Best Ukuleles for Kids in 2017 – for the Musically Inclined Youngsters
Ukuleles have become very popular in recent years. They are a great starting point for children who want to learn a stringed instrument, but don't want to play the guitar. Not only is playing the ukulele a creative and engaging hobby for your children, it can also help them develop important skills that can benefit them in other areas of their lives.
Because the ukulele is small, it is the ideal instrument for children, and they are renowned for being inexpensive. Whether your child is just started out or you are looking to upgrade your child's current ukulele, I have compiled a list of ukuleles to get you started.
Not sure what to look for when purchasing a ukulele? Follow my complete step-by-step buying guide to ukuleles to help you make an educated decision when looking for the perfect instrument for your child.
Top 5 Ukuleles to Get Your Child This Year
Ready to introduce your child to the wonderful world of music? To get you started, here are my top five ukuleles that are specially designed for children.
- Top 5 Ukuleles to Get Your Child This Year
- A Quick Buying Guide on Picking a Suitable Kids’ Ukulele
- Types of Ukulele
1. Kala Makala Waterman Soprano Ukulele
Inspired by the 1950s Maccaferri design, Kala is the market-leading ukulele brand and a go-to for ukulele players around the world. Specifically designed for children, the Kala Makala Waterman is produced using high-density Polycarbonate plastics, which may be a bit unusual but offers many benefits.
Not only does the build ensure that the ukulele is waterproof, it’s also extremely lightweight. The smooth plastic body allows for easy cleaning and this ukulele is ideal for outdoor use. The four strings are made from highly durable Nylon materials that are thick enough to last, but thin enough for beginners to play with ease.
What's Great About It: The tuners are very durable due to their nickel plating, and the ukulele comes with a uniquely branded travel bag, so your ukulele is safe and protected at all times. This ukulele is ideal for players of all ages, but is specifically designed with children in mind.
2. Mahalo MR1PP Rainbow Soprano Ukulele
An extremely lightweight ukulele, the MR1PP is an updated design of one of the world’s most popular ukuleles from the same brand. Available in a variety of colors, this is ideal for children looking for a ukulele to fit their personality. This Soprano style ukulele is made from the highest quality Sengon wood which is crafted to create this beautiful instrument.
The bridge is made from high-density mahogany, making it incredibly durable, which is perfect for kids. The dolphin-styled, gold-plated machine heads and revolutionary Aquila strings are the leading attributes of this carefully designed ukulele. The bridge also boasts an innovative NUBONE XB bridge saddle, which maximizes comfort when playing. This set includes a travel bag to protect your ukulele when transporting it.
What's Great About It: This is the perfect ukulele for beginners or experienced players alike, producing a beautiful sound while still being great value for money.
3. Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
This ukulele boasts superior quality and is built to last. Made using the highest-quality mahogany for both the body and the neck, the durability of this ukulele is outstanding. The neck has 12 brass frets with bonus fret positions located on the 5th, 7th and 10th frets, making this ukulele ideal for beginners who want to learn chords.
The fingerboard and bridge are made using high-density Rosewood, and the professional satin finish gives this ukulele the classic appearance your children will love. Each top quality Aquila string is fitted with a highly-polished geared tuner, allowing your children to experiment with different sounds from their ukulele.
What's Great About It: The KA-15S is available in a variety of styles, so your child can find the perfect ukulele to match their personality. Ideal for both beginners and experienced players, this lightweight solution is expertly designed for optimal sound and play-ability, while remaining suitable for most budgets.
4. Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele
This stunning mahogany design is purpose built with children in mind, but is ideal for players of all ages and experience levels. The 23-Inch body is slightly larger than the other Soprano-style builds on my list, so your child will grow into it.
One of the heaviest ukuleles in this list, the neck, back and sides of this ukulele are made using high-quality mahogany, making it incredibly durable, and the top is made using solid spruce. This helps to create a high-quality instrument that is built to last; maximizing its resistance against the inevitable knocks it will receive from day to day use.
