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The 7 best ukuleles for beginners you can buy in 2024

So, you have decided that you are going to learn to play the ukulele. Welcome! Welcome to a world of joy, creation, and love for music. We are thrilled to have you here with us.

We understand that finding a first ukulele can be overwhelming since there are thousands of ukuleles to choose from, so we created this list of the best beginner ukuleles for you to narrow it down.

About the author

Marye is an independent singer-songwriter and teaching artist who has released three original albums independently and is currently producing her fourth. Her third album, Top of the Trees, was written and performed exclusively on the baritone ukulele. She owns a Fender Venice soprano ukulele for travel and composition, and to share in class with her beloved ukulele students. Marye, too, has been on the never-ending, ever-inspiring path of finding just the right ukulele to play the soundtrack of your current chapter in life.

beginner playing the very first ukulele

How we chose the ukuleles on this list?

We chose the ukuleles on this list for the following reasons:

  • Price and quality. We chose a price point of $90 – $230. Of course, as a beginner you don’t want to blow your budget before you know how serious you are about the instrument. At the same time, we want to ensure that you are purchasing a quality instrument, so that your learning experience is an enjoyable one.
  • Weight. We chose ukuleles that are lightweight so that they are comfortable to play whether you decide to use a strap or cradle the uke in your arm.
  • Size. We considered the size of the ukulele. We wanted the ukulele to be small enough, so that it would be convenient for travel (like the beach and cocktail parties or a weekend getaway) but not so small that it would be difficult to place your fingers in different shapes along the neck. We also wanted to make sure that the body of the ukulele wasn’t super-wide making it cumbersome to play. Because of this, most of the instruments on this list are tenor or concert size. To learn more about what size is right for you, we invite you to read this article: What are the different ukulele sizes, and which is the right for you?
  • Fun. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but let’s talk about motivation for a moment. As a teaching artist, I spend a lot of time figuring out what inspires my students to practice. Most of the time, it’s the joy of playing that makes them want to play more. If your instrument is hanging on the wall and looks so beautiful that it feels like it is just shouting out to you “play me” then that is the ukulele for you!

One thing to note, we also scored the ukuleles on a scale of 1-5. These scores are based on how much the instrument delivers for the money, its quality, looks and sound.

These are the best ukuleles for beginners:

  1. UMA Baby-T Tenor Ukulele
  2. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele
  3. Epiphone Les Paul Concert Ukulele
  4. Lanikai LU-21C Concert Ukulele
  5. Kala Mandy Harvey Starter Kit
  6. Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele
  7. Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele

UMA Baby-T Tenor Ukulele 4.9

Uma Baby-T small body tenor ukulele Image: UMA Buy from: Amazon World of Ukes

UMA stands for Unidentified Mysterious Animal, describing a story based on Portuguese folklore – an island where humanity and nature are one. UMA is a Taiwanese company and some of their instruments are made in China.

This Baby-T ukulele is a tenor-scale instrument with a concert-sized body. It has a special armrest design that prevents “uke arm” (marks on your arm if you cradle your ukulele) which nurtures comfortable playing.

It also comes with Aquila Nylon strings which are smooth strings that make for easy playing and have great sound. This ukulele projects well and has a bright tone.

The body is thinner but this doesn’t compromise the sound. It’s lightweight but the neck is a bit wide for beginners playing at a nut width of 1.46 inches (37 mm).

What we like

  • Special armrest design.
  • Aquila Nylon strings.
  • Bright tone.
  • Lightweight and thin.
  • Decent sustain.

What we don’t like

  • Wide neck for beginners.

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele 4.5

Cordoba 15CM concert ukulele Image: Cordoba Buy from: Sweetwater Amazon

Cordoba is a brand known for its finely crafted instruments, particularly their Spanish guitars. Cordoba learned how to build their ukuleles in the traditional Portuguese way, making them some of the most well-built and authentic-sounding in the world.

This 15CM is Cordoba’s best-selling ukulele; it has an elegant look with its abalone rosette and ivoroid binding. The top material is made of quartersawn wood which is more rigid than other cutting systems, so the 15CM has a cheerful tone along fabulous volume and sustain.

The tuning pegs are large and cheaply made, and the neck is a bit wide for beginners at 1.38 inches (35 mm).

What we like

  • Elegant look.
  • Well-constructed.
  • Great sound.
  • Beautiful binding.
  • Good sustain.

