Top Ukuleles for Starters – Guide & Comparison
If you’ve decided to embark on exploring the sonic qualities of ukuleles and you’re interested in getting the best starter ukulele, this paragraph may help you make a more informed decision. Our team has examined some of the good starter ukulele models available for sale and has concluded that the Washburn Oscar Schmidt is the first option to consider. Featuring a select Hawaiian Koa body, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a Nyatoh neck, this instrument is made to last and provide a great sound. The hand-crafted item promises to deliver excellent sonic experiences and extended lifetime. If this product is no longer available, another option is the Luna Guitars Concert.
Our Top Choice
This concert ukulele looks amazing, with a beautiful glossy finish that will make you feel proud of your instrument, whenever you have a gig. The unique Grover tuning machines don’t let your instrument go out of tune, and you can escape some embarrassing moments on the stage. Equipped with a rosewood fretboard, it is a complete instrument that you’ll love to play. A lifetime warranty accompanies your purchase.
Some buyers say at first the instrument was terribly out of tune.
A concert ukulele that offers a sound investment opportunity, due to its lifetime warranty.
Bear in mind that you’re buying more than just the instrument when you purchase this pack. The manufacturer supplies a gig bag so that you can move around with ease when on the road, and a clip-on tuner also serves for tuning your ukulele. If you are a beginner, you will appreciate the instructional DVD that comes with your purchase. Another useful accessory is the polishing cloth that will help you keep your instrument clean.
Keeping the ukulele in tune seems to be a bit of a hassle, as some reviewers say.
A complete ukulele pack for a beginner who needs everything at hand to start playing.
This handmade ukulele is the flagship for the instruments of this kind designed by the company. Its body, as well as its sides and the back, are made from mahogany, and the model comes in the concert size. The full, rich sound of the ukulele is the best recommendation for this particular model. The ukulele comes equipped with premium Aquila strings, and the satin finish makes it look amazing. Beginners will love it.
Some small finishing flaws may be present, according to reviews from customers.
A beautiful handmade instrument that produces a full, rich sound that you will love.
10 Best Starter Ukuleles (Reviews) in 2020
No matter the reason why you’re in the market for a ukulele starter kit, be it for yourself or for a family member, the rich variety of options available these days might be intimidating, especially if you’re less experienced. To ease that process, we have compiled a list of starter ukulele reviews below.
- 1. Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
- 2. Luna Guitars Tattoo Spruce Concert Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag
- 3. Cordoba 15CM-E Concert Ukulele Electro-Acoustic
- 4. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
- 5. Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case
- 6. Luna Maluhia Peace Concert Ukulele with Gig Bag
- 7. Concert Ukulele Bundle Deluxe Series by Hola! Music
- 8. Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele with Gig Bag
- 9. Luna Honu Tribal Turtle Soprano Ukulele Pack
- 10. Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag
- Yearly Guide & Report
1. Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele
Combining a stylish, durable design and remarkable musical qualities, this concert ukulele is the first option to take into account. The materials used and the way the instrument was built promise to ensure durability and a sonic experience that will elate and elevate.
The unit sports a select Hawaiian Koa body and a gloss finish that will catch every viewer’s eyes. What’s more, it also comes with abalone binding and rosette that won’t just add to the attractive appearance but will also improve the sound you produce.
The Grover chrome tuning machine and the 16-fret rosewood fretboard will make sure you stay in tune even if your skills are at the beginner level.
The smooth fret ends, the premium materials and the hand-crafted body are committed to providing the player with enhanced precision and resonant sound quality. The item comes packaged with Aquila strings and the instrument measures 24.2 x 12.2 x 3.7 inches.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)
2. Luna Guitars Tattoo Spruce Concert Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag
Designed to deliver durability as well as to help beginners learn and develop their skills with ease, this model from Luna Guitars is another option you might want to check before making your decision. The item features traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation tattooed in black against the brown skin and quality materials that will get you great sounds and durability.
The concert body design and the spruce construction will help you enjoy a clear sound whereas the clip-on ukulele tuner will help you make sure you play in tune. The instrument comes with accessories that will help you play right away.
You will thus get a gig bag to store the ukulele when you don’t need it and easily take it with you when on the go. To help you explore this new realm with greater ease, the product is also paired with an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD and a polishing cloth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($119.99)
3. Cordoba 15CM-E Concert Ukulele Electro-Acoustic
Another option to consider when interesting in learning the ukulele is this model from Cordoba, a concert instrument that was designed with beginners in mind. Boasting a mahogany top, back, and sides, the entry-level ukulele is entirely handmade. The old world appearance is completed by the clear, full sound it produces.
Other features that also set this model apart from other ukuleles in this price range are the abalone-style rosette, the ivoroid body as well as the fingerboard binding.
You will also get Aquila strings and silver tuners with pearl buttons. The sleek satin finish adds to the stylish appearance of the 15CM.
