Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been developing your ukulele skills for years, shopping for the best ukulele for beginners is an important task.
There are tons of options out there to choose from, whether you prefer a soprano, concert, or tenor uke, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed if you’re just getting started.
Let’s take a look at the best beginner-friendly options in each size so that you can be sure you’re picking out your new favorite!
12 Best Beginner Ukulele I Recommend
1) Kala KALA-LTP-S Soprano Ukulele
If you’re looking for a great uke that’s affordable and high-quality to start playing around with, then you’re bound to fall in love with the KALA-LTP-S Soprano Ukulele. Just about anyone who’s already familiar with ukuleles is bound to speak highly of the Kala brand’s look and feel! Kala is among the most widely-recognized ukulele brands out there and their instruments are known for being well made, durable, and beautiful.
In case a quick glance over this ukulele’s quality hardware and tasteful finish isn’t enough to reel you in just yet, you’ll be delighted to know that Kala ukes are standard for many schools that teach people to play the ukulele: As far as beginner-friendly goes, Kala instruments are nigh unbeatable!
And, speaking of the build of the ukulele, its body and neck are crafted from good, reliable mahogany wood that does a great job of amplifying each note with a sweet tone. This little soprano uke may be small, but it definitely is not a toy! Not only is the KALA-LTP-S a great starter ukulele but it’s of a high enough quality to have gained widespread popularity with musicians of all levels. This versatile little instrument will serve you well everywhere you go, from classrooms and practice rooms to performance venues and fireside gatherings.
The nut and saddle on this sturdy little ukulele are GraphTech NuBone and the walnut fretboard has a nice, smooth polish to it, making each note a pleasure to fret. The Aquila Nylgut strings also contribute to the comfort you’ll feel while playing and the prettiness of the notes you’ll produce.
Just a side note: Beginners should be aware that when a uke is fitted with new strings it’ll need a couple of days and quite a few rounds of re-tuning in order for the strings to stretch and settle into tune. This is normal and desirable since the tension in a fully-tuned ukulele makes it more prone to damage during shipping. But, once that initial bout of tuning is all done, you’re sure to enjoy the way this trusty little instrument feels to play.
Another great point in favor of starting out with this little soprano uke is that it comes bundled on Amazon with the essentials that you’ll need to get started right away. Alongside this nicely-crafted instrument, you’ll get a case and an instructional booklet, and a Kala app that will help you keep your ukulele in tune while also offering play-along songs. And, to top it all off, you’ll also get access to some online lessons from Kala that will help you improve your skills in no time. You’ll be able to access helpful tutorials on tuning, chords, some beginner-friendly songs, and more.
2) Lohanu Soprano Starter
For those seeking out a soprano uke with style: The Lohanu Soprano Starter ukulele is not only a quality buy but it offers up a little bit of visual flair as well! The white bindings along the neck and body lend this uke a nice, polished look, especially when paired with the snazzy brightness of the chrome tuning gears. In fact, this cheery-looking little instrument makes a great display piece when not in use, and it comes bundled on Amazon with a hanger so that you can mount it on the wall with ease.
Speaking of bundled accessories, this is definitely a key area to consider while thinking of making your first purchase! The instrument itself, which is already fitted with strap buttons, comes with a handy strap, a carrying case, a clip-on tuner, picks, and extra strings. The strings aren’t cheapies, either–they’re Aquila Nylgut strings that you’ll be able to rely on.
The Sapele wood laminate body offers an increased resistance to bumps and scratches as well as improved durability in face of temperature and humidity changes. This uke also comes with an arched back! Beginners might not have a feel for the difference that this makes just yet, but they’ll definitely come to appreciate it over time. An arched back bounces the sound waves differently to create a bigger, richer sound with better sustain than a flat back does–once you try a ukulele with an arched back, you’re unlikely to want to go back!
