Good beginner ukulele
May 14, 2016 11:59 PM   Subscribe

It's been a while since the last ukulele recommendation question; what are some decent choices today in the $100–200 range? Advice on good vendors also appreciated.
posted by Johnny Wallflower to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I am a huge fan of Oscar Schmidt 12 strings, so was not disappoint by this one.

and also pleased with this.

(ymmv I am really into de-tuning basically everything into fifths)
posted by dorian at 1:27 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like my Makala MK-S though it's a little under your price range.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:12 AM on May 15, 2016

My first uke was a Kala concert travel uke. It's sturdy and stays in tune admirably. It does have a thin body, which I find comfortable to play, but not everyone does.

Last time I went to Guitar Center and noodled around on the ukes, I really liked the feel of the Fender ukes (not the goofy ones shaped like electric guitars). They're in your price range.
posted by purpleclover at 7:45 AM on May 15, 2016

Fender. In your price range and sounds pretty good.

Most of all, it plays like butter! I have some great ukes - expensive, vintage, boastworthy, glow in the dark - but that one is the easiest to play.

And if you're smarter than me, you will pay a little extra for the one with a fender headstock. It kills me that I didn't know enough at the time.

But Fender.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 9:19 AM on May 15, 2016

My first ukulele was a Kala Concert. It was a good ukulele to get started, but if I had it to do over again and was buying one now I would spend a bit more and take a serious look at the KoAlonas.

Whichever brand you choose, I would recommend buying your ukulele from The Ukulele Site, also known as Hawaii Music Supply. They do a setup on all of the ukuleles they sell, regardless of price. I've also had good luck with Uke Republic and Elderly Instruments. Don't buy one from a store they will just sell it as is from the factory. This is especially important when you are at the lower end price range. (I have no relationship with them other than being a satisfied customer)
posted by missmerrymack at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Whether or not you buy there, I would recommend going to a store near you and trying a few out... see what you like, what you don't like, and then come back and report here.
Try a soprano, try a concert, try a tenor or a baritone, and see what size appeals to you.
Some stores do care about the setup and their instruments. Where I live, the guitar store owner builds ukuleles, so he is a great resource.

Also, get quality strings. Good strings on a cheap uke sound better than cheap strings on a good uke, and the price difference is not much.
posted by MtDewd at 4:17 PM on May 15, 2016

I recently purchased one for my daughter. I didn't want a cheap one but not something that was too expensive. A friend recommended I try this site and this brand ukelele. It's pretty nice and it comes with a digital tuner and a gig bag for storage.

The prices on Reverb are good and if you create a log-in and put it on your "watchlist," the seller may offer a discount! You can even send them an offer to make the purchase.

Hope this helps!
posted by Yellow at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2016

After trying a bunch in a music store he went with a Makala MK-B. Thanks for the input.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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