9 Best Ukulele Brands of 2021

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Ukuleles are becoming popular every day. From schools to retirement homes, people are playing ukuleles. The main reason is that they are easier to play, lighter to hold and produce soothing melodies that make you happy.

With the growing interest in the ukulele, there’s a market for new models being introduced rapidly. Among the countless options, it can be difficult to choose an instrument that’s best for you.

Here we have compiled a list of the nine best ukuleles on the market today.

Specifications

What We Like!

The Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele is one of the best ukuleles that you can buy right now.

This ukulele is a favorite among beginners and professionals alike, as it comes at a reasonable price without compromising quality.

It has a clean, tight, and solid design that delivers a sweet and warm tone with good resonance, bass, and volume.

These amazing features are a credit to the Aquila Super Nylgut strings from Italy and GraphTech NuBone, Mahagony neck, 12 Brass frets, and a Polynesian-style shark teeth rosette.

The Kala company provides a user-friendly app that includes a tuner, lessons, and songs that help you become better with the ukulele.

This ukulele is also used by some of the most famous artists worldwide, such as Zac Brown and Vance Joy.

Its classic Soprano size has a sound of the island with glittering overtones.

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Specifications

What We Like!

This Lanikai QM-BLCEC Concert Ukulele has a gorgeous design with its striking blue-stained quilted maple that makes it feel like a high-end product. This concert ukulele also has an electric outlet.

The ukulele supports a built-in digital tuner and has a comfortable profile for the player’s neck.

It has chrome strap buttons that are good for safety and comfort.

Moving on, the concert uke has digital chromatic open-back tuners. In the electric mode, the instrument has a mellow tone that is pleasant to the ears.

The fingerboard binding is single-ply ABS, while the D’Addario EJ88 strings provide authenticity to the tones.

This concert-sized ukulele has a single-cutaway that provides enough access to reach the highest of the 18 frets on the rosewood fretboard.

This is a versatile ukulele with volume controls and 3-band EQ, including middle, bass, and treble.

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What We Like!

The Fender U’Uku Soprano Ukulele has a unique style and shape. The U’Uke means ‘tiny’ in Hawaiian. That’s why it has a small but sturdy build.

Despite the small size, this ukulele produces beautiful and clear tunes. Due to its great design, it is easier to get started on the Fender U’Uku.

This is a tenor ukulele made from all Mahagony wood that enables sound bracing for a better quality of tunes. The top, back, and sides all have a laminated Mahagony finish. However, this is not a concert tenor instrument.

The ukulele is mainly acoustic with a three-piece Mahogany neck and 12-fret Rosewood fingerboard.

The exclusive headstock has a black body and fingerboard binding with a gold logo embedded.

This small ukulele has great build quality with open-gear chrome tuners and strings made from Aquila.

If you want a quality ukulele that sounds great, is in a decent price range and has a Mahogany body, this is the best ukulele for you.

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What We Like!

This Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 is a well-made instrument with a smooth African Mahogany wood body. The 4 strings in this ukulele are high-quality polished Aquila that has high resistance under tension.

This Donner Concert Uke has a rosewood fingerboard and bridge that make it comfortable to play the ukulele. The Mahogany top, neck, and body produce a rich, bright, and warm sound. There’s a clear resonance due to the high-density bone saddle and nut.

The ukulele is easy to tune because of the patented chrome-plated Donner tuners.

There are 18 brass frets on this instrument. You can also find position marks at the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets on the top and the neck.

Aside from its good build quality, the Donner Concert Ukulele comes with some cool accessories. These include a gig bag, a tuner, strap, 4 extra strings, a cleaning cloth, and 4 picks.

Free video lessons are provided online to beginner ukulele players to help them get started.

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What We Like!

The Moukey Soprano Ukulele is a renowned ukulele for beginners. This entry-level instrument is crafted and designed by professionals to deliver solid performance while being easy to use.

The soprano ukulele comes with a sturdy Mahogany body with a rugged build. The company uses high-quality materials while keeping the overall cost of the instrument low.

