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Best tattoo starter kit 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated March 1, 2023

Brayden DiazHELLO! I’m Brayden Diaz. I spent 50 hours researching and testing 12 different types of tattoo starter kit and found that material, variety of sizes, and style were most important.

In fact, it was the first time I had been in this situation and what I thought was going to be a very quick and easy task turned out to be a good many weeks of research. You see I’m an average member of the public just like you and the main reason I decided to publish a review website on tattoo starter kit is because I was looking for one not so long ago.

Best tattoo starter kit of 2018

Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. The “Total” indicates the overall value of the product.

I must say I am quite a fan of tattoo starter kit, so when the question “What are the best tattoo starter kit available on the market?” came to my mind, I excitedly started gathering information together with personal experience to write this article in the hope that it may help you find the suitable tattoo starter kit. If you’re scouring the market for the best tattoo starter kit, you’d better have the right info before spending your money.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
5 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the tattoo starter kit by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – GRINDER Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo / 4 Tattoo Machine Guns – Power Supply / 7 Ink by…

GRINDER Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo / 4 Tattoo Machine Guns - Power Supply / 7 Ink by...

4 Tattoo Machine Gun – 10 coil / Includes FREE 240 page Tattoo Instructional Book & DVD COMBO
UPDATED: 7 Bottles Radiant Colors Tattoo Ink – MADE IN THE USA
Literally no flaws

Why did this tattoo starter kit win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.


Ease of use














№2 – Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 5 Dragonhawk Mate Tattoo Machine Gun 20 Immortal Tattoo…

Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 5 Dragonhawk Mate Tattoo Machine Gun 20 Immortal Tattoo...

5 Dragonhawk coils tattoo machines for tattoo artist, 2 machines for shading, 3 machines for lining
20 bottles immortal inks, made in USA, vegan friendly, smooth, vibrant, consistent, trusted
50 High quality Dragonhawk pre made sterile tattoo needles, 1 dragonhawk tattoo power supply work with dragonhawk tattoo machines
A bit high price.
Exterior build could be improved.

Why did this tattoo starter kit come in second place?

Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.


Ease of use














№3 – Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine Kit Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine Cartridge Needles Power…

Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine Kit Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine Cartridge Needles Power...

Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine precision DC motor, continuous operation, Low noise, Long-lasting stability, Light weight, unibody. Compatible with all cartridge needles.
10 pcs tattoo needle cartridges. Dragonhawk tattoo power supply fitted with rotary machine
Recommended hand wash only.
The price is slightly higher than other competitors.

Why did this tattoo starter kit take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.


Ease of use














tattoo starter kit Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy tattoo starter kit, right? No!

Rotary tattoo gun kit

Many experienced tattoo artists picking rotary guns as their gear. As for beginner, you should probably pick your beginner tattoo kits out of the coil mechanism category since many amateur tattoo artists feel that rotary machines are awkward in hand and allow less control. For the more experienced tattoo artist, rotary gun kit could be the perfect choice that would provide them the satisfaction and the results they want.

Shader and liner tattoo kits

The liner tattoo machines used for tattoo outlines and black works while the shader machine is used (as the name says) for shading work and coloring. Their needles setuped differently, liner machines got less needles that are set in circle (to allow the work me bore precise) while shader guns got the needles positioned in straight manner to resemble a comb (that will assist shading and coloring). Also, the speed of the liner guns is usually higher compared to shader guns.

Professional Kits

Professional tattoo kits will contain many of the same items found in the intermediate kits, but will usually come with a larger supply of everything.The biggest difference you will see with the professional kits is the inclusion of an autoclave with sterilization pouches and an ultrasonic unit. Both of these items are indispensable for sterilizing all reusable tattoo machinery and supplies between customers.

Note: It’s strongly recommended that if you purchase a kit without an autoclave, that you buy one separately and follow operation instructions carefully.

A Word of Caution

Tattooing is definitely cool, but it can also be very dangerous. There’s always a chance of causing injury to the person receiving the tattoo, allergic reactions do happen and both artist and customer are at risk for contracting blood borne diseases, if proper sanitation and sterilization are not carried out every step of the way.

