In reality, like with other instruments, it’s wiser to try out a uke before purchasing it. This can help you investigate the build, the playability and the sound. Sometimes physically trying out uke may not be possible, maybe because you live in a very remote place and the nearest physical dealer is miles away, or you feel that you are financially stable and getting one delivered to your door step seems like a more convenient way for financially put individuals.
The Risks Likely to be incurred while buying online
Poor Quality Ukulele
By poor quality I don’t mean the usual buzz or the occurrence of a string or two that needs to be re-stringed, this can be found even in expensive physical store bought uke. The thing is, when you are purchasing a uke physically, you can even take along someone who knows how to play to ascertain the quality, but not with the online one. There are online dealers who won’t inspect your unit. So there are high chances of being shipped a unit with hairline crack on the soundboard or even a loose brace.
Non brick and motor shops might take forever to deliver
It’s recommended that you order over phone even when doing an online purchase. This will make it possible for the dealer to give it a once over. Also, when you can directly speak to the dealer you can better connect to them. Connecting with a dealer can help when you need some professional assistance with your unit after purchase.
Some dealers won’t pass your unit through pre-sale checks
When you check online reviews of some sites you might come across customers complaining that the action on their unit is wrong. This can mean the strings are way up, or maybe too low and touching the frets, the bridge or neck is mis set. So most of the time if you buy a Ukulele from a substandard online store, it will be sent without being set up properly. The strings mostly are usually off, making the uke to sound off tune. Once you adjust that though you are good to go.
Top Considerations before Buying a Ukulele online
The Type of Ukulele
- there are four main variations in the types of Ukulele and this makes for the top most consideration before buying your first ukulele, the soprano, concert, tenor and Baritone. For a beginner, the soprano or concert is the best ukulele for newbies. To know more about uke sizes check here
The Shape of the Ukulele
The main shapes of ukulele are the guitar (figure-8), pineapple and boat paddle. The shape of the Ukulele you choose will greatly determine the availability in the online store and the price. Although the pineapple shape produces a distinctive sound that’s richer to the ears, figure-8 is the more common and therefore cheaper most of the time.
The Material used
Most cheap Ukuleles, like the Makala Dolphin Soprano, are made of either plastic or laminate wood. These are durable and will rarely split, although as they age they won’t seem to sound much like the solid wood types. Yet even in wood, the prices range as different wood types represent different quality. The most common woods are Mahogany, Koa, Spruce, Cedar, Rosewood, and Maple. Another price determinant is if the ukulele is handmade or has fine detailing.
Online Prices for Quality Ukulele
You can buy a uke online for as little as 20$, although the best types range from 50$. One of the best ukulele for $50 is the plastic made Makala Dolphin Soprano but if you’re resentful towards plastic then you could go for the Lanikai LY-21 Soprano uke that’s made of laminate wood and sells for about 80$. The Kala Ka 15S is also a perfect Uke by a renowned manufacturer that you can check out.