The instrument’s remarkable looks and easy playability will be appreciated by players of all levels. Therefore, it could easily be regarded as a good ukulele for beginners and advanced players alike. This model is concert-sized yet it is also available in tenor and soprano sizes.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
4. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
With this model from Kala, you get to learn the uke and enjoy a great sound while adding the beauty of classic design to your performance. Featuring an all-mahogany body, the unit is capable of producing a resonance many musicians wouldn’t expect from the instrument’s modest size.
Thanks to the geared die-cast tuners, you can rest assured that you will play in tune and get a reliable intonation. The high-quality GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle the instrument sports promise to deliver superior sustain and vibrational transfer.
This soprano ukulele is a small, comfortable, and lightweight instrument that produces the classic island sound, glittering overtones, and percussive treble.
The item has a satin finish that will complete the great sonic output with classic stylishness. It also boasts rosewood fingerboard and bridge and comes with premium Aquila Nylgut strings. The unit measures 8.5 x 3 x 22 inches.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
5. Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case
In case you’re interested in a concert ukulele and you’d like a model that will deliver a great sound and playability without breaking your wallet, you might want to check the MK-C from Kala. Boasting a vintage look that will provide everybody with visual enchantment, the instrument is primarily designed to produce an excellent sound.
The unit features a mahogany body and neck and a walnut fingerboard that together will help you express your creativity through a remarkable sound. The geared tuners will help you stay in tune whereas the satin finish will further add to its appearance.
The concert ukulele comes with all the accessories you need to start playing right away. The hard case will enable you to store it with ease and take the uke with you when traveling without damaging it. The instructional DVD will provide you with tips to get the best out of it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
6. Luna Maluhia Peace Concert Ukulele with Gig Bag
Since many people, listeners and players alike, associate the sound a ukulele produces with a peaceful enchantment, the crafters and musicians at Luna Guitars created an instrument that further highlights this effect. “Maluhia” means peace in Hawaiian and, therefore, the Malu model was designed to engage talent, minds, and spirits.
The unit features a laser cut peace sign at the sound hole as well as the word “peace” in various languages that create a stylish continuum across the soundboard.
The uke sports a mahogany body and neck as well as a walnut fretboard and bridge that will work in concert to get you a sound that will elate and enchant.
The satin finish gives the instrument a natural look and further enhances its attractive design. The product measures 20 x 6 x 12 inches, dimensions that make it ideal for beginners and even young players.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($139)
7. Concert Ukulele Bundle Deluxe Series by Hola! Music
Another concert ukulele you might want to take into account is this model from Hola! Music. Crafted to help you raise smiles through the universal language of music, this unit boasts the features and high-quality materials you need to enjoy playability and durability.
With a mahogany body, Nato neck, and rosewood bridge and fingerboard, you can rest assured that exploring the various musical qualities of this instrument will be an enjoyable experience and the outputs will be the ones you desire. Your fingers will be protected while playing thanks to the fret binding and the neatly filed frets.
The compensated saddle will help you micro-tune the intonation of the string and will, thus, enhance the sound the unit delivers. You will also get Premium Italian Aquila Nylgut strings for superb sound. What’s more, the thin layer of lacquer will preserve the wood and its natural characteristics and, thus, give it a rich, warm sound.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($65)
8. Cordoba 20TM-CE Acoustic Electric Tenor Ukulele with Gig Bag
Designed with exotic woods and featuring the traditional Portuguese ornamentation, this tenor ukulele is completely handmade and ready to perform on stage. The instrument is a great choice for beginners and professional musicians alike as it promises to deliver a sweet, rich sound and provide players with versatility.
Sporting a rosewood fingerboard and bridge and mahogany top, back, and sides, this ukulele will meet the needs of both a novice and an advanced player. The satin matte finish will pair the sonic enchantment with pleasing visuals whereas the quality ukulele strings made by Aquila Nylgut will make sure the sound you create is flawless.
Measuring 32 x 6 x 10 inches and weighing 5 pounds, the uke is lightweight and comfortable even if you’re at your first instrument. It boasts a soft cutaway and Córdoba electronics that render the item stage-ready. This means that if your level allows you to have gigs, with this uke you can plug and play right away.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($229.99)
9. Luna Honu Tribal Turtle Soprano Ukulele Pack
With this Honu Tribal ukulele from Luna, your performance won’t just reach that level of sonic delight you desire but will also boast visuals that will make a feast for everybody’s eyes. The item features decorations that are inspired from traditional Hawaiian body tattoos.
It is based on a Hawaiian turtle, hence its name, Honu (turtle). The turtle is a symbol of longevity and it could easily be associated with the durability of this instrument. To further capture the tradition of Hawaiian tattoos, the fret markers are stylized shark’s teeth.
The unit comes with a mahogany body, top, and neck and a walnut fretboard and bridge that will work together to sonically please your senses. The satin finish provides a natural look and the product comes with all the necessary accessories to start playing immediately. You will thus get a gig bag for easy storage and transportation as well as a tuner and a chord chart.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($74.99)
10. Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag
If a soprano ukulele is what you have in mind, you might want to consider this model from Lanikai. Featuring only quality materials and a design that will deliver the great sounds you’re after, this instrument is another option that shouldn’t go unchecked.
