The Best Soprano Ukuleles - Regular & Pineapple Shaped

The Highest Rated Soprano & Pineapple Ukuleles

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The soprano ukulele's combination of comfortable size and beginner-friendly tone have cemented it's place in the market. It continues to be the go-to ukulele for beginners, and a favorite grab-and-go instrument for experienced musicians. Here we feature the best among the many soprano ukuleles that are flooding the market, based on reviews and ratings data up to March of 2021.

There's also a special section for highly rated pineapple ukuleles that feature a distinct shape with a slightly bigger surface area for improved sound projection.

The Best Soprano / Pineapple Ukuleles

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

The Highest Rated Standard Shape Soprano Ukuleles

Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 5450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$42
Hola! HM-21NT Soprano Ukulele

The Hola! HM-21MG is a soprano ukulele with maple being its main tonewood, this includes the top, back and sides.

Combined with the compact soprano shape, the resulting tone is bright with more emphasis on the higher frequencies.

The neck is crafted from nato, while the fingerboard and the bridge are made from walnut.

It has 12 silver nickel frets with matching silver geared tuners.

Key Features

  • Top: Maple
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 12

Pros
"Crisp" and "clean" are two words that nicely summarize how most users describe the sound of this instrument. Others are more appreciative of its overall value for money, especially when considering its good build quality and playability.

Cons
There are a few who report tuning issues, some of them caution that the strings and tuners may need to be broken in for a while before the tuning stabilizes.

Overall
The Hola HM-21 is ideal for those who are looking for an affordable maple body soprano ukulele.

Deviser UK21-30 Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany Bundle

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$46
Deviser UK21-30 21" Soprano Ukulele

The Deviser UK21-30 is meant for beginner to intermediate players, it can be bought at a very affordable price point and continues to rate highly in the face of many other similarly priced ukuleles.

Speaking of affordable, for the price, this one comes bundled with a digital tuner, gig bag, leather head strap, polishing cloth, and an extra string set.

It also comes wit free online lessons which again caters to students who are eager to learn.

The ukulele doesn't stray far from familiar soprano design, with its top, sides and back crafted from sapele.

Other features include the use of OX bone for the nut, rosewood for the fingerboard and it comes with built-in strap pins.

Key Features

  • Top: Laminate Sapele
  • Body: Laminate Sapele
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 16

Pros
Affordable does not always mean cheap construction and low quality, as proven by this affordable soprano ukulele. It is often lauded for being a good starter ukulele kit, both in terms of build quality and value for money. Sound-wise, it also doesn't disappoint, with many users describing it as a great sounding resonant instrument. Finally, being easy to play is a sentiment that's shared by many owners.

Cons
There are a few reports of string buzz related issues, but not bad enough for it to be poorly rated.

Overall
If budget is limited then this highly rated starter ukulele should be in your list of instruments to consider.

JDR Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$50
JDR Soprano Ukulele

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Soprano Ukulele.

The JDR Soprano Ukulele easily stands out with its two "corner cuts", one positioned near the neck joint for easy access to upper frets, and another positioned on the lower bout where the body usually meets your arms.

These specially contoured parts of the ukulele's body make the instrument more comfortable to play, and also adds to its overall visual aesthetic.

The fingerboard is crafted from walnut, and it features colorful shell style binding that further adds to its eye candy.

Much like many ukuleles in this price range, this one comes with some extras that include extra Aquila strings, guitar picks and a gig bag.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 15

Pros
The JDR Soprano Ukulele continues to exceed the expectations of those who bought it, this includes actual owners and the parents who have bout it for them. And as expected playability and aesthetics are big reasons as to why many rate this one highly, thanks to its distinct bevels. It is also often described as a good solid feeling instrument.

Cons
There are a few who had minor gripes like not having built-in strap buttons.

Overall
Being the best rated one this list, the JDR Soprano Ukulele, with its great combination of visuals, comfort and tone, should be at the top of your consideration.

Eastrock Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany Bundle

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$60
Eastrock Soprano Ukulele 21" Mahogany Bundle

The Eastrock Soprano Ukulele Bundle is meant to be an affordable starter set. At its core is a soprano size ukulele with the top, bottom, sides, and neck crafted from mahogany.

For the price, this ukulele features an arched back, which together with its all-mahogany construction, give it a warmer tone. This helps balance out the expected bright tonality of small-bodied acoustic instruments.

It also comes with a padded gig bag, a step above the usual basic gig bags included in other bundles.

Other accessories include picks, microfiber cleaning cloth, and flannel bag.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Not Specified
  • Frets: 15

Pros
The Eastrock Soprano Ukulele bundle gets a lot of thumbs up for being a good value beginner's kit. Owners are impressed at the craftsmanship of the instrument given its price, some even compare it favorably overs others that are priced much higher. Sound quality is described as clear and good, pleasing enough of its users to make formal commendations via reviews.

Cons
Not many complaints about the product itself, aside from a few who aren't too sold on its compact size.

