Lanikai S-TEQ spruce top tenor—the thing that made me fall in love with it, actually—was its incredibly low action. I sampled two identical models at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan and both played effortlessly. This smooth-as-butter playability is the Holy Grail for those like me who come from a steel string background, but there’s something else magical about this ukulele; it sounds good, too.
Every time I play this ukulele, plugged or unplugged (but mainly plugged), I get a great reaction. People crowd around to get a closer look and compliment me on how rounded and deep it sounds. They seem totally surprised to hear this big of sound from such a small box..
The fact that it looks so good is just icing on the cake.
Electronics on the two I sampled were Belcat UK2000 undersaddle transducers with 9-volt active preamps. The quality of the Asian-made electronics on the two ukuleles varied a bit, with one sounding quite trebly while the other was more rounded and had a better bass. I have seen other S-TEQ’s advertised with a German-made Shadow P3 active systems; not having compared a Belcat to a Shadow, all I can say is I was more than satisfied with the bassier of the two Belcat models.
At bottom, I’m very pleased with the S-TEQ. At only $189 with the Belcat, this is one of the best values in all of ukedom. I have been fortunate to play a wide variety of ukuleles at Elderly—from $30 to Mahalos to thousand dollar Hawaiian makes, and I have yet to find one that feels and plays as smoothy and effortlessly as the S-TEQ.
Lanikai "Makes me happy."