View Full Version : Entry level uke recommendation

11-16-2016, 04:52 AM
My 14 year old daughter has taken to the ukulele and stuck with it practicing frequently and improving. I'd purchased a Mahalo for her several years ago when she was just 10 and she ignored it until a few months ago. IN spite of it's very low quality she's kept at it. As she continues to show devotion to the instrument I'd likewise help her aquire the quality that would reflect that, but in the meantime would like to get her an entry level ukulele that has nice tone, response, and is quality constructed. Something that has good intonation. She has expressed interest in a concert sized ukulele having tried several sizes out.

11-16-2016, 05:26 AM
You don't mention a price point and I know next to nothing about buying for 14 yo young ladies. I believe Luna's http://www.lunaguitars.com/ukuleles may fit the bill, they have a more artsy look to them, check out the Flora. I got one of their cheap Tattoo's as my first, I still like it and play it near every day.

If you do a search you'll turn up many many threads that ask the same question.

11-16-2016, 05:30 AM
How much are you thinking of paying?

There is a useful series of detailed reviews on Got a Ukulele (http://www.gotaukulele.com/p/ukulele-reviews.html), "What Ukulele? He gives recommendations in different price brackets. Note that the prices may be a bit out, as some of the reviews are several years old, and being a UK site with prices in pounds the current exchange rate fall will also skew prices.

11-16-2016, 05:42 AM
How much are you thinking of paying?

Well, that gets to exactly what I'm looking at for recommendations. As a guitarist with several nice Martins I fully understand the prices associated with a real instrument that can not only offer great tone, response, and intonation, but can also be properly set up, adjusted and stand the test of time. But I know there's also some higher quality "cookie cutter " instruments that are an affordable option for a beginner and have some of the essential qualities necessary for fun and not frustrating playing. So my long winded answer is that I'd pay what I need to get her a real instrument of the most entry level nature I can. I'll move up to the next step as she moves up.

11-16-2016, 05:50 AM
As others have said, it really depends upon your budget. Even though I've done it, I would not necessarily recommend purchasing by mail. I would take the 14 year old to a local shop carrying quality ukes and try to find one that she can connect with. For $150-$200 there is a good selection of Kala laminates which are highly regarded. Solid wood will cost more. At the entry level, other brands to consider might be: Cordoba, Fender, Lanikai, Luna, Oscar Schmidt. It really depends on what might be available to you locally. If she is really committed and you expect her to continue to use the Uke to learn and play music through her school years, you could consider lower cost Ponos, Mainlands, Opios: All good quality solid wood ukes. Enjoy your search and keep encouraging you daughter to pursue her passions.

11-16-2016, 06:00 AM
Mainland is a good choice. You should be able to get something in the $200 - $250 range by contacting them.

11-16-2016, 06:05 AM
Another vote for one of the slightly nicer Kala production ukes. Maybe with a solid top, e.g. spruce or cedar. Excellent value for money and with proper set up should be just as playable as something more expensive.

11-16-2016, 06:29 AM
In entry level ukes the most important thing is to get one that is well set up. HMS, Mim's ukes and Uke Republic all do this, and most people estimate this as adding about $40 worth of work to a low-cost uke. You might find the same basic uke for $10 less elsewhere, but you won't have the quality assurance you get from a good vendor.

The other alternative is if you have a store local to you with a good selection is to go and play everything in your price range and choose the one that sounds and feels the best.

11-16-2016, 06:50 AM
X2 on the Luna. I have a Luna concert from HMS (great setup) for $139 with a solid spruce top and a dragonfly inlay around the sound hole. It is the one I hand off to people interested in ukuleles and is a huge hit based on its looks. It also sounds very nice with a resonant tone. I kept the Aquila strings on it so it is a bit easier on newby fingertips. I don't see that brand on their site anymore, but I recommend it based on looks and ease of playing if you can buy it set up or can set it up yourself.

Croaky Keith
11-16-2016, 07:24 AM
I'd say a Kala or Ohana solid wood or solid top, bought from one of the recommended dealers on here. :)

(I recently bought myself a couple of solid mahogany (long neck) Ohanas, (SK30L & CK35L), they weren't overly expensive, 120 & 160.)

11-16-2016, 07:54 AM
Mainland is a good choice. You should be able to get something in the $200 - $250 range by contacting them.

I second this. Since you own nice guitars, I assume you understand both the benefits of, and extra work required with, solid wood instruments. Mainlands are all solid wood ukuleles that would be good for a beginner and allow her to grow for years to come.