Buying a Cheap Ukulele for a Beginner: What the Beginner Needs to Know
If you’re a beginner ukulele buyer without a lot of money and looking at buying a cheap ukulele, or you’re just not 100% certain about coughing up a lot of cash for a new musical pursuit, then you’re probably thinking about buying a ukulele that isn’t going to be too hard on the pocket.
In spite of not wanting to outlay too much cash at the start, your still going to be expecting something that is going to produce a pleasant sound, and most importantly, is going to last you until you can afford a more expensive model.
Only Fools Rush in.
This is not always a bad idea, but you should bear in mind that all low priced ukuleles are not created equal, so it’s best to understand more about the options in advance of making a purchase and not rushing into something that you may regret at a later stage.
Little More Than Toys
It will be in your interest to remember, that before buying something that’s really cheap, in most circumstances, you will get what you pay for. Near the bottom end of the spectrum you’ll find instruments that are really little more than toys. Most of these cheap ukuleles often have such a large number of problems that they shouldn’t be considered bona fide ukuleles.
High or Low Action?
Ukuleles, in this particular budget range, tend to have high or low action (the action is the gap between the uke’s strings and the frets). Low action may cause buzz, and very high action causes problem playing notes and chords. Very cheap ukuleles will often have uneven frets which may cause incorrect notes to be played.
Beware Substandard Instruments
Attempting to play a substandard musical instrument is especially irritating for beginning players, and that’s why I suggest looking for slightly more expensive ukulele which is reasonably playable and will offer you a better experience.
In the twenty dollar range you can purchase a Mahalo, which is actually a pretty nice ukulele for just a few extra bucks.
Mahalo ukes are decent enough that you will be able to learn to play without worrying about being kept back because of construction problems.
The Mahalo U-30 is ideal in case you simply want a spare uke to use on trips or if you are shopping for little ones. Nonetheless, if you are able to shell out a bit more I would definitely encourage considering a Makala ukulele.
The Makala Uke
Makala ukes are the budget series of ukuleles made by the Kala company. This ukulele company has a rather long reputation for producing very sound starter ukuleles, and the Makala brand maintains that reputation.
The reason that Makala ukes are less expensive than Kala’s various other ukuleles is not due to a reduction in the quality of the craftsmanship, but instead because they use less costly materials.
Makala ukuleles are built with less costly wood, hardware, and strings compared to their costlier counterparts. Granted, these cutbacks contribute to a slightly less rich sound, but the playability will be on par with their more expensive ukes.
While a Makala ukulele will surely cost somewhat more compared to a Mahalo, Makala ukuleles are still pretty cheap and come in at around $50.
If you can shell out a tad bit more I propose looking into a Lanikai LU-21C and also the Kala entry level ukuleles. These ukuleles are around $100, and I believe they may be the most suitable uke for the budding beginner available in today’s market.