Choosing the right ukulele for you can be really difficult, no matter how many other instruments you have played in the past. Even though they look like mini guitars, ukuleles are very different, which is why some people struggle to find the best ukulele for beginners.
Rather than spending money on a ukulele, only to find out that it is not the best option for you, you can rely on this guide to help you make an informed decision.
These reviews of the 10 best ukuleles for beginners will help you make an easy and informed choice. By giving you all of the information that you need about each ukulele, as well as the pros and cons that you will experience, we make it easy for you to choose the right one for you.
We will cover two important questions each ukulele newbie asks (including myself):
What is the best ukulele for a beginner?
What are best ukulele brands for beginners?
1) Best Ukulele for Beginners: Lohanu Concert Ukulele
This is yet another high-quality beginner ukulele and ships with a few different accessories to make getting started playing fast and easy. The mix of sapele and mahogany on the sides, top, and back of this instrument produce a gorgeous ukulele that feels very solid.
One interesting design feature of this ukulele is that it has an arched back, which results in a fuller sound as well as longer sustain. The neck and fingerboard are both made from rosewood, which ensures great play for beginners.
The neck, fingerboard, and body all have ABS binding that is handmade. One thing that is unusual is that this ukulele has two buttons for straps. Many players don’t use a strap when playing the ukulele, and so many of these instruments don’t have them.
Conclusion: Strap buttons give musicians a choice to sit down or to stand up when they are playing their instrument, and they are something that you should look for if you already know that you want to wear a strap.
Accessories included in this bundle include a pick holder, gig bag, tuner, two picks, and a strap. Of course, the strings are Aquila, which means that you can expect a great sound from the ukulele and will enjoy the soft feel of these strings.
Lohanu Concert Ukulele is definitely one of the best ukulele brands for beginners.
2) Kala 4-String Ukulele Learn To Play Starter Kit
This is a great little ukulele with a high soprano tone that sounds clear and bright. Because Kala Ukulele is known for producing some of the best instruments in the world, it stands to reason that they would produce a contender for the best ukulele for beginners.
Soprano ukuleles are incredibly common as well as small. They have tight frets and short scales. This particular ukulele is made from mahogany and has a rosette that is laser-etched to decorate the soundhole, which makes it a beautiful instrument.
The satin finish and NuBone saddle and nut add to the beauty and the sound quality of this ukulele. Many people prefer mahogany ukuleles, not only because the wood is beautiful and adds visual appeal to the instrument, but also because the wood sounds great. The lovely tone is very inspiring and will encourage beginners to practice more.
Conclusion: One great thing about this particular ukulele is that it is shipped as part of a kit. It comes with a tuner on a free Kala app, a tote bag, online lessons, and even a booklet to help you get started coaxing great tunes from your new instrument right away.
Not only does this ukulele have a great sound, but it is very attractive, and the wood grain on the mahogany makes the ukulele look expensive. So we can definitely conclude that Kala is one of the best ukulele brand for beginners.
3) Kala KA-CEM Exotic Mahogany Concert Ukulele
Beginners who are interested in owning a Kala ukulele, but who want something that is a little bigger than a soprano may be interested in this ukulele. The larger size makes it great for anyone looking for something with more heft to it, and the bright blue color is gorgeous.
The mahogany chosen for this ukulele ensures a beautiful tone when the instrument is played. Unlike other ukuleles that show off the grain of the wood, this one features a bright blue finish that is attractive.
Less expensive ukuleles tend to have slower action, which makes them more difficult to play. This Kala ukulele, however, has a fast action, and since the strings are so high-quality, you will sound great when playing.
Conclusion: While this is a wonderful instrument for musicians to learn on, it’s not considered a beginner ukulele, which is why it doesn’t ship with all of the extras that you may expect from your purchase.
This means that if you buy this ukulele, you need to be prepared to purchase the necessary accessories, including a case. The gorgeous appearance of this ukulele as well as how easy it is to play, make it a great option for a lot of musicians.
4) Cordoba 15cm Concert Ukulele
Just like Kala, Cordoba is a highly respected company that manufacturers amazing ukuleles. They offer a wide variety of different sizes of ukuleles, but this popular option that they make is a concert ukulele.
With mahogany used in constructing the sides, top, and back of this instrument, you are sure to get the clear and bright tone that you expect from a ukulele, but the rosewood fingerboard really sets this instrument apart.
While this ukulele sounds and looks amazing, it does have a higher action that can make it difficult to play on this instrument. The higher action can make advanced musicians struggle to play the ukulele, and this means that beginners will have an even more difficult time.
There are some musicians who prefer instruments with higher actions, however, and if you do, then this is a wonderful option that is worth considering.
