The Ukulele is a fun, sweet and melodious instrument, in fact, one of the basic musical instruments that you can quickly learn and get comfortable playing. Perhaps the best thing about these is their size – they can be your perfect travel companions, you can take them on a hike with you, or as you set out on a dream date on a pre-book gondola in Venice, the Ukulele can be the perfect complement to the sunset.
However, when it comes to choosing the best ukelele, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as the other instruments. You need to put in a certain thought and effort to know what you are getting into.
But don’t panic! Here’s where I’ll help, I’ve listed down the best ukelele’s in the markets today and put up a buying guide that’ll help you make the informed choice.
Selection of the Top 10 Ukuleles for 2018
|Image||Product||Type||Rating||Buy on Amazon!|
|Hricane Concert UKS-1, 23inch||Concert|
|Hricane Soprano UKS-1, 21inch||Soprano|
|Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu||Concert|
|Donner Mahogany DUC-1, 23 inch||Concert|
|Donner Mahogany DUS-1 21 inch||Soprano|
|Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano||Soprano|
|AKLOT Solid Mahogany 23 Inch||Concert|
|Kala Learn To Play Starter Kit||Soprano|
|ADM 21" Soprano Wood Starter Pack||Soprano|
|ADM 21" Economic Soprano||Soprano|
Types of Ukulele
Let me first take you through some basic types of the ukulele before we jump to the ukulele reviews. Just like the guitars, pianos, in fact almost all other types of musical instruments, these Ukuleles come in a variety of sizes, and with different volumes, tones and projection. Here are the four basic types of Ukuleles:
Starting from the smallest ukulele, the Soprano is the most popular of all. This is due to its size – 20 inches approx. – and the quality of sound. It gives a nice and sharp tone but doesn’t have much of the bass.
The Concert differs from the Soprano mainly by its long neck. This is a good starter set for people just exploring their inner musician and is really easy to play. Thanks to the long neck, the frets are farther spaced out and that gives it a better sound quality.
Tenor Ukulele – Pro
Here onwards we have the professional ukuleles. These are bigger than the former two and the tone varies significantly from them too.
The Tenor sounds a bit thicker with better bass and is great for hitting those low tones.
These are easily distinguished by their size. You can say they are about as large as the guitars and sound quite like the guitar too. However, the Baritone is designed for the professionals who can take better control of the instrument and sound quality.
Review of the Best Ukeleles
I’ll start with my all time favorite and the best Ukelele, the Hricane Concert Ukulele UKS-1. This Hawaiian built, professional ukulele comes with the sleekest nylon strings and a solid construction. You’ll be able to make sweet, warm and deep music thanks to the Sapele neck and body that helps produce quality and rich undertones.
Very durable, light in weight and complete with the quality gig bag that comes with straps for ease of carrying, the ukulele is a piece of art you’d fall in love with at first sight. The quality brass frets are placed at a nice distance that makes playing the instrument as easy as can be.
Plus, it comes with a thirty-day money back guarantee and a year-long seller’s guarantee for all kinds of defects.
2.- Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1, 21inch Professional Ukulele
The best ukulele for beginners would be the Hricane Soprano Ukulele UKS-1. In fact, I wouldn’t just recommend this to those new to the instrument, but even for professionals who love the sound of the Soprano, this is the best one you can get.
Built solid and made to last, this one too has the Sapele neck and body that gives you quality and sharp sounds. There are four nylon strings that make playing the instrument super easy; so if you are a beginner, it won’t be long before you’re running your fingers through the frets like a pro.
Speaking of fingers – and here’s my favorite part – the ukulele has a rosewood fingerboard that makes it extra smooth and non-tiring for the hands. You can go hours twirling through it, trust me.
Plus, you needn’t worry about tuning or losing out on the sound quality with this one. The ukulele comes with the chrome-plated tuners that keep it tuned and smooth at all times.
3.- Ukulele Concert Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-C)
Next up, the Ukulele Concert Size bundle by Lohanu comes as a complete set you’d absolutely love. It is one of the best ukuleles in the markets today and comes with the tuner, case, straps, picks and even the pick holder and not to forget an extra set of the Aquila strings!
I love everything about it; the size, the sound quality, the making, etc. It’s made from the mahogany so if you are looking for a more affordable option, then this one’s TOO good. The frets are placed at wide distances, that comes as a benefit with the long neck, and that makes it really easy for the player to get accustomed to playing.
The best thing about this that also sets it apart from the others is that it comes with the Aquila strings readily installed in place! If you are an expert you’d know just what this means – these strings are amazing and literally the BEST in town. Plus you get an extra set!
If you are more into the traditional sounds and looks, I’ve got just the one you need; The Donner Concert Ukulele DUC-1. While it will give you the great sound and just the traditional feel you are looking for, quality is not compromised at all.
