There are many ukulele builders around the world, so good , some not so good. I have listed below some of the best ukulele companies. There instruments are of a high quality. They sound and play beautifully. When you have played a quality instrument, you very quickly understand there is a big difference between them and low cost instruments.
My advice to you is, if you have made your mind up to play ukulele, buy the best uke you can afford. Good quality ukes play better, sound better, and will give you many years of enjoyment.
Collings – My opinion, for what it is worth, collings are one of the finest ukulele’s in the world – http://www.collingsguitars.com/ukuleles.html
National – If you are after loud, or are into the blues, then a national is mandatory – http://www.nationalguitars.com/home.html
The 4 K’s – All of the 4 k brands from Hawaii are industry standard ukes. This is what many uke companies aspire to be. – Kanilea – http://www.kanileaukulele.com/ Kamaka – http://www.kamakahawaii.com/ Koaloha – http://www.koaloha.com/index.htm Ko’ola – http://www.koolauukulele.com/
Martin – The older ones are collector items and demand very high prices. In my opinion, the USA made models are far better than the Mexican ones and if you can get your hands on an old one even better – http://www.martinguitar.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&layout=category&task=category&id=63&Itemid=93
Tony Graziano – Tony is a great builder producing some of the nicest sounding ukes around – http://www.grazianoukuleles.com
Mya Moe – Beautiful sounding and looking hand-made ukuleles from USA – http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/
Ukulele Shops and Dealers
One of my favourite Australian uke shops is Gladsville guitar factory – http://www.guitarfactory.net/
Nunns Print music & repairs – http://www.nunnmusicrepairs.com.au/nmr/
Elderly Instruments – http://www.elderly.com/welcome.htm
Acoustic Music Works – http://www.acousticmusicworks.com/ukuleles.html
Hawaii Music Supply – http://www.theukulelesite.com/
More coming soon!
Strings – what to use and where to buy them
The selection of strings is enormous out there in the world. What strings are best? well there is no real answer to that question, simply because all ukes and the wood they are made from are unique. What strings sound good on one uke will not automatically guarantee they will sound good on another. The sound you like is also a determining factor – some like bright, clear thin or full sound, while others like warm and mellow. Some prefer a softer feel string, others thinner and hard. So to say one string type or brand is better than another is impossible. What feels and sounds good to you is the best string for you.
Now that said, I do recommend 4 different string brands. For most players out there, I am sure you will find the sound you are looking for in this selection. The 4 brands I recommend in no particular order are – Living Water Strings, Worth, Aquila, and Southcoast Ukulele Company. Both Living Water and Southcoast Ukulele Company strings can only be bought directly from the makers – Living Water – http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/Pages/LWS.aspx and Southcoast Ukulele Company – http://www.southcoastukes.com For Aquila or Worths strings I recommend buying them Nunns Print music & repairs – http://www.nunnmusicrepairs.com.au/nmr/