Getting Started

Once you have your tattoo kit, no matter what level it is, you’ll likely want to get started right away. Many tattooists practice on the skin of fruit and there is even specially designed leather for the purpose of practicing on. After this, proceed to the less-visible areas of your body. If you’re good enough, your friends may even let you tattoo them. Remember that tattooing is an art all its own and that just because you are handy with a pen and paper doesn’t mean you will automatically be good at skin and ink. Like anything worth learning, tattooing takes practice; your practice will make perfect eventually.

Rotary Tattoo Guns

These are the original form of tattoo guns and use an electric motor to drive the needles.

The needle is attached to a cylindrical motor and inserts the needle into the skin in a smooth and fluid motion.

They are quiet and cause minimal damage to the skin, which is a great bonus when you’re learning the art of tattooing.

Coil Tattoo Guns

These type of guns are more complicated than rotary machines. However, they do offer more precise lines and are generally the preferred gun for experienced users.

This is great for the look of the tattoo, but if you aren’t careful or professional, coil tattoo guns can cause more damage to the skin than other types of tattoo gun.

Pneumatic Tattoo Guns

Relatively new, pneumatic tattoo guns are lightweight and use forced air from an air compressor to help the needle go up and down.

The best thing about these guns is that they can be cleaned without needing to be pulled apart, unlike coil tattoo guns.

Tattoo Kits

If you’re new to tattooing, starter kits are a great way to ensure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment.


The prices at Dragonhawk are reasonable and most consumers will qualify for wholesale prices, making the products excellent value for money.

The customer service team at Dragonhawk even offer troubleshooting advice, which makes them ideal for beginners and home users.

Solong Tattoos

Solong Tattoos have been in the industry for over ten years and offer high-quality products.

Their range is extensive and caters for a wide variety of needs.

Whether you want to deck out your professional tattoo shop, or simply enjoy the tattoo experience from the comfort of your own home, Solong Tattoos have you covered.

Ink Machines

For a high-end professional brand, look no further than Ink Machines. They specialize in tattoo guns only, truly catering for the sophisticated artist.

Despite this, their prices are still competitive,​ making their products attainable by even the newest professionals.

The best thing about Ink Machines is that they’re constantly improving their design to ensure you create the best tattoos possible.

Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit

A tattoo kit is a great way to buy everything you need in one convenient purchase.

The Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo kit is easily one of the best tattoo starter kits as it contains tattoo machines, needles, inks, a foot pedal and a power supply.

It’s cheaper than many other kits, and certainly significantly cheaper than buying all the equipment individually.

The quality of the needles, machines and ink may not be up to scratch for professional users, but beginners and home users will find it’s a great kit to help boost your tattooing skills, without blowing the budget.

The low price combined with product variety and ease of use, makes it easily the best tattoo kit for beginners.

Dragon Hawk Rotary Aluminum Tattoo Machine

Made from super lightweight aluminum, the Dragonhawk Rotary Tattoo Machine is ideal for the budding professional.

It’s easy to use and is less damaging to the skin than some other tattoo machines.

The gun comes fully assembled and a power cord, step peddle and clip cord are included.

This is possibly why the machine costs a fair bit more than other tattoo guns, but it means you’re ready to get tattooing as soon as the Dragonhawk Rotary Tattoo Machine arrives on your doorstep.

It’s smooth and quiet, and perfect for home users who are used to using coil machines but want to test out the quality of results that come with using a rotary machine.

If you’re still not convinced about its quality, Dragonhawk offers a full money back guarantee to help give you peace of mind.

New Cast Coil Tattoo Machine

For a machine that helps you produce amazing results as well as looking good itself, look no further than the New Cast Coil Tattoo Machine.

The ergonomic design makes it easy to use and it offers both shader and liner types to ensure you can create any style of tattoo.

It’s significantly cheaper than many other tattoo guns, but doesn’t come with any of the necessary accessories that many other machines provide.

For this reason it’s more suited to professionals who have the ability to attach a power supply and pedals with minimal fuss.

A professional artist also has the skills and ability to modify the machine to suit personal needs and enhance results.

The overall look of the gun is super cool and will style up an eclectic tattoo parlor brilliantly at a fraction of the cost of more expensive, yet similar quality, tattoo machines.

Solong Tattoo Hybrid Tattoo Pen

For fine precision and minimal noise, the Solong Tattoo Hybrid pen is ideal.

