Category Archives for "Ukulele"

best baritone ukulele

The Four Best Baritone Ukulele You Can Buy in 2017

Ukulele

Many musicians love the light, airy sound that the traditional ukulele is known for, and no one can deny the mass appeal of the acoustic guitar. The middle ground is the baritone ukulele, the perfect mix of the two instruments. 

The baritone ukulele retains the feel of a smaller instrument even though it's about the same size as a travel guitar, but produces a stronger, more mellow sound than a ukulele. 

In fact, if you are transitioning between guitar and ukulele, the perfect first instrument is the baritone ukulele. You can tune it either to standard uke tuning (GCEA), or, as the highest four strings of a guitar (DGBE).

Best Beginner Baritone Ukuleles

Brand

Model

Made From

Strings

Oscar Schmidt

OU57

Spalted Mango

Aquila

Alvarez

RU22B

Mahogany

Aquila

Kala

KAA-15B

Mahogany 

Aquila

Cordoba

22B

Spruce

Aquila

Our favorite baritone ukulele is the Oscar Schmidt OU57 Spalted Mango. It is a phenomenal instrument for beginners or intermediate ukulele players.

To make sure we gave every price range and player a good option, we have picked out three other models that also are great  choices and you'll be happy with! 

Want more information before you make your choice? You got it! Below you'll find details as well and links to Amazon where you can read reviews and get specific prices! 

#1. Oscar Schmidt OU57 Baritone Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt OU57

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Overall Rating

Our choice for the best beginner baritone ukulele is the OU57 Spalted Mango made by Oscar Schmidt. It is the most expensive instrument on this list, and it's worth every penny (probably a few more!)  

We honestly get excited when we see an instrument is made from Mango. It is a wood that you rarely find on anything but a Ukulele and it really holds true to the sound you'd expect. 

While Oscar Schmidt is better known for their guitars, they have really put together a winner with the OU57!

Material

Spalted Mango

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Oustanding

Price

Great Value


#2. Alvarez RU22B Ukulele

Another superb offering from a guitar maker, the RU22B from Alvarez bridges the gap between uke and guitar perfectly. 

The RU22B is constructed with a full mahogany neck and body, a rosewood fretboard, chrome closed back tuners, and Aquila strings.

This instrument is part of the Alvarez Regent Series. Designed to be a quality instrument in a student's price range this is the least expensive instrument on our list. This uke makes the Baritone size affordable on even a tight budget! 

Alvarez RU22B

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Overall Rating

Material

Mahogany

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Perfect

Price

Great Value


#3. Kala KAA-15B Baritone Ukulele

Don't worry, we wouldn't leave one of the most popular series of Ukuleles currently made off this list. The KA and KAA series of ukes from Kala are known for great value.  

The bonus to getting your hands on a KAA vs the standard KA is it's a yearly limited production run. The KA and MK-B (The Makala version) are nice, the KAA is special. 

We've linked to a bundle for this instrument that includes a bag, electronic tuner, polishing cloth, and instructional DVD! You can find this instrument alone, but if you don't have the tuner, bag, and other add-ons this is a perfect first Uke!

Kala KAA-15B

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Overall Rating

Material

Mahagony

Strings

Aquila

Sounds

Great

Price

Excellent


#4. Cordoba 22B Ukulele

The final spot on our list of great baritone ukuleles for beginners is the Cordoba 22B. This is a Ukulele that's roots are firmly planted in guitar tradition. 

The combination of a top of solid spruce and sides of Indian rosewood are extremely popular with guitars and really make this instrument sing, especially at the lower note ranges. 

The rosewood is carried on to the bridge and fingerboard while the neck is made of mahogany. 

Last but not least, the very classical finish of this uke really gives it a traditional style that we are big fans of! 

Cordoba 22B

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Overall Rating

Material

Spruce

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Awesome

Price

Very Good. 


A Note About Tuning Baritone Ukuleles

One of the best things about the baritone ukulele is that it's versatile. You can either tune it like a regular ukulele or like the highest (thinnest) four strings on a guitar. 

To tune your baritone like a normal ukulele, you'll want to have your open chords be GCEA.

The guitar tuning for the baritone ukulele is DGBE.

You should check to make sure the strings on your ukulele can handle either tuning. In some rare cases we've seen problems arise, especially when going to the higher, traditional ukulele tuning method. ​

How We Graded The Ukuleles

Chances are, anyone who reads this list will disagree with at least one (if not all) of our choices. We are definitely not saying that there are no other good baritone ukuleles available!

We do, however, feel that these four ukuleles give you a great mix of price and quality. Baritone Ukuleles for beginners don't have to be expensive, yet at the same time you don't want a cheap piece of plastic! The four instruments we've chosen give you a great sound at a great price point!

If you have read through our selections and still aren't convinced we've added a little bit of information to help you choose your own baritone ukulele!

Materials

Plastic does not sound good (unless it's a Magic Fluke, which doesn't make a baritone size anyway). Solid Hawaiian Koa can cost more than your house payment. Knowing a little about the tone woods of your instrument can go a long way to finding something good quality! 

Plastic

Poor ukuleles are, more often than not, made from some sort of plastic.  They tend to have poor intonation, tone, and projection. We really recommend staying away from these instruments in almost all situations. 

Laminated Wood

Most Ukuleles that fall in the beginner price point are made up of some sort of laminated wood. Or, like the Cordoba 22B, have a solid top (more on that below) and laminated sides and bottom. 

Maple, Hawaiian Koa, mahogany, rosewood, and spruce are all very common to find on a ukulele. At this price point, almost all of them will be laminated, though. Not to say that a good laminate can't sound great. In fact, every instrument on this list has part of the body laminated! 

      Common                    Ukulele Woods

  •                Mahogany
  •                   Maple
  •                   Spruce
  •                     Koa

On the other hand, stay away from really poor quality laminates. They tend to face many of the same issues as plastics and are a really poor investment! 

Solid Wood

These are generally the best of the best. Solid woods have a resonance and warmth of tone that is pretty hard to mistake. For a beginner, if you can simply get a solid top then you've probably found a good sounding instrument to start with!

Strings

Baritone Ukuleles very often have a different type of strings than their concert, tenor and soprano counterparts. 

Many brands will actually make baritone specific strings, especially if you'll be using guitar tuning you'll want to find some of them rather than normal uke strings. ​

To help clear up a lot of the confusion on ukulele strings we put together a guide on great ukulele strings

Price

Especially if playing is just a hobby, or you just started.... price is probably a big factor in your overall decision. 

Unfortunately, baritone ukuleles are going to cost you a bit more than most of the smaller sizes for the exact same set up. More material, more money. On the flip side, you can still find a good baritone for less than a starter guitar of the same quality!

To keep price in mind without sacrificing quality, we tried to keep the instruments on this list below $250. We struggled to find anything to recommend that was under $100, though, so that is probably the price range you are looking at.  

