Top 10 Best Ukuleles for Beginners in 2019 Reviews

Just because you are new to the ukulele doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get an instrument that has a wonderful sound. The best ukuleles for beginners will look and sound great. Plus, they will be easy to learn and practice on.

To learn all about our picks for the best ukuleles for beginners and receive a handy buyer’s guide, continue reading. In this article, we answer all the questions you could every have about ukuleles for beginners. And, if you are just curious about ukuleles in general, check out these other articles here, here, here, and here.

best ukuleles for beginners

Top 10 Best Ukulele for Beginners Reviews


1 Kala Official Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit

Kala is one of the best-known ukulele brands for a reason. The company is a powerhouse in the ukulele industry, and their products speak for themselves. Kala is housed in Petaluma, CA, a city about thirty miles north of San Francisco. So, you know that when you buy a Kala instrument, you are purchasing only the best USA designed ukuleles. Also, what’s great about Kala is that they are always updating their instruments and making a new addition to their product line.

Keep reading . . .

The Kala Official Learn to Play Ukulele is one of three models in the Learn to Play line by the brand. Everything about the Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit is designed for the beginner player. There are the free Learn to Play apps that come included with the purchase of the instrument. Plus, there is a quick start booklet that will get you going on the product the minute you receive it. Finally, the quality and durability of all of Kala’s instruments make the Learn to Play Ukulele a perfect choice for schools and any beginner player.

Kala Official Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • High quality and durable instrument.
  • A great instrument for schools.
  • Very affordable.
  • Comes in soprano, concert, and tenor instruments.
Cons
  • No clip-on tuner included.
  • Frets can be sharp if pressed too hard.

2 Kala Exotic Mahogany Concert

Kala is well known for its wonderful ukuleles. The company has been around for a decade and specializes in making the highest quality and most durable instruments around. Kala is headquartered north of San Francisco in Petaluma, CA in cow country. But, that hasn’t stopped the company from creating a worldwide presence in the ukulele industry. They continue to update and add to their product lines, which ensures that you are getting the most up-to-date ukulele available.

Plus . . .

When you are ready to upgrade from the Learn to Play ukulele, you will be ready for Kala’s Exotic Mahogany concert ukulele. This is still a great instrument for beginners, but the larger size—this is a concert instrument—and thus wider fret spacing requires a more advanced player. There are six different instruments in this product line, and they are all made from different exotic woods. The Exotic Mahogany Concert ukulele is made from mahogany is stained in blue satin. So, not only will the great sound set you apart from everyone else, but the blue look of the instrument will as well.

Kala Exotic Mahogany Concert
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Ultra-modern blue satin mahogany concert ukulele.
  • Great deep sound and high-quality construction.
  • Comes with Premium Aquila Nylgut strings.
  • Stays in tune well.
Cons
  • May be too large for young players.
  • More expensive than Kala’s Learn to Play ukuleles.

3 Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba is another great ukulele for beginner’s manufacturer. The brand is primarily known for its nylon-stringed guitars. In fact, you can find them listed as one of the best classical guitar manufacturers in our article here. However, Cordoba does not only produce great classical guitars. Their ukuleles are also fantastic.

That’s not all . . .

The Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele is a great instrument for someone looking to learn. It will get you started with its easy to play frets. Plus, it has a beautiful mahogany top, back, and sizes. The finish is satin. The fingerboard, bridge, saddle, and nuts are all made from composite wood. Yet, this does not decrease the 15CM’s durability, playability, or sound quality. Overall, this is a great choice for a ukulele for beginners concert or tenor sized instrument.

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Great sound for the money.
  • An electric version is available.
  • Comes in concert, soprano, and tenor sizes.
  • Good for intermediates as well.
Cons
  • More expensive than the Kala ukuleles.
  • Chinese made of composite wood.

4 Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Kala is such a well-known and respected ukulele producer for beginners that it makes sense that they would have a lot of instruments on our top ten list. The company was founded a decade ago in Petaluma, CA. They still have their headquarters in Petaluma, which is about thirty miles north of San Francisco. All of their instruments are designed in the United States. And, some are even produced here.

Want to know more? Read on . . .

Kala’s KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele is one of the most popular ukulele sizes and the smallest. This instrument is great for players of any size and age. The mahogany top, back, and sides are beautiful and durable. And the walnut fingerboard really adds a stylish touch to the instrument. Plus, for the money, you can’t beat the sound of this ukulele for beginners.

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Great sound.
  • Very affordable for the beginner.
  • Soprano size is small enough for even young children.
  • Beautiful satin mahogany finish.
Cons
  • No picks are included.
  • Online tuner app, so you must have the internet to use.

