Cheap Ukulele for Beginners

Do you need the most expensive ukulele? Turns out it’s PLAYING the ukulele that makes me happy. Not the ukulele itself.

The most expensive ukulele in the world

Ever held something REALLY expensive?

I happened to be visiting California recently and brought my modern (cheap-ish) Martin ukulele in to McCabe’s in Santa Monica. It’s a great shop and I just wanted them to re-string the uke for me. Sort of like getting a haircut even when you don’t need one, just because you’re at a famous salon.

Well, I got talking Martins with the nice lady, and she walked me over to the glassed-in case in the corner to show me their collection.

I had been researching vintage Martins, and I was shocked to see how LOW their prices were.

I asked to try one and she unlocked the case and handed one over. Because it was “only” $1000, I handled it casually — strummed it, plucked, plunked it, plinked it. It sounded great.

“Why only a thousand?” I asked.

“What?” says she. “Oh, honey, you’re misreading the decimal point.”

It was not a one-thousand dollar ukulele.

It was a TEN-thousand dollar ukulele.

I immediately stopped plunking and gingerly handed it back, gulping inwardly, and thinking about my credit card limit.

I managed to get out of the store with a sixteen dollar bill for the string change and a huge sense of relief that I hadn’t over-plunked, nicked, dinged, or dropped their $10,000 Martin.

Driving home, I realized I was very happy with my cheap, modern Martin. In fact, I’m happy with my extremely cheap, plastic-feeling Mahalo.

Turns out it’s PLAYING the ukulele that makes me happy. Not the ukulele itself.

And that’s today’s lesson, kiddies. Now off to bed!

your pal,

PS: In case you’re curious: here are the most expensive ukuleles currently available over at Amazon.

Wanna talk about it? Join the conversation in the forum!

A little more about Cheap Ukuleles:

Similar Posts


  1. Danno Sullivan says:

    Ha ha, now we’re talking!

    I can’t imagine wanting to sell that if I owned it. And if I was selling, I’d hope there was a better market than eBay! You think it’s legit?

  2. Corporal Ward says:

    Cheapest uke I ever bought was an unbranded instrument at a table sale, cost me just £5 , I just changed the strings and it is now one of my favorites, I leave it in the car and play it every week

    1. Danno Sullivan says:

      That’s fantastic. I’m a huge advocate of an “in-car” uke for emergency practice sessions. A cheapie that you love is even better!

  3. Danno Sullivan says:

    Ooh, thanks for the tip on Caramel. I love finding something new to check out!

  4. I agree, its all in the playing , but….. It sure feels nice to play a really good uke too!! Unfortunately even average ukes are not cheap round these parts…

  5. Danno, my hubby bought me a 1950’s Martin to start me off, less than 1000.00 and it is my favorite.(I own 3 ukes now, a Kala concert and a collings Tenor). I think he got it from a music store in NY area…keep looking. and thanks for all you write about the UKE> if you ever come to Savannah GA, look me up…

    1. That’s a nice way to start off! The only new ukes I’ve taken a real shine to are the Collings–sounds like you’ve got a nice collection going there.

Leave a Reply