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The Best Tablets on the Market for Sheet Music 2018

Some might consider that the size of the screen and the ability to run a basic PDF or image viewer is just about the only functionality needed for a tablet to be a practical tool for viewing sheet music. However, you should also think about what additional music apps you might want to use on the tablet and if all your music is on icloud you might want to stick with an apple device.  Whatever tablet you choose, I recommend also purchasing a Bluetooth page turner such as this one you will thank me later for it.

Below you can see our the top rated tablets for sheet music.

TabletScreen SizeFeaturesCostingRating
Apple iPad Air 2



9.7Apple A8 Processor
32 or 128 GB Storage
2GB RAM
$$$$9.5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2



8 or 9.7Snapdragon 652 Processor
32 or 64GB Storage
3GB RAM
$$$$8.5

Amazon Fire HD 8



81.3 GHz quad-core processor
1.5 GB RAM
Storage 16 or 32 GB
$8

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet



10.1Snapdragon 810 processor
32GB Storage
3GB RAM
$$$$$6.5

The following four tablets are considered the best tablets on the market for sheet music. We have taken in to  consideration the cost, screen quality and ability to run music apps and files.

Apple iPad Air 2

The high resolution, 9.7-inch retina display of the iPad Air 2 is one of the major assets of this tablet when it comes to using it for sheet music. Although it’s not as large as a sheet music page, the 2048×1536 screen resolution allows for a lot of freedom of movement regarding the apps you can use, the size of the sheet music and the detail you wish to see on every page.

A great thing about Apple’s revolutionary screen is that glare and clarity related issues are non-existing with the new iPad. Also, due to its high performance processor and 64-bit architecture, you won’t experience any lags or delays even when running the bulkiest and most advanced apps for viewing sheet music.

Also, the iPad Air is powered by a fast 1.5Ghz processor far superior to that of most high end tablets, and as a lightweight tablet (weighing only slightly over 15 ounces), it is not as bulky or difficult to manage than tablets developed by other brands.

Additional practical benefits include the apps available on iTunes – considered by many experts to be superior to Android – as well as the large 64 or 128 Gb of flash memory storage and the impressive LiPo battery offering an average time between charges of about 10 hours.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 is another excellent choice for viewing sheet music. The iPad is not the only device featuring an advanced screen. The Galaxy comes with an 2048×1536 (QXGA) Super AMOLED touchscreen that ensures clarity and a smooth performance even under difficult circumstances. AMOLED screens offer better cost, a more energy-efficient functionality and better refresh rate, being often used in larger screens and tablets due to their superior qualities.

The Tab S2’s main asset, however, is its combination of two Quad-core processors – a 1.9Ghz and a 1.3Ghz processor – that enables it to run as a genuine octacore (eight-core) tablet. This means speed will be significantly increased, and you can run even the largest apps for sheet music without any lags in functionality.

The tablet runs on Android, but its large screen and high performance specs – including 30Gb of storage and DDR3 memory allows you to run any app on the Android Store without worrying about how much space it would take up in the 3 Gb of RAM or the tablet’s flash memory storage.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

The slightly larger screen and resolution make the Sony Xperia a somewhat better option if you’re looking for the largest screen you can find. Its main asset is the 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution which offers better image detail than any of the tablets on this list. The 10.1-inch screen is also the largest, although its LCD technology is considered inferior to the LED technology used by other tablets.

Nevertheless, the Sony Xperia compensates through a 2Ghz quad-core processor, reliable 64-bit architecture and 3 Gb of RAM. This setup, together with the 32 Gb of storage, ensures that you’ll have no problem running Android apps that require extensive resources, so you can even get the most advanced paid apps for viewing sheet music.

Amazon Fire HD 8

Although the Fire HD’s touchscreen only measures 8 inches on this version (there is also a 10.1-inch version at a higher cost), the resolution is still remarkable at 1280 x 800 pixels, with 189 dpi. Designed mainly for reading and entertainment, the screen offers genuine HD functionality and brighter, crisper images, thanks to its IPS LCD architecture – ideal for viewing sheet music both indoors and outside.

