Buy ukulele: Hamano H-100 Vintage

This last christmas I bought three new ukuleles. One for my wife, one for my brother, and one for myself. Today I wanted to talk about the ukulele I bought for myself, the Hamano H-100 Vintage.

Check out the Hamano H100 on Amazon

I chose this ukulele for a couple reasons. It had great reviews, it was a solid wood ukulele at a pretty decent price, it was a concert, and though I didn’t particularly like the style at first, I grew to like it. Many people actually prefer this style as it resembles the old Martin ukuleles.

Once I actually started playing it, I was very happy. It had a great sound, and was very easy to play. The quality is also very good for an ukulele in this price range. I was used to playing a soprano, so playing a concert did take some getting used to, but once I got used to it, I loved it.

I have been playing it for about 7 months now, and I have to say that the sound has gotten even better. When I first looked at buying a solid wood ukulele I heard people say this, but now I have actually experienced it myself. It makes you want to play even more.

I am also surprised at how many people comment on the style. I wasn’t a fan at first, but everyone really seems to like the vintage style ukulele.

So, if you are looking to buy an ukulele, and want something that will sound great and last, then I can highly recommend it. I think it is a great ukulele for beginners and is high enough quality to stay with you for a long time.

I have had a chance to handle some more expensive ukuleles and I think this one definitely competes with those. It’s not quite as flashy as a lot of other ukuleles for sale, but that is actually part of it’s appeal.

Check out the Hamano H-100 on Amazon

 

 

Buy Ukulele: Toys vs Instruments

Buying your first ukulele can be a bit difficult. If you were like me, then you probably had very little information about ukuleles and what to look for. Furthermore, finding the right information can be a pretty daunting task. Some people will say that a certain ukulele is great while others will say that it is horrible. Some will say to get a cheap ukulele and some will say to get the most expensive you can afford.

What do you do?

I started out with a really crappy ukulele, and then had the chance to play a number of different ukuleles. I was able to realize that not all ukuleles are the same. At the end of last year I wanted to buy 3 ukuleles and had to make some decisions. What should I get.?

I ended up buying 3 ukuleles that were all different brands, different materials, different sizes, and at different price points. The reason for this is that I had different needs for each ukulele.

The least expensive was for my brother, as he had interest in playing, but chances were that he would probably not continue playing for very long. He ended up with a Makala MKS. You can buy this ukulele for pretty cheap, but it actually has a great sound if setup properly. It was the one I was most impressed with because of it’s price point.

The other two I bought were an Ohana Willow Wood Soprano and a Hamano H-100 Concert. Both great ukuleles, but they were a bit more than the Makala. These two get played on a regular basis, so I didn’t mind spending the extra money. They are both high quality ukuleles

The bottom line is that you can find great ukuleles even at lower prices, but to really know what is best for you, you should try to get the ukuleles in your hands. You’ll be able to decide what sound you like and what feel. I have played crappy ukuleles and it can be a bit depressing. Some of the ukuleles out there are really just toys, and you will have a hard time making them sound good even as you get better.

There are differences even in between ukuleles of the same model, so it is always best to try them out first. If you can’t, then you should at least make sure that you have them properly setup.

Ukulele For Beginners: Solid Wood Ukuleles

This last Christmas I bought three brand new ukulele for beginners. Two of them were laminates and one was a solid wood ukulele. The idea is that the solid wood ukulele is supposed to sound better over time, but also requires a little more care in regards to humidity. As it turns out, this is definitely the case. Now that I have had a little experience with solid wood, I think I have to recommend the laminate ukulele as the best ukulele for beginners if you are in either a very dry or very humid environment.

In my case, the ukulele went from very dry (California winter) to very wet (tropical island off Japan). I used a humidifier when in the US, but after a couple of months back here, the wood is starting to distort. The laminate that has been by it’s side the entire time is still perfectly fine. 

I might have been able to prevent this, had I known a little more about taking care of ukuleles, but as this site says “ukulele for beginners”, I am a beginner.  I had heard that this could happen, but most people said that it usually happened in really dry areas. Having talked to the local music shop here, the owner says he gets a lot of guitars that have to be fixed for exactly that same problem.

So if you live in a dry environement or one that is really humid, and don’t want to have to worry to much about taking care of your ukulele, then I recommend that you go with a laminate ukulele. In addition to requiring less maintanence, they also cost less. So not only are you saving time, yuou are also saving money as well. I have even heard many people say that the new laminates sound just as good or at least very close as the solid ukuleles. 

Buy Ukulele: Best Ukulele For Beginners Under $100

If you want to buy your first ukulele, but aren’t sure which ukulele to buy, then this is the post for you. If you are wanting to spend under $60 or even under $40, then the most recommended ukulele was the Makala Dolphin. You can see how it fared here: Ukuleles For Beginners under $60.

