Best Ukulele Brands for Beginners

If you are a music lover, it is impossible not to want to dive into the Ukulele trend. Who wouldn't want to jump on the bandwagon and play some fun, happy tunes? But for that, you will require good quality and easy-to-use ukulele first! 

In this article, we will guide you through the basic features of the ukulele and familiarize you with the best Ukulele brands for beginners. We also reviewed our top picks for beginner-level ukuleles to help you get started.

Buying Guide

Here are few basic things to consider before buying a ukulele.

Size 

Depending on their size, there are four types of Ukuleles. 

  • Soprano - It is the smallest-sized ukulele, measuring only about 21 inches, which makes it a great choice for traveling. It has a standard tuning of GCEA and 12-15 frets.
  • Concert - Being slightly bigger than a soprano, it makes a better choice for people with larger hands. Similar to the previous one, it also follows a GCEA tuning but has 14-17 frets, making it a slightly better choice. It is the best choice for beginners.
  • Tenor - Measuring about 26 inches, it is the largest ukulele with the standard GCEA tuning. It comes with 15-19 frets, which give it more volume and bass, allowing it to reach higher notes. 
  • Baritone - They are the largest ukulele with a length of 30 inches. Unlike the previous ones, it has a lower-pitched DGBE tuning similar to a guitar. The number of frets varies from 19-21 and has a deeper sound. Although it is not ideal for beginner-level players, a guitarist can easily convert to the baritone, given the similarities in tuning.

Material 

Depending on the quality and price of the ukulele, it can be made from different woods. Most high-end and premium quality ukuleles are made using Hawaiian Koa woods. While mid-ranged, more reasonable ones have a mahogany or spruce body, which produces a fresh, warm tone ideal for acoustic music. 

The body can either be made with solid or laminated wood. It needs no saying that solid wood bodies are a lot more durable and high quality as the same wood is used both inside and outside. Laminated ones are cheaper, and they can't produce sound as high-quality as a solid one. 

As a beginner, both solid and laminated will work fine, although a solid body is always preferred.

Price

Ukuleles can range from anywhere between $50 to $500. As a beginner, you don't have to invest in an expensive, high-end ukulele just yet. Most beginner-level ukuleles cost less than $200.

Best Ukulele Brands for Beginners

There are a lot of Ukulele brands in the market selling different types and styles of ukulele from beginner to professional level. While brands like Pono and Kanilea dominate the market, their instruments are high-end and catered towards professional use. There are a lot more companies that make affordable ukuleles for new players and people on a budget. Some of the notable Ukulele brands for beginners include -

  • Kala
  • Luna
  • Lanikai
  • Oscars by Washburn
  • Mahalo 
  • Kamaka
  • Donner

5 Best Ukulele for Beginners

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Product

Features

Price

Buy Now

Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit

Mahogany wood body


GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle

Aquila strings

$$

Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele

Spruce top

 

Mahagony back and sides

Aquila strings

$$

Lanikai LU-21 Ukulele Review

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Mahagony wood neck and body

Abalone rosette 


Ivoroid binding


Rosewood fretboard


Aquila strings

$$$

Kala KA-TE Mahogany Tenor Electric Ukulele

Laminate Mahogany neck and body

Rosewood Bridge and Fingerboard 


19 Silver Nickel Frets

Active Shadow NANO-FLEX EQ system


Chrome Sealed Geared Tuners


Aquila strings

$$

Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele

Hawaiian Koa Wood body

Nyatoh hardwood neck


Rosewood fingerboard


Grover chrome tuners


Abalone Binding


16 Frets

$$

1. Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit

Kala is known for its high-quality ukuleles and is often the first choice for schools and new learners. 

If you are completely new to this and never played ukulele before, the Kala Learn to Play Ukulele is a great budget option. The Official Kala Ukulele Starter Kit includes everything you may need to get started today. It is a soprano-sized ukulele with a mahogany body for amazing warm tones.

It includes high-quality open-gear tuners and GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle for enhanced sound quality. The instrument is great for beginners to learn to play tunes with only a few basic chords.

The kit includes a 20-page Quick Start Guide, which provides all necessary information about the ukulele and tips to get started. You can learn how to tune and play songs with Kala’s online lessons on the Kala Brand Music website. They are free and very easy to follow. You can also access the Kala app, which includes a tuner, play-along songs, and lessons.

