Best Ukulele for Beginners in 2019: Buying Guide and Reviews

So you want to learn to play the ukulele? The ukulele is an enjoyable, compact, and cheap music instrument to learn for beginners in the music world. Read our review of the best ukuleles for beginners in 2019!

 What is a Ukulele?

The ukulele best resemblances the guitar and it is sometimes referred to as “uke” for short. It is a member of the lute family of instruments; it generally employs four strings (made from either nylon or gut). It bears its roots from and was first developed in Hawaii when Portuguese explorers fashioned the instrument in close similarity to the ones from their homeland.

Ukulele is Hawaiian for jumping flea, which was the impression locals had as they watched a ukulele being played; based on the movement of the players’ hands on the fretboard.

Presently, the ukulele has gained more popularity, as it has seen increased production in the United States of America as well as other parts of the world. Its rise in popularity is partly due to the fact that it is quite easy to produce such a quality instrument and it’s a relatively easy instrument to learn if you are a beginner.

It has continued to be the toast of the music world with countless YouTube video performances, with a large number of pop, rock, soul and folk performers playing the ukulele.

The Best Ukulele in 2019

To help you choose the best ukulele for beginners – status, we used this three-step process:

  1. Research what you should look for when buying a Ukulele, based on our buying guide above
  2. Identify at least 10 popular and highly-rated models of various brands, prices in your budget, and types.
  3. Set the list to a maximum of 4 based on the criteria that are most important when selecting the best ukulele

Product Quick Compare

Best Ukulele for Beginners

MITCHELL MU40 SOPRANO UKULELE NATURAL

4/5

4/5

Best Ukulele for Beginners

CORDOBA 15CM CONCERT SIZE UKULELE

4.5/5

4.5/5

Best Ukulele for Beginners

KALA SATIN MAHOGANY SOPRANO UKULELE

4.5/5

4.5/5

Best Ukulele for Beginners

LUNA GUITAR TATTOO CONCERT MAHOGANY UKULELE

4.5/5

4.5/5

Best Ukulele for Beginners

Mitchell MU40 Soprano Ukulele Natural

  • Lindenwood top/back/sides
  • White ABS binding (top/back)
  • Bound rosewood fingerboard
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Open-gear vintage-style tuners
4/5
Quick Specs
  • 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.3 x 8.2 x 3.5 inches
  • Instructional booklet included

The Mitchell MU40 soprano ukulele puts a lot of fun in playing music, for beginners and advanced players alike. The design of the Mitchell centers on a bound Lindenwood which not only gives their ukuleles a beautiful look but also ensures that it gives exceptional sounds and notes. The fingerboard of the Mitchell is made from bound rosewood fingerboard so that the player enjoys being comfortable during sessions.

The Mitchell will delight you with its vintage, open-key tuning knobs that ensure that sound produced is of very high quality. This ukulele also features a bridge made from rosewood for that peculiar and distinguishable ukulele perfect tone.

In addition, the top, back, and sides of the Mitchell is made from Lindenwood and comes with open-gear vintage-style tuners, with fourteen frets open.

Other Benefits of the  Mitchell MU4 Soprano Ukelele

  • The linden frame of this ukulele (includes both the top, sides and back) ensures that not only is the ukulele streamlined but also that the linden wood adds to fact that sound produced is of superior quality.
  • This ukulele is finished superbly with the use of white ABS binding
  • The fingerboard is enhanced and fine-tuned because it is made from bound rosewood.
  • Combines playability, and sound quality.
  • The Mitchell Ukulele is singled out of the pack because it churns out consistent and an expressive perfect tone because of the presence of open gear vintage style.

What We Liked

  • Produces a perfect tone
  • Makes a consistent tone
  • Solid Build
  • A lot of fun to play
  • Good starter ukulele
  • Best price— affordable ukulele
  • Nice finish w/ a beautiful outlook

What We Didn't Like

  • The case is sold separately
  • The color appears slightly off online VS in person
Best Ukulele for Beginners

CORDOBA 15CM CONCERT SIZE UKULELE

  • Mahogany top, back, & sides
  • Concert size
  • Satin finish
  • 4 available sizes: Concert, Concert Acoustic-Electric, Soprano, & Tenor
4.5/5
Quick Specs
  • 1.32 pounds
  • Dimensions: 29 x 17 x 9 inches

The Cordoba 15CM Concert size Ukulele has its top, back and sides made from mahogany. You will discover that the fingerboard and the frame bear ivoroid binding which gives this ukulele a distinguished, vintage appearance and feel.

