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Best Ukuleles EVER!! 7 All-Time Greats (Full-Fat 2024 Edition)

Which brand of ukulele is best? What kind of ukulele has the best sound? We reveal all...

To find a good ukulele is 1 thing, but the track down the best ukuleles EVER – that’s another thing entirely.

Hate to spoil the party like that, but it’s true; as far as we can tell, there isn’t (& never has been) a ‘one-size-fits-all’ ukulele; the whole concept is nothing more than pure fantasy. Reason we say so is because aside from being 100% subjective, finding the best uke of all time really requires you as a prospective player to do 2 things…

(A) understand ukuleles enough to get a feel for what you want out of an instrument. And (B) be clued-up on what to look for in a quality uke + what makes certain ukes unique. Only then can you be confident in your ability to single out what is to you, the best ukulele for you & your style of play.

Plus, shopping for a uke is never easy. Believe us when we say there’s no shortage of bad sounding ukuleles out there, not to mention those which boast a somewhat ‘questionable’ build. So really, to just ‘wing it’ with your ukulele purchase would be a bit daft to say the least. With that in mind then, how much should you pay for a good uke? Are there any ukulele brands to avoid? We reveal all…

After something specific about which brand of ukulele is best? Or just curious what we deem to be the best ukuleles of all time? Jump into the menu below to find all the answers you need at rapid pace…

No 2 ukes are made equal. 

Each one comes with its own unique shape, is made of a select type of wood & of course, comes with its unique sound. Arguably the most important characteristic of any uke full stop (regardless of its use). Go on to team that with how each person plays a uke in their own distinct way & (in the eyes of the pros) forms their own signature sound, & the importance of choosing the right ukulele becomes all too apparent, especially if you’re looking for the ‘best-of-the-best’. But no fear…

We’ve done 90% of the legwork for you & whittled down a shortlist of we consider to be the best ukuleles EVER. All you have to do is read on…

ALL CONTENT IS WRITTEN BY OUR IN-HOUSE AUTHORS & BASED ON REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE. WE MAY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU BUY THROUGH THIS SITE.

1: Kala KA-MG-SLNG soprano (spalted mango)

Here specifically for a soprano ukulele? Be sure to check out our full Rundown Of The Best Soprano Ukes.

2: Fender Fullterton Tele concert uke (butterscotch blonde)

Fancy yourself a concert ukulele? Before you do anything, be sure to check out our Major Rundown Of The Best Concert Ukuleles.

3: Kala KA-BMB-T tenor uke (bamboo collection)

Want to know more about tenor ukes? Be sure to check out our rundown of the Best Tenor Ukes For Sale Today.

4: Lanikai ACSTB baritone

Got a thing for baritone ukes? Don’t miss our rundown on the Best Baritone Ukes You Can Buy.

Are you a beginner? If so, the best ukulele of all time is likely to not actually set you back all that much £€$.

That’s because what you’re after is very much pick up & play. You’re searching for a casual instrument that you can pick up at relatively low cost, which allows you to (not play anything fancy), but merely master the basics. Something a LOT of ukuleles do rather well. So much so that buying a ukulele as a beginner can be quite overwhelming – you’re often spoilt for choice. 

However, with that being said, there is 1 uke that (for us) really stands out from the crowd in terms of mastering the basics… so here it is. The uke that we consider to be the best ukulele for beginners to EVER exist…

5: Kala Watercolor Meranti Collection concert uke

As a professional, you’re after something a LOT different than a beginner.

While a beginner’s in search of ease & usually on a budget, you’re a little more open-minded; ukes to you are a little more involved. There’s greater value in tone & how easily the6 allow you to not only perform more complex pieces, but also form a signature sound. Something that’s really an essential for anyone looking to ‘make it’ as a ukulele player.

Thankfully though, we’re confident that we’ve found just the tool for the job – i.e. the best ukulele of all time for professionals…

6: Cordoba 28T tenor uke (hawaiian koa)

Really look at it & ukes are basically a guitar that shrunk in the wash.

So much so that your reason for buying a uke may not even be its specific ‘ukeish’ at all, but instead, just to have a portable instrument that you can use to write music ‘on the road’. Guitars can get incredibly bulky! In which case, the high pitched tone of a uke may actually come as more of a hinderance than a help. But thankfully, if you’re after the tone of guitar & the proportions of a uke, there is another option.

Yep – there really is a ukulele that sounds like a guitar. In fact, if you’re after a uke that sound most like a guitar, this is the uke we’d encourage you to choose…

7: Yamaha GL1 Mini

Enjoy this review of the best ukuleles & eager for more? Jump into our latest Advice On Stringed Instruments, as well as our thoughts on all sorts of other Musical Instruments. Recently we also did a rundown of the Best Electric Ukuleles + another on Donner Ukuleles, which may also be a good read.

