If you’ve been searching for the best ukuleles on the market, then you know that there are lots of options for you to choose from. This musical instrument comes in the form of a small guitar that was made popular in Hawaii although it originated in Portugal.
Thanks to its small and compact size, this musical instrument is easy to carry around. You can play it wherever you want to, such as on the beach or when you’re camping in the woods. What’s great about the ukulele is that it appeals to all kinds of music lovers, both adults and kids, and whether you’re a beginner or not.
You’ll find plenty of ukuleles being sold online these days. They have different features and sizes and choosing the best one might require a bit of research. So, to help you with this, we’ve created this guide about buying the best ukuleles on the market.
Things to Look for When Shopping for the Best Ukulele
To make it easier for you to decide what ukulele to buy, consider the following factors:
There are four different types of ukuleles– Baritone, Tenor, Concert, and Soprano.
If you’re new to playing the ukulele, you should opt for the Soprano or Concert ukuleles. These types are easier to play and are the cheapest as well. For expert players who need a more advanced ukulele, the Tenor or Baritone would be best.
As mentioned above, the length of the neck, as well as the number of frets that the ukulele has, is an important consideration for the more advanced players. On the other hand, advanced players who have smaller hands and wouldn’t mind playing on tight frets should choose something that can address their needs.
While the Concert type ukulele can produce a sound that’s typical to ukuleles, the Baritone and Tenor ukuleles produce much deeper tones. Your choice of the type of ukulele to buy will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
As previously mentioned, some ukuleles are equipped with smaller necks. Usually, when the necks are small, the space in between the frets is small as well. Most of the time, beginners will not mind the space in between the frets since they will be more focused on playing simple chords.
But the more expert player would need more space to play more complex chords. It is best to opt for those with longer necks since they have more space between frets as well.
Range of Notes
Just like with any musical instrument, not all ukuleles are the same. They are available in different sizes. Some have longer neck while others are shorter. For new users, the features that a ukulele comes with may not be that important. However, expert players may benefit from the more advanced models that come with great features.
These types of ukuleles will let you play all kinds of music and hone your skills in playing the instrument. It’s also important to consider the number of frets. The smaller models are equipped with about 15 frets while the longer ones have around 20 and more frets. These are the best ukuleles to buy for expert players.
In case you didn’t know, the type of wood used in making the ukulele could affect the overall quality of the sound that the ukulele produces. If the musical instrument is made from low-quality wood, it could affect the sound quality of the ukulele.
So, what’s the best type of wood to use for ukulele?
Koa wood is the most common wood used in making ukuleles. In fact, the first-generation ukuleles were made from this material. Ukuleles made from Koa wood produce the best sound quality. Another popular wood material used for ukuleles is mahogany.
Those that are made from mahogany produce a sound that’s a bit softer compared to ukuleles made of Koa wood. Mahogany ukuleles are also cheaper than those made from Koa wood. Regardless of the type of wood that you prefer for your ukulele, it’s important that the wood is solid and not undergone lamination. Solid wood boasts a richer tone and can produce better sound quality.
Professional ukulele players may need something that they can easily carry with them so they can practice at home or wherever they need to. In this case, a portable ukulele would be a great choice.
When it comes to portability, smaller sized ukuleles are a better choice. Yet, these ukuleles have a few disadvantages that you should consider before buying one. The middle-sized ukulele that’s not too big nor not too small might be the best option. Medium-sized ukuleles are also easier to carry around.
What is the Best Ukulele Brand?
When looking for a ukulele to buy, you should familiarize yourself with the best Ukuleles brands. Some of these brands are new in the market and haven’t been established yet. There are also those that are already in the business for a decade and have already built a reputation for producing the best ukuleles.
It is recommended to buy your ukulele from a company that specializes in producing ukuleles, such as the Kala and Lanikai. These are the best ukulele brands for professionals because these companies specialize in producing excellent quality ukuleles.
Other brands that are also known for producing the best quality ukuleles are Fender and Cordoba, although they are mostly known for producing and selling guitars.
Luna, a brand that’s based in America, is also known for making great quality ukuleles and acoustic guitars. Their products have excellent finishes and are definitely worth checking out if you prefer a ukulele that’s aesthetically pleasing.
What About Electro-Acoustic Ukuleles?
The decision on whether to go for electro-acoustic ukulele or not will mainly depend upon your aspirations. Also, think of where you intend to use the instrument. Would you prefer to play it on the beach or when you go camping with friends? If you plan on playing the instrument outdoors, then the electro-acoustic ukulele may not be the best option.
