6 Best Ukuleles For Beginners In 2020 That Look & Sound Great

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Best Beginner Ukulele

If you have just picked up your friend’s ukulele and fallen in love, we get it, the ukulele is an incredibly charming instrument.

Whether the ukulele has just landed on your radar or you have been eyeing them for a while, we’re here to help get you started.

When you are looking for something to start your uke journey, you probably want something affordable but still worth every penny.

Thankfully there are plenty of options out there that can turn out to be the best beginner ukulele for you, without breaking the bank.

Quick List: Top 6 Beginner Ukuleles

  1. Kala LTP-S Soprano UkuleleBest Soprano Ukulele
  2. Ranch Concert 23-inch UkuleleBest Concert Ukulele
  3. Lohanu LU-T Tenor UkuleleBest Tenor Ukulele
  4. Kala KA-B Baritone UkuleleBest Baritone Ukulele
  5. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
  6. Hricane Soprano Ukulele

Researching Beginner Ukuleles

If you are in the market for a beginner ukulele, there are some factors that you are probably going to prioritize over those of someone who was looking for an intermediate or high-end ukulele. If you do have a bit of experience already you might be more interested in our ukuleles under $300 or if you have a bigger budget the top ukuleles under $500.

With that in mind, we have done an extensive amount of research to find the best ukuleles that would be perfect for any beginner.

While every beginner will have their own price range in mind, we have kept the research focused on more affordable ukuleles since most beginners will be looking to start off with something less pricey and then work their way up. However, we paid close attention to the quality of the instruments, given the low price.

No one wants their brand-new ukulele to fall apart after the first week.

We also considered the playability of the ukulele and whether the instrument had low action or high action. The weight of the ukulele was also considered since most beginners, and even more experienced players, tend to agree that a lightweight ukulele is easier and more comfortable to play.

With these things in mind, we set out to find you the best ukuleles for beginners!

The Best Beginner Ukulele In 2020

1. Kala LTP-S Soprano Ukulele – Best Soprano Ukulele

Kala has long been one of the leading ukulele manufacturers and their reputation for simple and high-quality ukuleles is shown in this Learn to Play Starter Kit. With these essentials and a reliable ukulele, you will be perfectly set up to start learning how to play.

✔️ What we like: Excellent craftsmanship

What we don’t like: Physical tuner not included

👌 Standout Features:

  • Aquila strings
  • Graph Tech NuBone hardware
  • Mahogany body
  • Extra accessories

This starter kit has everything you could need to get started. It features a soprano-size ukulele that is made from Mahogany laminate wood. This soprano is rigged Aquila Nylgut strings which give a great sound and are comfortable to play with. The nut and saddle are both Graph Tech NuBone which helps with intonation. Both the Aquila strings and the Graph Tech NuBone are often seen on much higher-end ukuleles which means that having them on a beginner ukulele is quite impressive, especially considering the low price.

This ukulele also has a Mahogany neck with a walnut fingerboard and the design is such that it is very comfortable to play. This comfort will make a huge difference when learning how to play in the beginning!

The overall build quality is excellent for an affordable ukulele. The finish may not be perfect but for this price, it is acceptable if the finish is not perfect. Kala has done a great job of creating a ukulele that will make learning both fun and easy.

Furthermore, this kit includes a bundle of accessories. These are a quick start guide, free online lessons, a tuning app, and a tote bag to carry your ukulele. This sets you up with everything you need to start learning how to play your brand-new ukulele. While it would have been nice to include a physical tuner instead of a tuning app, the app still works well, and you can always buy a tuner if need be. Overall, this ukulele is a great place to start and the extra kit accessories make it a fantastic deal that any beginner would appreciate.

2. Ranch Concert 23-inch Ukulele – Best Concert Ukulele

This Ranch concert ukulele is an absolute bargain. The quality of the instrument is higher than what you would expect from a ukulele at this price, not to mention the added accessories.

✔️ What we like: Fantastic customer service

What we don’t like: Tuning heads can sometimes be stiff

👌 Standout Features:

  • Aquila strings
  • Sapele wood body
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Clear sound

This Ranch concert ukulele is great for beginners. It is made from Sapele laminate wood, which is an African wood that is terrific for durability. The sound of this ukulele is nice and clear with tones that are of a quality that you would expect to only find at a higher price. The Sapele wood also gives the sound a lovely warmth. When you are just starting, having a ukulele that sounds particularly good can be a great motivator to keep you practicing and inspire you.

The strings are Aquila Nylgut which do a great job of enhancing the brightness of the sound. The ukulele also has a Rosewood fingerboard and standard tuners which some people find a bit stiff but that is a minor problem in the large scheme of things.