The 4 advanced carbon nylon strings produce a great, warm, and clear sound. In contrast, its small size makes it ideal for beginner ukulele players to hold and practice on.

Aside from the great build quality, the Moukey ukulele comes with all of its accessories. This includes a gig bag of top quality, strap, a digital tuner, 2 medium picks, a cleaning cloth, and extra strings.

The digital clip-on tuner is great for tuning the ukulele easily and faster. So if you’re a beginner that needs an all-in-one ukulele along with the accessories at a low price, this is the best ukulele for you.

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What We Like!

The Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele is an excellent instrument for an entry-level player. For its low price, it has a great build quality, finished with a thin layer of paint to keep the natural tone of the wood unchanged.

The bridge and the fingerboard are made from walnut, the neck is made from nato, while the body is made from Maple wood to deliver a good performance.

This beginner’s ukulele comes in various colors that make it an attractive gift for children learning to play. Aside from the eye-catching design, the instrument comes with all the necessary accessories. These include a canvas tote string bag, strap for the ukulele, and three picks to help you start with the instrument.

To make it easier for beginners to play the ukulele, the set comes with white nylon strings and silver tuners.

This lightweight and affordable soprano ukulele can produce clear and bright Hawaiian melodies, which for an instrument in this price range is pretty good.

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What We Like!

Luna is an industry favorite for producing good instruments, and its Tattoo Tenor Ukulele is no different. This tenor ukulele offers a superb build quality with a high-class sound.

This instrument offers a tremendous sound from its traditionally designed Hawaiian body. The design takes inspiration from a Hawaiian turtle etched onto the uke in a Polynesian tattoo design.

This uke also incorporates many elements from nature into its build. The 19 frets are made from shark teeth, the body is made from Mahogany, while the bridge is made from walnut.

The nut is made from graphite, while the open-gear tuners are made from chrome. The Aquila strings are durable and easy to play without requiring any calibration.

This ukulele’s high quality offers a soothing melodic sound that resembles a high, chiming treble which, for this instrument’s price, produces a distinct sound mostly found in high-end ukuleles.

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What We Like!

This midrange Mitchell MU70 12-Fret Concert Ukulele combines great build quality at a very reasonable price. Despite being a professional concert instrument, it is easy to use for beginners.

This ukulele is a bit bigger in size compared to others on our list, but the arch-back design makes it easier to hold. This classic design makes it look like a high-end product and offers a laminated finish.

The saddle and nut, along with the rosewood bridge, offer tuning stability without making constant adjustments.

Combined with the classic design elements, this concert ukulele offers an authentic tropical sound with a rich tone. It can also be tuned to produce a treble sound.

The nylon strings make it easier to play and deliver a clear sound that enhances the music’s quality.

So if you want a concert ukulele that offers excellent features at a reasonable price along with a great tropical soothing sound, the Mitchell MU70 12-Fret Concert Ukulele is the best choice for you.

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What We Like!

The Diamond Head DU-200C Concert Ukulele has a distinctive shape and is handcrafted from Mahogany with a satin finish that enhances the wood’s deep colors. The body and neck are made from Mahogany to produce a clear tone and resonance.

The fingerboard and bridge on this ukulele are made from rosewood to allow easy playability. These instruments are designed keeping beginners and professionals in mind.

This concert ukulele is a larger variant of the soprano ukulele. This has a longer neck that means more room for frets which gives a larger range, and the bigger sound box allows the instrument to produce more volume.

Unlike most brands, the Diamond Head DU-200C Concert ukulele comes with a 3-year warranty. There are gold-plated tuners with white plastic buttons to ensure proper intonation. The saddle and nut are also made from plastic.

The instrument comes with a black gig bag that allows easy storage and transportation. The sounds produced by the ukulele are authentic and soulful, delivering the true feel of a Hawaiian ukulele.

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Ukulele Buying Guide

Ukulele is an instrument that belongs to the family of Lute instruments and was first brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century. By the 20th century, this guitar-shaped instrument had become quite popular in the Hawaiian Islands.