For those who plan on playing the instrument indoor, such as in their bedroom, the electro-acoustic ukulele is worth considering. It’s a really cool instrument that appeals to all kinds of ukulele players, including beginners.
If you’re a professional ukulele player and you perform regularly on stage, the electronic ukulele is a great choice. You can easily plug it to an amplifier and you can start playing music. The electronic model is also a better choice if you’re thinking of recording music using your ukulele since you can just hook it up to the recording system.
Buying a New or Used Ukulele
In an effort to save money, some customers settle for used or second-hand ukuleles. However, buying these instruments comes with risks. In fact, if you just take time to look around, you could find brand new ukuleles that cost the same price as used ones!
If you plan on buying high-end models of ukuleles that come with advanced features, you can perhaps settle with the used ukuleles since they will be cheaper. But if you want to buy budget models of ukulele that have lower price tags in the market, you might as well go for the brand new ones.
With brand-new ukuleles, you can be sure that these instruments are free from wear and tear and they can produce the best sound quality. What’s more, some of the best ukuleles brands offer a warranty and a refund policy so you can benefit from this as well.
If your budget can only afford you a second-hand ukulele, make sure you check the instrument thoroughly before buying. This is especially important if you’re buying an electronic type.
Ukuleles vs. Guitars
A lot of people are often confused between the ukulele and the guitar. Others even think that these two musical instruments are the same. But they are actually different from each other in many ways.
First of all, ukuleles feature only four strings while the guitar has six. Ukuleles also have fewer frets. For instance, Baritone and Soprano ukuleles only have around 12 to 21 frets, which is less than a typical guitar that has around 19 to 24 frets.
Given the difference between the two, it’s easy to tell that ukuleles are somewhat easier to learn than guitars. Thus, they work best for beginners. Guitars and ukuleles also differ in size. Obviously, ukuleles are smaller than guitars. Both instruments are tuned differently as well. It’s also worth noting that ukuleles are usually cheaper compared to guitars.
While this may not always be the case because there are some advanced ukulele models that are more expensive than a standard guitar, ukuleles are generally cheaper. In fact, you can find an entry-level ukulele that costs $40 or less, which may not be the case for guitars.
Now that you know more about ukuleles, it’s time to do some shopping. So, what are the best ukuleles to buy in the market right now? Refer below for the list of the best ukuleles that we would highly recommend.
First in this list is made by Fender, one of the best ukulele brands for professionals. Named after the famous American singer and songwriter, Grace VanderWaal, this ukulele will surely delight her fans. This Fender Grace VanderWaal Ukulele is one of the premier offerings of Fender and is a perfect example of a high-quality ukulele for professional artists.
It’s a bit on the expensive side, yet it’s definitely worth it. Featuring a stylish design with some traditional touches, this ukulele is inspired by the famous singer’s fashion statement, and has her own signature at the back printed in gold.
A lot of customers are impressed by the sound quality of this ukulele. When unplugged, the tone produces a sweet sound. Yet, it doesn’t sound cheap, unlike the other ukulele models on the market. Indeed, Fender did a great job in producing this model. When plugged in, it produces the best sounds, which really stand out from the rest.
Comes with warranty
Gold sparkle rosette color
Pull through bridge
Sapele wood construction
Stylish dark walnut finish
Some customers complained that it doesn’t seem to stay in tune
For the best ukulele brands for beginners, the Kmise brand is what we would recommend, and their entry-level Baritone Ukulele is worth checking out. This instrument was specially designed to produce a great tone and offer excellent playability without the expensive cost. Made from great quality materials with excellent craftsmanship, this musical instrument is what every entry-level ukulele player should have.
There are so many things to love about this ukulele. First is the aesthetics. It looks very good with its mahogany black finish. The ukulele also features an Okoume neck as well as a rosewood fretboard. This great combination results in a deep warm sound that is sure to impress any music lover out there.
A lot of customers are impressed with the excellent construction fretboard of this ukulele with fret wires that were neatly inserted. This instrument looks very lovely and is comfortable and easy enough for the player to play. It produces a warm full tone and comes pre-strung of Aquila strings.
Therefore, you’ll be able to use the instrument immediately as soon as you receive it. So, if you’re looking for an entry-level baritone ukulele that will not cost a lot of money, the Kmise Baritone Ukulele is what we would highly recommend.
Comes complete with a full set of accessories
Produces outstanding resonance
Will not hurt your fingers in any way
Stay away from the refurbished version of the product
As mentioned above, Kala is one of those ukulele brands that have built a reputation for producing some of the best ukuleles on the market. But what’s great about the Kala ukuleles is that they are easy on the pocket.
