As a beginning ukulele enthusiast, it is perfectly understandable that you are curious about the instrument’s cost. In fact, you should want to know everything you can about buying the ukulele. After all, your first instrument is always a special purchase for which you must adequately prepare. So, if you’re wondering ‘how much does a ukulele cost?’, don’t stop reading.
The ukulele is another instrument that has grown dramatically in popularity over the years and seems to be going nowhere. Indeed, more people are taking up the ukulele in recent times than at any other point in history. However, you can only borrow a ukulele for classes and rehearsals for so long. Eventually, you’d have to buy an instrument that you can call your own.
This leads us to the million-dollar question — how much does a ukulele cost?
Before you go shopping for your first or replacement ukulele, it is crucial you know what to expect. This way, you can be sure that your wallet is in the right condition for your expenses. Before you panic, we can confidently tell you that the ukulele is relatively affordable. So, as a parent, you don’t have to choose between your child’s college funds and getting them a ukulele. Ukulele expenses will not break the bank.
Moreover, there’s an entire range of options when it comes to buying a ukulele. So, irrespective of your budget, it is very likely that you’ll find an instrument that perfectly suits your needs. But before we dive into the different prices of ukuleles, let’s take a quick detour. Let us examine some of the factors that determine the cost of a ukulele on the instrument scene.
Factors That May Influence The Price Of A ukulele
The first thing you should know when planning to buy a ukulele is that the instrument is not a one-price-fits-all. No, in fact, the ukulele has quite an extensive range of prices on its models. Not to worry, we’ll catch up on everything you need to know. Here some of the factors that can influence the cost of a ukulele:
When it comes to quality and the ukulele, the spectrum is quite broad. You see, different manufacturers use various materials to make their ukulele models. While there is no law against this, it does mean that some instruments will have more superior quality than others.
For instance, some ukuleles have laminate wood or plastic, but these are usually not very durable. The craftsmanship of the ukulele also comes into play here.
Typically, a higher quality ukulele will cost more than an inferior make. However, they’re usually the better choice in the long run. Yes, you will have to pay a premium to purchase a ukulele of excellent quality. But, on the bright side, that purchase will give you good value for your money in terms of sound quality and longevity.
The Fitness of the Instrument
Another factor that can influence how much you pay for a ukulele is how well the instrument fits. You see, ukuleles come off production lines in an assortment of shapes. While this means ukulele enthusiasts have a variety to choose from, it can also affect the cost of each instrument.
Some ukuleles are generally a better fit for players, while others have rather weird shapes. You can see this with ‘toy’ ukuleles. However, the more popular brands manufacture their ukuleles in shapes that closely resemble the guitar. These pleasingly-shaped ukuleles are generally more expensive than others.
Of course, if you want to get serious as a ukuleleist, this is undoubtedly the choice for you.
By now, you already know that ukuleles do not come in the same sizes. Depending on the size of the player and personal preferences, some people may prefer larger models. On the flip, others opt for smaller ukuleles. This is particularly common among children players and people who have smaller stature.
Well, if you want to purchase a bigger ukulele, it will likely cost you more, and the reason is simple. Large instruments typically take up more time, effort, and even material resources during production. So, the manufacturer will want to ensure that they get proper value for the resources they invested in making the piece.
One of the significant determinants of the quality of sound a ukulele produces is its string. In other words, the better the strings on the instrument, the higher the rating of the sound it makes. Nobody wants a ukulele that doesn’t sound right. So, we’ll go out on a limb and say you’d prefer a ukulele with an excellent set of strings. But, it may mean higher expenses on your part.
However, if you don’t want to pay a premium for a new ukulele with ‘perfect’ strings, here is a pro hack for you. You can buy the ukulele you wish to and then purchase a set of quality strings separately. Then, all you have to do is remove the accompanying ones and install those you bought. Interestingly, this method not only saves you some money, but it can also boost the sound quality of your ukulele.
You see, time dulls the brightness of the sound any string instrument makes. Since you don’t know how long the ukulele has been sitting in the store with its strings on, it is usually better to purchase new ones. This way, you can ensure that the instrument starts with the best possible sounds.
If you’re wondering what else can affect the cost of a ukulele, here’s another answer for you. The design and decoration of a ukulele piece play a significant role in its pricing. However, you should tread carefully. While ornaments and artworks can make a ukulele more aesthetically pleasing, it rarely adds value to its sound quality. Moreover, some manufacturers who make inferior use loud decorations to attract the attention of beginner enthusiasts.
All in all, if you have just begun your forage into the world of the ukulele, it may be best to stay off extravagantly decorated instruments. All you need is a ukulele of good-quality, and you’re good to go. Furthermore, most people have come to love the look and feel of a natural wood ukulele. However, if you’re looking to please your artistic side by acquiring a uniquely decorated, take good care that you’re getting proper value for your money.
Now that you know some of the factors that may influence the cost of a ukulele, let us examine the instrument’s market value.
The Cost of Ukuleles: Everything You Should Know About It
Finally, you get to discover the answer to the question of how much ukuleles cost. By now, you will have realized that there is no one answer to that question. But, there is a range of prices that can guide you when you go shopping. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll present you with a comprehensive breakdown of ukulele prices. So, keep reading to find out more.
