How to Buy a Ukulele

I want to play the ukulele or get a ukulele for a friend. What should I choose as my first ukulele?

Ukuleles are all the rage right now and are played in traditional Hawaiian music, as well as being used in rock, country, top 40, hip-hop, classical, and most other types of music. Ukuleles are also now being played as a “gateway instrument” for those hoping to eventually learn the guitar but who don’t currently have the time or the money to buy a guitar right now.

Another great thing about a ukulele is that you can actually be playing songs the first day you pull your uke out of the box. A uke can bring hours of enjoyment to the player and to everyone around them. So how do I choose a first ukulele?

1.Price. The great thing about ukuleles is that you can actually get a good quality ukulele that plays easily, stays in tune and sounds great for under $100.00! You can also pay thousands. The price is mainly dependent on materials used, where the uke was made, whether you go with laminate or solid woods, adding electronics to your uke, and many other factors.

2.Size. Standard ukulele sizes include Soprano (20”-21” long), Concert (24” long), Tenor (27”long), and baritone (30” – 34” long).Soprano, Concert & Tenor ukes are tuned G C E A or “My Dog Has Fleas” as many like to remember it. Baritone ukes are tuned D G B E and a Tenor can also be tuned to D G B E.

My humble recommendation for a FIRST ukulele is to pick a Concert sized uke in the $70.00 - $100.00 price range. You can get ukes as cheap as $20.00 but those are mainly toys and you can get ukes for up to thousands of dollars which is just overkill for a first instrument, but a quality ukulele in the $100.00 range should play great, sound great, and last for years. The most popular choices for quality ukuleles in the concert size under $100.00 are the Oscar Schmidt OU2 (under $70.00 delivered), The Lanikai LU-21C (under $100.00 delivered) and the Kala KA-C (under $85.00 delivered). You can also get quality Concert sized ukuleles under $100.00 from Lucky Penny, Eddy Finn, Luna, RipTide, Kona, Stagg, Ohana, Makala, Kohala, and others.

MY FIRST CHOICE – The Lanikai LU-21C .You can get it delivered for under $100.00 , it plays great, looks great, sounds great, has Aquila strings, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Can’t afford $100.00? Go with The Oscar Schmidt OU2. It also has a lifetime warranty, it plays great, looks good, and you can get one delivered to your front door for under $70.00 !

Butler Music carries over 1,500 ukuleles in stock at all times in over 100 models from 16 different brands. We can sell you a $1700.00 ukulele from Breedlove or a $25.00 ukulele from Stagg, and everything in between. You can get a ukulele made with exotic hardwoods, crafted by hand and with the addition of state of the art electronics, or you can get a basic beginner instrument that was mass produced in an Asian factory. No matter what you buy the ukulele will put a smile on your face and you can count on the folks at Butler Music to only sell you a “real” instrument that actually plays. Even our $29.00 beginner instruments play and stay in tune. We won’t carry a line of instruments unless they actually play.