For instance, this KA-15S soprano ukulele costs only around $20 to $40. Yet, it has a solid feel and with incredible performance. In fact, their craftsmanship is so much better than that of the other more expensive brands.
The KA-15S is well built yet you can’t really expect flawless craftsmanship from this musical instrument. It has a few rough edges and the finish is showing some imperfections, which gives it an untidy look. Nevertheless, the performance of this affordable instrument will not disappoint.
In fact, it’s surprisingly good for its price. While it may not be 100% perfect, it plays well and produces a pretty good sound. Some customers agree that the sweet and warm tone of this ukulele took them by surprise. Unlike the other cheap ukulele brands in the market, the KA-15S offers a lot more resonance and volume.
Beautiful satin finish
Stylish mahogany body and neck
When it comes to the best ukuleles for beginners, the Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele is what we would recommend. This Tenor ukulele is great for adults who are still in the process of discovering the ukulele. Yet, this product is a bit on the expensive side. It has a much higher price tag compared to the other ukuleles of the same caliber. But this ukulele is really worth it.
First of all, this model of ukulele looks really great. Aside from its solid craftsmanship, this ukulele has attractive detailing. It has a body size of 26 inches and is bigger compared to the standard soprano ukulele. Thus, it’s recommended for those with larger hands since the fretboard is also generously spaced. This ukulele has 19-fret rosewood fingerboard and the neck is made of mahogany.
The overall body of this ukulele features laminated mahogany and has a beautiful satin finish. To keep it protected, this ukulele is coated with ABS binding on its back and the top portion. Furthermore, the soundhole rosette of this musical instrument is quite striking, making it one of the most stylish entry-level ukuleles in the market.
However, unlike the other entry-level ukuleles, this ukulele doesn’t come with a bag or any other accessories. What you’re basically paying for is just the ukulele itself. Aside from the features already mentioned, this ukulele also comes with a composite nut and saddle, as well as a rosewood bridge.
Available in four different styles
Back, top, and sides are made of mahogany
Stylish satin finish
Ideal for beginners
Some users noticed that this ukulele tends to get out of tune easily
Another brand that’s known for producing some of the best ukuleles in the world is Luna Guitars. This Luna Tattoo Mahogany Ukulele features an attractive tattoo design that’s laser-etched across the mahogany top.
Designed by the company’s resident artist, the design is inspired by a traditional Hawaiian tattoo, which incorporates different shapes of leaves, waves, and shark’s teeth, among others. Made from mahogany, the highlight of the design is the sleek satin finish, which also preserves the natural feel and texture of the wood.
As for the sound quality, this ukulele produces exceptionally melodic tones. It provides the high and chiming trebles that one would expect from a ukulele, along with clear mids. Although this mode doesn’t provide enough booming bass, the register’s lower end is smooth and focused.
The tenor style provides more body and depth to the sound that this ukulele produces compared to the smaller concert or soprano ukulele. It’s glassy and smooth instead of piercing and thin. The Tattoo Tenor features can maintain its tone for much longer compared to the other models in the same price range.
Available in four different styles
Comes complete with accessories
6 – Hola! Music HM-121BU Deluxe Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
When it comes to ukuleles for professionals, the Hola! Music HM-121BU+ Soprano Ukulele might be a great model to try. It’s highly recommended for the professional ukulele players who have been playing music for years.
Of course, beginners should also consider this model, especially if you don’t mind spending a bit more on a reliable ukulele. What’s great about this ukulele is that it’s made from Koa wood. As mentioned above, early generations of a ukulele were made from this wood because it produces excellent sound quality.
Indeed, this is what you can expect from this ukulele. You can expect for the sound to spread a bit further while still maintaining the original sound that the ukulele is known for. With the many accessories that this ukulele comes with, it seems like the manufacturer spared some money on its craftsmanship.
Compared to the other ukulele in the same range, this instrument is not as well built. Nevertheless, this ukulele is still capable of producing the best quality of sounds and is a great option for those who are looking for a ukulele that costs less than $100.
Available in five different colors
Has black rubber pegs
Features 15 silver nickel frets
When it comes to concert ukuleles, this Hricane Ukulele is worth checking out. Hricane is one of the best ukulele brands for beginners and they have done a great job maintaining the quality of their musical instruments. This ukulele model has the perfect craftsmanship and produces the sweetest sound. Furthermore, it has a comfortable grip and gives the player confidence when playing music.
Hricane claims to have applied more than a hundred processes in producing their ukuleles and won’t allow even the tiniest negligence in each step. This is a traditional mid-size concert ukulele but with a much longer scale and has more frets compared to soprano ukuleles.
