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ukeinfused
02-03-2018, 04:16 PM
Has anyone here tried the Lanikai SPS-S solid spruce top soprano?
I'm always looking for affordable good sounding-good looking ukes to put into the hands of kids in my life that have learned to play their entry level instruments.

I usually lean towards Kala, but the offered appointments here (solid spruce top, Grover tuners, maple and herringbone binding, lam rosewood back) make the $89 price on Ebay seems pretty competitive! Granted, it looks like a big box seller and may need a set up...

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F40 1445582819

Jerome collector
02-04-2018, 05:22 AM
I bought a Lanikai SPS-S soprano in November, and it's now my favorite ukulele. In the interests of full disclosure, my go-to ukulele to this point has been a c. 1958 Gold label Kamaka soprano, but I also play a 1947-1956 Martin Style 0, a Kala KA-S (my first uke), and until November an Amahi UK660T tenor (traded it in for the Lanikai). What immediately struck me on noodling around with it at the store was that it cut through all of the background noise, unlike all of the other sopranos and concerts (Kalas, Cordobas, Fenders, Amahis) I tested. It rings like a bell and has great sustain. Although I'm not great at picking, picked notes are crisp and clear. And it's wonderful as a strummer. Construction appears to be top-notch. The padded gig bag is one of the nicest I've seen and actually provides good protection against bumps and bruises. I didn't ask whether the store (it's a local chain, not a national outfit) did their own set up, but I've had no complaints in that regard. I paid far more than the price you found on eBay; even so, no regrets. I'd be hard-pressed to find anything negative to say about it.
Mike

ukeinfused
02-04-2018, 06:07 AM
Thanks for your thoughts, Mike!
I think I'll take one for a spin. Looks like they may not be made anymore, but that other retailers are selling for $189.
The last time I made a purchase like this my luck was good: some $100 Ebay closeouts on a Kala KA-ASOV-S: marvelous little instruments. Though those are solid all through so perhaps a different league, I actually like the appointments on this Lanikai better (satin rather than gloss finish, and maple rather than red padauk binding look more understated and elegant).

ukeinfused
02-04-2018, 06:25 AM
I'd be hard-pressed to find anything negative to say about it.
Mike[/QUOTE]

P.s. Hey, Mike, did you change the strings/find a preference? First new uke I've purchased without Aquilas installed, LOL.

Jerome collector
02-04-2018, 07:36 AM
Tracie,

I checked Lanikai's website, and it appears you're correct. They still carry the SPS line, but now the backs and sides are Morado, whereas they used Rosewood in the older model. I don't know whether this is fallout over restrictions on Rosewood or not. To the best of my knowledge, the Rosewood version was just introduced a year ago, so I would have thought any restrictions would have been a factor then, as well. I think I saw a YouTube video from NAMM 2017 with a Lanikai rep introducing the SPS line.

I did change strings from the D'Addarios that came with it to Martin fluorocarbons. The D'Addarios actually sounded great; I just prefer the feel of the Martins. Strings are such a personal preference that I don't consider that a negative about the instrument as-purchased. Given the considerable reduction in price from MSRP that you'd be getting, you should treat yourself to several different string sets to see what suits your fancy.

If you pull the trigger on this one, I'd like to hear how it turns out. Based on the lineup you show in your signature box, the Lanikai is up against steep competition.

Mike

ukeinfused
02-04-2018, 01:16 PM
Based on the lineup you show in your signature box, the Lanikai is up against steep competition.
Mike

Well, like I said, this is for an upgrade for a kid I started on a cheaper Kala. But I always like to play'em and see how they sound first. ;>)
I won't expect wonders, though the fact that you like it so well after playing a Kamaka is something!
I did order one, figuring there's not a whole lot to lose here when a decent all-lam starter Kala sits around $50. I'm hoping it competes favorably with the Kala KA-SSLNG, which I've also given away and I think is a great little player for $150.

Jerome collector
02-05-2018, 02:14 PM
Well, like I said, this is for an upgrade for a kid I started on a cheaper Kala. But I always like to play'em and see how they sound first. ;>)
I won't expect wonders, though the fact that you like it so well after playing a Kamaka is something!
I did order one, figuring there's not a whole lot to lose here when a decent all-lam starter Kala sits around $50. I'm hoping it competes favorably with the Kala KA-SSLNG, which I've also given away and I think is a great little player for $150.
Ha! By the time I replied the last time yesterday, my feeble memory must not have retained the fact that it was a step-up for a kid. If you do end up giving it a try, let me know what you think (good and bad).

ukeinfused
02-24-2018, 04:35 PM
I wanted to get back here now that I've had it in my hands for a few days. Jerome is right:
Can't go wrong for eight-nine bucks: nice spruce top (lam rosewood body), shaped moderately slender neck, nice appointments (solid top, maple and herringbone binding, Grover tuners). I really like a satin finish, and this one is done well along with the rest of the build (no glue or sloppy seams).
Sounds good and I expect the top will open up nicely.
Heck, the nice thick (10mm or more?) embroidered gig bag is worth $15 to $20 on its own.
I do recommend a string change (Martin Fluorcarbons sound and feel better) and a set-up to lower the action, especially for newbies.
Only complaint is that I really don't think a soprano needs installed strap pegs, but that's a personal thing.
(I did buy on Amazon instead because it listed with the gig bag, but it's the same music store so prob the same.
Lanikai SPS-S Solid Spruce Soprano Ukulele w/ Bag https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07117ZWVL/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_MoJKAbZY2SFMQ