The Best Ukuleles for Beginners in 2019 – reviewed and rated here!
You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get yourself or a loved one the best ukulele for beginners. You can buy one today and start learning right away at your own pace!
We’ve selected the best candidates for the task so you can easily find a good fit for your preferences and budget. We have here the most beginner-friendly ukes on the market, from well-respected and established brands such as Cordoba, Kala, Luna and Makala. All of these ukes have been tried and tested by beginners such as yourself so you can feel confident in your purchase.
Our Top Beginner Ukulele Picks
|Cordoba 15CM Ukulele||The Cordoba 15CM is a concert-size ukulele that’s expertly handcrafted using traditional Spanish methods of acoustic instrument manufacturing. It’s a classic beauty that features a mahogany body with ivoroid binding, an abalone rosette, chrome tuners with pearl buttons and a smooth satin finish. The Cordoba 15CM is a wonderful little instrument you won’t regret buying as your first ukulele.|
|Makala Dolphin Ukulele||The Makala Dolphin may look like a toy, but it’s a real instrument that’s more than perfect for beginners. This soprano uke comes in a variety of colors including pink, light blue, pearl white and red. With its dolphin-shaped bridge, this ukulele is seriously one of the cutest beginner ukuleles you can find. It’s affordably priced too!|
|Mitchell MU70 Ukulele||Another great ukulele for beginners is the Mitchell MU70, a concert uke featuring a spruce top and rosewood sides and back. This uke also has an abalone rosette and purfling, mother-of-pearl dot inlays as well as a natural gloss finish, giving it a beautiful, timeless look. The Mitchell MU70 has a bright ukulele tone that’s a joy to hear.|
|Donner Concert Ukulele||The Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 hits all the right spots: it’s budget-friendly, easy to play and sounds fantastic. Plus, for less than $70 you can get it bundled with a gig bag, strap, extra strings and a digital clip-on tuner. The fretboard of the Donner Concert Ukulele is also wider than usual, giving a little more room for playing.|
|Kala KA CEM Ukulele||The Kala KA-CEM Concert Exotic Mahogany is a highly recommended uke for serious beginners. This ukulele features a striking figured mahogany body, sealed geared tuners, silver nickel frets and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The mahogany construction delivers a full-bodied mellow tone with good clarity across the frequency range. The Kala KA-CEM is a quality instrument at a reasonable price.|
|Cordoba 15SM Ukulele||Another fantastic ukulele for beginners is the Cordoba 15SM, the soprano-size version of the Cordoba 15CM. Like its slightly bigger sibling, the Cordoba 15CM features a mahogany body with ivoroid binding, an abalone rosette and a satin finish for that timeless appeal. Just looking at the Cordoba 15SM can make you sigh in wonder. Well, playing it feels even better.|
|Kala KA-TE Ukulele||Kala really makes some amazing instruments for players of all budgets and skill levels, and the Kala KA-TE is no different. If you find soprano and concert sizes too small for you, check out the Kala KA-TE, a tenor ukulele that comes equipped with electronics. This is a great instrument for beginners who are looking forward to gigging sometime soon.|
|Luna Vintage Ukulele||The Luna Vintage is another soprano ukulele that makes it easy for beginners to get started with its affordable price and comfortable playability. This ukulele is ‘vintage’ in that it has a traditional style with a Polynesian-inspired design. The Luna Vintage uke features a spruce top, a mahogany body, open-style tuners, a rosewood fingerboard and bridge and natural satin finish.|
|Kala Color Chord Ukulele||The Kala Color Chord has got to be the most beginner-friendly ukulele on the planet. It’s really designed for helping beginners learn how to play ukulele in the easiest way possible. Part of Kala’s Learn To Play series, this uke teaches beginners four basic chords used in thousands of songs. You can learn to play in no time at all!|
Cordoba has long been a trusted name in the realm of acoustic instruments. Musicians are particularly fond of the brand’s classical guitars, which are handmade using traditional Spanish methods. Cordoba used the same time-tested techniques in making its ukuleles, including the concert-size Cordoba 15CM.
The Cordoba 15CM features a mahogany top, back and sides with a classy satin finish. The neck is also made of mahogany and it’s topped with a rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets. The ivoroid binding on the neck and body gives the ukulele a striking look, and an abalone rosette adds to the instrument’s aesthetic appeal. Even the geared chrome tuners look pretty with their pearl buttons.
