Is your heart set on the bright-sounding ukulele? Well, now it's time to buy one! Buying a ukulele is definitely not the same as buying a car, but there are a few things you should remember before buying one, so you don't end up with a purchase you regret.

Method 1 of 2:
Choosing a Size and Material

  1. 1
    Pick a soprano ukulele if you’re just starting out. Soprano is the most common and smallest type of ukulele. They have the jangly, light sound commonly associated with ukuleles. People with larger hands or fingers might have difficulties playing the soprano ukulele, as the frets are closer together, but they are great if you’re a beginner.[1]
    • If you’re ordering online, buying a soprano ukulele is your safest bet.
  2. 2
    Buy a concert ukulele for a fuller, deeper sound. Concert, or alto, ukuleles are a bit bigger than the soprano, so they have a deeper and fuller tone. It has a longer neck and more frets, and it’s easier to play if you have large hands.[2]
    • If you’re just starting out and you’re worried about how small the soprano is because your hands are pretty big, go with a concert ukulele.
  3. 3
    Purchase a tenor ukulele if you’re a performer. The tenor ukulele is bigger than both the soprano and the concert, so it has an even deeper and more rich tone. If you plan to put on shows with your ukulele, a tenor is your best bet.[3]
    • You can still perform with a soprano and a concert ukulele, but the sound might not carry as well.
  4. 4
    Go for a baritone ukulele if you want to play the blues. The baritone is the biggest ukulele size, so it’s closer to a small guitar. It won’t give you the classic high-pitched notes that soprano ukuleles play, but it’s great for folky blues music.[4]
    • If you’re just starting out, don’t try a baritone. Wait until you’ve had some practice on a more classic ukulele size.
  5. 5
    Try a plastic ukulele for a more affordable option. Although classic ukuleles are made out of wood, you can find starter ukuleles made of plastic that are usually cheaper. These usually come in a range of colors, so they’re great if you want a bright, eye-catching instrument.[5]
    • Plastic ukuleles won’t warp in high temperatures or high humidity like their wooden counterparts, but they also don’t have the depth of tone that wooden ukuleles do.
    • You can always start with a plastic ukulele and then move onto a wooden one once you save up some money.

    Warning: Plastic ukuleles can also be difficult to tune.

  6. 6
    Buy a wooden ukulele for a long-lasting instrument. Classic ukuleles are made out of either solid or laminate wood. These instruments will last you a long time and can range in price, but may be slightly more expensive than plastic ones.[6]
    • Solid wood ukuleles will give you a better tone, but they are more vulnerable to temperature and can warp if the humidity is above 60%.
    • Laminate wood is less expensive and not as vulnerable to temperature and humidity, but ukuleles made out of this material may not have a quality tone.
  7. 7
    Find an acoustic-electric ukulele if you want to play shows or record. Classic ukuleles are full acoustic, meaning they can’t plug into an amplifier or sound recording equipment. If you plan on playing shows or recording music with your ukulele, look for one that’s equipped with electric parts to handle your extra equipment.[7]
    • Electric-acoustic ukuleles are usually more expensive, so if you’re buying one for the first time, you may want to stick with a full acoustic one.
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Method 2 of 2:
Shopping for a Ukulele

  1. 1
    Set a budget between $50 and $200. If you get a ukulele much cheaper than that, it probably won’t be good quality and may not last you very long. Stick within this range if it’s your first ukulele, and go up in price if you want a professional-grade one.[8]
    • Professional-grade ukuleles can range from $250 to $1000.
    • You can find ukuleles online for $25 to $30, but they aren’t good quality and probably won’t sound great.
  2. 2
    Check the dimensions of the ukulele if you’re shopping online. It’s not always possible to go into a physical location to find an instrument, and that’s okay. If you are buying a ukulele online, make sure you read the description of the size, material, and quality of it before you make a purchase.[9]
    • You may also want to read the reviews before you purchase your ukulele.
    • Try finding ukuleles online from reputable music shops, like Sweetwater or Guitar Center.
  3. 3
    Try out ukuleles in a music store before you buy one. The best way to see if you like a ukulele is to hold it and practice strumming. If you can, find a local music store in your area and go in to test out a few different brands, styles, and sizes of ukuleles.[10]

    Tip: If you have a friend that plays ukulele, consider asking them if you can try out their instrument to see if you like it.

