What better way to get into creating your own music than on a ukulele?
As a traditional Hawaiian instrument, it has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years, with many popular musicians integrating the soft sound of the uke into their songs. It’s perfect for chord strumming coupled with singing and works great even when used within a smaller, acoustic band.
There are, however, different sizes, tonewood choices and a couple of other features that differentiate ukuleles for different purposes.
In this article, we will focus on the best concert ukes, the advantages and important specs to consider when buying the perfect one.
Different Ukulele Sizes
Having different body dimensions as well as scale lengths, there are a couple of things to consider when buying a ukulele.
The Concert size lands between the smaller soprano version, and the bigger tenor ukulele. You can check out a comparison of the sizes here.
The main advantages of the Concert type are the slightly bigger body and longer neck. The most common size of this type is 23 inches.
This means you get more space for fretting (although less than on a tenor or baritone), but in a form factor that’s still compact enough for you to easily carry it around.
The sound you get is like the original and traditional soprano one, but a bit louder, which is perfect for playing outdoors or with other musicians.
Choice of Tonewood
The tonewood used for the ukulele not only dictates the overall feel and sturdiness of the instrument but also has a great impact on the shape and color of the sound.
Mahogany – common not only for acoustic guitars but for ukuleles as well. The sound it provides can be described as warm and dark
Koa – native to Hawaii, resonates nicely and gives the instrument a well- balanced tone with a wide frequency range
Sapele – coming from Africa, this tonewood is much stiffer and harder to bend than Mahogany. It gives the sound an extra crisp treble, with that “zing” vibe
Agathis – a bit softer than other options, sounds kind of like Mahogany, but a bit more balanced
How much money do I need to spend?
You can find most instruments from under $100 to $25,000 or even more. To a certain price point quality improves, but it’s a question of what exactly you want from an instrument.
If you’re a beginner, getting a cheaper ukulele should do the job just fine. Check the build quality and specs, and try to go for at least somewhat known companies. You'll be happy with anything under $100.
On the other hand, the ukulele is a fairly small and simple instrument, and even the premium models don’t usually cost that much. If you have experience and consider yourself an intermediate or even expert musician, you probably know exactly what you’re looking for.
That pretty much wraps up the most important specs and features you should consider when searching for the best ukulele. Now let’s take a look at our pick of the 5 best ukuleles on the market.
1. Makanu Mahogany Concert Ukulele
Though based in China, Makanu has a wide range of great instruments to offer, and this uke is no exception.
Each ukulele is carefully hand made and is very durable and sturdy. The choice of tonewood is Mahogany and complements the Rosewood fingerboard nicely.
The glossy finish gives this uke a nice appearance, as well as an extra layer of protection against scratches. The floral pattern around the soundhole attributes to the Hawaiian vibe.
As it provides clear and loud sound, the pleasing tones make it very fun and enjoyable to play.
For just under $50 this ukulele comes with a handy bag, making it the perfect option for traveling and carrying around.
2. Donner Concert Ukulele DUC- 1
Donner, with the DUC- 1 Concert Ukulele shows that they pay attention to every single detail when crafting their instruments.
This ukulele is amazingly comfortable to handle and play. Both the body and neck are Mahogany, and all of the wood that ends up making the instrument is hand- felt by the folks at Donner to ensure optimal thickness, comfort, and durability.
The Indian Rosewood bridge holds the strings in place in a unique way, allowing easy string changing.
Sporting a warm sound, this uke maintains sound clarity even at higher volume levels.
For around $60, the DUC- 1 is a great value buy, and a solid ukulele for both beginners and more advanced musicians.
3. Hricane UKS- 1
Hrican states that their ukes are not top of the line, but offer a great starting point for all the musicians that want to get into the world of music.
In our opinion, the UKS- 1 has the most appealing design. The Sapele body not only feels solid but gives this uke a sleek matte look.
If you’re looking for a ukulele with an extra kick in the highs, go for this one, as it offers that metallic- bright sound.
A gig bag is also included, at the surprisingly low price point of around $60.
4. Kala MK- C Makala
If you’re an absolute beginner, check the MK- C Makala out. For well under $100, you’ll be getting incredible value.
This uke rocks an Agathis body, which, as we’ve stated previously, sounds similar to Mahogany, dark and warm, but still well- balanced.
Though Agathis can be a bit softer to the touch, this ukulele feels sturdy enough. The whole design is a bit darker, with the finish and rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
The included tuner is pretty handy, especially if you don’t know to tune your uke by ear. The provided bag isn’t padded and doesn’t look very durable, but it will do the job.
What makes this uke perfect for newbie musicians is the included DVD with instructions and basic lessons.
5. Concert Size Ukulele Bundle from Lohanu (LU- C)
Last, but certainly not least, we have the LU- C bundle by Lohanu. This company is known as one of the better ones in the ukulele business.
Tonewood of choice for both the body and neck is a combination of Sapele and Mahogany, giving it that extra versatility when it comes to tone.
Having an arched back design makes this uke very comfortable to play, and the mounted strap buttons come in handy with the included strap.
This bundle has got you covered, as it also includes a bag, tuner, extra strings and a couple of picks.
The LU- C bundle is guaranteed to satisfy more advanced players, as well as provide a good learning environment for beginners.
That pretty much wraps things up. We hope that this article helped you in choosing the best concert ukulele for your needs. Thanks for reading!