Are you searching for the best beginner ukulele? Do you need a special gift for a first-time musician? Or maybe you just want to expand your huge musical arsenal with an additional instrument?
No matter what your reason is, fact is, you want to make sure that you get value for the money that you are spending, and we can help you make the right decision!
Starting out with a new instrument can be very difficult, no matter if you are a complete beginner or just trying to master a new skill to complement your existing knowledge.
The biggest struggle is that you most likely don´t know what exactly to look out for. But don´t worry – we are here to point you into the right direction!
Another important point for most beginners is the price. That’s why we’ve reviewed and tested different ukuleles for every budget to make sure that you get the best instrument for your buck.
If you are in a hurry this are our TOP 3 Picks for the Best Beginner Ukulele:
- Padded Bag
- Great price to value Ratio
- 19 fret ebony fingerboard
- Dramatic abalone vine inlay
- Canadian Wild Cherry Top, Back & Sides
- Chambered mahogany body design
- Made in USA by Magic Fluke
- Polycarbonate fingerboard and molded body
- High Quality at Low Price!
- Lifetime Warranty
Table of Contents
BEST BEGINNER UKULELE
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $650:
This model based on the legendary Multiac hybrid guitar series offers the by far best playing experience for newcomers and professionals alike.
The high quality Canadian Wild Cherry Top, Back & Sides guarantee a great sound and a robust build. If you want the best of the best, this is the way to go!
The hybrid nature of this instrument means that you will have a lot of expressive possibilities. While the unplugged acoustic sound is somewhat quieter than that of a full acoustic ukulele and sometimes not as rich, it is very unique in flavor.
But this instrument shines with an amp, both used as an amplified acoustic and an electric ukulele. The different tone settings offer nearly limitless possibilities!
This build comes with a truss rod so that you can set it up for your needs and have flawless action. The tuning stability is great and this masterfully crafted instrument features a chambered mahogany body design, solid spruce or cedar top, rosewood fingerboard & bridge, custom voiced electronics and onboard preamp with 3-band EQ.
This Canadian tenor electro-acoustic Ukulele is a nice addition to the renowned Godin Multiac Series of guitars, known for exceptional amplified acoustic sound without feedback.
It offers amazing playability right out of the box that can be further modified into a long-lasting instrument. The only problem is the somewhat high price which may not allure a first-timer.
- Tone & Sound Quality 94%
- Playability & Feel 93%
- Quality 92%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $500:
This gloss instrument features gloss instrument features some very modern details and a very unique, eccentric design.
Another great feature is the ebony fingerboard with a beautiful Abalone vine inlay.
The sound quality exceeds expectations as it is rich, full and round, albeit a little bit quieter than with other ukulele brands. The sound is very sweet and gentle.
A NuBone nut and saddle with ebony bridge and Aquila strings supports one of the most resonating ukuleles in this price class.
A pretty sturdy ukulele for its price. The mini-rotomatic Grover Gold GH305 tuners will make sure that the instrument always stays in tune and the NuBone nut and saddle offer superb sound.
Deluxe hard shell case included for additional protection.
This is an amazing all-round instrument that won´t disappoint anybody. You may require an amp, but besides that, it might be the instrument with the best price-value ratio on our list.
- Tone & Sound Quality 92%
- Playability & Feel 90%
- Quality 94%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $400:
Kala never disappoints with their instruments! Our pick is the KA-ASAC-T model because it combines a refined look, great woods, expert-level craftsmanship and a reasonable price for the quality
This is one of the best sounding instruments that Kala produces. It offers a very resonant, the intonation is perfect and the overall coloration of the sound is very slick and stimulating.
All in all a very well made, solid wood ukulele. The uke features a great Rosewood fingerboard, bridge, and bindings, as well as Herringbone purfling. TheCustom “Vine” fret markers look great!
Kala produces some of the most comfortable ukuleles and they come in different sizes, so that everyone can find what they need. If you want a to learn uke and look/sound good while doing it this is the uke for you.
It’s extremely comfortable and easy to sit pick away quietly. A great instrument for a fair price.
- Tone & Sound Quality 93%
- Playability & Feel 89%
- Quality 92%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $300:
Small, compact, easy to carry around, elegant and simple design – this Martin ukulele is not just the perfect travel instrument, but a great axe for even the youngest musicians.