But what if you want to spend a little more and get something nicer? What should you get then? What if you want to buy an ukulele around the $100 range? Well according to the poll that I submitted on the Ukulele Underground Forum, the answer is a draw.

The Makala Dolphin and the Kala KA-S both recieved 24.5% of the votes. Some people felt that the Kala KA-S was the best ukulele for the money. Others believed that there wasn’t a big enough difference to warrant spending the additional money and that it should be saved up to get a more expensive ukulele. You can see the full results here:

  • Kala K-15S- 5.26%
  • Kala KA-S- 24.56%
  • Makala MK-S- 5.26%
  • Makala MK-C- 8.77%
  • Makala Dolphin- 24.56%
  • Lanikai LU-21- 5.26%
  • Bruko/Brueko Soprano- 3.51%
  • Other (specify in comments)- 22.81%

So which one should you buy? It really depends on how much money you want to spend and what your goals are. However, with the Dolphin being as good as it is, it is a hard bargain to pass up. Rarely do you hear people give it bad reviews. I think at this price level it would have to be my choice for the best value.

Ukulele For Beginners: DIY Ukulele Stand

In yesterday’s article I posted a video on how to build a ukulele holder or ukulele rack. After a little more searching. I also found a video on how to build a simple, yet effective ukulele stand. This tutorial shows you how to make an ukulele stand out of basic pvc connections. It’s a simple and effective design.

If you are learning ukulele then you want to have your ukulele available to play anytime. It is hard to do that if it is stored in the bag or in the closet. A stand allows you to keep the ukulele out where you can play it anytime you want.

The one thing I will say about this tutorial is that the price will depend on your location. You may be able to find all of these parts for under $10 or they may costs you much more, in case it might be cheaper to use different materials or just go and buy an ukulele stand.

You can also find the other video on how to make an Ukulele rack here: Ukulele For Beginners: DIY Ukulele Rack

Anyways, here is the video:

Buy an Ukulele: 3 Things to consider

Buying your first ukulele can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of ukuleles to consider, a lot of different ukulele brands, and even different sizes. You will be spending a lot of time with your ukulele, so you want it to be the right one. So what is the right one for you? Here is a list of three things you should consider.

How serious are you about learning the ukulele

This may seem like a pretty stupid question. If you weren’t serious then you wouldn’t be planning to buy an ukulele right. However, knowing the answer to this question will help you decide what kind of an ukulele to purchase.

If you have experience with music and know what it takes to learn, and know that you will continue, then you should buy something that is nicer. That way you don’t have to buy something better down the line.

If you just want to try learning the ukulele, or if this is your first instrument, then you may want to buy a less expensive ukulele. Something like the Makala Dolphin, which has a great sound, but can be had at a great price. This way if you don’t decide to continue playing you are only out a few bucks and can give the ukulele to someone else wanting to learn.

Try the ukuleles out

This isn’t always possible. For those who do have the ability to test out different ukuleles, you definitely should. It will allow you to see how they feel in your hands and how your fingers hit the chords. You will also find that ukuleles vary between each one. Some will sound great while others might not sound as good (even though they are the same model). Getting them in your hands will help you find the right one for you.

The right shop and setup

Not every shop carries ukuleles, and most of the ones that do, don’t specialize in them. This means that they are selling the ukuleles as is. This is usually okay for high end ukuleles, but for ukuleles for beginners, ones in the lower to middle range, most will sound better with a proper setup. A shop who knows ukuleles will usually offer a setup with their ukuleles, which helps to get rid of the imperfections from manufacturing and makes your ukulele sound better. Most places will include this service for free when selling an ukulele, but you should always consider this in the final value when making your choice. A proper setup is probably worth about $20-$40.

So now that you know what to look for, check out some of the below links to get started on choosing your ukulele.

The Best Ukulele For Beginners under $60

One of the most common questions for people who want to learn the ukulele is “what is the best ukulele for beginners to buy?” The difficulty in this question is that everyone has their own opinion, so you need to ask a lot of people. I did just that.

I went to one of the largest ukulele forums and created a post asking for peoples opinion on what was the best ukulele in different price ranges. I then put the answers into a list and created a poll.

The final poll included:

  • Kala KS-15
  • Lanikai LU-21
  • Makala Dolphin
  • Makala MK-S
All of these ukuleles are under $60 with the Kala KS-15 and Lanikai LU-21 being the most expensive, and the Makala Dolphin and MK-S being the cheapest.
Before telling you which ukulele won the poll, with a mighty 45% of the votes, I want to discuss what seemed to be the biggest factor in choosing the best ukulele for beginners.
Cost-performance. Many people claimed that it sounded just as good, or better than the others, but is also the lowest costing of the group. As far as value goes, it was just hard to beat. Durability, looks, and quality also came up, but the deciding factor really seemed to be the sound you could get for your money.
So as you’ve probably figured out by now, the winner was the Makala Dolphin. It had 45% of the votes and there were really no complaints about it.
The rank for the best ukulele for beginners under $60 was as follows:
  1. The Makala Dolphin- 45.45% of the votes. Noted for it’s exceptional value, bright colors, and durability.
  2. The Makala MK-S- 27.27% of the votes. Noted for it’s great sound, and preferred over the Dolphin by those who wanted a wood grain ukulele.
  3. The Lanikai LU-21- 14.55% of the votes. A good ukulele, but at this price range, most people felt the Dolphin was a better deal.
  4. The Kala KS-15- 12.73% of the votes. Slightly higher grade ukulele than the Makala, but fell into the same boat as the Lanikai.
You can purchase the Makala Dolphin here: Makala Dolphin
I will also have a new article coming up for the best ukulele for beginners under $100.
Stay tuned