Made from Sapele wood and features a smooth and polished side, this Hricane concert ukulele is one of the most good-looking ukuleles in the market. It’s fashioned from Sapele wood exhibits, which has warmer and deeper tones compared to the laminated wood. This ukulele comes with Aquila strings that are responsible for the sweet and clear tunes that this instrument makes.
Made of Sapele wood
Produces incredibly amazing sound
Suitable for beginners
Some users complained that the ukulele arrived in bad condition
8 – Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Mahogany Baritone Ukulele
Unlike the Concert and Soprano ukuleles, your options for baritone ukuleles are often limited. When it comes to Baritone ukuleles, this KA-SBG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele from Kala is highly recommended. This is such a good musical instrument that costs less than $300.
Compared to other Baritone ukuleles of the same caliber, this KA-SBG has a simpler design. It has a total length of 30.5 inches and features a Classic combination of mahogany and spruce. The top is made with solid spruce while the side and back feature a mahogany laminate. These wooden materials give off a beautiful grain and have gloss finishes that make it looked even more stylish. The black binding on its edges gives the instrument a more added definition.
The KA-SBG produces a very powerful sound but with a lovely balance, thanks to the combination of mahogany and walnut. Its projection is resonant and big even though it doesn’t have electronics. Furthermore, it sings very loudly even in a crowded setting, which is truly impressive.
Featuring solid wood material on top, this ukulele opens up as it ages, which results in a fuller tune. After about a year, you’ll notice that the warmth and volume improve even more.
The fingerboard is made of walnut
Offers good value for the money
Plays music nicely
The top is made of solid spruce
The Ranch Concert Ukulele is another great choice for the best ukuleles for beginners. It comes complete with everything that you would expect for an entry-level ukulele and will help you practice your ukulele playing skills.
Aside from the ukulele, you’ll also get a battery, digital tuner, and gig bag with this product. There’s also an extra set of the Aquila strings, polishing cloth, as well as an extra strap. Indeed, you’ll have all the things you need to master your ukulele skills in this set. And you’ll be surprised to know that this product has an incredibly lower price!
When getting this Ranch ukulele, you know that you’ll get exactly what you would expect from a high-quality instrument. This ukulele is made from excellent quality materials featuring the stunning Sapele wood. The Sapele design has made the instrument look a whole lot darker compared to other models. It’s worth noting that this Ranch ukulele produces the best sound quality.
Furthermore, this product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is truly worth the cost. If you’re not satisfied with the way this musical instrument works, you can always return it within the 30-day period and get your money back.
Made from top quality materials
Produces amazing sound quality
Perfect for entry-level ukulele players
The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
Some customers complained that the tuning pegs are flawed
As mentioned, Luna Guitars is one of those brands that manufacture the best ukuleles in the world. Another great product from Luna Guitars is the Great Wave off Kanagawa, inspired by the famous woodblock print of Hokusai, a famous Japanese artist.
Copies of this print have been widely distributed, and you’ll find one in the British Museum of London and Museum of Art in New York. Aside from the impressive design on the front, this ukulele features Luna’s signature tattoo design, which consists of shark teeth inlays and Hawaiian-inspired ornamentation.
Featuring a beautiful body made of mahogany, you can be certain that this ukulele will produce a very beautiful and resonating sound. Aside from the beautiful sound quality, you will also love the durable and stylish walnut construction that gives this instrument a smooth and lovely feel.
Luna Guitars have used the excellent quality Aquila strings for this ukulele. Thus, it doesn’t feel clunky and is so much easier to play, which is what a beginner would need in order to practice his/her ukulele skills. Just like with the other ukulele models, it would require a few weeks for this ukulele to stretch in shape.
Aside from the ukulele, you’ll also get a clip-on tuner and a gig bag with this ukulele bundle. The tuner of this ukulele is easy enough to tune and works extremely well. The gig bag that comes in this set is padded and made from high-quality materials. Therefore, you can definitely count on it to protect your ukulele, especially if you plan on taking it with you outdoors.
Beautiful cutaway shape
The beautiful fretboard is made from walnut
Includes a reliable gig bag
All the ukuleles featured on the list above are truly impressive, which is why we believe that they are the best ukuleles on the market. However, if you only need to choose one, we’d suggest getting the Kmise Baritone Ukulele.
It’s one of the top-rated ukuleles online and this proves that a lot of customers are truly impressed with the way this musical instrument works. With excellent construction, attractive mahogany finish, and full-set of accessories, it’s no wonder why so many customers love this ukulele so much. There are definitely so many reasons to love about this musical instrument.
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