There is an option for 16 and 32 Gb of storage space, depending on your preference, and the tablet comes with a 1.3Ghz processor and twice as much RAM as the previous Fire HD tablet.

When it comes to battery life, the Fire HD 8 might surprise you, since its larger battery offers enough screen on time for 12 hours of entertainment and/or music practice. This value is higher than what any other Amazon tablet can offer, and even better than the iPad Air.

Apple And Android Compatible Page Turners

Now that you’ve chosen a good tablet, it’s important to also get a hands-free solution for turning pages and having convenient access to your sheet music. A tablet page turner is the ideal solution, allowing you access to your pages just by tapping a wireless pedal that connects to your tablet through bluetooth.

IK Multimedia Tablet Page Turner

The IK Multimedia bluetooth tablet page turner is an ideal solution whether you’re using an Apple and Android device. It is supported on any of the aforementioned tablets, and runs easily on two AAA batteries.

The device features a backlit construction for easy visibility on stage, and can provide you with a sturdy padded base that connects to any surface in a convenient way. The minimal construction promotes portability, energy efficiency and ease of use, making your music sessions more enjoyable than ever.

Donner Bluetooth Page Turner Pedal

The Donner page turner pedal is a more hi-tech device with a feature-rich construction and a Bluetooth range of more than 30 feet. Aside from tablets and iPads, it can also support laptops, desktop PCs and macbooks, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

The sleek and well-organized interface makes controlling your sheet music easy, and the left and right foot switches are easy to use. Also, you get more than 50 hours on a single charge – a handy advantage if you’re too busy to recharge the pedal at a short notice.

All the tablets in our list can support these reliable and handy page turner gadgets. Whether you need to manage lots of files, run advanced apps, or just need a large, bright and clear tablet screen regardless of the apps you use, the devices presented above can be considered the fastest and most portable available tablets for the job.

Easiest Musical Instrument to Learn for Adult Beginners

A selection of musical instruments

For anyone just starting out with music, finding the right musical instrument to start learning can be a real challenge. The following are considered some of the most inspired choices when it comes to selecting a fun, pleasant and easy to learn instrument for beginners.

 

Ukulele

A person with a Ukulele

Ukes are in vogue, and for good reason. Many beginners prefer them because they’re a cheaper, more melodious and easier to use alternative to guitars. The ukulele is also a highly portable string instrument that can make you the life of the party, whether you’re out on a fun camping trip, or just visiting some friends on a Saturday night. There is currently a lot of online support for beginners learning to play the ukulele, including the information on this site, there are video training resources, books, written instructions, sheet music and live online courses. If you like the idea of learn to play a ukulele take a look at this article where we review the best tenor ukuleles you can buy.

 

Keyboard

Keyboard example

If you wanted to learn to play the piano more than half a century ago, you didn’t have many options. Today, instead of spending $50,000 on a grand piano, you can buy a keyboard for a much better price and enjoy a lot of fun resources and training options for beginners. Keyboards fit anywhere conveniently, and their electronic construction allows you to learn quietly using headphones, teach yourself with preset songs, use special training modes and more.

 

Bongos

Two Bongos

Bongos have a long history among percussion instruments, and they can be great for beginners to learn all the skills necessary to master percussion instruments and musical rhythm. This stress-relieving, mood-enhancing instrument Unlike most instruments, they don’t require much maintenance, and they can be stored just about anywhere and played more conveniently because of their smaller size. If you want to learn to play the drums, taking up the bongos can be a great first step. These instruments will help you learn all about the precise timing and the skill you will need when buying your first drum kit.

 

Xylophone

Picture of an Xylophone

The xylophone is known as one of the most popular instruments for children. In fact, many child care centers will have toy xylophones for children who love music, and a standard xylophone can be equally useful and fun for someone learning to play their first musical instrument. While the xylophone is essentially a percussion instrument, its melodious sound is calming, and the instrument is extremely straightforward and easy to learn. Unlike in the case of other instruments, you won’t need any complicated skills, and acquiring the dexterity you need through practice is far from being just a chore.

