Best Ukulele For Beginners
How to Choose the Right One
So you have decided to play the ukulele. Good for you! The ukulele is a fun instrument, and with a little bit of work can be learned by anyone. Since it’s small it is also easy to take with you and practice anywhere. So the big question is: what is the best ukulele for beginners? Should you spend a lot of money or should you pick up the cheapest one you can get your hands on. What are the different sizes and which one should you get?
As a beginner, ou will have a lot of questions. I hope this article answers a few of them.
First, let’s talk about the different types of ukuleles. There are four main types, which are the Soprano, Concert, Tenor and the Baritone.
The Soprano is the smallest and has the most traditional sound. Most cheap ukuleles are usually Sopranos. The Soprano measures around 21 inches. Because of the size, this ukulele is good for children and people with small hands.
The Concert ukulele is slightly larger, about 22-24 inches, and has a slightly bigger sound than the Soprano. Because of the relatively smaller size, this is a good size for women and men who have smaller hands.
The Tenor ukulele is one of the most common ukuleles. It is generally between 26-29 inches. The sound is a little more modern sound than the Soprano and the concert.
The Baritone ukulele
The Baritone ukulele is the largest ukulele, and is tuned different than the rest. It is generally tuned the same as the four bottom strings of a guitar and so tends to have more of a guitar sound to it.
How much you spend on an ukulele depends on how serious you are about playing. A kids ukulele can be purchased for cheap, and this is usually a good option for children. If they stay with it, then you can get something better later. However, cheap ukuleles are harder to play and will never sound that good no matter how good you get, which may be discouraging.
How much you spend on a ukulele depends on how serious you are about playing. A kids ukulele can be purchased for cheap, and this is usually a good option for children. If they stay with it, then you can get something better later. However, cheap ukuleles are harder to play and will never sound that good no matter how good you get, which may be discouraging.
If you aren’t sure if you will continue, then there is nothing wrong with picking up a cheap ukulele (around $20) and trying it out. However, a decent one will generally start around $100-$150. If you think you will continue, then you should go this route.
Finally, no matter what kind of ukulele you choose, just remember it is the player that makes the instrument, not the other way around. Have fun.
How To Buy The Best Ukulele for Beginners ?
Buying Best ukuleles Best ukuleles online is very popular. This is partly due to the fact that they are fun to play, there is a large selection and are less expensive than most musical instruments. However, shopping online does have its drawbacks, namely not being able to physically examine and play the instrument. Most reputable online stores will include a quality image along with a description of the key features of the ukulele. However, some online stores can have missing or misleading information. For example, is the ukulele body a solid, laminate or combination of both? How about the tuners, are they geared or friction pegs? Is the finish satin or glossy and have a smooth surface? However, before proceeding further into the discussion on quality ukuleles, it might be instructive to provide some of the more common terms you are most likely to read in the description of a ukulele.
Here is a brief list of the more commonly used terms used in describing some of the features of a ukulele.
Binding – A strip of material usually contrasting the main building material, which is inlaid along the edges of the instrument or covering seams.
Bridge – Located on the soundboard it holds the strings in place and transfers string vibration to the body.
Fretboard – The portion of the neck where the frets are installed. Typically made of a hard dense wood such as Rosewood or Ebony.
Headstock – located at the end of the neck above the nut and fretboard that holds the tuning pegs.
Inlay – Decorative procedure of cutting out a thin recess and filling it with another material.
Neck – thin piece of wood that holds the strings, headstock, fretboard, and frets and is usually made from the Nato wood.
Nut – Located at the top of the neck, at the end of the fretboard. The nut holds the strings above the frets and correctly spaces the strings at the top of the fretboard. Nuts are usually made of bone or other hard dense material.
Purfling – A decorative thin strip of material inlay around the top edges of the instrument to prevent cracking around the edges.
Rope – An alternating pattern of light and dark wood, usually associated with bindings and or trim.
Rosette – The decorative rings around the soundhole. It can also strengthen the area around the soundhole.
Saddle – Located on top of the bridge it holds the strings in place. Saddles are usually made of bone or other hard dense material.
Scale – Distance from the bridge to the nut.
