A good cheap ukulele for beginners–
It's a grudge match, folks, between the good cheap ukulele for beginners vs. the good-but-not cheap ukulele for beginners!
Do you agree with me, your stalwart American uke pal, or the filthy Canadian Ralph Shaw?
Ralph (who is not filthy, but is Canadian), sends out a gem of a newsletter, and in his current issue, he offers some tips to encourage you to practice on your ukulele.
Six of his tips are great and I would offer similar advice. But number six on his list, is so wrong, it makes me want to figure out a Canadian pun insult based on “Halifax” or “Nova Scotia” (which both sound rather like a combination of filthy curse words already…).
“Get a good instrument. Having a freshly strung ukulele that makes you feel great just to hold and hear will make a huge difference. The pleasure of a well made and great sounding instrument can make you want to spend as much time with it as possible.”
–Canadian Ukeist, Ralph Shaw
Let me tell you story.
Let me tell you why I think a cheap ukulele for beginners is the way to go.
Last night in one of my (real world) uke classes, one student let me play her beautiful antique “freshly strung” Martin soprano uke.
I plucked it with happiness. I plunked it with joy.
And then we moved on to the next song, which was one of those, what the kids call, rock-n-roll numbers.
And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to chance harming this great old instrument with some bang-bang rock-n-roll strumming. The instrument was TOO nice.
And that's why Ralph and I will have to resort to fisticuffs if he ever dares step over the Canadian border.
Because I think you will practice more (the point of his article) if you’ve got a little knock-about uke that you take with you everywhere, and you don’t care if it’s out in the sun or the sand or the rain.
You can play to children and dogs. Leave it out where it might get soiled or damp.
And whenever you want it, it’s there, a trusted pal, like Robin to Batman, responding to your call, and jumping up to provide you with the great gift of music.
Take it a step further. Have more than one. For one “good instrument,” you could buy three or four or five less cheap ukuleles for beginners. One for every room! One in the car! One down to Auntie Nan's for the holidays!
The Value of a Cheap Ukulele for Beginners:
- You won’t worry about accidentally sitting on it
- You can afford more than one
- You’re more likely to play when it’s in reach
- You’ve always got one to give away as a gift! (like George Harrison)
Declaring the Peace
In the interest of international ukulele relations, I will meet Ralph halfway (say, Decatur, Illinois?). I do agree that a nice uke that stays in tune, is easy to play, and has that certain something of sound, is a joy to play.
But to practice more? Get a cheapie.
What to read next:
- If you like reading about cheap ukes, you might also enjoy reading about The Most Expensive Ukulele in the World.
- Best Tenor Ukuleles Under $200
- And my overview of everything you might need to get started on ukulele for beginners is right here.