Choosing Your Ukulele
Ukuleles have been popular in times past, and are coming back into vogue. Names you may know (old and new) are Tiny Tim, Grace VanderWaal, and Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole.
There are many ukuleles available for purchase, so a little research will ensure you make a choice you will enjoy for many years.
- Soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles are tuned to GCEA.
- Baritone ukuleles are tuned to DGBE.
- Most ukuleles have 4 strings
- Some models have 5 strings incorporating an octave lower G which gives the performer more songs to play.
Ukuleles come in warm woods, cotton candy colored plastics, wire strings, nylon strings, ornamental sound holes, and a variety of other options. There are also electric versions, like an electric guitar. Some have bone saddles, others have wooden saddles. They do the same job, so I personally have no preference to the saddle material.
I believe a ukulele made of wood gives a fuller tone, but you may have reasons to prefer plastic. Mine is mahogany which feels and sounds nice.
The size of your purchase needs to physically fit the person who will be playing the instrument. Check out the comparison chart as a guideline.
Please view all thumbnails for more insight and information.
High, traditional pitch
Warm, full tones
Full tones, tuned DGBE
Package Must Arrive Without Damage
You will want to purchase from a known company. My ukulele from Donner Deal arrived in good condition, this box being inside a separate shipping box.
This was packaged very nicely with the ukulele packaged in its own wrap within the gig bag, which was in the instrument carton which was in another shipping box. This may seems excessive to some, but it's important for your instrument to arrive undamaged.
Ukulele, Gig Bag, and Accessories
The ukulele itself is in good condition and comes with several accessories. Extra strings, picks, a tuner, a polishing cloth, and a strap if you should need it. Be certain to use ukulele picks as opposed to guitar picks. Guitar picks are heavier and may scratch your new ukulele.
The padded gig bag features an external pocket to hold these items and will fit some of your small personal items as well. There are three carrying straps: one long strap on the back to go over your shoulder, a smaller hand sized strap/handle also on the back, and a strap/handle on one side to carry like a duffle bag.
Tune Your Ukulele
This tuner has several modes: chromatic, guitar, bass, violin, and ukulele. You will notice the little "U" indicates I chose the ukulele mode. It looks like a little square in the lower right corner, but it's a "U".
Attach the provided tuner high on the neck of your ukulele. Expect that your instrument will arrive out of tune. This is normal.
I want to start tuning with the A string, which is also known as string 1.
- When I first pluck string 1, the tuner shows it having a G pitch, which is a full pitch too low.
- Slowly turn the peg which is attached to string 1. You will soon arrive in the A range, but it could be better.
- A little more of a turn and the display will go from blue to green which indicates you are right on pitch.
Repeat with each string, turning the peg to attain the pitch of the string, which for this model is GCEA (4,3,2,1). Your ukulele will soon be fully tuned and ready to play!
You are now ready to play and enjoy your fun, new instrument. There are many instructional tutorials online, and a lot of books as well. After a lot of research, I bought this book and it explains a lot, not only about the ukulele but many aspects of music in general. I highly recommend it. (Personally, I prefer the book over the Kindle version, but to each his own). Have fun!
Enjoy Your New Ukulele
If this seems like a good fit for you or someone you know, check out "Donner Deal", choose the "string instrument" menu, and from the drop down menu select "ukuleles". You may also be interested in the lyre harps that are available. Donner Deal has been reliable and responsive to me with both this concert ukulele and the lyre harp I have from them. I think you would be happy with them also.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 The Sampsons