If you are in search of a quality ukulele that does not come at a whopping price of $100-200 then you are in luck. Never has the market been so saturated with beginner oriented, budget-friendly instruments as now. ADM 21″ Ukulele Soprano Mahogany Deluxe is a product of its time and demand. While this might not be a ukulele for a professional player, I am pretty sure any beginner or student would find it be perfectly capable of fulfilling their requirements. One thing I want to mention before going into the review is that I will not be judging this uke in the same way I would something that costs two or three times more. Lower price obviously means that some corners had to be cut. What I will be judging, though, is how well the manufacturer managed to compromise certain things but still deliver on a promise of a quality product.
ADM 21″ Ukulele Soprano Mahogany Deluxe has a mahogany top, back, sides and neck. Pretty much everything is mahogany and that is a standard, not so risky choice which, in this case, pays off. This is a slim and elegantly constructed uke that is very lightweight and will be comfortable in anyone’s hand. The Laser Etched Rosette is a nice touch and adds to the overall aesthetics. The rosewood fretboard is smooth and well polished so you can glide over the frets freely with no problems. The satin finish not only gives the uke more expensive and charming look but also allows for vibration that contributed to a better sound.
This uke is one of the best options for cheap ukuleles. While this is a great news for beginners you have to realize that low price comes at a cost. In this case, you don’t really get that much in the hardware section. The ADM 21″ Soprano Mahogany model comes with standard chrome die-cast tuners and rosewood bridge. While the tuners are okay on their own, as you might have expected, there are issues with tuning. Specifically, you have to tune quite a bit in the first few weeks during the break-in period. While a lot of people get frustrated over that (and not just with this uke), persistence will finally pay off and you get a nice sounding, consistent uke at the end.
Despite quite a low cost this soprano ukulele delivers on the sound. The bright tone and good intonation with nice resonance are what you will get BUT since this is a soprano ukulele (the smallest one of the four major sizes) you will not have the same “big” sound as you would with a baritone. One thing that is almost always useful for improving the sound is changing the strings and that definitely helps this model very much. Nevertheless, I think the right choice of the wood really is what makes this uke sound so authentic.
ADM 21″ Ukulele Soprano Mahogany Deluxe might not be the instrument of the year or a decade. It might not be appreciated as much someone looking for a pro-level instrument BUT is it one of the best beginner best soprano ukuleles. Apart from being quite cheap, this model delivers on a nice sound, playability and looks.