View Full Version : KALA KA-KC or Lanikai CK-C?

03-10-2011, 05:05 PM
I am trying to decide between these 2 ukes. Both are Koa. Anyone has ever get a hold of both or each of them? what do you think? Both are in pretty much the same price range.

Which one would you get? Why?
If not these 2, then what would you recommend that's in the same price range? Why?

Thank you so much:o

03-10-2011, 05:16 PM
Found this New KOA PILI KOKO Solid Acacia wood ukulele CONCERT


Now which one?!!!!

mm stan
03-10-2011, 07:04 PM
Aloha Triplesixz,
I have not owned a Kala or Lanikai...so I can't comment on them...but I did own two Koa Pili Koko sopranos...and I love them dearly....perfect intonation up and down the neck..really enjoyn playing them..MM Stan

03-10-2011, 10:48 PM
i have never played the other two, but have played the lanikai, and was very impressed with its sound, it is next on my list of ukes to get. i cant vouch for the other two, but the ck-c sounds great.

03-11-2011, 08:22 AM
Thanks mm stan & bmoreuke.
I still cannot decide. anybody have any other thoughts, please

03-11-2011, 08:22 AM
Aloha Triplesixz,
I have not owned a Kala or Lanikai...so I can't comment on them...but I did own two Koa Pili Koko sopranos...and I love them dearly....perfect intonation up and down the neck..really enjoyn playing them..MM Stan

they are anacia wood, how does that sounds though, it's same family as koa but not exactly. ???

03-11-2011, 08:54 AM
I've got Kala KA-T and the equivalent Lanikai LU-21TE (except the Lanikai has a pick-up). They're both really good, standard ukes for the price, I reckon. I'd say equivalent in workmanship, set up and feel. When I bought it the Lanikai's action was a little higher. Hardly noticeable. (I nail filed the saddle and it's great now).
I tend to use the Lanikai a lot more because it's the one I gig with (pick up) so my comparison might be scewed simply by being more used to the Lanikai but:
I find the Lanikai tone much "fuller. It is more rounded and woody. The Kala seems louder and a little tinny next to the Lanikai. That's really the only diff.

03-11-2011, 09:09 AM
Personally of those three I'd go with the KPK since it's solid wood and the other two are laminate. I have a Melokia solid mahogany, made in the same factory and looks just like the KPK, and I love it. But keep in mind the solid wood ukes require a bit more care than laminates to prevent cracking.

03-11-2011, 10:15 AM
I haven't played the first two, but I have a soprano KPK and LOVE it, I have Worth Browns on her, but she sounded beautiful with the GHS strings, I just wanted a different sound. I didn't pay for it so can't comment on the price, it was a gift, but it's my only solid and definitely in a different ball park than the four laminates I own.

09-07-2011, 06:59 PM
I bought the Lanakai CKC GC and really like it. The odd thing is that the description on the Lanakai site of this specific instrument says, "Solid Koa," but the specs only say Curly Koa. I noticed on the most expensive Lanikais the specs also say solid. I asked the Lanikai folks to explain that but I haven't heard back yet.

For 180 on sale at Guitar Center, I thought it was a pretty good deal, laminate or solid.


mr moonlight
09-07-2011, 07:18 PM
I haven't actually played any of these exact models, but I have played a few Kala's and Lanikai's. Both brands make some pretty well constructed ukes for their pricerange. I own a pair of Cedar top Kala's and they both sound and play very nicely. Just remember that both the Kala and the Lanikai are plywood uke's and the Koa Pili Koko is solid Acacia. Nothing is wrong with plywood or acacia, but it's good to keep these things in mind when purchasing sight unseen. Personally, for that price range I'd keep to just solid top ukes and sacrifice a bit on looks.

09-07-2011, 08:18 PM
I own a KA-KC and I love it. It has a lot of volume and bass for such a small uke, and it sounds really nice. The finish is pretty too, and being a laminate makes it less prone to cracking in the dry Colorado climate.

09-08-2011, 05:05 AM
I too own a Lanikai CK-C, when I bought it, I thought I was getting a solid Koa Uk, but it turns out that it is a laminate, that being said, it plays like a dream and I would recommend it. I paid just over £200 brand new. Hope that helps.

09-08-2011, 08:17 AM
I own a Kala KA-KC as well (and recently got a Kala KA-ASAC-C) and as Noobie says, it's got some nice volume (my solid acacia is quieter) and sounds nice.

09-08-2011, 08:42 AM
I was told (don't know if it's true) that a lot of the kala and Lanikai ukes are made in the same factory to near enough identical specifications and on the same machines (once again, I don't know if it's true, I was told that by a person who works in a music shop so he may have been havering on).

Nevertheless, between the 2 brands, in my experience, I have found the kala to be excellent value for money. Out of the 2 equivalent ukes (once again this is just me) I would go for the Kala.

Lanikai is a German owned brand, I think? I don't know the origins of Kala. (that's just a wee bit extra information for you).

09-09-2011, 09:53 AM
I have the CKC GC and have puzzled over whether any of it is solid koa. So I wrote Lanikai. I got the following reply from Drew Lewis, the US Fretted Division Product Manager.

"Only the SKECGC is solid Koa on the top, back and sides. The CKCGC is constructed with a mahogany laminate with a Curly Koa Veneer. We offer this model like this for a variety of reasons besides the cost savings.

"Koa is a very volatile wood and is very susceptible to cracking. Especially due to the fact that Hawaii has a much higher humidity level than the rest of the main land one must take extra precautions when storing instruments made with koa to avoid damage.

"The tonal difference between Laminated Koa and Solid Koa is not dissimilar. You will notice more projection with a solid piece of Koa but tonally they are both very crisp in nature.

"Now all this being said we do still believe that Solid Koa has its own merits and will grow with the player as the instrument is played more. The more you play a solid top the more it resonates, bends, and flexes. This will give a much fuller tone after the top loosens up or breaks in."

After reading that, I was curious whether Drew believed the veneer of Koa added anything to the sound of my ukulele. (The alternative is that it is just part of my imagination, which is pretty active.) Drew replied:

"It does change the tone. The veneer is pretty thin but I feel it does seem to balance out the strings a bit better."

Itís nice to know more about my instrument. I am glad I have the veneer because I will probably be dragging it into less than ideal situations. Itís even nicer to know I bought buy from a company this responsive.

09-09-2011, 10:06 AM
I had a Lanakai and it was very nice. Sounded great with the original Gold strings. only sold it to thin the inventory.

Neil Slade
10-04-2015, 04:53 PM
I had a Lanakai and it was very nice. Sounded great with the original Gold strings. only sold it to thin the inventory.

I played every uke at guitar center recently, including the Lanikai laminate top concert CKC- It was the best sounding uke there, at any price. I have a 1965 Martin soprano solid wood (mahogany) uke, and my ears are VERY good.

We have a great uke store here in Denver, that carries ukes from $79 up to $1700 ukes. The Lanikai holds it's own in a very crowded filed. I just ordered a tenor Lanikai with laminate koa, this after playing a couple of dozen ukes covering that complete range. For the money,
it stood alone, and looks beautiful with the abalone inlay around the sound hole as well as abalone binding. The neck is two piece mahogany, and that's a slight let-down, but I buy an instrument mostly for the tone, and spend little time staring at the back of the neck.