 

Harmonica

Harmonica in a row

The harmonica is one of the easiest instruments to play out of all the ones listed here. The biggest advantage of learning to play this instrument is its size, which makes it extremely convenient. You can easily hold it in one hand and adjust your grip for comfort. Since it’s small enough to keep in your pocket, you can take your harmonica everywhere you go and practice playing whenever you want. No preparation is necessary, and playing the instrument will not get you tired. Finally, the great thing about playing the harmonica is that almost anything you play will sound pretty good, so you won’t feel the sting of every misplaced note. There are a number of good site that teacher to play the harmonica such as harmonica.com.

 

Violin

An image of Violin and case

The violin is one of the most popular instruments in the world, but it’s also quite easy to learn how to play it. Although getting used to holding the bow properly, it will become second nature to you in due time. Also, violins are lightweight, and they can be adapted for many different styles and genres, so it won’t be hard to find your own groove and start feeling completely satisfied with your progress. Forming the right skills for playing the violin might be easiest for children, but the instrument can also be mastered by beginner adults without much of a hassle.

 

Cello

Close image of a cello

The cello produces some of the warmest and most pleasant musical sounds of all instruments. Being close to the human vocal range, it offers many possibilities in terms of playing it with music of any genre and style. Like any string instrument, the cello can be a bit challenging at first, especially if you never played any other instruments in the past. However, in a few months you can get a hang of it, and probably the only challenging aspect of learning to play the cello will be that of finding an instrument that is well-suited to your body size.

 

Flute

flute close up

With a little practice, almost anyone can learn to play the flute. This instrument is also very close to the human voice range, and because of it’s construction it may be one of the closest instruments to actual singing. Breathing exercises exist that can help you master the flute even faster than normal, and it can take a few weeks of practice to develop the right coordination between embouchure opening and breath control. Also, the flute is an instrument you can practice with even in silence. Just hold it in front of you, practice all the finger combinations, and you can master the instrument in no time.

 

Clarinet

Clarinet

The clarinet is one of the most rewarding and interesting instruments to play. It has an extremely wide pitch range, which makes it easy to use it for almost any type of music. Also, these instruments are not very expensive, even at the high end, and aside from being beautiful and easy to use at short notice, they’re also portable and easy to handle. Although there is some preparation required, learning the clarinet can be done easily even in a hurry, as long as you learn how to assemble the mouthpiece and hold the instrument properly.

 

Trumpet

Trumpet on The Ground

The trumpet may seem easy to play, but it can actually be quite difficult without proper physical conditioning and good lessons. According to most experts, however, once you master the basics, it doesn’t take too long to learn how to play, and it can also be a rich and rewarding experience. The best approach to learn the trumpet is by first dedicating as much time as possible to taking lessons and learning the basics, and then joining an ensemble that will provide you with the right environment for making the jump from beginner to becoming an intermediate player.

The Top Ukulele Tuners Currently on The Market

Uka Tunning

When it comes to choosing the right tuner, there are many important considerations to remember. The types of devices you might need, as well as your budget level, the tuning method you’re used to and your skill level will all be contributing factors in determining which type of tuner you should opt for.

Different Ukulele Tuning Devices

The first thing you’ll want to look at is the type of device you need. As technology continues to evolve, and newer, more ingenious devices appear on the market on a constant basis, you will definitely have to keep up with the leading edge. The following are considered the three most essential types of tuners that experts would recommend in this day and age.

Clip-on

Clip-on tuners are designed to clip on to your instrument and help you tune your ukulele at short notice, even in a noisy environment, or while other musicians are also tuning their instruments. Clip-on tuners feature a unique design with a vibration sensor that transmits the instrument’s vibrations to the circuitry responsible for facilitating the tuning process. One of the main benefits of these tuners is that they don’t use a microphone, so they are completely immune to background noise.