Or if you’ve still trying to decide what ukulele is best for you, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…

Putting a finger on the best uke brand of all time is tough, because not only are there that many uke brands out there, but each one comes with its own USPs. Some brands for instance, are old timers & have been making ukuleles for decades, while others are tone-wood masters who’ve got the ‘ukeish’ sound defined down to a tee. 

Then of course, there’s those brands which offer great value for £$€ + those which appeal specifically to professionals, as well as a those that make more playful version for kids… you ge5 the gist. Which uke brand is the best really all depends on what you’re looking for. So with that in mind, here’s 3 uke brands that we’d say are up there with the best…

  • Cordoba – These are the OGs of modern ukuleles. Cordoba have been producing ukuleles ever since 1997 & are the brains behind some of the most popular ukes to ever exist. They also manufacture classical guitars too, so as you’d expect, they’re up there in terms of sound.
  • Kala – Easily one of the most popular brands of ukulele because of 1 thing – Kala are the kings of a good all-rounder. Their ukes are well built, have a noticeable tone & yet, aren’t all that expensive. Kala ukes are usually mid-range when it comes to £$€, which makes them the perfect safe bet if you’re not sure which uke to buy.
  • Fender – For those hunting for a specific sound (or wanting to sound like their fav artist), Fender is the way to go. Because aside from being one of the biggest music brands worldwide, they’re also suckers for a collaboration; to count all the artist collabs they’ve done ove4 the years, we’d have to sprout extra fingers. If you like the sound of Billie Eilish or Grace VanderWaal, then Fender ukes are (for you) likely to be up there with the best.

What is the best sounding uke really all depends on what characteristics you’re after in your tone.

If that’s the typical jingle jangle of a ukulele, then a soprano, tenor or concert uke is likely to be way to go. These are tuned in the traditional way of GCEA. While the baritone is. A bit more guitar-esque, incorporating similar tuning to s guitar… DGBE to mimic the top 4 strings. 

And while is some help, the only real way to distinguish which uke sounds best for you, would be to take a listen. So here’s Kevin from Austin Bazaar to put all 4 styles of uke to the test…

YouTube video

The amount that’s really worth paying for a uke generally comes back to 2 things…

  • The quality/ suitability of the uke
  • It’s purpose – i.e. what do you intend to use it for

Fathom both of these & there’s a good chance you can work out roughly what you should be paying. Generally speaking, the best ukuleles for beginners tend to come in at around £100-200. Anything more than that & you’ll likely be in professional territory. Although this can differ depending on brand, wood type, amongst other factors too.

Ukes with more select tonewoods for instance, or which are the product of a major ukulele brand are going to set you back that bit more. And it’s much the same story with those that have amassed mass popularity or have been designed in collaboration with a music artist. The Cordoba 15CM for instance, or the Fender’s Billie Eilish ukulele.

However, when it comes to buying a ukulele, you should really be asking yourself just 1 question: what features do I need? Not what you want. Look for these first & you should be able to find yourself a uke that’s not only suitable, but also the best value for money. Must-follow advice if you’re on a strict budget.

There’s no universal sign of a good ukulele. In fact, what with the barrier that is the internet, spotting the best ukulele for your situation can be quite the task. Drawbacks of most music retailers migrating online. BUT that’s not to say it’s impossible. 

If anything, providing you play your cards right, tracking down the best quality ukulele isn’t actually all that difficult. Here’s the 3 main signs of a good ukulele…

  • Unique shape/ footprint – Just like with every industry where mass production plays a part, details & designs are often copied. So before buying any ukulele, be sure to do your homework in regards to its dimensions. To save on development costs, some cheap ukes actually use the same patterns as more expensive models, meaning that if you’re after a proper bargain, you may even be able to get yourself that professional Fender or Kala sound for a fraction of the £$€. Useful to know. 
  • Materials & quality – A lot of ukes use the same woods, but did you know that not all ukes that use the same woods, sound the same?! Reason being that it’s not just wood type that affects the acoustics of your uke. Subtle details like the thickness of the wood, slight differences in shape & even the type of lacquer or wood treatment used, can impact the overall sound. Not to mention the age of the wood, as well as whereabouts in the world it’s been sourced; maple grown in the USA has slightly different acoustic qualities than that grown in the UK. Pro players – take note.
  • A reputable brand  – Now, as much as we’d encourage you to not judge a uke purely on brand, we would say that it’s a good guide as to its quality. Buy a uke from an established instrument brand – your Fender, Kala, Cordobas etc. – & chances are, you’ve placed a safe bet. A lot of ukuleles made by these companies have been rigorously tested & even endorsed by certain famous faces, so the chances of you being chuffed with your new purchase are in a realistic world… pretty high. 