Types of Ukulele

In total, there are around seven different types of ukuleles. These are soprano, contrabass, pocket, concert, bass, tenor, and baritone. They differ mostly in size.

Soprano

These are the standard ukuleles and are used most commonly. These are also the smallest among all the ukuleles. In general, a standard soprano is around 20 inches in length. The range of these ukuleles is from C4 to A5 with the tuning of G4-C4-E4-A4. These produce a mellow tune.

Tenor

The tenor ukuleles are another popular kind of ukulele. These are around 26 inches in length and are preferred by professionals. Compared with the soprano, the tenor produces a louder sound with higher sustainability, making it more useful for playing melodies. Their range lies between G3 to D6.

Pocket

Another name for these pocket ukuleles is “piccolo.” They measure around 16 inches in length. This makes them the smallest ukuleles among them all. They usually have 10 to 12 frets and cover a range of G4-E6 with the tuning of D5-G4-B4-E5. These ukuleles are not very common and don’t come in a lot of variety.

Concert

Compared to the sopranos, the concert ukuleles are larger and heavier. They are around 22 inches. This increase in length allows space for more frets with more spacing. These are more suitable for players that prefer a slightly bigger size ukulele. The tuning of G-C-E-A is applied on the concert ukulele.

Baritone

Baritone, like its name, allows a deeper sound to resonate from the ukulele. It is around 29 inches long. They have the longest scale with 18-21 frets and wider fret spacing. It sounds similar to acoustic guitars. The range of a baritone is D3-A5.

Contrabass

These ukuleles are also called “rumble” and “U-bass” ukuleles, and they cover the opposite end of the bass sound. Their standard length is around 32 inches. As their name suggests, these ukuleles produce a deeper sound with a range from E1 to B3 with the tuning of E1-A1-D2-G2.

Bass

Like contrabass ukuleles, the bass ukulele isn’t very popular either. They are similar to a bass guitar but smaller. The stings in a bass ukulele are made from polyurethane, thicker and denser than those used in traditional ukuleles. It is around 51 inches in length with a range of E2 to B4 and tuning of E2-A2-D3-G3.

Ukulele Shapes

Just like the ukulele type can affect the sound’s outcome, the different shapes of a ukulele produce different sounds. There are three main shapes: pineapple, guitar, and boat paddle.

Pineapple

The pineapple design represents the land of Hawaii. This shape was designed by the Hawaiians and was first introduced commercially by a ukulele company called Kamaka. This shape generally produces a louder volume with a mellower sound.

It can hold a larger amount of air due to its large front and back panels that allow it to resonate.

Guitar

This is the most commonly used shape for the ukulele. Most brands produce their ukuleles in this shape. This is a standard shape, also known as the figure-eight shape.

This shape is designed so that the bottom inward curve can rest on the player’s thigh while the upper curves can make it easier for the players to handle it.

This guitar shape ukulele produces a lighter and high-pitched sound as compared to the sound produced by the pineapple body type.

Boat paddle

This is quite a rare shape for the ukulele, and it takes a lot of effort to build. However, it doesn’t always perform well, even if you’re a professional.

Ukelele Materials

The materials used in the construction of a ukulele greatly affect the quality of the music it produces. The ukuleles are mostly made of three materials; plastic, laminated wood, and solid wood.

Plastic

Ukuleles on the lower end of the price tag are mostly made from plastic. They’re are mostly targeted towards children and beginners who want to try out the instrument for the first time. However, if you’re using it for serious training, plastic ukuleles aren’t really the best investment.

Laminated Wood

There are laminated ukuleles that are affordable. The laminated wood is basically multiple thin layers of wood glued on top of each other.

This type of wood is a bit strong and can crack easily. That is why if you’re looking for something durable, this isn’t the type for you.

Solid Wood

These ukuleles are made from only a single kind of wood and are quite resistant. But these ukuleles are in the mid to high price range. The sounds that these ukuleles produce are also richer and deeper.

Parts of a Ukulele

To make an authentic Hawaiian sound, a ukulele uses many different parts that work in conjunction to produce a soothing, melodic sound. The typical parts of a ukulele are highlighted below.