PROS

  • Best for beginners
  • Learn basic tuning, chords, strumming techniques, and songs
  • Easy to get started with provided instructions
  • App for both Android and iOS
  • Lightweight body
  • Warm Crisp tones
  • Value for money

CONS

  • Poor craftsmanship
  • Doesn’t stay in tune for long
  • App doesn’t always respond well

2. Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele

Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele is an artistic ukulele with a unique appearance and melodious tones. The top of the instrument is made with solid spruce, while the back and sides are made of strong mahogany wood. What makes the ukulele so attractive is its top, which is decorated with traditional Hawaiian art.

Every ukulele has unique patterns and designs that display the beauty of the natural island world. A shark's teeth stylized rosette circles the sound hole, completing the look. The ukulele does not only have a beautiful appearance. It is an amazing choice for beginners and seasonal players for its high-quality sound and exceptional playability at a reasonable price.

PROS

  • Lightweight and comfortable to carry
  • East to play and set up
  • Once the strings are properly stretched, it stays in tune and doesn't need adjusting 
  • Produces a sweet and mellow tone
  • Boasts a clear and resonate sound

CONS

  • Poorly adjusted strings
  • Falls out of tune often

3. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

This Cordoba 15 CM concert ukulele is a classic figure-eight-shaped ukulele ideal for students and new players. Made with mahogany wood, the ukulele is strong, lightweight, and produces a pleasant warm tone. The hand-crafted satin finish makes the ukulele very elegant and appealing.

It has an abalone rosette, strong ivoroid bindings, and a rosewood fretboard for refined toughness and extraordinary sound. It has good quality Pearl Button Chrome Tuners, which is very easy to tune in and doesn’t slip and after tuning, thus maintains the tune for a long time for uninterrupted playing.

PROS

  • Produces warm and relieving tones
  • Bright, loud, and high-quality sound
  • The figure-eight shape makes it comfortable to hold and play
  • Fusses are perfectly introduced and situated
  • Suitable for beginners as well as professionals

CONS

  • It is only available in the usual figure-eight shape

4. Kala KA-TE Mahogany Tenor Electric Ukulele

If you are looking for a beginner-level electric ukulele on a budget, The Kala KA-TE is the one for you. The instrument has a laminate mahogany body for warm, harmonious acoustic tones. But it has a Nano-Flex EQ system which, when plugged into an amp, produces rich natural tones. 

Although laminated, it is very durable with amazing projection making it great for traveling. The ukulele is fitted with a Shadow Nanoflex active pickup and an on board tuner which is reliable and easy to use. There are 4 control knobs for bass, mid, treble, and volume, making it very easy to use.

PROS

  • Produces outstanding sound on both acoustic and plugged in
  • Firm construction
  • Rich and warm natural tone
  • Great pickup/preamp system
  • Excellent projection despite the laminated body

CONS

  • Plain Design
  • Drains battery very fast
  • It May not be suitable for absolute newbies

5. Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt by Washburn holds an exceptional reputation in the music industry. Their OU5 is a concert-sized ukulele made with premium quality Hawaiian Koa wood with a natural gloss finish. Its neck is made of tropical Nyatoh hardwood, and the binding and rosette are made of abalone, which gives the ukulele an elegant finish.

Moreover, recycled ABS plastic is used as the nut and saddle, which makes it firm and long-lasting. The ukulele has an outstanding sound quality with a vibrant, sustainable tone and projection. It has 16 frets and a Grover Chrome tuner, which gives a wide range of sound. It is not very complicated and doesn't have a lot of fancy features, which makes it perfect for a beginner player.

PROS

  • Easy to play for beginners
  • Suitable for intermediate players as well
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Precision tuning 
  • Well placed Frets 
  • Prominent sound even in a lower range
  • Has a soft mellow resonance

CONS

  • Bridge requires in-person adjusting 
  • Requires frequent re-tuning 
  • Expensive for beginners 

Wrapping Up

We hope this review and guide helped you find the best Ukulele brands for beginners. Now you can choose the best ukulele for you and start practicing.

Read: Best Strings for Les Paul.

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