Beginner Ukulele Two-Minute Shopping Guide
In a hurry? Here are my top beginner ukulele selections, organized by price range.
Unless you’re shopping for a toddler or a novelty gift, stay away from ukes in this price range. Most ukes under $20 are very poor quality and will barely function as a real instrument.
$20 to $30
A lot of the ukes in this range aren’t very good, but I think the following models are OK considering the price point.
Mahalo MR1-TBR (Amazon link)
While I can’t give this uke a ringing endorsement, I do feel they’re some of the better ukes to be found in this price range. If you’re on a super-tight budget, you could do worse than this uke.
Kala KA-15S (Amazon link)
Donner DUS-1 (Amazon link)
The DUS-1 is another very popular model on Amazon. It’s part of a package that includes a gig bag, tuner, extra strings, and strap.
$75 to $100(ish)
Cordoba 15CM (Amazon link)
Cordoba makes some of the nicest ukes in this price range when it comes to build quality, tone, and playability.
The 15CM is concert-sized uke, so it’s a bit bigger than the soprano ukes I mentioned in above. Larger ukes tend to have a warmer, fuller tone and may be a bit more comfortable for full-size people.
This uke is also available in a starter pack that includes a carrying bag and tuner.
Kala KA-C (Amazon link)
The KA-C is Kala’s most basic, budget-friendly concert uke. It’s a great, no-frills instrument that will grow with you as you progress.
$100 to $200
These concert-sized ukuleles have a solid spruce top, which means they’ll have a warmer, fuller tone than the laminate-top ukes found in lower price ranges. They’re pretty similar when it comes to quality and price, but their designs are a little different.
Oscar Schmidt OU5 Koa Uke (Amazon link)
While the build quality of the OU5 is about the same to the ukes in the $50 to $100 range, the OU5 is made using a more exotic wood (koa) and has an ornate abalone binding and rosette. It’s a great choice if you’re seeking something a bit more eye-catching.
If you’re interested in doing a little more research, check out the following articles on this site: