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View Full Version : Why Hawaii Music Supply doesn't sell Lanikai ukuleles?



Vladim
05-24-2012, 06:43 AM
Are they too bad for them? I've heard Lanikai ukes are pretty good. I have a tenor myself and love it. Very bright sound, well-build, attractive outlook. What place does Lanikai hold in ukulele brands hierarchy?

Mandarb
05-24-2012, 06:45 AM
Why don't you call them or send them an e-mail and ask?

vanflynn
05-24-2012, 06:59 AM
My guess is that, at least in the US, every music shop and want to be music shop has a Lanikai kiosk in it and HMS is wanting to stock what most others don't carry.

PoiDog
05-24-2012, 07:01 AM
Maybe because there is no real difference between Lanikai and Kala (which HMS do stock)?

guitarsnrotts
05-24-2012, 08:20 AM
It would be hard to compete with the prices of the likes of Guitar Center.

kvehe
05-24-2012, 08:47 AM
It would be hard to compete with the prices of the likes of Guitar Center.

They do, actually. There's a Fender at Guitar Center that costs the same as it does at HMS, but of course at GC it's right out of the box and probably unplayable, unlike the way it would be from our HMS friends.

coolkayaker1
05-24-2012, 08:56 AM
Are they too bad for them?--Vladim

Perhaps.

PoiDog
05-24-2012, 08:58 AM
It would be hard to compete with the prices of the likes of Guitar Center.

Not really. GC is like a swap meet where you run in, grab something, and hope it's worthwhile when you get it home. Sure, it may cost a bit less, but you're basically gambling.

The guys at HMS do it right. They know instruments, and make sure that no matter what you get, even if it's the lowest thing they sell, that it is ready to play and sounds the best it can.

The sort of person who is willing to sacrifice playability for a few cents savings will learn the hard way.

njukeman
05-24-2012, 10:25 AM
The only reason Guitar Center and stores like them sell ukulele in the first place is because of the current craze. I guarantee if they weren't as popular they wouldn't be hanging in their showroom or in their catalog. At least not as many. And this is just my opinion, but I think Kala are a step above in quality than Lanakai.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-24-2012, 10:54 AM
Kalas are at least two steps above Lanikai. Big steps.
And I agree. Buy from an ukulele shop. The knowledge and service you'll get will be more than worth the few pennies more you might pay.

UK Paulie
05-24-2012, 11:39 AM
What place does Lanikai hold in ukulele brands hierarchy?

Hierachy? lol I'll assume I know what you mean and hope I'm right. IMHO you've got custom builders such as Chuck moore, Eric Devine, Jake Maclay, Dave talsma, Mike Dasilva, Mya Moe folks etc, then you have the K-brands such as Kamaka, Kanilea, Koaloha(the pick of them in my opinion) and Ko'olau, then you have other hand made stuff like Loprinzi and Mele(I think...???Sure someone will correct me if not) and then you have Pono (by itself in my opinion on account of the build quality, the overseeing of the product by Ko'olau personnel and final set-up in Hawaii), Mainland, KPK and the like just behind that and then you have kala etc which I'm not sure if its better than lanikai or not (those monkey-pods sure sound sweet) I have little doubt that some folks will disagree with me but thats ok, thats why its an opinion and it would be one hell of a boring world if we were all the same...Just my :2cents:

SweetWaterBlue
05-24-2012, 02:06 PM
I don't think its true of all the models, but I have a Lanikai solid spruce top tenor that is virtually a twin of the Kala ST tenor. The only thing that looks different is the bridge shape and the logo on the top. Before I bought it I compared a friend of mine's Kala ST to almost every uke broght to several months of SEUkers meets. After I bought it, my friend and I compared the two fairly extensively in A/B playing tests. You can't tell the difference in the sound. I think its easy to cast too wide a net in assessing any of the mass produced brands.

PedalFreak
05-24-2012, 03:05 PM
My shop use to carry Lanikai, then there quality took a really bad turn. We were having issues with almost all of them. We don't do near the volume of uke's HMS do, so if they did sell Lanikai they probably saw more of what we had.

1937Scott
05-24-2012, 03:10 PM
I have a Lanikai I actually bought at my local GC, since it was there and I could hold and play it first. (Curly koa concert.) The quality control and consistency is all over the place. The same goes for Kala, but at least if you buy from HMS you get a competent setup. Plus Kala makes some models that are much better.....if you asked me. At least Kala builds some solid wood models, of which I have two and LOVE.

GC is just that. A guitar center. NO ONE at my local GC knows the first thing about ukes, or can play them. It's how I found UU...

Pondoro
05-24-2012, 03:36 PM
I don't think its true of all the models, but I have a Lanikai solid spruce top tenor that is virtually a twin of the Kala ST tenor. The only thing that looks different is the bridge shape and the logo on the top. Before I bought it I compared a friend of mine's Kala ST to almost every uke broght to several months of SEUkers meets. After I bought it, my friend and I compared the two fairly extensively in A/B playing tests. You can't tell the difference in the sound. I think its easy to cast too wide a net in assessing any of the mass produced brands.