If you find soprano ukuleles too small for your hands, this concert uke would be a more comfortable size for you. It has a nut width of 1.37 inches, a scale length of 14.75 inches and an overall length of 24.21 inches. It’s well-built, durable and will last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
This concert ukulele not only looks gorgeous, it sounds wonderful as well. The mahogany body creates a lovely ukulele tone you would want to hear again and again.
Makala is a line of ukuleles under Kala. The Makala line is known for its quality ukes offered at entry-level prices, making Makala ukuleles some of the best uke models for beginners.
The Makala Dolphin is one such model. This soprano ukulele comes in a variety of appealing colors and it looks cute with its dolphin-shaped bridge. Available colors are Green Apple Burst, Charcoal Black, Candy Apple Red, Pearl White, Purple and Metallic Blue, Pink Burst, Light Blue Burst, Yellow Burst and Red Burst. That’s a lot, and you’ll surely find a color (or two, or three) you’ll find irresistible.
The Makala Dolphin soprano ukulele features a kauri top with composite wood for its back and sides. It also has a mahogany neck and a walnut fingerboard with 12 frets. This construction gives the Dolphin a nice ukulele tone while keeping costs down. The composite back and sides also make the ukulele more resistant to changes in humidity and temperature.
Makala’s Dolphin uke has a scale length of 13.625 inches and an overall instrument length of 21.375 inches. It’s just the right size for children, teens, petite adults and just about anyone who’s looking for a great beginner uke.
The Mitchell MU70 is a concert ukulele that really looks like a mini acoustic guitar with its laminated spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides. The laminate construction makes this uke a hardy instrument to bring along with you on trips because it won’t succumb easily to changes in temperature and humidity.
The MU70 also has a mahogany neck and an Indian rosewood fingerboard with 16 frets. The frets are nicely finished – no sharp edges that could hurt little fingers! The combination of spruce, rosewood and mahogany produces a full, bright and sweet ukulele tone that would make ukulele beginners want to practice all day long.
The body of the MU70 has a natural gloss finish while the neck has a plain gloss finish, providing a smooth and fast playing feel. The abalone rosette around the soundhole, abalone purfling with custom multi-ply ABS binding and mother-of-pearl mini dot inlays on the fretboard accentuate the looks of the ukulele.
The Mitchell MU70 concert ukulele has a scale length of 15 inches and an overall length of 23.25 inches. The sealed tuners do their job well in keeping the uke in tune once the strings have settled.
- Performance can compare to that of more expensive ukes
- Easy and comfortable to play
- Durable and less sensitive to humidity and temperature changes
- Not as loud and resonant as other ukuleles
- Can feel heavy
The Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1 is no ordinary ukulele for beginners. It’s a terrific first instrument not only because it comes included with a case, digital tuner, strap and an extra set of strings but also because it’s very easy to play with its wider-than-usual fingerboard. For the price, this beginner ukulele bundle can’t be beat.
This concert ukulele features a mahogany body and neck, producing a bright and rich sound. The neck has a comfortable C-shaped profile. The uke also has a rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and 18 frets.
The body has a smooth satin finish, maximizing resonance and resulting in the best sound quality – and indeed the sound is something you wouldn’t expect to hear from a sub-$70 uke. It’s clear, sharp and bright.
The Donner Concert Ukulele is also pretty special because it has carbon nylon strings from Japan. The strings are smooth and soft to the touch so that learning to play will be a pain-free affair. If you are looking for ukuleles for children, this model is certainly worthy of consideration.
Other specs include a total instrument length of 23 inches, guitar-style tuners and a rosette with a concentric ring design.
- Comes with all the accessories a beginner needs to get started
- Beautiful aesthetics, especially the mahogany wood grain
- Strings take more time than usual to stretch and settle
- Goes out of tune easily
The Kala KA-CEM ukulele is a great first instrument for beginners or a second one for those upgrading from their entry-level uke. Even advanced players looking for another uke to add to their collection will find the Kala KA-CEM a wonderful addition to their uke family. CEM stands for Concert Exotic Mahogany.
The KA-CEM is a concert-size ukulele made of exotic mahogany wood. The figured mahogany gives the ukulele a bold, striking look. The pattern of the wood grain varies from uke to uke, which means no two are the same – the one you’ll get is 100 percent unique!
