5 Best Soprano Ukuleles – Finding the Top Standard Ukes

156-Best-Soprano-Ukes

Beginner? Small hands? Or just want that classic ukulele sound? A soprano ukulele is your best bet, as this traditional ukulele variety proves one of the most popular due to its compact size, price and tone.

Although you can find smaller ukes – such as the piccolo or ‘pocket ukulele’ – a soprano is the smallest of the four main size categories, which also comprise concert, tenor, and baritone sizes.

A soprano is the classic ukulele, also known as the ‘standard’ uke, as originally all ukuleles were soprano sized. Eventually bigger ukuleles – like the concert – arrived on the scene, but the soprano is the original and one that will never go out of style!

If you think of a famous face playing the ukulele – whether that’s George Formby, Tiny Tim or Ohta-San – they will all usually be playing a soprano.

If you’re in the mood for buying a new soprano uke, help is at hand – we’ve put together a short chart to highlight some of the best and most popular soprano ukuleles on the market today to suit any budget, ranging from around $50 right up to just under $500.

Of course, there are hundreds more models available, but this chart will give you a good snapshot of what’s hot at the moment.

Check out the chart below, then stick around to learn a little more about the cutest ukulele sizes.

Top 5 Soprano Ukuleles

ImageUkuleles / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Lanikai LK-SEU UkeSB Soprano Ukulele Lanikai LK-SEU UkeSB Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.80/5   4.80 Stars

A lovely Lanikai soprano that’s easy to connect to an iPad.

+ - Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

A minimalist uke with interesting woods and typical Martin quality.

+ - Kala KA-PWS Soprano Ukulele Kala KA-PWS Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

Pacific Walnut gives this soprano ukulele its eye-catching appeal.

+ - Luna Honu Soprano Ukulele Luna Honu Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.75/5   4.75 Stars

Great value and sound on offer with this sea turtle-inspired uke.

+ - Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

Total of 4.80/5   4.80 Stars

A wallet-friendly Kala uke with an impressive sound!

Lanikai LK-SEU UkeSB Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai LK-SEU UkeSB Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

The Lanikai LK-SEU is undoubtedly the most premium ukulele on this list, but its higher price tag is justified as it comes loaded with some impressive electronics – namely the USB output which allows for connections to a host of devices. Compatible with lots of programs, recording on the move is a cinch. The soprano-sized uke itself matches the electronics in premium feel, with a delightful laminated koa body with elegant detailing. There’s also a 12-fret rosewood fretboard sitting on the mahogany neck, which offers exceptional playability. This Lanikai uke is also equipped with a standard ¼” output jack for plugging into an amp, and a good Fishman pickup/preamp system – as highlighted in the LK-SEU’s full review.

Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

Martin need no introduction when it comes to the world of acoustic guitars, but they also make a decent ukulele, as this Mexican-made OXK Soprano uke proves. There are no bells or whistles when it comes to design, with a clean, minimalist look. The top, back and sides of the body are made from a durable koa pattern high-pressure laminate, while the OXK features a Stratabond neck and a morado fretboard with a total of 17 frets. The playability is very high, and the sound is classic Martin – very impressive, with good projection for the petite size. As we mention in the full review of the Martin OXK Soprano , it also comes with a nice gig bag.

Kala KA-PWS Soprano Ukulele

Kala KA-PWS Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

Kala know a thing or two about making a quality ukulele and there is quality in abundance in this affordable soprano ukulele. The biggest strength of the KA-PWS is its gorgeous looks – a lovely Pacific Walnut laminate is used to construct the body, while black body binding and satin finish give this uke a very refined look. Attached to the body at the 12th fret is a mahogany neck, with either a rosewood or walnut fretboard. The looks are matched by the clean and bright tone, balanced with ample warmth, and the hardware on offer keeps the uke reliable – not bad for under $150. Don’t forget to check out the full review of Kala KA-PWS for all the details.

