Best Ukulele Brands 2021: 5 Affordable Deals

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This is our review on The Best Ukulele Brands. We’ve scoured the internet to find you the 5 best deals around. 

The Ukulele is an affordable and fun way to get into playing an instrument. There are a huge number of brands, but which are the best Ukulele brands? As you’re here, you must be curious to find out what ukulele brands you can trust.

Through my 25 years of playing instruments, I can assist you with the finer details that’ll make your decision easier. I’ve added some very popular, affordable deals with ideal starter kits.

Let’s take a closer look at the finer details.

What Are The Best Ukulele Brands? 

How do we determine the best ukulele brands? Do we follow the best reviews online? Is it important to check which type of wood has been used in the construction? Do I choose a brand with a long history of producing Ukuleles? I would make a decision based on all of these questions.

Various companies have been around for long periods producing a range of instruments. People continue to buy ukuleles from those brands, validating the price and quality of their instruments.

I’ve chosen a mix of brands based on history, craftsmanship, overall selection for a beginner to a professional player, quality of materials used, popularity, and value for money.

Here is a list of some trustworthy ukulele brands:

  • Caramel
  • Cordoba
  • Kala
  • Lohanu
  • Kanile’a
  • Kamaka
  • Oscar Schmidt
  • Lanikai
  • Ohana
  • Martin & Co.
  • Luna
  • Fender

Playing Ukulele Is For Everybody, It Can Even Improve Your Health!

The benefits of playing the Ukulele are truly incredible. You may be looking for something musical for your 5-year-old. You’re a senior who loves music and would like to try your hand at learning an instrument. The Uke really is for everyone. You can learn so much quicker than any other stringed instrument. Playing a Uke can lead to learning the guitar or bass.

Due to a Ukes size, you are able to take it to school, on your next camping trip, or to a friend’s house to impress them. You can carry it everywhere. Also, a major plus point, a Ukulele is relatively inexpensive.

Here are some inspiring mental benefits to playing the Ukulele:

  • Prolongs Mental Degeneration
  • Counteracts Stress and Anxiety
  • A Powerful Form of Meditation
  • Able To Express Yourself
  • Being Creative
  • Performing Emotion
  • Social Benefits
  • Child Development

Read Authority Guitars in-depth article on ‘The Fascinating Benefits of Playing Guitar

Best Ukulele Brands

Quick Glance: Best Ukulele Brand Deals

A Few Things To Look Out For When Buying

When looking at the materials of a ukulele, you have two types of wood construction. Laminated wood: Layers of wood glued together. This type of construction offers low prices but doesn’t resonate to a high standard. Laminated Ukuleles usually have mediocre tones but are tough. A solid wood body has much superior quality in tone and lastability. The majority of instruments are made from solid wood bodies.

The most common types of wood used are:

  • Mahogany, Koa, Spruce, cedar for the soundboard
  • Mahogany, Koa, Maple and rosewood for the bottom and sides
  • Mahogany and Maple for the neck
  • Rosewood and Ebony for the bridge

Tip: Give your instrument decent strings and it’ll immediately sound better. You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and attach cheap tires to it.

Make sure the uke is set up properly. It’s worth paying a professional to give it a full health check. Give yourself the best chance of moving forward without any future issues. All musicians regularly set up their instruments. This definitely helps avoid fret buzzing, constant tuning, and snapping strings.

How much is a good quality Ukulele?

I would suggest spending over 50 all the way up to 200. Anything lower than this price wouldn’t be reliable enough.

Most Common Types Of Ukulele

TypeTypical LengthScale LengthFrets 
Soprano21 in (53 cm)13 in (33 cm)12-15 
Concert23 in (58 cm)15 in (38 cm)15–20 
Tenor26 in (66 cm)17 in (43 cm)17–19 
Baritone29 in (74 cm)19 in (48 cm)18–21 

Soprano Ukulele: is the most common and the smallest Ukulele, except for the sopranino. Soprano’s offer the classic unmistakeable ‘ukulele’ tone. It’s the favorite choice for beginners, with 12 – 15 frets.

Concert Ukulele (mezzosoprano): ideal for rhythmic accompaniment, has a fuller sound. Features 15 – 20 frets

Tenor Ukulele: the best one for solo parts, with higher string tension and a fuller sound than the concert type. Features more than 15 frets and the A string is tuned an octave lower than the smaller ukuleles

Baritone Ukulele: featuring more than 19 frets, it is the largest among the ukulele family and uses the same tuning of the first four strings of the guitar (D-G-B-E). It loses, for this reason, the distinctive ‘ukulele sound’, but offers a very full tone and it’ easy to play for the guitarist

Here’s a helpful video of the different tones you can expect from the four types of Ukulele. (2m49s for the tones)

Positives And Negatives

The Beautiful thing about the Uke is that anybody can learn. It’s so easy. You don’t need an amp, leads, or a plectrum. Simply hold the uke in position, learn a chord that uses one finger, and strum. There aren’t many instruments you can learn so quickly, hence the uke’s popularity. If you’re already a player then having the best brand of uke is important. If you play guitar, a ukulele should be easier to learn and a completely different avenue to discover.

The only precautions I would mention are: stay away from cheap ukes from unknown brands. The uke will go out of tune, the wood may bend and the plastic strings are horrific. You’ll grow bored of constantly tuning. The tuning pegs move around a lot and the parts will be made from very cheap materials. A complete waste of your money.

In this day and age, you can teach yourself via youtube. I’m a guitarist of 25 years and I still use youtube for learning. Booking a guitar tutor for a few lessons is definitely a good way to start. If you are teaching yourself and using bad habits, it’s not easy to adjust later on. There really aren’t any negatives to learning a ukulele.

Best 5 Ukulele Brands Full Review

 

Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Satin Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner app, and booklet

  • Pros: Affordable, Comes With Online Lessons, Small Size Is Great For Children, Ease of Use, Surprisingly Good Tone
  • Cons: Build Quality Not Great, Questionable Tuning Issues

Kala is one of the most recognizable Ukulele brands in the world. A perfect beginner instrument for children as young as 5 years old. Comes with a starter kit that includes: a Kala logo tote bag, a 20-page Quick Start Guide with information about your new ukulele, and all the tips you need to get started. You can even jump on their website with the online lessons. A beautiful mahogany finish, a laminated and sturdy construction will last the bumps and scrapes.

Considered to be at the lower end of the price range, the Kala KA-15S Ukulele is more about getting you playing. With that being said, it’s still surprisingly bright and rich in sound. The detail that struck me straight away, was how much lower the action is compared to similar models. I was pleasantly surprised to see this feature. Higher strings make an instrument harder to play.  

If you’re a complete beginner or looking to add a soprano to your collection on a lower budget, this is your next instrument!

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

  • ProsDecent Volume, Super Sustain, Bright Tone. Value For MoneyBeautiful Colour
  • ConsBuild Is Basic, Sharp Frets

The Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele would be another good choice for a newcomer. Unlike a lot of the laminate bodied ukes, the cordoba has a clear punchy top-end tone. The string sustain is more than adequate, which boosts the amount of volume for longer. I’ve sometimes found ukes to be reasonably quiet and boggy, but not this one! With a minimum amount of effort, you can get a nice big, clear satisfying tone. A cheaper instrument that mixes woods cannot offer what the 15CM delivers.

In general, Cordoba produces instruments that are built to last. With durable and long-lasting wood, there’s a reason why they sell in large numbers. With a sleek mahogany neck and a honey color wood body, it certainly looks the part. The bridge and fretboard are made from dark rosewood, this fits in nicely with the rest of the elegant stylish appearance.

This is a step up in sound to the soprano, and a good starter instrument for a beginner to intermediate player.

Here’s a helpful clip:

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag, Satin Natural

  • Pros: Very light, Warm Tones, Tattoo Designs Unique, Comes With Free Ukulele Case. Comes Set Up Properly.
  • Cons: Tuning pegs a little loose. Cheap Build

The Luna Tattoo Concert Ukulele has a laser-etched traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation. The patterns and layout were strongly geometric and there were many shapes and symbols representing the natural island world. 

This instrument is made from laminate wood with a mahogany outer veneer, although the Luna website tries to tell you otherwise (that’s a bit naughty). The tie bar bridge is shaped differently from the standard straight block, I quite like this feature. The fret markers have a shark tooth type shape and the fretboard is made from rosewood. In all this is a very light uke to play compared to the others. 

The intonation on the Luna is actually pretty good, giving you easy playability. The tone is warm and subtle (just watch the video below). The sustain is shorter and the volume a little lower than the Cordoba. Comes with a very good gig bag also, which to me, is very important. If you want your instrument to last, you gotta look after it. 

A sweet sounding uke for the price. A perfect gateway instrument to assist you on your way to the next level of playing.

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Check the Luna sounds:

Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Ukulele Case Tuner Picks Hanger Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons 

  • Pros: Huge 5 Star Seller, Closed Tuning Pegs Great For Tuning, Comes With Ukulele Accessories And Step By Step Video Lessons, Amazing Price, Comes In Three Sizes Which Covers Children Up To Adults With Larger Hands
  • Cons: Not For Smaller Children. Simple Basic Look Compared To The Other Ukes.