Conclusion: Even though it may be a bit more difficult to play, this ukulele is incredibly gorgeous. The mahogany construction is perfect and features ivoroid binding. Located on the body and on the fingerboard, this binding makes the ukulele feel a little old-world.
Because you can see the bright wood grain of the mahogany, it’s easy to see how gorgeous this instrument really is.
5) Cordoba Guitars 20cm Ukulele
This 20 cm concert ukulele is large enough to offer plenty of power and control to the musician who is playing on it, but not everyone appreciates that larger size or thinks that it is a good idea in a ukulele.
The simple beauty of this instrument makes it really stand out. Not only does it look great, but it features great attention to detail. The construction of mahogany sides, back, and top are finished with a satin finish. This results in a natural and earthy appearance.
The rosewood of the bridge and fingerboard feel natural and comfortable while playing. Like most other great ukuleles, this instrument ships with Aquila strings. The larger size of this ukulele means that it is not only able to produce more volume than smaller ukuleles, but it also has more low-end tones.
Of course, the low-end tone that this ukulele can produce is relative to its size, so beginners shouldn’t expect incredibly deep tones. However, the larger size does ensure deeper bass tones that are incredibly clear.
Conclusion: This is a wonderful instrument for musicians who are comfortable on a guitar and are looking for a ukulele that will be easy for them to transition to using. It plays similar to a guitar due to its size, but it is a great starter ukulele.
6) Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Kala has produced yet another all-mahogany ukulele that is finished in a rich stain to accentuate the grain of the wood.
Just like other ukuleles that are made from mahogany, this ukulele has a bright and warm tone, but also is very full-bodied and produces plenty of volume, which is great for performing in a crowd.
This ukulele is great not only for practicing at home but also for performing and for playing in a classroom. It’s one of the most commonly used school ukuleles around the world. This speaks in part to the great sound quality that it produces but also how durable and easy it is to play.
Schools love that this ukulele is affordable, high-quality, and great for beginners. In fact, it was developed specifically for school use, and it still is the top ukulele in this regard.
The Aquila Super Nylgut strings on this ukulele are incredible both for advanced musicians as well as for beginners. They are a popular choice on ukuleles because they aren’t difficult to play on and produce a great sound, no matter your skill level.
Conclusion: The bridge and fingerboard of this ukulele are made from walnut, but the rest of the construction is mahogany. With 12 brass frets as well as a GraphTech Nubone Nut, Kala spared no attention to detail when designing this ukulele.
Unfortunately, it ships alone, without a tuner, bag or beginning book, which means that you will have to do some more shopping to buy everything that you need. Read our complete Kala KA-15S Ukulele Review.
7) Lanikai Soprano Ukulele Starter Bundle Kit
This is another great soprano ukulele by Lanikai, but it is made completely from Nato, not mahogany. This is a great option for ukuleles, but it does result in an instrument that has a slightly different tone. The tone is sweet, but not what you expect from a mahogany ukulele.
ortant to remember that the difference in tone isn’t always a bad thing and that it is up to each ukulele player to decide what tone is best for them. Nato instruments, in general, are less expensive than ones made from mahogany. This doesn’t mean that they are going to have a lower quality tone.
While ukuleles aren’t every really heavy, Nato is a lighter wood than mahogany, and this is reflected in the weight of this instrument. This usually isn’t something that most people are worried about, but it is something that you may want to take into consideration.
Conclusion: The Aquila Nylgut strings on this instrument are gentle on the fingers and sound great.
This ukulele is relatively loud, which allows players to showcase the woody and mellow tone of the instrument. Since the tuners are high-quality, it’s easy to keep the ukulele in tune and to showcase the broad range that this one has.
8) Ukulele Starter Kit By Bondi
Probably the most popular thing about this ukulele kit is that it comes with Skype lessons. This is an incredible idea and one that really sets Bondi apart from other ukulele manufacturers today.
Most companies simply prepare a guide to help beginners get started, but Bondi has taken it further and made it possible for new ukulele players to get professional help from a real teacher.
Accessing your coach is easy, as long as you have a Skype account and a good internet connection. This will allow you to connect with your new teacher and start learning how to play. The best thing is that these Skype lessons are free.
The ukulele has Aquila strings and is made from a mixture of various hardwoods and mahogany. It has a sweet and clear sound that is perfect for recording, as long as you have a simple mic.
Conclusion: Thanks to the note stickers on the fretboard, it’s easy for beginners to start learning their fingering. Since they remove easily, there isn’t any problem with taking them off once you have learned all of your notes.
In addition to the instrument and the lessons, this kit ships with a bag, a leather strap, tuner, felt picks, cleaning cloth, and even more. It features everything that you need to start playing the ukulele right away, which makes it a wonderful choice for beginners.
