Top 5 Ukulele Brands for 2021

Are you looking for top 5 ukulele brands for 2021? Buying a new ukulele is harder than it should be. Why do you think that is? Mostly because the range of available options in the market is so huge that you as a customer will most certainly be confused. And even after purchasing one, you’ll constantly be thinking about some other model you saw somewhere else and wonder if you would be better off with that one. Well, you’re in luck as today we solve that problem!

The ukulele is one of the more affordable instruments, so most instrument makers have brought out their own version. There are brands with hundreds of years of experience in the industry while there are ones that are brand new. There are the ones we suggest you buy from co-existing with brands to avoid. 

We dive deeper into the top 5 ukulele brands for 2021 and break down the reason behind our choice.

The best ukulele brands

1. Cordoba

This brand has been in the game since 1997 and houses some of the most popular ukuleles including the 15CM-E. Musician Pepe Romero and Luthier jointly created the brand, directing the focus toward nylon-stringed instruments (they also produce classical guitars).

Their ukuleles tend to be of amazing quality with an impressive range to choose from. A ton of the products feature included pickups to ease amplification. Overall, perfect for studio use and lives.

Materials of only the best quality are used here. Mahogany is a common wood variation for their ukes, but there’s also a reasonable amount of spruce option. 

However, there aren’t many budget offerings within Cordoba, most ukes falling under the mid to upper region. When quality takes precedence over quantity in your mind, Cordoba is the one to go for.

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2. Kala

2020 saw the 15-year anniversary of this extremely prolific brand, but their products make you want to believe they’ve been in the industry for ages. The company doesn’t hail from Hawaii much like many other modern ukulele brands of today.

Pleasantly, Kala us to ukuleles is what Casio is to keyboards. The incredible range has something for almost anyone – from beginners’ model to the most professional, elite one in the whole industry.

One of their most popular creation includes the KA-15S soprano ukulele. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it’s reliable with a classic bright tone. Expect to see this ukulele under the “beginner-friendly” version 

The KA-15S soprano ukulele is one of the most popular ukuleles in the world. It’s reliable but also relatively budget-friendly, with a bright, classic tone. You often find this bundled as a ‘beginner’s set’ with other ukulele accessories.

The brand does instruments both in the MK and KA series, but the KOA-CT-T Port Orford Cedar Top tenor uke deserves a special mention for ukes under $50.

Kala manages to maintain steady growth. Apart from making new models in the ukulele section, they’re expanding to other instruments. 

3. Martin

Martin is the brand you will keep coming back to due to the stellar craftsmanship of the products. This brand is the definition of high-end with some models touching the $5,000 mark. But the history and hand-made quality of the ukuleles is the redeeming factor.

Late 1800s saw the rise of the creation of ukuleles and Martin started shortly after. If you care about the brand image a lot, Martin has much to offer. With the extra expense you will get unparalleled quality and design.

Apart from the choice of materials, another thing that sets Martin apart from its competitors is the use of best hardware and tonewood. Try the Martin 1T IZ tenor ukulele if your budget isn’t that high but you wish for something of Martin quality. The uke is constructed of fine mahogany wood and the tone is pleasantly bright. You will pay extra, but it’s worth it.

With Martin, quality is a given. Remember, quality comes at a price. When the need is for the “very best”, you have to be willing to splurge a little.

4. Lanikai

Lanikai too, operates at the beginner side of the market and houses products for the true pros. There’s not much known about the history of the brand but their distribution partner, Hohner.

When it comes to materials, Lanikai uses a large variety of it to make the models. Some super interesting designs of different colors will attract your eyes instantly.

A few models also feature unorthodox ukulele sizing – a few six and right string models.

Some models at the more expensive spectrum of the Lanikai range come with electronics and pickups so they can be effortlessly played through a PA system or an amp.

The only seeming con as of yet is that a few models feature unconventional wood construction and don’t produce the regular uke tone. If you love a quirky design on a nice maple tonewood body, consider Lanikar; more specifically, the QMBL-CET Quilted Maple tenor ukulele. Major brownie points to the brand for experimenting with the traditional image of a ukulele and coming up with concepts well fit for the 21st century.

5. Fender

The brand is one that almost every musician is aware of, but ukes might not be the first instrument they associate with it. Actually, Fender brings out some incredibly high-quality smaller instruments with their ukes promising high results. There’s even mini version of the iconic, “Telecaster” as well as some more legendary designs in uke form.

Unlike any other brand, you can feel the quality when playing on Fender. While a few of the names specialize in only ukulele making, Fender is a musical phenomenon with a cult following across the world.

Although some of the ukuleles differ in looks a little, but there is usage of traditional tonewood to deliver that sharp uke sound.

Our personal favorite is the Signature series made in collaboration with Grace Vanderwaal.

Conclusion

Although we listed top 5 ukulele brands for 2021, there’s so much to look into when ukulele is concerned. Starting from best budget models under $100 to the best professional ukuleles one costing thousands of dollars, this simple acoustic instrument takes many forms, not all of which are approved by us. It truly boils down to what you want to hear and play as a musician.

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