In this article, we’re exploring the best soprano ukulele options, as well as how to choose the right soprano uke for you. The soprano size is the smallest of all the ukuleles but it is also the “original” size. There are probably more soprano ukes than any of the other sizes. What is best for one person isn’t necessarily right for someone else. So, how do you choose the right instrument for you?
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best Soprano Ukuleles
Soprano Ukulele Size
Soprano ukuleles are usually 20-21 inches in size. This is the smallest out of any of the mainstream ukulele sizes. One of the best things about this ukulele size is the fact that it gives the “classic” ukulele tone. As this size was the original size used for making ukuleles, it sounds more traditional.
The smaller size gives a brighter sound. The high end is emphasized more.
The size has a lot of benefits. Obviously, small ukuleles like this take up less space and they are easier to carry around from place to place. A lot of people take up ukulele because it is a portable instrument, so getting a bigger uke may defeat the purpose.
The size also impacts the scale of the instrument, and the size of the fretboard. If you have larger hands and think you might struggle to play intricate detail on a soprano uke, bigger sizes are an option. Even a good soprano ukulele can feel awkward to start with, so don’t just assume your hands are too big. You need to get used to the fingering and “fretting” to ensure you are playing the instrument correctly. This can take time.
Soprano Ukulele Tone and Tonewood
As we’ve already briefly mentioned, the tone is impacted by the small size of the ukulele. It creates a bright sound with high frequencies ringing out. Soprano ukuleles tend to have a very nice tone that reminds us all of Hawaii. However, the projection may not be as good because of the smaller size.
The wood used to make the different parts of the ukulele has a big impact on the sound, too. A good quality wood can make all the difference. Traditionally, Koa wood is used to make ukes. This is a native wood to Hawaii and the sound it generates is that we think of when considering a classic ukulele tone. There are a lot of different types of wood used though, including mahogany. These can generate a great tone, too.
This tonewood comparison can help you to work out what sort of sound you are looking for, and which wood can provide.
When buying a ukulele of any variety it is worth looking at the accessories that are included. A lot of ukuleles come as kits. You will receive not just the instrument but accessories as well, including tuners, bags and more. Take a look at what is on offer before you buy.
This is especially the case if you are looking to buy the best soprano ukulele for beginners. If you are brand new to playing, or are buying a ukulele for someone as a gift then they may need all the bells and whistles.
Look at the quality of the soprano ukulele accessories, too. There is no point in buying an expensive ukulele but putting it in a poor quality gig bag or case. This can lead to you damaging your ukulele all for the sake of saving $20.
Useful accessories vary from straps to capos and tuners. Some of the accessories are absolutely essential. Picks and a tuner are vital to be able to play the instrument properly. You will need to be able to tune up your ukulele before you learn songs.
How much should you be looking to spend on a soprano ukulele? You’ll be glad to learn that these are the cheapest of the different varieties and sizes of ukuleles. Soprano ukuleles are small, and use less materials.
We recommend spending over $40 on your ukulele. You won’t find a new ukulele cheaper than this that has enough quality.
There are some very cheap ukuleles out there, with $20 models on the market if you want to go for a super affordable option. However, they tend to be made out of poor wood and don’t have the sound quality of a ukulele that costs a little bit more. If you invest $100-200 you can get a very high-quality soprano uke.
In truth, you might find it hard to spend more than $100 on a beginner ukulele. A lot of the soprano ukuleles cost under $100.
For $200 or more you will be looking to buy professional sounding ukuleles. There are some wonderful sounding options that can last a lifetime at this price range. It depends how much you have to spend.
Design and Shape
The design is not the number one criteria, especially in terms of looks. We’ve focused more on the actual sound of the ukuleles. It is still nice to have a design that looks good though! A lot of ukuleles have beautiful patterns and inlays on them.