5 Cordoba 20CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba is a great manufacturer of both nylon-sized guitars and ukuleles. They are driven by the desire to create wonderful organic wooden instruments. And, their many great ukulele products illustrates their success. They have a number of ukulele product lines. However, none is better than the 20CM

And . . .

If you want a ukulele for beginners 2018 or 2019 that can also be played by intermediates, then the 20CM Concert Ukulele is for you. It is one of the larger sizes of ukulele. Plus, lots of sizes and finishes are available. You may even decide to choose an electric version of the 20CM. Just keep in mind that all versions of the 20CM are made in China and use composite wood on some of the features—fingerboard, bridge, etc. But, that does not stop this ukulele for beginners from sounding great and lasting a long time. Additionally, the beautiful mahogany finish and rosette pattern will make you the envy of every other ukulele player.

Cordoba 20CM Concert Ukulele
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros
  • Lots of size and finish options, including electric.
  • Rosette pattern and body shape are class and beautiful.
  • Wonderful sweet sound.
  • Durable wood and construction.
Cons
  • Fairly expensive for a beginner instrument.
  • Frets not flush with fingerboard.

6 Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit

Bondi Ukuleles has a small but passionate group of employees that are dedicated to providing you with the best ukuleles possible. The owners of the company, Joel and Marcus, are ukulele enthusiasts who know what makes a great instrument. They began Bondi Ukuleles when they met at a symposium in Bangkok. Both co-founders are Australian and draw their inspiration for the instruments from Bondi Beach.

That’s not all . . .

Bondi doesn’t just make great ukuleles for advanced players. Instead, anyone can afford and purchase a great Bondi instrument. If you are a beginner try out the Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit. It includes everything you need to begin playing the ukulele. It comes with a compression case, felt picks, strap, glow tuner, chord stamp, chord poster, videos, lesson, guides, and the Bondi promise to stand behind their instruments. In fact, this starter kit and instrument come with a lifetime warranty by Bondi, which is significantly longer than other ukulele warranties. Bondi takes the risk out of your purchase, so you can focus on learning the ukulele.

Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit
Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros
  • The all-inclusive kit has everything you need.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Very affordable given everything included.
  • Hard case protects your instrument.
Cons
  • Chord chart not as helpful.
  • Not ideal for an intermediate or advanced player.

7 Kohala Akamai Soprano Ukulele with Binding

Kohala Ukuleles is another ukulele manufacturer that also makes guitars. They produce both nylon and steel string guitars in addition to their wide range of ukuleles. You can find Kohala ukuleles in all four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. They offer beginner packs as well as single instruments. So, everything you need for a ukulele or guitar, you can find from Kohala.

Read on . . .

Kohala’s Akamai Soprano Ukulele with Binding is a traditional looking, mahogany instrument. The Akamai series of ukuleles have instruments in all four sizes. Also, there are electric ukuleles in this series available. The Akamai Soprano Ukulele with Binding comes with binding on the edges of the instrument’s body. These protect it from damage. And, it’s not all just looks. The Kohala Akamai Soprano Ukulele with Binding has a beautiful and traditional sound that is clear and bright.

Kohala Akamai Soprano Ukulele with Binding
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros
  • Traditional look and sound.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.
  • Extremely affordable
  • Binding on edges protects the instrument well.
Cons
  • Tuners may not be installed correctly.
  • Soprano size may be too small for some.

8 Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag

Luna is a guitar manufacturer that also makes ukuleles. The company is a mainstay in the reviews for Oldtimemusic. Here’s another article that talks about Luna in depth. Luna is headquartered in Tampa, FL, so are another American company. They offer a wide variety of instrument types, including mandolins, banjos, bouzoukis, and the Cajon in order to spark creativity in the performer community.

But . . .

Luna’s ukuleles are one of the main reasons to purchase from this company. There are a lot of ukulele offerings in all four sizes. But, the Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag is one of Luna’s best ukuleles for beginners. The word “tattoo” in the name of this ukulele indicates the cool black pattern on the instrument. It has the design of traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation. This particular design stands for longevity and endurance, which is exactly what the instrument will give you.

Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros
  • Unusual Hawaiian-inspired design on instrument body.
  • All wood construction.
  • Clear and resonate sound.
  • Comes in an electric model as well.
Cons
  • Shipping might take a while.
  • Included strings are not the best.

9 Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1

Donner was founded in 2012. And, since that time they have focused on creating new music and performance experiences. This is the most comprehensive brand on our list. They make a variety of instruments—not just guitars and ukuleles, but wind, percussion, and keyboard instruments as well. Plus, they also offer stage equipment. You can find their products in many of our reviews, including this, this, and this one.

That’s not all . . .

