Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele  

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The CK-B baritone ukulele uses Hawaiian koa that is especially prized for its curly grain. Lanikai makes use of this exquisite wood by handcrafting all CK series uke's to exacting specifications. Grow... Click To Read More About This Product

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The CK-B baritone ukulele uses Hawaiian koa that is especially prized for its curly grain. Lanikai makes use of this exquisite wood by handcrafting all CK series uke's to exacting specifications. Grown mostly on the island of Oahu, the gorgeous red-hued wood used for the curly koa series make these Lanikai ukuleles look as beautiful as they sound.

In its most traditional form the CK-B is a baritone ukulele that owes its existence to Portuguese immigrants bringing their craft of music instrument building to Hawaii in the 1870s. The baritone ukulele body offers deep, loud tone with full, balanced projection in a large ukulele body. Ready for the stage, the thick, loud sound is ideal for rhythmic strumming, and its size lets you take it wherever you feel inspired to play.

The curly koa body on this Lanikai baritone uke offers tremendous beauty and a soft, but pronounced tone that sounds big and bold. The 20-3/8" scale provides smooth, comfortable access all along the instrument's 19 frets. The rugged mahogany neck adds strength to the instrument's construction, while the rosewood bridge and fingerboard complement each note's sustain and decay. The Lanikai CK series comes with die-cast tuning machines geared 14:1 for those players who demand greater control over their tuning.

Dressed with a natural finish and featuring chrome die-cast tuners and chrome hardware, this Lanikai baritone uke is a model of easy playability. If you've never played ukulele before, get ready for a world of fun. The ukulele is an addicting instrument that can and should be taken everywhere.

  • 4-string baritone ukulele
  • Curly koa body
  • 20-3/8" scale
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • 19 frets
  • 35mm nut width
  • Chrome die-cast tuners
  • Chrome hardware
  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
LanikaiCK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 4 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Never again a Lanikai

By Lostboy13

from Olympic Peninsula, Washington

About Me Experienced


  • Price And Nothing Else


  • Low Quality Koa Used
  • Not Figured Koa On Mine
  • Poor Fit And Finish
  • Unplayable Without Setup

Best Uses

  • Too Flawed To Play

Comments about Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele:

After reading the lengthy rave review posted here for this instrument I am baffled. The example I received had the following flaws:
- A "wavy" warped back which had two "humps" over two of the interior braces.
- A crack in the midline (back of ukulele) binding
- A hump in the fretboard where the neck joins the body (15th fret).
- Sand, dirt or ? embedded in the deep open grain of the unfinished Koa. How Hawaiian.
- Gaps/voids in stain around mahogany neck heel and fretboard.
- A mismatched and unfigured Koa top on a ukulele called, "Curly Koa". That's a fairly gross misrep-resentation.
I received this instrument on christmas eve with very high expectations for my new, "Curly Koa Baritone ". Wow, the photos showed a breathtakingly beautiful figured (curly) Koa instrument with immaculate fit and finish. The claimed msrp was many times what I had ever paid for a uke. I thought that this was going to be my first "professional" quality uke. Wrong.
What I received (not from Musician's Friend BTW) was literally a piece of rubbish. And a hideously ugly one at that. One side of the "book-matched top" had dark chocolate blotches on it which created a night/day contrast with the other side of the top which had none. The back of the uke was unfigured (not "curly") as well. Hint: Not all pieces of figured wood will split into usable (matching and pretty) book-matched halves. You are supposed to throw away the ones that don't produce an attractive match. Apparently Lanikai uses every piece of wood they can find, regardless of the quality or appearance. Maybe that's due to the scarcity or cost of Koa?
There was no setup done on the uke whatsoever. The strings were about 1/4" above the 15th fret and that is not a playable instrument in my opinion. My entry-level Kohala tenor uke has a compensated bridge but this high-end Lanikai does not. I asked Lanikai about getting a compensated bridge for this uke and they said, "Sorry, you'll have to buy one of our new ukes with our new "Tunauke" compensated saddle and nut on it."
Thank's anyway Lanikai. Never more.
The inlays and bindings have alot of black filler around them which means that they are loosely and crudely fitted. Perhaps the huge open grain voids in the Koa wood make fit and finish a difficult undertaking? But even the inlays in the Rosewood fretboard have the same issues.
The uke came strung with Aquila Nylgut strings which use two wound strings (D & G)with two nylon strings (B & E). On this uke, the bass string (D) had a completely different sound than the other 3 strings. The D string was steel guitar-like with a long ringing sustain and a bright timbre. The other three strings sounded nylon (classical guitar/uke). This might work well in a strumming type of playing but anything with a melody line would sound like two different instruments as you move from the D string to the others.
Oddly, I have two entry-level Lanikais and they are good quality for their price-point. What happened with this supposedly professional quality ukulele is beyond me. I'm so disgusted by this instrument that I won't be buying Lanikai again. Oh yeah, of course I'm sending it back immediately so I won't do a setup so as to enable me to actually play it. I would say that my entry-level Kohala sounds better than this uke did during the few minutes that I tried to play it. What a disappointment.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Beautiful but sound not that great

By William Holt

from Martinez, CA

Comments about Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele:

Bought a Lanikai LU Series LU-21BEK and loved it so much I had toi look into a "fancier" guitar. Played this koa wood uke side by side with my trusty LU and there was just no comparison. The LU sounds richer, more melodic, and a lot less tinny. Usually, you get what you pay for. Not here!