The unit is handcrafted and boasts Nato top, back, and sides that, when paired with the Rosewood fretboard, manage to bring out a mellow tone with an enhanced mid-range other instruments in this price range fail to offer. The chrome die-cast tuning machines and the easy-to-use clip-on tuner will help you play in tune.
In order for you to be able to start playing right away, the ukulele comes with the necessary accessories. The gig bag will help you store and carry the instrument with ease whereas the polishing cloth will enable you to keep it in great condition. You also get an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD to ease your learning process.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
Whether you’re looking for a starter ukulele for yourself or for one of your family members, finding and buying the one to best meet your needs might prove to be quite a challenging task. If you consider a few features, though, you will significantly simplify your process and get one step closer to picking a good instrument rapidly and easily.
Just like when you’re in the market for a saxophone for beginners, a professional yet affordable beginner bass guitar, or a beginner electric guitar to get started, there are some factors to guide your shopping and help you get what you want effortlessly.
Before going into ukulele categories and specific features, you need to consider your prior experience. If there’s none, then the appropriate ukulele is a soprano-sized one. It is the most common and safest ukulele for beginners. Most ukulele learning sources for novices are based on a soprano.
Then, you should also consider the available time for practice. If you’re interested in playing just as a spare-time fun, then you might want to filter the many products available for sale and get a less expensive model. In case you’re not interested in learning just the basics and you want to gradually reach an advanced level, consider getting a quality model even if it costs you more.
The ukuleles come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The size won’t just influence your comfort when playing but the sound you get as well. The soprano ukulele is considered to be the standard size, which is also the smallest in this family. With an overall length of about 21 inches and a scale length of about 13 inches, this is ideal for young players.
The soprano ukulele creates that bright sound that is usually associated with ukes. In case you want a deeper and louder output and your hands are too big for a soprano, you might want to consider a concert ukulele which is approximately 23-inch long and has a scale of about 15 inches.
If you’re a beginner interested in a bigger ukulele to accommodate larger hands, the tenor size is the one to consider. Producing a deeper, more resonant sound, this instrument is about 26-inch long with a scale of about 17 inches. Another option is the baritone ukulele if much deeper bass notes are wanted. Such an instrument has a 19-inch scale and an overall length of about 30 inches.
Even if your budget is limited and you’re looking for a cheap starter ukulele, you shouldn’t compromise when it comes to quality. The wood used for the ukulele you buy will influence its durability and the sound it produces. The market offers ukes featuring different woods yet there are some woods musicians recommend.
Koa is a Hawaiian wood many ukuleles feature thanks to its balanced tone, beautiful grain patterns, and variety of colors. Sometimes, manufacturers replace Koa with acacia because it has similar properties. Another wood often used for ukuleles is mahogany since it delivers a darker, warmer tonality. Koa and mahogany are the most popular for a number of reasons, so keep them in mind.
Many ukulele builders have started to use spruce due to its capability of producing bright tones. In case you’re interested in a mellow, round tone, you might want to consider cedar ukuleles. Some ukulele models feature rosewood bodies, although this wood is usually used on ukulele fretboards. Today’s market offers ukuleles made from many other woods including beech, cherry, and myrtle.
Recording and performance
Although beginners usually look for models that can help them learn the basics, you might want to consider a model that features advantages for performing and recording. Most beginners won’t use their first ukulele to hold any concert or make any professional recording. In this case, a standard acoustic ukulele is most probably the one to go for.
However, if you plan on using the new instrument for studio recordings and gigs, you might want to consider a concert ukulele as it has a louder sound than a soprano model even if it costs more. Then, you might want to go for an acoustic electric ukulele as such products are designed to help you record and perform on stage.
Playing in tune
It is best to try out a musical instrument before buying it. After all, the way it sounds and how comfortable the item is when playing will help you make your decision with greater ease. An accessory you need to take into account to make sure your musical output is a pleasant one is the tuner.
An electronic tuner will help you get and play in tune. Many ukuleles you will find these days come with clip-on tuners that can easily be attached to the headstock of the instrument to sense its vibrations. Then the quality of the tuning machines or pegs your uke features count a lot when it comes to the ease with which you get and stay in tune.
Once you’ve chosen the model that best caters to your needs, you must consider the accessories needed to complete your experience. There are many products that come with the necessary items to enable you to start playing immediately.
Consider a durable gig bag or case to store the instrument when you don’t need it and transport it with ease when traveling. A quality bag will not only help you with storing and carrying the uke but will also keep it safe and protect it from impacts when on the go.
In case you’d like to play your new instrument with a pick instead of your fingers, you might want to opt for a standard guitar pick or a felt pick. The sound you will get is also greatly influenced by the strings you use. If you’re not happy with the ones your instrument comes with, you might want to consider other strings as they range from nylon to titanium, fluorocarbon, and aluminum models.