UkeFinder

The simple way to find the right Ukulele for you!


The UkeFinder will support you to find the best ukulele for you. Follow the questions. There is a written info and a video clip explaining each question. These will help you to make the right selections.

Each selection will narrow the number of displayed ukuleles. Only make a choice, if the criteria are important for you.

Will the search not display any results, then return to the selections and reset some questions to „no selection“. If you should receive too many results, then go back and make more selections.

Example 1: If you are looking for ukulele made of solid woods with a lot of grain, which is not made in China for less than 250 EUR, then you might not get any result, because such a ukulele is usually more expensive.
Example 2: If you are looking for a ukulele with pickup for amplification, but the UkeFinder will not find any result, then reset the pickup selection from „yes“ to „no selection“. If you will now find results for your other selections, then we can still install a pickup for you.
Example 3: If you are looking for a soprano ukulele for less than 250 EUR without any other selections, then you will find very many results. You might want to go back and set some more selections to reduce the number of results.
Filter Info

Budget

The price of a ukulele depends on many criteria. The price is not only set by the quality. Ukulele production involves a lot of manual work. Therefore the wages of the production country have a major impact on the price. Here are some points influencing the cost of a ukulele:
• High wages of the manufacturing country make ukuleles expensive
• Solid woods are usually more expensive than laminated woods (ply wood).
• Wood with a lot of grain is expansive
• Gloss finish needs a lot of manual polishing and therefore is more costly than satin finish
• Decoration like inlays, rosettes around the sound hole, bindings etc. are very time consuming during production and make the instruments expensive
• Pickup, cut-away and other extras increase the price

Most instruments in the price range below 250 EUR are manufactured in China. Many Chinese factories improved their quality over the last years. Meanwhile many quality instruments are made in China.
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Scale

The scale length is the length of the open string of an instrument, which is the distance from the nut at the headstock to the saddle at the bridge. Most beginners start with Soprano Ukuleles. It is the original scale length of Hawaiian Ukuleles. The bigger scale lengths of Concert and Tenor Ukuleles result in more space on the fingerboard. This is especially important for advanced players. The very short scale length of Sopranino Ukuleles is rather exotic. The big scale length of the Baritone Ukulele is already quite close to a guitar. It is also tuned like the first 4 strings of a guitar.

Scales:
• Sopranino ~ 28 cm (Often tuned a fourth or a fifth or an octave above the standard tuning GCEA)
• Soprano ~ 35 cm (Common tunings GCEA and ADF#B)
• Concert ~ 39 cm (Most common tuning GCEA)
• Tenor ~ 43 cm (Most common tuning GCEA, sometimes EAC#F#)
• Baritone ~51 cm (Most common tuning DGBE)

A longer scale length results in a higher string tension. Therefore a little more force is needed to press down the strings. This is another reason to begin with a short scale length of a Soprano Ukulele. But even a Tenor Ukulele has much less string tension than a guitar. A short scale length makes it easy to learn the first chords. Advanced players and players who already play the guitar often prefer the Concert or Tenor scale length. Longer scale lengths are especially needed to play higher up the fretboard.

The size of the body is proportional to the scale length. A bigger body results in more overtones and gives a fuller sound. You will rather find the typical crispy sound of the Ukulele with the Soprano scale length, while the Tenor scale length already sound a bit like a guitar.
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Top-wood

The sound of an Ukulele is influenced by many parameters:
• Body wood (laminated wood or solid wood)
• Hardness of the wood
• Thickness of the body wood
• Body size and shape
• Bracings of the top
• Size and shape of the bridge
• Size of the sound hole
• …

The top is most important for the sound. The vibrations of the strings are transmitted through the bridge to the top. The characteristic of the sound is mainly created by the top, while the side and back give a stiff frame. Both solid woods and laminates are used for the top. Some exotic ukuleles (Banjo-Ukuleles and Resonator-Ukuleles) don’t have a wooden top.

Laminate:

Laminate or ply-wood is made of several layers. Most laminates consist of 3 layers:
• a thin top layer with a nice wood grain
• a thicker middle layer mainly responsible for the sound and
• a thin bottom layer.

Laminates are cheaper and also more robust and less sensitive for humidity changes.

The disadvantage of laminates is the glue between the layers, which results in less sustain and the sound is less open. The quality of laminates depends very much on the quality of the middle layer. Some laminates are made of nice wood for the top layer, but a very poor middle layer of a different cheaper wood. The laminates of our ukuleles are all made of 3 layers of the same wood.

