Lanikai LU-11 Ukulele

3.78/5 (5)

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Lanikai are known for their cheap, beginner ukuleles and this is the cheapest the offer under the Lanikai name (although they do also make the Kohala range). I’m not entirely clear why these are cheaper than the more popular LU-21S – the stats are identical.

On Video

A musician plays Hallelujah using Lanikai LU-11 Ukulele

On eBay

On Musician’s Friend

Lanikai LU-11 – $46.00


Size: Soprano
Construction: Nato top, sides, and back
Fretboard: Nato
Frets: 12
Tuners: Inline Gold with Pearl


  1. Kate July 4th, 2011 12:21 am

    I spent a lot of time reading reviews and comparing ukes before deciding to buy this model and I could not be happier. Great price for even greater quality. I have many friends with ukuleles who did no research and bought cheep models for thirty bucks or less. All of them have regretted it when they see and hear my Lanikai LU-11 and I tell them I paid $32 bucks for it.
    Check out guitar center when they’re having a sale, that’s when I nabbed mine.

  2. Ro December 24th, 2011 6:37 am

    As a newbie I’ve just got an LU-11 and spent ages before buying trying to figure out the difference between this and the 21S. I compared specs and sound samples of them both on Thomann, a german online music shop, where I eventually bought mine (in stock, before xmas etc. and delivered a couple of days ago: looks well made, no obvious nightmares, nice tone, but can’t comment on playability as no experience yet.)

    I wondered if the price difference between otherwise identical spec and very similar sounding instruments is due to the 21s having a white binding rather than no binding but a decorated sound hole?

    By the way mine, to my surprise, came with Aquila strings, rather than the unknown black ones the website pic showed.

    That made it even better value and would be great, but I orderd a set of Aquilas too. Still on a bright note, I guess I have a spare set already…

    and I’ve just ordered the Dummies book to get my teeth into as it looked very promising from the reviews.

    Love this site btw–bursting with useful info, links and clips. Just need to tear myself away and go to bed!

  3. Brad July 25th, 2012 1:37 am

    Just bought this as my first uke. Tried to be smart and not spend too much until i know its something i want to stick with. But i think i came out pretty good on this deal! the design is attractive and simplistic, the sound is decent enough. The nato wood isn’t quite as resonate as others in the shop but I think the uke is still worth a bit more than its price tag! I can’t wait to get some practice under my belt.

  4. It's me 101 November 17th, 2012 11:16 pm

    So, after Los of research, I given in to this product, & decided to buy it. But This Is almost exactly like the s. If you wanna buy this, & your tight on cash, the makala mk-s is good. I actually ordered both, & th makala, (fixed with Aquila strings) sounds a little liver & loud. But the lanika looks like actual mahogany, compared to the makala. It actually looks like a toy, with its original un-known black strings & it peels pretty quick. I’m for the lanikai, the Malaya is garbage compared to it. I prefer you touch it up. ( paint in to actual mahogany brown, switch out the strings, & trace the Makala words with a silver sharpie) :’D

  5. Robert February 10th, 2013 3:20 pm

    Not a bad ukulele for the price. I really like the sound. I’ve had trouble getting it to keep its tune though. I’ve had it a little over 6 months now and the tuning problem has improved some.

  6. raymond October 28th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Hey guys the LU11 is pretty good but I modified it a little by sanding down the saddle. now this thing friggen rocks awsome playability. If you have trouble keepimg it in tune than do some sanding.

  7. UKE November 29th, 2013 2:35 pm

    the best!!!

  8. Ed December 16th, 2014 3:43 pm

    Great little ukelele bought to teach my girls a little about music. We have had it for 3+ years I guess and it is great. It stays in tune and the girls are on to cello and viola now but they both still pick it up and play it. Well worth the money bought at Guitar Center on sale for $39.00 guess some got it cheaper but it worth it. I enjoy pluncking around on it also.

  9. Gail June 7th, 2016 3:08 am

    My 7 year old great nephew really wants to learn to play the ukulele. He has a plastic “Kics” brand soprano, that is ok for now, but it feels and sounds like a plastic toy. Based on reviews here that state that the Lanikai lu-11 is equal to the lu-21 (except for the price) and “the best for beginners”, I bought one for him. I have to say that I’m pleased. It’s obviously not a high-end instrument, but it is a ‘real’ instrument and a far cry from a plastic toy. My thinking is that if a kid has an interest in learning to play, that they should learn on something that will sound like the real thing. The tuning gears on this instrument area a little creaky with a bit of a grind to them. It has taken a little working to get the strings (Aquilla) to stay in tune, but they’re getting better with time. I want to get in worn-in a bit before I give it to my g-nephew so he can just pick it up and play without having to mess with tuning after every song. I’m happy with this purchase. Thanks for the review.

  10. Micah April 30th, 2017 6:15 am

    I’ve had one of these for 6 years now, and it’s great. I have an issue keeping the C string in tune, but that may be partially because I’m often changing elevations and temperatures (up and down mountains, etc.). Great tone, bright and loud. I’ve played several other ukuleles that friends have and they always sound dull and muted compared to mine. Geared tuning pegs are a real plus, too. This is totally worth buying.

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