The Brand name ‘Lohanu’ is a combination of three words: Love (Represents the first 2 letters of Lohanu), Ohanu (A Hawaiian word for Family and Community), and Unity (Represents the last 2 letters of Lohanu backwards). A Canadian-based company that prides itself on the best customer service. They hold the record for the most ‘Total Reviews’ and the most ‘Total 5 Star Reviews’ for a Ukulele. With this outstanding information, I had to check these instruments out. 

The package you get with your purchase includes two Strap buttons installed (costs about 25 in a music shop to fit those), a tuner, padded case, picks, extra Super Aquila Nylgut strings. EXCLUSIVE Leather Pick & Uke hanger! I’ll be honest, those picks are hideous but the rest of the pack is spot on and super useful. It doesn’t matter what size ukulele you purchase from this selection, you’ll receive the same pack. You also receive a step by step video lesson for beginners. This is provided at a good slow steady pace with 15 + tutorials. Very Impressive. 

A very good sounding instrument. It produces a deeper, louder, longer sustained, and fuller sound than a flat back or a cheap solid wood ukulele. Many times the lower price of an instrument reflects the poor quality of build and lacks in tone. Not the Lohanu LC-T. The arched backed body seen on this design is something you’d expect to find on instruments in the upper price range and quality. The Tenor size is aimed at the adult market or children with bigger hands, as the neck is wider (26 inc). With all these added gadgets I’m always skeptical of the sound of the instrument. Not this one!

For the overall price, you’ll find it difficult to beat the quality of instrument within this deal.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Oscar Schmidt OU2T-String Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

 

  • Pros: Value For Money, Very Light, Low Action, Come In Two Types Of FretBoardSuperb Tone
  • Cons: Sharp Fret Edges

The satin-finish on the Oscar Schmidt OU2T offers a brighter tone and allows the wood to vibrate. On the other hand, a thick glossy finish seems to dull the tone on some ukuleles. A mahogany, full body that resonates with sparkling highs and warm lows.

I’m impressed with the rugged type of chrome tuners, this really helps the guitar stay in tune. Most cheaper end ukuleles struggle with this feature due to the ‘toy type’ tuning pegs which move around so easily.

I’m yet to see a bad review on any Oscar Schmidt ukulele. Although not as popular as other brands, I really am impressed with the mid-tone on this tenor. Some can be too thin and loud or like a soprano, too cloudy. This is my favorite ukulele tone. The ‘Rosewood Fretboard style’ has an ebony headstock and bridge. This is a major plus and adds to the beautiful mid-tone that I really like. Comfortable and easy to play, a very adequate starter tenor or a second uke to add to the collection. This is 100% worth the price. A hidden gem.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Best Ukulele Brands: Review Winner

The Clear winner is the Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T).

The closed tuning pegs an arched back body on the Lohanu was the major deciding factor for me. The warranty provides me with confidence, the record number of 5-star reviews by real people make the Lohanu a must. The price is fantastic and the video lessons are essential for beginners. Lohanu covers the whole spectrum of players from very young children of 5 through to the adult. (click the link above and choose your size: Soprano, Concert or a larger Tenor)

I’m not one to buy an instrument because of a nice color or cool design. It makes no difference to the sound whatsoever. The overall tone on the Lohanu LU-T isn’t too loud or boggy, it sounds like….well, a classic ukulele tone! A Lot of the lower end ukuleles sound like toys.

 I’m always doubtful of a product that is affordable and comes with lots of extras. The difference here is, the extras that come with this package really are of use. The strap is solid, the strap pegs are attached, the tuner is ‘ok’. You receive a fantastic warranty from a big brand that proves they sell reliable products. In my opinion, the finish looks beautifully natural, and not too over the top. The package includes a gig bag, which is very thin and will only protect from scratches and dings but you’ll receive the uke in a guitar-shaped box. I would use both the box and bag to protect the instrument. Just remember new strings take a while to warm up and stretch. The strings that come with the Lohanu are mediocre. I have suggested some quality strings above if you want to instantly improve the tone and lastability. 

The arched design on the neck does help with tone and projection. The closed tuning pegs are better for tuning than the pegs fitted on the competitor’s ukuleles. I was really impressed with the extras they’ve thrown in. You cannot ignore this deal for affordability and quality. 

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Here’s a video of the Lohanu Uke close up so you get a better look at it.

What Are Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners? 5 Types of Strings We Love

Beginner Strings Heading

Depending on the style of music you play, the type of acoustic guitar you have, and how much time you spend playing, you will need to adjust the type of strings you are using.

I’ve been buying strings for over two decades, and my clear favorite are the D’Addario EJ26s. 

Take a look through the best guitar strings I’ve chosen, I’ve covered the best 5 on the market for acoustic guitar.