Solid wood:
Solid wood only consists of a single wood layer, which can vibrate freely. The sound is clear and the vibration lasts longer (more sustain). A disadvantage is the higher price. Solid woods are also more sensitive for humidity changes, which can result in deformation and cracks.

No wood:
This option is used for special ukuleles like Resonator-Ukuleles with a brass body or Banjo-Ukuleles with a skin-top or ukuleles with a plastic top.
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Top-color

This parameter describes the wood color of the body top for instruments which have a wooden top.

Light - medium:
Light colored woods are for example mango or spruce.

Medium – dark:
Dark colored woods are for example ebony or koa acacia.

No wood:
This option is used for all instruments for which the wood color is not visible:
• Painted wooden ukuleles (pink, lightblue, red, yellow, black, white, green, …)
• Partly painted wooden body tops like sunburst finishes (a light color, which gets darker at the edges, e. g. tobacco-sunburst with brown/black edges or cherry-sunburst with red edges
• Colored plastic body tops (transparent, red, blue, black, wooden decoration, …)
• Ukuleles with other top materials, e. g. metal body (resonator ukuleles) or skin tops (banjo-ukuleles)
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Wood-grain

There are different ways to describe the wood grain, e. g. from light grain to curly in four steps (A, AA, AAA, AAAA). Some manufacturers even use AAAA+ for very beautiful wood. Many manufacturers use their own terms to describe the wood grain, e. g. standard, curly, master grade curly. The nice look of curly woods makes the wood very expensive, but it has no impact on the sound of the wood.

Little - medium:
Wood with little to medium grain.

Medium - high:
Wood with medium to high grain.

No grain:
This option is used for all instruments without a visible wood grain:
• Painted wooden ukuleles (pink, lightblue, red, yellow, black, white, green, …)
• Partly painted wooden body tops like sunburst finishes (a light color, which gets darker at the edges, e. g. tobacco-sunburst with brown/black edges or cherry-sunburst with red edges
• Colored plastic body tops (transparent, red, blue, black, wooden decoration, …)
• Ukuleles with other top materials, e. g. metal body (resonator ukuleles) or skin tops (banjo-ukuleles)
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Surface

The finish of the surface has an effect on the price and on the sound of the ukulele.

Satin:
Wooden surfaces are often painted with a very thin satin protection coat. This thin finish has almost no impact on the natural sound of the wood. The satin coat just needs to dry and doesn’t require any further production steps. Therefore a satin finish is cheaper than a gloss finish.

Gloss:
A gloss finish requires a thicker paint layer, which has to be polished. The thick and hart finish hinders the free vibration of the top and can result in a hollow sound. This can especially be experienced for cheaper instruments. Manufacturers of very expensive instruments often use a thin gloss finish. The finish needs to be polished to achieve a gloss surface. This additional production step of polishing makes the instruments more expensive.

For other materials (metal or plastic) the finish has no impact on the sound.
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Top-hardness

The hardness of the wood has a major effect on the sound of the ukulele. The sound is not only influenced by the hardness of the wood. However, the hardness of the wooden top influences the sound in a special way.

Soft - medium:
The picture below shows that soft materials start with higher oscillation amplitudes, but also burn the absorbed energy faster. The higher amplitude in the beginning appears to our ears as a crispy and clear sound, but the short duration of the wave makes the sound thin and cold.

Medium - hard:
Hard woods vibrate longer, but have lower starting amplitudes. The long lasting vibration results in a full and warm sound. The lower amplitude sounds rather quiet and hollow.

Grafik Schwingung

Wood
Brinell hardness [N/mm²]
Cedar 11 soft
Spruce 12
Linden 16
Mahogany 30
Maple 32
Walnut 32 middle
Bamboo 40
Zebrano 40
Ebony 40
Acacia (koa)
48
Mango 67 hard
Brinell hardness: Method of measuring the hardness of a material by pressing a chromium-steel or tungsten-carbide ball (commonly one centimeter or 0.4 inch in diameter) against the smooth material surface under standard test conditions (generally between 300 to 3000 kilograms of force for 5 to 30 seconds). The hardness is expressed in Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) computed by dividing the load in kilograms by the area of indentation made by the ball measured in square millimeters. Named after the Swedish metallurgist Johanan Brinnell (1849-1925) who invented it in 1900.