Donner’s ukuleles are just as high quality as the rest of the products offered by the brand. They are best represented by the Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1. This is a large, twenty-three-inch product. It comes with strings, clip-on tuner, instrument bag, and strap. Essential you will receive everything you need to get started playing the ukulele.  Additionally, Donner has created their DUC-1 with an amazing sound, a sturdy mahogany body, and easy to play shape.

Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros
  • Beautiful shape, color, and craftsmanship.
  • Includes all the tools you need to get started.
  • Wood is expertly dried and fitted.
  • Smooth feel on all the corners and joints.
Cons
  • May be too large for some children.
  • Needs tuning adjustment out of the box.

10Lohanu Ukulele Concert Size Bundle

The name Lohanu is actually the joining of three words: Love, Ohana, and unity. Love and unity are self-explanatory. However, Ohana means family and community in Hawaiian. Lohanu got their name by combining these three words and striving to live up to the values they represent. Lohanu specializes in making ukuleles and is a Canadian company. They claim that they are one of the best selling ukulele brands in the United States and Canada.

Plus . . .

Their products live up to the hype. They come with a lifetime warranty. Also, Lohanu offers a free lesson on their website. The Ukulele Concert Size Bundle illustrates what makes Lohanu such a great ukulele for beginners company. It comes with two strap buttons to attach the included strap. Also, there are even more extras included. In the package, you will find a tuner, case, two picks, Paracord Ukulele hanger, and an extra set of strings. For such an affordable product, the amount that comes with this ukulele is amazing.

Lohanu Ukulele Concert Size Bundle
Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros
  • Lots of great included accessories.
  • Comes in concert, soprano, and tenor sizes.
  • Very affordable considering what’s included.
  • Twenty-four inches long is large enough for most adults.
Cons
  • Hard to keep in tune.
  • Finishing is not always perfect.

Best Ukulele Buying Guide for Beginners

Now that you know the ten ukuleles for beginners that we recommend in 2019, take a look at this buyer’s guide. It will help you narrow down your choices to find the instrument that will best suit you.

  • Extras

As may be clear by the above list of reviews, some ukuleles for beginners include extra items in addition to the instrument. You will most likely receive a tuner or access to a tuning app. There are also products that come with cases, straps, extra strings, and teaching booklets.

If you are a complete beginner, then you will need to purchase an all-inclusive ukulele package. These bundles typically come with a discount. So, it saves you money to purchase all of the accessories with your ukulele. However, if you have played the ukulele before or have some equipment, you may not need to worry about purchasing a bundle. Because every ukulele and manufacturer come with their own set of extras, you will need to decide what you need before you purchase the instrument.

  • Type of wood and finish

Ukuleles come in a variety of woods and finishes. Typically, there will be one type of wood used for the front, back, and sides. And, another type of wood will be used for the fingerboard and tuners. In general, most ukuleles are made from mahogany. It is a durable and sturdy wood. But, you may also find pine, spruce, or other hardwoods used in the instrument.

ukuleles for beginners-buying

You will probably want to stay away from instruments that are 100% composite wood. Composite wood is a mix of a variety of wood types that have been glued together. Composite wood is less strong and eco-friendly. You may find composite wood used on the smaller parts of the instrument. Or, there may be composite wood used in the construction of the entire ukulele. We recommend staying away from all-composite products.

  •  Size

Many instruments come in families. Think of the string family, with its four sizes of violin, viola, cello, and bass. This is also the viol de gamba family—a Baroque instrument—with the sizes of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Don’t overlook the relationship between the names of the viol sizes and vocal types. That link can help you determine the relative size of each instrument.

Like these instruments, ukuleles come in four main sizes. The sizes have vocal names as well, like the viols. Their names are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Soprano ukuleles are the smallest and most comm size. Ukulele for beginners concert or tenor is less comm than sopranos. They are medium sizes. Baritone ukuleles are quite rare. But, some of the companies on our list above do produce baritone sizes ukuleles.

If you are just starting out you will want to purchase a ukulele that is on the small size. This is especially important for children. If the instrument is too large, it will be hard to learn the frets. So, start with a soprano or concert-sized instrument and work your way up.

Conclusion

The best ukuleles for beginners come with extras, are an easy size to play, and are made out of high-quality wood. While all of the products on our top ten list above meet these requirements, there is one that goes above and beyond. For affordability, usability, and overall deal you cannot beat the Kala Official Learn to Play Ukulele. It has everything you need to get started with the ukulele and more.

Even if you choose another instrument on our top ten list, you cannot go wrong. The ukulele is a great instrument with a rich history that can add variety to your playing. It has a unique sound that lends itself to bluegrass and other folk music genres. However, you do not need to be a folk player to love and play the ukulele.

The instruments are all so affordable that you have nothing to lose. Try a ukulele for beginners today. You’ll learn a new skill and fall in love with an unusual and wonderful instrument.