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Best Ukulele For Beginners – Reviews & Buying Guide 2017

Last Update : 8 August 2017  

The first challenge every beginner has to face is selecting his or her first ukulele. Keeping in mind that wrong choices can negatively impact ukulele journey, everyone wants to get it right the first time.There are many types of ukulele out there, so finding the best especially on a budget can be stressful and dicey.

However, here are the 5 best ukulele for beginners. Though I may not have included all the best ukuleles but these have been selected based on my personal experience, reviews, and comments from ukulele experts in all category.

Best Ukulele For Beginners - Kala KA-15S Mahogany soprano ukulele

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Expert Rating

5/5

Kala has a great reputation and is known to produce top quality and affordable ukuleles. One of the best of Kala ukuleles for the beginner is the Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele, highly rated for its great playability, sound and price.

The fretwork, an important factor that can determine whether a ukulele will produce clear sound is perfect. The Kala KA-15S is also a portable ukulele and it is perfect for beginners and strumming professionals.

Kala KA-15S ukulele is a gem and has a beautiful and well-finished body. It feels very smooth and also a pleasure to hold and play. This ukulele is also durable and resonant.

Kala KA-15S is great for strumming. The chords ring out clearly and project very well. It is also easy to transport because of its unique small size.

Features/specifications of Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele​

  • Premium Aquila nylgut strings
  • Stable geared tuners which hold tune well
  • Durable rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Perfectly fretted with 12 quality brass frets
  • Mahogany neck and body for better resonance and sound
  • Lightweight and comfortable to play

What we like or Dislike ?  

The Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele is a great ukulele but it has some cons too. Let’s dig deep on what we like or dislike of this Kala ukulele.

What We Like

  • Easy to tune.
  • Has high action
  • Budget-friendly
  • Quality strings that resonate so beautifully.
  • Durable materials for bridge and fretboard
  • Great strings and tuning machines which holds tune better.

What We Dislike 

  • Strings require more time to break in. This happens to new strings.
  • The gig bag is not top quality, as you might need to upgrade to protect your instrument properly.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

The Kala KA-15S is a great ukulele for beginners or players looking to upgrade from a poor quality ukulele. Kala did a great job on the construction and materials used for this instrument. In fact, it is a great instrument I will not hesitate to recommend to anyone.

Makanu Mahogany Soprano Ukulele Review

Makanu Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Makanu Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

If your fingers are itching and you have concluded plans to learn a string instrument, then this Makanu ukulele should be among your list of best beginner ukulele to begin your journey with.

Even with a beautiful gloss finish well applied onto the laminate body, the ukulele still sounds as beautiful as it looks.

Though this laminate ukulele is not superior in terms of resonance when compared to solid wood ukulele, having a light finish makes it sound better than most ukulele at this price point.

The strings are smooth to the touch and restringing it is also a very easy task to accomplish.

Weighing in at 1.5 pounds, this is one of the lightweight ukuleles on the market. Such lightweight ukuleles are not just comfortable to play for extended periods but a great option for children considering their level of strength.

Features of the Makanu Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

  • 12 equal level frets
  • Strong mahogany body and neck
  • Sturdy rosewood fretboard
  • 21 inches long and portable for players with small fingers
  • Comes with strap buttons to attach a strap for comfort while playing

What We like

  • Comfortable to learn and play
  • Lightweight and sturdy
  • High-quality gloss finish
  • Exquisite workmanship
  • Suitable for both left and right handed players

What We Dislike

  • The fret closeness makes it more comfortable for players with small finger sizes.
  • The sound isn't as superior as a higher priced model but is one of the best you can have at this price point.
  • It is suitable for left-handed but requires more practice to master.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

The sound, workmanship and a host of other features make the Makanu Mahogany Soprano Ukulele rank among the best soprano ukulele for the money. Though it has a form of plastic strings on and not the Aquila nylgut strings, it sounds and plays well too.

Expert Revealed Best Soprano Ukulele For Beginner - CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele

CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele

CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele

Expert Rating

5/5

CLOUDMUSIC has been around for many years and has dominated the ukulele market manufacturing the best soprano ukulele. The CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele is one of the best ukuleles in terms of quality and affordability.