Set Up – The final “tune-up” prior to shipment to make an instrument play correctly.
People that make stringed instruments are called luthiers. An online store that specializes in ukuleles is probably made or set up by luthiers and are probably well constructed.
All laminated ukuleles may be ideal as a starter, but a nice combination is a solid top with laminate back and sides. This will reduce the cost as compared to an all sold ukulele yet producing some beautiful tones that you will enjoy playing. The soundboard is responsible for creating the volume and tonal quality of the instrument whereas the back and sides reflect the sound. One excellent combination is a solid Spruce or Cedar top with Mahogany laminate back and sides. When properly made, this combination produces tones resulting in deeper bass tones and brighter treble tones than a Mahogany top.
Gloss Finish and Satin Ukulele
Typically there are two types of finishes available, satin and glossy. Satin is a low sheen finish that creates a natural or classical appearance. Glossy is a high sheen finish that produces a bright mirror-like appearance. Glossy finishes are more expensive than satin finishes. When properly applied the surface should be flat, level and clean and should not adversely affect the overall tonal qualities of the ukulele. Both finishes are fine and it is a matter of preference on which to choose.
Tuners are located on the headstock and are used for tuning the ukulele. Two types of tuners generally used are the friction peg and geared. There is a debate amongst ukulele players on which is better, but having quality made tuners such as Gotoh tuners can prevent frequently retuning of the instrument.
Nylon strings are generally found on less expensive ukuleles or to keep the overall cost down on more expensive ukuleles. There is nothing wrong with nylon strings, but Aquila strings will produce a noticeably brighter sound. Aquila strings do cost more than traditional nylon strings and can be purchased as a separate item should the need arise.
Additional features included in the construction of the ukulele may include a combination of: inlay, purfling, rope binding and rosette. Keep in mind these are generally decorative and can make the instrument more expensive than anticipated.
Shopping online does not have to be a daunting experience and people do it quite often. The quality of ukuleles has greatly improved over the past 15 years or more. This article focused on ukuleles in the $100.00 to $200.00 price range. This should get you a quality ukulele if you know where to shop. A reputable online store should list the key features including:
- If the scale and size are industry standards.
- Type of construction: all laminate, all solid or a combination. A solid top with laminate back and sides is an excellent combination.
- Type of wood used on the body. Spruce or Cedar makes for excellent soundboards and Mahogany for the back and sides.
- Type of wood on the fretboard. Rosewood or Ebony makes good fretboards.
- Type of wood used o the neck. Nato wood is an excellent choice for the neck.
- Type of finish, satin or glossy. This is a matter of preference.
- Type of tuners, geared or friction and possibly the manufacture such as Gotoh. Geared tuners allow for greater accuracy.
- Type of strings, nylon or Aquila.
- The nut and saddle should be made from bone.
- Any decorative inlays since this will add to the overall appearance and cost.
When browsing the Internet, typing just the word “ukulele” can bring up a plethora of online stores selling ukuleles. This may cause you to miss some really good online stores where you may find some good deals. Try to narrow your search by typing phrases like “ukuleles for sale online” or “best ukuleles” or “quality ukuleles”. Also, watch out for shipping costs. Some online stores offer ukuleles at low prices only to charge a high shipping cost.
Some thoughts you may want to keep in the back of your mind when shopping:
- Does the online store exclusively sell ukuleles or are they a secondary item?
- Is the item in stock? No sense going through the checkout process only to discover the item is out of stock.
- Do they provide a contact page where you can email or call about any additional questions and/or concerns you may have?
- Do they respond to your questions and/or concerns promptly?
- Is the checkout process secure and do they accept most major credit cards?
- What about warranties or guarantees and what is the return policy?
Obviously, a topic such as this can be quite lengthy, subject to opinion and some topics were probably not mentioned. However, the purpose of this article is to help motivate or help in your decision-making process if you are getting the most for your dollar. Buying a quality made ukulele will bring years of musical enjoyment.
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All About the Soprano Ukulele For Beginners
The soprano ukulele is one of four sizes for this musical instrument. It is the one most people think of when they see or hear of a ukulele performance. It is the most common of the ukulele types and the smallest of the four. The Ukulele is strongly linked to the Hawaiian Islands but was originally brought there by Portuguese immigrants.
