Ukulele Price Guide
You may have noticed that at Quality Ukes all of our ukuleles are above $500 and specify "all solid wood" in their description.
What does "all solid wood" mean and is it worth the extra money?
It definitely is!
95% of the unique tone of a ukulele comes from the quality and type of timbers used. When you strum or fingerpick a ukulele, the movement of the strings vibrates into the bridge via the saddle, causing the soundboard to essentially wobble, like a speaker cone. The wood used for the top of the ukulele has the greatest effect on the tone, but as does the woods used on the back, sides and even the fretboard and bridge. Depending on the density and elasticity of the wood, tonal properties can vary hugely!
If a ukulele doesn't specify solid in the description, it is made of ply-wood/laminate wood, which is essentially a paper mache of several layers of "wood bits" glued together into sheets, with a veneer glued over the top. As you can imagine, laminate wood ukuleles do not have the tonal quality of solid wood ukulele. It is worth starting off with a solid top ukulele if possible! Generally, most ukulele brand's solid top ukulele models start from $400, all solid wood ukuleles from about $600, and premium all solid-wood ukuleles are generally priced between $800 and $1500. Some examples of these brands that make premium all solid-wood ukuleles of comparable quality include Martin, Maton and KoAloha's Opio series.
Does an ebony fretboard and bridge make a ukulele sound better?
It certainly does! Ebony is expensive but is indeed a quality timber. It is highly sought after for both its aesthetic beauty and tonal properties (greater brightness and definition). All Pono ukuleles come with ebony fretboards, headstocks and bridges made of one of the highest grades of true ebony (Diospyros celebica).
Are bone nuts and saddle better than plastic?
Pono don't cheap out on any of their components. They handmake all of their nuts and saddles from bone blanks. Bone is sustainable, easy to work with, and also has the best tonal properties for conduction between the strings and the soundboard of a ukulele.