Ukulele – Opinions, Analysis and Buying Guide in 2021
Like guitars, playing a ukulele is finding millions of possible melodies on each string, and with the advancement of reggae and other lesser-known genres, ukuleles are becoming more and more popular, with both children and adults. These instruments vary in size, tones and color, so it is advisable to take some time when choosing a model, as you can choose your best companion when singing. Buying a model like the Hricane 21 Zoll , with its classic and small design, will let you familiarize yourself with traditional ukuleles and, if your child wants to start playing, the Octopus UK201-DB model with blue design and bag decorated with an octopus is the one. ideal model.
Size and tuning
Some instruments only have two sizes, the adult size and the child size, however ukuleles come in different sizes depending on the tuning of the instrument. Due to that, in your guide to buying the best ukulele, it is necessary that you take this into account, because the size you choose will directly depend on the tuning of the instrument and, in addition to that, depending on the level of skill and experience you have. With these instruments, it is advisable to choose specific models that can help you become more familiar with the product.
The best known ukulele is the soprano. This one has higher notes and, unlike baritones, works with the G, C, E and A notes. This is usually preferred by children and adults and, additionally, it is the most convenient instrument for beginners. This is the original model and is 530mm long, with string lengths ranging from 345 to 350mm. Children will be more comfortable with these dimensions, so, if you are going to start playing this instrument, it is advisable to start with this type before moving forward.
Concert and tenor ukuleles follow next and also work with the same musical notes. However, these measure approximately 620 or 670mm respectively. Despite having the same musical notes as the soprano, the tones of these two models are lower and have more loudness.
The baritone is the largest of the conventional ukuleles and stands out for being 740 mm in length. Besides that, the note scale is different, as this model has a tuning of D, G, B and E. Depending on your tastes, your level of instruction and the sound you want to play, you will have to choose between one of these models.
The bass ukulele or u-bass is defined by many as an electro-acoustic bass in ukulele size, therefore if you are a fan of both instruments this may be your ideal choice. Well, despite not being so famous, it will offer you the best of both products.
Materials and finish
The quality of all instruments depends on the materials used in their manufacture. Poor quality materials, even though they make the instruments cheaper, can completely destroy the sound of the ukulele and, if you want to avoid this, you need to find out about its materials before asking how much the instrument costs.
Ukulele tops can change between models, and this difference can cause a noticeable distinction between the sounds each produces. You can find ukuleles with a solid and laminated top; the former have more sonority and it is for that reason that many people decide on these.
In addition to the lid, the woods can also be different. A good and inexpensive option is one that has mahogany as the main material, as this type of wood is the easiest to work with and gives a good quality to ukuleles. This is divided between the lower range, the oriental mahogany, cheap but with less sound, until reaching the solid mahogany, a little more expensive but with a better sound.
Cedar and spruce woods are the best, and if you really want the most expensive model but with the best sound, then Hawaii-exclusive koa wood will be what you need. It is not economical, but the result will be excellent.
Like guitars, ukuleles need accessories to make your experience with them more complete and safe. Therefore, when you make your comparison of ukuleles of various sizes and brands, give it the importance that they come with accessory kits that save you money in the long run.
Some of the accessories that could benefit you are the case, strap, and tuner. The
Case, in addition to allowing you to move your ukulele without risk of damage, it will also make you carry it more comfortably.
The ukulele is light, therefore some people do not think that a strap is necessary. However, if the ukulele is for a child or you just want more comfort, then using a strap can be a good way to always maintain control of the ukulele and prevent it from falling.
The tuner will help you to make the tuning process easier, Although you can do it manually, a tuner will give you more speed and precision.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to tune a ukulele with a tuner?
The tuner is the best option for tuning as a beginner. It is usually clamp-on and simply sits on top of the headstock. Detect notes by vibration. The tuned notes on the ukulele are A, E, C, and G from the first string to the fourth. In English they will be A, E, C and G and it will be in this way that they are seen in the tuner. The note is given on the string and immediately the tuner indicates the letters. In this way, it is adjusted by moving the pins. When the tuner shows green or makes a sound, the note is in tune.
Q2: How to strum a ukulele?
There are different strums to play the ukulele . As with any other string instrument, the wrist moves allowing the fingertips to touch the strings with a single stroke. Each strum has a specific style and some require short pauses between movements. Among the most common strums are the four down stroke, which could also be combined with a final up stroke. Another is three strokes down, up, down and up. One of the most popular is the two down, two up, and then down and up.
Q3: Which is better, a ukulele or a charango?