DISCLAIMER: By this, we are not in any way saying you shouldn’t trust smaller uke brands, nor Amazon exclusive brands. In our experience, quite a lot of these types of ukes put up a good fight both in terms of build & tone, if you shop carefully.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that from a purchase safety perspective, they do pose somewhat more of a risk. Aside from having less of a reputation behind them, they typically don’t have as many customer reviews or pieces of online coverage. Another good indication as to a good ukulele.

Starter ukes – for 99% of players, they’re the uke that gives them ‘the bug’; a well chosen first uke is more than often the start of any ukulele fascination. Call them the instrument that waters the seed of a pro player. So to not do your research & land yourself is really just doing yourself a major disservice. 

Opt for a bad first ukulele & it could end up working against you – i.e. instead of an inspiration, become major turn-off. So much so that it might even put you off pursuing ukulele altogether!! So to help you get the best ukulele you can first time round, here’s 3 characteristics we’d look for if you’re in the market for a starter uke…

  • A solid bundle – Now, while some of you may say bundles are there to entice you to buy an average quality instrument, we beg to differ. See, providing the bundle includes quality kit, we actually think it’s a green light. Put it this way, some of the best string manufacturers – Aquila for instance – wouldn’t allow for their strings to be bundled with (i.e. associated with) ukuleles that they don’t approve of. That’s food for thought.
  • Review, review, reviews – Okay, so while reviews aren’t technically a characteristic of a uke, they’re certainly a major trust factor that you should be looking for. Why? Because it not only gives you an insight into what others think, but also shows you who a uke is aimed at – beginner, intermediate, professional for instance. So to overlook reviews (especially as a beginner) would be a very foolish move. 
  • Pick up & play friendly – As much as every beginner wants to calve out their own unique sound & wants to become a ukulele pro, when it comes down to basic learning, you should be looking for an instrument that’s relatively simplistic. One that screams pick-up-&-play! Reason being that when you’re first starting out, you want as little restrictions as humanly possible. Learning is hardly going to be easy if your uke is awkward to tune or requires professional levels of know-how to achieve a good tone. Simplicity is key here. Don’t ever forget that.

Your choice here really all comes down to preference.

In fact, there’s a fair few differences between the two. Here’s a rundown of the major difference between soprano & concert ukuleles that we think you should be aware of…

  • Size & footprint – As you’d expect, the most immediate difference between the two is size. Being the smallest sized uke produced, Soprano ukes are slightly more compact. It’s the neck where the largest difference can be found – with a concert uke it tends to be around 1 inch longer. But don’t get us wrong – both are great for travel purposes (neither is what you’d call HUGE), although if you’re buying for young ones under the age of 10, sopranos do tend to be the better choice.
  • Tone & overall acoustics – With soprano ukes, the body is also slightly smaller than that of a concert. Something that as you can imagine, has a noticeable affect on tone & the overall size of your sound. Being slightly bigger, with a concert uke the sound resonates at a larger rate, leading to a wider & slightly more airy sound. Concert ukes also do tend to be louder than sopranos too, hence the name. They’re the ideal accompaniment for a concert. 
  • Budget/ suitability – While virtually anyone could make great tunes with either a soprano or concert uke, it has to be said that certain aspects of their design do appeal to different players. If you’re after something that’s casual & very ‘pick-up-&-play’, then it’s likely that the soprano would be your best bet. Whereas if you’re a bit more serious about learning ukulele & one day hope to perform, then a concert would likely be your best bet. Plus, in terms of pricing, the digits reflect that. Concert ukes tend to demand a more premium price. 

With wood being the main ingredient of any ukulele, as you can imagine, it’s a highly important component. Important to the point that it cannot be ignored! Do your research & you should see that there’s certain types of wood that’re used frequently in the production of ukes. And these haven’t been nicknamed by mistake. 

