Looking to buy a new ukulele? - Whether you are new at this and want to catch a new hobby or you already have your own pretty version of ukulele but you need to upgrade it and get a new one.
In this topic we will help you make up your mind on what suits you best so let’s give this a go and see what you will get out of it!
First things first, you need to get a bigger picture of what factors affect the sound of your ukulele.
YES, how good or bad you would score the sound of any instrument will vary from one person to another but, some sounds are so appealing, that they immediately get the majority of us falling for them especially if the judge is a musician as well.
If I make a list of things you need to pay attention to when buying a new ukulele, wood will without a doubt be on the very top of my list, what good is a building if the structure is a failure right?
Then comes picking the right strings. In my humble opinion, if you got a good bargain for these two, you’re pretty much good to go, at least for starters.
But for all the perfectionists out there, give good attention to the size of your ukulele, the layers covering it, the paintings on the wood as well as the manufacturer.
So, without further ado, let’s talk “wood” shall we?
Different Ukulele Wood Types
If you have any past experience with musical instruments, you probably know that mahogany is one of, if not the most commonly used type of wood in making ukuleles and guitars.
From the admirable shade of brown it gives your ukulele to being pocket-friendly and without much compromise for the tone, it’s a good choice if you are a beginner till you catch up on all the techniques to master this heart capturing instrument.
Mahogany offers a mid-range response on the spectrum of how hard the wood used to build your ukulele is, which is the tricky part because it may sound a little not so “open“ in comparison to other ukuleles, but if used correctly, I guarantee you a good playing experience.
Here comes another star in the wood world, and a personal favorite of mine.
The sound of a koa ukulele is simply what people love.
It first made its way to popularity in Hawaii being the most commonly used ukulele there.
It might be a little rare and a bit too expensive but it’s safe to say that you will only watch your tone mature with it.
Like mahogany, koa offers a mid-range sound except that it is naturally more loud with less overtones providing a great attack when it comes to strumming or picking.
In other words, for many musicians, koa is considered flawless; it’s just how a ukulele should be.
For all of you looking to record their pieces, this is the type of wood you should be chasing down.
Maple ukuleles have a bright clear sound that happens to be enchanting and leaves a beautiful resonance in the ears of your fans.
It comes in many variants from spalted to flamed, curly quilted and even burl.
One of the advantages of getting a maple ukulele is that it has good durability so it will be a while before you feel like you need to replace it.
More often than not, maple is used together with spruce so, I guess that’s what we will be talking about next ….
If I am to use one word to describe spruce, it will be “vibrant”.
It’s a softwood that is usually used along with maple or mahogany just to balance the crispy strong sound this wood has.
From where I stand, spruce ukuleles play on my emotional sides like no other ukuleles.
The way it is integrated into the instrument gives your piece such a calm warmth that is captivating to many.
The way I see it, Cedar ukuleles is the option to go to if you perform live.
The sound it produces is remarkably “alive“. It has more of a brass based sound with complex overtones and is softer than spruce.
Cedar ukuleles are so often smooth to the touch having less grain finish ranging from a light shade to a more reddish one.
It’s usually used for making the soundboard and is surely one of the best ukuleles I’ve ever heard.
King of acoustic guitars, and adored by many including myself.
Although rosewood doesn’t exactly shine bright in the ukulele universe, but you will be impressed how adding this wood to your ukulele will impact your overall experience.
It’s usually paired with a softwood like cedar or spruce and used for the sides, backs, and fingerboards with these softwoods making the top.
For many ukulele players, this mix is considered the best.
This is an eco-friendly ukulele for all nature supporters.
Surprisingly, there are more than just numerous variants of mango wood ukuleles.
When the trees are no longer producing fruits, the wood is used to make the ukulele and the trees are replanted.
If they resemble any of the above-mentioned wood types, it would be maple ukuleles.
They produce bright tones and can easily complement your song.
And last but not the least; consider whether to go for laminated or solid wood ukuleles
Laminated ukuleles are made of more than one layer all put together, on the other hand, solid wood ukuleles are single layered.
The battle here is on so many levels; laminated ukuleles are more affordable, durable and resist warping whereas solid ones will give you a much richer and catchy sound.
I always recommend that after you decide what type of wood and what size and design you want your instrument to have and all, one should read more about different brands so as not to compromise quality or durability for money.
You will need to do the math after all. Happy ukulele hunting!