The Best Ukulele Accessories
One of the great things about the ukulele is that you don't need much to get started.
Of course, there are a few items that can make things a little easier for you, especially when you're getting started. Here are my recommendations for the best ukuleles accessories.
Here's a quick run down of the products covered in this article. I talk about each one in more detail below.
- Snark clip-on tuner (a must-have!)
- Hard case or padded gig bag
- The Daily Ukulele songbook
- Kala "Stand Out" wooden ukulele stand
- Ingles SA-20 heavy-duty metal ukulele stand
- Aquila ukulele strings
- Felt ukulele picks
Snark Clip-On Tuner
If you buy only one accessory for your ukulele, get a clip-on tuner!
Tuning a ukulele (and keeping it in tune) can be tricky even for advanced players. A good tuner will save tons of time and frustration.
Of all the tuners I've used over the years, Snark clip-on tuners are without a doubt the best.
Snark tuners grab the note quickly and don't waver around like many other clip-on tuners I've used. They also have a bright, colorful display that's easy to read regardless of lighting.
Another perk is that Snark tuners are all chromatic. This means that they can "hear" any note and can be used to tuner other stringed instruments like guitars, mandolines, and banjos.
Best of all, it's cheap! Most Snark tuners are around $10 online.
Some Snark tuners are marketed as being specifically made for guitar, ukulele, violin, etc. Don't worry about this! All of Snark's tuners will work with any acoustic instrument.
Snark makes a few other models with advanced capabilities (like pitch calibration) but most people will never need these features.
Hard Case or Gig Bag
A ukulele case isn't necessary for everybody, but it's good idea if you plan to travel or tote your uke around town.
A gig bag is padded soft case that zips up around your instrument. Gig bags are lightweight and often have backpack straps, which are great for carrying your uke on a bike.
A decent gig bag will protect your uke against everyday bumps, but it won't prevent a uke from getting crushed.
Kala makes nice gig bags that start at around $20. Just make sure you get the right size for your uke!
Hardshell cases offer the most protection, but they are bigger and heavier than gig bags. They also tend to be much more expensive, usually around $40 and up.
Despite the higher price, it's hard to beat the classic look and extra protection of a hard case. Musician's Gear makes a great hard case that's simple, high quality, and affordable.
If you want something with more of a retro vibe, check out a vintage tweed case.
Ukulele hard case sizing can vary a bit depending on the manufacturer. For example, one company's concert case might be slightly bigger or smaller than a concert case from another company.
Read reviews and customer questions before buying to make sure your case will fit, or, better yet, visit a local music store with your uke and ask to try some cases.
The Daily Ukulele Songbook
This book has songs ranging in difficulty from beginner to intermediate, and with 365 arrangements there plenty of tunes to fit any player's taste.
The Daily Ukulele features a number of old jazz standards and show tunes, but it also has a great selection of oldies, Christmas songs, and more.
It's a sure-fire book for any player wanting to broaden their horizons and grow their song list.
A ukulele stand might not seem all that important, but most players quickly learn how important it is to have a safe, sturdy place to store their uke when it's not in use.
Using a stand is much safer than leaning your uke against the wall or laying it on the couch, floor, or bed. Trust me, it's easier than you think forget about your uke and sit or step on your beloved instrument!
Kala makes an elegant product called the Stand Out (pictured above). It has a minimal, modern design and a mahogany veneer to match any instrument. Plus, it folds up for travel or playing out.
My personal top choice for a ukulele stand is the Ingles SA-20. The SA-20 is marketed as a violin stand but it also works perfectly for ukulele.
In addition to its heavy-duty construction, the SA-20 has a locking yoke that will ensure your ukulele won't fall out if brushed by kids or pets.
It's a little more money than other ukulele stands, but the Ingles is quality product that will last for years.
Aquila Nylgut Ukulele Strings
Aquila strings have a warm, rich, sweet tone that can make any ukulele sound better. If your ukulele doesn't have a set, it's definitely worth giving Aquilas a shot.
And if your ukulele already has Aquilas, it never hurts to have an extra set of strings on hand. It's no fun when you break a string and have to run out and buy a new set or wait for one to arrive in the mail.
Each ukulele size requires a different string set, so make sure you get strings that are right for your instrument. The most common ukulele sizes are soprano, concert, and tenor.
Felt Ukulele Picks
Most people strum a ukulele with their fingers, but it can be fun to experiment with picks. A ukulele pick provides extra precision and will offer a different sound than your fingertips.
In my opinion, the best ukulele picks are made of felt. Felt picks are much softer than traditional plastic picks, so they produce a sweeter, more mellow tone.
A ukulele pick isn't a must-have accessory, but it's a neat way to mix things up. Bolo makes the popular 3-pack of felt ukulele picks pictures above.