Named the ‘happiest’ instrument on earth; the ukulele has lifted the spirits of musicians young and old and taken the whole world by storm.They are easy to learn, sound joyous, are a compact size and weight so great for travel or for relaxing with at home on the sofa.
So first options are picking the size of ukulele:
Soprano (21”) for younger players / smaller hands / adults
Concert (23”) adults / younger players
Tenor (26”) adults / bigger hands
Baritone (29″) adults / bigger hands
Next decision is the brand you choose. We’ve found Kala, Makala, Lanakai and Octopus to be brilliant ukuleles at their varying price points; Kala and Lanakai being the top dogs, boasting some gorgeous woods and as a result, phenomenal tones. The brand ‘Octopus’ do some fun, vibrant-looking and great sounding entry level ukes for just £24.99 with case, whilst the Makala dolphin range is also very highly recommended.
The most common of all the sizes and probably the one your mind goes to when you picture a ukulele. It’s the smallest and usually one for the younger players to begin on. The ‘Octopus’ and ‘Makala’ Dolphin ukes make fantastic entry level ukes that come fitted with open-geared machine-heads for stabilised tuning and Aquila strings, which are the same ones the high end ukes come with too. Equally some adults prefer the soprano size as it’s easy to travel with and compact in weight and design. A great mid-range Soprano is the Kala KA-SEM; a gorgeous exotic mahogany for under £100.
The concert size ukulele is only 2 inches larger than its smaller sibling, the soprano, but makes a world of difference in comfort and tone. The extra couple of inches in diameter allows for the sound to resonate for longer and therefore produce more volume and a warmer/bolder tone. With a larger neck and frets further apart, the concert size is for the players looking for something more spread out than the soprano. My personal choice on the concerts is the Kala KA-SMC, sporting the most beautiful spalted maple with a satin finish that is dripping with sophistication.
Standing at 26” tall and having a wider body than the soprano and concert, the tenor gives you more volume, greater scope for balance in tone. I personally own a Lanakai ACST-T tenor because it’s proportionate to my body, sounds beautiful, oh, and it came with a mint hard case too, so it was a no-brainer.
A quick note about Baritone ukuleles: It’s further apart from the others ukes due to the tuning. Like the top four strings of a guitar, it goes: E, B, G, D. So it sets itself apart in many ways, one of which is being 30” tall, so quite the monster but great fun to play!
Electro-acoustic Ukulele /
An Electro acoustic ukulele is a uke that has been fitted with a pick up which allows you to plug your ukulele into an amplifier or effects pedal.The ability to plug it in is great if you are performing but also good fun for home practice. The Electro acoustic ukuleles often have a built-in tuner for easy and accurate tuning whenever and wherever you need it.
Ukulele case /
The company ‘Tom & Will’ deliver us eclectic soft cases with front pockets, back straps and some zany designs with guaranteed safety of your ukulele within their strong, colourful and classy soft cases. Ritter also do firm and secure padded cases with a sophisticated finish. TGI offer ABS hard shell cases that will hold your precious one in nice and tight for those long rides where you can relax knowing you’ve got complete security.
Now there are a lot of books to choose from, so you have more than enough knowledge on display here; ranging from the Absolute Beginners series that’ll take you from the basics to the brilliance, aerobics books to guide you in techniques to heighten the dexterity in your hands and many songbooks filled to the binder with hit after hit.
A ukulele capo is designed to essentially move the ‘nut’ which is where the strings sit at the top of the neck allowing you to change key without having to learn loads of new chords. Shubb do fantastic ball-point capo that sit neatly on the neck and are a narrow fit so don’t intrude in on your hand.
All of our ukuleles come fitted with Aquila Nylgut strings that are top of the range. They deliver a sweet, warm tone with minimal ‘stretching’ time and stability once tuned; they will genuinely encourage you to continue playing.
Ukulele Picks /
Felt picks are a nice feel against the nylon strings of a uke. They soften the tone and take away any unnecessary ‘scratching’ sounds of your nails against the strings. Some players find they can strum with more conviction and even faster with a pick. It’s all personal preference though; you may enjoy the tonal diversity of a plastic pick thin or thick. We stock fantastic Jumping Cow uke picks which are longer-lasting felt picks.
So now your all clued up-come and get uked up and spread the love! We have a huge range of ukuleles,accessories & books in store and online and are always happy to help!