Luna Honu Soprano Ukulele

Luna Honu Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Our list wouldn’t have been complete without one of Luna Guitar’s ukuleles, which really bring the spirit of Hawaii to life with tribal-inspired tattoos. And this Honu soprano ukulele pays tribute to the beloved green sea turtle (known as ‘honu’ in Hawaiian), with a laser-etched turtle around the rosette, giving the instrument a very unique look. As we highlight in the full review of the Luna Honu, the body is made of mahogany, and features a matching mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard that’s decorated with mother-of-pearl shark tooth inlays. The sound, for such a small ukulele, is impressive, with nice warmth and vibrancy. With a gig bag, tuner and chord chart thrown in, the Honu also shows great value!

Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars

At under $60, this is the cheapest soprano ukulele featured on our list, but it certainly gives the others a run for their money where value is concerned. Kala’s popular KA-15S delivers a classic, no-nonsense style, with a traditional non-cutaway body made from laminated mahogany, with a smooth satin finish. Joined at the 12th fret, with all frets in the clear, there’s also a mahogany neck, along with either a rosewood or walnut (depending on the marketplace) fretboard. It’s actually quite standard in the looks department, but the beautiful sound impresses us the most – it’s bright and clear, with a fair amount of warmth. Be sure to read more about the Kala KA-15S in the full review.

What Makes a Soprano Ukulele?

The smallest of the popular ukulele sizes, a soprano typically measures around 21” in length, with a neck holding around 12 to 15 frets – usually 12 in the clear (i.e. fully accessible). With four strings, a soprano is usually tuned to the standard ukulele tuning, G-C-E-A.

What Does a Soprano Ukulele Sound Like?

While the woods will play a part in the overall tone, a soprano tends to have a lovely bright and happy sound – the typical tinkly Hawaiian ukulele tone.

However, due to the smaller body, it is certainly the quietest of the sizes, and can lack the projection and warmth you’d get from a concert or tenor uke. More often than not, a soprano ukulele will feature the traditional shape, but sometimes you’ll find the ‘pineapple’ uke, which is still a soprano in size, but it has a bigger waist and – therefore – a bit of a bigger sound.

For practice and small impromptu performances, a soprano is great, but for bigger performances, it may fall a little short – unless you invest in a soprano fitted with electronics (of which there are plenty!).

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Soprano Ukulele

With the smaller size and a scale length of 13”, a soprano ukulele is ideal for players with smaller hands, although those with larger hands can still master this tiny instrument. It’s also an ideal model for beginners, as you don’t have to reach very far to make chords, while the strings require less tension to make a note. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why a soprano is also one of the best sizes for children learning the instrument.

Another benefit is that a soprano ukulele is generally around 10-15% cheaper than an equivalent model in a larger size. This is another reason why a soprano is often recommended for beginners, who may not have committed to playing the ukulele long-term and therefore want something a little cheaper to play around on. Finally, a soprano is a great ukulele size for travelling, as it’s so compact.

The main disadvantage of a soprano ukulele, as we’ve touched upon, is that the projection tends to be quieter than, say, a concert or tenor ukulele. It is also harder for those with bigger hands to play, as the neck is so short and the frets are closer together.

Beware of Cheap Sopranos!

As the one of the most popular ukulele sizes, you will find many sopranos on the market – many more than tenors and baritones, that’s for sure. This means you will find loads of cheap, $20 ukuleles that promise great value.

On closer inspection, however, these are little more than toys at best, and pieces of junk at worst. Your budget may not stretch further than $50, but these days – if you shop smart – you can find some very playable soprano ukuleles in this budget range, without having to waste your money.

What are the Alternatives?

While a soprano ukulele clearly has its advantages, you may be better suited to one of the other sizes. The next step up size-wise is a concert uke, with a typical length of around 23”. These can offer more playability for those with larger hands, as well as a richer, louder sound. They are a little more expensive, although not as pricey as a tenor ukulele, which is bigger again.

Check out this useful video showing the differences in size and tone in soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles:

The Final Word

If you end up with a soprano ukulele, you’ve made a decent choice – especially if you are a beginner. You can always upgrade to a concert or tenor at a later date, after you know that your relationship with the ukulele is more than a short fling.

Take a look at our chart, read some reviews, then create a shortlist of your favorite models. If possible, go try some out in your local guitar store. This way, you’ll also know if a soprano is the best fit for you, or whether you need something a little bigger.

Good luck with your soprano uke shopping!


Reader Interactions

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *