There are a few things you need to consider when you’re trying to find the best first ukulele, best ukulele brand and best ukulele for kids options. Namely what size ukulele you want and whether you want a ukulele that’ll last you a lifetime and be able to handle years of use. As we’ve always said when it comes to our ‘cheap instruments that don’t suck’ series, when we say “cheap”, we simply mean budget friendly.
This means the ukuleles we’ve chosen in this blog are budget friendly, making them ideal for beginners who just want to test the water when it comes to learning ukulele and don’t want to spend a lot of money.
We’ve also added a few more options in for those who know they’re going to continue with it.
If you haven’t already read our ukulele size guide, I’d suggest doing so as it gives you a better idea of what we’re talking about when we mention Soprano, Tenor, Concert or Baritone ukuleles.
As a recap, here’s the 4 main types of ukulele (in size ascending order):
- Soprano Ukulele
- Concert Ukulele
- Tenor Ukulele
- Baritone Ukulele
best ukulele for kids
best first ukulele options
The following ukulele recommendations are based on my experience playing these ukuleles and/or your recommendations from the hundreds of comments below this post.
If I’m missing any great suggestions, please say something in the comments below!
1.) Makala Dolphin Soprano Ukulele
For just under $50, you can play the fun and famous Makala Dolphin ukulele.
Don’t let the price of this ukulele fool you. People everywhere online rave about these. They are made out of plastic but they have great tone and playability for the price. Definitely replace the default strings that come with it with nicer higher-quality ukulele strings.
This is a perfect ukulele for beginners on a budget or those who want a good “throw-it-in-your-backpack” ukulele.
The Makala dolphin ukulele comes in a lot of different colors like: red, pearl white, black, light blue, metallic blue, pink, yellow, green, or purple.
2.) Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele
For those who don’t like the idea of having a plastic ukulele, the Lanikai LU-21 soprano might be a better choice for you.
This is a laminate wood ukulele, but it’ll have the “look” of the real thing. Depending on how hard you play, you might have to tune the strings often. I found when I played the Lanikai LU-21 the intonation is not perfect higher up on the fretboard. For a beginner who just wants to strum some chords, this ukulele gets great reviews and you can’t go wrong, not to mention it also comes in a concert and tenor size.
3.) Donner Concert Mahogany Ukulele w/ Case, Strap and Tuner
This is easily the best bang-for-the-buck ukulele on this list.
Just recently I played the Donner concert ukulele, and for the price, I was quite impressed with the quality of the sound, how the ukulele held tuning, and the intonation up the ukulele fretboard.
Most budget ukuleles sound out of tune when you play notes high up the fretboard but not this one. Also tuning held nicely. Once the strings stretched and settled, tuning held well with small adjustments every 10 to 15 minutes of playing. In addition, with the ukulele, you get a strap, case, and tuner. It’s a really nice setup to get started. You can’t go wrong with the Donner concert ukulele. Lastly, if you’re on a tight budget, you can get the Donner ukulele in a smaller soprano size too for less money.
4.) Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
Based on your feedback in the comments, I had to include the Cordoba 15CM concert ukulele.
You all give this ukulele outstanding reviews in the comments at the bottom of this post. This ukulele sports a mahogany top, back, and sides. In addition to a concert size, the Cordoba also comes in a smaller soprano size and a larger tenor size. If you have larger hands, definitely go with the tenor so you have extra space for your fingers between the frets.
5.) Kala KA-TE Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
If you ever want to “plug in” and amplify the sound of your ukulele, then, the Kala KA-TE tenor ukulele is for you.
I play a Kala tenor ukulele for some of the video lessons in the Strumming Tricks online ukulele lesson course I teach and love it. It’s not the same ukulele as this one, but I can’t say enough great things about Kala ukuleles.
This ukulele has an electronic pickup which means if you ever want to perform your ukulele live and plug in to amplify the sound then this ukulele is for you.
For those with bigger fingers or larger hands, you might find soprano and concert ukuleles hard to play. If this sounds like you, look at a tenor-sized ukulele. I have a tenor ukulele and it feels much more comfortable to play and hold with my bigger hands. This Kala tenor ukulele is a great choice. And if the electronic pickup isn’t important to you, Kala also makes this same ukulele in a soprano or concert size.
Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments you should buy if you are Music Lover
An artist can improve his performance with the use of quality instruments. Here, we have enlisted the top musical instrument manufacturing companies in the world, that can help you select a trustworthy instrument brand.
