How to Buy A Ukulele: Things to know before buying your ukulele
So you decide to buy a new ukulele. How exciting!
Is it your first time buying an instrument?
Whether you go to your local music shop or try to look at different ukuleles online, you will find a lot to choose from.
It’s something that every musician goes through at the beginning of their musical journey.
Yes, you might find this a little confusing, but you can’t see what you don’t know, right? If you know what to look for and what to consider before buying your ukulele then how hard can it be to make up your mind?
“Which ukulele should I get?” “Why do they look different?” “How much money should I be spending on this?”
These are the questions that go through your head, right? Well, lucky for you, you stumbled upon this article because we are going to help you know what parameters to bear in mind to make the right choice.
So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
First things first, how big should your ukulele be?
Ukuleles come in variable sizes. From soprano, being the smallest, to concert ukuleles, then come tenors followed by baritones.
And if you wonder if this difference in size affects the sound of the ukulele, the answer is “yes, of course it does”, actually the size of your ukulele affects more than just how it sounds which is the reason why deciding what size to get should be on the very top of your list.
It’s not much of a surprise that the scenario in which you decide to get a new ukulele will point you to what size it should be.
For incidence, and in my humble opinion, a soprano ukulele suits most beginners. It has the smallest size of all ukuleles and this is an advantage because not only does it allow more control especially, if you will play it while standing, but also, it doesn’t require much stretching so you will be able to play your first song sooner.
And even though this is the general rule, but in a different scenario, if your hands are larger than average then maybe it’s a better idea to consider a bigger ukulele, like concert ukuleles.
One mistake that a lot of folks who play the guitar and want to try the ukulele make is getting a baritone. I know it seems like the right option because baritones have the biggest size of all ukuleles and offer the largest scale.
However, the way I see it, these exact same reasons are why a guitar player won’t be too impressed with a baritone ukulele.
Baritone shares a lot with guitars; they almost sound the same which means it lacks that classic ukulele sound that gives the ukulele its uniqueness.
A better option would be buying a tenor ukulele; you will be able to get that rich tone and that admirable bright sound without compromising the size or the scale of your instrument.
Now let me explain to you how the size of the ukulele affects its tone;
A bigger ukulele has a richer tone and produces more resonance. In other words, Sopranos are quieter than other ukuleles, so if you have been playing the ukulele for a while and looking to upgrade your current instrument to perform for a crowd I would recommend you go for a concert or a tenor ukulele.
What about Playability?
Here comes one more thing to contemplate when picking the size of your ukulele. Bigger ukuleles have a longer scale, and if you are new to this, then I know you are not really sure what that means so let me break it down for you.
The scale of the ukulele extends all through its fretboard down to the saddle.
This is the space available for you to use your fingers, so a longer scale allows more distance between the frets and hence more playability. The opposite is true for smaller ukuleles.
There is no solid answer when it comes to how much you should be spending on your ukulele, the call is yours at the end of the days but, there are a couple of things you need to go through.
First, while there’s a possibility that the expensive ukulele you will get won’t be as good as you expect it to be, there’s no chance whatsoever that a cheap ukulele will meet your expectations.
Even if it is tempting to go ahead and buy that - not too pricey - ukulele that looks pretty much the same as that much more expensive ukulele lying right next to it, chances are, the cheaper one doesn’t sound as good if it sounds good at all.
You are more likely to find yourself facing issues with it from the construction to the tones and tuning your ukulele and at no point will this be a good experience, especially if you are a beginner.
Secondly, soprano ukuleles are generally pocket-friendly; they are the least costly so investing in getting a soprano will most probably pay off. This is another reason why they are loved by beginners.
I’m not saying go ahead and buy the most expensive soprano you can find out there, but if anything, it’s adding value for money.
It goes without saying that the more features your ukulele has, the more expensive you should expect it to be, so the fancier you want your ukulele to be, the more money you should be spending on it.
Last but not least, the brand!
It is not much different from what you should do before buying anything else, search for the best brands.
Under no circumstances is it a smart idea to just go out on the market and buy the ukulele that seems more appealing.
Maybe you can google the best ukuleles available on the market and read some reviews about them.
Go to YouTube and check out some of the reviews on different ukuleles. There’s a lot that you can actually get out of this especially if you have done your research and narrowed it down to two brands that you need to compare between.
A lot of players share their experience and you can hear how the ukulele sounds even before trying it out.
All in all, and with all that being said, I believe you are now ready to find the perfect ukulele. Happy jamming!