to a slightly more advanced instrument.

 

Key Features

  • 12-fret soprano
  • Curly Hawaiian mango body
  • Maple binding
  • Mahogany neck
  • Abalone rosette

 

What I Like

The definition of chilled, this is a laid-back sound encased in a high-quality, beautiful body which really shows off the strengths of the ukulele in all its glory. The sound is sweet and rich, instantly transporting you to a luxury island paradise, and this is a great bridge option for players who want to move on from their starter instrument and on to something more challenging.

 

What I Don’t Like

My main issue with this model is that it does not come with any accessories such as a gig bag to protect the instrument—this is quite disappointing, and unusual for the brand.

 

Pros

  • Very durable and solid construction
  • Compact and portable, yet easy to play
  • Comes with Aquila strings
  • Attractive and unique appearance
  • Good value for money

 

Cons

  • Does not come with any extras or accessories- this is unusual for this range

 

This model is a reliable option that offers a great sound for a bargain price. My main issue is with the lack of gig bag— this would have upped the rating.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

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Lanikai TunaUke SPTU-S Ukulele

Have a little fun with your playing with this quirky offering. The color adds an element of whimsy and allows you to enjoy your individuality and preferences through your instrument. The sound is also good quality, meaning that this is an offering which is far from style over substance!

 

Key Features

  • Soprano sized
  • TunaUke equipped for proper intonation
  • 12 Frets
  • Solid spruce top
  • Limited lifetime warranty

 

What I Like

As well as the flash of color helping this ukulele to stand out from the crowd, this model is notable for its easy and accurate intonation. Not only will this save you time and effort, but it will also ensure that you are getting the best possible quality sound out of your instrument with every play.

 

What I Don’t Like

This option offers excellent value, but it does come across as very expensive when we consider the range of similar qualities and options which are available.

 

 

Pros

  • Soprano sized -perfect if you are new to the ukulele, or want to try out a soprano sound
  • 12 frets for the full playing experience
  • Great color adds a fun and quirky edge
  • Spruce wood adds a unique and bright tone
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind

 

Cons

  • Does seem a little expensive when we consider the other options and quality of instruments available in this price range.

 

With a bright edge to add a unique flash to your performance, this is a superior sounding option which can be ideal for those looking to embrace the soprano sound thoroughly.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Lanikai CKTU-T Tenor TunaUke Ukulele

This beautiful model is a pleasure to play, not just because of its elegant and sleek finish but also thanks to the traditional, rich, and melodic sound it produces. Top quality components come together to create something special— you will feel privileged every time you get the chance to play.

 

Key Features

  • Curly Koa body
  • Mahogany neck
  • 18-frets
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Abalone binding, rosette, and fretboard inlays
  • TunaUke technology

 

What I Like

This is a really beautiful instrument, and the sleek and stunning design is complemented by the high-quality sound offered by the model. All the components of the piece are top-quality, and they all come together to create an overall effect which ticks every box. It is a great instrument which has more than earned its place on our search for the ultimate Lanikai ukulele.

 

What I Don’t Like

There are no accessories with the instrument, which is disappointing when you consider that the price is reasonably high compared to competitors.

 

 

Pros

  • 18 frets allow for a comprehensive playing experience
  • Top quality components for a high-quality and elegant finish
  • TunaUKE saddle system provides for greater playability
  • Beautiful design

 

Cons

  • Price is quite high compared to competitors
  • Does not come with a gig bag or any additional accessories

 

The wood of this model creates a bright and unique sound, which is truly music to the ears of any listener. The design is stunning and adds that extra wow factor to every performance, which is only enhanced by the warm and rich sound which is offered.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

About the Brand 

Lanikai is a brand that prides itself on authenticity, and with this in mind, all of their instruments are constructed with the heart of the ukulele—the spirit of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. Many of their instruments will pay homage to the earliest ukulele designs, using popular features to help bring the traditional past along for the ride.

These features are blended with the most modern technology to create ukuleles which can truly stand the test of time. They cater for every level of player, from the casual hobbyist to the eager student, and right up to the most professional of players.

 

Attention to detail is a major factor within this brand, and there is a great deal of heart and passion that goes into the creation of each and every piece. The details are part of the overall picture and add to the beauty of the completed instrument.

Each model will have its unique nuances and quirks which help bring it to life, and this attention to individuality, combined with reliability, style, and dependability, is part of what makes Lanikai so popular and successful.

There are currently eight types of ukulele offered by the brand, including:

  • Soprano
  • Concert
  • Tenor
  • Six-string
  • Eight-string
  • Guitalele
  • Baritone
  • Acoustic/Electric

 

Lanikai uses a variety of woods, and each of these produces a unique and different tone for the instrument. Mahogany, Koa, and spruce are amongst the most popular, but there are also more unusual designs and creations available, which help to form incredible and unique new sounds. These are incorporated into their series, which include:

  • Figured Bocote
  • Flame maple
  • Acacia solid top
  • All solid acacia
  • Mahogany
  • Spruce solid top
  • Solid mahogany
  • Solid Morado
  • Ziricote

 

Each of these will be able to offer a slightly different tone than the others, and the combination of these can be a mesmerizing and blissful harmony. As an individual player, the wood you pick is really a matter of personal opinion and will depend on your preference, the music you want to make, and your inspirations.

Lanikai ukuleles come in a range of different prices, and it is essential to be discerning. It may be tempting to go for the cheapest and more affordable model you can find, particularly if you are a beginner or still in the early stages of learning. While these may be cheap to start with, they will soon break down and need maintenance and replacements such as strings and extra tuning pegs.

As we have mentioned, Lanikai caters for a whole range of players, from newbies to pros, and as such have ukuleles available in a range of prices. While we would not recommend going above your price range, it is crucial to make a careful choice and pick the instrument which is the best for you and your needs that will last for the time you need it. This choice will work out as far more cost-effective in the long run and could end up saving you money.

 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, after reading these Lanikai ukulele reviews, you’ve narrowed down your choice enough to go test some models out. As a reminder, our top pick was the Lanikai LK-TEU Koa UkeSB Ukulele, and this is in part due to its versatility. It is an elegant and well-constructed piece which is suitable for players of all ages and abilities.

As well as being accessible and straightforward for total beginners to the instrument, it also offers a great chance for experienced ukulele players who are considering switching over to discover the magic of electric uke. This model is a great way to try out the sounds and play around with techniques, without having to worry about spending loads of money while you are still in the early stages.

Lanikai is renowned for producing exceptional quality instruments which have that genuine Hawaiian authenticity about them, and their obvious passion for music and creativity shines through in each and every ukulele they produce. Instruments from this brand are a wise invest players of all levels, and there truly is something to suit everyone.

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