​The CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele is a feature-rich model. It comes with different features that make it more comfortable for you to hold and play.

​Unlike other ukuleles at this price point, this has a solid construction and is carefully constructed with a quality mahogany wood material. The stained finish makes the body more attractive and has the look of highly expensive ukulele on the market. The body has no defect and the binding on the neck is solid. The smoothness of the neck makes playing more enjoyable. You can navigate freely while playing, without fear of sustaining cuts. Sustain is above average which is great considering the price.

​The black sealed gear tuners hold tune better, compared to other ukuleles at this price point. This will give you some level of comfort as intense turning will not be required whenever you are ready to play. The metal heads of the tuning keys also make it comfortable to hold makes tuning easier for players.

​This model comes with premium Aquila nylgut strings, which gives it a warm sound and great projection. The smooth surfaces of the Aquila strings also make strumming or even finger picking more engaging. Though the new strings require some time to break in, they stay in tune better and sound great once they do.

​Features of the CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele

  • Gives a full-bodied sound
  • Durable with solid construction and binding
  • Body and neck is smooth and comfortable to hold and play
  • Holds tune well, therefore no need for intense tuning before playing
  • Tuning machine heads are comfortable to hold and tuning is easy
  • Sustain is above average with great intonation and projection

What We Like or Dislike ? 

This ukulele has some pros and cons. Understanding these features can also help form our final decision. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

What We Like

  • Highly affordable
  • No buzzing sound
  • Turners turns easily
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great intonation and projection
  • Perfect fretting with no sharp edges

What We Dislike

  • It does not come with a case
  • Fret spacing may be too close for some players

My Final Observation and Comment on this Ukulele

If you need a budget-friendly ukulele that delivers quality sound, projects well with a perfect construction, nothing should prevent you from buying the CLOUDMUSIC Mahogany TT22S Soprano Ukulele. The only reason might be because you just want to spend the cash on more expensive ukuleles, but why spend so much money when you can get the same quality and save more.

Best Ukulele Under 100 - Cordoba 15SM Soprano Ukulele

Cordoba 15SM Soprano Ukulele

Cordoba 15SM Soprano Ukulele

Expert Rating

4.9/5

Another Best soprano ukulele for beginners is Cordoba 15SM Soprano Ukulele. The company is a force to reckon with when it comes to the production of durable and great sounding ukuleles. The Cordoba 15SM is completely handmade and crafted with much attention to details. Projection is very impressive and tone is exceptional.

The ivoroid binding for the fingerboard and body gives this entry-level ukulele a unique old world appearance. And in terms of sound, the Cordoba 15SM has a loud and full sound, with tight strings that are so easy to tune.

The fretwork is perfect for such an inexpensive ukulele. They are all even and there is no buzzing whatsoever.

No doubt, this entry-level ukulele is one of the best soprano ukulele for the money. It is great for strumming, light and very comfortable to play.

Features of the Cordoba 15SM Soprano Ukulele​

  • Solid ivoroid binding and rosewood bridge
  • Firm chrome tuning machine with pearl buttons
  • Authentic abalone rosette and satin finish
  • Sturdy mahogany top, back, and sides
  • Unique Piezo pickup (passive).
  • Natural satin finish

What we Like Or Dislike ? 

This ukulele looks great and plays well but has some cons. Let’s observe what they are and if they also affect sound or playability.

What We Like 

  • Action is smooth
  • Perfect fretwork
  • Has lightweight of about 1.4 lbs
  • Tuning keys are stable and hold tune well

What We Dislike 

  • It doesn’t have a strap button. However, providing one shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Made of laminate and not solid wood material. But also sounds great.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

The Cordoba 15SM is inexpensive and above all, comes with great features. The company also did a wonderful job on this ukulele and should be commended on that. I must confess, I am really impressed with the materials and solid construction of the Cordoba 15SM.

However, this is among the best ukulele for beginners that I usually recommend to some of my friends who just started their ukulele journey. Most of them come back to show appreciation after confirming the quality.