Its tuning quality is enhanced as a result of an authentic abalone rosette and satin finish. It is great for both beginners and experienced players alike.

In addition, it features finger inlays of 5, 7, 10 and 12, which allows the user to explore a range of keys and a beautiful tone with the ukulele. It has a total number of frets ranging from 14 to its frame and 18 in total. The turning knobs or machines are made from chrome with pearl buttons, which enhances the sensitivity of the Cordoba concert Ukulele. It can serve you when you are practicing, backing up a band or for concert purposes.

The top, sides, as well as the neck/fingerboard, are made from mahogany, while the binding/bridge is made from cream ABS binding and Rosewood bridge. The whole design is finished with a matte(satin).

The Cordoba 15CM is 375mm long, the nuts are 35mm apart while the strings are spaced at 39mm. The frame width and length measures 155mm at the upper bout, 214mm at the lower bout and about 615mm in total. The frame depth is 70mm while the total length of the ukulele is 24.125 inches.

Want to know how it sounds? Watch this video review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkKe8SdBtdQ

What We Liked

  • Completely hand-made, for better precision and quality playing
  • Solid build instrument
  • Reasonable price and affordable
  • Belts out a steady and beautiful tone
  • Built to last for a long time

What We Didn't Like

  • It is not serviceable
  • Times of inconsistent tones
  • Case is sold separately, hence adding to the cost
Best Ukulele for Beginners

KALA SATIN MAHOGANY SOPRANO UKULELE

  • a high-quality, affordable, entry-level ukulele and still remains the unrivaled ukulele in its class
  • well-suited for classroom use, practicing, and acoustic performance
  • Comes with a beautiful Walnut Fingerboard and Bridge, Mahogany Neck, 12 Brass Frets, GraphTech NuBone and Aquila Super Nylgut Strings from Italy
  • Soprano Ukulele
4.5/5
Quick Specs
  • 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 21.1 x 7 x 2.4 inches
  • Kala App includes a tuner, play-a-long songs, and easy-to-follow lessons

The Kala Satin is the best ukulele for a beginner because it offers a number of features that will appeal to a broad range of players; beginner, intermediate or experienced. For starters, the shape and design of this ukulele provide the opportunity for the generation of sound that is rich and full of depth; offering pleasurable highs and sonorous lows that keep audiences captivated.

The tuners of the Kala ukulele are made from chrome. This material will ensure that your uke stays in tune for consistent periods of time.

Other compelling features of the Kala Satin include 12 silver nickel frets as well as fret positions on the neck and the fingerboard of the ukulele.

We found this interesting video review. View it below: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJiWkdpwXmU

What We Liked

  • Exceptionally easy to tune
  • Great quality: solid build, made with sturdy materials
  • Belts out clear, consistent tones, and for a long period of time
  • Comes with side fret-markers for easy note-identification
  • The Kala Satin is well balanced & comfortable to hold
  • Has a longer projection than most of its competitors on the market
  • Good price and affordable

What We Didn't Like

  • Its small size does not allow for more chords to be played
  • Might prove to be difficult to handle for people with larger hands
  • Does not have much finger fret spacing
Best Ukulele for Beginners

LUNA GUITAR TATTOO CONCERT MAHOGANY UKULELE

  • Designed from traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation
  • The fret markers are stylized sharks teeth
  • Concert body and Mahogany build
  • Branded travel bag included
4.5/5
Quick Specs
  • 1.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 3 inches
  • laser-etched with an open-pore finish

The Luna Guitars Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele draws inspiration and design from Hawaiian body art and ornamentation. Aside from the physical aesthetics of this ukulele, the strength of the strings will ensure that the notes you play will come out well defined and sharp.

The fret markers on the fingerboard are conspicuous, thereby making them easy to see and reach. The seams and the linings are smooth and tight, with no gaps—a high quality to have.

