How To Make Your Cheap Ukulele Sound Better – Tips & Tricks
You, the reader, probably own a cheap ukulele you purchased off the internet, a Kalani, an Ohana SK-10, or Mahalo, and you’re probably pretty happy with it.
To achieve a better sound standard, buying a higher quality instrument is only sometimes strictly necessary; follow a few simple tips.
Make Your Cheap Ukulele Sound Better – Use decent strings
Cheap ukuleles usually come with poor-quality strings, bringing the overall quality down. Aquila makes the most commonly used strings on these instruments. Here‘s my post on strings. Ukulele strings last a long, long time, but not forever.
When they get old, they sound much worse, so it’s a good idea to change them from time to time – there’s no specific period; it depends on how much you play your instrument and how you play it. When you feel that the strings give a duller sound, change them.
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Never use guitar picks.
Anyone who knows me knows this: I am against using picks with ukuleles. It produces a horrible sound -similar to playing the piano with a jackhammer! Try using your fingers, and don’t limit yourself to the right-hand techniques of the guitar. Use a specially-designed felt pick if it’s so hard for you to play without a pick (it’s not !!).
These picks can be used with any ukulele worth US $30 or US 3,000,000.
Find the “sweet spot.”
The place where your fingers hit the strings is very relevant. If you have a soprano ukulele, try playing with your right hand at the bridge’s height: this produces a very sharp, ethereal sound. Now try on the “mouth.” Better?
Now try touching the strings at the height of house 12. It makes a difference, right? With other ukulele sizes, you only need to find this place (it isn’t usually on the “mouth,” but rather, a bit further up).
Keep your ukulele well-tuned
You can buy a digital tuner. It may seem obvious, but ensuring your ukulele is always well-tuned makes all the difference when it’s time to play. Especially when they’re new, or you’ve got new strings, ukes tend to untune a lot.
Please ensure it is correctly tuned over the frets: take the tuner and tap the third string (from the bottom). If you are tuned in GCEA, this will be the C string. Now press the first fret: do you think it’s a C#? Is that note tuned correctly?
With significantly cheaper new instruments, the “nut” is often too high, almost causing pain when played, apart from the wrong sound. In this case, it’s best to take your instrument to a luthier for servicing.
EDIT: An excellent way to improve the sound, particularly with sopranos, is to tune one tone higher (ADF # B). The instrument thus gains in volume and power. This is the most natural setting for the soprano ukulele. The risk with some low-quality instruments is speeding up the bridge’s process of becoming unstuck.
If these tips don’t work, your instrument is probably not meeting your expectations. In this case, it’s worth buying a better quality ukulele made with premium wood, better quality, and made with premium wood. Maybe even buy a different size. At this stage, it’s a good idea to experiment.