Though they’re usually the same shape, some ukuleles come in the pineapple shape. This is pretty self-explanatory, the body looks like a pineapple. Pineapple designs can project a little bit better so are usually louder. They also have a little bit more mellow sound.
Soprano vs Concert Ukulele
This is a question you might be asking if you are new to ukuleles. Do you want a soprano or a concert ukulele model? If you have large hands you might find a concert model a little easier. If you don’t need this extra scale and you are looking for a traditional sound, the soprano uke could be ideal.
Best Soprano Ukulele Reviews
1. Kala Satin Mahogany Soprano Ukulele with White Binding (KA-S)
Kala is one of the biggest brands in the world of ukuleles. They make some top options, and the KA-S is an affordable soprano ukulele with a lot of quality for the money. You can pick these up for under $100, but they feel like more expensive ukuleles, with the sort of build quality that has made Kala one of the most popular brands.
- Comes with reliable NuBone nut and saddle designed to mimic the feel of bone.
- Aquila strings included.
- Quality mahogany wood with a satin finish to provide a rich tone with good projection for a soprano ukulele.
- Polished finish for a great look and durability.
- Kala app can help you to get the most out of your ukulele. This is free of charge.
- No accessories included, you will need to buy these separately.
- Fingerboard doesn’t feel as smooth as some other options of soprano uke.
Kala is definitely a huge brand for a reason. They’re very popular ukuleles. Their range is also huge so you can buy affordable Kala ukuleles and expensive ones depending on what you need, but the build quality is pretty good on the KA-S for the price tag.
The only real downside of this model is that it doesn’t have any accessories included. If you are new to ukulele you will need to buy these separately. As the price isn’t too high, this may leave some budget so you can do this.
This model is a suitable ukulele for beginners but also has a bit more build quality that can help you become an intermediate player, too. It should last a long time.
2. Hola! Music HM-121MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Soprano Ukulele Bundle – Best Soprano Ukulele for Beginners
Hola! Music manufactures some very good beginner choices of ukuleles in different sizes. This is a good quality soprano uke, and it comes with the added bonus of the fact that it has loads of accessories. It is very much a beginners bundle.
This is an affordable option. You don’t have to spend a huge amount to get all you need to get started playing. The HM-121MG+ is also one of the few beginner bundles to actually include a high quality gig bag. Some of the bags and cases included don’t give any protection for a ukulele, but this brand include a padded gig bag.
- Comes with accessories including padded gig bag, picks and a strap.
- 2 months access to ukulele classes online included.
- Quality walnut fingerboard and mahogany tonewood. Good materials at a low price.
- Includes Italian Aquila Nylgut strings.
- Binding is made out of plastic, could be better quality.
- This ukulele can sometimes struggle to stay in tune. Most ukuleles do initially, but this takes longer to “settle” the strings than some other ukes.
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for beginners, this can be an option that doesn’t cost a huge amount and also provides all the accessories needed to get started playing. The Hola! Music HM-121MG+ is a basic ukulele but the tonewood is still very good quality and will see you through ukulele lessons.
3. Enya Pineapple Soprano Ukulele 21 Inch Beginner Kit – Best Pineapple Soprano Uke
Another ukulele which comes in under $100. Many of the soprano ukes out there can be bought for under $100 to get you started and they have plenty of quality. One of the reasons this has made our list is because it has excellent Koa wood. This is traditional and gives a lovely bright tone to the uke.
The pineapple design is not for everyone’s taste. It’s totally up to you based on what style you are happy to play. The tone is slightly altered, and a mellow sound with lots of projection comes from the soprano design.
- A little more projection than many soprano ukuleles due to the pineapple design.
- Made out of traditional Koa wood, so you can really hear the traditional Hawaiian sound.
- Mahogany neck gives comfort and retains the quality of the sound.
- Comes with all the accessories you could need to get started. There’s a decent case, a strap, spare strings and even a capo. There’s also a tuner.
- Tone doesn’t have as much shine as some of the other options of soprano ukuleles, this is down to the pineapple style.
