What Ukuleles do You recommend?
Updated: Sep 26
This is the most common question we get from beginners signing up for our classes.
After much experience and mistakes with different brands, the brand we now recommend is Kala Brand ukuleles. This brand has proven to have good quality for the price, they sound great, and stay in tune in our classes. Our students will sometimes bring one they found secondhand. Sometimes they have been great and sometimes not. If the tuning pegs have been turned too much they may no longer hold the strings in tune. Ukuleles for our classes must be of good enough quality and condition to stay in tune. We wasted a lot of class time over the years because of having to stop and tune. It can also cause a lot of frustration at home for beginners who are just learning how to tune.
Another plus to Kala Brand ukes are all the colors they come in. Kids love the Sharks and Dolphins. And for older children and adults there is the Sparkle Series and Vintage Surf Series. They are unique and fun and everyone can find something to fit their personality.
If someone prefers a plain wood ukulele, Kala has the number one best selling ukulele on the market for beginners, the mahogany KA-15 S. Someone gave me this one years ago and I still play it all the time. Because I have a large collection of ukuleles now, I recently covered it with stickers and I love it!
You are not required to purchase a Kala Brand ukulele but please let us know before purchasing another brand, so we can let you know if it will work for the class. There are other great brands but we have just found it easier for all if we have one to recommend. If you already have a ukulele that you think may work, feel free to bring it and we will let you know if there is any problem with it. The ukuleles and tuners that are recommended for our programs, can be purchased on Amazon. Links to our recommendations are below this article and if you use our links, we get a small commission without it costing you any extra. This will help support our ukulele programs. We do not get paid by Kala for recommending.
What about tuners?
A ukulele tuner will be needed for all students ages 8 thru adults. Or a free ukulele tuning app can be downloaded and used on a mobile devise. The Kala app has a great tuner and you don't have to join to use the tuner on the app. You will learn how to use both the clip-on tuner and the app in class so your ukulele does not need to be tuned before the 1st class. Links to tuners we have tried and liked are below.
What size ukulele should I get?
Ukuleles come in 4 sizes which I will discuss from smallest to largest.
The soprano ukulele size is probably what most people picture when they think of the ukulele. It is the most common size and makes the classic, traditional ukulele sound. The soprano is the smallest and lightest uke size, with the shortest scale and the tightest fret spacing. The soprano ukulele is ideal for younger players and those with smaller hands and fingers, making this size often the best beginner ukulele for kids. Still, the soprano is suitable for players of any skill level and size. Due to its body size, it will have a brighter, softer tone with less projection and resonance than the larger sizes.
Concert is the next step up from the soprano in size. The concert ukulele scale is about an inch longer, the neck is a bit wider, and overall it’s a little heavier than the soprano. The extra length allows for more frets with wider spacing between them. The concert size is great for players of any skill or experience level, but may be more comfortable for those with a bit larger hands and fingers. Being a bit larger in size, the concert ukulele has a fuller sound and warmer tone with more mid-range than the soprano. Concerts also project better than the sopranos, making the overall volume a bit louder.
Tenor is the next step up from the concert in size. The scale for the tenor ukulele is about two inches longer, the neck is just a little wider, and overall it’s a little heavier than the concert. The extra length allows for wider spacing between the frets. This makes tenor ukuleles suited for fingerpicking. The tenor size is the most popular among professional players, but is great for any skill or experience level. A tenor ukulele may be even more comfortable for those with larger hands and fingers than the concert size. The larger size gives the tenor a deeper, fuller sound with a resonant, almost bass-y tone. The tenor ukulele also projects better than the concert, making the volume a bit louder.
We do not teach this size in our classes because the strings are different notes. They are the same four as the highest strings on a guitar. Baritone is the next step up from the tenor in size. The baritone ukulele has the longest scale, about three inches longer than the tenor, with the widest fret spacing of all the sizes. The neck on a baritone is also wider than the tenor. All of these characteristics make the baritone a great type of ukulele for fingerpicking. The baritone size is great for all skill and experience levels, but especially for those with large hands and fingers. The baritone ukulele has the deepest, fullest sound with the most low end, sounding similar to an acoustic guitar. It is similar in size to a half size guitar. If you have questions about ukuleles call your teacher, Justin at 704-252-4782 or Kathy at 704-231-5456. Or you can message us on the contact page of this website. Play on!