Ukulele Brands For Beginners

Choosing the right ukulele can be difficult

You’ve decided to play the Ukulele, and now you are looking to purchase your first one. You’ve read Ukulele For Beginnersand know what size ukulele you want. Now the question is what brand of ukulele should you purchase. There are a lot of ukulele brands, and as a beginner, knowing which ones are good can be difficult. This article should should help.

Once again I should start out by saying that how serious you are about playing the ukulele will decide which ukulele brands you should consider. As I mentioned earlier you shouldn’t go for the very bottom range.

However, while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, you could go for the higher end and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. Since this is a site about Ukulele For Beginners, I will be focusing on ukulele brands that are good for beginners. This means I will be focused on the lower-middle range. Some of the most common ukulele brands for beginners are Honu, Kala, Lanikai, Makai, and OscarSchmidt.

Honu Ukuleles– Is actually a brand of the Big Island Ukulele Company. A relatively new company that states their goal is to offer some of the best ukuleles in the segments they sell in.

Kala Ukuleles– A California based company that specializes in producing quality, but affordable ukuleles. The company was started by Mike Upton, a Hawaiian representative for a large music company who felt there weren’t many options for good, affordable ukuleles.

Lanikai Ukuleles– A branch of the Hohner music company, Lanikai initially started making ukuleles on the low end of the scale. However, over the years they their quality has improved and they now make decent ukuleles for beginners in the mid range.

Makai Ukuleles– Another ukulele brand in the mid range, that produces quality ukuleles at pretty good prices.

Oscar Schmidt Ukuleles– Oscar Schmidt has been in the music business since the late 1800s and they know what they are doing. However, they tend to be a little more expensive.

All of these companies offer decent ukuleles at decent prices. Depending on the size that you want (soprano: 20-21 inches, concert: 23”, tenor: 26-27”, baritone: 30+”) the prices will vary from about $50 to $300. It all depends on how much you want to spend. But, like anything else, someplace in the middle ($100-$150) is usually a good balance of cost, performance and quality.

If you want to find even more information about the different ukulele brands, please check out the link to wikipedia below. But be careful, there are a lot of brands and it can be a bit overwhelming. This lists includes several Japanese Ukulele brands as well as various others from around the world. Ukulele wikipedia.

Also, please leave comments with your reviews and recommendations about what ukuleles you like and why.

3 thoughts on “Ukulele Brands For Beginners

  1. Hello –

    The Oscar Schmidt company you reference is not the Oscar Schmidt company founded in the 1800s. That company, headquartered on Ferry Street in Jersey City, NJ, had its boom years in the 20s and 30s, but was sold in the 1940’s and liquidated by the new buyer, which continued to produce guitars using the Schmidt company’s Stella name until 1965.

    The Oscar Schmidt name was lying unused for more than 30 years when it was sold to the US Musical Instrument Company – the owner of the Washburn company – in the late 90’s. So, other than the name, the current line of Oscar Schmidt ukuleles has nothing to do with the company founded in 1871. The current Oscar Schmidt website is happy to have customers believe otherwise, as you can see on their history page, where the recount the history of a company that has nothing to do with the current company: Essentially, when you buy a Schmidt, you’re buying a Washburn product.

  2. I live in South Africa, and the Ukulele bug hasn’t quite reached us yet. I bought my first Uke less than 3 weeks ago at a local music shop. It was a GEWA soprano in red and yellow sunburst, and seems okay for a beginner. I don’t like the friction tuning pegs very much and it smelled very strong of paint for the first week. But yesterday I found a Tanglewood (TU1-CE) soprano cutaway with electric pickup, and it’s a great little instrument. So far I’ve only seen Soprano Ukuleles at the stores I’ve been to, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a descent tenor Ukulele.

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