Best Entry - level ukulele - Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai LU 21 Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai LU 21 Soprano Ukulele

Expert Rating

4.7/5

The Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele is a great cost-conscious beginners' ukulele. It plays well and has good intonation. Overall, the tone is great at this price point. The build quality is exceptional and is also a solid instrument.

The Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele body is bound with a white material that's probably plastic. This binding provides extra protection to the instrument. It protects the edges from knocks and dings.

The back, sides, and top of this instrument are made of nato wood material, which is similar to mahogany. An instructional booklet is also available and makes learning easier for beginners.​

Lanikai LU-21 is among the best ukulele for beginners or even seasonal guitar players. It comes pre-strung with quality Aquila nylgut strings that may need some time to break in (stretch). This is peculiar with new strings, as the premium strings of the Lanikai LU-21 holds its tune and sounds great after stretching.

Features of the Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele

  • Quality Aquila nylgut strings.
  • Nato wood top, back, and sides.
  • Made with 12 even and well-installed frets
  • Sturdy semi-hard gig bag for protection.
  • Sturdy geared tuners for easier and more precise tuning.

What We Like Or Dislike ? 

This is instrument is among the best ukulele for beginners indeed, but even though it is a great product, it also has some cons. Let’s take a look at these cons.

What we Like 

  • Comfortable for strumming
  • Case makes transportation easier
  • Robust volume and good intonation
  • Frets have smooth edges at the end
  • Slightly deeper in tune than other soprano ukuleles

What We Dislike 

  • Does not come with strap
  • The sound is slightly different from mahogany wood.
  • Fifth and seventh frets do not have fret markers.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

This Lanikai U-21 Soprano Ukulele is not just appealing but budget-friendly. It is made for those looking for great quality ukulele on a budget. The sound is amazing and I admire the fretwork and build quality of this instrument.

It is very comfortable to play and suitable for beginners, intermediate and professional ukulele players.

It ranks among the best ukulele for beginners. Nevertheless, you can read other soprano ukulele reviews to have more clues on this instrument.

Best Concert Ukulele - Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele

Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele

Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele

Expert Rating

5/5

If you read concert ukulele reviews and forums like me, the most important question from beginners you may come across is “recommend me a great ukulele.” The question obviously has someone to answer and in most case, a ukulele from Luna brand is recommended.

The Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele Ukulele is a gem. The laser etched design and superior sound quality stand this ukulele out from others. And apart from the artistic and creative designs, Luna is known for, they also construct solid and top of the line budget-friendly ukulele for beginners.

This instrument is no doubt the best beginner ukulele there is. It also comes with many accessories that can help beginners learn easily. It has the popular Austin Bazaar instructional DVD which beginners can learn from. Others include a polish cloth to wipe dust and moisture from the ukulele strings and body.

​Features of the Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele

  • Bundle with gig bag
  • Quality rosewood fretboard
  • Premium Aquila nylgut strings
  • Mahogany top, sides, and back
  • Austin Bazaar instructional DVD to guide starters

What We Like or Dislike  ? 

This ukulele has some interesting pros and cons. A little understand of the cons and impact on the quality of the ukulele will help in making our final decision.

What We Like 

  • Lightweight
  • Portable soprano size
  • Comfortable to hold and play
  • Accurate and simple tuners
  • Has carrying and adjustable backpack strap

What We Dislike 

  • There is almost no padding in the gig bag
  • Frets have sharp edges. But this can be taken care of easily.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

I am not surprised seeing Luna Tattoo Mahogany Ukulele make the list of best ukulele for beginners. The instrument is well designed and plays well too. Luna did a great deal of work on this ukulele. Also considering its price and quality, I would not hesitate to recommend it to any starter. Grace vanderwaal also love this ukulele.

Mahalo Ukuleles MR1LBU Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele

Mahalo Ukuleles MR1LBU Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele

Expert Rating

4.5/5

The Mahalo ukulele is an absolute blast to learn and play. It is very colorful and comfortable to play. Considering the price of this ukulele, one would not expect too much, but even at this price point, its sounds great and melodious.

