7 Factors to Consider When Buying Ukuleles – Island Bazaar Ukes

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7 Factors to Consider When Buying Ukuleles

If you want to learn how to play a ukulele, you should know your options before buying. Here are factors to consider when buying ukuleles.

Did you know there are health benefits to playing an instrument? 

If you already play or are looking to start, the ukulele is a fantastic and versatile instrument you can hear in almost every genre of music.

In this article, we will discuss seven different factors you should consider when buying ukuleles.

1. Comparing Ukulele Prices

Ukulele pricing can range quite a bit depending on what you're looking for. If you are looking to purchase a higher-end ukulele, figure out a range that works for your budget and go from there. 

You don't want to go cheap when it comes to ukuleles. You will not be happy with your purchase of inferior wood and parts. The most inexpensive ukuleles can feel like a kids' toy.

2. Different Ukulele Sizes

When considering the sizing for your ukulele, you want to keep a few things in mind. The size will affect the tone. As your ukulele gets bigger, the deeper the tone will be. 

If you have large fingers, a smaller soprano ukulele might not be the one for you. There are plenty of ukulele options out there; you have to find what you feel comfortable with.

Soprano 

A soprano ukulele is also considered a "standard" ukulele. These tend to be 21" long and have a 13"scale length, with 12-15 frets. 

A soprano ukulele tends to be high pitched, with a bright sound. These are great beginner ukuleles to get used to chord positions. 

Concert

A concert ukulele is 23" long and a scale length of 15". They have between 15-20 frets.

This type of ukulele is a little bigger than a soprano ukulele which makes it a bit easier to handle, and it still sounds a bit like a soprano ukulele. The concert ukulele has slightly more distance between frets as well. 

Tenor

A tenor ukulele is much larger than a concert or soprano ukulele. These ukes are 26" in length, have a scale length of 17", and also have between 15-20 frets.

They don't have the same bright, familiar ukulele sound. These ukes sound a little bit more like a guitar. If you are a beginner, you'd be better off starting with a soprano or a tenor.

3. Shape

You are probably most familiar with a ukulele in the figure-eight shape. They look kind of like miniature guitars. 

The other shape you can find is a pineapple ukulele. This type of uke was invented in Hawaii and got its name because it looks like a pineapple cut in half. Some people think a pineapple-shaped ukulele is a little bit louder than the figure eight.  

4. Type of Wood

Are you wondering what types of wood ukuleles are made from? There are so many different types!

Koa

High-end ukuleles are made of this wood. Koa gives the uke an excellent warm sound. 

Mahogany 

This type of wood creates a soft sound that emphasizes low frequencies. It's used in the middle to low-end ukuleles and is relatively common.

Spruce

Spruce gives a ukulele a bright sound. This type of wood is often used for guitars as well.

Other Tonewoods

There are many other types of tonewood ukuleles you can find on the market. The differences in the wood can create subtle tone differences. You should try a few different tonewoods out to see if one seems right to your ear.

5. Laminated Wood vs. Solid Wood

You should also understand the difference between laminated wood and solid wood. 

Laminated wood means that the interior of your ukulele is made of a cheaper type of wood, like plywood. After the body is constructed, it is finished with wood that is a little more high quality. 

One of the best parts of a laminated wood ukulele is that it won't be as sensitive to temperature changes, and it's a little more durable. For your first ukulele, laminated wood will do you well. 

Solid wood ukuleles are more expensive, but it's for a reason. The sound is superior, and the wood tends to age well. They are of higher quality than laminated wood ukuleles. 

6. Tips to Keep Your Ukulele Protected

These tips will help prevent irreversible damage to your ukulele. Follow these guidelines, and you'll have a great instrument for years to come!

You should play with a proper grip. This will prevent you from dropping your ukulele on the ground. 

Store your ukulele in a safe place. Please don't put it on top of high shelves or near a fireplace.

Invest in a hard case. A hard case will prevent accidents from happening.

Keep an eye on the humidity. Wood instruments can be touchy when it comes to the humidity in your home or apartment. High humidity can cause the wood of your uke to swell, which leads to a ton of different issues. If it's too dry, the wood can dry out and crack. 40-60% humidity is the sweet spot.

Don't leave your ukulele in a hot car. They don't like heat. 

Consider cleaning your fretboard regularly. This can help get rid of oily buildup.  

7. Acoustic or Electroacoustic

Choosing between acoustic or electroacoustic will be your preference. Electroacoustic ukuleles are better if you are performing live or need to amplify the sound for some reason. 

If you are playing your ukulele at home, acoustic is probably the way to go. 

Now You Know What to Consider When Buying Ukuleles 

When looking to bring home your ukulele, remember to pick one that works for you and your budget. Keep what you've learned here in mind and find one that you have fun playing. 

Buying ukuleles should be an exciting experience! If you are starting to play or are a ukulele collector, a new uke is waiting for you in our store.

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