Best Ukulele for Beginners 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

If you're just starting to play the ukulele, you may be confused as to which model to buy and what your buying decision should be based on.

For a beginner, you shouldn't get something that's too pricey, but also a good beginner ukulele shouldn't be just the cheapest instrument you could find.

As the price increases, the quality of the wood gets better and consequently, the quality of the sound your ukulele is capable of producing.

On this list, I'll tell you all about the best ukuleles for beginners that you can find on the market.

Beginner's Ukulele - Comparison Table

Concert Ukulele

Dimensions (inches)

Material

Weight (pounds)

Lohanu

25 x 10.3 x 4

Sapele and Mahogany

1.2

Cordoba 15TM

27.5 x 10.5 x 4

Mahogany

1.15

Kala KA-15S

21.1 x 7 x 2.4

Mahogany

1.32

Donner DUC-1

4.5 x 26.8 x 10.4

Mahogany

3.05

Kala Kit

3.2 x 8.4 x 22.6

Mahogany

1

Cordoba 15CM

24 x 6.5 x 10

Rosewood and Mahogany

4

The Best 6 Ukulele for Beginners in 2019

1. Lohanu Ukulele Concert Size Bundle

Lohanu Concert Size Ukulele

The Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is definitely not the cheapest choice for a beginner ukulele, it's truly one of the best.

The laminated wood feels like real wood, despite not sounding exactly like one. The Sapele/Mahogany top was a nice touch and gives it a classy look.

Moreover, the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is quite durable and will last for years. After all, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Personally, I enjoyed the value that the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele provides. It comes with a carrying case, online lessons, picks, holder straps and buttons that are already installed, great strings and an additional set of strings, as well as a tuner –although the tuner isn't the best one out there.

It enables you to easily create great sounds and enjoy the time you spend learning to play the instrument.

On top of that, the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is pretty light as it comes with only 1.2 pounds –a lot less than the average 3 pounds.

Pros:

  • Great starter ukulele
  • Little to no tuning required after use
  • The whole body is laminated to look like wood and make changing temps easy
  • Strap buttons come pre-installed
  • Lifetime warranty and a 30-day guarantee

Cons:

  • The thin gig bag isn't very protective
  • The tuner doesn't perform well

Bottom line:

The 30-day money-back guarantee that the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele comes with gives you more than enough time to decide whether or not it's the right one for you.

The thing is, you probably wouldn't even need it because there's little not to like about this instrument as a first ukulele.

2. Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

Although the Cordoba 15TM could very well suit a beginner, more experienced players can use and enjoy it.

The Cordoba 15TM comes with a solid build and great detailing. Being a tenor-sized uke means that's it's bigger than the typical beginner-sized ones (usually being sopranos or concerts).

Moreover, it's not only the size that beats the average beginner ukuleles but the construction as well. Its body is made entirely from laminated mahogany, the fingerboard of rosewood, while the neck it sits on is mahogany and fits right in your hand.

You may think that the high price tag means a variety of accessories but unfortunately, the whole price you pay goes to the ukulele itself as it comes with no accessories.

Although this can be seen in a negative light, I think it means that the Cordoba 15TM is made of high-quality hardware, so I'm not complaining.

I thoroughly enjoyed the precise silver tuners and pearl tuning buttons.

I wouldn't say it's exactly a beginner's ukulele but rather an intermediary-level player.

Pros:

  • Great construction and final finish
  • Excellent tone and consistency
  • Crisp and full sound
  • Durability

Cons:

  • The neck isn't very smooth
  • A little pricey for a beginner ukulele
  • Difficult tuning process –especially in the
  • beginning

Bottom line:

The Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele is one of the more expensive options on the list, but it's almost entirely made from mahogany –which means it's very durable and produces great sound.

3. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Kala KA-15S

The Kala KA-15S is a pretty great soprano ukulele for beginners. It comes at a little more than 50 bucks, and you can't really find anything worth the money at less than that.

Generally, Kala produces some of the best affordable ukuleles on the market.

There's indeed nothing exclusive to its design, but it's very evident that its build quality is top-notch.

The whole non-cutaway body is made from mahogany with a natural satin finish and the neck is also made from mahogany with 12 silver nickel frets on either a rosewood or a walnut fretboard.

Furthermore, there's a GraphTech NuBone saddle positioned on the bridge which helps produce a consistent sound and is a great alternative to the cheap plastic.

The only drawback I found to the Kala KA-15S was its incapability of holding tunings. This is because the open-gear tuners aren't very effective, but they can be changed.

Pros:

  • Amazing value for the price
  • Premium build quality for an affordable ukulele
  • Feels and looks great
  • Highly affordable

Cons:

  • Not ready to play out-of-the-box
  • The sound is a little flat

Bottom line:

While the Kala KA-15S doesn't hit the tones perfectly, it's still pretty amazing in terms of performance and build quality for such an affordable price.

4. Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 23

Donner DUC-1

The Donner DUC-1 is an ideal concert ukulele for beginners as it's designed with a larger fingerboard that makes it easy to handle and play.

Its sound production is also quite impressive as it's full and loud –unlike what you'd expect from an entry-level one.

Moreover, it's quite durable as it comes with a mahogany body and neck with rosewood bridge and fingerboard.

And while the soft carbon nylon strings facilitate strumming, I think having the Aquila Nyglut strings would have given it more value.

One thing that makes it stand out from other medium-priced ukuleles is that it's equipped with geared tuners that help you practice regularly.

The Donner DUC-1 comes with a strap, case, clip-on tuner, and extra strings.

However, it's a little heavier than other ukuleles on the list as it weighs around 3 pounds.

Pros:

  • Wide fingerboard makes playing easier
  • Equipped with geared tuners
  • A great choice for beginners

Cons:

  • Short warranty
  • Comes with fluorocarbon strings instead of the Aquila Nyglut standard ones

Bottom line:

The Donner DUC-1 is a medium-priced ukulele that's perfect for entry-level players. If you're looking to make quick progress with an affordable tool, it's the one for you.

5. Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit

Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit

The Kala Kit is an incredible all-around ukulele starter kit that would serve anyone that's just starting out.

It makes it easy for you to increase the rate of your learning curve as it comes with a detailed guide that can help you familiarize with all the basics.

A unique aspect of the Kala Kit is that it comes with a tuning app, which makes it quite convenient as you don't have to carry around an electronic tuner.

On top of that, it comes with a helpful gig bag that facilitates carrying the instrument around. So, the Kala Kit would also be quite great for a student ukulele.

Pros:

  • Offers a great learning experience
  • Has a tuner app
  • Includes a free guide and online lessons
  • Comes with high-quality tuners and strings

Cons:

  • Not very durable

Bottom line:

The Kala Kit is an integrated method for you to hone your ukulele skills. It has more or less everything you might need and it comes at a very reasonable price.

6. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba 15CM

Being a concert ukulele, the Cordoba 15CM has a fuller tone than a soprano, so it can be used both by beginners and more experienced players alike.

It has a long neck to put more tension on the strings, so no matter the fret, the Cordoba 15CM won't fall out of tune and you'll be getting full notes from the strings.

High-quality tuning pegs mean that you wouldn't have to tune your instrument time and again. Apart from being easy to tune, they also maintain their tunes for weeks or even months on end.

The Cordoba 15CM has a pretty solid build, so it's a good investment for a first-time ukulele player. On top of that, it has a satin finish that gives it an attractive look.

However, this ukulele doesn't hit the low tones quite right and may lean toward the brighter side of the spectrum.

Pros:

  • Loud sound
  • The neck and heel are made from one piece of wood

Cons:

  • Subpar pegs
  • Might produce a slight hum sometimes

The Cordoba 15CM may not be the cheapest option for a beginner's ukulele you can find but it surely is a long-term investment.

If you want to take your time learning with an entry-level instrument, you should go for this one.

What Makes a Beginner's Ukulele Different?

A beginner's ukulele usually comes at less than 100 bucks.

This is because it's made from a combination of mahogany, Sapele, and rosewood –which aren't as durable as maple.

Moreover, they don't hit all the tones as accurately as a more expensive maple instrument would.

They're usually aimed at allowing the user to practice and make progress at their own pace.

How to Pick a Good Ukulele for Beginners?

Size

There are 4 ukulele sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

The soprano is the most popular and common one as it's compact and aimed at beginners or people getting familiar with the instrument.

The concert and tenor ones are a little bigger, with the tenor tending to sound like a deep tone classical guitar.

Finally, the baritone is the longest and usually is used by more experienced and passionate uke players.

Wood

Ukuleles can be made from various types of wood such as mahogany, koa, rosewood, Sapele, and more.

Usually, beginner ukuleles would be made mainly from mahogany and sometimes combining other woods for the bridge or other parts –and that's why they're not very pricey.

Try to find a ukulele with mostly mahogany parts as it's your best bet when it comes to combining affordability and sound quality.

Also, steer away from laminated ones as they usually produce an inferior sound quality compared to other pure wooden ones.

String Quality

The better the quality of your strings, the better the sound output of your uke.

While you can't expect much from a low-budget or an entry-level ukulele, you should go at least for the Aquila Nyglut strings instead of the carbon nylon ones.

Final Thoughts

While all the options mentioned in the list are great choices, I have to admit that Kala produces the best ukuleles for beginners.

Not only is the Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele is the most affordable option but it's also lightweight and the most compact.

On the other hand, Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit is an integrated kit that comes at an affordable price and gives you a great bang for your buck. It's also the lightest of the bunch.

If you're looking for a great investment, I'd recommend the durable Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele. It'll last a long time and give you amazing sound output along the way.

Noah Theodor
 

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