View Full Version : Best beginning uke

02-07-2010, 04:01 AM
what is the absoulte best ukulele for beginners, one that isn't too incredibly expensive but also has a great sound and look?

02-07-2010, 04:12 AM
lol, if there was such a ukulele, EVERY beginner in the whole world who ever bought ukes would buy it xD

The model answer you'll get from everyone is that it really does depend on what is the "best" ukulele to your personal preferences.
Does it *have* to have solid wood? Or are you happy with laminate?
Does it need to have a pickup? Or are you happy with purely acoustic?
What is not too incredibly expensive? A price range would be good.

What size do u like? Soprano/Concert/Tenor..
What is great sound and looks? xD

Perhaps a nice inexpensive Kala with active electronics is a very versatile choice for a beginner that they can learn on as their primary instrument until the UAS bug makes them want something more..

Here is MGM music store, a very popular store for properly set-up ukes with free upgraded strings and other goodies:

His "starter packs" are a good place to start.

Anyway, my recommendation based on my tastes and preferences are:
Kala KA-CE acoustic electric concert or Kala KA-TE acoustic electric tenor.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-Kala-KA-TE-Mahogany-Tenor-Ukulele-Acous-elec_W0QQitemZ250575643064QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item3a5778e1b8

http://cgi.ebay.com/KA-CE-KALA-Mahogany-Concert-Ukulele-w-PU-cs-SETUP_W0QQitemZ250573894802QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_D efaultDomain_0?hash=item3a575e3492

They're laminates, so you don't need to worry about maintaining them with humidifiers and stuff. Their sound is also quite good.
And I have a thing for acoustic-electrics - I like all my ukes to have an electric pickup.

02-07-2010, 04:18 AM
it does not have to be solid, only soprano i was looking at lanikai but im still unsure and about fifty to one hundred

02-07-2010, 04:22 AM
fifty to one hundred?

Many ukes you would buy from a store in that price range will come with quality issues, like high action and poor intonation.
You really have to be careful where you buy from.

I highly advise finding something at MGM within that price range.
You have quite a few to choose from. If you start on this page:
http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room__W0QQ_sidZ34517586QQ_trksidZp4634Q2ec0Q2em14? _pgn=9
The prices get lower as you keep going :)

You can be assured you'll get a quality ukulele from him.
Even the cheapest uke there (a Makala "dolphin" Soprano in colours) is properly adjusted and upgraded with good strings.

02-07-2010, 04:27 AM
i have heard lanikais are good for starting...any expirience with them?

02-07-2010, 04:36 AM
I wouldn't recommend the Lanikai LU-21 series. The price is right, they sound ok, and then it starts going downhill from there. I spent a little over $200 on a Mainland, I'm a beginner, and it's a great starter uke. You could also look at the Kala lower end ukes, or the Flea or Fluke.

02-07-2010, 05:06 AM
it goes downhill?

02-07-2010, 05:29 AM
I started with a Lanikai LU21 C. I liked it so much I got a Lanikai LU21-TE about a month later.

I have heard some bad things about them, but my experience with them was nothing but positive.

I love those ukes, and I still play them a lot. Most of my videos were done with the LU21-TE.

02-07-2010, 05:35 AM
I love my Lanikai. I would buy another if I saw one. Mine's not an LU though, so I can't comment on those.

02-07-2010, 05:36 AM
I have to put my word in for Ohana. I received an Ohana ck-25 as a gift for my first uke and it's wonderful! It's loud, sturdy and sounds beautiful. I think it sounds even better after being played for 6 months. It may be a little over your budget but it's a wonderful starter uke.

02-07-2010, 05:59 AM
I learned how to play ukulele on a Mele and a kamaka but my first uke I purchased was an oscar schmidt ou2. I hated it b/c I was playing friends kamakas and Meles. There is a variety of good quality ukuleles for beginners out there and what constitutes a beginner ukulele is up to the beginner. Your price range is between 50 and 100 and for a soprano you should be able to get a fairly decent ukulele for that price. It sounds to me like you are content with a lanikai so get one. Seeso loves his lanikais and he makes them sound good. I would normally recommend a Mele but it is out of your price range. My recommendation is a hula uke. It is Meles student model. I haven't owned one. I have only played one and it sounded good and the price was right. Good luck in your quest for the perfect beginner ukulele.

02-07-2010, 06:39 AM
I'd get a Kala dolphin from MGM on eBay, no question. Spend the extra cash on a tuner!

02-07-2010, 06:48 AM
If I had to do it over again, I would have started out with a Kala KS-8 from MGM only because I'd be assured that he'd look it over before it left the shop.
As it stands, my first uke was a Lanikai LU-12. I ordered it from Musician's Friend 'cause I like their service. It's the entry level uke without the white binding the 21 has. It is my beater axe and favorite next to my Sopranino. Has good sound and the action is perfect.


02-07-2010, 09:04 AM
oh oh. I am hoping to win a bid for a Lanikai LU-21TE. My first uke with a pick up. Hope it works out

02-07-2010, 09:06 AM
... Spend the extra cash on a tuner!

Yes - get a tuner. Will change your life

02-08-2010, 01:02 PM
Kala 15-S ain't bad at all.

02-08-2010, 02:16 PM
You should be getting a few posts suggesting Mainlands. I got a mahogany concert for around 220.00 and added a pickup and case bringing it to just over 400.00. Can't beat that with a big stck, if you ask me (which you did, I guess). There are many many reviews on YT, and all of my vids there are using the Mainland. Great ukes & outstanding customer service... Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah. Here. Over and over and over.

02-08-2010, 03:52 PM
I have a concert flea-
sugary sound, durable, wide board, easy to playwith low action for a newbie like myself
not cheap but reasonable well worth the $

02-08-2010, 04:23 PM
So there's lots of suggestions for way out of your budget, but that's because there really is a pretty big difference between a $50 uke and a $200 uke. For your budget though, I'd say a makala dolphin (which gets a lot of praise around here) or a lanikai. I've owned a couple Lanikai's and have found them to be spectacular for their price. At one point I owned a S-T, a spruce top tenor, which I adored, but eventually sold to fund a major upgrade, and I still have a 6 string spruce top . Lanikai ukes don't get nearly enough love around here.

02-08-2010, 04:47 PM
I like my Kala from MGM, and my Mitchell and Lanikai I bought from Guitar Center. There's nothing like putting your own uke together either. A grizzly kit (http://grizzly.com/products/h3125) is only $25. All you need are some basic mostly cheap tools and supplies. All these options are under $100 except my Mitchell which was $110 or so. I have a $300 Ibanez that's pretty and sounds great, and I never play it over my self built ukes. Just know that when you buy your first uke you will need to see a therapist or financial advisor soon thereafter for your UAS.

02-08-2010, 04:58 PM
My first beginner ukulele is a KALA Sprucetop Concert Ukulele. I love the sound quality of it. But its your choice to choose your brand.

02-09-2010, 01:03 AM
What's this about a Lanikai LU-21 "going downhill"? I'm curious becuase it's the uke I have (better one on the way) and I find it stays in tune pretty well, and doesn't sound bad at all. It's not like I've played loads of ukes but it just seems pretty ok to me for 50 odd euros.

02-09-2010, 01:28 AM
How about my Bruko?!