View Full Version : Oscar Schmidt ou5 vs lanikai 21 for desert beginner

05-02-2011, 01:27 PM
Hi everyone, I am about to purchase my first ever uke. However, I have soe concerns, I can purchase the. Oscar Schmidt ou5 for 150 w/ hard case, or I can buy a lanikai 21 for around 100 w/ hard case. Wich is a better uke for a dedicated newbie like myself? Does the fact that I live in the nevada desert and the solid wood of the ou5 will likely warp make a difference?

Also open to suggestions of other uke's in that price range (60-120 for the instrument alone)

05-02-2011, 01:58 PM
For the price i would get the Oscar Shmidt. Both of these brands are really good but, the ou5 is NOT a solid wood, it is laminate koa which in my preference are one of my many favorite veeners and solid woods. Also it is a concert sized ukulele making it forgivable to play. Look at sound samples on youtube. Find what tone you lilke. Find the size you like. Do you like a soprano, a traditonal size ; a concert, a little bigger but smaller than a tenor; and then there is tenor and baritone. Do your homework and you will find your personal peferance

05-02-2011, 02:02 PM
Thanks. I must have misread the description of the ou5. I am interested in either a concert or a soprano, as the tenors carry too much low end for my liking.

05-02-2011, 02:41 PM
I can't say anything about the Oscar Schmidt, but I owned a Lanikai LU-21 and it was really great for the price. I also just bought a solid mahogany Kala which is very good, so you might want to look into some of the cheap Kala model ukes. For your price range, I'd say you can't go wrong with either, so just toss a coin or something. Hope this helps!

mm stan
05-02-2011, 04:21 PM
I haven't owned a Lanikai but played one...I have a Oscar schmidt OU-2 Mahogany laminate and A Oscar Schmidt OU-5 Koa laminate...the Ou-2 sounds better and is louder and less than half
the price...the OU-5 is much nicer with binding and abalone purtfling..and a gloss finish and sounds muffled.... either it's then OU2 for volume and sound or the OU-5 for looks...I hope it helps...

05-03-2011, 06:29 AM
The OU5 is a beauty. In case you didn't notice, the fretboard is very "thick" so you must perfect your strumming techniques or your nails will hit it. Sounds pretty decent, I'm planning on putting bone nut and saddle on mine. Aquila strings also improved it's sound quite a bit. I've seen them sell for as little as $85 used/like new recently on ebay. They are also heavy, but...........I think they sound and look better than the Lanikai

Ebay, $119 new incl shipping http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Oscar-Schmidt-OU5-Concert-Koa-Ukulele-Gig-Bag-/330547939352?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf6314818 This gig bag is pretty decent, OU2 gig bag.

There's another used one like new for 20 bucks less. Gig bag not as nice.

Check out some amazing laminate ukes set up and sold by Hawaiimusicsupply


I agree with some other posters, you won't have to save for long to get an amazing sounding Kala, Makai, etc. Kala has some great sounding solid spruce top ukes as do some other brands.

05-03-2011, 07:16 AM
My personal take on this is go try them if you can. I was also hesitating between those two models when I bought my Uke and I picked the OS. The Lanikai sounded good, but had tonality and setup issues and felt very cheap in my hands. The OS did not sound as loud, but sounded warmer in tone and was much better quality for the price.

Another note about OS, they do sound more "muffled" than Lanikai. But if you play with your nails or a pick. Then the OS will sing. One more thing about OS Ukes of that price point, each instrument sounds different. If you can find a place where you can try multiple of the same model until you find the one that sounds good to you and THAT is the one you walk out with. Do not try the one on the wall and then grab a boxed one of the same model. Make sure to pull it out, tune it and try it out.

Do not feel shy to ask the clerk for a tuner and tune it up. Or better yet, bring your own.

One thing Aldrine said to do when buying instruments is to try it with the string facing you. That way you hear what it will sound like to you audience.

Hope this helps. :)

05-03-2011, 01:12 PM
There's an OU5 in my house that sounds worse than every Lanikai I've played. A thin, unhappy sound. But that doesn't mean the OU5 you're considering doesn't sound better than the Lanikai you're considering. Play them both. Then decide. If you're too far out in the NV desert to play these ukes, I'd go with the Lanikai. Every Lanikai that I've picked up and strummed has been worth its price. Plus you could put the $50 difference to start a future-all-solid-uke-purchase savings account!

05-14-2011, 07:45 PM

I just received a Lanikai 21 Soprano Uke that I ordered online. I discovered that the intonation was horribly off.
Is this something that is fairly common with this price level of ukulele? I haven't decided if I'm going to request a return or a refund, but it's definitely going back.

05-19-2011, 12:56 PM
I was deciding between Lanikai and OS for my first uke too. I ended up with an OU17 in spalted mango, and I really like it! The sound is good and it's beautiful - it is louder than other sopranos I've tried a music stores. The headstock is heavy, so I'd recommend a uke leash. The store where I take lessons recently got some Lanikais in stock, but I like my OS better. My next uke will definitely be a concert size OS in Koa.

05-19-2011, 08:23 PM
Just suggested this little Oscar Schmidt concert in another threat - a very sweet solid mahog uke: http://www.oscarschmidt.com/products/ukes/ou220-240.asp

05-20-2011, 09:37 AM
I can only speak of my Ou5, but If I hadn't put on Aquila strings, I'd probably gotten rid of it long ago.