View Full Version : First ukulele?

03-14-2011, 03:56 PM
Okay, so I don't know how to play a ukulele at all and I know even less about them, but, I want to buy one for a friend as a Birthday present. He already knows how to play guitar, but will be a beginner on the ukulele. I know he wants a little one and I belive his inspiration for playing comes from Jack Johnson. I am looking to spend no more than $200, is this enough for a decent one? What is a good brand and where can I get one? Any suggestions or info would be greatly appreciated!

03-14-2011, 04:09 PM

I'd recommend Mainland and Ohana Soprano ukuleles for that price range :) Soprano ukuleles are the smallest regular size of uke, which is probably what your friend wants. Although I wouldn't recommend buying someone an instrument without knowing if they're 100% going to play it.

03-14-2011, 04:16 PM
thats what I was thinking too. Ohana sk35G or the Mainland Soprano Mahogany? Both are under 200.

03-14-2011, 04:58 PM
If I had to do it over again, I'd definitely consider the Mainland Soprano Mahogany for my first Uke...... I see its $179 at Uke Republic. Reasons? Its solid wood and it is set up to play well, it comes with quality strings and looks fun and classy. (And its a highly recommended brand here on UU, I see.)

03-14-2011, 05:09 PM
Thank you all so much for your suggestions!!! I never knew there were soo many different kinds, sizes, ect. of ukuleles and I'm glad I decided to ask! You're help is very much appreciated!

03-14-2011, 05:21 PM
+1 on Ohana SK35. This instrument is great! Mainland as well.

03-15-2011, 11:03 AM
+1 Mainland

Though if you want to save some money to get case, books, strings etc - Kala, Ohana and Lanikai

Take a read of




03-15-2011, 11:11 AM
How about a flea or a fluke?


I started on a fluke.

03-19-2011, 11:17 AM
The Flea is very good. The basic model is $180 on the Flea Market Music site, which is affiliated with the manufacturer. Some people pooh-pooh them for having a lot of plastic in the makeup, but they have a good sound. The Flea is soprano size, the "little one" your son is looking for. Flukes are larger and start around $200. I use a Fluke for my traveling uke, you can toss the gig bag in your trunk and bring it on trips and not have to worry about it.

Ukulele JJ
03-19-2011, 11:51 AM
I love my Flea, but it's not the most traditional-looking uke in the world. :-)

I wouldn't buy one for a guitar-playing friend as a gift unless I was really sure he or she was into its unique style (like, maybe they've specifically mentioned seeing one and thinking it was cool).


03-19-2011, 11:59 AM
Almost all of us recommend that someone first play the uke they are considering. Since you are buying it as a gift, I would try to see if I could not trump up some reason to go to a store that carries them and let him play the various sizes and types. Then, remember which size he seemed to like best.

I have 2 baritones, a tenor, 3 sopranos, and a concert Flea. If I had it all to do over again, and could only get one under $200, it would be an Ohana SK-35G, but it would seem very small to a guitar player at first. Many guitar players prefer the larger tenor.

03-20-2011, 06:44 AM
I started on a Lanikai LU-21 but I think that the Kala Makala is a good starter uke.