Ukulele Accessories: Buyer's Guide
Our Favorite Ukulele Accessories!
Let's face it, these days we live in a world with options. With hundreds of different brands and models to choose from, how do we know which products rock and which products come up short? To help you guys on purchasing the best quality accessories (at reasonable prices), I've put together this guide to share with you some of my favorite accessories, many of which I have used for years. So, let's get started!
Aquila has built a solid reputation for offering superior quality strings at an affordable price. They are quickly becoming known as the industry standard and are often mentioned as a selling point when discussing ukuleles. So, what's so great about them? Everything! They offer beautiful tone and longevity. I play uke all the time and can easily get 4-6 months use out of one pack of strings. That's insane. I've tried other brands, most notably Martin, and have found Aquila strings to offer months of beautiful tone without becoming "dull", which is typical as strings age. They also feel wonderful! I can't recommend these strings enough.
I would suggest to purchase the basic Nylgut strings over the "Super Nylgut" and other more expensive variations.
Street Price: $7
Planet Waves Pro: String Winder and Cutter
A must have accessory! This tool has 3 features:
1) String Winder
2) String Cutter
3) Bridge Pin Puller
As we all know, changing strings on ukulele takes awhile... This is because the strings are made of nylon and require 1,000,000 winds around the peg. Ok, maybe not that many, but it requires a lot of wraps! Don't kill your fingers and hand, pick up this tool and use the winder feature to turn the tuning pegs for you. There is also a sting cutter and a bridge pin puller. The bridge pin puller is essential if you are playing a higher-end ukulele that uses pegs in the bridge, such as my Kanile'a:
Street Price: $7
Snark Ukulele Tuner
Clip-on tuners became hot 6 or 7 years ago and are the industry standard now. I absolutely love the Snark Ukulele Tuner. It is extremely accurate and easy to use! The cool thing about it is, it works off of vibration. Wait… what? It senses your tuning by vibration, this means if other people are playing in the background or there is just noise in the background, it won’t affect you tuning your instrument (as opposed to a tuner that works via a mic).
Street Price: $9
G7th Performance 2 Capo
I'm going to be different here than any other ukulele site. I am suggesting a guitar capo to you. What, why? Simple, it is 10 times better than any ukulele capo on the market because of one reason. You can manually apply the pressure of the capo. Clamp on capos have one pressure setting, but ukulele necks come in different sizes. One size does not fit all. With the traditional clamp capo, like this one:
You can not adjust the pressure that is applied. This often results in your tuning going sharp, and you having to re-tune the ukulele. But, then when you take the capo off, you have to re-tune the uke again. Not very fun, especially if you are doing live performances.
With the G7 capo, you can apply as much pressure as needed. You will never need to re-tune the ukulele, and intonation remains perfect throughout the neck. This capo works great for ukulele and acoustic or electric guitar.
Street Price: $30
Strap Button & Non-Strap Button Straps
If your ukulele includes a pickup, then the strap button type straps are what you need. If you have a non-pickup ukulele, then you will either have to drill the included strap button into the ukulele's body or purchase the non-strap button strap that features a hook that clips into the ukulele's sound hole.
I highly recommend the standard strap over the "clip on" model. It will provide the most comfortable feel when using a strap and will avoid scratching the ukulele's body with that plastic clip on hook. The standard strap features cotton for the strap and leather tipped ends.
Street Price: $10-15
Ukulele Gig Bags
Reunion Blues Gig Bags
Hand down my favorite gig bag. I have used the RB Continental gig bag with my Telecaster for over 5 years. This is how they sold me: They threw the gig bag (guitar inside) out of the second story window and opened it up: unharmed! The continental series (more expensive: $100) features shock absorbent technology that prevents damage if you drop the gig bag on concrete or hard surfaces. If you are more careful, the RBX series (cheaper: $70 - pictured) is still a great gig bag, but with less padding. Both gig bags offer a large pocket on the outside for storing all your accessories and sheet music.
Street Price: $70-120
Oasis OH-18 Ukulele Humidifier
Essential if you live in an extremely dry climate (where periods of the year dip below 30% humidity). Humidifiers are effective in preventing cracking and shrinking of the wood. This humidifier features 2 unique aspects:
1) The mounting system allows the humidifier to hang horizontally inside the ukulele rather than vertical (like the guitar humidifier).
2) The humidity output is about 50% of the Royal Blue Oasis guitar humidifier, to accommodate the smaller instrument size. This also allows the humidifier to last twice as long between refills.
Street Price: $20
String Lubricant & Polishing Cloth
Fingerease String Lubricant & Planet Waves Polishing Cloth
If you sweat when playing, you absolutely need these products! The lubricant comes in a spray bottle and should be applied directly onto the strings after playing. Follow up with wiping clean via the polishing cloth. This will help to preserve string quality. If you do not sweat when playing, skip this product.
Street Price: $4
Monster Classic Instrument Cable
If you have an ukulele with a pickup, a quality instrument cable will make the difference between great tone and okay tone. Monster cables provide excellent quality at a reasonable price. They are also backed by a lifetime guarantee. If the cable becomes faulty, you can send it to Monster directly for a replacement!
Every song you listen to on Rock Class 101 is recorded using Monster cables. I recommend 10-20 ft. cables, dependent on your needs.
Street Price: $30
Dunlop Jazz III Picks
Sometimes you may want to play the uke like a guitar, just as I did with the solo for "La Bamba". These are my favorite picks. They are hard (not-bendable) and are made out of nylon, which offers a non-tiny tone quality that I often dislike with plastic picks. Jazz III picks are smaller than standard guitar picks, which is much more suitable for ukulele use. 6 picks are included in this pack.
Typically, people use felt picks for ukulele. I never cared for these, I think they feel awkward. On a final note, I highly suggest purchasing a "pick tin" to carry your picks around in. I will link 2 pick tins below, one featuring Jimi Hendrix and one with Eddie Van Halen. Both tins include 12 picks that feature designs of the artist and/or their initials on the picks (12$ each).
Street Price: $3
Hearos Earplugs High Fidelity Series
Playing gigs? Protect those ears! I have used these ear plugs exclusively for over 5 years. I found out about this brand in music college, as everyone used them. And for good reason, they rock! These ear plugs, unlike others, do not muffle sound and allow you to hear the music as it should: with all highs and lows present. They are washable and include a carrying case.
Street Price: $14
Wall Mount Hanger
String Swing Ukulele Wall Mount Hanger
Looking for a unique alternative to the standard ukulele stand? My favorite stands are actually wall mounted hangers. I love how you can walk into a room and boom, it's hanging there as a great accent to your decor.
Street Price: $11
Article by: Andrew Hardel