 

Microphone

Microphone based digital tuner devices are available as a portable and more universal alternative to clip-on tuners. They can often be used on a variety of instruments, and some also include additional electronics such as a tone generator or a metronome. The basic principle that these tuners are based on is the detection of sound through a microphone and display the note along with any necessary information for making the right tuning adjustments.

App

Tuner apps make use of advancements in mobile application technology to bring you the easiest tuning experience through convenient Android and iOS apps. The apps can be used with a number of different tuning methods, and you can adapt their settings to your specific preferences. Also, many available apps can be downloaded and used free of charge.

Best Clip on Tuners

Clip on tuners have a great advantage over other types of tuners, since they can eliminate the noise and hassle associated with tuning an instrument. That often translates into higher accuracy and faster results, even in extreme cases, when you can barely hear your uke over the surrounding noise.

 

Snark SN-5 Tuner

Snark’s SN-5 tuner is a cutting edge device you can attach to a guitar or a ukulele for excellent tuning results. The sleek, easy to see tachometer-style display and the remarkable accuracy of the tuner are among its main advantages. Once you tune the strings, there is no change along the fingerboard, and the pitch is correct regardless of which note you try. Also, unlike most tuners, the Snark is incredibly sensitive, registering vibrations even if you just lightly touch the strings.

KLIQ UberTuner

A fast, reliable, accurate tuner with bright, easy to see display, the KLIQ UberTuner is a state-of-the-art device on the leading edge of clip-on tuners. The technology is designed to be extremely easy to use. All you have to do is clip it on your uke, and you’re ready to go. Its strong and durable construction is also one of the main benefits displayed by the KLIQ tuner. Past buyers agree almost in a consensus that the UberTuner is one of the most accurate and efficient clip on tuners currently on the market.

Best Microphone Tuner

When it comes to microphone tuners, you have to be quite careful in determining which devices are best and which of them has most to offer for the money. The following device is considered to be one of the best models on the entire market.

 

KLIQ MetroPitch

The KLIQ MetroPitch is a 3-in-1 device incorporating not only a versatile digital microphone tuner, but a broad-range tap tempo metronome and a versatile tone generator. Small enough to fit in your pocket, it features a smart design and features like an easy to read digital screen and an intuitive JOG dialer for convenient tempo adjustments. The tuner itself is highly accurate, and displays notes ranging between A0 and C8, while also allowing for several tuning modes and advanced pitch calibrations that are ideal for tuning ukuleles.

 

Tuning Apps

If you’re looking for tuner apps, versatility and ease of use are the main benefits you should look for. The following app is considered to be one of the best for ukuleles specifically.

Easy Ukulele

The Easy Ukulele app for Android is a tuner app designed especially with ukes in mind. The app is highly popular, with thousands of 5-star reviews, and it’s designed to offer a simple alternative to tuning your ukulele with the help of elaborate electronic devices. Part of a series of tuner apps that use advanced probability theory and Fourier Transforms, this specific app was designed with ukuleles in mind. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, you can figure out how to use it within seconds, and get all your strings tuned just right in record time.

 

How to Tune A Ukulele

Aside from having a good tuner, it’s also important to know how to tune your ukulele properly. With a well-tuned uke, you’ll not only sound better, but you will also get a better sense of each note, improving your musical skills as a whole. Most ukes are tuned in the standard ukulele tuning. Tenor, concert and soprano ukes are all tuned using this method, also referred to as C tuning. To use C tuning, you have to tune the top string of your ukulele to a G, then move to the third string to tune it to a C. The second string has to be tuned to an E, and finally, the first string completes the set with a clear A note.

Aside from using a tuner, an alternative method to tuning your uke is to use the opening line of the song My Dog Has Fleas. That is because the line has the identical notes you will need for standard tuning.

There are several other types of tuning you can also consider, including the baritone ukulele tuning (D, G, B, E) and the slack-key tuning method (G, C, E, G).

