Over the last few years, ukuleles have grown in popularity. However, even if you are lucky enough to live in an area with a music store, the chance the chance that they carry a good selection of ukuleles is pretty low. Now obviously you want your first ukulele to be a good one. To get a good beginner ukulele you are most likely going to need to spend over a $100. However, there are a couple of decent starter ukuleles in the $60-$70 range as well.
The way the ukulele looks is important, but the most important part of choosing a good ukulele for beginners is the way it sounds. Not only that the ukulele has a good sound, but that it is the kind of sound you like. Ukuleles made of different types of wood will tend to sound different as will ukuleles made by different makers. The best ukulele for you will depend on the type of sound and music you like. If you tend to play Hawaiian music, then you will probably want a more traditional sounding ukulele than if you were playing rock.
So how do you find that perfect ukulele? If you have a music store that has ukuleles in stock, then check them out and play them. You may find that some are easier for you to play than others and you might get some very helpful information from the staff. However, there are a lot of music stores that carry ukuleles, but aren’t necessarily knowledgable about them.
If you don’t have a local music store around, then the next best thing is to listen to the ukuleles online. A quick search on YouTube will usually allow you to listen to various people playing various ukuleles. The problem is that the sound can vary by the tuning, the person, the camera, etc. Ideally you want the same person playing all the ukuleles back to back with the same equipment.
Luckily, Hawaiian Music Supply has made just that video where they compare 10 good ukuleles for under $200. You can listen to them back to back and they are all taken with the same video camera.