For the first time ukulele buyer, the options available can be overwhelming. Ukuleles come in a number of different sizes and tunings and can vary wildly in price. It can be difficult to work out exactly what the beginner ukulele player should look for when buying a ukulele. This article will give you a few tips on what to look out for and how to make your choice.
How Much Does A Beginner Ukulele Cost?
There are some very cheap ukuleles available (less than twenty dollars), these ukuleles aren’t really suitable for someone who is serious about learning the ukulele. They’re really only toys. If you do buy one of these, it’s likely you’ll experience problems in tuning the ukulele and intonation. If this happens, you’ll probably get discouraged by how you sound and your lack of progress (even though the problem isn’t yours).
Spending fifty to one hundred dollars will get you a much more playable ukulele. As well as sounding better, it will feel better to play. Having a nice ukulele will encourage you to play more often.
Which Size Ukulele Should I Buy?
There are four main sizes of ukulele. They are, in ascending order of size, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. It can be difficult to tell which ukulele is most suitable for a beginner.
In general, I’d recommend that players start on a soprano ukulele. It is the traditional and most common size of ukulele. It is also the most suitable for playing chords (which is where most people begin).
Larger ukuleles, such as the tenor, are becoming increasingly popular for beginners (thanks to their use by professional players such as Jake Shimabukuro). However, they are more suited to advanced solo ukulele playing rather than beginner strumming.
What are the Best Makes of Ukulele?
Some of the most popular brands for beginner ukuleles are Lanikai (used by Zach Condon from Beirut), Oscar Schmidt (used by American Idol’s Jason Castro) and Kala.
Get more advice on how to buy a ukulele.
Al Wood writes at Ukulele Hunt about the Lanikai ukulele and Kala ukulele.