Wrap Up

We will update this list again next year, but for now these are our choices for the best baritone ukulele of 2017! If you have one you'd like to recommend leave us a comment below so we can take it into consideration!

Also, if you'd like to see our recommendation for the other sizes, you'll like our guide to the best beginner ukuleles

Best tenor ukulele

The 2017 Guide to The Best Tenor Ukulele

Ukulele

Out of the four main Ukulele sizes, sometimes the Tenor is the odd man out. It normally has a slightly deeper and bigger sound than the traditional sopranos but it lacks the size that makes the baritone popular with guitar players. 

We think this is crazy. The tenor tends to have the warmest tone of all the standard sizes. That and it's perfect for solo performances as it projects so much better than the Soprano. 

As a beginner or an artist looking for their first tenor ukulele, these are our recommendations that we know you'll love! 

The Best Beginner Tenor Ukuleles

Brand

Model

Made From

Strings

Kala

KA-TG

Mahogany/Spruce Top

Aquila

Luna

Tattoo

Mahogany

Aquila

Oscar Schmidt

OU2T

Mahogany 

Aquila

Fender

Nohea

Laminated Koa

Aquila

With these four Ukuleles we have no doubt you'll be able to find something to your liking. 

We've gone into greater detail for each of our four choices below. We've also included links to the products so you can read reviews, check prices and availability, or see what else is out there! ​

#1. Kala KA-TG Tenor Ukulele

Kala KA-TG

Overall Rating

Our choice for the best beginner tenor ukulele is from Kala. The quality of the KA-TG is what we'd expect to see on a ukulele that was closer to twice this price. 

We are really a fan of the combination of spruce top with full mahogany body and neck. It gives the instrument a slightly unique sound that really pops.

Lastly, the gloss finish on this instrument stands out in a crowd and puts a great finishing touch on this instrument. If the gloss isn't your style then check out the KA-T, which is the stock version of this model! 

Material

Spruce Top

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Oustanding

Price

Amazing Value


#2. Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Ukulele

The Tattoo Ukulele has everything you could want from a ukulele at this price range. 

Start off with a full mahogany body and neck, a rosewood fretboard, finished off with Aquila strings and geared tuners. Nothing that really really stands out, right? 

Wrong. 

Luna has put a very traditional Hawaiian Tattoo design on this ukulele. While the size isn't what you'd expect to see in Hawaii, the look and feel of this uke certainly would be at home. 

Luna Tattoo Tenor Ukulele

Overall Rating

Material

Mahogany

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Perfect

Price

Great Value


#3. Oscar Schmidt OU2T Tenor Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt is often more associated with guitars and banjos, but don't overlook this ukulele offering. 

The full mahogany body on this tenor uke gives it a great big sound while the ebony head stock and bridge really give it a quality that is unexpected in a model that is normally under $100. You also have the option of either gold or chrome geared tuners, giving you a little bit of class or a bit of gleam, up to you. 

Finally, if you want to upgrade this ukulele comes in several different versions of spalted wood for a reasonable price difference. ​

Oscar Schmidt OU2T

Overall Rating

Material

Mahagony

Strings

Aquila

Sounds

Great

Price

Excellent


#4. Fender Nohea Tenor Ukulele

Just like Oscar Schmidt is often more associated with guitars than ukuleles, the same is definitely true with Fender guitars. 

This ukulele is equipped with a full Koa body, mahogany neck and rosewood bridge. The Koa is a nice touch but nothing surprising there. 

Then you look at the headstock. Fender stays true to it's roots and equips this ukulele with a telecaster style head. 

Traditional Koa ukulele body, very un-traditional head. We, for one, like it a lot. 

Fender Nohea

Overall Rating

Material

Laminate Koa

Strings

Aquila

Sound

Awesome

Price

Very Good. 


How We Graded The Ukuleles

Any list of this type is going to be heavily scrutinized. We wanted to not only give you a selection of 4 different ukes but ones that had different benefits and price points. We hope that not only have we given everyone at least one option they'll like at a price they can afford. 

Not a fan of what we've shown you? That's ok. Here is what we were looking for in each instrument and how we judged them. ​

Materials

You can't have a great sounding instrument with really low quality materials used to make it. Generally speaking, you will find a fairly consistent growth in price compared to quality of the materials. 

Plastic

Cheap ukuleles are often made from plastic. These instruments, with very few exceptions, sound pretty horrible. ​These will very often have a muted, mumbled sound that lacks the crispness that you get with a wood. 

Laminated Wood

Next up are the laminated woods. This may be the widest range of quality of all the variations so be careful and read plenty of reviews (or play the instrument itself) before purchasing. ​You'll find several of the beginner tenor ukes we recommended fall under this category. 

A good laminate is made up of mostly, if not completely, of the wood listed in the description. A good laminate will have a thin, solid piece of wood ​on top of an assortment of smaller chunks, pressed together.

Three of the four instruments here use a laminated mahogany body which is extremely common with instruments in this price/quality range. You will also see laminated spruce, maple and in better instruments Koa (a native Hawaiian wood).

      Common                    Ukulele Woods

  •                Mahogany
  •                   Maple
  •                   Spruce
  •                     Koa

Cheap laminates will have a thin sheet of real wood over something that can only be compared to particle board. ​Stay away from these as they tend to sound as bad, if not worse than plastic! 

Solid Wood

Finally, you have solid wood. Some of the better instruments we recommend for beginners will have a solid top combined with a laminated body but you will rarely find a full solid body for under $350ish. 

Strings

First thing is first. What are they made of? 

Frankly, as a beginner, there is no reason for you to play any strings that aren't some sort of nylon or synthetic. You can find some variations and as you get better you can experiment with real cat gut or metal wound strings. 

To be able to get the best out of fancy strings, or even to be able to hear the difference, you will need to have developed your ear for the instrument, which only comes with time. 

Luckily, (actually no luck was involved) all the instruments we chose for this list come strung with the very popular Aquila Nylgut. 

If you have an instrument already, or find yourself needing a new set because you played the originals till they broke, check out our guide on great ukulele strings

Sound

The first two categories, material and strings, directly effect the third category, sound. 

If you've bought a poor plastic ukulele it's likely that even a perfectly played chord will sound muffled, distorted and soft.

Likewise, if your strings need to be replaced, or somehow you found yourself with a uke strung with a steel string, you are likely to have to strum way to hard to get any action. In the case of metal strings, you may be hearing a very thin, tingy sound.

Either way. You won't be getting good sound.

The thing we haven't talked about that really effects sound is the quality of the construction. Each of the ukulele brands we've ​put on this list have a reputation for quality. 

It is still possible to find yourself with a loose fret that causes a buzz, or a poorly mounted bridge. or even a tuner that won't hold a string at the right tension.