It feels as close to an actual pen as you will find from a tattoo gun, making it very user-friendly for beginners.

It’s lightweight and comes with a plug adapter, but you do need to have your own power supply in order to make the pen work.

The outer casing of the pen comes in many different colors, but the color of the ink doesn’t vary.

However, for a novice tattoo artist looking to build on both skills and confidence, this neat little pen is ideal.

Solong Tattoo Complete Tattoo Kit

This extensive tattoo kit by Solong is one of the best tattoo kits for beginners.

Solong is a known and trusted brand so you know you’re buying quality.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s an introductory kit at a very low price. The quality of the ink may not be as good as you can buy individually.

If you’re more on the professional end of tattooing, this can be rectified by investing in better quality ink through a separate purchase to enhance the overall look of the tattoo.

This is an accessible uke that doesn’t feel like it was made exclusively for beginners. With all-mahogany construction and visual appointments like an abalone-style rosette and ivoroid binding, the Cordoba 15CM doesn’t look or sound like a toy.

The mahogany body gives it a stronger low/mid emphasis than other concert ukes, lending a fuller, more mellow sound. Most importantly, the 15CM is incredibly playable. Concert size is slightly larger than soprano (23″ vs. 21″ in length), so it may be a better fit for players with longer/larger fingers. The quality and feel you get is uncommon at this price point, making it one of the most popular entry points for new uke players.

Kala KA-T Tenor Ukulele

Tenor ukes are slightly larger in size than their “concert” cousins, with a fuller sound, more frets and 3″ of additional length. As with the Cordoba 15CM, the Kala KA-T earns our pick due to the quality of construction for the price and the amount of positive feedback we hear from players and the feel and tone.

The mahogany body will soften some of the twangy harshness that ukuleles can create. The Kala KA-T is resonant and robust, surprising listeners who are used to hearing thin-sounding ukes. This is a great pick for people with larger hands or those who are turned off by shallow, toy-like tones they associate with most ukuleles.

Choosing A Ukulele

It doesn’t matter what other people think, how expensive or cheap it is, or what color it is. What matters is that it makes you want to pick it up and make music with it. For some people, that may mean it has to have a cool design on it. For others, it may mean that it has to have a wider fretboard. If these picks don’t speak to you, check out our full ukulele selection by clicking the banner below.

Need help getting started? We have plenty of ukulele instructors happy to guide you on Reverb Lessons, whether it’s in person or online.

Inktribe Tattoo Kit 1

Inktribe is India’s only manufacturer of tattoo equipments with an emphasis on innovative design, effectiveness and durability. Inktribe’s Tattoo Kit is the first in their range of high end tattoo kits that comes with a high end tattoo machine, one power supply set, surgical steel grip, 20 needles and disposable tips, 30 ml Starbrite Ink and Hecto carbon paper among others.

Inktribe Tattoo Kit 2s

Inktribe’s Tattoo Kit is a high end product geared towards professionals who have been in the business for a while. Like all Inktribe products, Inktribe’s Tattoo Kit comes with a lifetime guarantee with assured replacement in case of any defects. Inktribe’s Tattoo Kit comprises of a high end tattoo machine, one power supply set, surgical steel grips, 20 needles and disposable tips, pack of 30 ml Starbrite Ink, packs of 1ml Starbrite ink, Hecto carbon paper and other necessary items.

Tattoo Gizmo Basic Tattoo Kit

This cost friendly yet effective tattoo machines kit from Tattoo Gizmo has all the equipments, which a beginner needs to acquire basic tattoo art skills such as an effective tattoo machine, power supply set, black ink and assorted needles.

Inktribe Tattoo Kit 3

This intermediate level tattoo kit is manufactured in India apart from the imported stainless steel surgical blades. The Inktribe tattoo kits come with a hundred percent replacement guarantee. This tattoo kit consists of all the basic tools necessary for tattooing.

Inktribe Tattoo Kit 4

This professional level tattoo kit comes with several add on accessories that are integral to professional use. A bit on the pricey side however Inktribe’s range of tattoo kits comes with a hundred percent lifetime guarantee that makes it worth it.

Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany DUC-1

The Donner DUC-was the top pick for four of our seven testers. It has a nice, full, loud sound, and its fingerboard is a little wider than usual, providing extra finger room that made the uke easier to play even for the small hands of a 14-year-old girl. Our panelists would have made it the top pick even if it came with no extras, so the included case, strap, tuner, and extra strings are a wonderful bonus.

Our panelists liked the smooth feel, sweet sound, and above-average craftsmanship of the Cordoba 15CM. It’s pricier, and it doesn’t include any extras, but if you can’t find our top pick (or you’re shopping for a beginner’s uke that doesn’t look or feel like a beginner’s uke), this one is a great choice.

Our panelists loved the look and the sound of the Luna Uke Vintage Spruce Soprano, which has a light-hued spruce top with a laser-etched rosette around the soundhole. It has a brighter, more trebly sound that really cuts through (although that may be a minus, depending on your taste), and it offers excellent fit and finish considering its very affordable price.

The instructors and students in our tester group found most of the ukuleles we checked out to be perfectly fine choices for students who like their styling or feel, so we’ve included a complete list of the models we tested in the Competition section. With few exceptions, these models are generally recommendable and will make good starter instruments.

We also picked a couple of good books for beginning ukulele players to start with.

How we picked

Because of this increase in sales, the relative simplicity of ukulele making, and the low cost of East Asian manufacturing, store shelves are now flooded with inexpensive ukes. Considering that few professional uke reviews are available, and that most of them focus on the higher-end models that appeal to enthusiasts, it’s tough for a beginner to know what to buy.

Making matters more complex, ukuleles come in four standard sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. (You’ll also encounter bass ukes and tiny sopranino ukes, but we won’t address those specialist instruments here.) Soprano, concert, and tenor ukes are basically the same instrument in different sizes, soprano being the smallest and tenor the largest. The bigger the uke, the easier it will be to fit your fingers between the frets, and the fuller and louder the sound will likely be. Soprano, concert, and tenor models are all tuned the same, and if you can play one you can play them all. A baritone uke is tuned like the four highest-pitched strings of a guitar, so some enthusiasts consider it more a cousin to the uke than a true member of the uke family.

In my efforts to figure out which ukuleles would be best for beginners, I talked with music-store owners and employees in Los Angeles and San Jose, California; Houston, Texas; and Zagreb, Croatia. I also spoke with product managers from a couple of leading brands that offer inexpensive ukes, as well as with a few instructors. These discussions led me to focus on soprano and concert models, which most beginners prefer because they’re more portable and typically less expensive than larger models. Their lighter, trebly sound is also closer to what most listeners associate with the ukulele; tenor ukes have a fuller sound closer to that of a nylon-string guitar. Whether you prefer the portability of a soprano uke or the fuller sound of a concert uke is a matter of taste, but adult males (and guitarists who want to dabble in uke) will likely find it difficult to fit their fingers between a soprano’s closely spaced frets.

How we tested

I then put the ukes in my car and brought them to the instructors’ studios or homes, and to our three student testers. In each of my visits, I asked the testers to judge the ukes based on whatever criteria they considered important for a beginning player. I asked each tester to pick a couple of favorites in soprano size and a couple in concert size. Then I revealed the prices of the ukes, which in some cases inspired the panelists to elevate a good, affordable uke over a slightly better but much costlier model.

One thing we didn’t focus on was whether the ukes had solid wood or laminate (plywood) tops and bodies. Serious uke players tend to gravitate toward ukes with a solid wood top, and preferably solid wood construction all around, because those models tend to have a richer, clearer sound. However, the harsh reality is that with ukes this inexpensive, using more costly solid wood likely requires sacrifices in other aspects of construction. Also, instruments with laminated tops often sound very good, and laminated tops tend to crack less easily.

At the same time, I checked each uke’s intonation, or the degree to which all the notes played in tune with each other and with the open (unfretted) strings. Fortunately, any intonation flaws I found were trivial, and a couple of the instructors remarked on how consistent the intonation was on all the ukes.

So you can hear what our four favorite ukes sound like, I recorded the same chord progression and melody on each one, using an Earthworks M30 measurement microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 2iUSB interface. The M30 has a much flatter response than almost any studio microphone and thus reveals the true sonic character of each ukulele. You can hear the recordings of the ukes here.