The Kala KA-CEM also features a 24.375 overall body length, a rosewood fingerboard with 18 silver nickel frets, chrome die-cast sealed geared tuners and a rosewood bridge. The chrome tuners are reliable and keep the uke in tune well even after hours of practice. The Aquila Super Nylgut strings it comes with are also easy on the fingers.
You will also find it easy to bring this ukulele along with you on trips to the beach, your friend’s house, a coffee shop or wherever you want to play because it already comes with a padded gig bag.
You’ve already been introduced to the Cordoba 15CM, now come meet its smaller sibling, the Cordoba 15SM. The 15SM is simply the 15CM in a reduced size, so basically you get the same features in a more compact package. This uke comes highly recommended for beginners, especially those with small hands or short fingers.
The top, back, sides and neck of the Cordoba 15SM are all made of quality mahogany wood. The all-mahogany construction gives the uke a rich and full sound that projects well despite the uke’s size.
Both the body and the neck are bound with ivoroid binding, giving the ukulele an Old World charm and setting it apart from other entry-level ukuleles. And like its bigger sibling, the 15SM also has an authentic abalone rosette that adds to its beauty. A sleek satin finish makes playing a more enjoyable experience.
The 15SM ukulele by Cordoba also has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays, silver geared tuners with pearl buttons and a total of 17 frets. The scale length measures 13.5 inches, with the overall length measuring just 21 inches. It’s definitely easy to carry around and play wherever you go!
- Available bundled with a gig bag, tuner, instructional DVD and polishing cloth
- Rich sweet sound
- Reasonable price for a quality instrument
- Can be difficult to play standing up without a strap
- No strap buttons
For beginners who are looking for something larger than soprano or concert ukuleles as their first instrument, here’s the Kala KA-TE ukulele. This is a tenor-size uke that would prove to be more comfortable to play for those with larger hands or those wanting to have a louder sound from their uke.
Projection with the Kala KA-TE is not a problem, especially as it’s also equipped with a UK-300TR pickup/preamp system. An acoustic-electric ukulele like the KA-TE is just what you need if you’re looking forward to performing or recording with your ukulele in the future. You just need a mini amp and a cable to pair with your uke. Simply plug it in and you’re good to go! The KA-TE also has a built-in tuner, so that’s another plus.
The Kala KA-TE features a mahogany top, back and sides with cream binding and a smooth satin finish. The neck is also made of mahogany while the fretboard is made of walnut. The scale length is at 17 inches. This tenor ukulele measures 26.125 inches long overall – not too small and not too big for most adults. It’s comfortable and fun to play too!
- Well-built using quality materials
- Comes with built-in electronics and tuner
- Available bundled with a gig bag, instructional DVD, polishing cloth and clip-on tuner
- Price not that beginner-friendly
- No buttons for strap
Luna ukuleles are beautiful to look at, enjoyable to play and sound amazing. The Luna Vintage Spruce Soprano Ukulele is no exception. This ukulele boasts a solid spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck, a rosewood fretboard with 12 frets, a rosewood bridge and black open-gear tuners. Triangular mother-of-pearl ‘shark teeth’ inlays serve as fretboard position markers and a laser-etched tribal rosette gives off that vintage vibe.
What’s more, you can get the Luna Vintage soprano uke bundled with a gig bag, an instructional DVD, a clip-on tuner and a polishing cloth – all for less than $70! For thar price, this beginner ukulele package is definitely a steal.
The construction of the ukulele gives it a sweet, pleasing tone – just what you’d expect from a soprano ukulele, but not from a soprano ukulele in this price range. The Luna Vintage sounds like a more expensive model!
The Luna Vintage uke also has a set neck with a C shape for better stability and playing comfort. Because of its size, it’s also very lightweight – so light that you would hardly notice it in your hands as you play. Because of this, you won’t get tired easily even after long practice sessions.
A list of the best ukuleles for beginners would be terribly incomplete without the Kala Color Chord Starter Kit. This soprano ukulele is part of Kala’s Learn To Play series of ukuleles, which teach beginners four basic ukulele chords that are used in thousands of songs. The four chords are G, F, C and Am.