The Luna Ukulele is best used as a practice and a backup uke. As a beginner ukulele player, it is a great learning tool.

Other Benefits of the Luna Guitar Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele:

  • It plays a distinctive heart stone rosette
  • The top of this ukulele is made from spruce
  • Solid build instrument
  • The back, sides, and neck of the Lunar are made from Mahogany
  • The frame of the Lunar is a 23-inch concert standard size.

And again, here’s a video review for you to check out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtaAKvK4NEE

What We Liked

  • Comes with a case
  • Tuning is usually consistent
  • Gives out a smooth tone
  • Great price for the quality
  • Light and comfortable to hold

What We Didn't Like

  • Not smooth-finished— may feel a little pricking
  • The tuning pegs sometimes are not properly fastened

Ukuleles for Beginners

Headstock or head: This part is attached to the neck of the ukulele. Its job is to hold the tuning pegs or tuning machines.

Tuning pegs:  They are also referred to as tuning heads or tuning machines or tuning keys or tuners. They have geared parts that keep the strings in place and are engaged in modifying string tension when the ukulele is being tuned.

Nut:  They go hand in hand with the saddle to keep the strings correctly aligned.

Neck: It extends from the headstock to the body and serves as the support base for the fretboard.

Fretboard: Also referred to as the fingerboard, the fretboard keeps the frets in place and has position marker points or other images to guide the user. The first fret is closest to the headstock.

Body:  The frame of the ukulele consists of the top (sometimes called the soundboard), back, and sides. The top is chiefly responsible for transmitting the strings’ vibrations. Its sound hole assists in projecting the ukulele’s output. Some sound holes possess a decorative rosette.

Bridge:  This part sits on the ukulele’s top and keeps the saddle in place. The strings are secured by knotting them on the tail end of the bridge.

Tuner: You can use an electric tuner. Make sure it is a ukulele tuner or a chromatic tuner (tune different notes).

Strap: Your ukes strap requires your ukulele to have strap buttons in place. That way you can attach your strap to your uke.

Ukulele Buying Guide – what should a beginner lookout for?

Now that you have decided to learn how to play the ukulele, it follows naturally that you will want to own one. A beginner should be on the lookout for one that fits your learning goals and is within your budget. In addition, you would want to purchase a ukulele that possesses a long life span or shelf life.

For your actual purchase, the following guides will serve you in good stead:

Size

There are for sizes of for the Ukulele. In increasing order of size, there are Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone. Except you have gained some previous mastery, it is advisable for beginners to kick off your ukulele playing experience with the Soprano.

Cost

Since you are just starting out as a beginner, it is recommended that you pay a reasonable price for your ukulele. You do not want to splurge on your first purchase. You can save up for the more expensive types when you are well on the way to knowing how to play the ukulele.

Model

You should be in the search for ukuleles that are shaped simply and are devoid of too many decorations.

What is a Tenor Ukulele?

Tenor ukuleles use standard ukulele tuning (G-C-E-A). Everything from the notes, the chords, and the scales are identical on concert and tenor ukuleles. If you can play concert ukuleles, you can play tenor ukuleles!

Price Guide for Ukuleles

How much does a good ukulele cost? What is the perfect price of a ukulele for a beginner?

The price of a Ukulele can vary depending on factors like brand, materials, build quality, and more. Let’s break it into price ranges:

Cheap

$35 and Under

Budget

Around $50

Beginner

$50 to $150

Mid-Level

$150 to $500

High-End

$500 and Up

The price ranges above can get you an idea of what you can expect based on your budget.

Quick Tips for Your Purchase of the Best Ukulele

  1. Don’t buy more ukuleles than you need— stick with your desired budget. For example, if you need only one electric ukulele, don’t go and get a second at the same time. Just one can serve your needs per time.
  2. Don’t get barged into buying a ukulele without playing it first. It is important that you get a feel of the uke amongst the many versions before you make your choice.
  3. Determine what ukulele will serve your needs and not those of another person. While it is good to entertain advice and counsel, it important that whatever decisions you make concerning a choice in ukuleles will be based on your needs and learning expectations.

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