None of the links on this page are affiliate links. I have included links to products on Amazon strictly as a matter of convenience for you. I have no objections to affiliate programs, but right now, my goal is to post this information quickly. If the links are later changed to affiliate links, I will make a note at the top of this page.
Pictures at left is the exact concert ukulele that I use daily in teaching. I can attest that it is truly a workhorse. It holds its tuning well, and it comes with a case, tuner, strap and spare strings. The Ranch ukulele is available in three sizes.
For more information on ukulele sizes, please read the section below.
What size ukulele should I get?
Soprano ukuleles are about 20 inches long.
Concert ukuleles can be 22 or 23 inches long.
Tenor ukuleles are about 26 inches long.
The best size ukulele is the one that is very comfortable and not too big for your learner. For most children, the soprano uke is the way to go. As your child grows, she or he may choose to explore playing larger instruments. However, keep in mind that a soprano ukulele isn't a "toy" or "starter" version of the instrument. It's a legitimate instrument in its own right.
How do I tune this?
I cannot stress how important it is for a student to play consistently on an instrument that is in tune. If you don't know how to tune your child's instrument, I've got good - no, great news for you.
First, once the instrument has been tuned daily for about a week, it will largely stay that way. You'll need to make small adjustments periodically, and especially when there is a significant weather change or if the instrment gets bumped (it happens).
And - thanks to technology, tuning is super easy. (There's an app for that)
Many ukuleles (like those above) come with a small electronic tuner. They're pretty self explanatory. Clip them on the headstock, turn them on, pluck a single string, and adjust the tuning peg until the indicator lights up (mine turns green). Repeat for each of the four strings.
You may want to consider using an app. As much as I love my little tuner, I don't always have it at hand. For better or worse, I always have my phone. For iOS and Android, I recommend GuitarTuna. You need to select ukulele (rather than guitar), but after that, it's so easy to use. It even rewards you with a green bar and celebratory chime when the string is in tune. Guitar Tuna has other in-app purchases, but the tuning feature is completely free to use.
Why do I need to tune it? Why isn't my child tuning the ukulele?
Eventually, that's the goal. But there are some realities here to deal with when it comes to distance learning, and, well, to children in general.
The fact of the matter is that young learners are still learning about boundaries. They may not anticipate when they are making a string (far) too loose or too tight. A string that is too tight could (conceivably) snap, which would be frightening. A string that's too loose can - and will - come off. This is a situation where the parent modeling and guiding the child through tuning heads off the possibliity of having to put strings back on the instrument.
I have found that by the age of nine, all of my students are fully ready to tune on their own, even through my distance learning classes. Younger children will pick up the idea, but present adult guidance is key to success.
Why is baritone ukulele different?
At 30 inches, baritone ukuleles are bigger, but that's not the key distinction. The most imporant difference is that they are tuned very differently than Soprano, Concert, and Tenor ukuleles. The smaller ukuleles are tuned to the pitches G4, C4, E4, and A6. The baritone ukulele is tuned to D3, G3, B4, and, E4.
The strings of the baritone ukulele are tuned identically to the four highest strings on a guitar. Many young people begin on baritone ukulele and transition to guitar later. While that's true, many people enjoy the mellow tone of my baritone ukulele for its own sake.
The baritone ukulele pictured at left is a Kmise Acoustic Baritone ukulele. I have not used this instrument personally, but it has extremely high reviews on Amazon. You can view them by clicking here.
Tips for tuning your ukulele.