5 Ukulele Brands To Avoid in 2021 | Buyer’s Guide

Despite being available in many types, there are some ukulele brands to avoid when purchasing. The reasons behind this are the poor quality of build and inconsistent sound of tones. Playing an inferior ukulele would not be fun at all. It would also reduce the quality of the performance and disappoint the audience. So choosing the right instrument for the price you pay is essential. Here are some of the worst ukulele brands to avoid that can save you from any disappointments. 

List of Ukulele Brands to Avoid

These brands have been selected as worst upon several factors such as tone consistency, durability, return on cost, and their overall performance.

1. Diamond Head DU-150

Diamond Head DU-150

This is a budget-friendly ukulele but has some flaws. Despite having a classic appearance, the players find it difficult to produce consistent sound from this. There are many negative feedbacks from people, which include the following issues.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Discordant sounds
  • Loose tuners and tightening cannot keep them in tune
  • Low build quality, no sturdiness, and bend easily
  • Tough to play, and beginners might get frustrated

2. Kangaroo Ukulele

Kangaroo Ukulele

This is also defined as one of the ukulele brands to avoid due to its unsatisfactory quality of music produced. Even though this is designed for both adults and kids, the following problems make this unappealing.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Inability to hold tune
  • The fragile wooden construction breaks easily
  • Improper condition of strings
  • Too much plastic build

3. Kadence Ukulele

Kadence Ukulele

There are minor issues in this Kadence ukulele that needs to be fixed to make it work. However, since beginners are not experienced in this task, it might be challenging for them to play this instrument. This includes errors in the string length, narrow gap between strings, and strings that tend to break easily. Cosmetic wear on the body and ridges on the wood are also related issues. Before you purchase this, you need to check out the following conditions too.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Average sound quality
  • Made with cheap quality laminated woods
  • Difficulty to tune the instrument
  • Not ideal for students to learn

4. Martin Smith UK-222

Martin Smith UK-222

This brand is popular in the market due to its affordable prices. However, this may not be the perfect choice as there are certain flaws in the ukulele. The following issues are some of the reasons for its inconsistent quality.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Poor quality of strings
  • Certain notes are distorted, while some are acceptable
  • Very difficult to tune for a beginner
  • Terrible build quality as it breaks within a month

5. Low Profile Chinese Ukulele Brands

Chinese brands are well known for inexpensive products, which are often made of cheap material. They often create low-quality products, and hence even the good manufacturers who create quality products are also facing issues of losing the market. Since most low costly ukulele bands are Chinese, the names might be unfamiliar to buyers. Even some of them use top brands’ names and get the advantage of selling cheaper products at higher prices. Therefore make sure to avoid such fraudulent brands and always purchase from a legitimate, trustworthy manufacturer.

Here are some of the cheap editions of ukulele brands that you can find in the market.

  • Vangoa
  • ADM
  • Hricane
  • Kaka
  • Ammoon
  • Huawind
  • Donner

The above brands have a poor sound quality and are not suitable for beginners. Even experienced professionals have difficulty producing good music from these ukulele brands. Most of them use plastic bags in manufacturing, and the material used is of poor quality. The sound is distorted, and abnormal tones are produced when playing these. So this would harm the overall performance when these cheap ukuleles are used. So it is always better to go for recommended ukulele brands that have good reviews from players.

Recommended Ukulele Brands

Despite the availability of the worst ukulele brands to avoid in the market, many good ukulele brands can be found. Whether it is for a beginner or a professional, finding the ideal instrument is very important for practice. Here are some of the good ukulele brands available for purchase.

1. Kala KA-C Concert

Kala KA-C Concert

Known as the Satin Mahogany Concert, it has an attractive appearance with good sound quality. It is offered at a reasonable price and manufactured with good quality material. Premium solid wood and mahogany tops are used for the build. This is an ideal brand to start learning music from a ukulele. The overall pros and cons of this can be indicated as follows:

Pros

  • Standard quality of tone
  • Made of premium satin mahogany
  • Has premium quality strings
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Top-quality Mahogany wood

Cons

  • Ukuleles are not handmade
  • It consists of high strings

2. Cordoba 15CM (Concert Ukulele)

Cordoba 15CM (Concert Ukulele)

This brand of ukulele creates classic tones and is manufactured with sublime quality. This is an ideal pick for a concert ukulele. The build of mahogany top and rosewood fingerboard creates the perfect notes and are effectively amplified by the inbuilt electronics. Since it is handmade, there are no issues with the quality as well. Even though this may not be perfect for beginners, it is suitable for players who gravitate to the next level of their musical journey.

