What is the best ukulele for a beginner?
"I want to start learning the ʻukulele, but don't know what type to get."
Sound familiar? If not, it probably will soon enough. One of the most common questions we get sounds something like, "Which ʻukulele should I get as a beginner," or, "What size should a beginner play first," or even, "Which brand is the best for beginners." I'll try to lift the veil and demystify this subject a bit for you.
We generally recommend that beginners start with the size that will be most comfortable to them. After you determine your size, you can work within your budget to find the one that will best inspire you to keep playing.
From smallest to largest, the three main sizes of ʻukulele are soprano, concert, and tenor. A common misconception is that all beginners should start with the soprano size. This is simply not true. In fact, it can be harder for some people to start on the soprano, since it has smaller frets and can have closer string spacing, making it harder for many adults to get all their fingers in place for some chords (like G7, Bb, Em, etc.).
The most common size for children to learn on is the soprano size. I generally recommend that anyone under about 7-10 years old would be fine starting there. Beginners who are older than that may want to look at concert or even tenor ʻukulele, even if you have "small hands/fingers." This is just general advice, though. As a beginner, the best way to find the right size for you is to try the same model of ʻukulele in all three sizes and pay attention to how easy it is to hold up under your right arm, and how relatively easy/hard it is to do a G7 chord. If you can accomplish those two things with a fair amount of ease on one of the three sizes, then you can move on to get an ʻukulele in that size according to your budget!
*If buying online as a beginner to anything musical, a good rule of thumb is to go for a concert. You can always swing for a bigger/smaller one after that, but most people do well with a concert, and kids who may have trouble with it at first can easily grow into it.
**If buying online as a beginner to ʻukulele but you play guitar, bass, or any symphonic stringed instrument, try going for a tenor. Being used to the wider frets will cause you to naturally stretch your fingers too far in some situations, and the tenor's spacing can help you adjust quicker to the smaller instrument.
Come back later, and feel free to leave any questions, blog ideas, or comments below!