last updated 12 Nov 2022

Why get kids started with music:
Parents and family who support and encourage kids to participate in musical programs and practice will often notice significant improvements in the child’s motor skills, not to mention an increased ability to concentrate, remember, and reason.
Musicians have better memory than nonmusicians: A meta-analysis | NIH

In fact, some studies have shown that any kind of musical training can actually increase the size of certain parts of the brain.

Five top reasons why your child should study music | ChildrensMusicWorkshop

Why kids should learn the ukulele | MusicUniverse
The ukulele is easy to learn compared to learning the piano, a guitar, or other stringed instruments. It has only four strings that help make it comfortable for kids to master the technique of finger placements.
They are small.
They are afordable.
They are transportable

Beatle George Harrison loved to play the ukulele.

The Soprano is the smallest and recommended for kids.
Soprano: full length of 21 inches, scale length of 13 inches, and between 12-15 frets.
Concert: full length of 23 inches, scale length of 15 inches, and between 15-20 frets.
Tenor: full length of 26 inches, scale length of 17 inches, and between 15-20 frets.

Model Top Back and Sides Neck Fingerboard Strings Tuning
Frets Nut &
length OldTime
Makala MK-SD $59.00 Philippine Mahogany Injection molded Composite * Mahogany Rosewood Aquila Super Nylgut geared brass plastic 20.9” 4.6 4.7
Kala KA-15S $65.00 Mahogany Mahogany Mahogany Rosewood Aquila Super Nylgut geared brass NuBone 20.9” 4.6 4.8
Kala KA-S $89.00 Mahogany Mahogany Mahogany Rosewood Aquila Super Nylgut geared nickel NuBone 20.9” 4.7
Hola! Music HM-21BK $40.00 Maple Maple Mahogany Walnut Aquila Nylgut strings silver geared silver nickel ABS 21” 4.7 4.6
* Kayla doesn't give the specs of the composite base, but one site said it is something like ABS a common thermoplastic polymer used in among other things lego blocks and kayaks.


 Top 7 Best Ukuleles for Kids in 2022 Reviews | OldTimeMusic
 Hola! Music HM-21BK Soprano Ukulele  4.7 rating
 Next 2 with 4.6 rating
 Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
 Kala MK-SD-MBL Makala Dolphin Soprano Ukulele
 Note: Wood and strings on the MK-SD have been upgraded since this review.

 13 Best Ukulele for kids 2022 | UkuleleWorld
 Rated the  Kala MK-SD Makala  Best overall
Kala Beginner Ukulele Review | PlayUkuleleNow 2017 article
Compared the Kala MK-S, KA-15S AND KA-S

Will a beginner be able to tell the difference in the sound quality of these ukes?
Probably not.


These ukuleles are made out of a laminated wood, not solid wood. A laminate is a number of pieces of wood glued together, rather than a solid piece of wood.

Laminates tend to be stronger and less prone to splitting and cracking

Only the top of the MK-SD is wood. The sides and bottom are what Kala calls composite. A combination of ABS* like materials.

If the ukulele is made from solid wood rather than laminates it will have better volume, projection and tone.
However, many articles say that modern laminates are very good and a beginner will not notice the difference.

Some older reviews say the MK-SD top is agathis, but they now say it is Philippine Mahogany.
Agathis is a genus of 21 species of evergreen trees in the family of conifers (pines) that grow in the southern hemisphere and was common for guitars but has gone out of favor. It is often used in guitar manufacture. Like Mahogany, it can be good or bad, depending on how it is dried. If treated well, it makes an excellent tonewood for an instrument

Laminate Ukuleles: $25 to $180; Solid Top Ukuleles: $180 to $300; All Solid Wood Ukuleles: $300 to $800.
Source: 4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Ukulele | ROckClass101

Strings: The New Nylgut Series of ukulele strings by Aquila were developed by blending three different synthetic components to make a composite material that sounds better and stays in tune better than standard nylon strings, but with the feel and playability of genuine gut.
An added feature of this exclusive composite material is that is was designed to absorb less moisture than other strings; which greatly improves intonation and tuning accuracy.
All these have Nylgut. Some old reviews said the SD had nylon.

Tuning Pegs: Tuning pegs are are pegs that go thru the peg box at the end of the neck. The strings are wrapped around these and are tightened or loosened by turning the pegs.
Friction tuners are a straight post. One turn of the knob equals one turn of the string post. There is a small screw in the end of the knob to adjust friction so it doesn't loosen when you let go.
Geared tuners use gear reduction so that somewhere around fourteen turns of the knob equals one turn around the string post. This makes for much more precision tuning.
All of these have geared tuning pegs which are easier to tune and more precise than the older friction pegs.

A common complaint about ukuleles is they don't hold tuning very well.
The most common cause is NEW strings stretching. This is perfectly normal and something you will have to deal with.
Just keep strumming and tuning and the strings will get broken in.
Pre-stretching (The process of tugging or twisting the strings) is controversial and not recommended.
There can also be problems with the peg adjustment or loose screws holding the gear to the peg box.
See My Ukulele Doesn't Hold Its Tuning - What Can I Do? |

The MK-S and the KA-15S have brass frets, the KA-SD has nickel frets, brass is softener than nickel, so the nickel frets will retain their shape longer.


About Kala:
Mike Upton launched Kala in 2005. Prior to starting Kala he worked at Hohner and was responsible for the development of the Lanikai ukulele line.

After starting Kala, Mike quickly established the new ukulele manufacturer as the leader in the market by providing the best and most consistent instruments in the price range.

Some initial comments I found.

Kayla KA-15S-ET Soprano
KA-15S 4.9 8 reviews $65
The Kala Learn to Play Starter Kit is a smart value for the aspiring ukulele student or self-starter. At its heart is a well-playing soprano ukulele built from industry-standard tonewoods: a rich mahogany body and neck and an articulate walnut fingerboard. An advanced nut and saddle by aftermarket guitar-parts leader GraphTech enhance this instrument's tone and sustain, while a set of Italian-made synthetic gut Aquila Supernylgut strings impart projection and tonal characteristics you'd never expect at this price

I went to Watermellon music in West Davis.
Their most popular version for kids is the kala makala MK-SD Amazon rating 4.6 45 reviews $61
A mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard and custom bridge. It can be used for several applications by musicians and students in recording studios, rehearsals, for playing at home, and more.
The MK-SD/MBL has a powerful sound. The injection-molded body of the ukulele is built with 12 brass frets, and has geared tuners to ensure the instrument stays tuned. Aquila Super Nylgut. Featuring a custom dolphin bridge, this instrument looks great and is appropriate for the beginner or professional performer.
Source: B&H Photo

Of the 2 models above:
Both are 22 inches long the standard for Soprano Ukes which are the smallest ones.
Both are made of laminated wood.

The Kayla KA-15S-ET Soprano comes in a natural wood
The Kala makala MK-SD comes in natural wood and a bunch of colors some with a fret base shaped like a dolphin or shark.

You can get 17 inch plastic toy ukes for $15-$30

Beginner Ukes Kayla Brand Ukulele

See ukuleles in Music
Before you buy your ukulele | Lahaina Music Uke's overview $25 - > $1,000