The Ukulele Buyer's FAQ
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Q: What size of Ukulele should I buy?
A: The standard Ukulele has 4 sizes. From smallest to biggest, they are:
Soprano is easily available in the market but too small in size for an average adult's fingers It’s definitely the best choice for kids below 10.
Concert is larger than the Soprano and is my personal choice of ukulele in terms of size, sound and availability in the market. It’s your best bet.
Tenor is slightly larger than a Concert in size with a fuller sound than all the other standard tuned Ukuleles but it isn’t as accessible or available offline/online.
Baritone is the biggest in size and tuned like a guitar which is good for someone who is looking to play a four-stringed tiny guitar.
Addition: Pineapple is a Soprano-sized Ukulele that has an oval shape and is a great change from the conventional look of a standard Ukulele.
All the Ukuleles I own are Concert Ukuleles.
Q: What brand of Ukulele should I buy?
A: A list of Ukulele brands I have owned/played are:
A list of Ukulele brands I’d suggest you stay away from:
Note: Cute ukuleles in a glossy finish with colour-coating (red/yellow/green), usually in a price range below 2500/- are best avoided.
For reference sake, I’m linking a few Ukuleles available online that I think are a good fit for a beginner and can hope they are still in stock when you go through this list:
I own a Hohner Lanikai and Kadence Ukulele and currently play a Mahalo Ukulele.
Note: If the link leads to a product that's out of stock, look for similar products by the brand. You might find the right fit according to your budget and pin code availability.
Q: Should I buy a Semi-Acoustic Ukulele?
A: If you hope to make good use of the instrument by plugging it into an amplifier/speakers to perform on stage or for recording purposes some day, by all means. It also is usually a good indicator of the quality of the instrument as a brand wouldn’t invest in adding a semi-acoustic pickup to a model of below par quality. It’s a more expensive option, sure, but it’s entirely up to your budget and intention of use.
All the Ukuleles I own are Semi-Acoustic.
Q: I am left-handed. Can I flip and play the Ukulele still? Or do I need a special Ukulele for it?
A: Flipping the Ukulele unfortunately will not work since the strings are of different thickness and tuning. Buying a special left-handed Ukulele is possible but not easily available. Easiest options are to either buy a standard Ukulele and get the strings re-ordered bottom to top by a local instrument shop technician. Or trying to learn the Ukulele like a right-handed player since both hands would be equally necessary (and alien) to the process of playing in the beginning. Constant practice can do wonders.
I am right-handed, by the way.
Q: Where should I buy a Ukulele?
A: For folks in Pune, It really depends on stock available at any store, but the ones I’ve personally seen with decent ukuleles on sale are:
I bought my last ukulele from Divine Music.
Q: Where should I buy a Ukulele online?
A: Here's a trusted list:
I’ve helped many of my students buy their first Ukulele on Amazon with little to no complaints.
Q: What quality checks do I need to know of before buying a Ukulele?
A: - Closely inspect every part of the Ukulele for any scratches, dents or bumps.
- The tuning keys should not be loose and shaky, and they should not be difficult to turn/wind. Metal tuning keys are always preferable to plastic ones.
- The neck should be straight. No sort of bend is a good sign.
- Hold down each string on each fret of the ukulele and play all the individual notes to test their sound clarity. Any buzzing or muted sound on any note is a red flag and should be brought to the attention of the seller. If it can’t be fixed, try another Ukulele.
- The soundhole should be approximately the same size as the picture above. Some local brand Ukuleles come with bigger soundholes or non-circular soundholes. Avoid them.
- The body of the Ukulele at the top should be flat. No kind of odd bump or dent is a good sign. The body on the back can have a slight curvature but it should be an even curve. Again, no odd bumps or dents.
- If you’re buying a Semi-Acoustic Ukulele, test it out on an amp at the store that is suitable for the instrument. Electric guitar amps/bass amps won’t give you a good idea of how it will sound plugged in. Ask them if the amp you’re testing the instrument on is meant for semi-acoustic guitars/Ukuleles.
Q: Do I need to buy any accessories with my Ukulele?
A: Most often, Ukuleles online/in stores don’t come with a good gig bag. You’re looking for something thick, durable and (hopefully) waterproof. If it’s an investment you can make, it’s well worth it.
A tuner is important for a beginner to keep the instrument’s sound in check. But there are enough apps available on your phone for you to not need a separate device. Again, buy it only if it’s an investment you can make.
Q: I want to buy new strings for my old Ukulele / I want better strings than the stock strings my Ukulele came with. Which strings should I buy?
A: Aquila is a classic. D’Addario works as well. Here are a few links:
If you have any more questions, suggestions or recommendations for this FAQ,
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