As you progress from beginner to intermediate level, you’ll find much greater variety when it comes to tuning, and you will discover methods like the English and Canadian tuning, as well as learning the basics of how tuning is influenced by the material, level of quality, thickness and length of your strings.

Best Ukulele for Kids 2018 – Complete Guide

childrens ukulelesDepending on the age of your children, whether or not they are serious about learning to play the ukulele long term, or whether they would prefer to use a ukulele simply as a toy, there are many options for buying the correct type, size, cost and brand of ukulele.

Below we will take a look at some concrete and helpful tips for buying the right ukulele for younger or older children, as well as considering of the best brands of ukuleles on the market and what they have to offer.

 

Ukuleles For Younger Children

While most younger children might also be content with a toy uke or guitar, there are many genuine, high quality ukuleles, designed with children in mind, that fill the function of a durable, safe and fun to play instrument that your little ones will simply love.

Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele

The Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele is considered worldwide to be the optimal choice when it comes to buying kids under the age of 6 a fun and reliable uke. Designed not only to allow your kids to take the first steps in learning about playing the uke, but also to help them find out the musical basics they need in a fun and exciting way, this sturdy little instrument is easy to play, easy to tune and incredibly fun. The colorful design of the Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele is complemented by a safe, non-toxic wooden construction that is also extremely durable.

Despite the fact that every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of this ukulele, it’s still important to note that it is only recommended for children over the age of two.

 

Best Ukuleles For Older Children

Once they reach an age between 6 and 10, most children are ready to take on a more advanced instrument that can provide them not only with fun music time, but also with a launching pad to mastering the instrument as they grow older. For that purpose, and to ensure a greater convenience when it comes to learning all about playing and taking care of a ukulele, a complete starter pack is usually best compared to individual instruments.

When it comes to choosing the best ukuleles for older children, you have to carefully consider the choice between a soprano and a concert ukulele, larger tenor and baritone models being the least popular choices even for older kids.

Also, even while looking up ukes for older kids, it’s important to take into account durability and style. A child who prefers certain colors and designs could get bored of a classic ukulele design, while active kids might end up ruining a more fragile, plastic ukulele after just a few weeks.

We have compiled a list of the most playable, attractive, durable, affordable and overall well-rounded beginner packs for older children just starting out with playing the ukulele.

 

Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit

Kala is known as one of the most popular and skilled manufacturers of high quality ukuleles in the entire world. Featuring a tuning app, free online lessons and a quick starting guide for playing the uke, the Learn to Play ukulele starter kit is a high quality kit designed especially to help kids learn more about music and give them all the basics of playing the ukulele in a fun and engaging way.

Despite its affordable pricing, this Kala uke was built using the best premium materials from Kala, including their famous combination of a mahogany body and satin finish and their superior quality Aquila Nylgut strings. For older kids this high quality ukulele learning kit can be the perfect guide to anything from tuning and chord formation to advanced playing techniques.

 

Ready Ace Ukulele Complete Starter Pack

This ukulele starter kit is recommended and presented by one of the world’s most renowned instructors, John McCarthy. It features an extremely helpful 16-lesson instructional course that is simple and to the point. You also get high quality printable sheet music and a downloadable tuner and metronome that can really come in handy for kids wanting to learn the basics. Your kids can even record their performances and progress, so they can gain a sense of accomplishment.

Most of the people who bought this ukulele starter pack have pointed out that it’s extremely fun and that the uke itself is designed to offer the best level of quality. Kids enjoy having a great time just strumming alone, and they can also learn much faster than with other ukulele models.

 

Mahalo Rainbow Series Soprano Ukulele Starter Pack

Mahalo Ukuleles is another well-known brand that specializes in high quality ukuleles of all shapes and sizes. The Rainbow Series soprano is an ideal small-size uke for kids who want to feel more at ease about the learning process. Featuring the uke itself, as well as the Ukulele Bartt digital lesson downloader, this starter pack will take your little ones through the basics in record time.