Ukuleles For Sale

Now that you have read Ukulele for Beginners and all about ukulele brands you are ready to buy your first ukulele. So the next question is “what is the best place to buy an ukulele?” Especially in the last few years the ukulele seems to be making a come back and is getting more popular. The good thing is that there are a lot of places to find ukuleles for sale. The bad thing is that it is harder to choose the best ukulele, the best price, and the best ukulele store.

If you are new to ukuleles, then two common places to start looking are Ebay and Amazon. The reason is that you can see a lot of different ukuleles and different prices between different sellers. If you choose to purchase from either of these two you also have some insurance that if you aren’t happy you can get your money back or an exchange of some kind. However, there are a lot of ukuleles for sale and getting help or good advice from sellers on either of these sites can be very hit and miss. Also, there are a lot of really cheap ukuleles, but trust me, you will want to get something better.

If you are looking for a beginner ukulele then you are probably looking to spend under a couple hundred dollars. Since most ukuleles aren’t individually set up at this price range, you might want to choose a company who sets it up for you. Setup includes things like saddle and nut heights and intonation checks to make sure the instrument sounds it’s best. You don’t want to buy a nice ukulele that doesn’t sound great because it’s not setup correctly.

The point is to make sure you consider the whole package (ukulele, service, shipping, etc) before making your choice. If you have a local music store then check them out. The advantage is that you can actually test out the instruments. Depending on the knowledge and service that they have, they may even be the better overall deal. Knowledge can be worth a lot.

Lastly, ask for advice and recommendations. Check out the forums and review sites. If there are lots of people who recommend a certain store, then it is probably a pretty safe bet. You can also use the forum to help find local stores that you might not know about. You will be spending a lot of time with your new ukulele, so make sure you spend some time choosing the right one and the right place to buy it.

5 Reasons to Buy an Ukulele

Everyone loves the ukulele

 

I originally started Buy Ukulele For Beginners because I love to play the ukulele. I originally started playing because I had an ukulele in the house, and I was constantly attending various hula and ukulele events. I had been playing the sanshin (a traditional Okinawan instrument) for about two years, but wanted something that could play a little more standard music. The ukulele is small and very universal in what it can play. Since I have started playing the ukulele I have noticed some cool benefits. So I want to talk about 5 reasons you should buy an ukulele.

1. Cheap Ukuleles- Maybe you have been wanting to get into playing music for a long time, but never did because of the investment required. While I don’t necessarily recommend it, beginner ukuleles can be picked up for about $20. It won’t have the best sound, but it still lets you get started for almost nothing. Check out this guide on buying an ukulele.

2. Easy to learn- Ukulele only has 4 strings compared to a guitars six, and a lot of songs can be played with just three or four chords. I was able to play my first song after just an hour of practice. I didn’t hit all of the chords right every time, but how many instruments can you play after just an hour. Since I could play and sing along so soon, it meant that I was having fun. This meant I continued to play and get better. You can even find ukuleles lessons online.

3. Ukuleles are small- Because of there size you can play them anywhere. You can play while you watch TV or throw it in your car to take to the beach or the park. It’s easy to store anywhere, but since it’s so small, you can actually leave it out so it gets played more often. Have small hands? There is an ukulele for sale for you? Have large hands? Don’t worry, there is an ukulele available for you as well. Ukulele are also great for kids. Kids ukuleles are generally even less than regular ukuleles.

4. Anything can be played on the ukulele- Having played an instrument with a very particular sound, I realized how important this is. The ukulele is perfect for Hawaiian music, but it can also play just about anything else. If you can play it on the guitar, then you can play it on the ukulele. In addition, there are a lot of different types of ukuleles for sale. From traditional sounding ukuleles that are great for Hawaiian music, to baritone ukuleles which are tuned like a guitar. You can buy an ukulele to suite your tastes.

5. It makes people smile- I am a beginner, but I have had the chance to play in front of people and even with professionals. Everyone just loves to listen and to play. I think it’s because an ukulele is a little more light-hearted than a guitar or some other instruments. People are also surprised to see someone play the ukulele. We see a lot of performers playing the guitar, but it is only recently we are seeing people play the ukulele. People like it and it brings a smile to their face every time.