Gibson is an American manufacturer of Musical Instrument company founded by Orville Gibson in 1902 headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Gibson is most popular Brand in musical instruments industry. The company mainly produced musical instruments, and consumer and professional electronics. It was established in 1902 when Orville Gibson founded such musical instrument brand. Gibson sells guitars under a choices of brand names. The Gibson Memphis shop has mainly focused on producing building hollow, semi hollow body guitars and other musical instruments. It is regarded as 1st place in the Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.
Harman is an American company founded by Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon in 1980 headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, United States. Harman International Industries, is an American subsidiary of Samsung Group that innovates and engineers connected products for automakers, consumers and enterprises works in worldwide. The company mainly produced, connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation and connected services. Its a 2nd brand after Gibson in the Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments and its International shareholders has voted in favor of the acquisition by Samsung, becoming a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics on March 10, 2017 and this time Harman is top 2nd brand in the world.
shure is an American audio products company founded by Sidney N. Shure in 1925, headquartered Niles, Illinois, United States. The company mainly focuses on produced microphone, wireless microphone systems, headphone, earphones, phono cartridges, mixers and conferencing system. Shure recently discover numerous series of microphones for various applications, including the, KSM, SM, Beta and PG series, as well as specialized in consumer microphones, wireless, Microflex, and other musical instruments. It is a most valuable brand after Gibson, Harman and Shure is 3rd brand in the world in musical instruments industry.
Yamaha is an musical instrument and street music retail store owned by Yamaha music retail store owned by Yamaha music in United kingdom. The person behind Yamaha’s foundation was Torakusu Yamaha. Yamaha is mainly focuses on predominantly musical instruments, electronics and power sports equipment. It has grown to become the world’s largest producer of musical instruments, pianos, “silent” pianos, drums, guitars, brass instruments, woodwinds, violins, violas, and vibraphones, its is regarded as 4th place in Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments in the world as well as a leading producer of semiconductors, audio/visual, computer related goods, sporting goods, home appliances, specialty metals and industrial robots.
Fender is an American stringed instruments and amplifiers manufacturing company founded by Clarence Leonidas during the year 1946 headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. The company mainly focuses on produces acoustic guitar, bass amplifiers, public address equipment and other musical instruments. When Clarence Leonidas Fender founded such musical instrument company. It also rewarded as 5th most popular brand in musical instruments and it is also a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments. It has one of the world leaders by defining the sounds we hear, by meeting the needs of musicians, by discover quality products and by backing them up with products and services.
Steinway is an American piano company founded by Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg during the year 1853 headquartered in Europe and international Hamburg, Germany. The company mainly production of grand pianos, upright pianos. It works in the worldwide. Its provide a largest number of musical instrument brand names and producing facilities. Now it is owns manufacturer of pianos, brasswinds, woodwinds, strings, and percussion under dozens of unique brand names. Its mainly notable goods include Steinway & Sonspianos, Bach Stradivarius trumpets, C.G. Conn French horns, Leblanc clarinets, King trombones, Ludwig snare drums, Selmersaxophones and woodwinds, it is regarded as a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.
Sennheiser is a German privately held audio company founded by Fritz Sennheiser during the year 1945 headquartered in Wedemark, Hanover, Lower Saxony, German. The company mainly focuses on manufacturing audio electronics, microphones, headphones, telephone, aviation headsets for personal, professional and business application. The company is represent in more than 50 countries worldwide. Sennheiser is mainly known for its production of nice sound of its headphones and microphones and also famous for its best products , it also a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.
Roland is a Japanese electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software manufacturing company founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi during the year 1972 on April 18, 1972, with ¥33 million in capital. headquartered in Hamamatsu, Shizuko, Japan. The company mainly focuses on manufacturing electronic musical instruments, synthesizers, digital, pianoes, Electronic drums, Guitars, synthesizers and DJ controllers. It is a world’s famous leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments because it is a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.
Kawai is a musical instruments manufacturing company founded by koichi kawai in 1927 headquartered in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan. The company mainly focuses in manufacturing Grand piano and upright pianos. It is known for its best products like grand pianos, upright pianos, electronic keyboards and electronic synthesizers. The company control in business segments. This segments also gives tuning and repairing services for instruments. The products Processing segment produces and sells processed metal materials for electronic and electrical instruments, processed materials for automobile parts, pig and cast metal, soundproof rooms, acoustic and music related goods and its also a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.
10. C.F. Martin
C.F Martin is an American guitar manufacturing company founded by Christian Frederick Martin during the year 1833 headquarters in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. CF Martin & Company Incorporation operates as a guitar manufacturing company. It is known for its steeel string acoustic guitars and is a leading producer of flat top guitars. The Company gives acoustic guitars, strings, and music products for the music industry. CF Martin & Company also offers distribution, manufacturing, and repair services and it is also in a Most Popular Brands of Musical Instruments.