The best ukulele
The ukulele is enjoying a familiar type of cultural renaissance. It was originally modeled in the Hawaiian islands after a small string instrument brought there by the Portuguese in the 1800s. It made a huge comeback in popular American consciousness in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, you can hear the ukulele's lilting, joyous sound throughout popular music, giving it a lighthearted touch unachievable by other instruments. One of the beautiful things about the ukulele is how easy it is to play.
If you want to enjoy the fun of playing the ukulele, let us help you choose the best one. We created the following buying guide to advise you on how to choose the right ukulele. Don't forget to check out our top pick, the Hricane Professional Concert Ukulele. Designed for beginners but enjoyable for anyone, it's a gorgeous concert ukulele that comes with its own case.
Considerations when choosing ukuleles
Are you a beginner, a concert-level musician, or somewhere in between? Your skill level will help determine the ukulele that's right for you. While high-quality models are nice, they may not be needed if you just plan to learn a few tunes for playing on the beach. Think about where your skill level is right now and where you want to be in the future. This will help you determine which ukulele is right for you.
Do you just want to play for yourself in your room, or do you want to play casually for friends? How you plan to use your ukulele is important. If the stage is not your goal, you can make your choice based strictly on personal preference. However, if an audience is in your future, you'll want to take them into account when making decisions about tone, sound quality, and the look of your ukulele.
Type of ukulele
There are a number of types of ukuleles available. The main ones are soprano ukuleles, concert ukuleles, tenor ukuleles, and baritone ukuleles.
Soprano ukuleles are roughly 21 inches long. These are the smallest ukuleles, though they can be surprisingly loud for their size. The sound is bright and cheery.
Concert ukuleles are about 23 inches long. They are louder than soprano ukuleles, though they are often tuned the same way.
Tenor ukuleles are approximately 26 inches long. They have a deeper tone than the two smaller versions, which means they don't sound as typically "Hawaiian" as some other models.
Baritone ukuleles are the largest type. They are about 30 inches long and have the deepest sound by far. They are actually similar in sound to classical guitars, making them sound less traditionally Polynesian than the others.
If you plan to invest in any musical instrument, you want to know that it is durable and made with care. One of the most important reasons that a well-built ukulele should be sought is that a poorly made one will need constant retuning. The quality of the bridge and tuning pegs are the first things you should consider when assessing build quality.
Solid wood vs. laminate
Ukuleles are made of solid wood or laminate. Solid wood models sound better, but that also makes them more costly. If you want to save some money on your first ukulele, you could opt for a laminate version -- but make sure you're confident in the build quality first.
Some ukuleles come with additional accessories to improve your musical experience. These items may include tuning forks, travel bags, or extra strings. Read the product specs for each ukulele to see what's included in the price.
Ukuleles can cost anywhere from $20 to $3,000. Despite its diminutive size, the ukulele is a serious musical instrument! But the ukulele is also an affordable instrument. Most people will be able to find something suitable in the $40 to $60 range. Some ukuleles come as kits with other items, such as a carrying bag, strap, or extra strings. These additions may affect the price somewhat.
Q. Can I plug my ukulele into an amplifier?
A. That depends on the model you choose. The majority of ukuleles are intended as acoustic instruments, so they don't have an electric pickup. However, if you spend more money, you can get one that is an electro-acoustic model.
Q. Is the ukulele only meant for playing Hawaiian music?
A. No. You can play any style of music on a ukulele. Because it has fewer strings than most string instruments, it is also more versatile and easy to learn. Feel free to play anything you want on the ukulele, and you'll be sure to bring joy to everyone within earshot.
Ukuleles we recommend
Our take: A high-quality ukulele for a modest investment.
What we like: Comfortable rosewood fingerboard. Durable carrying case included.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Best bang for your buck: Hola! Music Soprano Ukulele Bundle
Our take: Great beginner option at an affordable price.
What we like: Fun color choices and sturdy build makes this the perfect ukulele for those who want to learn.
What we dislike: Some have complained of build quality issues.
Choice 3: Donner Concert Ukulele
Our take: Near-perfect sound and great accessories.
What we like: Carbon nylon strings are strong and sound great. Loads of accessories.
What we dislike: Some users said their ukulele arrived with parts missing.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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