I have a Lanikai Spruce top tenor and it is very high quality. They also make some really cheap stuff that can be hit or miss. I bought a much cheaper Lanikai and it turned into a course in Luthiery as I had to set it up to make it play well. I decided that was part of the fun though so I do not regret either purchase. If I had not been both handy and willing to take risks that cheaper Lanikai would have been a big turn-off.

SweetWaterBlue
05-24-2012, 03:41 PM
I must admit that I bought my Lanikai ST from Sam Ash (a floor model) , but (and its a very big but) I played it many times before I bought it. That way I knew it was set up to my liking before I took it home, and I got a great deal on it since it was a floor model. I agree with those that say ordering one sight unseen or from one of the box stores without playing it first is a crap shoot. If I were paying more than $100 for any uke, I would want to play it first to see if it needed work.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-24-2012, 03:49 PM
Kala only makes ukuleles. Mike Upton has a pretty good handle on design and quality control. The parent of Lanikai makes just about everything.

webby
05-24-2012, 03:53 PM
every lanikai I have ever picked up felt and sounded like a cardboard shoe box with rubber bands on it for stings, just awful quality imo.

njukeman
05-25-2012, 01:07 AM
Kala only makes ukuleles. Mike Upton has a pretty good handle on design and quality control. The parent of Lanikai makes just about everything.

Very good point Chuck!

strumsilly
05-25-2012, 02:33 AM
every lanikai I have ever picked up felt and sounded like a cardboard shoe box with rubber bands on it for stings, just awful quality imo.
My Lanikai ST is one of my favorite ukes, and I have Kamaka, Kala,Gibson,MP,Kiwaka.That said, I do think the Kalas have better quality control and have some pretty sweet models at the higher end of their line.

stevepetergal
05-25-2012, 03:41 AM
Maybe because there is no real difference between Lanikai and Kala (which HMS do stock)?

I'm sure this is the case. Makes no sense to sell Lanikais when you have Kalas. Exact same market and target customers.

PedalFreak
05-25-2012, 03:45 AM
My Lanikai ST is one of my favorite ukes, and I have Kamaka, Kala,Gibson,MP,Kiwaka.That said, I do think the Kalas have better quality control and have some pretty sweet models at the higher end of their line.

This was the big thing for our shop. QC wasn't good with the Lanikai uke's. We'd get 10 in & 7 would need a lot of help or would get sent back.

With kala it is far less of an issue. I can think of 2-3 uke's we've had problems with.

hoosierhiver
05-25-2012, 04:49 AM
My dealings with Hohner (ie. Lanakai) have been so-so, but they are definitely a BIG company and you run into big company sorts of problems with none of the personal connections.

MGM
05-25-2012, 05:48 AM
We do carry Lanikai from time to time. We prefer Kala when they have similiar models as it makes no sense to stock lu 21t's when you have ka t's. Lanikai was originally satarted by Kala owner and he left to form Kala...As a solely ukulele driven company they offer better service and repair and warranty than a Large corperation such as Lanikai...we carry Lanikai when thy offer specials that are too good to pass by

AndrewKuker
05-27-2012, 10:28 AM
Many brands we choose to not carry, and from the ones we do , we often cherry pick from the line what we consider to be the best models. With these imports there are usually multiple factories. Often we will stop stocking a model because it is suddenly not nearly as good as it was. Our customers from the web can't try them out, so it is our job to only carry the best value models, and then to ensure that these models maintain specs and quality. I did a blog about why we carry less Lanikai now. This is from over a year ago but explained the situation between these companies.http://theukulelereview.com/2011/02/10/whats-the-difference-between-a-lanikai-and-a-kala-ukulele-and-a-basic-ukulele-chord-chart/

1931jim
05-27-2012, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the history Andrew. I have a Lanikai Tenor S-T which seems to be a twin for the Kala Tenor KA-ASLAT.
I won it on ebay with the bridge dangling on the strings ASIS sale. All I had to do with the Lanikai was reglue the bridge because someone at the factory glued it on the lacquer finish. I masked around where the bridge would go and carefully removed the old glue and lacquer. It sounds fantastic with the 2mm spruce top.
It had never been tuned let alone playable. My luthiery from the 70's 'til today comes in handy. Of course the action at the saddle and the nut had to be kissed as well. I still love making sawdust.

Tootler
05-27-2012, 12:58 PM
Kala only makes ukuleles. Mike Upton has a pretty good handle on design and quality control.

My Kala is Chinese made (There's a "made in China" sticker on the neck), so he clearly outsources at least some of his production.

That said, it is well made with good intonation and clear tone.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-27-2012, 01:11 PM
My Kala is Chinese made (There's a "made in China" sticker on the neck), so he clearly outsources at least some of his production.

That said, it is well made with good intonation and clear tone.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Mike Upton makes all those ukes. Of course they are imported. What I should've said is that Kala only deals with ukuleles while Lanikai's parent company (Hohner) handle all sorts of instruments. My implication was that I personally would rather do business with someone whose sole interest is in ukuleles.