What we don’t like

  • Wide neck.
  • Cheap tuning pegs.

Epiphone Les Paul Concert Ukulele 3.4

Epiphone Les Paul acoustic-electric concert ukulele Image: Epiphone Buy from: Sweetwater Amazon

This Epiphone Les Paul acoustic-electric concert ukulele is perfect for a beginner, as an introduction to music and gateway to the guitar. The top and body have a stunning finish and the sunburst color invites you to spend the day strumming away.

It’s lightweight coming in at 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg). The neck is a bit narrow at 1.3 inches (33 mm) and the nut and saddle are made of plastic.

The set up and action at the nut and the bridge are adequate but the sound chamber in the body is small and the top is thick leaving the instrument little room to project and create volume and sustain.

What we like

  • Sunburst flame color is inviting.
  • Fun to play.
  • Good action.
  • Lightweight.
  • Great price.

What we don’t like

  • Tonality and intonation needs improvement.
  • Pickup quality is mediocre.

Lanikai LU-21C Concert Ukulele 3.8

Lanikai LU-21C Concert Ukulele Image: Lanikai Buy from: Sweetwater

The Lanikai LU-21C concert ukulele is a perfect fit for beginners. The nut and saddle material are made of NuBone XB and there are two strap buttons if you want to use a strap when you play it.

Okoume wood is used for the top, back, and sides enabling it to project a clean sound and stay lightweight for playing ease.

The LU-21C concert ukulele has an 8-hole quick tie bridge for quick and easy restringing of the Aquila strings.

The ukulele comes with a gig bag and is covered by a limited lifetime warranty from Lanikai. The only drawback of this ukulele is it requires frequent tuning.

What we like

  • Limited lifetime warranty.
  • Aquila strings.
  • 2 strap buttons.
  • 8-hole quick tie bridge.
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable.

What we don’t like

  • Requires frequent tuning.

Kala Mandy Harvey Starter Kit 3.7

Kala Mandy Harvey tenor ukulele starter kit Image: Kala Buy from: Sweetwater Amazon

Mandy Harvey is a singer-songwriter who lost her hearing at the age of 18. This Learn to Play Signature series tenor ukulele comes with everything a beginner needs to start playing today including the inspiration of her story.

The top, back, and sides are made of mahogany creating a moderate, well-balanced tone. The saddle and nut are Graph Tech NuBone which produce excellent resonance.

The pack comes with a gig bag and tuner along with other song tutorial goodies. This ukulele is mass-produced and doesn’t have a strap button.

What we like

  • Pack comes with gig bag and tuner.
  • Quality saddle.
  • Quality nut.
  • Well-balanced tone.

What we don’t like

  • Mass-produced.
  • No strap button.

Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele 4.6

Kala KA-SSTU-C travel concert ukulele Image: Kala Buy from: Sweetwater Amazon

Kala knocks it out of the park again with the KA-SSTU-C travel concert ukulele. The thinline design of this ukulele makes it perfect for travel and comfortable playing. This ukulele is lightweight and has a beautiful satin finish.

The nut and saddle are NuBone which heightens its expression and volume. The solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides create a tone that is friendly and bright.

While it is lightweight and thin, traveling on a plane may still prove to be a bit complex.

What we like

  • Bright tone.
  • Lightweight.
  • Includes gig bag.

What we don’t like

  • Good but not great for travel.

Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele 3.7

Fender Venice soprano ukulele Image: Fender Buy from: Sweetwater Amazon

Fender started making ukuleles in 2009 and released the California Coast series in 2018. This Venice soprano ukulele will be your new best friend as it is portable, looks great, and you can easily fit it in your backpack for a weekend road trip.

The uke has a no-tie Fender bridge and a 4-in-line Tele headstock for the classic Tele look and easy tuning! It’s lightweight at only 1.25 pounds and has a narrow neck.

It is great for children and adults with small hands – a wonderful starter ukulele. But the intonation further down the neck could use some improvement.

What we like

  • 4-in-line Tele headstock.
  • Perfect for travel.
  • No-tie bridge.
  • Lightweight.

What we don’t like

  • Intonation needs improvement.
  • Narrow neck.


There you have it, our list of the best ukuleles for beginners to buy in 2024. We hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any ukuleles that you would like to add to this list, please let us know in the comments below.