Everyone senses the sound individually. Many people prefer the warm sound (hard woods) to play chords and to accompany their singing. The clear sound (soft woods) is very useful for solo playing and to play together with other instruments.

No wood:
This option is for ukuleles without wooden top (resonator ukuleles, banjo-ukuleles, plastic ukuleles).
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Decoration

This parameter stands for decorations made out of wood, plastic or abalone, e. g.
• Bindings around the body or fingerboard
• Rosettes around the sound hole
• Fingerboard inlays

The decoration has no major impact on the sound. A binding around the body top protects the edges especially for soft woods. Bindings around the fingerboard make the edge smooth. The player doesn’t feel sharp edges of the fret-wires.

Decorations can make instruments very expensive, because most inlays and bindings are handmade and the materials can be expensive.

The cost of decorations very much depends on the labor of the manufacturing country.
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Pickup

If you like to amplify your instrument, a pickup must be pre-installed by the factory or it can be installed in our workshop.

Voice microphones are not practical to amplify ukuleles for stage performances, because they tend to create feedback and the distance to the microphone must be constant.

Piezo pickups are most common to amplify ukuleles on stage. Piezos are pressure sensitive elements, which convert the vibration of the top into an electric signal. They are not very feedback sensitive, but the sound is not exactly the same like the unamplified acoustic sound.

We recommend piezo pickups on stage and large diaphragm condenser microphones for recording to retain the acoustic sound.

No:
This just means that a pickup is not pre-installed by the factory, but we can add a pickup to almost every instrument. If you want us to install a pickup for you, please select a pickup from the Accessory-Menu with the option ‘Installation: yes’. Add the pickup and the ukulele to the shopping cart and we will install the pickup into the ukulele.

Yes:
Only displays ukuleles with factory pre-installed pickups.
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Cut-away

The reachability of the upper frets on the fingerboard can be improved, if the lower front of the body is cut away.

Many manufactures only offer a cut-away in combination with a pickup.

A cut-away is not useful for small ukuleles (sopranino and soprano), because the body is small enough to reach the upper frets. Therefore most manufactures only offer cut-aways for concert/tenor/baritone ukuleles.

Some players decide for a cut-away, because they like the shape, even though they don’t play much in the upper frets.

A cut-away reduces the body volume of the ukulele. But there is almost no impact on the sound, because most of the sound is created by the wider top at the bridge.

The small radius of a cut-away is difficult to bend for hard woods without cracking the wood. Therefore the side is often made of laminates for cut-away ukuleles. The side doesn’t influence the sound as much as the top. A laminated side will not downgrade the sound quality noticeable.
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Origin

The manufacturing country makes a big difference in the price of a ukulele. The production of ukuleles requires a lot of manual work. The wages of the production country are most important for the final price.

Most ukuleles worldwide are manufactured in China. The quality of Chinese ukuleles improved a lot over the last years.

Some customers don’t like to buy Chinese products, because the media reports on poor working conditions, low wages and environmental pollution. We ensure that we visit the Chinese factories and control the work environment. We have discontinued the work with some factories after our visits. Especially our koki’o factory manufactures according to European safety standards and environmental standards.

Without China:
 If you still like to exclude Chinese products from your search, you can select Origin ‘without China’.

China:
If you are looking for very reasonable priced ukuleles, you can also only search for ukuleles “Made in China”.
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Tuners

Most ukuleles meanwhile have geared tuners. The transmission ratio can be very different 1:4, 1:8, 1:12.

A 1:4 ratio means that the shaft on which the strings are wound up turns once, when the tuner knob is turned four times.

Accurate tuning is easier with geared tuners. The additional weight due to the transmission gears is a disadvantage. The center of gravity can move to the 10th fret, which makes an instrument top-heavy.

In the best case, the center of gravity is at the point where the neck joins the body (12th or 14th fret), which is difficult to reach for small ukuleles with geared tuners.

Geared:
Geared tuners have become the standard, because tuning is easier and more accurate. The heavy weight of geared tuners can be a disadvantage.

Direct:
Friction pegs without gears are very light. Even high-end manufactures use friction pegs especially for soprano ukuleles. There is a very wide range in the quality of friction pegs. Cheap friction pegs can make it impossible to tune a ukulele, while high quality friction pegs have a plastic washer inside to make the pegs move smoothly.
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