With its strong Stratabond neck and durable HPL body, the 0XK Uke is perfect for traveling, playing in a forest or serenading on the beach. A great deal is the left-handed option at no additional charge.
The tone is unbelievably good with a big, high-quality sound, comparable even to more expensive models. Loud, but mellow, clean but held back a little.
The Martin Strings that come with it are a fantastic alternative to the standard Aquila strings, really nice and seem to make a great sound.
This Made-in-Mexico instrument is very durable and compact. It is a well made musical instrument made with quality craftsmanship.
The only real downside are the friction tuners, but as long as you regularly tune your ukulele, you won´t have any problems. No glue under the bridge, frets sticking out. Not a single thing to complain about. Where the top meets the side it is perfectly joined.
The smaller size is really good for younger players. The 21″ instrument length is perfect for smaller hands or kids. Really loud considering the soprano size.
- Tone & Sound Quality 91%
- Playability & Feel 87%
- Quality 89%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $250:
This hidden gem is a genuine concert ukulele made in USA that even comes with a free gig bag. It may be the most unique and radical ukulele design on our list and it looks very eccentric!
The quality Grover tuners offer excellent tuning stability and great sound. The wider fret spacing of non-metal frets, vibrant birch top and molded body deliver crisp lively tone and a very unique sound, something really different compared to standard ukuleles.
The polycarbonate fingerboard and molded body make it precise, durable, upstanding. FLEA also offers attention to detail, concern about quality control and they ship the instruments with a great setup for a play-out-of-the-box experience.
This great ukulele packs a lot of effort into a durable, high-end entry level instrument. The bigger fret spacing and concert-size scale for easy chording will accommodate even players with larger fingers.
While the looks are somewhat unorthodox, the ukulele has a unique flavor to it. There is also a beginners pack offer for this model. All in all a great first instrument.
- Tone & Sound Quality 90%
- Playability & Feel 86%
- Quality 91%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $200:
Oscar Schmidt has created this insane beginners´package that gives incredible value for the money! This might very well be the perfect beginners set for an aspiring ukulele player. The gear that comes with the bundle can be used later on for other ukuleles or guitars, too!
The OU5 is a very nice uke and a good player for the money. This instrument has good intonation and a sweet sound. It performs better when hooked up to an amp, though, so it is not the best acoustic-only model.
While the ukulele is sturdy enough, the headstock is somewhat big and heavy, and the sealed geared tuners make the already thick headstock and the instrument in general way too heavy. The pay-off is solid sustain. The great case will protect the instrument from any harm during travels!
The fretboard is kind of thick (and yes, the finish is thick too) , and the model has a plastic nut and saddle. All in all it is a solid instrument that comes in a great package. If you are ready to commit to it, you can get a lot of fun out of this instrument.
- Tone & Sound Quality 89%
- Playability & Feel 85%
- Quality 87%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $150:
Lanikai produces some solid instruments for a very fair price. This affordable bundle is perfect for players on budget. Beginners can really look forward to a great instructional DVD and the Clip-On Tuner which can be used for other instruments later on.
The sound is great considering the price point, but definitely not outstanding in any way. Another thing to keep in mind is that these mass produced ukuleles may not be set up properly so you might want to ask a more experienced ukulele player or guitarist friend to take a look at it as a proper setup will definitely affect the sound.
Even though they are mass produced, these ukuleles are hand crafted, which means that they are of decent quality, but definitely not a high end instrument.
The hard case will protect the instrument from any damage. Comes with great Aquila strings!
This instrument is fairly comfortable. Though the tenor size is not as big as baritone, you can definitely tune it to both a standard and baritone tuning with ease. The scale length will fit even bigger players.
- Tone & Sound Quality 86%
- Playability & Feel 88%
- Quality 85%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $100:
This insanely huge bundle from Lohanu includes an amazingly looking ukulele (in all three different ukulele sizes) and all the things a beginner may need – a Uke Strap, ukulele Case, string Tuner, Picks, Pick Holder and Video Lessons.
The Aquila Strings and the strap pins are just an amazing addition for this affordable instrument!
Lohanu ukuleles sound so much better than a cheap soprano ukulele, although somewhat shallow. And as with other ukulels at this price point, doesn’t come with a good set up.
The ukulels are sturdy and look great, but the tuners could be of better quality. Also, it seems like the quality control isn’t too thorough so there may exist differences between individual instruments.