9) Donner Mahogany Concert Ukulele Set for Beginners
This is yet another wonderful ukulele that beginners may want to consider.
The neck, top, side, and back of this ukulele are all made from mahogany. This means that this ukulele has a deep and rich sound that so many people have come to expect and appreciate about this instrument.
With a rosewood fingerboard, musicians won’t ever have to worry about their fingers getting tired when playing. While the strings are nylon, they are not Aquila, which is surprising since this seems to be the industry standard for ukuleles.
Anytime other strings are used, there is a concern of sound distortion and lower quality tone. Donner did include an extra set of strings with this ukulele in case the original ones break, but again, they are not Aquila strings.
Conclusion: Thanks to the quality tuning pegs and the included tuner, it’s fairly easy for beginners to make sure that they are in tune when playing. Additionally, this ukulele ships with a great gig bag that can be carried or worn on the back.
It also includes picks and an adjustable strap. All things considered, this ukulele ships with a number of great items that make it a wonderful choice for beginners to consider.
It’s incredibly affordable, which means that musicians who want to think about upgrading their strings or buying more picks can easily do so without going over budget.
10) Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag
Anyone who is a fan of tribal tattoos will want to consider this great ukulele from Luna. The unique and distinct tattoo design on the ukulele consists of symbols of waves and birds as well as shapes and other patterns.
Continuing with the theme and decoration, this ukulele has fret markers that look like shark teeth.
The sides, top, and back of the ukulele are made from mahogany, which gives this instrument its warm and resonating sound. The rosewood fingerboard keeps the sound and tone from being too heavy and is very easy for musicians to play on.
Conclusion: Thanks to the Aquila Super Nylgut strings, this ukulele not only sounds great, but it is easy on the hands. Unlike lower quality strings that produce a plunking sound and are dull and uninspired, these strings are designed to produce incredible sounds every time they are played.
The gig bag has padding along the sides and at the back, which ensures that the ukulele is always safe when in storage or travel. This is great for musicians who want to be able to take their ukulele on the road with them, but who are worried about preventing damage.
Best Ukuleles for Beginners Buying Guide: What do you need to know?
Most people know that ukuleles are originally from Hawaii and that they have a bright and cheery sound when played. They are a traditional instrument, but one that is gaining popularity all around the world, thanks to its warm sound and the cheeriness that it brings to music, especially when compared with guitars.
Before we reveal the best ukulele for beginners from this list, it’s important that you have a few tips to make it as easy as possible to buy a great instrument when you’re shopping. Knowing what you are looking at and how to compare ukuleles will reduce the stress you feel when shopping.
1) How to choose the right ukulele size for beginners
Ukuleles come in four different sizes, so understanding each one is important. These sizes, from largest to smallest are: baritone uke, tenor, concert, and soprano. It’s best to choose the size that you feel most comfortable playing, as there really isn’t a size that is best for all beginners.
Trying out a few sizes and feeling which one fits well with your body and which one produces the sound that you like is important. Even though adults can choose from all four sizes easily, children are much better off using a soprano ukulele because they are so much smaller.
Adults generally tend to choose a tenor, while older children opt for concert ukuleles.
The most important thing is to choose a ukulele that is comfortable to hold and to play and that produces the sound that you desire.
2) Ukulele Wood types
Most commonly ukuleles in Hawaii are made from Koa wood. This is the original wood used in the construction of these instruments and is what provides them with the true ukulele sound that people expect.
The problem is that it is fairly inexpensive and therefore not used very often on beginning ukuleles. Mahogany is another great option that provides a beautiful sound.
Even though it has a softer and warmer sound than Koa, it is a great option for beginners due to its lower price tag making it so much more affordable. Additionally, you may find ukuleles that are made from Nato and even spruce.
3) The Budget for beginners
Beginners are often worried about the cost of their instrument, as they do not want to overspend accidentally. Rather than looking for the least expensive instrument on the market, it’s much better to shop for one that is affordable and will offer you the quality of tone that you desire.
Ukuleles around $75 often meet these needs.
There are many ukuleles in this list of 10 great options that are around this price point. It’s also possible to find some ukulele kits that include everything a musician needs to get started playing for around $75, which makes them a great and affordable option.
Final thoughts on the best ukulele for beginners
While there are some incredible ukulele options on this list, the winner of the best ukulele for beginners is the Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit. One thing that really sets this purchase apart is that Bondi includes not only an incredible ukulele in their kit but also everything else that a beginner needs to get started.
It’s a highly affordable option for beginners. What is really impressive is that it includes Skype lessons for the buyer. Being able to have one-on-one time with a qualified teacher can really help a new ukulele player improve their skills quickly.
These free lessons are sure to help any budding musician learn the ropes of playing the ukulele and feel confident in their ability to start playing and performing right away.