Another perk that you’ll get with this purchase will come in super handy if you’re a beginner yourself or want to share your instrument with another budding musician: You’ll get access to digital songbooks and video lessons that will help you learn a variety of catchy songs that you can sing along with and enjoy with others. This feature is especially nice if you hope to enjoy your ukulele with friends and family!
One more key advantage of going with a Lohanu ukulele is that Lohanu does their best to be accommodating when necessary and offer superior customer service. In all honesty, you’re unlikely to experience any issues with this uke. However, anyone who’s had questions or concerns about their instrument, such as variation in varnish color, has contacted Lohanu to get a friendly and helpful response from the company in order to clear things up. The company offers an excellent warranty and is always ready to help if needed.
3) Donner Soprano Ukulele Kit
If you like the sound produced by dependable, classic materials such as a mahogany body and a rosewood fingerboard, then the Donner Soprano Ukulele Kit is another great buy for you to consider! In addition to the quality woods used in the construction of this uke, the high-density bone saddle and nut will do a great job of keeping the resonance of each string crisp and clean. The strings, which are Aquila carbon nylon, boast a high level of durability and produce bright, clear notes. Combined with the warmth of the tone amplified by the mahogany body, you’re sure to love the feeling and the sound of this instrument!
This bundle is another great one for beginners or musicians who like to travel because it comes with everything you’ll need to get started. The kit contains a nice-quality gig bag for your uke, extra Aquila strings, a strap, picks, a clip-on tuner, and a cleaning cloth to make sure your instrument stays looking and feeling at its best while you play. A series of video lessons from Donner are also included, enabling even the youngest or newest players to get started on their musical journey with this little ukulele.
That bone bridge saddle and nut do wonders to preserve the clarity of the ukulele’s sound, and the Aquila strings go easy on the fingers while doing a great job of retaining their tune once they’ve stretched and settled in. Tuning upkeep is also a breeze thanks to the unique little tuning gadgets that Donner has patented. These special tuning pegs help grant you far greater control and accuracy while getting your uke in tune and they do a better job of holding the tune once you get it there, too.
One of the traits that musicians find most impressive about this soprano ukulele from Donner is the quality of the build that you get for the price. The mahogany body feels like a much more expensive and higher-end build than you’d expect after a glance at the price tag, and its durability is a true boon. You’ll be able to share this ukulele with children who are learning to play or take it fireside without worrying about it getting all roughed up. And, on top of that, the sound is sweet and pleasant with great resonance. Additionally, buyers report that the extras you get in the bundle are of higher quality than those that many competitors offer as well!
4) Enya Nova Carbon Fiber Soprano Travel Ukulele
Forget the classic, woody finish that most ukuleles offer–if you want something different that looks and feels truly unique to play while still producing a sweet and beautiful sound, then the Enya Nova Carbon Fiber Soprano Travel Ukulele should cut to the front of the line on your shopping list.
Where do we even start with the perks of this incredible instrument? Well, the moment you look at it, you’ll immediately notice the distinct appearance of its cutaway body, which comes in either an elegant black or an eye-catching light blue. The appearance of this ukulele offers a completely different vibe while you play and makes the entire kit more appealing: The bundled accessories that come with this sleek and modern-looking uke match! Whether you’re a fan of sleek, futuristic black or bright robin’s egg blue, then you’ll get to enjoy your color choice all over again each time you glance at the strap, clip-on tuner, or carrying case.
One of the coolest things about this ukulele is that its body is built with a carbon fiber composite that offers a number of advantages. For one thing, the carbon fiber is as lightweight as it is durable! And it isn’t just durable in terms of impact: It’s essentially waterproof as well. This makes it easy to clean and worry-free to take with you to the beach.
The carbon fiber composite body of the Enya Nova also provides an impressively bright sound which many musicians say is noticeably different and better than they’ve come to expect from a wooden instrument. This uke also boasts an arched back, which pairs wonderfully with the carbon fiber construction to amplify each note to surprising volumes for a little soprano! The new design of the soundhole also makes each note sound clearer and better, making for a very satisfying play session.