Overall
If you're looking for an all-mahogany yet budget-friendly instrument, then this is for you.

Kmise KMU21S 21 Inch Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 4000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$55
Kmise KMU21S 21 Inch Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Boasting a body crafted from AAA mahogany, the Kmise KMU21S has quite the specs for the price, and this added value of having quality mahogany tonewoods make it a good buy for discerning players who prefer mahogany over the other tonewoods.

It has a C shape neck with a walnut fretboard that is paired with a walnut bridge.

Another important feature is its 18:1 ratio tuner, which helps improve intonation.

Finally, it comes with accessories which include a gig bag, a tuner, a strap and an extra set of strings.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Not specified
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 24

Pros
A common theme among reviewers is their appreciation of the Kmise KMU21S' value for money. They are happy with the extras that it comes bundled with, which include extra strings, a strap, a clip-on tuner, a padded gig bag, and an instruction book. Of course, it also gets a lot of kudos for its sound quality, which can be summarized as clean and clear. Build quality also gets thumbs up, even from experienced musicians.

Cons
Ironically, there are some who aren't that impressed with the quality of the accessories - prompting them to lower their ratings even when they are happy with the ukulele itself. There are also a few who are underwhelmed by its compact size, a somewhat common issue among first-time buyers.

Overall
You are getting quite a lot for the money with the Kmise KMU21S, hard to pass on a great deal like this one.

Kala Soprano Ukulele Starter Kit

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 4400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$69
Kala Soprano Ukulele Starter Kit

From popular ukulele maker Kala, this starter kit is their entry into the entry-level market, the main component of which is a mahogany body soprano ukulele.

Instead of the usual plastic nuts and saddle, this one comes with GrapthTech NuBone, which is well received for its good string-to-body vibration transference and durability.

For extra eye candy, it comes with a laser-etched traditional Polynesian Shark Teeth graphic on its rosette.

Also included in this kit is a quick start guide and a tote bag, along with app-based extras that include online lessons and a tuner.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 12

Pros
Most owners are happy to recommend the Kala Soprano Ukulele to anyone who is just starting out. It impresses young musicians along with the adults who bought it for them, who commend the kit for its playability and good sounds. Experienced uke players appreciate the addition of NuBone for the nut and saddle, which helps improve the instrument's overall tone. It also helps that it looks as good as it sounds.

Cons
There are some who question the quality of the included accessories, while others are not too happy with the video tutorials.

Overall
No matter what you're level of playing is, it's hard to go wrong with Kala branded ukuleles.

Balnna Soprano Rainbow Ukulele Bundle

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$73

The Balnna Soprano ukulele is easily distinguishable with its multi-color finish and fretboard markers. But while it does veer away from traditional aesthetics, it doesn't stray too far from what you'd expect from the compact traditional 21" soprano profile.

The body of the ukulele is built from maple wood, an interesting choice because it is expected to further brighten the already bright tone expected from small stringed instruments.

It is bundled with a soft gig bag, a strap, an extra set of nylon strings, guitar picks and a digital tuner.

Key Features

  • Top: Maple
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Frets: 15

Pros
It is often commended for good build quality, but as expected, its main draw is its colorful overall design. Being well built also means that it is easy on the hands, and this is seen in reviews. Sound also gets a number of thumbs up, from those who prefer a more trebly tone. The accessories included in the bundle are also well received.

Cons
The color maybe a bit too much for those who prefer earthy color tones.

Overall
The Balnna Soprano can help you make colorful music with its distinct finish, a good buy for those who want a fun-looking instrument.

The Highest Rated Pineapple Ukuleles

Kala KA-MK-P Makala Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$59
Kala KA-MK-P Makala Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

The Kala KA-MK-P is an entry-level "pineapple" shape soprano ukulele with mahogany body.

Given its price, this one has a more streamlined appearance, with the most basic specs.

The neck is also crafted from mahogany and is fitted with a 12-fret walnut fingerboard.

And being an entry-level instrument, the action and tension of the strings are meant to be beginner-friendly.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 12

Pros
Many are surprised by how good this ukulele sounds, some even comparing it positively against ones that are priced two or three times higher. But the best thing about it is its affordability and comfortable size and playability, which makes it ideal for younger players.

Cons
There are some who take issue with its tuners, while a few report minor quality control issues.

Overall
For the money, it's hard to beat the value of the Kala KA-MK-P.

Kala KA-PSS Pineapple

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$80
Kala KA-PSS Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

Aside from their distinctive shape, pineapple ukuleles like the Kala KA-PSS actually offer a pretty unique tone.

Generally, the more surface area an acoustic instrument has the warmer its tone is going to be. Because of this, a pineapple ukulele is essentially a very warm-sounding soprano uke.

The scale length (the distance from the nut to the saddle), the nut width, and the overall length of the instrument are the same as regular soprano ukuleles.