The guitar-like instrument is available in four sizes. A soprano version is the smallest, followed by the concert, tenor and baritone sizes. A soprano-size ukulele usually measures up to thirteen inches on the strings with a maximum length of 21 inches.
The tuning for the soprano ukulele, or standard ukulele as it is traditionally known is G C E A. The G is tuned one octave higher than the other three notes. The G may also be tuned as a low G. Another popular tuning for the soprano and the concert sizes is the sequence A D F# B. It is one step higher and is said produce a sweeter sound.
The D tuning was the most popular method used during the Hawaiian music craze that hit the country during the early 1900s. This tuning sequence is the one used in the Canadian school system. The A D F# B sequence is sometimes known as Canadian tuning.
The other sizes of ukulele instruments are tuned differently, each producing a unique sound and style of playing. There are also some more exotic styles and sizes of ukuleles. These include the banjo, harp and lap steel ukulele.Buy And Reviews of Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Almost all ukuleles today are made of wood, the less expensive ones will be of laminated wood or ply construction. The soundboards for the lesser quality instruments will be made of spruce. As the ukuleles move up the quality list, they will be made of acoustically superior woods such as mahogany or koa, a Hawaiian specialty wood. These instruments are tremendously valuable and can cost thousands of dollars.
The traditional ukulele shape is a figure eight, similar to a small-size acoustic guitar. More unusual shapes include a pineapple shape, boat paddle shape or a square shape. There are kits sold so that musicians can construct their own instrument for very little monetary outlay.
Learning to play the soprano ukulele is fairly simple, particularly if you are already knowledgeable about chords. Tuning advice and introductory lessons can be found online or in music stores. As with any other musical instrument, practice makes the player more proficient. The short length of the scale makes the ukulele a good starting point for those wanting to begin playing a plucked string musical instrument.
After Buy Ukulele You Must Follow Some Tips To Learn How To Play Ukulele AndHere Are Some Tips
If you are considering buying a ukulele and taking ukulele lessons to learn to play the instrument, this article will give you some tips on how to play the ukulele.
Before I do so, here is a brief background of the ukulele. The ukulele originated from the nineteenth century from Hawaii. It is a part of the guitar family, the difference being it has four strings while the guitar has six strings.
The Ukulele comes in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Different sizes determine the tone and the volume of the instrument. From Hawaii it spread to all over the world, with the soprano ukulele being the first to be introduced to the United States.
Now that you know some basic background of the ukulele, here are some tips on how to play the ukulele:
The Ukulele is an instrument that is played through plucking the strings. You can opt to use your fingers to pluck the strings, or a pick. Ukulele picks are usually felt covered ones and are softer, as compared to guitar picks. Some people developed calloused fingers when plucking the strings, so I advise you to use a felt pick instead.
Some people who have a background in playing the guitar are used to strumming instead of plucking strings. If may take you a while to adapt to plucking the ukulele strings to play it, but once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy many hours of playing the ukulele.
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The Kala Makala MK-T is often said to be the premium beginner’s ukulele on the market. It is inexpensively priced, yet the sound quality is still fantastic.
Since the ukulele has only four strings compared to the guitar, which has six strings, it is comparatively easier to learn once you have mastered the notes.
Before you start, you will need to tune the instrument. This can be done using an electronic tuner, or you can request your ukulele teacher to help you tune the instrument. Nowadays, an electronic tuner is very affordable. Alternatively, if you have friends who are musically talented and have an ear for tone and music, you can request them to help you tune your ukulele.
Once your ukulele is tuned, try plucking the strings and play it. I advise you to engage a ukulele teacher and go for ukulele lessons, so you learn the proper techniques of playing the ukulele. Once you have mastered this, you can then go solo and experiment with the instrument to play your favorite songs.
Finally, once you have mastered the basics of the playing the ukulele, you will need to practice regularly. Practice makes perfect so dedicate some time each day to do so. Coupled with the guidance of an experienced ukulele teacher, you will be able to enjoy playing the ukulele very soon.
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