This bundle is huge and affordable. The ukulele feels nice in any size, but our choice is the soprano because it is the most affordable one, although the tenor size is the more versatile one.
All in all a decent bundle for the buck, but nothing spectacular.
- Tone & Sound Quality 83%
- Playability & Feel 89%
- Quality 82%
Best Beginner Ukulele Under $50:
This beginner-friendly and affordable instrument looks great, feels great and plays great! Even though its extremely affordable, it has Aquila string and a Buffalo bone nut & saddle!
This Uke produces a unique sound, different from other ukuleles, the tone created is clear and strong with good sustain. It has a fairly decent setup and good tuners which make the ukulele sound decent right out of the box.
A decently built instrument for the low price. Comes with good strings and good tuners. The string pins are a great addition! It’s made from great mahagany and has really good strings.
The instrument is made from quality materials and produces a somewhat deep tone which is not really something you hear very often.
It’s a very unique and affordable instrument, amazing for beginners on budget!
- Tone & Sound Quality 80%
- Playability & Feel 85%
- Quality 84%
Most Affordable Beginner Ukulele:
The Diamond Head Ukulele comes in a small size and in many different colors. These features, along with the incredibly low price, make it a perfect gift for children and teens.
The design is simple and the ukulele gets the job done. Includes a case.
At this price point, anything that holds tuning and produces sound can be considered good. You will need to wait and retune the instrument a couple of times before the strings sit in. It is good for beginners but only a small step away from a toy.
The ukulele doesn’t fall apart when you pull it out of the box, so that’s good. Besides that, it’s not extremely strong and the set-up is not great. The geared tuners are decent.
The instrument is a great beginner ukulele and is a good starting point if you are really tight on budget. It is by far the most affordable ukulele that has a decent sound and feels good, but it is not going to blow your mind. But it gets its job done.
- Tone & Sound Quality 86%
- Playability & Feel 82%
- Quality 79%
BUYING GUIDE – THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Important elements of a good instrument:
When buying an instrument, there are countless things you need to consider. Luckily, some of the things can be checked out even buy beginners or other musicians who don´t necessarily play ukulele.
These are the most important things a beginner should consider when buying a ukulele:
Sound is often something very subjective, but you should try to find a ukulele that sounds pleasant to your ears. The most important thing is that all strings ring out when you strum or pluck them and that there is no string
Your instrument should definitely not have any cracks or dents. More expensive instruments often are made of better materials and thus a better build quality.
The instrument should be lightweight, comfortable, feel good and not rough. Preferably it will also have some distinctive features like strap pins.
This is also a somewhat subjective element but if you have really big hands, consider a bigger instrument.
Some elements can overlap
A good build quality can often result in better performance, and a comfortable instrument is usually going to help you get a good sound of your instrument.
Maintaining a ukulele:
To make sure that your instrument has proper tone and works well after you buy it, you need to make sure to take care of it. There are many great articles and videos that go into detail about what you need to do but here are the main guidelines:
1) One of the things that all ukuleles require is normal temperatures. Don’t keep your ukulele for too long out in the open sun or throw it into snow.
2) Do not use furniture polish or just any wax on your ukulele. Either use a Dunlop 65 guitar polish, a special ukulele cleaner, or a very lightly dampened rag.
3) You will need new strings at least once a year, twice a year or more if you can. Even if they don’t break, strings get worn out and they get inconsistencies in the radius. Intonation, or the accuracy of the pitch as you go up the fretboard, will usually go off on at least one of the strings.
4) Properly storing your uke is important. Even if you never take your uke out of the house, invest in a bag or case. en the flimsiest one gives protection from dust and light dings.
5) For high-end instruments, maintain the right humidity. Wood is a natural, breathing material and reacts to the surrounding environment. Therefore, you have to be careful if you live in a particularly dry or wet place.
All of these ukuleles are made by good brands that offer many different instruments and all of the brands have a unique flavor and sound to them.
One of the appeals and biggest benefits of the ukulele is that it is relatively cheap compared to other instruments, especially high end guitars, wind reeds and pianos. But, as always, for a quality ukulele, you’ll need to spend a little more.
The different sizes and models we’ve written about cover a wide range of body styles and features. We’ve mostly focused on the three traditional ukulele sizes and the acoustic aspects of the instrument.