I know the struggle of finding a good ukulele that does not go out of your budget. I know it especially well, because my budget was, let’s just call it, unrealistic. That is why when it comes to a beginner or entry-level ukuleles, I always try to be a little bit more realistic and acknowledge that there will be some issues with the instrument but nothing that will tarnish your experience or ability to develop your skill. Without further ado, I want to talk about one of the best cheap ukulele and best soprano ukulele (at least in our opinion) – Makala MK-S Soprano Ukulele.
The Makala MK-S is a soprano ukulele geared towards beginners. It has agathis top, neck, and sides. The mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard is smooth and comfortable. The fretboard 12 brass frets with inlays at 5th, 6th, and 10th frets are functional and good looking. Although the wood is laminated and will not produce the same big sound it still has a nuanced tonality that will be good enough for any beginner. To accentuate the colors of the wood the satin finish gives this uke a more polished and expensive look.
When it comes to the hardware, Makala chose standard materials like rosewood bridge and geared tuners on top of the standardly shaped headstock. The saddle and nut are made of plastic (a typical choice for this price range) but it helps with producing clear sound. One thing that really affects the overall sound is the set of strings that come with this uke. The 4-Aquila Super Nylgut don’t really go well with this uke and the first thing I would recommend is switching them up. This will also help with the tuning issues. Having to tune quite a bit, in the beginning, is a common thing so try not to get frustrated.
The MK-S Soprano has a great projection and good tonal range. I would say the sound of this ukulele is a little bit small but even so, if you do not go too hard on it, the overall tonality and warm sound will definitely be worth your money. One thing that I would mention is that the tension and action are pretty much perfect which not only allows for a better sound but also for more comfortable playing.
When I was first looking into the whole ukulele business and was deluded enough to think that I would master this instrument in a few months I realized that there is a sort of a holy trinity with ukes: sound, playability, and price. Well, there are a lot of other things but this is the main ones for beginners. While the sound really matters I double anyone who has never held a uke in their lives is willing to spend hundreds on an instrument. Makala MK-S Soprano Ukulele holds a decent balance between the holy trinity and that is why it is one of the best cheap (or affordable) ukes on the market.