Ukuleles are by far a standout amongst the most remarkable instrument you can play. Because of their little size, ukuleles are ideal for traveling and playing on the beach or by the poolside.
Unlike the guitars, with ukuleles is a bit difficult to tell which one is the best for you. Since the ukuleles are usually acoustic instruments, there are a lot of components that have to meet for a ukulele to be good. These components are the type of tonewood, construction quality, hardware, etc.
Our top picks for the best ukuleles for beginners:
- Kala’s KA-15S came into the world in 2005 as the answer to a high-quality, affordable, entry-level ukulele and still remains the unrivaled ukulele in its class.
- The KA-15S is well-suited for classroom use, practicing, and acoustic performance. It is the instrument of choice for schools - More people learn to play on a Kala than any other ukulele brand
- A very traditional Mahogany Soprano Ukulele in a satin finish with a bright, warm, full-bodied tone.
- Concert size
- Quality laser-etched design
- Nato/Mahogany neck and Rosewood fretboard
- Mahogany Top
- Mahogany back & sides
- Concert size
- Concert Size Travel Ukulele^Eastern Mahogany Construction^Geared Tuning Machines^Instruction Booklet Included
- Soprano size
- Rosewood fretboard, 12 frets
- Nato top, back, and sides
What to Look For as a Beginner
There are a few things you need to focus on when picking your first ukulele as a beginner. But before everything you first need to consider your spending plan. Since you are just starting to play, we can guess that you don’t want to spend too much on your first instrument.
This is a good decision. However, you shouldn’t go with the cheapest uke you can find. You will see a lot of very cheap ukuleles on the market, some of them even going under %30. We highly recommend that you stay away from those.
The simplest explanation for this advice is that those super cheap ukes, as a rule, are not really well made.
What you need, as a beginner is a strong and sturdy instrument or else you won’t get the proper feedback. So, decide how much you want to spend and keep it within a reasonable limit.
Now, with that being said, let’s see what things you need to consider before buying your uke.
If you know something about an acoustic instrument, you most likely know that the choice of tonewood affects the sound of an instrument very much. The ukuleles are no exception.
The main diference here is that the tonewoods used for ukuleles are a bit different than those used for acoustic guitars.
The traditional ukuleles are made by using a different kind of tonewood for each component of the sound box (back, top, and sides).
Nowadays, the modern approach is a bit different. Today’s ukuleles are usually made with softwood for the top and hardwood for the sides and back.
There is a good reason for this. The softer wood on the top reverberates much better and the hardwood used for sides and back acts like sort of a reflector.
The difference between the sound of a modern uke and a traditional one is not so drastic but there are some individuals who lean towards the certain style more than another.
Types of tonewood
The most commonly used tonewood for ukuleles is Koa. This is due to the fact that there is a plenty of it in Hawaii, where the ukulele is first created. Today, the Koa is still most commonly used wood for ukes.
The second best choice is the mahogany. This is because of its tonal properties and thickness.
When it comes to softer tonewoods, spruce and cedar are amongst the most popular nowadays. However, there are also a lot of different woods used and you will see rosewood, basswood, walnut, etc.
There is no exact answer to the question which tonewood is ideal because that’s a thing of personal preference.
Types of ukuleles
Ukuleles come in many different shapes and sizes. According to the size and shape, they will have a different tone, volume, and projection.
The four main ukulele sizes are baritone, tenor, concert, and soprano.
Soprano is the smallest type of ukulele and also the most popular one. These are usually around 20 inches long. The sound that soprano ukulele produces is quite crisp and it doesn’t have much bass to it. This sound of soprano ukulele is mostly associated with ukuleles.
When it comes to concert ukulele, it’s just a bit larger than soprano uke. The main difference between these two is the longer neck on concert uke, which implies that it has more divided frets.
Most players lean towards the concert size because it’s not really that much bigger than soprano yet it’s much easier to play.
Bigger than concert is a tenor ukulele. Here, the size is a bit more prominent. A lot of professionals favor the tenor ukuleles over the smaller ones.
When it comes to tone, the tenor ukulele has a lot more bass which gives the uke’s tone some thickness. You can freely say that tenor ukulele has more of a guitar vibe.
Baritone ukuleles are not really that common. The size is similar to standard guitar size and the sound is not much different.
For the majority of players, baritone ukuleles are too big and have the least unique tone. If you just started playing the ukulele, we highly recommend that you stay away from baritone ukes.
Reviews of the best ukuleles for beginners
The Kala is one of the most popular brands of ukuleles in the world. This particular model is a bit smaller than the standard ukuleles making it ideal for children that are just starting to play.
Both body and neck of this uke are made of mahogany which really brings together an incredible sound and beautiful appearance.