With the companies, and instruments, we've chosen, it's much less likely that you'll run into these problems. Thus, we feel safe recommending online purchases with them. ​

Price

Maybe the most important factor of all. 

We know that most people don't want to spend a huge sum of money on a new ukulele. They may not like playing it or grow bored of it after a while. Even more likely, they will struggle to put in the time and practice at the start and drop it because it's too hard. ​

With that in mind, the most expensive ukulele that we added to this list runs in the neighborhood of $250 while the cheapest can be found under $100. 

It would be easy for us to have recommended some instruments that cost $1000 and point at how great they are... or on the opposite side of the coin, cheap instruments that would only cost $20 but would sound horrible and not last.

These instruments are neither super expensive or extremely cheap. The best tenor ukulele also happens to be a great values for a beginner ukulele player. ​

Wrap Up

There you have it! Our the best tenor ukulele list for 2017! If, after shopping around for the tenor size you decide you may like a baritone, soprano, or concert size better check out our full guide to the best beginner ukuleles

Types of Ukulele

What are the Different Types of Ukulele?

Ukulele

Ukulele Sizes 

When most think of the Ukulele they picture the small, jangly sounding instrument that the uke started as. Like many stringed instruments, though, the ukulele has grown and been adjusted to fit different styles and sounds. 

While the traditional Ukulele is exactly what you would expect it to be, the baritone uke resembles more of a travel guitar than the Hawaiian instrument. We've also seen the emergence of the Banjolele, a hybrid mix of banjo and ukulele. 

This article will focus on the four standard types of Ukulele – soprano, concert, tenor, and the baritone. We've also breifly add the Sopranino on this list due to its emergence and popularity in recent times. 

Sopranino

Soprano

Concert

Tenor

Baritone

Length

16''

21-23''

23-24'' 

26''

29''

Frets

10-12

12-15

15-18

17-19

18-21


Sopranino Ukulele

It is a tiny Ukulele with about ten frets and is generally tuned the same was as a soprano. These ukuleles have become popular with some large instrument companies, making it readily available.

This Ukulele is widely viewed as a novelty instrument, but as the video below shows can be used for some pretty great renditions. 


Soprano Ukulele

The soprano is the traditional size for the ukulele, so it's often referred to as the 'standard size'. The instrument is fairly small and can be rather difficult to play because of this.

Also, due to the size, the soprano creates a softer, thinner sounds than its bigger counterparts. Many people say the soprano uke 'sings'. 

This is perfect if you're after the traditional high pitched, relaxing, fun sound associated with Hawaiian music, but if you're after something louder and more pronounced the larger models may be more your speed. 


Concert Ukulele

The concert ukulele is a great starting point for new ukulele players. Its size makes it large enough that many of the issues that arise from the soprano size are minimized without losing that true ukulele sound. 

Concert ukuleles are also generally fairly inexpensive due to their size, especially compared to the tenor and baritone sizes.  ​


Tenor Ukulele 

Very similar to the concert in size and sound, the tenor is usually a good starting point for a guitarist who is looking to make the switch to Ukulele. 

The tenor ukulele will have a slightly fuller sound than the concert due to its larger size, but will carry the price tag to go with it. 

Below you'll find two videos that show the differences between the soprano, concert, and tenor. The first show's each being played so you can get a feel for the difference in sound and the second shows size differences and does a great job talking through the three. 


Baritone Ukulele 

The largest of the major ukuleles, the baritone is similar in size to a small travel guitar. They will produce the richest sound of any of the ukuleles. 

One of the big benefits to the baritone is that it can be tuned just like the bottom four (highest) strings on a standard 6-string guitar - DGBE. 

You generally will only find a very small selection of baritone ukes at your average music store, if you find them at all, making shopping for them somewhat difficult. ​


There are a lot of websites out there where you can get information about Ukulele sizes, the effect on sound, and which one may be right for you. The article on  LiveUkulele about sizes and sounds is a valuable resource if you want to know more.  


Ukulele Shapes 

Figure 8 

This is the traditional shape for the ukulele, and it closely resembles a guitar. the two 'loops' of the 8 are called bouts, and they are separated by the waist. 

There is a cutaway style figure-8 that is becoming more popular as it allows access to the higher frets. ​

Pineapple 

This ukulele has a rounder shape that resembles the shape of a pineapple, giving the instrument its name. This ukulele is somewhat of a novelty addition though it actually produces a louder sound than the traditionally shaped ukulele. 

Pineapple Ukuleles are widely available on soprano and concerts sizes, while not as popular as the larger types of ukulele.

 Types of Ukulele Tonewoods

Ukuleles share many construction materials with standard guitars, generally using solid wood or laminated wood construction. For a short time after World War II they were also made out of a cheap plastic, which you can read about HERE.

Solid wood construction ukuleles are generally more expensive and have a better resonance than their laminate counterparts, thought the laminate is normally sturdier. 

Koa

Koa is the traditional wood used by Hawaiian artisans and it is still widely used. The material lends itself to a very mid-range overall. The tropical wood sports a variety of grain patterns and beautiful colors. 

Mahogany

This is one of the most used woods when making musical instruments. It is preferred because of its great strength at a lower weight and is commonly found on the neck of both ukuleles and guitars. 

Spruce

Spruce is a softwood that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is famous for being bright, loud, full, and warm.

Cedar

A very popular soundboard wood for tenor and baritone ukuleles. It is softer than spruce, with less pointed mids but often more bass. It also has a sophisticated overtone and is considered alive, sweet and with the right bite.

Maple

Renowned for its clarity, less overtone clutter, and strong and dynamic ability. Maple back and sides produce some of the best sounds in ukulele.

Rosewood

Rosewood is popular for the sides and back of flagship models of acoustic guitars. Less common on the ukulele, it has an impressive mid-range and low overtone. Normally  when it's used it is paired with a softwood top.

Wrap Up

When talking about the ukulele types not only do we have to account for size, but also for shape. While the Ukulele is very much so the powerhouse Hawaiian instrument we think of, it's expanded to be much more versatile too! 

What is your favorite type of ukulele? We'd love to hear from you! 

Best Ukulele Strings

8 of the Best Ukulele Strings You Can Upgrade To!

Ukulele

As anyone who has played a stringed instrument for any length of time will tell you, the kind of strings you use will matter. Perhaps not to a beginner, but as you tune your craft you'll certainly start to see the differences.

The Best Ukulele Strings guide will help you know what is on the market today to help your search. Familiarize yourself with the different sizes, construction materials, and quality factors of Ukulele Strings in StringVibe's upcoming article, "Ultimate Guide to Ukulele Strings"!


Ukulele String Materials​

Traditionally, Ukulele strings were made of cat gut but in modern times, they have been more likely nylon or synthetic material. On rarer occasions, you can find Uke players strumming steel or metal wound strings. 