Alongside the aforementioned accessories which match your stylish ukulele’s distinctive color scheme, this Amazon bundle also comes with an extra set of the classic Aquila strings that so many musicians love. The feeling of Aquila strings is smooth and gentle on the fingers, which you’re sure to appreciate if you’re just starting out or prefer to play for longer sessions. Another great quality of this ukulele is its low action, which requires less effort to fret each note and will make each song more of a pleasure to play!
One last cool detail to note about the Enya Nova is that the soprano size ukulele has 13 frets to offer while many other sopranos have only 12, and the fingerboard is a bit wider than previous models as well. This gives you more space for easier playing as well as a greater range of creative freedom.
5) Lohanu LU-C Bundle
If you like the looks of the Lohanu Soprano Starter ukulele but would like something a little bit bigger, then the Lohanu LU-C Bundle may be just the thing for you! This uke comes with a nicely-made rosewood fretboard and a Sapele body, and it features the arched back that so many musicians love for the audible richness that it provides. Remember: The curve of the arched back directs the sound waves towards the soundhole in the center of the guitar top, vastly improving sound projection.
The visual pop of the white bindings around the edges of the neck and body on this pretty Lohanu ukulele is perhaps even more striking in concert size than they are on the little starter Soprano, and the gleaming chrome tuning gears look classy as well. Many musicians love the added artistic touch provided by the engravings around the uke’s soundhole as well.
This instrument does a great job of staying in tune once its standard Aquila strings settle, and the cutout adds to the sound quality, too. People who purchase this ukulele report that the sound is warm and pleasant with a lovely resonance and nice projection–perfect for gatherings and parties!
This concert uke also comes bundled with a variety of accessories, such as a leather pick, a hanger so that you can display it on the wall when you aren’t playing, a clip-on tuner, and other essentials like a carrying case and extra Aquila strings. A nylon shoulder strap is also included in the bundle which fits perfectly over the pre-installed pegs on the ukulele.
Alongside the physical accessories, this Lohanu also comes with a set of video lessons with adaptable pacing that work equally well for kids and adults who are just starting out. All in all, this ukulele comes with everything that you’ll need to get started if you’re a beginner, and all the essentials are there if you’re already eager to start jamming with your friends outside. Additionally, the customer service that Lohanu provides is always pretty great: An unconditional lifetime warranty on their ukuleles and prompt, friendly support in case you have any questions.
6) KALA-LTP-C Starter Kit
If you’re eager to get started with a great concert size ukulele, then this beauty from Kala certainly deserves your consideration. The richly colored mahogany body with its satiny finish and engraved shark tooth rosette around the soundhole come together to provide a truly classy take on the traditional ukulele design, and the sound is nothing to sneeze at either!
The walnut fretboard is comfortable and easy to use, and brass frets are finished nicely. They aren’t sharp or rough on the hands, meaning that you’ll be able to practice for longer sessions and play more songs without unnecessary stress on your fingertips. Little details like this can go a long way when it comes to the overall comfort and playability of an instrument, and Kala did a great job with the finishing touches.
Another great detail on this ukulele is the durable plastic nut that’s skillfully cut so as to not interfere with the tone produced by the nylon strings. The sound of this ukulele is reported to be warm and resonant, just like you’re undoubtedly hoping for. You won’t have to worry about assaulting your ears with the flat, tinny edge that a lot of cheaper ukuleles can produce. The chrome tuning machines also work well, and the instrument does a wonderful job of keeping its tune once you’ve gotten it just right.
This starter kit from Kala contains the essentials while keeping things streamlined: You won’t get a bunch of extra accessories in this kit that you may not even use, which is appealing for many people with a hassle-free mindset. You will, however, get a sweet carrying case and a 20-page Quick Start booklet that will help you start playing right away. You’ll also get access to the app, which provides a tuning tool, additional lessons, and some songs for you to practice and play along with. The Kala website also provides some guidance on how to start playing, including tips on strumming and some beginner chords.
