Ukulele Manufacturers – The Complete Ukulele Buying Guide
Finding good ukulele manufacturers is a challenge in today’s time. With the market being oversaturated, you would find it difficult to tell different ukulele suppliers apart.
That’s what this complete FAQ guide is all about! Today, we’ll be mastering the art of understanding ukuleles and their manufacturers!
You will learn what you need to land on the most trusted ukulele manufacturers in the market!
What is a Ukulele?
Before we dive straight right in, we need to understand what a ukulele is.
A ukulele is a stringed instrument that is usually confused with a guitar. However, a standard ukulele only has four (4) strings and is typically smaller than a standard guitar.
Commonly referred to as uke, it’s part of the family of lute instruments.
Different Types of a Ukulele
While ukuleles seem to be part of one whole group, you can categorize them into different types.
These different ukulele types define the sound, shape, and properties of ukuleles.
A Soprano ukulele is known to be the most common out of all the different kinds of ukuleles.
You’ll find Soprano ukuleles as the standard and the smallest in the family. Moreover, Soprano ukuleles are also the thinnest and the most workable.
Tenor Ukuleles are considered to be the type of uke that has the richest sound, and it’s all because it’s much bigger than the traditional Soprano ukulele.
More often than not, performers choose Tenor ukuleles because of their capabilities in reaching high notes than other types and kinds of ukes.
Next to Soprano ukuleles are Concert ukuleles. Most ukulele manufacturers believe that it’s the most famous because it has a larger frame than the Soprano.
In reality, though, only experienced guitarists and players like it because of its complexity.
Last but most definitely not the least is the Baritone uke. It’s considered to be the most mature out of all the ukuleles – it’s even deemed to be the “father” or the “dad” of the uke family.
It’s “baritone” because it’s the kind of ukulele that produces the deepest sound of all the other types of ukuleles.
What is a Ukulele Made Of?
Akin to guitars, ukuleles are also made from different types and kinds of materials.
It’s not like it’s made from just one (1) type or kind of wood. In fact, the composition of a ukulele is complex to the extent that it already has a ton of variations.
Usually, the body of a ukulele is made from wood. It can be anything from walnut, maple, cocobolo – to black limba, elm, etc.
In most recent years, the bodies of high-quality ukes are made from solid tonewoods. Cheap and toy ones are made out of plastic.
Note that the quality of wood and plastic greatly affect the sound property and the tone of the sounds made.
More often than not, the neck of a ukulele is made from the same type of wood used to make the body.
Not only is it cheap, but it’s also consistent when it comes to the type and kind of material.
The tuning keys are usually made of metal. However, there are certain ukulele suppliers that perform different variations with it.
Those are the materials ukulele manufacturers use in creating and in manufacturing ukes.
Ukulele vs. Guitar: How are They Different?
While they’re from the same family of instruments, ukuleles and guitars are different.
Upon first look, you’ll see and notice that they differ a lot when it comes to size. Beyond that, however, how else do they differ?
In dissecting their differences, let’s start and take it to the next level of observation.
We know that ukuleles are generally smaller than guitars. Did you know that the average size of a ukulele is about 35 to 50% smaller than the size of guitars?
In technicality, guitars have measurements that are over 12 to 20 inches longer than ukes.
Number of Strings
With the size difference, we can therefore conclude that the number of strings in a ukulele is less than the number of strings on a guitar.
In general, guitars have six (6) strings; while a standard ukulele has four (4) strings.
Following the differences in the number of strings comes the difference in the tuning.
Ukuleles have different chords and sounds in comparison with a guitar. You can refer to this comparison on how they’re tuned (from top to bottom):
- Guitar – EADGBE
- Ukulele – GCEA
Tension of Strings
String tension is another big factor in how you can differentiate a guitar from a ukulele.
In case you’re not aware, string tension refers to the “looseness” or the “tightness” of the strings on the instrument.
For ukes, the usual string tension is between seven (7) pounds to thirteen (13) pounds per string. Guitars, on the other hand, have tensions between 24 pounds to 35 pounds per string.
That being said, you’ll find playing the guitar to be quite heavier than playing the ukulele.
While prices and rates aren’t usually factored in, you can consider them like a plate of indifference between a ukulele and a guitar.
The cheapest and the most decent guitars usually start out at around $200 to $220. This price range is something wherein you’ll be able to comfortably play.
For ukuleles, however, a decent and a beginner one can cost around $60 to $120.
Guitar and ukulele manufacturers consider a lot of things including the size, the type of strings, the type of material, and even the procedure in the prices they offer.
Those are just some of the most common differences you can look at in case you’re not sure how to distinguish a ukulele from a guitar.
Origins and History of a Ukulele
Before ukuleles, we all know that stringed instruments already roamed the planet.
The earliest traces of ukuleles are in Hawaii, back in the years of late 1870s.
It’s actually called “ukulele” because its origins are from Hawaii, which was given to a “machete,” a small instrument that has been developed in Portugal.