This model will surprise you with its smooth yet intense tone. It’s also pretty loud and the volume is high enough so you can play it in a larger group of friends during the gatherings or beach parties.
Tuners are excellent and they hold the tune perfectly while the silk finish gives this uke an incredible outlook.
As a beginner, you will appreciate the fact that this ukulele keeps you motivated to continue practicing and it draws you to pick it up and play.
The KA-15S gives you an excellent value for your money. It’s made of mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard, which makes it durable and tough while remaining stylish.
If you are, by any chance, a professional player, you will most certainly see how good this instrument is for learners.
The string action is very low which makes it incredibly comfortable to play. The tuners are easy to use and tuning and changing the strings is incredibly simple.
Very cheap yet extremely good quality
Excellent value for the price
Easy to tune and holds the tune very good
Strings that come with it could be better
There is a great amount of positive feedback about this ukulele from the users. The Luna Honu Mahogany Concert Ukulele is just a little bit larger than soprano ukuleles.
It has a quite full tone and the neck is a bit longer. This is why most of the players with larger hands choose this model.
Another reason why people love this model is the easier access to a higher registry frets. It’s very playable model and it provides an excellent sound.
The frets are a bit more dispersed than on soprano ukes, which makes it just a bit easier to play with large hands and the design is quite welcoming.
Furthermore, this model is exceptionally strong and durable. Both neck and body are made of mahogany with a nice glossy silk finish. We can freely claim that the Luna Holu concert is one of the best concert ukuleles on the market today.
To be honest, this is an excellent choice, not only for the beginners but also for professionals alike.
Easy to play
Longer neck – dispersed frets
Nice glossy silk finish
A bit pricey
The Cordoba 15CM concert ukulele is yet another ukulele model with an awesome reputation. The abalone-style rosette and the geared tuners are what separate this uke from others. Nicely made neck and overall construction of this model really enhance the item.
This high-quality handmade uke features a lot of elements that make this instrument really fun to play. Sides, back, and top are made of sturdy mahogany and are all brought together nicely with a silk finish giving this uke an amazingly rich and full sound.
Both beginners and experts will appreciate the beautiful outlook and overall playability of this amazing instrument. This might be the best ukulele for beginners.
Furthermore, it comes with excellent Aquila Nylgut strings that sound amazing. Most of the beginners who have tried this uke will testify how amazing their learning process was with this one.
Very sturdy and durable
Needs a professional setup
This model is one of the oldest models and it’s still very popular. It’s made of high-quality eastern mahogany, it’s hand-made, it produces an incredible tone, and it features a geared tuners that hold the tune perfectly.
Beginners, but even the pros will appreciate the incredible tone this ukulele delivers. The tuners work perfectly. It’s extremely easy to tune the uke and it holds the tune nicely.
It’s also quite easy to play because of the low action that makes it very comfortable. This is especially useful for beginners since it requires less force to push the strings.
The ukulele comes with a guideline book which can be incredibly helpful during the learning process. It’s very easy to re-string and maintain.
This is one of the best soprano ukes for beginners. It has 12 frets and it produces deep and rich sound. Playing a 12-fret instrument also makes it very easy to transfer to another stringed instrument.
The fretboard is made of rosewood and it’s equipped with high-quality Aquila strings.
Furthermore, this instrument is absolutely symmetrical which makes it ideal for both left and right-handed players.
Deep and rich sound
Easy to play, re-string, and maintain
Comes with Aquila strings
Ideal for both left and right handed players
Some frets buzz
This is another great little ukulele. It’s small, but it’s excellent for both kids and adults. The neck and fingerboard are both made of rosewood which results in some fast neck action.
The ukulele comes with nice geared tuners on its headstock that will hold the tune nicely. The body of this uke features additional white highlights on the edges that give this instrument incredibly nice outlook.
The body is made of Nato (eastern mahogany) and it’s very sturdy and durable. The choice of tonewood also gives this uke a nice tone and affects positively overall playability. It has an articulated mid-range and smooth high-end.
This ukulele is perfect for players who want to improve their tonal palette and for the beginners who are about to embark on a ukulele journey.
The Lanikai LU-21 is very easy to learn and it comes with very helpful instruction book.
Great sound and tone
Sturdy and durable
Easy to learn
Strings could be better
Finding the best instrument to start learning is a very overwhelming process. Luckily, there are some instruments aimed towards the beginners and they really make the learning process much easier.
In our opinion, the best ukulele for beginners is the Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele. The concert size is a bit easier for learning because the frets are a bit more dispersed.
This particular concert model is affordable and it produces an excellent tone. It’s made of sturdy materials and it holds the tune perfectly. It even comes with an excellent Aquila strings. What more can you ask for from a ukulele for beginners?