One cool perk of this Kala ukulele is that most people report that it’s pretty close to being in-tune right out of the box. Most of the time, when you buy a ukulele, it requires a great deal of heavy-handed tuning to even get it in the same neighborhood as where you want it to be. However, this uke usually takes a lot less work to tune for the first time or two, which many people appreciate–especially beginners who are eager to start playing!
7) Donner DUC-1 Starter Bundle
Rest assured that you can rely on Donner to provide you with a good concert size ukulele bundled with the works: strap, strings, picks, cleaning cloth, carrying case, and a clip-on tuner. If you want a reliable uke with all the accessories needed for either a starter set or a travel kit, then this one will fit the bill!
The carrying case that comes bundled with this ukulele is really nice, too: It’s padded pretty well in order to protect your instrument and it comes with a set of shoulder straps that enable you to carry it like a backpack with ease. There’s also a handy pocket on the outside where you can store backup strings, picks, and similar extras.
The mahogany body and Aquila strings work together for better sustain and clearer, cleaner resonance than you can expect from most competitors in the same price range. The unique tuning machines and the cattle bone, high-density bridge saddle and nut are the same on this concert size ukulele as they are on Donner’s little soprano counterpart. That means that you’ll get all the wonderful clarity and impressive sound that you’ll need to make the most of your practice sessions and get-togethers. No buzzing or rattling of the strings, and no flat tones!
Beginners who have tried out this starter bundle from Donner are happy to report that the tuner is easy to use–especially when they’re helping their new instrument settle into tune. This uke arrives with the strings left rather slack in order to minimize the risk of it getting damaged during the shipping process. So, the initial tuning process is important–and, luckily, the handy little tuner that comes in the kit makes it easy for beginners to stretch and tune their new set of Aquila strings to perfection.
One of the most highly-praised aspects of this ukulele is the build quality that you get for the money. The body is sturdy and durable enough to withstand the trials of travel and heavy use. The finish is really nice as well, lending an elegant look to the body and a smooth feel to the neck. The finish doesn’t just look good, either–it feels great to play as your fingers glide over the fretboard, too.
And, last but not least, the Donner DUC-1 Starter Bundle also comes with a set of instructional videos online, just in case you need them to get started!
8) Enya Concert Ukulele Nova U 23’’ Carbon Fiber Travel Ukulele
If you loved the impressive looks of the Enya Nova from earlier on in this list of favorites, then your jaw is sure to drop even lower at the concert size version! You’ll get to enjoy the same incredible features as the soprano sized version, but with an added bonus or two as well.
The awesome construction of Enya ukuleles is worth revisiting: The body is made from carbon fiber composite polycarbonate, meaning that it simply isn’t subjected to many of the same weaknesses as a wooden body is. This special uke is easier to clean and far more water-resistant than its wooden counterparts, and infinitely less affected by humidity as a result. The advantages of this include easier maintenance and upkeep, much less of a need to worry about damage, and increased durability. Since the instrument will be far less affected by fluctuations in temperature and humidity, it will hold its tune better as well.
Alongside the durability-related advantages of the carbon fiber body, this Enya uke’s sound is superior, too. Its sound is much brighter than what you can expect from a wooden ukulele thanks to its lightweight construction. It’s easy to transport, easy to care for, and provides a whole new type of tone when you play! The design of this uke is noticeably well thought out, too, featuring an arched back that really ramps up the resonance despite the body only being a couple of inches thick. The side soundhole is a unique design element and also contributes to the great tone and overall sound that this little gem from Enya can produce.
Now, as if the novel construction and delightfully bright sound weren’t enough to make anyone fall in love with this excellent ukulele, there’s something else to consider: Astounding good looks! This concert size uke comes in an even wider variety of colors than its compact soprano counterpart, and each of them is beautifully executed. A delicate, pale blue, light pink, an elegant black or white, or an eye-popping red or orange: No matter your style, you’re bound to find a color that fits. And, just like with the Enya Nova, the case and accessories will match your uke.