Definitely, it will depend on the type of sound you want to obtain. The ukulele with its four strings offers upbeat rhythms in the best Hawaiian style. For its part, a charango has five double strings with harp-quality sound. The charango is a string instrument popularly used with the picking technique and is characteristic of Andean countries such as Peru and Bolivia.
Q4: What ukulele to buy to start with?
At this point, there is a common agreement on the part of the ukulele experts. Of the four types of ukulele, the soprano is the most recommended to start with. It is considered the standard ukulele. It’s affordable, comfortable in size, and has a high-pitched traditional Hawaiian tune sound. It is also the ideal alternative in case you want to buy for children. It measures approximately 53 centimeters and has between 12 – 15 frets. It is definitely the most popular with those looking to get started.
Q5: When to change the ukulele strings?
Although there are ukulele strings made of different materials, nylon is the most common. Changing the strings of your ukulele becomes necessary before the obvious break of one or when they feel very stretched or affected by humidity. Whatever the material, it is important that you take into account that new strings need a time of calm and accommodation. In this way, the tuning can be maintained, especially if you do it before a show in which you hope to participate.
Q6: Where was the ukulele created?
Although its use is notable anywhere in the world, the ukulele has roots in Hawaii . For the inhabitants of the island, the term ukulele refers to a jumping flea and is compared to its small sound, fast in hand movements and vibrating.
Its creation is attributed to the Portuguese immigrants who arrived on the island with two typical instruments of their region: the cavaquinho and the machete. By 1880, a very original version of the instrument had been achieved with characteristics of these two. King Kalakaua made the ukulele the protagonist of each of the island celebrations .
Q7: How is a left-handed ukulele different?
Its appearance is like seeing a right-handed ukulele in a mirror image. Its string and hand configuration are specially adapted to achieve chords with the right hand and strum with the dominant hand, that is, the left.
Q8: Which is better, a ukulele or a guitar?
Despite their similarity in form and behavior, the ukulele and guitar are very different when it comes to tuning, chords and even techniques used to perform. There is no doubt that the ukulele offers a very unique sound. The guitar, for its part, is capable of offering a greater variety of ranges, from the highest to the lowest tones.
Additionally, the ukulele is cheaper and easier to start. However, it is the style and music that you want to produce that will be decisive in the decision. If it is for versatility, the guitar is better, however, if you are looking for a better price, do not hesitate to buy a ukulele.
How to use a ukulele
Knowing its shape and elements, there is no doubt about the great similarity that the ukulele has with the classical guitar. In fact, there are those who consider it a small guitar. Although it is not really such, it can be spoken of a small and powerful musical instrument belonging to the string instruments that, unfortunately, some do not know how to use. If that’s your case, here you can find out some interesting facts.
Hold it right
Whichever model you choose from the five types of ukulele out there, the way it is held is critical. With a correct sustain of the soprano, concert, tenor, bass or baritone ukulele, a sound that will evoke Hawaii and its sea will be achieved.
Getting comfortable to start playing is basic. The ukulele is held between the side of the chest and the inside of the forearm. Ideally, the middle of the forearm should support the echo box, leaving the hand free and the fingers at the neck of the instrument. The fret located just at the beginning of the resonating box is the ideal place for a clear-sounding strum.
Another way used by many musicians is to sit down and place the ukulele on your thigh, then support it against your chest and stomach. This position gives full freedom to the movement of the forearm and hand. With the other hand the ukulele is raised a little diagonally and the neck or fingerboard is held to produce the chords.
Pay attention to the chords
It may seem like obvious advice, but having short nails to play this instrument is necessary. Short nails will allow a correct arching of the finger and thus you can correctly step on the string with the fingertip area without protruding from the indicated fret.
The position of the thumb resting on the back of the neck, without protruding excessively, is key. The other fingers on this hand are numbered from index to little finger as one, two, three, and four.
When you want to produce the chord, the tablature indicates the number of fingers that you must place on a certain fret and press one of the four strings. The strings are referred to as first, second, third, and fourth and are numbered in this way from bottom to top.
Tune your ukulele
Correct tuning of the ukulele is essential. It has only four strings and you don’t have to put as much force into your strum to enjoy a powerful and joyful sound. To say that it is in tune is to have its first through fourth strings individually produce the notes A, E, C and G. Like the guitar, the tuning head is the area responsible.
Already in tune and in position, you can accompany the song with the appropriate strum. The basic movement of strumming is to let your wrist move up and down, touching the strings with the body of your nails.
The most common strum involves two wrist movements down and then up, down and up. A second type of strum consists of two down, two up, followed by one down and one up. Lastly, a less popular but equally used strum consists of two down, down, up, down, and up. With any of these three strums you can play whatever you want to the upbeat rhythm of the ukulele .