Top 3 Ukulele brands

Ukulele Introduction

This article will provide you with all the necessary information about the best ukulele brands. If you are interested in buying a ukulele or you just want to know more about the instrument, you should keep on reading.

We will shortly introduce the top 3 best ukulele brands and then further in the review we will specify the brand that we think is the best.  

  1. Cordoba

The Cordoba ukuleles tend to be very good quality. They have a large range and cater to people wanting all different sizes. Their range even has a lot of products with pickups included, so that amplification is a breeze. They’re great for live and studio use. 

Cordoba instruments tend to be made out of exceptional materials and mahogany is commonly used in their ukes, though they also have a number of spruce options.

ProsCons
Good build quality with all of their models 
Mahogany material is generally used
Some of their products come with electronics for amplification
Not as many models as some of the other brands
Not many budget offerings in their range 

Cordoba instruments have a professional feel and a very authentic tone in spite of not being manufactured in Hawaii. In terms of price, they’re at the mid to upper range, especially when compared to some budget ukulele makers. 

  1. Kala

Kala is an incredibly prolific ukulele manufacturer. What Kala is to ukuleles is fast-becoming what Yamaha or Casio is to keyboards. Their range is huge with something to suit everyone, from beginner models to some of the more elite, professional ukes.

Kala continues to push the envelope. As well as making new models all the time, they’re branching into other instruments including percussion. They’ve also become known for the ‘U-bass’ which is a ukulele and bass guitar hybrid.

ProsCons
Lots of affordable ukuleles with a bright tone
Great for beginners and sold bundled with accessories
Huge range
Not many of their range uses elite tonewoods such as koa

The Kala range is exceptionally popular for beginner and intermediate players. If you search for any design and shape of ukulele then you are bound to find something offered by Kala. 

  1. Martin

Looking for a professional, high-end acoustic instrument? You really can’t escape this brand, with incredible craftsmanship going into all of their instruments. 

The major factor you should consider when looking into buying a Martin ukulele, is that some of Martin models are around 5,000$. But despite the price the hand-made quality and history of this brand is impressive. Martin,as a brand, goes back 200 years. Ukuleles were first made in the late 1800s and Martin started making them not long after. 

If you want a historic ukulele brand then this is the one for you. Very few music brands have the history that Martin can offer. This comes with extra expense, but you can’t argue with the design and quality of their instruments.  

One of the things that sets the Martin range apart is their choice of materials as they use only the very best tonewoods and hardware.

ProsCons
Incredible craftsmanship
One of the most respected brands on the market
Elite instruments, and make excellent recordings 
Very expensive compared to a lot of the other options on the market

You know what you are getting with Martin instruments; quality. But that quality comes at a price. If you want the very best and don’t mind paying for it then this could be the brand for you.

Kala KA-15S

Product Description

The Kala KA-15S is a quality soprano ukulele with a nice price. It features a traditional mahogany body, giving you that classic ukulele look and feel, so you can start playing immediately. The Kala KA-15S satin mahogany ukulele also features quality geared tuners, so you know your uke is working with you to stay in tune. Ready to start playing? Grab the Kala KA-15S and you’re instantly ready for island-style strumming.

Price

The prices can vary depending on the website and country you are buying her from, but mainly the price stays in the 50€ price region which is approximately 60$. You can check the latest prices here!

Pros 

  • Durable materials for the body, neck, bridge and fretboard
  • Great strings
  • Elegant design
  • Reasonably priced 
  • Loud in comparison to its size
  • Comes with a gig bag and tuner

Cons

  • The tuner is fragile 
  • Might need a proper set up upon arrival

Is it Worth it?

The KA-15S ukulele is a real value, especially in light of how well it’s built. Its all-mahogany body produces a resonance that belies this uke’s modest size. Geared die-cast tuners ensure reliable intonation. You’ll experience superior sustain and vibrational transfer, thanks to a high-quality GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle. Add to that an eye-catching satin finish, and you’ve got yourself a fine acoustic instrument that you’ll enjoy for years to come. At Sweetwater, we find that the Kala KA-15S delivers performance that far exceeds expectations.

In-Depth Review of the above articles

Benefits:

The Kala KA-15S model has a surprisingly low fret action, making it easier to play, especially for beginners. With the Kala Ka-15S it is unlikely to hear any buzzing noises or high frets, since the action is not only low but also even. 

The mahogany construction not only makes this a traditional instrument, but it also gives it a classic look, which can be very important, depending on where and when you intend to play the instrument. If we’re talking about actually performing in a show, then you can be sure that people in the audience are going to notice you are using an elegant and classic ukulele. 

This particular model is actually part of the brand’s flagship collection and it’s been so popular among ukulele players, that it’s not wrong to say that it has become an industry standard. Plus, the satin finish gives it a highly elegant appearance, while the sturdy mahogany construction also renders it durable, which means you’ll be able to play it for many years to come. 

If you are thinking about giving this product a try, then you will surely enjoy the high-quality sound it renders, as well as the elegant design that enhances any musician’s gear. 

