Lanikai LU 21
Well after a few months intorduction to the ukulele on a cheap £10 sorry excuse for a uke, I decided an upgrade was in order. On a budget of sub £100 I looked at reviews for the Lanikai LU 21 range and had heard amazing things about them. I wasn't convinced that you could own such a great instrument for so little cash so thought I'd prove them all wrong and buy a Tenor.
When I pulled it out of the box I was completely taken aback. This is not a stunning instrument to look at but it's basic appearance and very professional finish certainly instills a feeling that this instrument will do you no wrong. The wood is laminate NATO fron back and sides with a rosewood fret board. Once again, it's specifications don't blast you with thoughts that this is a beauty but on playing it I was pleasantly surprised as to it's volume and tone. It resonates very well and the tone is very rich.
I found that on the tenor there were some problems with the intonation especially on the Low G string. Changing the strings to Aquila made a vast improvement but I still felt the low G was a little out of tune. I then opted for Aquila high G and what I now had was a very affordable lovely uke with no intonation problems whatsoever.
The rest of the ukulele is absolutely faultless mainly because it seems they have kept it simple so there is little to go wrong. That said, nothing is cheap and cheerful about this ukulele. The finish, as I said, is simple but flawless. The tuning pegs are great and the uke stays in tune for a surprisingly long amount of time if not permanently. Action on the instrument is perfect.
I recently bought a Concert LU21 and I have to say that it is pretty much the same instrument as the tenor bar being a little smaller. It has the same volume and rich tone with all the same finish. This is obviously a factory made, mass produced intrument, but Hohner seems to have gotten the template perfect. What you get is probably one of the cheapest but best introductions to the ukulele you can get. Infact I would say that to call this instrument a beginners uke is an insult. I have gigged with this uke and it is fine. I know well established uke performers who are more than happy with this instrument. Infact many have said, why pay more when you have everything in this Lanikai.
If you start out wanting a no thrills and frills uke then this is a good start and I garuntee that you'll get more than you think you're paying for.