The ukulele is a fun and portable instrument that virtually anyone, from preschooler to older adult, can learn to play. Factors to consider when choosing the best ukuleles for beginners include size, sound, and value. This guide is designed to help you find the best ones to fit you and your budget.
Ukuleles come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The soprano ukulele is the smallest and is ideal for the youngest students. In addition to size, different woods and wood laminates affect the overall sound. Value is the ratio of quality vs. price.
10. Makala Dolphin Ukulele Bridge Soprano
If the price is your primary concern, check out the Kala MK-SD/PW Makala Dolphin Bridge Soprano. Kids will love the fun colors. The bridge is crafted in the shape of a dolphin and even has a googly eye. This entry-level instrument has an injection-molded body with an agathis wood laminate top and rosewood fretboard. Unlike many “toy” ukuleles in this price range, this item features real, geared tuners to keep you in sounding great. It is available from Amazon for $46.99 and includes a gig bag.
9. Oscar Schmidt OU2 Concert Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OU2 Concert Ukulele is another affordable option. It features a mahogany body and a bound mahogany neck. Every Oscar Schmidt ukulele is inspected and adjusted in the USA to ensure playability and resonance. Its ebony bridge stands out against the light satin finish. This instrument has chrome, geared tuners and smooth fret ends. It is available from Amazon for $69.20.
8. Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele
The Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele is a solid ukulele for a beginner. It is available on Amazon for $70.19. This instrument is handcrafted, and the body is made from Eastern Mahogany (Nato.) It features a rosewood fretboard and geared, pearlized tuning pegs. The white binding makes an elegant contrast to the somewhat dark body. You’ll enjoy its easy playability and crisp, clear sound. It is also available in a bundle with a polyfoam case and instruction booklet.
7. Kala KA-SE Mahogany Series Soprano Acoustic Electric Ukulele
If you know you want to make a lot of noise, consider the Kala KA-SE Mahogany Series Soprano Acoustic Electric Ukulele w/ EQ. It features built-In Kala UK-300-TR Electronics so you can directly plug into a computer for recording or into an amp to get heard. It has all the features of the Kala Mahogany Series such as the satin finish, rosewood fretboard, and white binding. The instrument sports a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle. The equalizer is easy to reach and adjust to fine-tune your sound. You can find it on Amazon for $119.99
6. Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Soprano Pineapple Ukulele
The Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Soprano Pineapple Ukulele definitely belongs on a “Best Ukuleles for Beginners” list. While many ukuleles have a shape similar to the guitar, this one features a different body style that looks like a pineapple. It features a mahogany body marked by a traditional, Hawaiian tattoo motif. The design on the Pineapple Ukulele is based on wave and shark teeth designs. This 21-inch soprano ukulele is stunning visually and offers a warm tone. It sells on Amazon for $64.99.
5. Cordoba 20BM Baritone Ukulele
For guitar players switching over to the ukulele, this Cordoba 20BM Baritone Ukulele is definitely one of the best ukuleles for beginners. It features a natural wood pattern rosette and a satin finish. While you can play the best ukuleles in a variety of tunings, this one comes pre-stringed in a popular tuning that matches the first four strings of the guitar. This instrument is a good value from Amazon at $146.11 for a solid wood baritone ukulele.
4. Kala KA-T Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
If you cringe at the idea of a high-pitched, tinny and twangy sounding ukulele, the Kala KA-T Mahogany Tenor Ukulele may be the one for you. It features a mahogany body with a rosewood fretboard. This tenor ukulele produces a rich and robust tone with crisp highs and mellow low notes. The tuners are chrome die-cast with sealed gears. Available from Amazon at $119.99, this instrument is a good value due to its quality construction that produces a beautiful sound and will last for years. This is also an excellent choice for beginning ukulele players who have larger hands.
3. Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele
If looks are important, check out the Tattoo Series of ukuleles from Mahogany. They are quality-constructed ukuleles with laser engraving based on traditional Polynesian tattoos. The Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele features a solid spruce top with a Heart Song rosette. The main material for the back, sides, and neck is mahogany. The design on the Tattoo Concert model is inspired on a Hawaiian turtle. The larger, 23-inch body produces a fuller sound than the soprano uke. This ukulele is available from Amazon for $99.
2. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
For a traditional ukulele sound, the Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele is a good beginner instrument. You can find it on Amazon for a sale price of $99. It features a mahogany body and ivory binding on the body and fretboard. The body sports an abalone rosette and a sleek satin finish. Silver tuners and pearl buttons add to the elegant look. It sports a rosewood fretboard and bridge and comes with Aquila Nylgut strings. In addition, it’s one of the best concert ukuleles you can find at an affordable price.
1. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Many professional music instructors consider this one of the best ukuleles for beginners, if not the best. The Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele is an exceptional value, selling on Amazon for $54.99. This instrument features a mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. It has position marks at the 5th, 7th, and 10th frets. The ukulele arrives fully strung with Premium Aquila Nylgut strings. It is also available in a starter kit that consists of an Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, gig bag, clip-on tuner, and polishing cloth. Therefore, it’s quite possibly the best soprano ukulele on the market.
You have many options when choosing a beginner ukulele. If you truly just want to learn, you can find a quality instrument for as low as $50. The acoustics are amazing, and their charm can be fully enjoyed outdoors as well. You can take some of these best ukuleles for beginners on a camping trip and relax as you play swinging on a comfortable portable hammock. Do you have a favorite ukulele that we didn’t mention? Feel free to ask questions or post comments below.