The Mahalo uke also impresses through its practical construction geared toward offering outstanding sound quality. It comes with a NuBone bridge saddle that makes all the bass notes sound more genuine, its cute, dolphin-shaped geared tuners are not only fun and appealing, but also capable of holding the instrument in tune longer.

 

Soprano Rainbow Ukulele Beginner Pack

This beginner pack features a beautiful 21-inch uke with colored strings, a brighter design, a solid wooden bridge and an eco-friendly construction that makes it stand out as one of the “cleanest” ukulele products on the market. It also has everything that eager older children will need, including a songbook that’s very useful for beginners who don’t yet know all the basics of how to use the ukulele.

 

Whether your child loves music and would like to learn all about playing this beautiful instrument, or you’re just buying the starter pack for a fun family pastime, it will be an inspired choice for any use. Children will have a lot of fun practicing with this professional looking uke, and with most buyers considering it to offer outstanding value for the money, you can be sure that everything from its durable, sleek, blackwood fingerboard to the soothing, melodious sound will enchant you and your kids for years to come.

Our Top 4 Travel Ukuleles Ideal for Backpacking Vacations

Woman Playing a Uka on VacationTraveling with a ukulele can be problematic if you don’t select the correct one. While most ukes are built to last, some are fragile despite their expensive price tag. Others are also large and bulky so it’s not hard to see how they could be damaged during your travels. What should you do about it?

The best course of action that experts would recommend is to buy a high quality travel ukulele designed especially for these types of situations. Whether you’re on a train, or you’ve just started off on a long hiking trip, taking a lighter, more resilient and infinitely more practical travel ukulele with you can be a truly rewarding experience.

Kala KA-SSTU-TE Mahogany Travel Tenor Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

The Kala KA-SSTU-TE is considered to be one of the top most popular and best sounding travel ukulele models currently on the market. Its solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and durable mahogany neck will ensure you have no trouble transporting this instrument even on rougher rides and more challenging trails. The quality and refined craftsmanship associated with this model ensures you can enjoy a surprisingly full and enriched sound despite its 1″ to 1-5/8″ thin body depth.

This uke also includes state-of-the-art electronics with the B-BAND active EQ and features such as refined volume and tone adjustment for the preamp. The Kala is easy to tune, easy to play, and you can connect it to the pickup without any sound distortions. Because of its remarkable quality, most experts would recommend this ukulele, if you’re serious about learning or playing the uke on your travels.

Kala KA-SSTU Soprano Travel Ukulele

This lighter soprano uke is in no way less noteworthy when it comes to quality. While smaller in size and more manageable, it features a solid spruce top and mahogany back and side, just like larger Kala models. It has a 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 Inch archback thin body that makes it lighter and easier to store than most travel ukes; in fact, it’s the lightest model in our list, weighing just over 13 ounces.

Well worth its price, it features a clean and bright design that also has all the practical advantages you’d expect from a good travel uke. Moreover, advanced players can tell you that its tone is virtually unbeatable among smaller size ukes, and its playability definitely makes it compete with a lot of the more expensive brands on the market.

Best On a BudgetHolidaying with a Uka

Travel ukes are available within a wide pricing range. This is an exceptional advantage over standard size ukuleles, since buying a good thin body instrument can also help you save a lot on your purchase. While you can find ukuleles for under $50, it is also important to make sure you shop for quality. The following instruments are considered to be among the best travel ukuleles you can get on a tighter budget.

Hola! Music HM-21MG Soprano Ukulele Bundle

The Hola! Music soprano uke has everything you need from a tiny, yet playable and reliable ukulele. Nevertheless, its price will surprise you, and experts can tell you that it’s one of the most affordable instruments you can get when it comes to ensuring quality, variety and class.

Its maple top and sides fit well together with the beautiful rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and the ukulele comes with many design options. The size, materials and finish of the uke are all built for practical appeal and to retain the natural feel and quality of the wood for as long as possible. Surprisingly, you’ll also find hundreds of reviewers praising the uke for its outstandingly warm and rich tones as well.