The fretwork is perfect. There is nothing like buzzing sound even during robust strumming. It is also very comfortable to play because of its lightweight and portability.

The sturdiness of this Mahalo ukulele makes it perfect for beginners and as gifts for young adults. It can handle being tossed or played roughly.

There are lots of features that make a lot of people to doubt the price of this ukulele. Unlike other ukuleles that come with cheap toy strings, the Mahalo Ukuleles MR1LBU Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele comes with standard Aquila nylgut strings

Features of the Mahalo Ukuleles MR1LBU Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele

  • Standard Aquila nylgut strings
  • Body is constructed with Sengon laut
  • Stable gold plated dolphon machine heads
  • Special Graph Tech Nubone Xb Bridge Saddle

What We Like or Dislike ? 

This ukulele has some pros and cons. Understanding these features can also help form our final decision. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

What We Like

  • Carrying bag
  • Great fretwork
  • There is no buzzing
  • Well-built and easy to tune

What We Dislike

  • Strings takes a long time to stretch
  • The carrying bag is not top quality.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

The Mahalo Ukuleles MR1LBU Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele is perfect for starters who really want to have fun and learn but do not want to spend a fortune. It is a great product that plays well and it can be used as gifts for adults and children because of its sturdiness.

Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1 Review

Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1

Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1

This soprano ukulele is one of a kind. It is affordable and suitable for beginners on a budget looking for ukulele with great sound and clarity.

The mahogany body and neck contributes greatly to its sound. You are sure to get a richer and brighter sound from this little instrument.

Rosewood fingerboard, on the other hand, is comfortable to hold and play. The edges are smooth and have comfortable playing feel.

It comes with a unique Donner patented chrome-plated guitar style tuners that will let you tune the instrument with ease.

The chrome tuners also help to keep the ukulele in tune even after robust strumming. You will only require light tuning anytime you pick it up to play.​

​The 15 brass frets are all evenly installed on the fretboard, making it buzz-free and superior to most budget ukuleles.

The fret position marks at 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th aids learning to play the instrument.

Features of the Donner Soprano Ukulele Mahogany DUS-1

  • 15 brass frets
  • Satin finish
  • Durable mahogany body and neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard for brighter tone
  • Great chrome-plated guitar style tuners

What We Dislike

  • Solidly built
  • Affordable
  • Tuners are easy to use and hold tune well
  • Comes with extras such as a strap, digital clip on tuners, backpack gig bag, and extra nylon strings.
  • Sturdy gig bag with extra pockets to transport other accessories.

What We Dislike

  • Its strap is not of good quality as it doesn’t stay super flat
  • There are complaints about the clip on tuners being defective

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

Considering the sound quality, clarity, and richness, one would doubt that this Donner Soprano Ukulele is less than $100. It has virtually everything players need to get started on learning the ukulele.

It is solidly built and can take some beating. Though there are complaints about it having a defective digital clip on tuners, it is still among best ukulele for beginners you can find at this price point.

ADM 21" Economic Soprano Ukulele Review

ADM 21" Economic Soprano Ukulele

ADM 21" Economic Soprano Ukulele

​This ukulele is a great instrument to present a gift to someone yearning to learn the ukulele or for personal use to improve your skills whether as professionals or beginners.

​The well built select basswood fingerboard and bridge offers a smooth surface that allows the fingers to roll over the frets freely to make playing more enjoyable.

​The Basswood top, linden back and side make it produce a distinct and bright tone. So whether you are playing solos or want to play along with friends, you’ll definitely be happy with the tone of this tiny instrument.

The bundle comes with extras you need to get started on playing the ukulele. It comes with additional strings which might become useful someday and a host of other features such as a clip-on tuner with LED display for accuracy in tuning, waterproof nylon bag for protection, hook-in strap and polish cloth.

