The first step in choosing a ukulele is to narrow your choices by determining the size that would best suit you.
It is important to note that there is no right or wrong when choosing a body size for your ukulele. All of the body sizes provide everything you would need for your ukulele, but there is probably a best fit for YOU.
There are 4 main ukulele sizes:
The soprano ukulele is the traditional body size for a ukulele. At 21" long, it is the smallest body of the bunch and provides a bright, punchy tone.
Soprano might be right for you if:
• You are, or are shopping for, a pre-teen or child
• You want an ultra-portable instrument
• You are looking for the traditional ukulele tone
A concert ukulele is slightly longer and the body is slightly bigger than the soprano, at 24”. This provides a bit more space for fingers on the fingerboard. It will sound quite similar, tonally, to the soprano, but the slightly larger body will produce a little more volume and depth thanks to the larger resonating chamber. Concert is the most popular ukulele size worldwide.
Concert might be right for you if:
• You are, or are shopping for, a teenager
• You are an average size adult
• You are having a hard time choosing a size, you can’t go wrong with a concert!
In the last several years, the tenor has exploded in popularity, especially with ukulele players who are looking for their second or third uke. At 26", it is another increase in size from the concert. The same benefits of that larger size are present here: you get even more room on the fingerboard to shape the chords and the larger body provides even more resonance. The tenor uke will sound quite a bit deeper than the other options, so it strays a bit from traditional ukulele tone.
Tenor might be right for you if:
• You are an above average sized adult
• You have big fingers or limited mobility in your fingers
• You would prefer a deeper tone
The largest option is the baritone ukulele at 30". A baritone ukulele is almost a ukulele category of its own since it is strung and tuned differently than the other sizes. This provides the deepest tone of any ukulele and is great for anyone with a deep voice. Guitar players rejoice: the baritone ukulele is tuned the same as the 4 highest strings on your guitar, so you won’t need to learn new chord shapes!
Baritone might be right for you if:
• You have a background in guitar
• You are looking for a ukulele with a completely different tonal flavour
Hopefully you now have a good idea of which size will be best for you. Congratulations, you’ve narrowed the field! Continue on for help selecting a model.
We are very proud that every one of our ukuleles includes an impressive list of included features:
Get to know our 3 models a little better, and the differences between them:
Our Honu series is our beginner level instrument. The all laminate sapele construction provides a full, bright tone and the laminate construction means it is durable and less susceptible to humidity changes. Aesthetically, it is fairly simple.
Honu might be right for you if:
• You are a beginner and not yet sure how seriously you are going to take this ukulele thing
• You want a durable instrument for travel
The Mano series is one of the least expensive solid top (as opposed to all laminate) ukuleles available anywhere. All mahogany construction with a solid mahogany top provides a warmer tone and extra volume from the Honu. The Mano also adds maple binding and rosette for a more refined look, upgraded gold tuners, and has dual strap pins installed to easily attach a strap.
Mano might be right for you if:
• You are a beginner but know that a better looking and sounding instrument will encourage you to play more
• You are upgrading from a beginner model
The Kohala has all of the upgrades of the Mano, including the solid top, maple binding, gold tuners and dual strap pins, but is built with acacia wood instead of mahogany. Acacia is revered for its full tone and beautiful appearance. To accent the unique wood grain patterns found on acacia, we have added stunning abalone style rosette and purfling around the body
Kohala Deluxe might be right for you if:
• You are a beginner that appreciates the finer things
• You want a unique looking instrument, each ukulele built with acacia looks unique thanks to the wide variance in the grain patterns of the wood
• You are upgrading from another ukulele
You should now have a good idea of which size and model best suits you. Move on to Step 3 for one final decision.
A pickup is the electronic system that allows an instrument to be plugged in and played amplified through an amplifier or PA system. Our pickup is a “piezo” pickup, which is a thin strip of crystals that creates an electric signal and makes the amplification possible. The signal is sent to the “preamp”, that little black box on the side of the ukulele, where the output volume can be adjusted, as well as the bass, middle and treble EQ.
Our acoustic electric models can be played, and sound, just like their acoustic counterparts when unplugged. An acoustic electric model does not require an amp to be played like a regular ukulele, it just gives you the ability to plug in if you ever want to.
One of the biggest added benefits of our acoustic electric models is the onboard electronic tuner that’s built into our pickup. The tuner allows for easy tuning, even in a noisy room, since it operates on the vibrations of the instrument, rather than via a microphone. Save yourself from buying a separate electronic tuner that always seems to be lost when you need it most by keeping your tuner built into the instrument.
An acoustic electric model might be right for you if:
• You think you may ever play along with other people playing other instruments
• You don’t want to buy a separate tuner and would prefer your tuner to stay attached to the ukulele
• You think you will perform with your ukulele
This is essential. Your uke will need to be tuned regularly and unless you're one of the blessed few with perfect pitch, you'll need some help. In a pinch, you can download a free tuner app to your phone or tablet that will get the job done. We like to have a clip-on style tuner that works on the vibration of the instrument so you can tune even if there's noise in the room.
For most people, the included gig bag will do just fine for protection, but if you plan on traveling, or especially flying with your uke, you may want to think about upgrading the gig bag. All of our ukuleles include a gig bag with 5 mm of padding, but you can upgrade to our Standard series gig bag with 10 mm of padding and large front pocket. Our Deluxe series gig bags use 25 mm of high density foam padding and tons of storage. These offer similar protection to a hardshell case but are much lighter.
Some people may choose to store their Honolua in its included gig bag, and that's just fine. But, you may also want to show it off, or keep it close at hand so you can pick it up for a quick strum, even if you only have a couple of minutes. The Honolua Ukuleles Wood Stand has a small footprint and looks great as a display for your uke.
There's no right or wrong when it comes to using, or not using, picks on your ukulele. This is a personal feel preference. Just remember, the nylon strings on your uke are soft, go easy if using a pick.
Again, personal preference, although a strap gives you a chance to show some personality when you play your uke. There are two types of straps for ukuleles: strap pin straps and soundhole straps. Strap pin straps have little holes at each end of the strap to attach them to the strap pins on the ukulele. This type of strap requires dual strap pins installed on the ukulele, which means it’s a great style for our Mano or Kohala Deluxe series ukes. Soundhole straps use a small clip to attach to the soundhole on the ukulele and will work on any ukulele.
An important accessory if your uke is built with any solid wood, like our Mano and Kohala Deluxe models are. Solid wood instruments like a relative humidity of 45%, which is tough to achieve with just your house humidifier, so protect your instrument from any wood warping or cracking with a small instrument humidifier.
Click the chat in the bottom right corner to speak with a real live ukulele lover, fill out the contact form to leave us a message, or call us at 403-990-2290