1) Budget Ukuleles: Average price $50
If you’re reading this article, you may be looking for a way to purchase a ukulele without incurring significant expenses. There are several possible reasons for this. Perhaps you don’t have very flexible finances, or you’re only looking to test the waters with a ukulele. Whichever the reason you have, a budget ukulele may be perfect for you.
While budget ukuleles are generally more affordable, purchasing them can be tricky. You see, although there are some satisfactory-quality ukuleles out there, others can be rather nasty. But there are ways you should be able to avoid buying a bad instrument. Don’t hunt for excessively low prices.
Indeed, if you want a top-end budget ukulele, the typical price you should expect is approximately $50. Anything that is way below this price, and you may become the victim of a ripoff. Budget ukuleles are perfect for the beginning as they offer optimum sounds at low prices. They are also ideal for enthusiasts on a tight budget.
However, as you progress in your mastery of the ukulele, you will need to purchase a better instrument. This brings us to our next range of prices.
2) Beginner ukuleles: $50 to $150
On average, most people prefer the range of prices that beginner ukuleles offer. Indeed, they are the perfect combination of cost-efficiency and good quality sounds. So, if you’re looking to stick to playing the ukulele for a relatively long duration, we suggest buying a beginner ukulele.
The mean price for a beginner ukulele is around the neighborhood of $100. However, this is not saying you can’t acquire an instrument for lower. You can, but the quality of your piece may drop with lower prices. Indeed, the sweet spot for the best beginner ukuleles is around $150. Here, you can be sure that you’re getting proper value for your money.
Unlike budget ukuleles which are produced en-masse, manufacturers take more time to craft beginner pieces. In other words, you’re getting higher quality ukuleles at relatively affordable prices. Here are some of the features of a beginner ukulele:
● Better craftsmanship and instrument finishing
● Improved playability
● Better consistency in construction
● Higher quality of hardware and production materials
● Improved sound production
Understandably, you’re probably wondering about the price range of beginner ukuleles. The reason is simple. While both ends of the price spectrum are undeniably of higher quality than their budget counterparts, their durability varies.
The top-end category is typically more durable and sometimes features more refined craftsmanship. On the other hand, the low-end beginner ukulele may not last as long.
3) Mid-Level Ukuleles: From $150 to $500
Now, these ukes are considerably more expensive than their beginner counterparts. However, this is not to say they necessarily offer better tone production. Indeed, more often than not, mid-level ukuleles only offer aesthetic superiority over beginner models. However, this is not to say that some mid-level pieces do not produce higher quality sounds.
So, if you want your uke to look better and more refined, you can indulge yourself and pay a premium. Most mid-level ukuleles cost around $300. Indeed, some models have prices as high as $500. But, if you’re going above $150 while shopping for ukuleles, you’re probably canvassing in the mid-level section already.
While most mid-level ukuleles only have superior designs, some offer some exciting perks. Here are some unique features of some mid-level uke models:
Electronics and Cut-away Bodies
If you plan to play your ukulele via an amplifier, then it makes sense to buy mid-level models that offer that. Furthermore, they are also ideal for recording your ukulele sounds directly onto a computer or any other gadget.
Moreover, a cut-away offers you higher frets on your uke, which improves your playability of intrinsic melodies and solos. However, if you have just started learning the ukulele, you may not need a cut-away. But, you may see the need as you advance, not to mention, it makes the uke look really cool.
You Get Solid Wood Ukuleles
Some mid-level ukuleles feature solid bodies, which can be extremely beautiful. Moreover, solid wood has better resonance than plywood (or laminate wood). Indeed, playing a ukulele made out of solid wood can give the sound you produce more bass, volume, and warmth.
However, this advantage is only theoretical as it also hinges on your abilities as a ukuleleist. On the other hand, a solid wood ukulele is almost always pretty neat.
4) High-end ukuleles: Generally above $500
If you are very invested in the ukulele and have a lot of money to spare, you can start looking in this direction. High-end ukuleles can easily cost anywhere between $500 and $2000, sometimes more!
In terms of luxury ukuleles, some US companies quickly come to mind — Kamaka, and Martin. Martin has a production featuring solid koa basic C1K that starts from $500. Their T1K models easily cost up to $2000. Relatedly, Kamaka ukuleles (made in Hawaii) start from $900 for their basic soprano models. Their prices then quickly skyrocket from there.
With high-end ukuleles, you’re not only buying excellent quality ukes with perfect tones and expert craftsmanship. You are also paying for the wood grade, finish quality, and, more importantly, the years of experience that the company offers.
Hopefully, you now have answers to the question ‘how much does a ukulele cost?’. We understand that there is always the human instinct to shop for the best price bargain. But, if you’re passionate about learning the ukulele, buying a cheap inferior piece may be a step in the wrong direction. They never last long enough for you to enjoy them.
Remember, it is not really about the cost of the ukulele. It’s about your budget and the quality of the instrument you want. So, now that you know all about the price ranges of ukuleles, you have all you need to make a quality purchase. Have fun shopping and learning!