So you’re looking out to buy your first ukulele? It may look very tempting when you visit your local music shop, but read these little tips first so that you know what you are getting yourself into. I definitely wish that I had read something like this before I bought my first ukulele.
Most of the times your average local music shop doesn’t have very good quality ukulele’s. I happen to live near a very good retailer and they have some top of the line Kala’s in stock most of the time. But I’ve been to numerous shops with only a few mahalo’s in every color you can think of to appeal to the bigger public. Those aren’t really the best ones out there. If you can’t find them somewhere local, look online. I have had very good experiences with the TheUkuleleSite (formerly known as Hawaii Music Supply). They are super friendly and have amazing quality ukulele’s in stock that are setup the way they should be. As always when you buy something online, do good research!
A proper ukulele shop. Picture from hiloguitars.com.
When you order from a quality shop (e.g. TheUkuleleSite) you can be sure that you have the best strings on them (e.g. Aquila). If you see ukuleles with black very plastic feeling strings, you can be quite sure that the sound and quality won’t be that good. Good ukulele strings aren’t that expensive and can make a lot of difference!
I’ve ordered a few lower end ukulele’s in the past from several online shops and at least 50% weren’t set-up at all. The main issue was that they don’t stay in tune, and the reason? Loose tuning keys (or peg heads). Tighten the screws and once again, it can make a lot of difference.
Image of the wonderful builders reserve series IV by Taylor features a guitar and an ukulele.
You’re a guitar player and are looking for something different? You think the ukulele will be very easy to learn? I can tell you this (and others will concur), an ukulele is not a guitar! You don’t use plectrums with them, you finger pick (although very big debate about this). And it is not because it has two strings less that it’s a lot easier! Sometimes even the opposite is true! Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this guide. Any remarks, questions or suggestion? Use the contact form to let me know what they are!