The Best Soprano Ukulele Guide: Beginners Addition!

Ukulele

Best Soprano Ukulele

When people picture the Ukulele they are normally picturing the Soprano size. This is the most traditional of the popular sizes and is exactly what you'd expect when shopping for this high pitched, fun instrument from Hawaii. 

For many, this is the best size ukulele to start with when ​learning the instrument. It is the smallest of the ukes so it may take some getting used to, but once you do, you won't put it down. 

The problem comes from the fact that there are SO many choices for a beginner to pick from when shopping for their first Uke. ​

We've got you covered, here are our choices for the Best Soprano Ukulele. ​

Brand

Model

Material

Strings

Lanikai

LU-21

Nato

Aquila 

Kala

KA-15

Mahogany

Aquila

Kala

SSTU

Spruce/Mahogany

Aquila 

Makala

Dolphin Bridge

Composite

Aquila 


Best Soprano Ukulele for Beginners

Now, we've give you some options, we have to tell you our favorite. The Lanikai LU-21 was the best beginner ukulele for sopranos that we found. It sounds great, is made well, and for the price is an amazing value! 

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We've written more detailed reviews of each of our picks below, and further down the article we detail what we judged our choices on!

Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai LU-21

Overall Rating

Our choice for the best beginner Ukulele is from Lanikai. The LU series is the company's entry-level instruments and the LU-21 is the best of them. 

This instrument is a great combination of price, quality and sound. ​The value you get for around $80 is unmatched. 

Another bonus about this instrument is that it comes with a full bundle of accessories for a beginner who doesn't have any of the pieces. No, they aren't top of the line, but they are great starter package. Upgrade the parts as you need nicer ones later!​

Material

Nato

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Perfect!

Price

$$

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Kala KA-15 Soprano Ukulele

If you are on a budget and but still want a great Ukulele you'd be hard pressed to find one better than our first offering from Kala. 

The KA-15S is made by the super popular ​company Kala, who also makes the budget line Makala. It is safe to say they know how to make instruments.

The KA-15 gives you a full mahogany body with a satin finish Aquila strings, and a truly traditional sound. 

This model can be found for under $60, making it a perfect first instrument for a beginner!

Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

Overall Rating

Material

Mahogany

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Great

Price

$

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Kala KA-SSTU Travel Soprano Ukulele

The nicest Soprano Ukulele we found for a buyer on a budget, the Kala KA-SSTU Soprano Travel Ukulele.

This model features a thin body design with an arch back to produce a full sound. Don't let it's size fool you though, this thing absolutely sings. 

The combination of a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides gives this instrument a touch of quality.

If you want to grab a great starter instrument or an upgrade to a poor first purchase, you could do much worse than the SSTU

Kala SSTU Travel Ukulele

Overall Rating

Material

Spruce/Mahogany

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Amazing!

Description

$$$

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Makala Dolphin Bridge   Soprano Ukulele

Most cheap Ukuleles are more toy than actual musical instrument. In fact, with one exception we'd say that any Ukulele under $50 is probably not worth the money. The Makala Dolphin Ukulele is that exception.

You will want to change the strings, but after that is done this instrument will sound great. Especially considering the price. ​It comes in a wide range of colors that make it fun for kids or those young at heart.

You will want to be careful with this Uke, it's not made to take a beating. For someone who wants to learn the Uke, or simply wants to have fun at a good price, this Ukulele is a winner!

Makala Dolphin Bridge

Overall Rating

Material

Composite

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Great

Price

$

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How We Graded The Ukuleles

We realize that many people will probably disagree with this list. Some musicians have certain brands they are fond of and all others simply don't compare, Some need to recommendation of a local pro, and others simply think you can't get a decent ukulele for under $500. 

So, for those who disagree, or simply want to decide for themselves which Soprano Uke is right for them, here are some of the criteria we used when selecting our best beginner soprano ukuleles!

Materials

Some woods just simply sound better when used to make a musical instrument. With the Ukulele, there are also some that are more traditional than others. Hawaiian Koa, for instance, has uke written all over it. 

Other good quality woods include Mahogany, Spruce, Maple, and to a lesser extent, Mango. 

The best instruments in the world are made from one of these tonewoods and are "solid wood", meaning you're getting one solid sheet per side. This leads to the truest notes and sounds. 

Now, with many beginner instrument you'll see one of the above woods specified as laminated. This normally means that there is a thin sheet of the specified wood, and then chunks, pieces and slivers of the same or less expensive woods "pressed" together and sealed. 

Laminates can either be very good or very bad. We recommend sticking with trusted companies if selecting a laminated instrument to guarantee you're getting a quality instrument from a brand that has experience making laminates. 

Last but not least are the plastic, or composite, instruments. Generally speaking we don't recommend these as most sound very poor. 

Even if you do go with the Dolphin Bridge we recommend here, you'll probably outgrow the sound and quality quickly, leading you to want an upgrade sooner than later!

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Strings

When you first start playing Ukulele you probably won't have any idea how your strings are affecting your playing, or what you might like better. That's ok, one less thing to worry about!


As you become a more advanced player you may want to experiment with different sets, and we encourage you do. For a beginner, though, it is hard to go wrong with a Aquila Nyglut string, which is an industry favorite. 


Sound

This is one factor that simply can't be compromised on. If the instrument doesn't sound good, even in an experienced players hands, then how is a beginner ever going to make it sound even close to how it should? How is a beginner to judge what does and doesn't sound right? 

We made sure that all of the instruments on this list, and that we recommend site wide, have a reputation for great sound if we personally haven't been able to play them. 


Price

The elephant in the room, so to speak. 

We've run across far to many musicians who spend little to nothing on their first instrument and struggling in the beginning because of it. 

So, while we don't think its necessary to spend hundreds or even thousands on your first Uke, you should spend enough to get a quality instrument. A beginner can get a really high quality starter instrument for $75 to a $100 dollars. 


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Wrap Up

There you have it!  Our favorite soprano ukulele for beginners turned out to be the Lanikai LU-21.  

Do you agree? Have another soprano ukulele you'd recommend first? We'd love to hear your thoughts!