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.

Two Great Ukuleles for beginners

If you found this website, then there is a really good chance that you have come looking for information on buying an ukulele for beginners. Seeing as this site is dedicated to the topic, I have written quite a few articles about it. You can find those articles at the bottom of this post.

For those ready to purchase an ukulele, I have also created links on the sidebar for two great ukuleles. Both the Makala MK-S and Dolphin were very high rated in the surveys that I did for the best ukulele for beginners under $60 and also the one for $100.

If you are looking to buy a great ukulele for beginners, definitely check them out. I also get a percentage of the sale if you purchase through those links, which in return allows me to spend more time working on the site.



The Best Ukulele For Beginners

If you go on Yahoo answers, you will find this question has been asked hundreds, more likely thousands, of times. “I want to learn the ukulele, but I don’t know what ukulele I should buy. What’s the best ukulele for beginners?”

Having now spent more time learning the ukulele, and having now bought 4 ukuleles myself as well as playing on several others. I think one of the best ukuleles for the money (especially with proper setup) is the Makala Dolphin and the Makala MK-S. This is further backed up by the survey I made on the Ukulele Underground Forum. They are dirt cheap ($35-$60), so you don’t have to worry about beating them up too much, and they sound pretty good.

Of the three ukuleles I bought this christmas, the one I was the most impressed with was the Makala MK-S with Aquila strings. It sounded about the same as the nicer Ohana that I purchased. Having played the MK-S or the MK-C, I feel that it would have been more than enough to get me well through the learning these stages and beyond. In fact, there were a lot of people who left remarks on the survey saying that they still often put their much more expensive ukulele aside to play their Makala Dolphin.

So if you are trying to find the best ukulele for beginners, then I say this is a good choice. If you aren’t happy with it, you aren’t out much money. Or if you use it a lot and then want something better, you can always use this as a backup to take to the beach or on trips. I even considered buying a second one just for that purpose, but decided I would see how often I was playing before I invested the extra money.

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 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.