What are the six best ukulele for beginners? That's a question that many beginning musicians get asking at some point or another. There are six highly recommended models, and they fall into two categories: Soprano and Tenor. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Which one you choose will depend on your personal taste, the sound you are looking to create, and the price range you're working within.
Soprano Ukuleles are made in the "Sopranino" family, named after the great Italian composer and musician Mario Lanza. They are made with a steel headstock, which is covered in rosewood for the distinctive baroque sound. This style is considered classical by many of today's ukulele players and is one of the most popular for beginners. Sopranino ukuleles are great for string basses because they are so tightly wound. Because they are so tightly wound, they are very efficient for a beginning ukulele player, but can also be a little rough on the ears for beginning guitarists.
Tenor ukuleles, sometimes called concert ukuleles, are traditionally made from a wood called ash. Ash has a sweet, rich, musky sound to it that is perfect for beginning guitarists. They are usually heavier than soprano models, but that weight makes them ideal for beginners as well. The tenors are also very commonly used for the flamenco and salsa genres of music. Tenor ukuleles are also great for beginners as the thick, dark wood gives them a dark, complex sound without being heavy.
Fretless ukuleles are another option for beginners. These are made with a wooden body and a plastic or metal fret board. The fretboards are usually covered in graphite to give the instrument a brighter tone, but many beginning guitarists prefer these instruments simply because they do not have all of the electronics that a soprano or tenor possesses. Some fretless ukuleles are made with a vintage feel, and may resemble an acoustic guitar. Many players feel that these instruments do not have as much sustain as other models, but they are good for improvisation as well.
Nylon strings are popular for beginning players because of their affordability and tone. The nylon strings produce a deeper, more musky sound than the string that is found on the average guitar. Another advantage to using nylon strings is that you can usually get away with playing many different octaves by using just one single finger rather than having to use two fingers for a regular guitar. This is another advantage that makes the ukulele ideal for beginners as well as experienced players.
Ukulele players should usually avoid playing a single note whilst strumming a single string because this is considered too "open" a tone. Ukulele players should instead experiment with changing up their patterns to create varying tonal patterns. Two standard tonewoods that are common among ukulele players are rosewood and mahogany, which are great for creating a classic single note sound, or even creating a varied array of tones by combining these two tonewoods with various types of fingerboard patterns.
Tuning machines are another feature commonly used by ukulele players. Tuning machines are electronic devices which provide precise, consistent tunings for beginners. Because these devices are computer based, all it takes is a simple click of a button to create a tunable sound for your instrument. The best models can also automatically adjust themselves as you improve on your technique and playing ability, so there is no need to worry about tuning your instrument each time you practice.
The most commonly tuned instrument in the world is the tenor ukulele. Tenor instruments are great for both the church choir and private homes because of their rich deep tone and wide range of timbre. The ukulele has a similar timbre range but it does not have the deep tone of the tenor instrument. A popular style of ukulele for beginners is the soprano ukulele, which is tuned similar to the bass soprano.