Specifications:

  • Size Soprano
  • Number of strings 4
  • Colour Natural
  • Finish Satin
  • Top Material Mahogany
  • Back and SIdes Material Mahogany
  • Neck Material Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material Walnut
  • Fingerboard Inlay Dots
  • Number of Frets 12
  • Scale Length 13.625”
  • Tuners Geared Tuners
  • Nut Material GraphTech NuBone
  • Nut Width 1.37”
  • Saddle Material GraphTech NuBone
  • Strings Aquila Super Nylgut
  • Overall Length 20.87”
  • Body Length 9.37”
  • Upper Bout Width 5.12”
  • Lower Bout Width 7”
  • Waist Width 4.5”
  • Body Depth 2.37”

Quality

Sound Quality

Since size affects the momentum of the sound that could be produced from any instrument, it’s a given that the Kala KS-15S doesn’t have the best sounds on the market. However, it offers balance in its range. The mahogany body allows it to produce that warm, happy sound we all yearn for from ukuleles.

Soprano ukuleles tend to have a more “tinkly” tone than larger ukes. That doesn’t mean that they sound “bad”, they’re just different. As mentioned, the Kala KA-15S has an excellent tone for a budget uke. If you’re after bass, sustain and volume, however, opt for a larger uke like a concert or a tenor. 

Additional Features:

  • Value-priced ukulele with quality construction
  • Soprano size delivers a classic island sound with percussive treble and glittering overtones
  • All-mahogany body produces a resonance that belies this uke’s modest size
  • Geared die-cast tuners ensure reliable intonation
  • GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle yield superior sustain and vibrational transfer
  • Eye-catching satin finish

Warranty

Kala Brand Music Co. warrants solely to the original purchaser that the instrument purchased shall be free from defects in workmanship and materials and shall function for a period of one (1) year from the date of purchase. American made models are warranted for a period of two (2) years from the date of purchase. Kala Brand Music Co. reserves the right to determine upon inspection if the warranty claim is valid or not.

Who Is It Best For?

The Kala KA-15S is an excellent value for beginners; both its quality and price are a perfect fit for those who are starting to learn the uke without wanting to break their wallets. 

What Do People Say About It?

You can find some feedback and Kala KA-15S ukulele reviews on Amazon, Sweetwater and Thomann. Overall the KA-15S ukulele has been rated on average 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon Review.

Amazon Reviews #1“This is such a lovely instrument – it looks nice and has a really nice, warm sound. I purchased it for my daughter, who is 8 years old and a beginner, to replace a cheaper ukulele that was struggling to stay in tune and sounded a little ‘tinny’. For just £30 more this produces a much nicer sound and is also easier to play – I didn’t understand the significance of the these strings until I had a go at strumming; this ukulele feels much easier and nicer to strum than the cheaper one, with the nylon strings.”

Amazon Reviews #2 “The best thing I have ever bought for myself for the amount of money spent!! I deliberated over a lot of ukes. The pictures do not do it justice – it looks, feels and sounds beautiful – the tuner buttons are pearlescent rather than block white which is a really nice touch. The strings are light, and gentle on the finger tips for a beginner. Even though the instrument is new it holds tune well only requiring minor adjustment. I also bought a flight tus35 for my son and it is going majorly out of tune every time it’s put down, so there’s quite a contrast between the two despite being similarly priced… I really can’t rave about the Kala ks15 enough – it’s just sheer joy!! I’ve played a few hours every day, which is wonderful.

Update 3 weeks later: playing daily, still love it. Warning: the wood is very soft, head stock vulnerable to damage (small ding thanks to son 😫), if not in your hands put in a case straight away.”

To get a better idea of how the KA-15S ukulele  sounds and looks like, we have provided you with a couple of Youtube videos, where you can get a quick demo of the ukulele. 

YouTube Review #1 – This demo of the Kala KA-15s soprano ukulele (with a spruce top) shows the instrument in a few different settings. First you hear it as a piece of a bigger ensemble (the song is Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone), then as a solo instrument (I saw three ships come sailing in), after that I play some finger picking (an original song featuring some lap steel guitar) and finally a bit of strumming (the song is The velvet glove). The strings used are the stock Aquila Nylguts.

Youtube Review #2 – Kala KA-15S Ukulele Player Pack 

Everything you need to get started on your road to ukuleledom in this Player Pack. A quality ukulele with a padded uke bag and a digital tuner.

The Verdict: Is it Worth It?

In conclusion the Kala KA-15S is ideal for beginners, yet also suitable for intermediate and seasonal players. It is clearly understandable why the Kala KA-15S is the crowd’s favourite, due to all the reasons mentioned previously. 

Beginners would have a hard time finding a better choice than this Kala model to choose from many others. The build, durability, playability and tone are better than most of the other budget ukuleles offered to those at the entry-level phase. Great overall value is the distinguishing factor of this ukulele!

If you like this article and found the provided information useful, you might want to check out our other reviews at AalbergAudio.com