Probably the question I see from beginners on forums and social media the very most - the extremely open question of 'What's The Best Ukulele'? Which Ukulele To Buy?You see that question really can't be answered without more information.... if at all. Too many things come in to play to choose a 'best' of anything. What is your budget? What scale do you want? What are your tastes in looks (plain, traditional, fancy, modern, crazy?). Without knowing these things it's impossible to advise on what I think are good purchases. Asking 'What is the best ukulele?' is like asking 'what is the best car' or 'what is the best food?' It's totally subjective.
I usually tend to provide a link to my ukulele reviews page with a suggestion that they have a browse, but to be honest, I suspect that some people don't really want to read through all of that to come to a view. A shame, but true.
So in an attempt to summarise in an easy to share single post, I looked back over my review scores and thought I would give my 'best of' for different price categories. Even if you don't want to go through all my ukulele reviews, these are the ones that I (currently) think you should have a read of. And before you complain that something is missing - these are taken from the many instruments I have tested and reviewed, but only those - hard to make a recommendation for something I haven't played!
Think of this as the Got A Ukulele Awards.. Ultimately though - this is just a list of the top scores on Got A Ukulele for easy reference. Your best ukulele is likely to be different from mine and that is ABSOLUTELY OK!
Got A Ukulele Best Instrument £0-£50
A difficult price point because there are genuinely so many bad ones around with poor quality control.
For me the first prize goes to the Octopus Soprano Ukulele - just remarkable for very very little money. Great sound and the neck is an absolute joy!
|Octopus Soprano Ukulele|
Runner Up: The Makala Dolphin - what else?
Got A Ukulele Best Instrument £50-£100
At this price point we are starting to get into the realms of instruments that are usually playable from the get go, with some truly nice surprises for what is, again, very little money. It's a close call at this price point for me, but I will give the first prize to the Baton Rouge Sun Series Concert Uke. A fairly plain looking affair and built from laminate woods, but seriously - great tone, great build quality, just really really great actually!
|Baton Rouge Sun Concert Ukulele|
Runner Up: Snail UKS-220 Rosewood Soprano
Got A Ukulele Best Instrument £100 - £200
This is the price point where the majority of my reviews sit. There is a clear winner, but the problem here is that they don't make this one any more. It's the Omega Zedro II ukulele which I found quite remarkable for the money. But fear not - Omega have replaced it with the Klasiko model which I hear is just as good.
|Omega Music Zedro Ukulele|
Runner Up: Several could have taken this spot, but I will give it to the Riptide Electro Concert (with an honourable mention to the John Daniel Pixie)
Got A Ukulele Best Instrument £200 - £500
Quite a price range this one, but this is where we start to get into serious territory. It's shared hours for me between the Big Island Koa Concert - so nice looking it featured on the cover of one of my books. Looks to die for and a beautiful delicate tone that I really really liked and the Pono ATDC
|Big Island Koa Concert Ukulele|
Runner Up: Again - several to choose from here, but I give it to the Pono MTD Tenor - just really really nice in every way.
Got A Ukulele Best Instrument £500 plus
An odd one here and one where I am clearly opening myself up to criticism - 'Hey what about Kamaka? What about Martin?' Well, as I say - these are just based on ukuleles I have tested. For me the winner is clear and I think it's a stunningly good instrument. First place goes to the Kanile'a K1 Tenor - no frills, but wonderful clear woody tones that still make me smile to this day.
|Kanile'a K1 Tenor Ukulele|
Joint Runners Up: Beltona Tenor Resonator - one instrument that has made me smile more than many others recently. The other one being the quite simply amazing Blackbird Clara.
So there you have it - I will, in time, adjust this listing as new instruments get reviewed if they change the top spots. But for now, the next time I get asked 'What is the best ukulele', this is the post I will give them the link to!
© Barry Maz