Features of the ADM 21" Economic Soprano Ukulele

  • 12 brass frets
  • Nylon strings
  • Well built basswood top
  • Fret position marks at 5th, 7th and 1oth
  • Clip-on tuner with LED display

What We like

  • Lightweight and well built
  • Great sound and buzz free
  • Offers one year warranty
  • Comes with extras players need to get started. These include extra strings, strap, gig bag, clip-on tuners, cleaning cloth and 2 red picks.

What We Dislike

  • Picks do not have felt on them, just plain plastic.
  • Strings are not the best quality but fit for the price tag

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

The ADM 21" Economic Soprano Ukulele just like most ukulele might not be the best to take for stage performance, but to practice with friends and play alongside other instruments, you will never go wrong investing in this instrument. The sound is great and it doesn’t buzz like other cheap ukuleles.

​Kmise Solid Spruce Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele

Kmise Solid Spruce Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele

Kmise Solid Spruce Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele

​Besides the sleek matte natural finish, the Kmise solid spruce ukulele is the best ukulele for beginners looking to upgrade in terms of sound.

You can have it plugged into an amplifier to get more volume whether during practice or to play along in cases where high volume is relevant.

​It comes with an EQ: ¼ Mono Jack Output to let you play the ukulele like an electric guitar. It is made with solid spruce to let you enjoy great resonance and sustains. The sound is bright and full as well.

The fret wire length is accurate and evenly seated on the fretboard. The edges are well sanded giving you a smooth and comfortable feel when you pick it up to play.

Features of the Kmise Solid Spruce Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele

  • 18 frets
  • Solid spruce wood top
  • Matte natural finish
  • EQ: ¼ Mono Jack Output installed
  • Bone nut and saddle for lossless sound transmission
  • Premium Aquila nylgut strings for strong vibration and easy tuning

What We like

  • Affordable electric-acoustic ukulele
  • Built in tuner makes tuning more convenient
  • Beautiful etching on the front and has great sound
  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold even without a strap

What We Dislike

  • It doesn’t come with strap buttons
  • Doesn’t come with a gig back. Considering the price, the absence of the gig bag is understandable.
  • Most players complain that the strings take over a month to break in.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

Players looking for a budget electro-acoustic ukulele with great quality will be completely satisfied with this instrument. Being a concert ukulele, it also has more fret spacing and convenient for players with bigger finger sizes to play.

Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1 Review

Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1

Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1

This Hricane soprano ukulele despite being affordable has qualities that make it rank among the best soprano ukulele for beginners on a budget.

​The 21 inches soprano Hawaiian ukulele has 12 brass frets, all properly seated on the gray neck fingerboard. One would expect ukulele with such price tag to buzz but that doesn't happen with this soprano ukulele.

​The tone is deep, rich and loud for a ukulele with such price tag. It has great resonance and has no problem staying in tune, unlike other ukuleles at this price point.

​The lightweight not only makes it a great travel instrument but very comfortable to play. With a weight of just 3 pounds, the ukulele is comfortable for not only adults but children to hold and play.

It is one of the best ukulele brands suitable for children interested in learning the ukulele.

Features of the Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1

  • Soft nylon strings
  • Sturdy rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • 12 even and well-seated brass frets
  • Sturdy gig back for protection and easy transportation
  • Made of laminate wood that doesn’t crack easily

What We like

  • Durable
  • Attractive body
  • Easy to restring
  • Great sound
  • Lightweight and solid construction
  • Smooth action makes the strings easy to push down

What We Dislike

  • Body is not made of solid wood
  • Requires some light setup on arrival before playing
  • It does not come with a tuner. But that isn’t a deal breaker considering its price tag.

My Final Observation and Comment on this ukulele

Though this ukulele isn't going satisfy you that much if you intend on playing gigs, it is the best ukulele for beginners to learn the instrument. It is also a great instrument for children to learn.

They can play for extended periods without complaining of finger pain because the strings are easy to push down. Overall, this is an investment you will never regret.

How to maintain your ukulele

Now that you have succeeded in buying your dream ukulele, so what’s next? If you constantly play without thinking about maintenance, your ukulele might not remain the same.

Use a case

A case can help protect your ukulele body from scratching that may dent the surface. It also helps to protect the strings from the extremes of weather.