- The neck can feel a little heavy, making it awkward to get used to playing.
For a soprano ukulele that has a good level of projection and a mellow tone which sounds good picked or strummed, the Enya Pineapple Soprano could be a very good option. All the accessories are a big bonus. The ukulele is good for beginners but has the quality for intermediate players too.
4. AmazonBasics Soprano Ukulele Bundle – Cheap Option
If you are looking for an affordable ukulele then the AmazonBasics soprano ukulele might surprise you with its quality. Obviously, the brand doesn’t have the same history as many of the other ukulele manufacturers. However, there is a lot to like about this ukulele. The price is one of the best things about it.
For the money, you get an awful lot. There’s plenty of quality on offer in terms of how this soprano ukulele is made. It is cheap in terms of price, but you wouldn’t know in terms of materials.
- Sapele top and back, with a laurel fingerboard.
- Comes with all the accessories you need to get started including a case, strap, picks and even spare strings. There is also a shoulder strap.
- Quality aquila strings.
- Comes with a one-year warranty. Not many ukuleles come with any kind of warranty.
- The carry case included is not the best quality.
- Not made out of traditional tonewoods. It sounds good, but doesn’t have the exact Hawaiian quality you might expect.
You need to be realistic about what you are getting at this price point. AmazonBasics have not made this ukulele to be played on stage in front of thousands. Instead, you get a very good beginner option. It is reliable, and should last you many years if it is treated right.
This sort of soprano ukulele is great for lessons and won’t let you down. Not spectacular, but great for the price and with a one year warranty included, which not many ukuleles have.
5. Martin 110XKUKE Ukulele – High End Ukulele
The Martin brand is synonymous with quality. They make some excellent acoustic guitars and ukuleles. A lot of their ukuleles are concert or tenor sized. This model is a soprano ukulele, and offers a wonderful sound and excellent craftsmanship. The Martin 110XKUKE is worth considering if you are happy to spend more for top quality.
- Made from exceptional Koa-patterned wood, with a HPL (high pressure laminate) design.
- Because of the HPL finish it is resistant to changes in temperature. It won’t warp because of humidity.
- Morado freeboard gives a comfortable and simple playing surface.
- Excellent craftsmanship as we’ve come to expect from the Martin brand.
- Beautiful, traditional tone which comes from the Koa wood included in the design.
- This model is more pricey due to the build quality and materials.
- No accessories. All you get when you buy this is the ukulele itself.
This is a model for professional musicians rather than those just getting started. You don’t need to spend this much if you are buying your first ever ukulele. However, if tone is your priority and you don’t mind parting with your money for it, you should think about the Martin 110XKUKE Ukulele.
So, which soprano ukulele do we recommend?
Obviously, if you are looking just for the sound quality then the best will be the Martin 110XKUKE Ukulele. The build quality and Koa wood create an exceptional sound. However, it is on the expensive end of the market so is only recommended for serious musicians.
The Kala Satin Mahogany Soprano Ukulele with White Binding (KA-S) is our clear winner. The mahogany build and NuBone detailing makes this a good choice for a clear uke tone, but it still doesn’t cost a huge amount. This is a balance between price and quality. This model is suitable for beginners but also good enough for intermediate players.
The Kala brand is another that is synonymous with quality. Many top ukulele players have a Kala model in their arsenal. The KA-S is not in their elite range but it does have plenty to like.
If you’re looking for an option for beginners and you want to get all the accessories you will need in with the ukulele, we’ve also recommended the Hola! Music HM-121MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Soprano Ukulele Bundle. This comes with lots of good accessories including a great gig bag and for the price tag it is very impressive. The ukulele itself is a good quality option for beginners, with a nice, well-rounded tone.
You will find so much choice on the market when looking for a soprano ukulele. Our reviews are here to help you choose the specific model that is best for your own needs. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something on our list for you.