Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Ukulele


The ukulele is without a doubt an incredibly fun instrument to play. Its unique, crisp high tones can instantly make you feel like you’re standing on a beach in Hawaii. But if you’re new to music, or just new to the ukulele, finding the right model can be very confusing, not to mention discouraging. So read on to learn about how to find the perfect beginner’s ukulele.

Previous Experience

It’s important to think about your current skill level and musical experience, since this can have a huge impact on which style of ukulele you choose. For the novice musician without any prior experience, a soprano ukulele is usually the safest choice, since it’s the most common. Any information you look up about playing a ukulele is probably going to be based on a soprano, so you’re increasing the scope of your access.

If you’re already a guitarist, or you play another instrument, then you might want to consider one of the other styles. Since you’re already familiar with a lot of the basic concepts, you’ll probably be able to pick up the tuning and play styles more quickly. Also, bass players and guitarists that use the fingerpicking style may want to look into a baritone ukulele, since there is a lot of overlap between them.

Budgetary Constraints

When you need to keep costs to a minimum, then a soprano ukulele is also the best choice. Since it’s the most common, that means you have more choices in different price ranges and that manufacturers are able to make them at lower prices. You can also find soprano ukulele bundles, which can give you some additional savings on accessories.

The type of material used in the construction of the ukulele also influences price. Composites are typically going to be the cheapest, with softer woods like maple also typically being on the affordable side. Ukuleles made with mahogany or rosewood are going to cost more, but in some cases will give you a richer sound.

Performance and Recording

Whether or not you are planning on using your new ukulele for performances or studio recordings can also influence what type of instrument you want to pick up initially. Since most ukulele beginners aren’t going to be making any professional recordings or holding any concerts, then a standard acoustic ukulele is often the best choice.

However, if you’re already experienced with playing other types of instruments, or if you plan on eventually recording or performing, then you may want to look at different models as an investment in your musical future. Concert ukuleles have a louder sound and broader range than a soprano, but can sometimes cost more. Similarly, an acoustic electric ukulele has a lot of major advantages for recording and performing, but also typically includes a higher price as a result.

Available Time for Practice

I’ve been playing musical instruments for most of my life, so I’ve always got people asking me for recommendations on different types of instruments or different brands and models. Regardless of the instrument, I always ask them how much time they have to practice. In my opinion, this is the most important thing for any beginner musician to consider. If you don’t have a lot of time to practice, or if you’re only interesting in playing as a side hobby, then you’re better off getting a less expensive ukulele so that you’re not wasting money. Nothing is worse than shelling out a lot of money for a high-end, expensive instrument that just sits in a corner, collecting dust.

The Final Decision

Making the final call about what ukulele you want to get is ultimately up to you, since it depends on a lot of personal factors. While an acoustic soprano ukulele is probably the best choice for most people, don’t worry if you feel like another model might suit you better. In the end, it’s what makes you feel comfortable and confident that matters most.