When we think about a great deal for a beginner, it is not only about the ukulele. If you are new to ukuleles, you probably won’t have any of the extra equipment which makes kits like these an awesome option. This kit includes a gig bag, extra strings, a cloth, a digital tuner, and a strap. What’s more is that you get 12 online lessons to get you going. This combination has it all and puts you in a great position to start playing your uke. With the digital tuner, you are sure to always be in tune and sounding great while still being able to protect your ukulele with the bag.

The cherry on top is that Ranch offers you a full refund or replacement within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the product. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Ranch concert ukulele!

3. Lohanu LU-T Tenor Ukulele – Best Tenor Ukulele

Lohanu has done the ukulele world a huge service with this wonderful beginner bundle. This tenor ukulele does not only sound great, it is also accompanied by all the accessories you need.

✔️ What we like: Arched back for longer sustain

What we don’t like: May not hold tune very well

👌 Standout Features:

  • Loud volume
  • White binding
  • Chrome tuners
  • Sapele wood body

This tenor ukulele has great sound for its price! It has a Sapele laminate wood body which gives warmth to the tones. Furthermore, Lohanu has gone the extra mile by choosing a design to enhance the sound. The back of the ukulele is arched to create a larger body instead of the standard straight back on most ukuleles. This curve means that the sound is louder, has longer sustain and is generally much fuller. It is also rigged with Aquila strings which are both comfortable to play with, and sound great.

This ukulele is quite handsome as well. The Sapele wood is beautiful and the white binding finish gives it a more refined look. There is also an engraved rosette around the soundhole.

Lohanu features a low action height on this tenor to make it easier and more comfortable to play. It also boasts smooth fret ends so that you don’t scratch your fingers. This is great for when you are just starting because your fingers won’t wear out as quickly and you will be able to practice for longer.

The ukulele itself may be fantastic but that is not the only reason that this ukulele is on this list of the best beginner ukuleles. This bundle includes various accessories that you will need and want when you start learning how to play. This includes a tuner, extra strings, a padded case, extra picks, a ukulele wall hanger, and a leather pick. These extras are extremely helpful and surpass the norm, for example, the padded case is impressive since most included cases are unpadded gig bags.

When it all comes together, this ukulele sounds great and the bundle is exceptional value for money.

This kit will ensure that you are sorted from day one and will be ready to live your ukulele dreams!

4. Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele – Best Baritone Ukulele

Kala is easily one of the most well-known ukulele brands. From beginner to professional, they consistently offer fantastic quality ukuleles for an affordable price.

✔️ What we like: Excellent craftsmanship

What we don’t like: High price for a beginner ukulele

👌 Standout Features:

  • Mahogany body
  • Satin finish
  • Walnut fingerboard
  • Minimalist look

Kala is not a brand that often indulges in glitz and glam. For some people, that may be a downfall but for others, this is exactly what they want. If you’re someone who appreciates when the essentials are done very well, then this is perfect for you. Kala brings us exceptional workmanship with this KA-B ukulele. The finish is great, and the details are well taken care of. For example, the frets are nice and smooth, so you won’t hurt your fingers.

This Kala baritone is well-designed for beginners. The size means that it is easier to play for people with bigger hands. On top of that, the action is low, making it much easier to play for anyone. It isn’t just easy to play; it also sounds wonderful. The sound quality of this ukulele makes us understand the price tag. The tone is sweet and has great range. The resonance is delightful to the ears and it has some serious volume as well.

The hardware is nothing spectacular, but it still does the job well. This baritone has Aquila strings and a Graph Tech NuBone nut and saddle. What does perform above other beginner ukuleles is the intonation. The chrome tuners do a good job of holding the tune which can often be a problem with cheaper ukuleles.

Unfortunately, the nature of a ukuleles being made for a beginner means that they often are not built to last since the player will soon grow out of it and will likely want to upgrade. However, with some cheap ukuleles, the end of their life comes before the player wants an upgrade. This can be frustrating, but this is where the KA-B comes in.

It may have a high price tag for a beginner ukulele, but if you want a quality instrument that is built to last, then this is for you.

5. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

If you’re looking out for popular brands, this is one you wouldn’t miss. Cordoba comes in full swing with this impressive 15CM concert ukulele which will surely make any beginner a proud owner.

✔️ What we like: Great playability and comfort

What we don’t like: Doesn’t include extra accessories

👌 Standout Features:

  • Can play high volume
  • Abalone rosette
  • Trusted workmanship
  • Satin finish

This concert ukulele is a beautifully made instrument with a Mahogany top, sides, and back. It is made with laminated wood which is not the best for resonance and the overall sound. However, laminated materials are standard for beginner ukuleles.