(44 of 45 customers found this review helpful)


About the Best You'll Get

By Tim2723

from NJ, USA

Comments about Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele:

Some stuff that isn't clear in the description:

The finish is natural. That means there's no glossiness. The finish is very, very thin. It almost seems like there's no finish at all. Such a super light finish is found on many of the world's best instruments and allows the wood to resonate freely, resulting in a full, rich tone that is soft and well balanced, yet projects wonderfully well. The instrument has a BIG voice for a ukulele without a hint of harsh brassiness. Sweet highs, rich mids, and resonant bass. Just a beautiful tone. The instrument has excellent sustain (for a uke) and is very responsive. A heavier gloss finish would show off the grain a little better, but that also dulls the tone, volume, and responsiveness.

If you're not used to koa wood, you're in for a treat. Traditional Hawaiian Koa is THE wood for ukuleles! Nothing sounds like it or looks like it. But be aware that, if you're used to spruce or mahogany, koa is a highly figured wood with lots of streaks and specs. This is perfectly normal and signifies a good piece of koa.

It comes well set up. It's important to remember that Musician's Friend doesn't set up instruments, they just sell them at fair prices. But the set up is fine right out of the box. A professional set up might make it better, but not that much.

The tuners aren't labeled, but they look and feel like Grover Mini-Rotomatics (I'm not saying they are, but they seem like it). They are quality tuners that work perfectly for a baritone uke, no matter who made them. Remember to let the strings stretch in for a couple of days before you pass judgement. All ukes are like that, at any price.

You'll want protection for an instrument of this quality, and the Musician's Gear baritone case is a perfect fit. For quality solid-wood instruments you also need to keep them humidified. Laminated ukuleles and bargain-priced plywood instruments can take a beating, but fine instruments need a little love in dry weather. Any of the case humidifiers offered at Musician's Friend will work, but I personally like the Planet Waves products.

In a nutshell, you just aren't going to get much more at such a reasonable price than the Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele.
The Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele is a full-featured, high-level instrument. Quality woods, professional finish, beautifully crafted, but very simply appointed without a lot of decoration and fancy inlays.
A little stray glue seen around the kerfling (the inside bracing around the edge) earns it a 9, but that doesn't hurt anything or show.
By their nature, ukuleles reach their 'Point of Diminishing Returns' pretty quickly. That is to say, there comes a point where you have to spend a LOT more money to get just a little bit better quality. This uke is right at that point. While it might seem a bit pricey compared to the other baritone ukes you'll see around, this is the best value you'll find in an affordably-priced instrument. Not a penny is wasted, and every bit of effort and money has gone into making a great sounding uke. There are no fancy decorations here; all the value has gone into materials and workmanship where they really count.

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)


Sounds and Looks Rich, like a million bucks!

By Rippie Dave

from Boston, MA

Comments about Lanikai CK-B Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele:

I'm sure there are finer sounding super high end Ukes with bigger richer sound made of unobtainium wood grown behind one house in far northern Iceland, harvestable only in leap years, and I sure wasn't expecting to spend even this for a first uke, but it just seemed time to get one, and as a bass player, I could never even think of a regular concert uke. After looking at what you can get for about $100, I realized that, as with all things, you get what you pay for, and fit and finish matters. Compared to the Baritone Ukes in that $100 dollarish range, there was no comparison, not in construction, not in the beauty of the Koa wood, and most definity not in sound. You can get nearly the same thing in Mahogany if you want to save money, and you won't be disappointed. I'm a bass player for decades. I simply wanted a tiny fun axe, small, loud enough and easy to just grab and take to someone's house for fun. Instead of standard tuning, I went with fifths, which I'm obviously familiar with playing. The projection is pretty good, the tone is full and sweet, not tinkly at all, and it's whisper light. The D'Addario nylons I put on it sound good, though I may play with converted guitar strings at some point to see what I can do with the sound. I'll say this: it could EASILY substitute for the acoustic rhythm guitar in many songs on stage for a little different novelty when playing out, so long as you have a real mic. This is not electrified. The machines are closed (phew!) smooth and seem to stay in tune. The entire instrument is bookend split, with nice two-tone wood binding. The finish is a satin natural finish because hey... it's Koa... it's all about the wood, and it doesn't get more Hawaiian than Koa wood. So, sounds rich and big (for a uke), looks beautiful (what girl can resist a cute beautiful instrument guys... am I right?) and is made well by a Hawaiian company of Hawaiian wood (in China, alas, like all the other Ukes). There is just something inherently fun about a relatively weensy instrument that actually is a legitimate musical instrument that you can actually enjoy playing, right away, and it sounds nice! If you can't swing this one in Koa, get the Mahogany version for $100 less, I think. I'm sick... I just love Koa wood. If you can afford it, for the price of an low end guitar, you can have a fairly high end Uke you'll be proud to whip out, anywhere, anytime, and it won't let you down. OH, and if you didn't figure it out by now, I like it. Heh. :)

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