8 of the Best Ukulele Strings

Aquila Nylgut

Aquila Nylgut is on of the most popular strings with ukulele players. These strings are usually white and made with a proprietary composite material called nylgut. They are smooth, feel dry, and play a bright tone. Nylgut has become famous for making cheap ukuleles come alive with volume and presence. If you're not sure which strings to start with, it's hard to beat these.


Aquila Super Nylgut

Aquila recently released this Super Nylgut strings. This is the next step in synthetic gut strings, they provide a smooth and polished feel. They also should stay in tune longer than the original Nylgut strings due to a reduction in the stretch of each string. These strings produce a similar sound to Aquila Nylgut, but they should stay in tune longer and play truer, the downfall is they may not last as long. 


Aquila Red

The "Reds" are another relatively new string type, this string has been designed to have less variance in width across all 4 strings. They are very popular with Ukulele players who dislike the squeakiness of a wound low-G string and the blaring volume that goes with it. The biggest complaint these strings received is the low-G string, without the support of the wind, has been extremely brittle.


Worth Clear

Worth Clear strings are usually highly recommended by heavy hitting players because they are made with fluorocarbon giving them a thin but sturdy feel. These strings are one of the most expensive as they are made and produced in Japan.

If you are looking for a more mellow, mild sound look at the Worth Brown Strings


Living Water

Ken Middleton, who is recognized from his many excellent YouTube videos, makes these strings. The strings are very similar to the Super Nylgut. They tend to be clear, very light, and louder than many other strings. 

Ken designed these strings for his own use, but they've become a popular option for players of all skill levels. 


D’Addario Pro-Arte

D'Addario have classically been a guitar strings manufacturer that have branched into the Ukulele. They are a high-tension string though it doesn't affect the playability much at all. Even though they are made of nylon, they are slightly fatter than fluorocarbon. They produce good sound and are used by professional ukulele player and musician Jake Shimabukuro.


Martin M600 Fluorocarbon

Another set of strings that are made from fluorocarbon. They hold for a long time due to their tune-to-pitch tension design and are nice and smooth on the fretboard. They are associated with just the right volume, sustain, and tone.

A really good review discussion of these strings can be found at UkuleleUnderground. ​


Ko’olau Gold

Very popular with Concert Ukulele players, these strings are the most popular Ko'olau make. They are made from traditional nylon and therefore tend to have a muted sound that is very warm. They are highly polished giving them a nice feel on the fretboard.


Wrap Up

Ukulele players agree, these are some of the best strings you can find. We intentionally did not add any natural gut (cat gut) to this list due to the fact they are generally more expensive and don't play as well as many of the synthetics made today. We would, however, recommend you look into them if you would like to experience playing the "real thing". 

Ukulele Clubs

11 Ukulele Clubs and Groups Well Worth the Visit

Ukulele

Playing music is simply more fun if you're in the company of others. Ukulele clubs and groups make this possible. 

By gathering lovers of the uke together not only do you find players of all levels​, but you are able to network with people you know you have at least one thing in common with. What a great way to start a friendship! 

We support all Ukulele groups, simply on principle. They are a great idea and most likely fun for everyone involved.

Some groups are special, though. Either it's years of performances, a special cause, or simply years of meetings, we want to acknowledge them with a little head nod in the form of this article!  ​

1. The Allegheny Ukulele Kollective

Allegheny Ukulele Kollective

A group that started back in 2010 jamming wherever they could find a little place to gather, this group now has 4-5 scheduled events monthly.

Not only do they now have scheduled events they are planning to expand. The current goal is to help the community with jams at places like local schools and nursing homes! 

If you are anywhere near Altoona, PA you should look into this club. If not, visit the site for thier songbook at AlleghanyUkes!


2. Survivor Girl Ukulele Band

Survivor Girl Ukulele Band

A group with possibly the most heart touching mission on this list. 

Each year, Laurie Kallevig journeys to Southeast Asia to battle human trafficking by teaching Ukulele to young girls often effected by this act. 

In 2016 she taught a group of children to play, those kids ended up doing ten shows in Kolkata! She also brought eight of these girls in to a recording studio! 

There are a lot of things you could donate too this year, but few better. Check out more at Survivor Girl's website and ​"Join the Band!"


3. Vermont Ukulele Society

One of the older Ukulele clubs on our list, this group has been growing and forming for 8 years. If you're headed to New England anytime soon, don't forget to bring your Uke!

Today they have a performing group that can be found in places like Stowe, VT on Spruce Peak and their normal bi-monthly meeting at Howden Hall in Bristol.

The VtUkes website is also extremely helpful. You'll find information about all their gatherings and performances, photo and video libraries (Including Jim D'Ville's basic 26 lessons), recordings, and the song library! ​


4. Long Island Ukuele Strummers Club

Long Island Ukulele Club

A self proclaimed 'rag-tag group of uke-crazed wanna-be musicians, the Long Island Uke club has put together a wonderful Ukulele resource for players of all levels. 

​The group gets together two or three times a month to strum, and if you have any questions concerning what a get together is like they have a bunch of recordings on the site, great to check out. 

While you're waiting for the next live meeting spend some time on the site, it is full of videos, resources and fun YouTube clips you'll enjoy for hours! ​


5. Schoodic Arts For All Ukulele Club

Schoodic Ukulele Club

To say that Schoodic is a Ukulele Club is probably selling the entire rest of their teachings and performances short. 

Scoodic has close to twenty different clubs and programs that they teach to budding artists of all interests, so while we talk about the Ukes, don't forget they have plenty else to offer!

​Born from a Ukin' Do it workshop, instructor Gene Nichols turned this group into a weekly meetup and has expanded to any acoustic instrument. 


6. Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society

Brisbane Ukulele Society

Affectionately referred to as "BUMS", the Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society is one of the largest and longest running clubs to make our list! 

If you live in Australia near Brisbane the clubs jams are held at 7 different locations, and they have anywhere from 10-15 meetups a month! 

They are also the powering force behind SPRUKE, a bi-annual ukulele festival held in Queensland. This even may be a great reason to plan a vacation if you're not already "down under". 

Last but not least, the website is a great resource for songbooks, beginner Uke topics, tuners, and links to other Uke sites. If you can't be in Australia, it's the next best thing.


7. Toronto Ukes

Toronto Ukes is possibly the most active of all the groups on this list. With three weekly gatherings they provide ALMOST enough Uke content to keep us happy (that will probably never happen!) 

They started in 2009 with the Corktown Ukulele Jam and since then have added the "Annex Ukulele Jam" at Toronto's legendary Tranzac Club! get together and a Monday morning kickstart to get the week off to the right start. 

If you're interested in this club sign up for their newsletter and never miss an event that the Toronto Uke Club is putting on!


8. People of Lewisham's Ukulele Club

With over seven years of experience, this London based club has something for everyone. Weekly Tuesday meetings give plenty of time to explore new tunes, teach beginners, and simply have fun! 