Internal Mix vs. External Mix

The way the paint hits the air stream is important simply because it changes the way the spray looks when it hits the surface.

Unless you have a good reason to choose external mix you should choose internal mix simply because you get more consistent, more even spray.

The paint gets introduced into the center of the air stream.

Choosing the Manufacturer

Iwata positions themselves at the top of the airbrush food chain.  The Eclipse CS (gravity feed) and the Eclipse BCS (siphon feed) are the two most popular airbrushes they produce.  I know their customer service and technical support rocks.


One tip we would give all kayaking beginners is always wear a buoyancy aid. Buoyancy aids are like life jackets but allow more movement around the arms and neck, which make them much more suited to kayaking. Even if you are a strong swimmer, you never know when you might get into trouble in the water.

Buoyancy aids will always be provided by kayaking schools, but if you are paddling alone we recommend buying your own or renting from a nearby watersports centre.

You can read our full guide to choosing a kayaking buoyancy aid here.

Kayaking beginners and advanced paddlers generally always wear helmets. They protect your head from getting bashed by your own paddle (and others!) as well as from your boat if you capsize. Sea kayakers don’t always wear helmets, but otherwise pretty much all kayakers will wear a helmet while on the water.


When you go kayaking, you need to wear wet shoes. These are often made from neoprene with grippy rubber soles for walking on slippery surfaces. Flip flops won’t do because they aren’t supportive or grippy. Trainers will work if you don’t have a pair of wet shoes, but they will get heavy and soggy very quickly.

Know Your Intentions

There are bikes designed specifically for certain types of riding, so knowing what you will use the bike for is huge when selecting a complete. Do you want to ride mostly street? Park? Dirt? Flaltand? For the most part, any bike you buy can be used to ride everything. Buuuut, there are key factors on completes that make certain bikes better for certain disciplines of riding. Below is a simple breakdown of different types of bikes, but like I already said, most bikes you can buy today will be ready to shred on anything.

The Tattoo Needles & Tubes

To the untrained eye, the tattoo starter kits come with a wide assortment of different tattoo needles although they may appear similar in appearance. If you are just starting your journey, money may be an issue for you.

If you buy high-quality needles, they need to be sterilized between each use, which means you will also need to purchase sterilizing equipment.

Most beginners purchase tattoo starter kits that include single-use needles to reduce overhead.

These needles can only be used one time to eliminate the chance of spreading HIV and other serious infections.

These needles will come in a sterile packet so they will be completely sanitary to use. Be sure the tubes in the kit are also single use so they can be disposed of after one use.

The Biohazard Container

While this might seem like common sense, you might be surprised how many people starting their journey get a starter kit without a biohazard container and simply toss the used needles in the trash.

This is an extremely dangerous situation, a needle can pierce the trash bag and stick a worker or sanitation employee easily.

Be sure that the tattoo starter kits you are looking at all contain a container for storing any used needles safely.

This will ensure that those used needles do not pose a threat to others. Once the container is full, you can properly dispose of it so no one is at risk.

The Tattoo Ink

Another component in the tattoo starter kits is the ink. The tattoo ink will vary depending on the manufacturer, coming in different colors, quantities, and quality.

There are two things you need to carefully consider when looking at the ink included with your first tattoo kit.

Look for kits that have the largest variety of different colors because customers appreciate being able to choose their favorite colors and not ones you have just in stock.

High quality inks are more vibrant and retain their shade longer.

Be sure the inks in your kit are the highest quality and have caps on them. The caps ensure that the ink being applied is seamless and more professional looking.

The Tattoo Gun

The tattoo gun is by far the most important component of the tattoo starter kits. During heavy use, lower quality tattoo guns will become corroded.

Be sure that the tattoo gun in your kit is constructed of materials that are corrosion resistant.

The best choice when you are first starting out in tattooing is to look for a tattoo gun made from iron, steel, or aluminum.

Be sure that the tattoo gun in your kit comes with a power source. Many kits sell the tattoo power source separately, costly you additional money to complete your kit.

The Sterile Gloves

The tattoo starter kits must include sterile gloves in order for you to be protected during your work. When skin is being punctured and blood is present, you must protect yourself at all costs.