Collectively, they’re known as tonewoods & are the favoured wood types used by instrument manufacturers, due to their impact on acoustics. In which case, if you’re looking to find a uke which creates a specific type of tone, then you’d benefit from brushing up on tonewoods. Here’s 3 that we think all uke players should know…  

  • Mahogany – Arguably the most popular ukulele wood for good reason. If you’re after focused tones that remain ever so slightly soft, then Mahogany just works. Ukes made of Mahogany typically have a far more focused mid range & really embody that classic ‘ukeish’ tone.
  • Rosewood – Aside form being one of the strongest & most durable woods used to make ukuleles, Rosewood also gives a ukulele a very distinctive tone. In comparison to Mahogany (above) ukuleles made of Rosewood are slightly more bright & work to give the highs & lows that bit extra umph.
  • Koa – Interesting one. You see, Koa actually shares its roots with the ukulele – it’s Hawaiian. So out of all ukulele woods we guess you could say it’s the most authentic. Acoustically, it’s pretty much a 50/50 between Rosewood & Mahogany (above). So aside from looking pretty darn impressive in terms of grain & pattern, you could say it’s the most individual sounding too.

Afraid not… Hawaii isn’t China.

In fact, due to tourism, Ukuleles in Hawaii actually come at quite the premium. Buy off a local retailer (who’s probably upselling a few of the ukes you see here in this blog), & you’ll likely end up paying somewhere in the region of £500. In other words, you’re paying for the buying experience, less so the uke.

So really, unless you can grab yourself a week off work & an off-peak £1 plane ticket, we’d stick to Amazon or any other online retailer. With Prime, your uke could be there with you the very next day – quicker than it’d probably even take you top get packed & reach the airport.

Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.

As the name suggests, the type of ukulele that sounds most like a guitar would be the guitarlele.

Simple reason being that it’s in essence a ukulele that also doubles as a 1/4 size guitar. The most noticeable difference been the strings. While a ukulele has 4, the guitarlele (just like a classical guitar) has 6. Go on to team that with how a guitarlele is tuned (ADGCEA) & you soon see why the two sound so similar. The note combo above can be replicated o a guitar by simply adding a capo the 5th fret.

Want to hear why a guitarlele (out of any uke) sounds the most like a guitar? Take a listen to this comparison…

YouTube video

Yep – as you’ve probably gathered by now from reading this blog, ukuleles come in 4 main types (5 if you include the guitarlele). So to help you really get to grips with he difference, here’s a comparison between the main 4…

  • Soprano – This breed of uke is conventionally known as the ‘standard’ in terms of size & is arguably the closest you’ll get to the original ukuleles that were smuggled to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants back in the late 1800s. The majority of sopranos usually have 12 frets & have a range of roughly 2 octaves.
  • Tenor – Roughly 50 years after the soprano, we were given the tenor uke. An instrument that came about because of the high demand for ukes with a BIGGER fuller sound that specifically could be used to perform. As a result, tenor ukes have more frets (around 15-20) & have a wider dynamic range.
  • Concert – Think of these as the sister to a tenor uke… they came into the world at virtually the same time, only they’re slightly different. While the tenor was specifically geared towards performance, concert ukes are (tonally) designed to be a mix of the tenor & the soprano – loud enough for performance, yet still remain ‘ukeish’ in sound. Some argue that tenor ukes sound more like a guitar.
  • Baritone – Ukes that go by this name are (excluding the guitarlele) some of the most ‘guitar-ish’ you can find. Baritones are tuned down a 4th, which basically means that their strings are tuned inline with the highest 4 strings of the guitar (DGBE). Thus giving the baritone a far more bassy tone.

What is the most popular ukulele really all depends on what you define as popular.

If the general consensus is what you’re basing this on, then your answer would be the soprano. As far as ukes go, this is typically what the Everyday Joe thinks of when they hear the phrase ‘ukulele’ & is the first choice of most casual players. However, if you were to analyse hardcore uke fans/ players, then it’s likely the answer wold differ.

Due to its flexibility, the most popular uke in this case would non doubt be the concert; for a keen uke player, the concert is pretty much the perfect blend. Tonally, it remains very similar to the soprano in that it retains that characterful ‘ukeish’ tone, yet in terms of volume, it’s a heap more capable than the soprano. Concert ukuleles are significantly louder & are (as the name suggests) very popular when it comes to performance.

We have nothing against the Chinese, but… those ukes that’re made in China (while not all bad) are the ones we’d say you should be more cautious about purchasing.

A few examples of these sorts of brands include…

  • ADM
  • Kaka
  • Hricane
  • Huawind

Reason being that while posing as decent instruments in terms of value, because they’re likely mass manufactured, the quality of something like a Kala uke (which is made in California, USA) or a Cordoba uke (which is often made in Portugal) is likely to be FAR superior. Something that reflects itself through their tone & overall finish.

That’s not to say you can’t achieve a solid sound with these ukes – you can. Only it could take you significantly longer + potentially make learning ukulele that bit more challenging. Whether that’s a good thing or not is really up for you to decide.