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 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:

Ukulele For Beginners: DIY Ukulele Hanger

I have had my new ukulele for about a month now, and to be honest, I haven’t really played it that much. It’s not that I don’t want to play, it’s just that I keep it in the bag. When it’s in the bag, I am not really thinking about playing it as often as I would like.

The new ukulele I got my wife however, is always sitting around and I play it all the time. So here is a tip from ukulele for beginners. If you want to play your ukulele as much as possible, keep it in a location that is easy to get to and a place where you can see it all the time. The more it’s in front of your eyes, the more you will pick it up.

The problem, is that my ukulele came with a bag and not a stand. It’s a nice bag, but it is still a bag. Great for travelling (I carried my ukulele from the US to Japan), but not so great for keeping it where I can play it.

So here is a better option. How about making a rack that will hang your ukulele(s) and will barely cost any money at all. It’s really simple and only takes a few supplies. You might even be able to come up with something very similar and more creative.

Here is a video on how to make your very own DIY ukulele rack:

Ukulele For Beginners: Ukulele Buyer’s Guide

I have talked a lot about the things you want to avoid in buying your first ukulele. There are a lot of questions on the web from beginner ukulele players about what is the best ukulele for beginners. Well, it really depends on what kind of instrument you are looking for. Is this your first instrument? Are you really serious about playing or are you just looking to play every once and a while? Do you want to spend as little as possible or get something really nice.

The answers to all of these questions will decide which is the best ukulele for you to buy. You don’t want to get a cheap ukulele because it will sound like crap, but decent ukuleles can be had for around $40.

While the criteria to find the perfect ukulele changes for each person. There are certain things that everyone should do when finding their ukulele. This includes getting it from a store that knows what they are doing, playing it before you buy it (when possible), and really thinking about how much you are going to use it.

The below video discusses some of the important things you want to consider when making your first ukulele purchase. You’ll notice that he talks about a twingy A string. I also had this problem with my first ukulele. It is quite annoying. This can be avoided by choosing a good ukulele and having it setup properly.

Some stores may charge a little more, but if they include a proper setup with the ukulele, then an extra $20-$40 is worth it. This is especially true when purchasing ukuleles in the sub $100 range, which are more likely to have slight imperfections. However, with a proper setup, I can say that the Makala MKS I purchased for my brother was darn near as good as the Hamano I purchased for myself. I was actually more impressed with it because it sounded so good for so little.

So here is the video. It’s a little erratic, but has some good points.

Learn the Ukulele: It Will Rain by Bruno Mars

For all of you who are looking to learn a new song on the ukulele, here is a video tutorial on how to play “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars on the Ukulele.

This isn’t the easiest of songs, I would say maybe intermediate, but the tutorial is pretty good and if you practice enough, even beginner ukulele players should be able to get it. If this is the first song that you are trying to learn on the ukulele, then I would recommend going with something a little easier. Try this beginner ukulele song.

For all of the ukulele beginners out there, just remember that everything is practice. I can still remember when I first started learning the ukulele, I felt like it was gonna be impossible. I kept going however, and got better and better. What seemed like impossible chords to hit, got easier and easier. Don’t give up.

Here’s 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.

2 Ukuleles For Beginners

I have talked quite a bit about the Makala Dolphin and the Makala MK-S. They were the top two in the best ukulele for beginners under $60 and even ranked very high above that price as well. If you are trying to choose the best between the two then here is a helpful video.

They both sound great, but are made of different materials. The Makala Dolphin is made of plastic and the MK-S is made of wood. I’ll let you decide which one sounds best.

 

 

 

Beginner Ukulele Song: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”

This last Christmas I bought my wife a new ukulele. Her first ukulele was a really cheap ukulele she got out of a catalogue, so this is her first real ukulele. She loves it and it is a really beautiful ukulele. However, the thing I want to talk about is the little instruction manual that came with it.

It is just a fold out, but it had finger positions and a couple of Ukulele songs for beginners. The one that she started learning was “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. I was very impressed, because after just a few minutes she was able to start playing and start singing. The other great thing about this song is that it is a lot of fun to sing.

So here is a video on how to learn “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” on the ukulele.

If you still haven’t purchased yourself an ukulele please check out these links:

 

 

Makala MK-S: Great Ukulele For Beginners

This Christmas I purchased three ukuleles. One for myself, one for my wife, and one for my brother. We are all beginner ukulele players, but I wanted to get something decent for everyone. I purchased a Hamano Concert in solid mohagony, an Ohana Willowood, and a Makala MK-S.  All three of them are great, but the one I am the most impressed with is the Makala MK-S.

It sounds basically as good as the other two (which are much more expensive), but at a fraction of the price. In one of the previous posts I did about the best Ukulele under $60 the Makala Dolphin and MK-S were the two top ukuleles. After playing on it for a while, it really is easy to see why.

It is well made, inexpensive, and sounds great. I got it from MusicGuyMic (he unfortunately no longer sells lower end ukuleles) in Hawaii and it came with a full setup and Aquila strings. I think part of what makes it sound so good are the strings.

So if you are looking for a good ukulele for beginners and don’t want to spend a lot of money. This is a great choice.