So while the width of the body and its dimensions may be different, the instrument is still very manageable for beginning ukulele players.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 12

Pros
The combination of the extra warmth of the pineapple body style and this instrument’s mahogany construction gives this instrument a very pleasing tone which many users love. There are many reports of it being a good grab-and-go instrument at home, and many appreciate how nice it sounds when accompanying vocals.

Cons
There are a few who dislike the uke's extra resonance, describing it as thin sounding. Other issues that were brought up point to intonation and inconsistencies with build quality.

Overall
Being one of the top-rated in this section, the Kala KA-PSS should be at the top of your list if you're looking into pineapple ukuleles.

Luna Artistic Series Great Wave Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$119
Luna Artistic Series Great Wave Pineapple Soprano Ukulele

Luna is a brand known for incorporating artistic graphics into their instruments, and the Great Wave Pineapple Soprano is an excellent example.

While music in itself is a work of art, this ukulele lets you enjoy graphic and music artistry in one instrument by using the top of the ukulele as a print canvass.

It features a popular historical painting of Japanese artist Hokusai, called "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (1830-1833). It is a painting that depicts a giant wave with Mt. Fuji on the background. It is based on the original woodblock print, copies of which can be found in many collections, including museums such as the British Museum in London, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Key Features

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 15

Pros
While visual appeal is a given, reviewers commend its equally appealing tone, which many describe as bright and lively. This combination of good visuals and sound makes for a fun instrument to play with, and this is reflected in reviews.

Cons
There are some reports of tuning issues, and the reviewers recommend replacing the default strings as soon as possible. There are also a few concerns regarding the quality of the installed tuners.

Overall
If you're a fan of both visual and sonic art, then this is for you.

Things to Consider When Buying a Soprano Ukulele

If you’re not sure which ukulele is going to work best for your needs, or if you want to brush up on your knowledge before making a purchase, check out the sections below!

A Quick Primer on Tonewood

Tonewood is a controversial subject because everyone’s ears are different. One person might hear mahogany as a warm and darkly voiced wood, while others might think it sounds relatively bright. The most important thing to remember is that you need to listen to an instrument, because if you like the tone of whatever uke you’re playing the wood it’s made from doesn’t matter.

With that in mind, collected below are some of the most commonly found tonewoods and the general consensus on how they sound. Your experience may vary, but the information below will give you enough information to start the process of making an informed decision.

Spruce

Spruce is the brightest tonewood commonly used in ukuleles, making it a good choice if you’re looking for an instrument that can easily cut through a mix. The only bad part about this wood is that because it lacks the warmth of other tonewoods it generally won’t sound as good when playing by yourself.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a very warm tonewood, though it has a strong enough mid-range response that your tone will still have some “punch”.

Koa

Koa is often described as having a “woody” tone, sounding warm and full. The wood is still focused, but it rarely sounds overly bright. The response of the wood pairs well with the ukulele, as it retains a warm tone but has a slightly more focused tone than mahogany.

Cedar

Cedar is arguably one of the warmest tonewoods commonly used, with a strong low and low-mid response. It’s great for solo play, but has the potential to sound a bit muddled when played in an ensemble setting.

Laminate vs. Solid Wood

When shopping for a uke, something you’re going to hear a lot are the terms “solid” and “laminate(d)”. Laminate, or laminated wood, is several thin pieces of wood glued together. Laminate wood resonates less, so you get a less complex tone (fewer frequencies are produced) and less volume. Solid wood is exactly what it sounds like, a solid piece of wood. Because it’s one solid piece, it resonates more than laminated wood. This gives you a tone that contains more frequencies, giving you a more complex and “musical” tone.

The soundboard, which is generally called the “top” of an instrument, creates the majority of your tone. This is why many instruments use a solid top and laminated back and sides. An entirely solid instrument still gives a better tone overall, but an instrument with a solid top and laminated back and sides can still give you a very respectable tone. Even better, these instruments are generally very affordable compared to their all-solid counterparts.

Size and Its Relationship to Tone

You can think of instruments that are different sizes as occupying different ends of a tonal spectrum, with small instruments having a bright and focused tone while larger instruments have a warmer tone with more depth. For more information on the different sizes of ukulele, check out our article “The Different Ukulele Sizes Explained”.

Best Soprano Ukulele Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the latest edition was published on March 3, 2021.

We began by looking at all the soprano sized ukuleles available from major American online music equipment retailers. We then decided on a shortlist of 35 of the most popular and best rated among what's available. We then collected and analyzed ratings and reviews from retailers, forum discussions, and expert recommendations, including the most recent ones up to March 2021. For this update, the data piled up to over 26,500 sources, and all of them were processed via the Gearank Algorithm. This resulted in a rating out of 100 for each of the short-listed ukes, finally, we selected the highest rated ones to recommend above, along with a special section for top-rated pineapple soprano ukuleles. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Kala KA-SEM, Kala KA-S, Cordoba 15SM, Kala KA-MK-P and Luna Great Wave Pineapple.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

The videos above have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

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