I’ve talked a lot about the different aspects of choosing an ukulele for beginners. The size, the type, the setup, and how to get started. One thing that I haven’t covered is humidity. While it’s something you might not think of, humidity can have a big effect on which ukulele you choose.
Recently, I took a 9 day trip to Taiwan (it is an amazing place if you have a chance to visit). Upon returning home, I picked up my ukulele and started playing. Unfortunately, I was only able to play a few minutes because the bridge (the part that holds the strings to the ukulele) popped off. No more playing ukulele!
This happened for two reasons, both of which were caused by humidity. Both of which need to be considered when buying an ukulele for beginners.The first was that the body started to warp.
In my case, I live on a tropical island of Okinawa where the humidity is near 100% during the summer time. I was told this wouldn’t be a problem when I bought the ukulele, but that’s just not the case. Very high or very low humidity can both cause damage to your ukulele. If you live in either you need to keep your ukulele in a case and in the right humidity
Because of the high humidity and the body warping, the glue on the bridge was no longer able to hold it to the body. My instructor told me that this is something that happens all the time here and that I should really keep my ukulele in the case.
So, if you are buying your first ukulele, think about where you live. Laminated ukuleles are supposed to be better against dry or humid conditions (from what I have heard) than solid wood. My solid wood ukulele is warped and my laminate is perfectly fin.
If you live in a very dry or humid climate, you may want to look at getting a good case and some kind of moisture controller.