What's Great About It: The spruce wood top proudly displays a gorgeous Heart song rosette, giving this ukulele a unique charm and personality. This ukulele is one of the more expensive options on this list, but when you consider the durability, play-ability and high-quality construction, you won't need to spend a cent more on upgrading it.
5. Kala KA-T Mahogany Tenor Ukulele Startup Package
This complete start-up kit has everything you need to introduce your child to the musical world of ukuleles. This superior quality instrument is produced using high-density mahogany on the body and neck which is connected to a beautiful Rosewood fingerboard.
The fingerboard boasts 15+ brass fret boards with four fret locations marked out to make it easier for your child to learn finger positioning and chords. Each durable string is topped with a polished geared tuner, allowing your child to completely customize their style of play.
Using traditional white binding, this ukulele has the look and feel of a professional ukulele, and incorporates all of the modern day features you would expect on this instrument.
What's Great About It: With this ukulele set you will receive a travel bag that will guarantee the safety of the ukulele while transporting it. You also receive a clip-on tuner, a polishing cloth and an instructional DVD to help your child get started.
A Quick Buying Guide on Picking a Suitable Kids’ Ukulele
Trying to buy the perfect ukulele for your child can be very tricky. There are so many different styles and brands to look at, that you can become overwhelmed very quickly.
To allow you to make the best decision, follow my complete buying guide below to ensure you make the best decision for your child.
Types of Ukulele
When shopping for the ideal ukulele, you will need to know the different types available. You can use the points below to differentiate between them.
- Soprano – 21 Inches – Renowned as being the traditional ukulele size, this is ideal for younger children who are just starting out.
- Concert – 23 Inches – Slightly larger than the Soprano, the sound produced from this kind of ukulele is louder and slightly deeper than the Soprano.
- Tenor – 26 Inches – This is the ideal ukulele for children who have been playing for some time. It produces a much deeper sound than a Soprano and boasts a large fingerboard, making it easier to play chords.
- Baritone – 30 Inches – This is the biggest variation of ukulele, which produces a deep bass sound. The sound is very similar to the strings of a guitar, making this a great transition instrument.
With the information above in mind, match your child’s current skill to the type of ukulele. For younger children and beginners, it’s recommended that you select a Soprano or Concert ukulele.
The material of your ukulele will determine its quality. Plastic ukuleles are relatively uncommon, but produce bright sound and are easy to care for. This is great for beginners, but it’s worth noting that these ukuleles are more brittle than wooden ukuleles, so they will need extra care when being played and transported.
Wood is the traditional material used for ukuleles, and the recommended material to look for is mahogany or spruce wood. These are high-quality woods that create durable ukuleles that will last as your child uses it. These types of ukuleles produce a traditional sound, and are very resistant to the knocks experienced from everyday use.
The ukulele is relatively easy to learn and is a lot simpler than other instruments. Because of its small size, children can focus on learning how to play, rather than struggling with holding techniques. Another way you can make playing simpler for your child is by investing in a ukulele that is specifically designed for beginners.
This means the ukulele may have an extended fingerboard, giving your child more space to place to their fingers when playing chords. The fingerboard can also be marked with fret locations using white stickers or markers. Not all ukuleles will have these markings, so it’s always advised that you check before purchasing.
There are three main shape variations to choose from when selecting a ukulele.
Guitar: This is the most popular and most traditional ukulele shape. It’s very similar to a guitar's shape, and has the famed ‘dip’, known as a waist, in the middle of the body.
Pineapple: Originally produced in Hawaii, this shape was first adopted by the Kamaka Ukulele Company, and is now used all over the world. The design is made so the body of the ukulele is completely rounded and has no waist.
Boat Paddle: As the name suggests, this ukulele design resembles a boat paddle, and is the most uncommon ukulele shape.
The most recommended shape for children and beginners is the Guitar design. This enables your child to naturally hold the ukulele comfortably.
Finding the right ukulele for your child depends on what style of play your child prefers. By focusing on an all-rounded ukulele that ticks all the boxes, you are allowing your child to have the best foundations on which to learn, boosting their enjoyment and confidence in a skill they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.