Today we look at 10 of the best beginner ukuleles with options from Fender, Alvarez, Eastcoast and more. Essentially, these are some of our favourite cheap ukuleles that don’t suck!
There are a few things you need to consider when you’re trying to find the best ukuleles for beginners. Namely what size ukulele you want and whether you want a ukulele that’ll last you a lifetime and be able to handle years of use. As we’ve always said when it comes to our ‘cheap instruments that don’t suck’ series, when we say “cheap”, we simply mean budget friendly.
This means the ukuleles we’ve chosen in this blog are budget friendly, making them ideal for beginners who just want to test the water when it comes to learning ukulele and don’t want to spend a lot of money.
We’ve also added a few more options in for those who know they’re going to continue with it.
If you haven’t already read our ukulele size guide, I’d suggest doing so as it gives you a better idea of what we’re talking about when we mention Soprano, Tenor, Concert or Baritone ukuleles.
As a recap, here’s the 4 main types of ukulele (in size ascending order):
- Soprano Ukulele
- Concert Ukulele
- Tenor Ukulele
- Baritone Ukulele
Here’s Our Top 10 Best Beginner Ukuleles That Don't Suck
1. Eastcoast US Soprano Ukulele
Eastcoast is probably one of the best ukulele brands for beginners as they make budget friendly ukuleles that sound great, feel good to play and don’t cost the earth ensuring the world of ukulele is open to everyone.
The Eastcoast US Soprano ukulele, pictured here in white, is one of the best ukuleles for beginners thanks to the low price tag of £25. That’s not a lot of money considering the quality of sound and playability on offer here.
It’s no fuss, with a Basswood body and Nato neck as well as a comfortable Composite Walnut fingerboard.
Available in a range of different colours here.
2. Eastcoast US40-S Solid-Top Traditional Soprano Ukulele
We’re moving up a little in terms of budget here, but we’re still within the realms of cheap ukuleles. The key difference between this and the previous model is the use of a Solid Mahogany top and a Mahogany back and sides. This makes a massive difference when it comes to sound, and provides a far warmer and less ‘toy-like’ sound. You still get that ‘plinky’ ukulele sound, except a little warmer and more satisfying.
It’s a soprano size, so it’s perfect starter ukulele for children and a great entry level option for players of all levels who want to start playing ukulele. We love the Eastcoast US40-S Solid-Top Traditional Soprano Ukulele and you will too!
3. Korala Polycarbonate Concert Ukulele
The Korala Polycarbonate Concert Ukulele is another cheap ukulele that certainly doesn’t suck. It’s also one of the best beginner ukuleles or those who have slightly larger hands owing to the concert size. A concert ukulele is slightly bigger in scale than a soprano, so it has more room on the fretboard and larger space between frets. We also think it’s a contender for the best beginner ukulele as it only costs £25 – so it’s not a big investment. A fully Polycarbonate body is robust and hardwearing, so it’s a great travel option whilst the chambered back design provides a warm defined sound. With the Korala PUC-30 series you also have a choice of different designs on the body, making them great for all styles and tastes.
4. Fender California Coast Venice Soprano Ukulele
Just because you’re just starting out in the world of ukulele, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a high-quality option. The Fender California Coast Venice Soprano Ukulele is a standout beginner ukulele that partners Fender’s expert craftsmanship with some very nice tonewoods. What you get is a beautiful sounding ukulele with pro-level appointments that we can all afford.
The comfortable “C” shape neck profile makes learning ukulele a lot easier and reduces the chance of hand cramp when you’re chording or fretting. The no-tie bridge makes changing strings a LOT easier too, whilst the 4-in-line Telecaster-style headstock looks really cool. A Laminated Hardwood back and sides, laminated Linden top and Nato neck are all high quality tonewoods to encourage a nicer sound – this is not a toy but a lovely sounding instrument!
