Ukuleles have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Not only are they easy to play with, but they are also able to produce a bright and resonating tone that is particularly pleasant to the ear, conjuring up visions of beaches on a tropical island.
Such popularity of the ukulele has given rise to many ukulele brands that cater to various preferences. Because of this, choosing for the most suitable instrument could be quite tricky especially if you are a beginner in search of your first ukulele. In this article, we are going to identify ten of the best ukuleles in the market. Moreover, we will list down some of the features that you should look for in the best ukuleles.
Best Ukuleles 2018
What to Look for in Ukuleles
When searching for a ukulele there are certain features that you’ll want to look out for. Below are two of the most important features that you’ll see distinguishing ukuleles on the market.
Type of Ukulele
One of the first things that you have to consider when picking a ukulele is its type. It could be soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone. These types have different length and tuning.
A soprano ukulele, the smallest in the family, has a bright sound. It is regarded as the standard size with an overall length of 21 inches.
The concert ukulele has an overall length of 23 inches. It produces a deeper and louder sound that soprano.
The tenor ukulele produces a deeper and more resonant sound compared to the soprano and the concert. It has a wider fingerboard which could accommodate those with larger fingers.
With an overall length of about 30 inches, the baritone ukulele is regarded as the largest in the family. It produces a deeper bass sound compared to the others.
The Wood Used
The material is another defining factor that delineates a ukulele brand from another. Many ukuleles are typically made of Koa, a type of wood that could be found in Hawaii. Ukuleles produced from Koa create a warm and soothing sound.
Mahogany is another material that could be used. It may sound a bit softer than the Koa, but it could still pull off an excellent sound nonetheless.
Spruce, on the other hand, produces a loud and bright tone. Other materials that could be used in making ukuleles include Cedar, Redwood, Maple, and Rosewood.
The features which were mentioned above are just some of the key features that you should take into consideration. It is worth noting that the end choice will still be dependent on your preference as the player.
1. Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit
The brand Kala is known for its high-quality ukuleles that have been sought by a lot of musicians. The brand’s Ukulele Starter Kit is made up of light mahogany. It is equipped with Aquila super Nylgut strings which are soft and smooth to the touch. It also produces a clear and sweet sound. Being geared towards beginners, this ukulele also includes free online lessons, a ukulele app with tuner, a tote bag possessing the Kala logo, and a ukulele-playing quick start guide.
2. Hola! Music HM-121PP+ Deluxe Soprano Ukulele Bundle
The Hola! Music HM-121PP+ Deluxe Soprano Ukulele Bundle features a body that is entirely made from mahogany. It also consists of a fingerboard and bridge that is built from Walnut, and a neck that has been constructed from Nato. It consists of silver-plated geared machine heads with black rubber pegs, 15 silver nickel frets, a bone Nut and Saddle, a laser engraved Rosette, and a set of Italian Aquila Nylgut Strings. It also comes with a built-in strap pin so that users could attach a shoulder strap easily. This ukulele produces a warm, pitch-perfect harmony, making it an ideal instrument.
3. Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele Bundle
The Kala MK-C Makala Concert Ukulele could be another excellent instrument that you could purchase. Its body is made up of Agathis. On the other hand, its fingerboard and bridge have a Rosewood construction and its neck is built with Mahogany. It has geared tuners and a satin finish to give you that silky and shiny look. Moreover, the ukulele consists of a bundle of gears which are deemed essential. These include a gig bag, a tuner, and a polishing cloth. Beginners will not find it hard to learn to play this ukulele because it comes with an Austin Bazaar Instruction DVD where they will learn about setting up the instrument, playing chords, and much more.
4. Donner Concert Ukulele
The Donner Concert Ukulele is a traditional concert ukulele that is composed of four advanced carbon nylon strings. It further consists of a mahogany body and neck which could produce a rich and bright sound. Its fingerboard and bridge are made up of Rosewood, giving users a comfortable feel while playing the ukulele. Accurate and smooth, its chrome-plated guitar style tuners keep your ukulele always in tune. This ukulele has 18 brass frets with fret position marks at the fifth, seventh, tenth, and twelfth frets on neck and top of the fingerboard. Additionally, it comes with a bag and a strap.
5. Lohanu Concert Ukulele
The Lohanu Concert Ukulele produces a remarkable warm sound that is favored by most users. Its arched back gives a longer sustain and fuller sound. The neck and the body of such ukulele are made up of Sapele/Mahogany. Its fingerboard, on the other hand, is made up of Rosewood. It has Aquila strings installed, so users are ensured of a quality set of strings. It also consists of handmade ABS bindings, a ukulele strap case, and a pick holder. To keep your instrument in tune, the ukulele comes with Chrome die cast tuning gears.
6. Everjoys Soprano Rainbow Ukulele
The Everjoys Soprano Rainbow Ukulele is a well-known ukulele due to its superior craftsmanship. It consists of a body made of Basswood, a neck made of Solid wood, a fingerboard and bridge that is made up of Blackwood, and a set of nylon strings. Such strings could be available in different colors. It also comes with a handy digital tuner, a spare pick and string, a shoulder strap, a microfiber polishing cloth, and a durable convenient bag. For those who are still beginning to play the instrument, it provides a songbook that teaches the fundamentals of a ukulele.
7. Cordoba Concert Ukulele
The Cordoba Concert Ukulele is another excellent ukulele for those who are still trying to learn the instrument. This handmade concert ukulele consists of a mahogany top, back, and sides, giving it a full and rich sound. Its abalone-style rosette and Ivoroid body and fingerboard binding set this ukulele apart from other brands. Other features include a satin finish, premium Aquila strings, and silver tuners with pearl buttons. It could be available in soprano and tenor sizes.
8. Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele
The Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele is a ukulele which has easy playability. It is designed to provide beginners with an instrument that is easy to use. Another reason why it is a good instrument is that offers a warm and sweet sound thanks to its body that is made up of Nato and fingerboard that is made up of Rosewood. It also comes with Aquila strings that feel and sound great once they are played. Its design is also attractive and sleek.
9. Luna Uketcmah Tattoo Concert Ukulele
The Luna Uketcmah Tattoo Concert Ukulele is easily recognized due to its Hawaiian tattoo design embedded in its body. It also features a flat top and neck that is made up of Mahogany. Its fretboard, on the other hand, is made up of rosewood. It also includes a set of open gear tuners, pearloid hardware, and a satin natural finish. This ukulele could be carried anywhere through its gig bag.
10. Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1
Last, but certainly not the least, is the Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1, a traditional concert ukulele that is composed of four advanced carbon nylon strings. It further consists of a Sapele body and neck which produces a rich and bright sound. Its fingerboard and bridge are made up of Rosewood, giving users a comfortable feel while playing the ukulele. Accurate and smooth, its chrome-plated guitar style tuners keep your ukulele always in tune. This ukulele has 18 brass frets with fret position marks at the fifth, seventh, tenth, and twelfth frets on neck and top of the fingerboard.
The ukuleles are almost the same in terms of their overall features, but scrutiny could allow you to gauge their differences. These subtle differences could affect their performance. Hence, it is essential to be aware of the features which are present in the ukuleles presented so that you could identify which among these is the most appropriate based on your preference.
If you still want to learn more about the different ukuleles available, you can read our guide on the best ukulele brands.