The arrival of the “machete” in Hawaii paved the way for the creation of ukuleles. Under the reign of King David Kalakaua, he believed that the uke will be able to preserve the culture of their country.
Hawaiians introduced the four-stringed instrument to American audiences around the early 1900s, where it established an impression on them.
Since then, the ukulele has been considered as one of the instruments that brought joy and peace to lands from all across the globe.
The Top and the Best Ukulele Manufacturers
Being different from a guitar, a guitar manufacturer might not be able to produce ukuleles. However, there are several established and well-known ukulele manufacturers that are skilled and capable of producing ukes as well.
Topping the charts of the best and the most trusted ukulele manufacturers are:
- Oscar Schmidt
While those are foreign and western brands, there are also other manufacturers from the opposite side of the globe skilled in producing ukuleles.
Parts of a Ukulele
Similar to a guitar, a ukulele also has the same parts. They’re the parts that make the instrument work.
The head is the top-end part of the guitar that houses the tuning keys. Meanwhile, the tuning keys are what’s responsible for the tuning of the guitar.
They’re what you twist or rotate in order to change the tune of the guitar.
Both in a guitar and in a ukulele, the nut is the part that keeps all of the strings in place.
The neck is the longest part of the guitar; it’s what you hold when you play it.
Moreover, it also houses the fretboard. Within the fretboard, you will see the fret markers and the frets.
The frets are the bars that separate each area of the ukulele; it’s similar to the frets of the guitar. Fret markers, on the other hand, are the dots on the ukulele.
They’re like a guide or a map for the guitar player.
The body of a ukulele is where you can find the soundhole, which is the opening of the guitar, letting out the vibrations, as well as the bridge and the saddle.
Overall, the body is where the sounds are produced – the strings make the sound.
Last but most definitely not the least are the strings. Most of the time, ukulele strings are made of nylon or another type of material that’s synthetic.
They’re usually not made out of metal because their goal is to have a warmer or lower tension tone.
Those are the parts of a ukulele. Note that some ukulele manufacturers might have different sets of materials; some even add, while some subtract.
What is a Ukulele Tuner?
It’s a type of tool or accessory you can purchase alongside your ukulele to help you tune it.
Akin to a regular guitar tuner, you’d attach or link a ukulele tuner to the head for it to capture the tone of each string.
How Do I Choose a Ukulele?
Buying a ukulele is something that would depend on the needs you have.
For instance, you can choose to purchase a ukulele that’s cheap and inexpensive if you’re just a beginner.
Otherwise, you can scan from the list of ukuleles that are expensive and high quality if you’re a professional.
Some of the things that you can consider as factors include:
Wood quality is a great factor if you want to have that crisp, rich, and unique sound.
Because it vibrates off of the wood, you’d want the types of oak, maple, rosewood, and the like for it to produce good sound quality.
Quality of the Build
How the ukulele is made is one of the greatest and the best things you need to look at.
Did you know that sturdier ukuleles produce quite a lower quality sound than malleable ones? Yes, the sturdier a ukulele is, the worse its sounds get.
But, there are ukulele manufacturers that are skilled in producing high-quality and durable ukuleles.
Size of the Ukulele
Sopranos are the smallest, concert and tenor ukes sit in the middle – and baritone ukuleles are the largest.
Depending on the type of music you’ll play, as well as the kind of sound you’re looking for, you’d have to consider the size, too.
Are There Good Chinese Ukulele Manufacturers?
Yes, there are a lot of great Chinese ukulele manufacturers in the market. Contrary to the belief of many that Chinese brands are bad, they’re actually one of the best.
Because they have a lower cost, you can actually secure a good quality ukulele for an inexpensive rate!
Which Chinese Ukulele Manufacturer Can You Trust?
There are a lot of Chinese ukulele suppliers that you can trust in the market. But, if you want to work with the best, you can work and consider us here at Ariose Music.
For more than a decade, we’ve been the top supplier of ukuleles and other instruments in the country.
We’ve amassed thousands of clients who still continue to trust us today.
Whether you’re a professional or a frustrated musician, an instrument shop owner, or if you want to sell ukuleles via rebranding, Ariose Music is ready to assist you!
We are SGS and CE certified! You can count on us to be your business partner when it comes to manufacturing and producing good and high-quality ukuleles and other instruments!
Ariose Music doesn’t stop people from ordering in small quantities! You can get it depending on the business you need it for!
Contact us and get the best and the highest quality ukuleles at the best prices available! We’ll respond to all your queries in a matter of hours from the time of confirmation!
- Ukulele Buying Guide
- What is a Ukulele?
- Different Types of a Ukulele
- What is a Ukulele Made Of?
- Ukulele vs. Guitar: How are They Different?
- Origins and History of a Ukulele
- The Top and the Best Ukulele Manufacturers
- Parts of a Ukulele
- What is a Ukulele Tuner?
- How Do I Choose a Ukulele?
- Are There Good Chinese Ukulele Manufacturers?
- Which Chinese Ukulele Manufacturer Can You Trust?