Pros

  • Handmade and high-quality
  • Best for larger handed players
  • Quality hardwood body
  • Has inbuilt electronics

Cons

  • Expensive than other Mahogany ukuleles

3. Luna Tattoo (Concert Ukulele)

Luna Tattoo (Concert Ukulele)

These ukuleles provide the perfect quality of ukulele at an affordable price. It is ideal for players of all ages and creates beautiful music as the instrument is versatile. The body is made according to a traditional Hawaiian design, and the designs and patterns are carved beautifully on the body. The quality is consistent in all the products, and the tones are stable and satisfying. The pros and cons of this instrument are as below.

Pros

  • Appealing warm tone
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Complete mahogany top and neck
  • Satin-finished body
  • Traditional Hawaiian ornamentation

Cons

  • Smaller in size

Buyer’s Guide

It might be an overwhelming experience to buy a musical instrument for the very first time. However, this might turn into frustration if you don’t make the right choice. As many sellers may try to persuade with cheap ukuleles, you need to know how to find the best among all the options. Here are few considerations that you might find important when buying a ukulele.

Why Should You Avoid Cheap Brands?

Most cheap ukuleles are sold with various accessories such as a case, additional strings, a tuner, and a strap. They also have built-in pickups that make them acoustic-electric instruments. However, if all these additional items are offered at a price even lower than the comparable branded ukulele, then there is a fair doubt about the quality of the instrument. The strings and tuners might be advantageous, but getting all these is not worth the investment if the ukulele is of low quality. Therefore, it is better to start with purchasing a good ukulele and focus on getting the accessories later.

Don’t Judge From the Look.

The appearance of the instrument can be deceptive. Even though the ukulele seems to be well polished and beautifully packaged, do not settle for it unless the sound production and durability are at their best levels. If you are purchasing this for the very first time, you should be very careful when picking the best.

What are the Types and Sizes of Ukulele?

Ukuleles come in various sizes and shapes. The main 4 types are Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone. The most common type among these is the soprano. The differences of these types are the variations in their full-lengths, scale lengths, and numbers of frets. The general specifications of these types are indicated here.

  • Soprano Ukulele: Full length: 21 inches, Scale length: 13 inches, Frets: 12-15.
  • Concert Ukulele: Full length: 23 inches, Scale length: 15 inches, Frets: 15-20.
  • Tenor Ukulele: Full length: 26 inches, Scale length: 17 inches, Frets: 15-20.
  • Baritone Ukulele: Full length: 30 inches, Scale length: 19 inches, Frets: at least 19.

Ukulele Assembly: Laminate VS Solid Wood

If a ukulele is made of laminate material or several layers of wood, then it is most likely to be a cheap product. The most inexpensive instruments are made of laminate, and they are more affordable and durable than wood. However, they have poor quality in the tones. The traditional ukulele made of solid wood creates the best music in a vibrant tone. Even though laminated ukuleles might be suitable for beginners, they are a better choice for traveling and casual playing rather than creating perfect music.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Ukulele brand for beginners?

There are no restrictions for choosing a brand, but the beginners should go for a type of ukulele that is easy to be played. The sound of notes should also be appealing, and being easy to maintain is an added advantage. The following brands are ideal for a beginner to choose from.

  • Lanikai LU-21 (Soprano Ukulele)
  • Cordoba 15CM (Concert Ukulele)
  • Kala KA-TE (Tenor Ukulele)
  • Makala Dolphin (Soprano Ukulele)

What is the most popular Ukulele size?

The soprano size is the most popular among ukuleles, and it creates beautiful music.

Which wood is ideal for the best sound?

Avoiding laminate and choosing solid wood builds is the best choice for the best sound generation. Amara, Koa, Mahogany, Sapele, and Zebrawood are some of the best wood used for ukuleles. Most of these are tropical trees that give warm, unique, and clear tones.

Conclusion

Just as when buying any other product, there are ukulele brands to avoid when purchasing. It is always favorable to avoid cheap brands and laminated products as they are of inferior quality and create inconsistent, discordant sounds. So when buying, make sure to review the good ukulele brands and choose an instrument affordable for your budget. 

As cheap products are mostly made of low-quality material, you should always be aware of these worst brands when buying anything. Look out for Fake Olive Oil Brands the next time you shop at your grocery store. You would find similar situations when purchasing home appliances, and make sure to skip these Worst Tire Brands To Avoid.

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