The long-running meetings has also allowed People of Lewisham's Ukulele Club to put together a very strong performance group, having played at events like the Hither Green Festival, Doctor Jazz, and Va Pensiero! 

The site also has a good list of popular posts, many of which are tuned to beginners and newer players. The also have a great collection of links to other sites that will help you learn the Uke! 


9. Prescott Ukulele Guild

The first Thursday of each month is when you can find members of Prescott Ukulele Guild (PUG) assembling to share their love of this instrument. While the monthly meetings are great, it's the sub groups of this origination that make it special. 

PUG has set up smaller bands that go to Veterans Affairs, Assisted living centers, elementary schools, and various organizational meetings around the area. Doing great deeds while playing music!

They also host some very good side events. In fact, friend of StringVibe - Jim D'Ville put on an event demonstrating his "Play By Ear" methodology ​early in 2017 for the guild!


10. San Jose Ukulele Club

San Jose Ukulele Club

Surprisingly, The San Jose Ukulele Club is our only West Coast entry! That being said, not only is this a great group, but they are partnered with groups like the 'Son of the Beach'. 

They do have one of the fullest calender's you'll find as well, plenty of opportunities to break out your Ukulele! Maybe you feel like an Open Mic night, a quick session of Kanikapila, or simply the bi-monthly meeting of SJUC, they have it all! 

Last but not least is their songbook, which is arguably the largest you'll find online! ​


11. Boulder Ukulele Group

It is hard to beat the scenery that the Boulder Ukulele Group (BUG) enjoys. Nestled at the base of the the Colorado Rocky Mountains, join this group and enjoy strumming in the mountain air! 

The group has a monthly meeting that normally tries to stick with a theme to help the creative juices-a-flowing. They've also developed a Ukulele Social Club with two different courses, one for beginners and another for more advanced strummers! 


Wrap Up

Each of these clubs brings something special to the world of Ukulele, but we realize it is no where near a complete list! Please comment below with your favorite Ukulele group or club so we can recognize them as well! 

Ukulele Tutorial

The Best Ukulele Tutorial Sites, Ukulele Lessons, and Finding Local Teachers!

Ukulele

If you are anything like us it seems like every time we turn around we find a new Ukulele Tutorial, teacher, or lesson. The increased popularity of the instrument has created a huge need for quality teachers, and a lot of bad tutorials and lessons floating around. 

So, how do you know which ones to trust? How do you avoid someone who just started playing a week ago trying to sell you a $50 "beginner" course? How do you know a local ukulele teacher is any good? ​

Glad you asked! We are going to start with some of our favorite platforms for learning the Ukulele online. Ukulele lessons and tutorials that really deliver quality teaching. ​

After that, we'll move to finding a good local teacher. One of our favorite places to find quality teachers and jam partners is rarely talked about! ​

The Best Ukulele Tutorial and Ukulele Lesson Sites

Learning the Ukulele from lessons online sounds really appealing, right? You don't have to leave the house, brush your teeth, or even get dressed. Unfortunately, not all Ukulele lessons are created equally.

To solve this problem we've taken the time to list out five places that you can really find good tutorials and lessons. This way, you don't have to wade through a bunch of junk to learn the Uke online!

Ukulele Underground

Ukulele Underground

Ukulele Underground is one of our favorite Ukulele sites, period. It is also one of the most rounded sites with a forum, blog, and both free and paid content. 

Even if you don't want to spend the money on a program, we highly recommend you check out the free content they offer. 

Just remember, you can't just read blog posts, browse the forum, or watch videos to get better. You have to actually pick up your Uke! ​

Artistworks

Artistworks

We first found ArtistWorks while looking for good beginner guitar lessons.

They did such a good job we had to see what else they offered. Turns out they have a great Ukulele course too! Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel team up offer several hundred lessons in a wide variety of styles of play. 

One of our favorite things about this program is even the basic offering gives you a chance to submit recordings to the teachers for feedback! With the premium plan you get UNLIMITED submissions! Realistically, that's as much if not more feedback than you'd get if you had a local teacher you were seeing once a week! 

Ukulele Buddy

Ukulele Buddy

JP. Allen has gotten rave reviews for his new course, UkuleleBuddy. This course utilizes 'deliberate practice' to skyrocket results. 

The program has you play along with three 7-minute videos each week. That is it! We've seen the technique of 'deliberate practice' applied and championed by people like Josh Waitzkin (Think "The Search for Bobby Fischer"), but to our knowledge this is the first time it's been applied to the Ukulele. We couldn't be more excited! 

If your biggest excuse to not learning to play is the time involved then this program is for you! ​

Play Ukulele by Ear​

We consider Jim D'Ville over at PlayUkuleleByEar a friend here at StringVibe. Not only did he do a great interview with us, he's been one of our favorite people to follow and interact with! 

His site is a little different than the first three we mentioned in that it doesn't have a huge paid course. Instead, Jim starts out with 26 basic lessons that get you playing (using your ears, not reading chords/tabs!). 

After that you can follow his weekly updates and continue to grow as a musician and Ukulele player in a way no one else is teaching! 

YouTube

YouTube is a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, it has an absolute ton of content and much of it is high quality. In fact, Ukulele Underground has a lot of their free content posted here! 

Then again, browsing around you can find some very poor tutorials as well. 

So, while YouTube is a great source to find information, proceed with caution! 

Check Out All of Our Favorite Ukulele Sites !!!

Next, a look at where to find a great teacher near you! 


Local Ukulele Teachers

While the convenience of learning Ukulele in the comfort of your own home is hard to beat, if you find a quality teacher near you it can make learning the instrument infinitely easier. 

Regardless of how you find them, though, we do recommend you try out a few teachers. Even if the first person you go to is wonderful and you get along great, they may not be a good teacher. If you can go

We know you want to learn 21 Basic Ukulele Chords to get you started.

Go to several local teachers before you choose you'll be able to compare how and what they are teaching, what is resonating with you.

So, where might you find a (or multiple) high quality teacher near you? Just a note, we didn't mention Google, because, well, that's probably how you found StringVibe!

Referrals

Know any people who are musicians? Guess what, they know other musicians, guaranteed. Ask them if they know anyone, or can get a recommendation from someone in their group. 

This is just like job hunting. An employer is much more likely to hire someone who comes recommended from a mutual contact. There is a reason it works in business, and it works just as well in music! ​

Meetups 

If you are in an urban area Meetup is our favorite (and often overlooked) place to find a great teacher. We've run across many groups that are led by a teacher who just wants to give something back. Or, even better, jam groups that welcome anyone. No other Ukulele players show up? See "Referrals".

Craiglist

You can find anything on Craigslist. This is a good and bad thing. You need to be more careful when answering and ad than you do with our first two options. That being said, there are plenty of musicians who know nothing about advertising, so guess where they go... yup, Craigslist. 