This instrument is kind on the eyes as well! It sports a gorgeous abalone rosette and some pearl button tuners, all topped by a satin finish. You will find that this 15CM isn’t just pretty on the outside, it also creates some wonderful tunes.

Despite the laminated wood, the 15CM offers an awesome sound that doesn’t slack in the volume department. The price of this ukulele may be on the upper end of beginner ukuleles, but it is worth the money. The sound and volume that this Cordoba packs is well worth your investment.

This concert ukulele is a joy to play, with its Rosewood fretboard and Mahogany neck. It fits very comfortably in most people’s arms and it is lightweight, which makes the playability perfect for beginners. This 15CM is rigged with premium Aquila Nylgut strings that give a wonderfully bright sound.

The Cordoba 15CM is perfect for beginners and even higher levels as well. It is built with excellent quality and it is an investment that is worth every penny.

6. Hricane Soprano Ukulele

Hricane may not have the same level of recognition as brands like Kala but they still do a remarkable job of bringing us quality ukuleles at an affordable price. This ukulele gives you everything you need as a beginner and at a very doable price.

✔️ What we like: Impressive build quality for the price

What we don’t like: Neck width may make playability worse for beginners

👌 Standout Features:

  • Mahogany body
  • Aquila strings
  • Arched back

This Hricane soprano proves in multiple ways that it is a great choice for beginners. It is made from a Mahogany laminate wood and it has an arched back design. This arched back improves resonance and can help deliver better volume. For a ukulele at this price, the sound is quite pleasant. It is bright and chimey, and pretty much everything you need from a soprano. The Aquila strings also support that brightness and are comfortable to play.

In terms of the build quality, this guy is actually very good. The finish may not be the best with a couple of rough edges, but the top is surprisingly thin. This makes the instrument nice and light and overall, it is well-balanced. For an affordable beginner ukulele, you can do a lot worse!

Beyond just the sound and build, this bundle also prepares you very well for starting the ukulele. It includes a padded case, which is a nice touch. You will also find extra strings, a cloth, a pick and a tuner. All these accessories plus the ukulele at this low price put it far ahead of many other competitors in this price range.

Ultimately, for a beginner ukulele, there will be lots of compromises and a lot of the decisions will come down to personal preference.

However, for most people, this Hricane would be a fantastic place to start.

A Guide to Choosing a Beginner Ukulele

Best Ukulele For Beginners

Playability

When choosing a ukulele to begin with, one of the things that will affect your experience is the playability. This is how the instrument feels and how easy it is to play. Sometimes more affordable ukuleles will have high action, making it more difficult to play. This can often be improved by doing some adjustments to the instruments but if you find the few models that provide good playability, they are worth remembering.

Build Quality

Unfortunately, when you are looking at more affordable ukuleles, you often run into poor build quality. When companies are making an instrument that they can sell to you for a low price, the quality control can slip, and you often see shoddy workmanship. Another common sight is glue squeeze-out and rough edges on the frets. While the poor build quality is often seen with cheaper ukuleles, you can still find instruments that have a great build and finish.

Strings

The strings in this price range are seldom anything ground-breaking. However, some ukuleles will be fitted with strings that are quite good given the cost. If you can, choose ukuleles that have better strings but with that being said, you can easily replace strings, so this is hardly the most important part of your search.

Material

In this category of beginner ukuleles, you are going to be looking at laminates instead of solid wood. This is not all bad given that laminate woods are stronger and more durable. They are more resistant to temperature and humidity damage. Try to pay attention to the quality of the laminate to ensure that you are getting the best sound and tone out of the laminate. Especially since this is a material that seldom matches the sound quality of solid wood.

Tone

The tone will be unique to every design as well as to every size of the ukulele. If you are looking at beginner ukuleles, it is easy to come across models that sound empty and weak. Affordable ukuleles seldom have deep and rich sounds, but you can still find ukes that have a great sound and tonal range for their price tag.

Beginner Ukuleles for Every Budget

When you are searching for your first ukulele, the vast number of options can be intimidating.

The market for beginner ukuleles is big and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to look. However, with this list, you will have plenty of great ukuleles to choose from and the best part is that they will not break the bank!

Whether you are looking for a very affordable soprano or a more expensive concert, we’ve got you covered in your search for the best beginner ukulele for you and your preferences.

Avatar for Author at The Sound Junky

While I don't have an arts degree in music, I have spent enough time around musical instruments & musicians to pass on some useful information. When I'm not rocking out to a sick beat on my stereo, you will find me sitting on a bean bag, in the corner of my room with a guitar trying to emulate the prowess of the great Mr Eric Clapton.