Lanikai Ukulele Reviews 2020: Is Lanikai a Good Ukulele Brand?

Lanikai Ukulele Reviews

The Lanikai company was founded in 2000 and has built a reputation of being one of the top ukulele brands. Among the myriad of ukulele makers out there two of the most popular are Lanikai and Kala. So if you are wondering, is Lanikai a good ukulele brand? Clearly many customers think so. Lanikai uses many different tone woods in their builds. Woods like flame maple, mahogany, koa, cedar, acacia, figured bocote, and spruce are used as laminates and solids. Many uke brands focus on the cheaper laminate models, while Lanikai has a decent selection of solid woods to choose from. In fact if you are looking to upgrade the best Lanikai ukuleles will be perfect for an intermediate or advanced player.

Along with plenty of wood choices they also have a variety of sizes and styles to suit your needs. First, they have models in all four major sizes; soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. As if that’s not enough they also make 5, 6, and 8 string ukuleles, pineapple shapes, and of course some are acoustic-electrics. Another model is the guitalele which is a cross between and guitar and ukulele. Depending on the style of uke you need, they will likely have you covered! Price wise we have quite the range of instruments with Lanikai, everything from super cheap laminates to beautiful solid wood tops that have amazing resonance and projection.

We have included Lanikai ukulele reviews in past articles, so the models mentioned below are not necessarily the best Lanikai ukuleles out there. These are simply some other great and low priced ukes that might catch your attention. This company has a pretty large selection so it is likely just about anyone on any budget can find the ukulele they need here.

Lanikai LU-21CNato series in soprano, concert, and tenor
Bundle includes gig bag, clip on tuner, Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and polishing cloth
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Our Review
Lanikai Pineapple UkuleleMahogany pineapple style soprano
NuBone XD nut and saddle, a wide neck
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Our Review
Lanikai LU-11Reddish nato soprano
NuBone XD nut and saddle with a wide neck
Buy on Amazon
Our Review

Lanikai LU-21C

The Lanikai LU-21 is a model that comes in three different sizes. The soprano, concert, and tenor are all made of nato wood and with rosewood fretboards. The LU-21 series is a little step up from the LU-11 in that it has white binding giving it a fancier look. Along with the uke comes a bundle with a gig bag, clip on tuner, Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and a polishing cloth. These are not the best Lanikai ukuleles to buy, what they are is a no nonsense model at an affordable price to get you playing ASAP. They are not flashy and have no bells and whistles, so every penny goes to a great sounding ukulele. The soprano, concert, and tenor are all appropriately priced for beginning uke players. This is a smart buy for a basic ukulele. 

User Review

“I love my LU-21T! It didn’t take long to stay in tune and while it may look plain it sounds amazing! One thing I have noticed is people always recommend Aquila strings, but they don’t sound that good on this tenor. I found fluorocarbon strings sound way better.”

Carol J. 

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“The Lanikai concert ukulele takes a little time to break in. I had trouble keeping it in tune and it just didn’t seem to be the greatest buy at first. However I kept tuning and playing and eventually realized its really not a bad ukulele for the price. Perhaps I am just playing better now so it seems the sound has improved, either way this is a decent starter uke.”

Robert

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Lanikai Pineapple Ukulele

This simple pineapple style soprano is made of laminated mahogany with white binding, and it has a satin finish. It also has a walnut bridge and NuBone XD nut and saddle (this is modern tech for maximum sustain and tone). These are also not the best Lanikai ukuleles to buy, but they are more than suitable for beginners and younger players. It has such a classic Hawaiian look, especially with the pineapple style that it screams quintessential ukulele. The price is a little more than many cheap sopranos so it will likely sound a little better. If you are looking for a nice pineapple style soprano that give this Lanikai a try.

User Reviews

“I’m not sure if it’s the pineapple shape but the sound is not that loud. It is very pretty sounding; it just doesn’t project much. I have no interest in playing on stage, but this ukulele is definitely suited for personal playing and practice. It did take a while for the strings to hold their tune, but eventually it stayed. For the price is was worth it.”

anonymous

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“I bought this for my daughter, and I was little disappointed in the uke I received not looking as nice as the picture. It just looks rougher and not as fancy. But beyond that she loves it! It sounds beautiful and she could already play a few chords after just a few hours. If you want to see your kid smile, this Lanikai pineapple will work!”

Bradley

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Lanikai LU-11

This is a very low end soprano made of reddish nato wood. It is often found in many Lanikai ukulele reviews because it is so affordable. It occasionally sells out as it is such a cheap model. It has no frills, fancy designs, no other colors to choose from, and only comes in this soprano size. To be honest it doesn’t look the greatest, it almost looks like a toy ukulele. It is likely you will be dealing with a few minor defects on such a cheap model. However if it suits your budget for yourself or a gift, then give it a try. Just be sure to thoroughly check when you get it to make sure it is playable. If you purchase the LU-11 you really aren’t in search of the best Lanikai ukulele, but just any Lanikai uke!

User Reviews

“I love playing this little soprano but it sure does need tuned an awful lot. I wasn’t expecting too much for the price I paid so I am not disappointed, just a pet peeve. This model is clearly one for an absolute beginner who wants to see if they like playing the uke. From there one can always upgrade.”

anonymous

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“They say the wide neck would be more helpful to first time players, but it feels awkward to me. Some of the intonation is off but nothing too bad to make the chords not sound right. I’m sure as I get better at playing this will sound much better. It’s not great or terrible, just a starter uke. If you want the best Lanikai ukulele than you better spend a lot more!”

Young

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There you have it, as far as Lanikai ukulele reviews go, those are some of the lower budget models available. It’s comparable to buying from any other major company like Kala, Cordoba, Luna, Hola, and many more. If you buy the cheaper laminate models from these places you will have a better chance at defects. If you get the solid wood your sound and aesthetics will all be better. It is pretty obvious though that most people who are first time players often decide on the lowest cost ukes. Even after being told many times to save a little more for better quality, they still end up buying cheap. Just try not to be too cheap, for example the LU-21 series above would be your best as it is lower priced but not rock bottom low. At the bottom you may get a bad uke and then it will sour you on the brand. Someone will ask, is Lanikai a good ukulele brand? And you will say no, all from one bad experience.

When you do get your budget model uke, from any brand or online store it is best to make sure it is free of most problems. Expect some finish and rough build issues, but don’t settle for buzzing or sharp edge frets. Make the tuners move correctly and give the intonation a quick check (make sure each note up the fret sounds right with a tuner). If there are any major defects than the ukulele will need to be returned. Even if you buy the best Lanikai ukulele at the highest price, and it has any of the problems mentioned, make sure to return it and get another without so many flaws.

There are so many ukuleles and brands out there it can be hard to make a final decision when purchasing. Even if you have a particular brand you like, after doing some research you realize they are all so similar. Of course it helps to read articles like this Lanikai ukulele review, but make sure to not get too overwhelmed. Set your budget, narrow down the sizes you may want and simply look at which designs, colors, or wood grains catch your eye. Keep the decision simple as ukuleles are meant to be fun and we want to keep it that way! 🙂

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Shawn Lockhart

Multi-instrumentalist musician, composer & audio engineer. I'm playing most music instruments and I create music of different genres. More then 10 yr of experience in music production. My primary instrument is guitar, but I also play the piano, ukelele, drums and various percussion instruments. I am the Music Man. 🤟

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