Wrap Up

Hope you found this helpful! Regardless if you go with a local teacher or a online tutorial, you need to pick up your Ukulele and strum to get better! Why are you still here!? Go strum! 

Basic Ukulele Chords

The Basic Ukulele Chords to Focus on First

Ukulele

One of the first things you should do as a beginner Ukulele player is to find a few chords you are comfortable with. If you pick easy ukulele chords out you should be able to progress at a reasonable rate, you'll even be able to pick up songs quickly! 

Most popular songs that you'll want to strum on your uke are made up of a combination of the basic ukulele chords. By that, we mean the major, minor, and 7th chords. Each of these groups has 7 chords (one for each note!), giving you a grand total of 21 basic chords.

Below you'll find a detailed chord diagram for each of these chords, the recommended order you learn them in, and tips to make each one easier! ​

Basics of Ukulele Chord Fingering

Ukulele Fingering Notation

When looking at chord diagrams you'll often see numbers placed on individual frets. These numbers correspond to the fingers on your hand. 

Luckily, universal numbering is used so regardless of what website or book you are looking at the index finger will always be labelled #1.

Similarly, the number two is for the middle finger, three for the index, and finally the pinky finger gets the number four. ​

Note that the thumb is not given a notation. This is because if you are trying to hold down a fret with your thumb chances are you're doing something wrong! 

Chord Chart Symbols to Know

Luckily, the notation for the basic Ukulele chords is very simple. 

If you see an open circle next to a string it means you want to play the open string, a note that you play fretted will have a filled in circle. Normally, you'll also have a number corresponding with the normal finger that plays that fret. 

Chord Chart Symbols

Play songs quickly with our list of two chord Ukulele songs!

Lastly, a symbol you won't have to worry about with any of the simple ukulele chords, the "X" signifies that a string should be muted, or not strummed, when the chord is played. 

The Major Chords on Ukulele

We will start out the the major chords for each note. These are easily the most common of the simple ukulele chords that you'll find. Luckily, most of them are also very easy to play. 

A few of these chords are a bit tougher to play and beginners can struggle with them, so we'll address them last! 

The first three to look at are the A, C, and D chords. 

A Major Chord
A Major Chord
C Major Chord
C Major Chord
D Major Chord
D Major Chord

The A major chord is fairly simple, using just your index and middle fingers at frets fairly close together, its a great starting chord. 

The C major chord is possibly the easiest of all, with just one finger on the 3rd fret of the A string! We recommend you start by playing this note with your ring finger, but as you are more comfortable you may find it easier to transition to other chords if you play this chord with different fingers! Start easy, then work up to that! 

Slightly more difficult is the D chord. With three fingers on a single fret some players can struggle to make each note ring true. Try to stagger your fingers to give them more room, or place one finger on each (a barre chord), this will be great practice for later too!

F Major Chord
F Major Chord
G Major Chord
G Major Chord

Next up, the F Chord. This is a very similar shape the A chord, just move your first finger down one fret. 

The G chord will look familiar to guitar players, it takes the same exact shape as a D chord on a standard six string! 

B Major Chord
B Major Chord
E Major Chord
E major chord

The last two major chords are much more difficult, so we saved the "best" for last. 

The B chord requires you to hold down both the A and E strings with your index finger, then stretch to get the 3rd fret of the C string with your middle finger and the 4th fret of the G string with your ring finger. Tough, but doable with practice! 

Unlike the B chord, which you don't play much, you'll need the E chord quite a bit. Many people when they start struggle to reach the 4th fret with their ring finger when the first and second fingers are resting near the nut. We like to play that note with our pinky, it can help alleviate the long reach! 

The Minor Chords on the Uke

While the major chords carry a full, strong sound the minor chords tend to be softer and have more bite. These are great to know to add a little attitude to your playing. Many songs you'll come across will use both major and minor chords to add variation and originality.

There is really only one difficult minor chord, which is the B minor, and we'll cover that one last. ​

A Minor Chord
A Minor chord
C Minor Chord
C Minor Chord
D Minor Chord
D Minor Chord

​The A minor chord is similar to the C major chord. One finger! Just like the C chord it isn't a bad idea to practice playing this chord with different fingers to make transitioning to the next chord easier! 

Slightly harder is the C minor chord, which has three fingers on the highest three strings on the 3rd fret. At least it's easy to remember (3, 3, 3!).

Next up is the D minor chord, which is another very easy chord. In fact, if you struggle to play the regular D chord this is a great alternative as it will spice up your songs too. ​

E Minor Chord
E Minor Chord
F Minor Chord
F Minor Chord
G Minor Chord
G minor Chord

Thankfully, the E minor chord is no where near as difficult to play as the major version of the chord. A comfortable chord for most, just three fingers on three different strings and frets!

Need a nice new Ukulele? Check out our Favorite Ukulele Brands

The F minor chord on the other hand is a bit more difficult. ​Just like we recommended with the E major chord, the best way to play the last note is with your pinky finger. 

Both the G and the G minor follow the same pattern as the D chords on guitar. Just move your first finger back one fret and you've got it. ​

The only truly difficult minor Ukulele chord is the B minor. The combination of a three string barre on the second fret and the stretch to the G string of the 4th fret is challenging for many. 

B Minor Chord
B Minor Chord

The 7th Chords on Ukulele

The last group of chords that we consider to be basic Ukulele chords are the 7th chords. These are staples of the blues and jazz genres and can add a nice touch to any song. 

Five of these chords are very simple to play, and we'll start with those. After that we'll look at another difficult B chord and the D7, which requires a barre.

A7 Chord
A7 Chord
C7 Chord
C7 Chord
E7 Chord
E7 Chord

​A7 and C7 are a cinch if you've already mastered some of the major and minor chord shapes. Just put your index finger on the correct fret and you're done! 

The E7 chord is slightly more difficult, but with no difficult stretches or hand positioning you'll have this one mastered quickly too. ​

F7 Chord
F7 Chord
G7 Chord
G7 Chord

If you can play the G minor chord than the F7 will be a piece of cake. It is the same shape just shifted up one fret on each note. 

​The G7 is just as easy, and is a simple flip of the G major chord. The most difficult part of this shape is making sure your middle and 3rd fingers don't touch the E string, muting that note. 

B7 Chord
B7 Chord
D7 Chord
D7 Chord

The last two chords we have to cover are both fairly difficult because of the barres that are required. Luckily, the B minor is harder, so if you've mastered that these should come easy. 

It's a good thing that B chords are not extremely popular, because none of them are easy to play! Like we just said though, the B7 requires less of a stretch than the B minor​ chord so it is slightly easier to play. 

The final chord, the D7, requires a bar very similar to the ​B7. The difference is your middle finger will be playing the A string, which can be a difficult shape for many beginners to form. 

Wrap Up

There you have it! By learning these easy ukulele chords (or even half of them) you can literally play hundreds of songs.