The starter kit includes the Color Chord ukulele, online lessons, a Quick Start Booklet and the Kala Ukulele App with Tuner. It’s everything beginners could ever need. The kit is priced affordably too – everything costs just $40! This makes the Kala Color Chord a great option for beginners on a budget and those looking for awesome gifts for kids.
The color sticker method has long been used to teach basic chords. The Color Chord ukulele utilizes the same method by using colored arrow-shaped markers on the fretboard to indicate where to place your fingers to play the four basic chords.
The ukulele is made of a durable, water-resistant material. The top, back, sides, neck, fingerboard as well as the nut and saddle are all made of the same ABS composite plastic. This is a great uke for kids and those who enjoy playing outdoors.
- Made of a durable plastic material - good for kids and travel
- Comes with a custom logo tote bag and instructional materials
- Makes learning ukulele easy
- Not for players who want wood and the traditional ukulele sound
- Finish scratches easily
Ukulele for Beginners: Where to Get Started
Welcome to the wonderful world of ukuleles! As a beginner, you’re probably eager to get started playing, motivated by your family and friends and inspired by the numerous ukulele artists you’ve followed over many months (or years). There’s no age limit to learning and we’re happy you’ve chosen to embark on this journey, and we’re glad to be of help by providing tips for beginners.
A ukulele player needs a ukulele, so take your pick from the best beginner ukuleles we’ve listed above. While waiting for your ukulele to arrive, you can get already started on the basics. Here are our favorite ways to learn ukulele even if you don’t have your own ukulele yet:
Reading articles online – there are numerous websites dedicated to the ukulele, and most of them offer informative articles about learning to play. Reading these articles allows you to get familiar with ukulele terms, chords, the parts of the ukulele, the different ukulele sizes, how different kinds of wood affect the sound of a ukulele and so on. When you have a good understanding about the ukulele, you’ll find it easier to learn to play it.
Watching instructional videos – you can also watch instructional videos on YouTube about how to play ukulele. There are hundreds of ukulele-centric channels where you can watch videos explaining ukulele anatomy, basic ukulele chords, strumming and fingerpicking patterns and how to play popular ukulele songs. You can also watch ukulele reviews so you can have a better idea of how ukuleles look and sound like.
Using ukulele apps – with ukulele apps, you can learn on the go! There are different kinds of ukulele apps – some focus on teaching chords, while others simulate the ukulele fretboard and turn your phone into a uke. You can play on the go, and you don’t even have to have a ukulele with you. Try out different apps to see which ones work for you and keep you motivated to practice and become a better player.
Getting formal lessons
If you want to become a more skilled, technical player or want to have a greater understanding of music theory, or if you simply want to have one-on-one personal lessons with an instructor, it’s ideal to sign up for formal lessons.
There are many ukulele websites and instructors offering their services online. Many instructors can teach you via video call, while others would ask you to record yourself on video and send the video to them so they can determine how far you’ve progressed. Ukulele sites offering lessons can also tailor the topics according to your skill and level of knowledge, and they’re worth checking out.
If you’re the kind of person who learns best via personal lessons, then you might want to look into ukulele classes offered by a local music school or studio. There usually are lessons offered in a class setting (with multiple students) as well as one-on-one lessons. See which one fits your schedule and budget.
Reaching out to other ukulele players
Playing ukulele isn’t all about learning to play your favorite tunes, making music videos or composing your own songs. It’s also about being part of a worldwide community of people who love the uke as much as you do.
Beginners would often feel shy about playing in front of an audience, but if you’re part of a ukulele club, you won’t feel as nervous. Fellow ukulele players would encourage you and motivate you to keep practicing. Hanging out in ukulele hubs can gain you new friends, and taking part in ukulele festivals can inspire you to do your best as a musician.
If you have the opportunity to do so, join a group. Check out your local community centers, music studios and neighborhood coffee shops. You can also go on Facebook and look for ukulele clubs in your area. Attending a meetup won’t hurt, so give it a try!
Being part of a ukulele community would also give you a wonderful feeling – you would see there are players young and old, and everyone would be supporting everybody else. Groups also tap advanced or more experienced players to give workshops and lessons. Another great thing about joining a group is you can borrow different ukuleles so you’ll have an idea of what your next uke would be.
We hope those tips make you more excited to play ukulele. We hope you find the best beginner ukulele for your needs and we wish you the best on your ukulele journey. Have fun!