Best Ukuleles for Beginners (2020)

Picking a uke has never been easier.
Tayler Tayler (29)
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Thinking about picking up a new skill like playing the ukulele? There is no better time than the present to learn the ukulele, and finding a beginner's ukulele that you can learn on doesn't have to clear out your savings.

Sure, there are expensive instruments out there. Many ukuleles are crafted from unique materials that are meant to enhance the sound, but if you're just beginning to learn a ukulele these factors shouldn't be at the forefront of your needs.

As a beginner, you're going to want a ukulele that is sturdy enough to handle the day-to-day wear and tear that comes with practicing while providing you with a clear sound for you to adjust your playing style.

Ukuleles come in many different shapes and sizes. Here's a breakdown of the different types of ukuleles:

Style Number of frets Tuning
Soprano 12-15 GCEA
Concert 15-20 GCEA
Tenor 15-25 GCEA
Baritone 18+ DGBE

Ukuleles aren't one-size-fits-all, so I'm going to give you at least two options for each of the categories above. If you have larger hands and fingers, you might want to check out a larger ukulele like a tenor or a baritone, which features larger frets. Larger frets mean more space to learn the chords.

Ranging from a plastic travel ukulele to an electric baritone, here are the best ukuleles for beginners!

(Do you already have a ukulele and want to change out the strings? Check out my guide on how to restring your ukulele.)

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A staple name in ukulele brands, Kala ukuleles are a great way to blend quality with affordability and this Makala Waterman Soprano is no exception to that rule. Here's why this ukulele is a great option for a newcomer to the craft.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • Plastic body and fretboard provide solid, but light construction.
  • Nickel-plated gear turners are light and easy to turn.
  • Models can be easily converted for all my left-handed would-be players out there.
  • It's waterproof, which is perfect for my traveling players out there.
  • The marine blue finish glows in the dark.

A Kala soprano was my first ukulele!

A bag is included with this ukulele to make transporting it from place to place easier. Many people report plastic as being a subpar material for ukuleles. While this may be the case in the long run, for a first ukulele plastic is a decent choice when you balance it out with a brand name like Kala.

The Makala line of Kala offers ukuleles with a more classic design.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
21 inches 12 frets Figure 8 body

A lesser-known name than Kala, Enya provides beginner ukuleles that come with a slightly higher price point. This pineapple-shaped soprano ukulele comes with a variety of other materials perfect for a new player.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • This kit comes with access to online lessons, a case, a strap, extra strings, a capo, a sand shaker, picks, a polish cloth, and, you guessed it, a pineapple ukulele.
  • Made from HPL, high-pressure laminate, Koa, which is a durable and light wood that is commonly used in small body acoustics.
  • Carbon strings offer a clear sound.
  • Unique pineapple body shape is easy to hold.

The main difference between a pineapple-shaped ukulele and a figure-eight ukulele is the pineapple is thought to produce a louder, more mellow sound than the traditional design.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
21 inches 16 frets Pineapple body

Our first concert ukulele on this list, this Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele has all the charm of a classic soprano ukulele with slightly large fret and more tonal range.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • Mahogany body features a beautiful satin finish.
  • The solid wood construction offers a rich, full-bodied sound.
  • Aquila Nylgut strings are synthetic gut which offers a loud sound projection.
  • Plenty of space between the frets for those who want a little extra space to learn the cords!

This concert uke features a really pretty abalone-style rosette. A rosette is a ring around the soundhole of a string instrument that is decorative and offers reinforcement. Not all ukes have one or need one, but this Cordoba concert features an eye-catching abalone design.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
24 inches 20 frets Figure 8 body

A significantly pricier ukulele than those previously listed, this Fender Zuma Concert Ukulele is perfect for right-handed players. Featuring the same iconic Telecaster headstock, this concert model offers the classic Fender look in a more compact version.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • In-line Telecaster headstock offers a unique spin on a ukulele.
  • No-tie bridge creates a smooth appearance for your strings.
  • Walnut fretboard with Sapele and nato wood construction features different finishes to fit your style.
  • Gloss finish protects the wood and whatever color you decide to opt for.
  • Nylon strings are easy to break-in.

This is one of the few ukuleles that feature a headstock that is different from the norm while maintaining the same quality of sound.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
24 inches 17 frets Figure 8 body

For our first tenor on this list, we turn once more to the Kala brand. This KA-15 Satin Mahogany tenor uke features a much longer neck than previous ukes which gives it a richer, deeper sound. More space on the fretboard gives you a great space to learn the new chords with ease.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • Solid mahogany construction with a walnut fretboard creates a clean, clear sound.
  • A satin finish makes the body shine beautifully.
  • While great for beginners, the quality and pricepoint of the ukulele make this a fantastic option for players of all ages and levels.

I started out on a Kala soprano ukulele when I first picked the instrument up, but I recently upgraded to a tenor for the fret size and range that comes with having more frets!

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
26 inches 18 frets Figure 8 body

Our second full kit on this list, this Ranch Tenor Ukulele has everything you need to start playing so you won't need to worry about buying a separate case. This purchase also comes with 12 online lessons that will help jumpstart your playing.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • The kit comes will access to 12 online lessons, a cloth case, a neckstrap, a tuner that can easily change to different tuning schematics, an extra pack of strings, a cleaning cloth, and the ukulele itself.
  • The back of the instrument has a slight arch to project the sound.
  • Sapele and mahogany wooden construction is light and durable.

This is the exact tenor model that I purchased for myself recently, and I love it. It's light, the neckstrap was easy to install, and it feels secure.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
26 inches 18 frets Figure 8 body

The first of our baritone ukes, this Cordoba 20BM Baritone Ukulele features a stunning blend of mahogany and rosewood construction for a clear, deep sound that closely resembles a four-stringed guitar.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • Solid mahogany top, back, and sides offer durability without weight.
  • Natural satin finish.
  • Perfect balance between the body and the neck.
  • Plenty of space between the frets.

Baritones are the largest of the ukuleles. Because of their size, they tune to a DGBE as opposed to the classic GCEA. It's heavier, too, weighing in at almost two pounds.

Ukulele Information

Size Frets Shape
30 inches 18 frets Figure 8 body

Our only electronic ukulele on this list, this Caramel CB103 Zebra Baritone features a hookup that can easily transform your ukulele from acoustic to electric. If you're looking for a diverse baritone ukulele, this is the perfect option for you.

What Makes This Ukulele Awesome

  • The kit comes with the baritone already strung in the DGBE baritone fashion, but it includes GCEA strings for you to mix things up with, a bag, 3 picks, a cleaning cloth, one wall hanger, a strap, bridge pins, and an EQ cable.
  • High gloss finish over zebrawood creates a unique visual appearance that is different from mahogany wood instruments.
  • A built-in tuner has an LCD color display so you'll always be in tune.
  • 3V Power Supply.

While this uke can be electric or acoustic, it's important to note that the amplifier doesn't come with it and the tuning keys are heavier, while still balancing well with the rest of the instrument.

Ukulele Inforamation

Size Frets Shape
30 inches 18 frets Figure 8 body

Happy strumming, friends!