Ukulele Buying Guide
How Do You Intend To Use Your Ukulele?
Choosing a new ukulele is a bucketload of fun. Although it can be quite daunting being faced with hundreds of instruments out there all demanding your attention!
The first step – decide how you intend to use your ukulele. Are you going to be gigging with it or just bumming around with friends around the campfire? Are you buying as a gift for a serious player or are you buying for a child who has never played before?
The Anatomy of a Ukulele
Ukulele SizesUkuleles come in 4 sizes – Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone.
Soprano: Suitable for everyone except really big men!
Concert: Suitable for everyone also. Produces a bigger sound than the soprano ukulele and is more suitable for men than the soprano.
Tenor: We are starting to get big now! Tenor is for the more serious ukulele player being 4 inches longer than the soprano ukulele.
Baritone: So big in size, you may aswell get yourself a guitar. Many baritone's have six strings. In our opinion, you lose the essence of the ukulele.
Should I Choose An Acoustic Or An Electric Ukulele?Do you plan on hooking your uke up to an amplifier?
Acoustic: Most people, especially beginners will be more than happy with an acoustic ukulele. This goes back to how you plan to use the ukulele. If you plan to play for a bit of fun, then you will be suited to a acoustic ukulele.
Electric: If you plan on recording songs or you already have an amp, you should consider getting an electric ukulele. Electric guitar converts will appreciate an electric ukulele.
Ukulele ShapesThere are lots of weird and wacky ukulele shapes out there! The majority of ukuleles fall into 2 distinctive shapes; Tradition figure-8 shape and pineapple shape.
Traditional Shape Ukulele
This is the standard or traditional shaped ukulele. Also known as the figure-8 shape, it is shaped just like an acoustic guitar which makes it ideal for those who can already play the guitar. It produces that classic ukulele sound that we have all grown fond of. If you are in doubt about which ukulele shape, we suggest sticking with a tradition figure-8 shape.
Pineapple Shape Ukulele
The pineapple shape is the other common shape amongst ukuleles. It produces a more mellow tone compared to the figure 8 ukulele which is more plucky and upbeat.
The pineapple ukes are absolutely full of character and are a real crowd pleaser. If you are after a more mellow tone, take a look at the Lanikai LU-21P Pineapple Ukulele.
Why Are Some Ukuleles More Expensive Than Others?The price of a ukulele comes down to several factors. The main factors are rarity of the wood, the amount of detail in the wood's grain, is the wood solid or laminate and lastly the brand.
Ukuleles in the $300-$3000 range: are always made from solid woods with a distinctive grain. These ukulele will have their own grain and will be 100% unique to any other ukulele in the world. You certainly pay for it, but if you are serious about the ukulele, solid woods ukuleles will appeal to you.
Ukuleles in the $50-$200 range: are usually made from laminate woods. They will look very nice, but wont have the distinctive curly grains of the more expensive ukuleles. Lanikai LU-21 Ukuleles are famous for having the best sounding laminate ukuleles in the world. Many professional artists will gig with the LU-21 Concert Ukulele because it is extremely reliable and sounds better than the majority of solid wood ukuleles.
It is worth mentioning, you don’t have to pay a fortune to own a nice sounding ukulele.
Ukulele TuningStandard tuning for most ukuleles is gCEA.
Ukuleles For KidsThere is no doubt that ukuleles are the perfect instruments for kids. Small and manageable to play, and also compact enough that you can take them anywhere. It should also be noted that most ukuleles are tough against abuse. We all know that kids are going to give those ukuleles a beating.
Also worth noting is that you wont break the bank. For around $50, you can see if your child actually likes playing! How many times have parents bought their children an expensive instrument only for them to play it once and never touch it again. Oh dear, that brings back memories for all of us!
Browse Kids Ukuleles
Left Handed UkulelesIt is possible to get left handed ukuleles but they are quite rare. If you are looking for a left handed ukulele, your best option is to buy a conventional right handed ukulele and change the strings around. Most ukuleles are symmetrical in shape, so they can be flipped around. We don’t recommend this for beginners though, especially those with no experience stringing an instrument.
If you are new to ukulele and are a left hander? Our opinion is that both hands are as important as each other, so we encourage you to play right handed and have easy access to ukuleles in the future. If you are looking for a high grade ukulele one day, you will most likely be making a custom order which won’t be cheap.
More Problems With Left Handed Ukuleles: You won’t be able to try out new ukuleles in a shop as they will all be right handed, you won’t be able to use someone else’s uke, you will also struggle to find a left handed ukulele songbook. It makes life very difficult and we urge you to play right handed.
If you have any questions PLEASE ASK! Remember no question is too silly!