It can be easy to get carried away with research for your first ukulele. I mean, there are so many ukuleles that sound amazing and look astounding. I can only speak from my own experience but a lot of the times the options that I chose were really out of my budget and I would end up spending more time brooding over the unattainable (yes, I was very broke) instrument that someday would be mine! Dramatic recollections of me actually just sitting around browsing the internet aside, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginner is overthink.
I don’t mean go into buying a ukulele after five-minute internet research BUT your first ukulele most probably is not going to be the epitome of quality because you should probably try buying something in a budget but good quality instead of purging your wallet. This problem gets especially tricky if you want to get an acoustic-electric uke instead of just acoustic one. Nevertheless, there are quite a few surprisingly good quality ukes under $70 that you might actually really enjoy. One of those is Kulana Deluxe Soprano Ukulele.
This soprano ukulele is easy to handle even for a beginner. After all, sopranos are the first choice of a lot of entry-level players not only because they look quirky and cute but mainly because they are beyond comfortable. One great thing about this ukulele is that there are two options for the wood. You can either pick a more traditional mahogany wood or if you are riskier and looking for something more exotic, you can choose zebrawood.
While mahogany creates that beautiful, rich sound that ukuleles are so beloved for, zebrawood brings a more exotic and nuanced look without sounding any worse than mahogany. The nato neck is a pretty standard and widely available material and it works nicely with both zebrawood and mahogany. The one issue with the overall construction is with the frets. It seems that a lot of ukes in this price range have not the most polished frets. A lot of people have said that the frets are a little too sharp.
This soprano uke has a rosewood bridge, ABS nut and saddle, and die-cast chrome tuners. The die-cast tuners hold the tune pretty well and are easy to use. The ABD nut is, to be honest not my favorite but it does the job okay. There are a lot of people who think that bone nut is the only way to achieve perfect pitch and tonality and while I agree that the bone is the best one, I think ABC, especially for beginners, will not make a big difference. It also ships with an Aquila Nylgut string set.
There are a lot of different packages and deals available with this model. One of them is a combo of the uke and a gig bag. There are also options for a bundle deal which includes a hardshell case, strap, picks, one set of extra string, and a handy electric tuner. Unless you have chosen which accessories you definitely know you will need, I would suggest going for a bundle deal.
Kulana Ukulele Sound
It is always hard to write about the sound of a beginner/entry-level instrument because while these instruments are extremely comfortable and geared towards beginners they also lack in the nuanced and balanced tone that the more expensive ukuleles can afford to have. That being said, as a beginner, unless you are hundred percent sure you want to buy a ukulele that will last you years and years, you should not get hung up on the fact that your first uke might not sound as superb as something in the $200 price range.
Kulana Deluxe Soprano Ukulele is definitely in the affordable price range but it still manages to have a warm and clear sound with a nice resonance. And since this is an acoustic-electric uke, it is also important to mention that the electronics on this one reproduce the sound very authentically (I’ll talk about it in the next section).
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you are getting your first uke. That is true with acoustic ukes but especially so with acoustic-electric ones because of the obvious add-on of electronics. In this case, Kulana chose a very beginner-friendly system with bass, middle and treble controls. There is also a chromatic tuner built in the uke with an LCD color display that allows for easy reading of the information. It is also a nice touch that there is a low battery indicator that will give you a heads-up. All in all, this system gives you basic control of the sound and does a decent job of amplifying the sound.
Kulana Deluxe Soprano Ukulele is a well-crafted, nice soundings instrument that does have certain shortcomings but nothing to make you feel like it is not worth the money. I would definitely recommend this uke to a beginner who is looking for a balance or compromise between quality and price.
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