Eddy Finn Minnow EF-MN-NT Ukulele

This Eddy Finn model is yet another durable and highly practical low-cost ukulele featuring an all-wood design. Its clean appearance and professional look have inspired and impressed even the more experienced players who have come across it. Despite its durable design and rich sound, it’s still only slightly more expensive than the Hola! Music soprano uke.

Some of its handiest features include geared tuning keys, a highly refined, ebonized bridge and fingerboard, and a carry bag that allows you to take it just about anywhere. Attesting to the Eddy Finn Minnow’s quality and durability rating is its 10-year warranty, an advantage you don’t usually see when it comes to cheaper ukuleles.

The Difference Between a Travel Uklele and a Standard Uklele

When comparing standard and travel ukes, it’s important to keep track of all the differences, so you can know precisely whether or not buying a thin body model might be suited to your budget, expectations and practical needs. The following are the most essential benefits associated with travel ukuleles when compared to standard models:

  • Thin body ukes are much more compact in their construction. Despite the fact that they hold true to the regular soprano, concert, tenor or baritone sizes, they are less than 2 inches in depth, which makes them extremely practical when it comes to traveling.
  • They are also more durable than a standard uke. As you have seen from the reviews, the best thin body travel ukuleles are built for quality and made especially to be more resilient.
  • You can take them just about anywhere with you. Thin body ukes are designed to be transported with ease even when you’re on a plane. They often come with resilient carry bags that protect them from wear and damage, and they’re also extremely lightweight. It’s not uncommon for a well-designed travel ukulele to weigh only 1 lbs to 1.2 lbs.
  • Despite being lighter and less expensive overall, thin body ukes are not made from plastic or other cheap materials. The best models are made from rosewood, mahogany, spruce and other top quality materials that will make your ukulele sound beautiful.

In terms of the sound that a travel uke makes, you don’t have to worry about tuning and quality-related issues. You can still play at a professional level with these beautiful and highly practical instruments. While the sound might differ in a sense that it’s not as deep or powerful as that of a full-size standard ukulele, it can also sound sweeter and add more flavor to your music.

All in all, there are plenty of good reasons for choosing the best travel ukulele. It will not only provide you with added peace of mind during your travels, but also give you an enriched and enjoyable experience overall.

The Top 5 Greatest Blind Piano Players of All Time

It is often that aspiring musicians give up as a result of problematic circumstances. Anything from money problems to health concerns may lead us to give up the musical path, despite our passion for the instruments.

However, the past century showed that it’s possible to overcome all the odds and rise out of even the direst of circumstances, as musicians like Ronie Milsap and George Shearing have managed to prove. Other famous names, like that of Ray Charles, one of the greatest blind pianists of all time, stand as an inspiration to future musicians, proving that even blindness is powerless to stop a resolute musician.

Ray Charles


Ray Charles was one of the most acclaimed and well-known personalities to have transformed the genre of American soul music during the 1950s and ‘60s. Born in September 1930, he had one of the longest careers of any blind piano players, and his additional talent of being an outstanding musician and songwriter has earned him the nickname “The Genius” during the earlier years of his life.

Charles was blind from age 7, but his inability to see did not deter his resolve during his studies at he Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, where he made his first steps in studying music. Despite the fact that his popularity began to decline slightly in the mid-1980s, Charles’ career spanned over nearly 6 decades – from 1945 to his death in 2004.

He became known for bridging genres like blues, gospel and rhythm & blues in his music, and he was also an influential contributor in the integration of country and pop music during the 1960s. Rolling Stone magazine even went so far as to place Charles in the 10th place on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

 

Stevie Wonder


Unlike most pianists who became famous as critically acclaimed blind piano players, Stevie Wonder was blind since shortly after his birth. Born in 1950, he rose to fame at an early age, sauditioning for Motown shortly after he wrote his first successful composition in 1961, at just 11 years of age.