  4. 4
    Hold each ukulele to see if it’s comfortable. Depending on the size of ukulele and the length of your arms, you may need a smaller or larger body size. Rest the ukulele in your lap while holding the arm with one hand, keeping the instrument at an angle. Strum the ukulele with your other hand to see if it’s comfortable or not.[11]
    • If the elbow on your strumming arm feels uncomfortable or trapped, you may need a smaller ukulele.
    • If your fingers can’t move between frets very well, you may need a smaller ukulele.
    • If your fingers are too large to hold 1 fret at a time, try a large ukulele size.
  5. 5
    Check the quality of the ukulele before you buy it. Look for cracks, dings, or damages in the body and neck of the ukulele before you make your purchase, especially if it’s used. The body should be solid without any breaks and the neck should be in a straight line without a bend to it.[12]
    • Damaged ukuleles may not sound as good and could become unusable very quickly.
  6. 6
    Make sure the frets lay flat on the neck of the ukulele. When the neck of a ukulele gets really dry, the frets can get pushed up and out of the wood or plastic itself. This phenomena, also called spining, is super hard to fix and can make your instrument sound out of tune. Hold the neck of the ukulele up to your eye level and check to see that the frets lay flat on the neck of the instrument.[13]
    • The frets are the metal lines on the neck underneath the strings of the ukulele.
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Community Q&A

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  • Question
    What do I need when I buy a ukulele?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    It would also be helpful to have tuner, a stand, a case (if it didn't come with one). Spare strings are a good idea too.
  • Question
    Are all ukuleles tuned in the same key? What key is it?
    jayla
    jayla
    Community Answer
    All ukuleles are tuned in the same key of C. The soprano, pineapple, concert and tenor all have G,C,E,A tuning, and the baritone strings are tuned to D,G,B,E.
  • Question
    Can I buy it on Amazon?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    You definitely can buy it online, but you won't know what it will sound like until you can play it. Personally, I'd prefer buying one in person at the store because then I can try several different ukuleles out and find the one I like best.
  • Question
    Will getting better strings make my soprano go out of tune less often?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    The standard nylon strings are fine for a soprano. If your ukulele is going out of tune, it could be because you're storing it in a dry environment. However, it's also common for new ukuleles to go out of tune more often. If it continues to be an issue, you can go to a music store and have them take a look.
  • Question
    Does the color matter?
    Peaceful_Birds92
    Peaceful_Birds92
    Community Answer
    What really matters is the sound and quality of the ukulele; the color is the type of wood it is.
  • Question
    What is the best ukulele brand to buy?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    I don't think there really is a "best brand" but I use and recommend Kalas. I also like Luna ukuleles.
  • Question
    What can I use as a portable ukulele case without having to buy one?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    I keep mine in the cardboard box it came in. However, in lieu of that, you could easily find a padded bag at the drugstore or box store that would hold it. Even look in the camping section or the beach bag section for one with extra padding that keeps items cool.
  • Question
    How do I attach a strap to the ukulele?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    There are lots of websites with tutorials on attaching straps, but the instructions will be different when describing different straps and techniques.
  • Question
    I have a soprano, and I really want another uke, perhaps concert. How do I convince my parents?
    Heiday
    Heiday
    Community Answer
    Explain why you want a different ukulele, as they may not see that there is much of a difference, so be prepared to explain that. It might also help to offer to pay for maybe half of it, since you've already got one.
  • Question
    Can I buy a ukulele online, and how much should a decent ukulele cost?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    You can buy a ukulele online, but it's not recommended. It's better to go to a music shop where you can test the instrument. My own ukulele was from the display case when I found out the one in the display case sounded better than the one in the box. It's little tests like that that can make a difference. It's also possible to get banged up in the process. A decent ukulele should start from $120 dollars and up.
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      Warnings

      • Wooden ukuleles can warp in high humidity. If you live in a humid area, consider buying a ukulele case and case dehumidifier to keep your instrument protected.[14]
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      wikiHow Staff
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      This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 28,534 times.
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      Co-authors: 18
      Updated: August 1, 2020
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