Combine a handful of these chords with some basic finger picking patterns and you will be impressing friends in no time! 

Lanikai Ukulele

A Lanikai Ukulele in Every Size, Shape and Sound You Could Want

Ukulele

One name that is fairly common in our world is that of Lanikai Ukulele. Backed by Hohner, a company known for its production of high quality harmonicas and accordions, Lanikai has developed a reputation for quality and affordability. 

Most know the Ukuleles from Lanikai for their very good selection of beginner​ and intermediate models. This only covers half of it. 

The Lanikai Hawaiian Made Solid Koa line of Ukuleles holds its own with any other instruments you'll find.​ In fact, many of the high-end Lanikai Ukes are made in Hawaii even today. 

Lanikai also has some very innovative technology that you won't find with any other brands. The Intonation Innovation technology allows you to move the nut up and down the neck, allowing you to play open chords anywhere!

The Kula equipped models come with a three band EQ, making switching between low, mid, and high range as simple as could be. The Kula preamp also comes equipped with a tuner which makes one less item you'll need to carry in your gig bag.

Lanikai LUSJ Concert Sailor Jerry

Image courtesy of Amazon

Finally, the UkeSB models make recording yourself playing as easy as plugging a USB chord from your instrument to your computer!

Lanikai Ukulele Sizes​

Lanikai is like many of the larger Ukulele brand manufacturers in that they cover all the popular ukulele sizes, plus some hybrid models like the banjolele. What are the popular sizes? Glad you asked! 

Lanikai Soprano Ukulele​

The smallest of the offerings from Lanikai is the Soprano. They make it in both the standard "8" shape and the popular pineapple shape as well. Just because they are small doesn't mean they lack in quality or features, though! You can find the TunaUke, the UkeSB, and the Kula EQ setup on these models. 

LU22CGC Natural Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Lanikai Concert Ukuleles​

The concert ukulele size is the perfect starting point for many. It's not as small and fragile as the soprano, yet still holds true to many of the traditional Ukulele qualities. 

The "LU22CGC" Concert Ukulele, pictured right, is one of their basic models. The Sailor Jim, pictured above, is a special release model that shows the variety.

Lanikai Tenor Ukulele

The Tenor sized Ukuleles tend to be the most popular in today's market. They are the great compromise between size and sound. Lanikai is well aware of this and generally produce the most selection in this size. As of the writing of this article they have 19 different models to choose from. 

Lanikai Baritone Ukuleles

In many ways, the baritone ukulele is the "mini" guitar. It's very similar to the size of a travel guitar and because of this has a much deeper sound. If you are a guitar player this may be the perfect size to transition to. Start by tuning it to the highest 4 strings of your guitar and slowly work to comfort with the traditional Ukulele tuning. 

Not Sure About Lanikai Ukes? Check Out Our Other Recommended Ukulele Brands! 


Lanikai Ukulele Recommendations

This wasn't easy. Lanikai has so many quality instruments that it is hard to pick a bad instrument. We've picked out a winner and a runner up in each category and we've tried to spread out the price range so every budget has a great choice! 


 Best Lanikai Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai Soprano Ukulele Reccomendation: Lanikai CMTU-S Curly Mango TunaUke

The Hawaiian Curly Mango used to produce this instrument gives it a very unique and authentic look and sound. Truly a joy to play and a Uke you simply won't want to put down. 

Equipped with the TunaUke technology this ukulele is also a single adjustment away from perfect intonation. This system is simply a game changer for Ukuleles. 

Runner Up:  Lanikai LU-21 Ukulele Bundle

The perfect Ukulele for a kid or as a first instrument. The LU-21 provides plenty of quality to last while not carrying a significant price-tag. 

Lanikai CMTU-S Curly Mango TunaUke

Image courtesy of Amazon


 Best Lanikai Concert Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai TunaUke SMTU-C Ukulele

SMTU-C TunaUke Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Possibly our favorite Lanikai as far as looks goes, the SMTU-C is beautiful. A Solid Spalted Hawaiian Mango top and body combine with a Abalone purfling and rosette for it's perfect tone and overall look. Not a cheap instrument, but it will surly turn heads twice. 

Runner Up: Lanikai LU22CGC Natural Concert Ukulele

We pictured this Ukulele above when talking about the size of the Concert Ukes, One of our favorite Lanikai's for the price sensitive musician (Aren't we all!). 


 Best Lanikai Tenor Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai Legacy Collection LU2-6   

The Legacy Collection is designed to infuse classic Ukulele designs with fresh takes. In the case of the LU2-6, they've added an extra string to the C and A strings. If you haven't heard an instrument with doubled strings, you need to. 

A 8-string slotted headstock design and naturally finished mahogany body pair with a rosewood fretboard for a great instrument at a very reasonable price. 

Runner Up: Lanikai Legacy Collection 8-string Tenor

The closest thing you'll find to a 12-string guitar, the depth of tone and range of sound this instrument produces is amazing! 

Lanikai Legacy Collection LU2-6

Image courtesy of Amazon


Best Lanikai Baritone Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai CK-TEK Baritone Ukulele

Generally any Ukulele you find built from the native Hawaiian Exotic Curly Koa is a special instrument. The CK-TEK is no exception. As with most Baritone Ukes, this instrument can be tuned to either GCEA or DGBE!

Perfect for gearing up, this model is also equipped with Kula Electronics giving you the flexibility of a three band EQ. 

Runner Up:  Lanikai LUTU 21BEK Baritone Ukulele

If you want the combination of the TunaUke technology and the three band EQ, this is your Ukulele! 

Lanikai CK-TEK Baritone Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon


Wrap Up

Lanikai has a rich history and a well deserved reputation for quality. Add in their impressive line of innovations and goal to keep the ukulele fun and you've got a manufacturer you can trust! 

Magic Fluke Ukuleles

Why Magic Fluke Ukuleles are in a Class All Their Own

Ukulele

Generally speaking, if you told us a Ukulele was made with a plastic body, neck, and fretboard I wouldn't be excited. Add a laminated wood top and we'd probably assume you were talking about a cheap Chinese knock-off. Unless, of course, you told me it was one of the great little Magic Fluke Ukuleles. 

The Fluke Ukulele started shipping in 1999 with a unique and original take on traditional Ukulele design. ​A few years later the Flea began production with the same materials and style. 

Both the Flea and the Fluke are made with a plastic thermoformed body and a laminated wood top. ​This combination enables the instruments to produce a much more authentic, fuller sound than plastic Ukes can pull off. 

They also share the companies standard molded polycarbonate fingerboard and bridge. While many may feel this is a detractor, it actually ​guarantees perfect intonation!

On most of their models the uniquely shaped headstock and neck are made out of solid maple.​

Magic Fluke Sizes 

The flea and fluke are really only made in one size each, so we'll cover them and quickly touch on the "Firefly" which is their banjo uke. 

