Beginner Ukulele Two-Minute Shopping Guide

In a hurry? Here are my top beginner ukulele selections, organized by price range.

Under $20

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 MR1TBR Soprano Ukulele - Brown

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.

The MR1 comes in a variety of vivid colors, including green, blue, pink, and even orange.

Mahalo Rainbow Series Ukuleles - All Colors

Around $50

Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele (Front View)

Kala KA-15S (Amazon link)

I’ve written an in-depth review of the KA-15S, but the takeaway is that it’s one of the best beginner uke values out there (and 1,700+ Amazon reviewers would seem to agree!)

Donner DUS-1 Soprano Ukulele (Front)

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 Concert Ukulele

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)

Kalal KA-C Concert Ukulele

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.

The KA-C is a top seller at the music store I help manage.

$100 to $200

Kala KA-SCG Solid Spruce Top Concert Ukulele

Cordoba 22C Solid Spruce Top Concert Ukulele

Kala KA-SCG and Cordoba 22C

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 Concert Ukulele

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.

More Info

If you’re interested in doing a little more research, check out the following articles on this site:

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