Also, your decision to buy a case would be based:

What you plan to use it for

If you travel a lot, then you need a hard case that can protect the ukulele properly. But if you play at home or take your ukulele out most times, then a soft case or bag should be fine.

Your budget and the ukulele’s worth​

Your budget size and the cost of the instrument will determine whether you should go for a case or not. Most cases are almost the price of the instrument. Although some people go ahead and buy to protect the ukulele they love and enjoy playing, even though it’s not expensive

Strings

You need to form the habit of cleaning the strings after each session. Though the nylon strings do not deteriorate as quickly as the steel guitar strings, but you need to wipe them occasional because of the fact that they pick up oils from your fingers as you play. Also, change strings if you feel they have worn out.

Stand

A stand will help you to keep your ukulele in a position where you can easily pick it up and play. Instead of throwing it anywhere, cultivate the habit of placing it gently on the stand.

Best Ukulele for beginners – Things Beginners must know before buying ukulele

As a beginner, the first and most important decision you have to make is what brand of the ukulele to buy. The reason is because choosing the wrong ukulele can affect your interest in playing the instrument.

I have been in this kind of situation and I know what is at stake. In fact, nothing could be more annoying than playing a poor sounding ukulele or one that does not hold tune well.

There are so many ukuleles out there, and so beginners who have little or no experience are liable to make the wrong choice. So, to help find the best ukulele for beginners, here is a little guide I prepared out of love for gallant uke starters out there. Just read, digest and feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

The Things Every Beginner Must Know Before Buying A Ukulele

Now back to the real deal. What are those things beginners should watch out for in a ukulele? Let’s find out.

Warning!! Do not get carried away by beauty. Some ukuleles are so beautiful and appealing but lack quality. But how will a beginner know this? The truth is that it might be hard for beginners to identify a poor ukulele. But nevertheless, this guide will be of help to the beginner.

Price range

One thing I appreciate about ukulele is the price. It is not that expensive, so beginners don't need to break the bank to acquire their first ukulele.

The price could be as low as $50 and as high as $200. The thing is that as you go higher in price, you will come across ukuleles built with solid wood instead of laminate or plastic.

You will also find ukuleles with different wood and of course, the different woods and their different tonal characteristics.

You have to make up your mind and decide what you plan on spending before you approach the market to buy a ukulele.

Ukulele comes in different price range, so in order to avoid making a wrong decision that you may later regret, have a working plan. You can read reviews online to find a cheaper ukulele according to your budget size.

Ukulele Brands​

Now, let’s talk about brands. What do brands have to do with selecting the best ukulele for beginners?

Well, a lot at least. Some builders have a good reputation in the industry, and consistently produce top of the line ukuleles.

There are many ukulele brands out there, so knowing what brand to choose will make your search easier.

Some ukulele brands are produced with much attention to details. You may not find any fault in them and the sound which is one major reason people buy and play the instrument is unique.

There are brands that produce cheap but great quality ukuleles. Their ukulele can even compete with some other expensive ukuleles.

As a beginner, you need to read reviews online, because that's the easiest way to identify cheap but quality ukuleles. Reviews from other users and also a buying guide from experts are good options.

Among the top ukulele are Kala, Mahalo, Lanikai, Cordoba, and Fender ukulele. Though some people may have a great experience with other brands but from reviews, comments from experts and my own experience, these are among the best ukulele brands.

Ukulele Size

Before buying your first ukulele, you need to decide on what size to buy. For better understanding, we have four types of ukuleles, and they have different fret spacing, sound, and sizes.

From the smallest to the biggest, we have the soprano ukulele, concert ukulele, tenor ukulele and baritone ukulele.

However, the soprano ukulele is 20 inches in size. It is the smallest and most popular size as recognized by many players.

As a beginner, you need to ask yourself what size of ukulele will suit your needs. At least that will form the basis of your search.

However, the soprano ukulele is regarded as the most suitable size for starters due to a couple of reasons. Because of how close the frets of soprano ukulele are, it is easier for beginners to play a chord and stretching less of a problem too.