Speaking of accessories, this sleek ukulele and its snazzy case come with a strap, an extra set of strings, and a matching capo. You’ll also get access to online lessons, which is always a perk for beginners or anyone who’s gotten a bit rusty.
9) Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Musicians with larger hands or a simple preference for roomier fretboards are sure to appreciate the extra space offered by any tenor ukulele, but most will agree that this one from Cordoba is a cut above average.
This uke features a Pau Ferro fretboard, which offers similar qualities to rosewood but is more lightweight, making it an ideal construction choice for a larger, tenor size ukulele. The body is made from high-quality mahogany which enhances the richness of the sound produced by the Aquila strings.
Alongside its great sound, the Cordoba 15TM Tenor features a nice spin on the classic ukulele look as well. The satiny finish is smooth and the natural color is warm and inviting. The tasteful ivory-colored frets, the eye catching abalone rosette around the soundhole, and the pearl button tuners coordinate nicely with one another for an artistic finishing touch, too!
This nice-looking Cordoba has 17 frets and lots of people who buy it are pleased to find that it’s lower action than they expected, which enables them to play comfortably for longer periods of time–always a perk for beginners! The sound of this uke is nice and warm, too, with a nice resonance that many musicians note as being better than what you get from other ukuleles at comparable prices.
All in all, this sturdy ukulele is easily playable, looks great, and sounds even better. While it definitely holds up to the critical eye of more experienced players, it makes a great beginner uke as well!
For further reading, take a look at our Cordoba 15TM tenor ukulele review.
10) Kala 15S-T
As stated previously, you pretty much cannot go wrong with a Kala ukulele, and the Kala 15S-T definitely holds up to the hype!
The looks of the walnut fingerboard and the deep, dark mahogany laminate body play beautifully against one another, adding a bit of attention grabbing visual “pop” that’s sure to pull people into your music circle! Once your friends gather around, they’ll love the tone, too: This uke’s well-built body offers all the resonance and tone quality you’d expect from mahogany.
As far as sound goes, this tenor sized uke really makes the most of that mahogany tone, offering a level of projection in the lower-end notes that you simply cannot get from a smaller ukulele. That fact alone makes this instrument an ideal choice for players who hope to perform or really want to pick a uke with the type of sustain and projection that can hold up against background noise at outdoor parties.
Bundles are always great for players who are just starting out and aren’t sure what to supplement their uke with, and this kit comes with a lightweight but balanced set of essentials. You’ll get a soft gig bag with handy backpack straps to easily keep your ukulele safe from dust and scratches during transportation, a clip-on tuner, and a cleaning cloth to make basic upkeep a breeze. The bag comes with a built-in zippered pouch on the outside that can accommodate these small accessories and a set of extra nylon strings, too, which is always helpful.
Beginners who consider some basic instruction to be an essential part of the package won’t be disappointed, either: This bundle includes a DVD with an assortment of lessons that will help you set a sturdy foundation for yourself while you start playing.
This Kala uke comes fitted with a set of Aquila nylon strings and is built with a nut and saddle made out of GraphTech NuBone. These features produce a nice, crisp sound with each note that you play! People who used the clip-on tuner to break in their strings have also commented that it turned out to be surprisingly accurate and helpful. Another handy perk of the tuner is that, if you forget to turn it off manually, it will shut itself off to save battery if left sitting unused for a few minutes while you get caught up in the music.
11) MK-T Makala Tenor
You may have heard Makala described as Kala’s budget brand, but there’s nothing about the sturdy ukulele MK-T Makala Tenor that yells “budget instrument”. It’s well-built and checks all the boxes on a new ukulele player’s list!
This uke is ideal for beginners since it comes bundled with a clip-on tuner, cleaning cloth, instructional DVD with lessons, and a nice carrying case. One thing to note is that this uke comes with a hard case instead of a soft one which makes it more resilient to bumps. This is ideal if you’re learning on the road, want to have an added layer of security while traveling with your instrument to and from gatherings, or simply want the ability to store the uke safely in a closet with other items when it isn’t being played.
