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Home Ukulele Reviews What are the best ukulele brands in the market?

What are the best ukulele brands in the market?

Choose your favorite in 3...2...1!

by Marialejandra Araujo

Since the uprising of the ukulele around the 2000s, many ukulele brands have seen the light to create beautiful and unique ukuleles. Given the high standards placed in the uke world, no brand can survive with low-quality instruments. Which brand should you pick among many?

In this article I’m gonna give you a list of ukulele brands with NO especific preferece order, that way you can review them according to what you like or what you’re looking for in your next instrument. So… Let’s begin!

Some Ukulele Brands

Indeed, there are many brands. One seems better than the other. For a ukulele lover, it might be like being hungry and standing in front of a feast. Thinking about it, we wanted to share with you some curiosities about well-known brands. 

ANueNue

ANueNue is a relatively new brand. They started to craft handmade ukes in 2007, and it has been in recent years that they have introduced their ukes in Europe and the US. Despite that, it has become a recognized brand in the ukulele world. 

Many factors have influenced their success, but someone might tell their passion has something to do with it. Think about its name. ANueNue (Ahh nu way nu way) means rainbow and their logo is the Rainbow Man, a well-known Hawaiian petroglyph. 

With a slogan like “Life, Music, and Play” and praise for Mother Earth, it is not that hard to figure out why people connect easily with this brand. And that goes without mentioning the quality of their work. 

Cordoba

Cordoba is one of the brands under the Cordoba Music Group umbrella. Apart from this brand, they also work with Guild G, HumiCase, DeArmond, Savarez, and Aquila. As its name suggests, Cordoba is a direct descent from the Spanish tradition, that is, resonant, lightweight, and handmade instruments.

Enya

Enya Music is a brand based in Texas, US. They have been around since 1995, manufacturing high-quality instruments at affordable prices. Even though they are not related to Enya, you can play her songs on Enya ukes like ‘Orinoco Flow’. That would be cool, right?

According to them, Enya stands for something like being elegant, but humble and thankful. That’s a description that goes well with the instruments they create and sell. Just have a look at how beautiful is the Enya E6 FE ukulele, to name one of them.

Flight

Flight is one of those motivating examples of how passionate actions bring great results. Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, they started the ukulele journey in 2009. Their main goal was bringing the uke tradition to their country given that finding a good instrument to play was challenging. 

What began as a local project, ended as an international one, and nowadays, they distribute their ukuleles around the world. Their ukes really took a flight around the world with their travel series!

Kala

Kala is a consequence of a man’s passion. Mike Upton fell in love with ukuleles while working in Hawaii in the 1990s. With few ukulele options in the market, he decided to create his own brand in 2005. 

That’s how Kala was born. Since its foundation, all Kala instruments have been designed in Petaluma, California; and manufactured in several countries such as China, Indonesia, Portugal, Vietnam, and India.

Kamaka

There is no doubt people behind the Kamaka brand take names seriously. This is the surname of a family that lives for and loves ukuleles. It means “the eye” or “the vision.” Indeed, they craft ukes following a clear vision, the Sam Sr. philosophy: “If you make instruments and use the family name, don’t make junk”.

Read more: Why Do People Say The Ukulele Is From Hawaii?

Thankfully for all of the ukulele players, the Kamaka has shined as one of the leading brands in the ukulele world. They are responsible for relating Hawaii, pineapples, and ukuleles as Sam Kamaka designed, in the mid-20s, the pineapple-shaped ukulele we all know nowadays.

Kanile’a

Joe and Kristen Souza are the ones behind this brand. The family has been selling Hawaiian ukuleles since 1998 from Honolulu, Hawaii. They ensure quality and longevity by sourcing their own materials needed to manufacture their ukes.

As part of their passion and compromise for the ukulele world, they plant a Koa tree for every ukulele they craft. 

KoAloha

KoAloha is best known for the vibrant and wonderful tones coming from the Koa wood. The brand name is a combination of Koa and Aloha words that can be translated as the love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy of the Koa tree.

This brand has been crafting ukuleles since 1995 thanks to the efforts of the Okami family. They work from their factory in Hawaii, but some of them, the budget ones, are built in China and finished in Hawaii.

Pono

Ko’olau brings to the market its more affordable brand called Pono. They used solid wood to craft high-quality ukuleles. Ko’olau is based in Wahiawa, Hawaii from where they create the instruments they sell.

Rebel

From Thailand to the world, Rebel is a brand founded in 2011. This small team of designers and luthiers works their magic to bring the best to the ukulele world. They pride themselves on their finely crafted instruments created both for musicians and collectors.

Despite their factory being in Thailand, they have an office in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Which ukulele brands will you choose?

By no means, picking a brand of many can be hard. It does not help that each of them does their best to bring the finest ukuleles to the market. In the end, it seems like paying attention to what makes them unique is the way to go. You can also consider joining our vibrant ukulele community to ask for their opinion on the different brands!

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1 comment

Kenneth Wagner July 23, 2022 - 6:12 pm

I was not able to afford any of the big four in Hawaii so I opted for the lower priced Pono deluxe mango pineapple concert. The instrument has a bright tone reminiscent of koa wood ukes. I’m also a big fan of Kala and have a tenor acacia, a concert travel, and a kiwi soprano (14 years old and still going strong). I also have a soprano electric/acoustic cigar box uke (won’t stay in tune) and a cigar box amp.

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