5. Cordoba Protege U1 Concert Ukulele
The Cordoba Protege U1 Concert Ukulele is one of Cordoba’s most popular ukes, thanks to the fact it’s been crafted using an all Mahogany top and back and sides. This results in a lush, warm sound that really sets it apart from some of the other options in this price bracket. The concert size is a little larger than the soprano, so ideal for adults, teenagers and those with bigger hands. This is definitely one of the best beginner ukuleles for those who want to enjoy a high-quality sound straight out of the box and for many years to come. At around £80, this is still one of the best cheap ukuleles that doesn’t suck.
6. Alvarez RU22T Tenor Ukulele Natural Satin
You’ll notice that we have a selection of Alvarez ukuleles in our best beginner ukulele list, that’s because they make superb quality options that we can all afford. In fact, they’re also one of the best ukulele brands for intermediate players and experienced players due to the tonewoods used. The Alvarez RU22T features professional level construction processes that help project the voice and provide a far more enjoyable playing experience, so it’s worth the extra investment.
It’s a tenor ukulele so it’s larger than the concert, and ideal for larger frames. This larger size also provides a deeper, richer sound overall, which is perfect for learning – you can hear everything! A slotted Techwood bridge and dovetail neck construction ensure tuning stability and resonant notes, so you’ll feel comfortable playing this for hours on end. Easily one of the best starter ukuleles for the price. The Alvarez RU22T Tenor Ukulele in Natural Satin is certainly one of the best cheap ukuleles that doesn’t suck.
7. Freshman Zebrawood Tenor Ukulele
We’re now in the realms of exotic tonewoods here, and it really makes a difference! A selection of Laminate Zebrano wood has been used to construct the Freshman Zebrawood Tenor Ukulele to offer a striking appearance as well as a unique tonal quality.
This is a performers ukulele priced at a beginner level.
Aspects like the walnut bridge which encourages greater string resonance and an ABS nut all provide extra sustain, whilst the tenor size provides a louder sound overall. This is perfect for learning on and for around the campfires at festivals!
8. Alvarez AU70WS Soprano Ukulele Natural Satin
If you prefer the smaller size of a soprano ukulele, but you still want an open sound with plenty of projection, then you should really take a look at the Alvarez AU70WS Soprano Ukulele pictured here in Natural Satin. This features pro-level tonewoods such as a Solid A+ Sitka Spruce Top and Walnut Back and Sides – all of which can be found on high-level acoustic guitars thanks to the tonal qualities.
We love it as it provides a huge sound and lush resonance that really shines through. A perfect beginner ukulele that won’t break the bank and won’t look out of place when you transfer to the live arena.
9. Freshman UKEBONYT Ebony Tenor Ukulele
The Freshman UKEBONYT Ebony Tenor Ukulele is perfect for those who like their instruments to look a little different. At under £100, it’s definitely one of the best cheap ukuleles around. The Freshman UKEBONYT has been crafted with a Laminate Ebony body to provide a darker sound than most and offer a unique look that really stands out from the crowd. It’s also adorned with a selection of beautiful binding designs and a striking soundhole ring which offers something different from the other options out there. A stunning beginner ukulele that intermediate players will also enjoy.
10. Gretsch G9100 Soprano Standard Ukulele With Gigbag
Finally, we have the Gretsch G9100 Soprano Standard Ukulele with Gigbag. This is perfect for those who know they’re going to stick with playing and don’t mind stretching to just over £100.
Gretsch know a thing or two about making superior quality guitars and have transferred that knowledge into the world of ukuleles. The Gretsch G9100 Soprano Ukulele offers lush tone and playability at an affordable price. We think it’s one of the best beginner ukuleles as the high quality construction and sound really encourages learners to enjoy what they’re playing – which will likely be the difference between sticking at it and giving up! This is constructed with a Mahogany crafted top, back and sides and a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge – all classic tonewoods. The Mahogany stain looks beautiful and the fact you get a gig bag with it makes it a great option for those who want something to transport to lessons.