Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai only makes ukuleles, and they do it well. They make all sizes of the instrument, from soprano down to baritone, and their top-tier models are popular with professional players. With a lot of professional instrument manufacturers, it’s wise to be wary of their entry-level line. That’s not the case with Lanikai. Even their most […]

Last updateJuly 24, 2018
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Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele

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Lanikai only makes ukuleles, and they do it well. They make all sizes of the instrument, from soprano down to baritone, and their top-tier models are popular with professional players. With a lot of professional instrument manufacturers, it’s wise to be wary of their entry-level line. That’s not the case with Lanikai. Even their most affordable ukes are built with an eye for quality and attention to detail.

The LU-21 uses Nato for the back and sides, an Eastern variety of mahogany that brings a warmer, sweeter tone. This is especially noticeable on the soprano model, which has a resonant tone that’s not at all tinny or “toy-like.” The wood is aged and finished to keep it from cracking or warping over time. The 12-fret rosewood fretboard gives you a smooth playing experience and is well-fitted to the body for long-term stability.

The geared tuners are chrome-plated and open-backed. This helps to keep the weight of the headstock lower, making it easier to balance, especially for young players. They’re great at keeping the instrument in tune, too, without any slipping. As a nice visual touch, the pre-installed strap buttons are chrome, as well, giving the instrument a clean overall look.

You don’t get much in the box when you buy the LU-21. It does come with an easy-to-read instruction booklet to walk you through stringing and tuning your new instrument. It also comes with a rather nice case to take it on the go. Any other accessories you want for your uke you’ll have to buy separately.

The LU-21 is a great option if you expect your interest (or your child’s interest) to be more than just a passing fad. It’s high-quality enough that some professional ukulele players use it as their “traveling” instrument. If it’s good enough for the stage, it’ll serve a beginner’s needs. It’s a bit pricier than a lot of the options on this list, especially considering you’ll have to buy things like a tuner and a playing strap if you don’t already have them. That extra investment gets you an instrument with the sound quality and durability for years of playing.

Specs at a glance:

  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Body/neck: Nato
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Saddle/nut: Nubone XB
  • Hardware: Chrome open-back tuners
  • Included in the box: Padded gig bag, instruction manual
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