Choosing the Right Ukulele for Beginners

How do I choose the right Ukulele to start learning?

This would be one of the most common questions ukulele students ask me.

Here is what I would suggest.

If you are a looking buy a ukulele as beginner buy a cheap ukulele.

Yes, I know there are a lot of people who advise against purchasing a cheapie and urging beginners to purchase a high quality instrument. And yes there are valid reasons for this advice.

Everyone knows that playing a more expensive quality ukulele will give you better sound and ultimately be more satisfying as an instrument.

However at the risk of offending ukulele retailers whose aim is selling ukuleles with the highest profit margins I suggest the ignoring this advice and here’s why.

The strategy of purchasing a cheapie is  simply this.  You want to feel totally comfortable about taking your beginners ukulele everywhere with you. This is because when you are starting out learning ukulele the BEST thing you can possibly do is play your ukulele as much as you can.

No one would argue with that.

Even before I started to learn the ukulele I purchased a little cheap Mahalo ukulele. I think it cost $20 in 2006, and it’s still going strong even though I’ve now got several other more expensive ukuleles including a beautiful Hawaiian made Lanikai concert ukulele and a tenor ukulele.

Mahalo ukulele cheapies come in a riot of cool colours. Mine is a deep purple but you can also choose red, pink, baby blue, bright blue, yellow, orange, green, black, white and even mission brown. Mahalo also have cool pineapple styles too.

Take Out the Ukulele

Because my little purple Mahalo ukulele is so cheap I’ve taken my little uke all over the place – to beaches, parks, picnics, to friends’ places etc.  I take it with me in the car if I’m a passenger and play it on long trips or even on short trips and on the train.

I take my deep purple Mahalo ukulele to my Ukulele Baby Music shows and classes I give it to little kids to play with too. They love it!  These colourful ukuleles may look like toys but these ukes are real instruments – strong, sturdy and well able to handle knocks.

Which is the whole point.

And that’s why this strategy of buying a cheap little starter ukulele is a so good.  Because when you’re starting out learning a musical instrument it’s all about how often you play it. You’ll make faster progress if you pick it up and play the instrument a lot – every day – several times a day even.

Repetition and Muscle Memory
Learning to play ukulele is all about repetition leading to muscle memory often enough that it becomes totally natural.

And if you can make it fun and even chunk it with other activities such as long drive or a few hours sitting on the beach or at a park practice time is fun and before you know it you’ve spent a whole bunch of time practicing.

Handle with Care
On the other hand let’s say you did purchase a more expensive ukulele as your starter.  Now you’re worried about knocking it about.  So you won’t want to take it on a drive or to the beach.  And what that means is you’ll miss out on great opportunities to practice playing ukulele while you’re out and about.

And because you’ll be missing out being able to do some silent strumming and finger positioning which can be easily done while you’re talking with others and just hanging out  you won’t progress as fast learning to play ukulele.

So that’s the key – buy a cheap knock about ukulele that you can feel good about taking with you everywhere – so you can spend that valuable time putting your fingers into perfect position on the frets making silent chords, and practicing strumming.

And then once you’ve mastered the basics of chords and strumming and you go on to purchase a better ukulele now you’ve got your spare little starter uke.

A Spare to Share with friends
And then when friends come around and visit you can hand over your spare beginners ukulele and show them a few starter chords and how to play.  You can be the teacher and the learning goes even deeper then. And then you can have a great time jamming. And that’s even more practice too.

And that all adds up to you becoming a ukulele player quickly. Which is really what you want as a beginner isn’t it?

Do the math.
My deep purple Mahalo uke is a fantastic little instrument and it just keeps going on and on and on – even with the same strings that I bought with it. And for $20 bucks or so over 4 years that works out to be…under $5 a year or something like that.

Here’s something surprising for songwriters.

While I was a beginner learning on my little deep purple Mahalo ukulele all these simple little children’s songs started flowing out. I ended up writing and recording an entire album of children’s songs.

Beth Nielsen Chapman remarked during her songwritng workshops in Australia and Nashville USA that some instruments have lots of songs in them while others do not.

She confessed that although she owns some magnificent musical instruments she found that it was often the humble cheapie instruments that had the songs flowing out while the more expensive ones often don’t.

Now that my album is finished and available people all over the world are buying it on iTunes and from my website. And the songs did not care if they were written on a cheapie beginners uke. * The songs were just happy being born on a cheapie ukulele as an expensive ukulele.

Anyway you look at it – buying yourself a cheap ukulele to begin learning ukulele has many great benefits. And becoming a better ukulele player quickly is really what you want isn’t it?

Anyway you look at it – buying yourself a cheap ukulele to begin learning ukulele has many great benefits.

For more information
Zelda Sheldon
Ukulele Lessons Today

Another tip from the creator of ‘The world’s easiest ukulele teaching system.’

Learn at home with me coming to you via skype.
In your very first Skype lesson you’ll be playing a mega-hit song.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Goethe

* Tiny Little Fingers’ the debut album from Ukulele Baby Music

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Goethe

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