Made from the Mahogany wood, it has a solid inside-out construction and produces rich and bright tones. This one too is available as a set and comes with the tuner, gig bag and strap, and carbon nylon strings. The frets tune up nicely and even though it comes with a very attractive price tag, there’s nothing that’s the low quality about it.
Enjoy smooth and even tones and set yourself up for the evening.
Another one of favorites is the Donner Soprano Ukulele DUS-1. This one’s a high quality, solid and durable style that comes with 15 brass frets. The carbon nylon strings are of the top Japanese quality that produce nice, sweet music that’ll definitely make your day.
Also part of the package is the bag, tuner, and strap. The ukulele is made from the mahogany wood that makes it a solid and high-quality instrument. The best thing about it is that you can easily change the strings, and play your favorite tunes with ease.
Plus, it’s REALLY comfortable; just a few strokes along the strings and you’ll see how easily your fingers glide through. The fingerboard is made to be ultimately comfortable, best for a smooth action.
Other Quality Brands
As people explored their love for musical instruments, many brands came out with their own unique and quality ukuleles.
We have discussed the top 10 in our guide above, here are some of the best ukeleles brands you may want to take a look at:
With the Motto ‘Makes me happy’, the Lanikai instruments are available in a wide range of sizes, quality, and styles. Whether you are just getting started with your love of ukuleles or are an experienced composer, there’s something that’ll go with your persona here.
The prices range according to the types and quality of the ukuleles, but the beginner models of Lanikai seem to have attracted a wider audience.
Maholo specializes in Ukuleles; it’s more of their forte you can say. Many of the professional musicians and expert ukulele players strongly vouch for the brand. The most popular ukuleles by Maholo are the beginner ukuleles. These are stylish, sleek and great in quality and hence quite lasting and the top favorite of many.
Hola! Manufactures really nice beginner level ukuleles, however, as a brand, it doesn’t seem to have done enough to its name. People prefer the instruments due to their attractive price and design. The brand may not be the top rated professional kind, but makes good stuff that is very affordable as compared to the other brands.
Key Considerations for Buying a Ukulele
When it comes to getting a Ukulele for the first time or when you are thinking to move up to the professional models, you simply cannot go pick out the first one that pops right up.
It’s always better to do your homework! There are a number of things you need to consider; the size, the wood, quality, your budget, brand name, to name a few. Here I will tell you about the key elements you need to know in order to make the right purchase:
As discussed above, you have four main size categories for these Ukuleles: Soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. While most enthusiasts prefer these especially the tenor and sopranos, there’s the latest category that’s also been added, the ‘Sopranissimo’.
This is even smaller in size as compared to the Soprano i.e. about 16 inches, and that makes it ideal for beginners.
Plus, the sound quality and tone are about as good as the soprano itself. So it’s a win-win in both ways.
The Concert is the midsized ukulele with a longer neck that distinguishes it from the others. The neck enables the user to handle the instrument better. The frets are at a wider distance and it produces a clear, loud yet, the distinct ukulele sound you can very much associate with.
However, if you take it more than just a pastime, I’d recommend the Tenor. It has a certain depth to it and is also preferred by many of the professionals.
The tone, sound, and size are just perfect for producing that passionate tone that comes from the heart.
- Type of Wood
The kind of wood used in the making of a ukulele has a significant impact on its quality, durability, and sound.
I know it’s not something many would consider, so here’s a concise guide on the basic types of wood that are used for these Ukuleles and the difference they make:
Koa originated from Hawaii and is my most favorite amongst the others. It gives off a nice and beautiful sound that is quite soothing to the ears. However, it is one of the most expensive types.
These are a great choice if you are not looking into spending too much on the Ukulele. The wood is about as dense as the koa, the sound quality is good and the ukulele is solidly built to last.
You will find that most of the widely available ukuleles are made from spruce. This reduces the overall cost and a bit of the quality. So if you are a professional, I wouldn’t recommend it however, that’s a great choice for starters.
Laminated or Solid Wood?
You can also choose from amongst the laminated wood and solid type. However, given a choice, I would go with the solid wood. While it may cost more, it always gives a better sound quality and durability. The laminate may look great, but since you are not getting a ukulele for decoration it’s better to side with quality.
Beginner Level or Expert?
Something you need to think about first is the level. For someone new to the instrument, it is wise not to go overboard with the expenses. You can easily find a quality ukulele designed just for beginners, the sopranos I think will do just great.
But make sure you go for the solid wooden types, as the sound quality wouldn’t be compromised that way.
To know more about which size and style you should get, check out this video.
Conclusions of the Best Ukuleles
The soothing low tones of the ukulele are bound to lift your spirits no matter where life takes you. It won’t be long before you transition from a pastime player to a passionate expert at the ukulele.
However, before you step out to make the purchase, I would again recommend you should take a good look at the models and the key considerations I’ve covered in this ukulele review. Trust me it’s a great way to connect with your soul and find inner peace!
Get your ukulele today; I know you’ll owe me one once you do!