Look for kits that include sterile latex gloves, these gloves will protect your skin and can be disposed of after each use.

If the start kit only has a few sterile gloves included, consider saving yourself some money and buying them in bulk because you will be using them frequently.

Massive tattoo starter kit

When you are beginning your journey into the world of tattooing, the first kit you buy should last you several years.

When you are shopping around for tattoo starter kits, two things to carefully consider and the quality of all the materials within the kit, as well as the variety of products.

Kits that include the gun, power source, inks, gloves, needles, and disposable tubes are a better bargain than ones that only include the gun, needles, and ink.

One of the advantages to buying high quality tattoo starter kits is that the materials will last longer.

When you have been involved with tattooing for several years and you want to move up to a professional kit, many of the components of your starter kit can still be used.

Begin Slideshow

Shopping in a Sephora is a bit like letting loose in a beauty playground. You can walk in with a bare face and walk out totally camera-ready with bags of products in tow. In fact, there isn’t much it doesn’t offer, including many of the best cult brands and up-and-comers alike. This, naturally, is both a blessing and a curse.

For many, large makeup stores can be incredibly overwhelming — especially if you have no clue how to choose among the thousands of products they stock. But fret not, because we have a solution. To help guide you through Sephora’s glossy black shelves, we’ve put together this handy guide.

Ahead, we’ve rounded up the top products across 1categories that have garnered our seal of approval, are beloved by celebrity and editorial makeup artists, and are some of the brand’s top sellers. Translation: Definitely play with the products and have the staff weigh in, but also consider this guide, which is basically a foolproof shopping list made up of the best of the best.


Solid Top/Back/Sides: When a ukulele is advertised as sporting a solid top (or a solid top, back, and sides) it means that that section is made out of solid wood as opposed to laminate. Generally, a solid wood instrument is considered to have a richer tone than its laminate counterparts (the top is primarily responsible for the tone of the ukulele, so at the very least look for that to be made of solid wood). Another benefit of solid wood is that, like a good wine, it becomes better as it ages. Over the years the instrument will sound sweeter, richer, warmer, and more complex.

Acoustic/Electric: When a ukulele is advertised as being acoustic/electric, it has a pickup (generally a piezo) that allows the instrument to be amplified. If you intend to play live, investing in an acoustic/electric ukulele might make sense. That way, using a guitar cable you can plug it into an acoustic guitar amp or PA system. If you don’t amplify your ukulele and play along with other instruments, you run the risk of not being able to hear the ukulele over other louder instruments.

Tuning Your Ukulele

Also, a quick word of caution with your ukulele strings. Nylon strings are very commonly used on ukuleles, and they have a break-in period that can last a few days. After receiving their new ukulele, some people complain that it has trouble staying in tune, and tend to blame the tuners. In reality, all guitar strings – but nylon strings in particular – take some time to stretch out, and the unfortunate side effect of them stretching out is your uke going out of tune. If you experience this, just keep tuning your ukulele as you normally would, and trust that the strings will adjust after a couple of days.

A Brief History of the Ukulele

The ukulele’s popularity spread to the U.S. when American songwriters began composing music with Hawaiian themes and sounds during the 1920s. Ukulele players proved popular on vaudeville stages, and the little instrument became strongly associated with the Jazz Age. The image of a raccoon-coat clad college student strumming on a uke became an icon of pop culture, and publishers began issuing songbooks for the ukulele. Taking notice of the fad, U.S. instrument makers such as Martin and Harmony began producing ukuleles. String bands of the era also brought the ukulele into their instrument lineups.


The original ukulele was the soprano. The smallest instrument in the family, it typically has a scale length of about 13” and is about 21” in overall length making it ideal for smaller kids. The soprano’s bright sound is the one we usually associate with ukes, and some manufacturers refer to their soprano models as”standard” ukuleles.

Despite its very low price, the Rogue Hawaiian Soprano Ukulele has excellent playability and makes a great introduction to the fun of playing a uke.

Next biggest is the concert ukulele with a scale of about 15” and a 23” overall length. It produces somewhat deeper and louder output than the soprano, but still offers a sound similar to that of the soprano.

The Martin C1K Concert Ukulele is crafted in beautifully grained koa wood and typifies the superb build quality the company is renowned for.

