Clear and loud sound with a really nice tone. Excellent quality neck, fretboard, and body. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge provide comfort. Comes with a top-rate case, extra strings, and capo.
Requires frequent tunings when you're playing.
Made from maple, with fingerboard and bridge made of rosewood. Premium Italian Aquila Nylgut strings provide high-quality sound. A sturdy instrument with decent sound. Accessories pack includes a strap, picks, and a gig bag.
Some customers say this option doesn't stay in tune well, while others point to scattered defects involving the frets, tuning pegs, and other parts of the instrument.
Has a smooth sound and nice resonance. High-quality instrument made of mahogany. Strings are soft, smooth, and easy to tune. Accessories kit includes strings, picks, a tuner, strap, and case. Great look.
Some buyers report durability issues with the pegs, strings, and other parts of this ukulele.
Advanced carbon nylon strings provide accurate tone. Nice loud sound. Made of durable mahogany. Comes with a beginner's kit that includes a gig bag, tuner, strap, and instructions booklet. Good price for a well-made instrument.
Some reports of this ukulele arriving missing some parts. Some of these models have trouble staying in tune.
Choice of vintage ukulele styles. The strings that come on it are top class. Great sound, and stays in tune well. Learn to Play kit includes a tuner, tote bag, and an app. Includes free online lessons. Easy to play.
Quality of the app isn't up to standards that you can find for free on sites such as YouTube. Some reports of this option arriving broken.
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Ukuleles are small, four-stringed instruments that are highly portable and easy to learn. If you’re considering purchasing a ukulele, you should consider which size is right for you and what style suits you best, as not all ukuleles look or play the same.
The four main types of ukulele are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The soprano is the most popular size and is what most people picture when they think of a ukulele. The concert and tenor are slightly larger, both tuned to C like the soprano. The largest ukulele size is the baritone, which is tuned to D. Ukuleles are either made of solid wood or plywood covered with a wood laminate. The type of wood will determine the look and sound of the instrument and is a large determiner in price.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced ukulele player, you should carefully consider which size is right for you and what style suits you. Continue reading to learn more about the factors to consider when looking for a ukulele.
You'll find four main varieties of ukulele: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Each has its own properties and is designed with its own sound and uses.
Soprano: Measuring roughly 21 inches from end to end, the soprano is the smallest ukulele. This is the traditional size for this instrument, so it gives you that classic, bright sound you expect from a uke. Due to its small size, it isn't extremely loud, and it can be tricky to play if you have large hands. Soprano ukes are usually tuned to regular C (G-C-E-A), but are also tuned to D (A-D-F#-B).
Concert: These ukuleles are slightly larger than sopranos, about 23 inches long. This marginally larger size makes them louder (and hence more suitable for concerts) and easier to play while still retaining the traditional ukulele sound. These ukes are often tuned like soprano models (regular C and D).
Tenor: At approximately 26 inches long, tenor ukes are the second largest variety. Although they're usually tuned to regular C, like soprano and concert ukes, these have a slightly deeper tone. That means they don't retain that really typical ukulele sound. That said, they do still sound recognizable as ukuleles and are popular among professional players as their larger frets make them less fiddly to play.
Ukuleles are either made from solid wood or wood laminate (plywood) with wood veneer to give it a solid wood appearance. Solid wood ukuleles give you an undeniably better sound, but they're also significantly more expensive. That said, unless you've got money to burn, a laminate uke will suffice for your average beginner or intermediate player, or anyone who just wants to play the ukulele for fun at home or with friends.
“Tonewood” is a term used to describe a wood used to make ukuleles (or other musical instruments). The type of wood used to make the uke affects its tone.
Spruce: An inexpensive wood, spruce is usually found on the less expensive solid wood ukuleles. It has a fairly dynamic mid-range sound and an accentuated top end.
Cedar: Since it isn’t as dense as other tonewoods, cedar is sensitive to light strumming and plucking and has excellent harmonics.
Mahogany: Another popular choice, mahogany gives you a rounded top end, a rich midrange, and a full low end. It's also a more affordable option than koa, generally found on mid-level ukes.
The overall build quality of a ukulele is important. A poorly made uke is unlikely to stand up to regular use. On the other hand, a well-constructed instrument should last you for years to come with very few issues even if you play daily. We'd recommend looking at the quality of the hardware (such as the bridge and tuning pegs) because these are often the first things to break on a ukulele of lesser quality. Metal tuning pegs tend to last longer than plastic. Bridges are generally made of plastic, but these should be sturdy and not flimsy.
It's worth thinking about any accessories you might need to go with your ukulele. While you don't really need anything other than the uke itself to start playing, you may find some accessories useful.
Tuner: Unless you can already tune by ear, an electric tuner is extremely useful to make sure each string is tuned to the correct note.
Bag or case: You might also want a gig bag or hard case to make it easier to transport your instrument from one place to another and to offer some protection from knocks and scrapes.
You definitely don't need to take out a loan to start playing the ukulele – it's one of the least expensive instruments around. That said, if you want a professional-quality instrument, you'll have to shell out a significant amount. You can find ukuleles that cost between $20 and $3,000.
Soprano ukuleles cost from $20 for extremely basic models to $1,000 for professional-quality instruments. You can find excellent mid-range ukes that will suit even the most avid of recreational players for $100 to $200.
Concert ukuleles start at around $40 and go all the way up to $1,500 and more for high-end professional instruments. We wouldn't recommend paying below $60 to $70 if you want a model that will last.
Tenor ukuleles can cost as little as $40 to $50 for the cheapest beginner models, but $60 to $100 will get you something a bit more solid. The most expensive tenor ukes cost in excess of $3,000, but they're overkill for most players.
Decide if you want a ukulele starter kit. Some ukuleles come with a range of accessories included, so you have everything you need to get started. While these sets can offer value for money, the instruments are usually basic and may not be of the best quality.
Pick a size of ukulele. If you have large hands, you might find the smaller soprano and concert ukes too tricky to play.
Choose what strings you'd like to use. You can buy ukulele strings of different thicknesses and materials, all of which change the sound of your instrument slightly. If you're not sure what you favor, you'll have to experiment.
Q. What kind of music can you play on a ukulele?
A. Ukuleles are Hawaiian instruments, so they pair perfectly with Hawaiian music, but the fun doesn't stop there. Bands and musical artists of all genres have used the ukulele in their music, from the inimitable indie songwriter Amanda Palmer to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. No matter what sort of music you're into, you can play it on a uke!
Q. Can you plug a ukulele into an amplifier?
A. Traditionally, ukuleles are acoustic instruments, meaning you can't amplify their sound unless you buy and fit a separate pickup. However, you can find some electro-acoustic ukuleles that have all the relevant wiring and hardware to be plugged into an amplifier of your choosing.
Q. What resources are available to help me learn to play the ukulele?
A. While there's no substitute for face-to-face ukulele lessons with a professional teacher, you'll find plenty of resources available to help you learn if you want to go it alone. Not only are there lots of instructional videos and web pages dotted around the internet but you can also buy books and DVDs on the subject.
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