In addition, the soprano ukulele is also perfect for beginners with small finger size. But that does not mean they can’t play other ukulele sizes. I have seen beginners who play the baritone ukulele very well.

There are also lots of cheap and high-quality soprano ukuleles out there that beginners can start with.

Tonewood and Finishing

The type of wood material used is another feature beginners need to consider. Finishing to me is a cosmetic factor and therefore, may not have much impact on the main thing like the sound produced by the ukulele. The type and quality of wood used have a strong influence on the sound.

If you play different ukuleles, you may notice that two different sopranos, concert or tenor ukulele brands with different wood material may not sound the same way.

However, if you want a ukulele that produces deep sound, your focus should be on mahogany and rosewood.

These woods are hard and can also create more resonance than other woods. Other wood materials are Nato (Eastern mahogany), maple and Agathis. Way back, the ukulele was made with Koa wood, but since Koa is becoming scarce, more options started emerging.

Laminate VS Solid wood

Whether a ukulele is constructed with laminate or solid wood is one big factor that determines its price.

But first, what is laminate and what is solid wood? This is one basic question beginners should ask and understand before buying a ukulele.

Laminate wood is basically plywood. It consists of thin sheets of wood glued together to form stronger and thicker piece. Laminate woods are inexpensive to builders but are not bad for constructing ukulele.

How do you know a ukulele is made of laminate wood?

  • Check the rim of the sound hole. If it’s laminate, you will see the different layers combined to form one solid piece of wood.
  • Also, check the edges, the point where the top and back meets. You can also see the different layers of wood combined together.

But nowadays, bindings are used to seal sound holes and other areas where the different layers can be noticed. It is not that laminate ukuleles are bad. They are durable compared to solid wood. But solid wood resonates and transmits sound vibrations slightly better than laminate wood. Also, the solid wood ukulele is more expensive than ukuleles made of laminate wood.

The Playability

Playability is also very important. It is as important as other features of the ukulele. This factor can aid or hinder your playing. Playability can be determined by many things but one of them is action.

What is action?

The action of this string instrument means the distance of the strings from the frets. You can also adjust it from two sides (saddle and nut). We have low action and high action. So, when you hear these words, what does it mean and how does it affect playability?

  • Low actionLow action can make it easier to press the ukulele strings down. But one challenge is that it opens the door for buzzes to occur and choke the string’s ringing potential.
  • High action For ukuleles with high action, you just have to play slightly harder. This is because you need more pressure for the strings to make contact with the frets because of the distance. Here, the strings ring freely and make the ukulele to deliver bigger sound.However, it’s just a matter of personal preference because one setup might perform better on one ukulele than another.

Fretting

Fretting is a very important factor. Though depends largely on the builder but once done wrongly, it cannot be corrected. The frets should be at the same level too to avoid buzzing. The thing is that it’s hard to tell if the frets are well leveled by mere looking at it. So, before you purchase any ukulele, read reviews about them to know if other players or experts complain most about the fretwork of those brands

Strings

Strings are also important factors to consider, NOT just for beginners but intermediate players and experts. The Aquila nygut strings have overtaken others as one of the best affordable strings for ukuleles, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy ukuleles made of other strings. You can buy and later switch to the Aquila so that’s not a problem.

In Summary 

Finding the right best ukulele is like a dream come true for every ukulele player. There are so many brands out there that one can easily get confused and make a wrong choice. Understanding the ukulele basics will give you an edge.I am glad you are here and am glad you love the ukulele like I do, or I do more than you. Anyway, I hope you have found the best ukulele for beginners what you are looking for, so share your comments to inspire others.

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Robert White - March 15, 2017

I am beginner to playing the Ukulele, however I’ve been playing classical piano for 10 years so I’m not new to music.When I got Luna Tattoo Mahogany Soprano ukulele in the mail, I have played and was playing and playing it!!Straight out of the box it had a amazing sound. I am 99% satisfied with this ukulele!!So if you’re looking for a nicer and better starter uke, I definitely recommend this Luna Tattoo Mahogany Soprano ukulele for starter.

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