Lanikai Tenor UkulelesLanikai make a number of different models of tenor ukulele. The most popular and cheapest is the LU-21T (favored by Beirut's Zach Condon). Also popular is the Lanikai CK-T, which is more expensive as it uses curly koa wood (as a laminate).
Lanikai Tenor Ukulele LU-21T Review
This was the first uke I purchased back in 2005. I had stumbled upon this crazy underground subculture of ukulele fanatics on ezFolk and I thought to myself, "I must see what this is all about."
I ran out to a large music store in the neighboring town that deals in Lanikai ukuleles. I have been a guitarist for 20 years, so the concert and soprano sizes seemed too tiny (at the time J). After messing around on the tenor size for about 20 minutes I figured that this was the best size for me.
The Positives: For the money this sucker "barks." They are really loud and bright and I have found that they are very audible in settings that have involved playing with 2 other guitarists and a percussionist. I have also used this instrument with a microphone in a "rock band" setting and the feedback that I received was positive. The tones were clear and bright and they cut through the other instrumentation just fine. The action is comfortable and the string tension is pretty tight.
The Negatives: first off, I'd recommend getting these through Guitar Center if you're in the states as that will usually knock off around 20.00 to 30.00 bucks from the list price (UPDATE: it looks like Guitar Center aren't selling Lanikais any more). Secondly, the body finish and the body construction are a tad bit "thin".This line of Lanikais have a non-finish sort of look that also, for some reason makes them very "clicky" when you're recording. Along with the finish, the body's wood is very thin and for a guy who is 6 foot and about 200 pounds I feel like I could crush the instrument without too much effort. What I'm getting at is that the body is not as strong and solid feeling as I would like.
By Todd Baio - Folk Musician & Ukulele Evangelist
Lanikai Curly Koa Tenor Ukulele Review
My second ukulele review is of the Lanikai Curly Koa tenor ukulele. I purchased this uke for about $240 at a local music store. I bought it to replace my Flea uke because it sounded richer and instead of a banjolele--none of which could be found in Alaska.
As I said in my previous review, I'm not familiar with ukulele construction; I'm not familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of particular features. I base my decisions on two things: how it sounds and how much it costs. This means that I can't purchase online because I can't play the instruments, despite the cheaper costs. I deal.
My Lanikai sounds really good. There is a rich tone that lasts. It is a little big and I occasionally have difficulty forming chords (DAMN B-flat!) and carrying it around is more of a chore than I'd like it to be. Still, it's great for serenading my love and chilling on the balcony with a glass of lemonade.
I've never played a Lanikai soprano or concert sized uke but I'd bet that they would be just right for my mom. The smaller size would suit her petite frame, the cost (even cheaper than my tenor) would suit her thriftiness, and it would sound great based on my experience with my tenor sized uke.
Review by Emily Reeve.