Buying your first Ukulele

So you are intrigued by this huge interest in the Ukulele that you see all around you! Friends, local Ukulele Clubs and performers, Ukulele Festivals, Pop bands, TV commercials and Movies; Ukuleles everywhere you turn. It looks like everyone is having such great fun with a Ukulele.

So you think you’d like to try it too. The questions are, though – Is it difficult?

Is it expensive? Does it take long to learn? A resounding NO! is the answer.  A few short instructions and you are playing straight away. And more importantly having fun with music.

But how do you choose your first Ukulele, I hear you ask? What do you need to look for? You don’t need to invest a lot of money to get started. It is true that if you pay a little more you will get an instrument that delivers a nicer sound and playing action back to you for the effort you apply as you are getting better. However, you can start playing with a quality instrument for as little as $50.

Get Started with Ukuleles


You may also choose from 3 sizes of Ukulele:

Soprano – a traditional and fun size and sound, and my favorite to represent what the Ukulele is all about;

Concert – which offers a slightly bigger body, longer scale fretboard which gives the fingers a little more room to find those chord positions. Also a convenient size for adding nice finger work to your melodies;

Tenor – for an even larger ukulele bigger sound and more finger room on the fretboard. Guitarists (who discover they can easily play the Ukulele) often prefer the Tenor as they are used to a larger instrument.

There is a 4th size – the Baritone. This is approaching a small guitar size. The baritone uses a different tuning – DGBE – to the other three sizes which use GCEA, so it can be tricky for a beginner to understand how to move from the baritone to the other sizes or back. Best to leave this size for special requirements or for playing with a guitarist’s mindset.

What you need to look for:

  • A Ukulele which offers reliable and stable tuning, with the strings able to quickly settle in;
  • A comfortable playing action as you strum and move around the chords;
  • A comfortable setup with the ‘Nut’ (top fret) not too high so that your fingers are not having to push down hard on the first fret;
  • The intonation is accurate, ie, the notes stay in tune as you go up the fretboard without going ’sharp’;
  • Good construction with a quality timber and no sharp edges of the fretmarkers.

The bottom line though is you can never have too many Ukuleles and your first purchase won’t be your last, because we all develop ‘UAS’ as the passion grows – ie ‘Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome’. We start with an inexpensive model and add nicer ukes and other sizes and even specialty ukes such as the Banjo Ukuleles (played with the same tuning).

You will feel the need for different sizes and sounds depending on the song material you play, and you will see and hear a Ukulele that a friend may have that you just have to get also. There will be one in different room, at the office, in the car etc, etc.

There will be display ones, vintage ones, Ukes for the kids and so on. A wonderful collection and a great interest.

So if you are just starting out and exploring this website for what to choose,

Aiersi ukukleles offer a good sound and strings, and for not too much money. Best to avoid the cheap music shop models under $100 which could be difficult to tune and keep in tune, hard to play and have a very soft sound. If you go up to around $100 or more on your first purchase, you will have a quality instrument that will serve you well for a much longer time and give a playing result to your ear that takes advantage of your playing skills as they improve.

The main thing to remember with the Ukulele is to ‘HAVE FUN’.