The tenor ukulele has a deeper, more resonant sound resulting from its scale of about 17” and length of about 26”. Its roomier fingerboard can accommodate larger hands more easily.

The Nohea Tenor Uke from Fender plays as beautifully as it looks, and gets great reviews from Musician’s Friend’s customers.

With its 19” scale length and an overall length of about 30”, the baritone ukulele is capable of much deeper bass notes than its smaller brethren. It’s tuned like the four highest strings on a guitar, making it a great second instrument and easy transition for guitarists. We’ll discuss ukulele tuning in more depth below.

With its spruce top and rosewood body plus abalone binding and rosette, the bold tone of the Oscar Schmidt OU53S Baritone Ukulele is matched by its attractive cosmetics.

Most ukuleles fall into one of three basic shapes

Guitar/figure-8: This is by far the most common shape among ukuleles. Resembling a guitar, the curved portion of the upper body, referred to as the upper bout or shoulder, is usually somewhat smaller than the lower bout. The narrow area between to the two bouts is called the waist. Some modern designs have cutaways in the upper bout that permit easier access to the upper frets.

The Martin OXKUKE Soprano Ukulele has the traditional ukulele figure-shape.

Pineapple: As you might guess, the pineapple body profile with its rounded back was a Hawaiian innovation first used on instruments made by the Kamaka Ukulele Company.

An all-mahogany body gives the Luna Pineapple Soprano Ukulele warmth that’s enhanced by cool Hawaiian tattoo graphics.

Boat Paddle: The name says it all; this profile is the least common shape among ukuleles.

Ukulele Construction Methods and Woods

Ukuleles are made using a variety of woods and construction techniques. There are a few made of synthetic materials and metal. We’ll cover the most commonly used wood varieties here, but as you’ll see when you browse Musician’s Friend’s large ukulele selection, there are numerous variations and combinations of woods. Because a ukulele’s sound is the result of many factors including its body shape and size, soundhole size, tuning, and type of strings, there is no one perfect ukulele wood any more than there is one perfect guitar wood.

Hybrid Ukulele-like Instruments

Some manufacturers have begun building instruments that blur the lines between a traditional ukulele and other instruments such as banjos. “Banjoleles” incorporate a banjo-type head, rim, brackets, and resonator. Some are tuned the same way as a ukelele, making them instantly familiar to a uke player.

The Recording King U2Banjolele combines the size and playing simplicity of a ukulele with the sound of a banjo for an altogether different musical experience.

Another hybrid is the resonator ukulele that borrows elements from traditional metal resonator guitars. Instead of traditional wood, the body may made partly or entirely of metal. A spun aluminum cone produces a distinctive, loud sound that can cut through in dense mixes of acoustic instruments.

Luna Guitars Tiki Resonator Concert Uke offers steel-guitar looks and a sound all its own.

Ukulele Tuning

Use of alternate string types and arrangements can also produce interesting musical variations.

Keep in mind that new nylon strings tend to stretch, so retuning more frequently after buying a new uke, or putting on a new set of strings is normal.

The quality of the tuning pegs or tuning machines on your ukulele can impact the ease with which you get in tune, and how well your uke stays in tune. Most metal tuning machines have set screws on the buttons used to rotate the tuner. Tightening these periodically can help stabilize tuning.

Ukulele Accessories

As mentioned above, an electronic tuner makes tuning your ukulele a much easier process.

Also consider buying a case or gig bag to transport your uke. It’ll help keep your ukulele safe from the perils of the road and protect your investment.

Some uke players prefer using a felt pick or standard guitar pick as opposed to using their fingers, and you may want to experiment with the different sounds picks can produce.

Strings can have a significant impact on the sound and playability of your ukulele. We offer a wide assortment of replacement nylon ukulele strings as well as titanium, aluminum, and fluorocarbon sets to meet just about anybody’s needs.

Summing Up

In the end, choosing the right ukulele is about finding the one that works for you; a ukulele that’s fun to play and to hear. So though you now know more about how ukuleles are built and what materials go into them, let your fingers and ears guide you to the right uke.

We want you to be pleased with your ukulele purchase, and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and generous return policy so you can order your new ukulele with confidence.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your tattoo starter kit wisely! Good luck!

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