Headstock

This is the topmost part of a ukulele that holds the tuners and the strings. The headstock is commonly built with a solid wood piece, but it can be made of plastic in cheaper ukuleles. Despite the small shape, this part needs to be stronger to support the tuners and the strings, kept in tension.

Tuning Pegs

Tuning pegs resemble screws located on the headstock. They are usually 4 tuning pegs in the ukulele. Depending on the style, the tuning pegs can face backward or face the side.

Tuning pegs are used to increase or decrease the string’s tension depending on the sound as the string is threaded through it. In modern ukuleles, tuners are not used much.

Body

The front piece, sides and backpiece make up the main body of the ukulele. The sound and the volume of the ukulele depends on the body. The body has a hollow design with a soundhole underneath the strings that sends vibrations from the string to create music.

Fretboard and Frets

Below the headstock, the front of the neckpiece is called the fret. They are commonly made of strong wood to be glued to the body onto the neck. The fretboard mainly houses the frets that are bars that run along the board’s width and are hammered at designated intervals.

Bridge

The bridge usually holds the knotted strings on the body. It is glued to the body and comes in two types, a tie bar in which the strings are threaded through and the standard bridge, which has notches that secure the strings.

Neck

The neck is the part that houses the fretboard. It is usually curved from the sides to allow the players to grasp it properly. The neck needs to be stronger to support the fretboard, the frets, the strings and the players’ hands.

Ukele Wood Types

Mahogany

This is the most common type of wood used in ukuleles. This wood is used to deliver a darker and richer color to the build of a ukulele.

Rosewood

This wood is harder than mahogany and denser as well. It is mostly used to build fretboards and the body. This is a high-quality wood that resists wear and tear while also delivering a high-quality look.

Koa

This wood is native to Hawaii. The tropical and dense wood is a popular choice with beautiful patterns and comes in a wide range of colors that make it an attractive choice for ukulele manufacturers.

Cedar

This is most commonly used in tenor ukulele types as it is softer and produces a mellow tone that helps achieve lower tunes needed in the tenor ukulele.

Ukulele Accessories

To master the ukulele, a player needs accessories to play the ukulele properly. Some companies supply kits with the ukulele. In others, you have to buy on your own. We’ve listed down the main accessories that are needed in a ukulele.

Electronic Tuner

These days, clip-on tuners are the most commonly used tuners for the ukulele. These can be clipped on the ukulele and can tune it depending on the reading shown when the strings are played.

Strings

Strings are the most important part of a ukulele. Without the strings, you can’t make any sound or music from the ukulele. Strings come in different types, some made from nylon, Aquila or even synthetic for the less expensive ukuleles.

Picks

Picks are used when the players can’t play with their fingers, mostly beginner players. Picks help in getting new players the hang of playing the ukulele. They are the same as guitar picks.

FAQ's

Luna is a popular brand for good quality high-class ukuleles within a reasonable price range. The Luna Tattoo Tenor Ukulele is an industry favorite that combines amazing classic Hawaiian design with great build quality to produce an authentic, soulful Hawaiian sound.

The Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele is one of the best choices for ukulele if you’re a beginner or looking to gift a ukelele to children.

The ukulele combines good build-quality with a good sound at a reasonable price; not only that, it comes in several different colors that make it attractive for the kids who are learning to play for the first time.

Kala is known for producing good quality ukuleles with an amazing sound. They are a top brand and do not compromise on the quality.

We have reviewed the Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele, which many celebrities use. It produces an island sound with glittering undertones to deliver an excellent performance.

The choice of a good ukulele depends on the build quality as well as the sound. The sound is largely dependent on the size of the ukulele. The soprano ukulele produces a classic sound that is high-pitched yet sweet. On the other hand, the tenor produces a fuller, lower-pitched sound with better resonance.

Conclusion

There you have it! Our top 10 picks for the best ukuleles that you can buy right now. Hopefully, you can now find a ukelele that matches your skill level, budget, and design preferences.