 

 

One of the first things you will notice when shopping for acoustic guitar strings is that they come in several different weights.

Medium gauge strings are the standard, but they tend to be stiffer and more difficult to work with for beginners. On the plus side, medium gauge strings produce a more robust sound with better volume.

By contrast, lightweight strings are easier to press and hold, and they are a bit more flexible if you are going for a modern sound, similar to an electric guitar. Many beginners prefer lightweight strings until they can build up the finger strength and calluses to handle medium weight strings.

Beyond the typical light and medium gauge strings, you may also come across extra light or heavy gauge strings while you’re shopping. These types of strings are used less often, but you can always experiment with them to see how they change the sound of your playing.

Carefully consider your string gauge and give yourself the best possible chance to succeed as you’ll be learning easy guitar chords and various guitar exercises when you first start.

One important note: Before you string up heavy gauge strings on your instrument, double check that the manufacturer has approved that gauge for use. Acoustic guitars use a complex system of braces inside to withstand the tension of fully-tuned strings. Using too heavy of a string gauge could cause the braces to crack or warp. This is also a good time to learn how to tune a guitar.

The next thing you will notice is that acoustic guitar strings come in a variety of different core materials.

The most common option is 80/20 bronze, but you will also see that some strings are treated with other chemicals, like phosphor bronze.

Standard 80/20 bronze is a good starting place, but you may prefer the warmer, richer tone that comes with phosphor bronze strings.

It is also worth mentioning that some people prefer nylon strings. While there is no rule stating that you can’t use nylon strings on your traditional acoustic guitar, you should know that these strings may require some adjustments to the setup of your guitar to ensure that they have proper action for vibration without buzzing. It’s not something that’s usually done.

Classical guitar strings (nylon) are more common in the classical guitar world, so unless you are playing that style of music, they generally aren’t a good fit.

Strings age when the tiny gaps between the ridges of the material get filled with dust, dead skin cells, and oil from our hands.

To combat this, some companies coat their strings with a wax or polymer substance to help keep dust and dirt out and extend the life of the strings.

You will find that companies often offer these coatings in multiple tiers because the added material does deaden the sound of the strings somewhat. If you want a brighter tone from coated strings, you will need to find the lightest coating possible.

Wind Type

By far the most common type of windings on strings are round-wound. This just means that the outer string is round, and it is wound around the core to form the completed string.

However, there are some other options out there that you might want to learn about if you are interested in playing a specific type of music.

For instance, flat-wound strings use a flat outer wire wrapped around the core, which feels smooth to the touch and has fewer gaps. This is great for extending the life of the strings because it is harder for dirt to get in, but it drastically changes the tone of the strings as well.

Flat-wound strings are typically only used in jazz and blues style music where the muted tone is appropriate. You may also find half-round and other winding styles as well.

While it may seem odd for an item such as guitar strings to be counterfeited, there are many reports of such online.

The good news is that there are a few easy ways to spot fakes, so you can be sure you’re getting the best acoustic strings from a trusted manufacturer. First, you want to check the packaging of your strings.

Most manufacturers seal each individual string inside the pack in separate packaging. Check to make sure that the markings on each package match the box, and match the information from the manufacturer’s website.

Companies like Elixir and D’Addario also stamp quality control codes on each package that you can look for.

As you open each string, inspect it closely for signs of corrosion and poor wrapping.

Many people complain that the fake strings they receive are poorly constructed and the windings are loose right out of the package, making them difficult to play.

If the strings are properly sealed with quality control stamps, and they appear in good condition before you install them, you probably have nothing to worry about.

Getting the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners is easy when you know what to look for.

A Word of Warning

Not all guitar strings are the same, and you should always make sure to use proper acoustic guitar strings on your acoustic guitar.

Strings made for electric guitars are not designed to fit properly on an acoustic guitar and could cause damage to your headstock, fretboard, and tailpiece because they are too thin.

In addition, because electric guitar strings are so thin, they generally do not produce enough of a vibration to produce the sound you want from an acoustic guitar.

If you need help with finding a beginner guitar for children, check out our ‘Best Kids Guitar: Complete Guide To Finding The Right Guitar’



Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen some of the most popular acoustic guitar strings out there, you know how personal this choice can be.

However, my favorite strings are D’Addario EJ26s because they are both reasonably affordable and they have many of the added benefits that you would get from more expensive strings.

In addition, they tend to have a longer lifespan than their other competitors in this price range, and their tone is a nice middle-ground that isn’t too bright or too warm.

D’Addario EJ26s

For beginners, the versatility and affordability of these strings make them perfect for getting to know your way around an acoustic guitar and deciding what type of music you will be playing in the future. It’s time to learn some guitar riffs!

>>Check Price On Amazon<<