The Flea Ukulele

The Flea Ukulele comes in a 14'' soprano or a 15.5'' concert size. The shape of the Flea lends itself to generous string spacing. Thanks to the plastic back both models weigh in right around 1lbs. 

Magic Fluke Flea Ukulele
The Fluke Ukulele
Magic Fluke Ukulele

The ukulele that started the movement. The Fluke comes in the traditional concert size and recently the tenor size. The body size for both is the same, but the concert has a 15.5'' scale length, while the tenor is 17''. Both sizes are able to handle GCEA tuning as well as High D tuning, making it fun and versatile!

Want more options? Check out our other favorite Ukulele Brands!

Now, time for our recommendations! 


Magic Fluke Flea Ukulele

Our Recommendation: Magic Fluke Co Flea Designer Surf Concert Ukulele

The designer series comes with custom designs by Evelyn Drew. You have nearly 30 options to choose from so shop around! One of our favorites is the Surf. The red and wood tone mixture is the perfect balance of style and tradition for us. The Seacliff Beach and Honu Walnut also get two thumbs up! 

Magic Fluke Co Flea Designer Surf

Image courtesy of Amazon

Runner Up: Magic Fluke Co Flea M30 Ukulele Natural

This Ukulele could be mistaken for the early models of the Flea. It's natural finish combined with the signature headstock make this a great choice for new Uke players and experienced pros alike. 


Magic Fluke Ukulele

Our Recommendation: Magic Fluke Co Fluke Designer Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele

Magic Fluke Co Fluke Designer Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Just like the Flea Designer series, with the Fluke designer you have a wide range of options for colorful patterns, custom artwork, or natural wood looks. As an added bonus, you can now get custom printing or laser engraving if you'd rather go that direction. 

Both the tenor and concert sizes provide amazing sound and years of fun with this durable, great sounding instrument.  

Runner Up:  Magic Fluke M10 Natural Ukulele

It is hard to find a better Ukulele under $200. This instrument sounds great and is everything you'd expect from the Magic Fluke Co. 


Wrap Up

If you are looking for a fun instrument that is extremely durable then the Magic Fluke Company's offerings are right up your ally. 

Luna Ukuleles

Our Favorite Artistically Stunning Luna Ukuleles

Ukulele

In the current world of instrument manufacturing, where so many Ukes look very similar, no one will mistake the Luna Ukuleles. 

Luna was co-founded by an artist, Yvonne ​de Villiers, who not only wanted to make instruments that were pieces of art, but ones that had soul. She set out to create a tribe of people who played Luna, not just a bunch of customers. 

Luna's Ukuleles range from colorful and vibrant to simple. A model like the Luna Honu (to the right) has an elegant but understated design, while something like the Great Wave Concert (pictured with the Concert Ukes) is colorful and will be noticed by everyone who sees it. 

Luna Honu Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

We will start by looking at the different sizes Ukulele that Luna offers, followed by specific recommendations! 

Luna Ukulele Sizes 

Luna has done an amazing job offering selections in each of the normal size ranges for Ukuleles, plus a few extras like their pineapple ukes.

Luna Soprano Ukulele​

The traditional size of the Ukulele, Luna offers multiple models in this size. Not only that, but you'll find it's selection of Pineapple Ukes at this size! 

Luna Great Wave Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Luna Concert Ukulele​

The Concert size is one of the more popular, being slightly bigger than the Soprano but more traditionally sized than the Tenor or Baritone. 

Luna offers a great selection of concert sized Ukuleles, currently offering over 20 different models. ​This includes the "Great Wave", pictured on the left. 

Luna Tenor Ukulele​

This might be the perfect middle ground if you are undecided. The slightly bigger build gives this size group a full sound, but no where near the bulk of a full size guitar. 

Luna Baritone Ukulele​

This is the largest of the standard Ukulele sizes, being close to the size of a travel guitar. If you're transitioning from guitar this might be a perfect option, especially since it can be tuned exactly like the bottom four stings of a guitar!

Want more options? Check out our other favorite Ukulele Brands

Now that you know what you're looking at, lets get to the specific recommendations! 


Luna Soprano Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Aurora Soprano Ukulele

This fun little Ukulele is perfect for kids or those young at heart. You can also pick the "Faerie" art for the face! 

As a bonus many vendors on Amazon offer a gig bag, tuner, or beginner package with this Ukulele to get you equipped with whatever you need! 

Luna Aurora Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Runner Up:  Luna Vintage Mahogany Red Satin

If the graphics on the Aurora are a bit to bright, colorful, and attention grabbing for your tastes we understand. The clean, sharp, and elegant finish of the Vintage Red Satin might be exactly what you're looking for. 


Luna Concert Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Exotic Series Spalt Maple Concert Ukulele

Luna Exotic Series Spalt Maple

Image courtesy of Amazon

The finish touch for this Ukulele is Splat Maple and it is simply stunning. The exotic series also has a Olive Ash Burl and a Maple Burl option that are both beautiful in their own right. The crescent moon sound hole adds the finishing touch of style to this Uke. 

The rare tonewoods used for these Ukes also give them a beautifully light, airy sound that fits perfect with the tropical traditions of the instrument. 

Runner Up: Luna Honu Mahogany Ukulele

Pictured in the introduction to our article, this simple, elegant design is a great first Ukulele. The price is also a bit more appealing than that of the Exotic Series. 


Luna Tenor Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna High Tide 8-String Tenor Ukulele

If you've ever heard the distinctive ring of a 12-string guitar you know what an amazingly full sound it produces. The 8-string Ukulele is no less special! A little harder to play than a normal 4-string, but well worth it once it's mastered. 

A full Mahogany body matched with an onboard preamp, rosewood fretboard, and satin finish make this an instrument that is truly enjoyable to play. 

Runner Up:  Luna Tribal Tenor Ukulele

This mahogany bodied Uke is adorned with traditional Pacific carving inspired designs. The Tribal series pays homage to the islands that gave us the Ukulele. 

Luna High Tide 8 String Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon


Luna Baritone Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Bass Ukulele 

Luna Bass Ukulele - Black

Image courtesy of Amazon

Even a brand like Luna can't resist the temptation to make a stylish gloss black instrument. The spruce top, mahogany sides, and Flatwound strings combine for the deep sound this instrument produces. 

Thanks to the built-in Preamp this Ukulele can be played acoustically or plugged in and really amplified. 

Runner Up:  Luna Tattoo 6-string Baritone Ukulele

Is this a guitar or is this a Ukulele? 

We aren't sure. But we do know it's fun to play and has the 'tattoo' design that Luna is known for. Definitely not a traditional instrument which is part of it's charm. 


Wrap Up 

While Luna isn't the most well known Ukulele manufacturer, nor do they compete with some brands on the high-end models, they make truly beautiful, quality instruments. 

We have no doubt Luna will continue to make instruments that inspire, and we will upgrade our choices as they come out with new models! ​