With the understated, easy-to-use tuning machines on this ukulele, you’ll have no problem tweaking your instrument and getting it to sound just right once the strings settle. The tuner you’ll get in this bundle is great, too. It’s a digital chromatic tuner that will give you a bright green display when you’ve tuned a note just right, and helpful arrows to indicate which way you should tune the strings if the sound isn’t quite there yet. And, as any player is bound to appreciate, once the Aquila Nylgut strings are stretched and broken in, the ukulele will hold its tone very well!
The MK-T Makala Tenor is built with a nice, smooth rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and the mahogany body warms up the tone for a delightfully sweet sound. Many people who get this ukulele are also surprised by the kind of volume it can produce, even considering its tenor size! It’s consistently reported to sound great and look good, too, especially considering the price point. Many people also tend to appreciate the more rustic finish on the mahogany body, preferring its authentic look over the appearance of glossier finishes.
Overall, this ukulele is a great budget buy for beginner ukulele players that doesn’t feel cheap or low-budget at all. The construction is solid, the tone is good, and the instrument simply feels great to play!
12) Enya EUT-MAD Tenor Ukulele Solid Gloss
If you loved the idea of owning one of Enya’s quality ukuleles but weren’t sure that you wanted to opt for carbon fiber construction instead of traditional wood, then you’re in luck! The Enya EUT-MAD Tenor Ukulele offers all the best qualities of the brand without sacrificing the warmth and familiarity of a wooden uke body.
Both the bass and treble notes of all your favorite songs will be beautifully enhanced by this ukulele’s solid mahogany body. You’d have to hold this uke in your hands and play it to fully appreciate the beauty of its sound, and the resonance is gorgeous as well.
The neck of this instrument is solid mahogany as well, and the nut and saddle are crafted from Nubone. The bridge and fretboard, components that are known for being subject to a lot of wear and tear, are made from Radius Richlite. Richlite is a highly durable and resilient recycled material that’s better for our planet in terms of sustainability and great for the sound of your instrument! The fingerboard of your uke will be more resistant to moisture and grime, and the sound of each note will be noticeably crisper. This instrument is low-action and very comfortable to play, too.
In terms of appearance, this ukulele is absolutely beautiful! The oceanic blue color of the wood and its glimmering abalone soundhole rosette are incredibly striking and unique. If you aren’t the type of musician who prefers to stick with rustic, traditional appearances, then you’re sure to appreciate the high-gloss finish of this uke as well. This gorgeous gem from Enya is sure to pull people in to enjoy the music with you with its impressive looks and sound alike.
Just in case you were worried about scratching up that nice, glossy finish during travel: Don’t be! The hard case that this ukulele comes with is highly durable and measures up to the high quality of the instrument it’s meant to carry. It’s padded, strong, and comes with a pocket on the outside to keep backup strings and picks within easy reach.
People absolutely love the sound of this ukulele and speak very highly of its nuanced construction. While the body sports a glossy finish, the neck does not, leaving a satiny surface for your fingers to slide over with ease. The height of the nut is adjusted perfectly and doesn’t feel like it’s in a “default” position. It’s the little things that can make all the difference, and the details are all on point with this awesome tenor uke from Enya. If you want to give yourself or a loved one an excellent starting point with a wonderful ukulele, then you can do no better than this!
For more info and to get visuals on how the ukulele looks and feel, watch this video:
Keep in mind:
No two ukuleles are the same, and neither are the ukulele players. If you’re unsure of which size or brand of uke is right for you, the only way to truly know is to give one a try. But, for those just starting out in what’s sure to be a long and fulfilling journey with the ukulele, any of these instruments would be a solid choice. At the end of the day you want something that’s affordable but provides a good level of quality and bang for your buck–and that’s something that any of these beauties can provide!