Wonder became famous with hits like I Was Made to Love Her, My Cherie Amour, Boogie on Reggae Woman and Superstition. Several of his songs reached the top of the R&B charts, and he retained his world famous status well into the 1980s, when he performed two of his most legendary hits for the first time: I Just Called to Say I Love You, and the duet, Ebony and Ivory alongside Paul McCartney.

Despite having lost his vision due to developing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) as an infant, Stevie Wonder never allowed this to keep him from his dream. Aside from recording 30 US top 10 hits, winning 25 Grammy awards and selling more than 100 million records worldwide, he was also known for redefining pop music entirely through his 1970s music albums, which were considered remarkably influential at the time.

 

Nobuyuki Tsujii


Although Nobuyuki Tsujii was born blind as a result of Microphthalmia, his musical talent surpassed that of most children even at the early age of 7, when the young Japanese pianist won first prize at the All Japan Music of Blind Students in Tokyo.

His career literally exploded shortly after that period. At age 10 he debuted with the Century Orchestra in Osaka, and at the early age of 12, he gave his first piano recital in Suntori Hall, in Tokyo. The child prodigy later grew up to become one of Japan’s most famous piano players, tying for the gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

In addition to being a masterful pianist, the musician is also an acclaimed composer, having written his first composition, Street Corner of Vienna, at the young age of 12. He managed to compose several award-winning movie and documentary soundtracks, and his career also led him to performing an outstanding debut recital at Carnegie Hall, in 2011.

 

Ronnie Milsap


American country singer, Ronnie Milsap became famous in the 1970s, when he practically led the country “crossover” movement, and soon became one of the most famous crossover singers and piano players of all time. Despite being blind, he became known for outstanding performances such as Smoky Mountain Rain and It Was Almost Like a Song.

Ronnie Milsap started out in life with far less than most of us have. He was born in 1943, almost completely blind, and soon abandoned by his mother. He was raised by his grandparents, and had to settle for a life of poverty during his trying early beginnings as a young musician.

Despite these hardships, Milsap’s talent and passion for music shone through, helping him become an extremely promising musician, and leading him to master the piano well before his 20th birthday. His first hit, Never Had It So Good, came in 1965, and his talent led him to work on several acclaimed projects, including the recording of some of Elvis Presley’s famous hits, such as Don’t Cry Daddy and Kentucky Rain.

 

George Shearing


The story of George Shearing is yet another tale of triumph against all the odds. The man who was later to become a famous British jazz musician and the composer of more than 300 titles, George Shearing was born in 1919 in London. Despite being blind and the youngest of nine children in a working class home, Shearing’s talent shone early in life, and his parents helping start on his musical path at the young age of 3, when he began with his first piano lessons.

Shearing started his career working at a local pub, then joining an all-blind band. His work was influenced mainly by the records of Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson, and he rose to fame with his first BBC radio broadcast in 1937.

The acclaimed pianist became truly well-known in the United States, where his complex style, mixing bop, swing and modern classical music led him to greater popularity alongside the Oscar Pettiford Trio and Buddy DeFranco. Shearing also showed great interest in classical music during the 1950s and ‘60s, when he became known for developing a new musical technique known as “Shearing’s Voicing.”

Best Tenor Ukulele Available for Your Budget

Image of a ukuleleBefore trying to look for the “best” type of ukulele on the market, it’s important to note that there’s really no such thing. Tenor ukes give you some intriguing advantages, but they’re not necessarily better or worse than the other types, and choosing them is usually a matter of preference.

That being said, there’s a lot to be considered regarding the quality of the craftsmanship, the sound, the durability of the wood and many other important factors that will determine whether or not you should buy a particular tenor ukulele.

Why Would You Consider a Tenor Uke?

When it comes to buying a ukulele, there are three popular choices you can make: getting a tenor, concert or a soprano uke. So why is it that some aspiring and expert musicians would express their interest in a tenor uke?

First of all, tenor is the largest of the three sizes, and anyone interested in becoming a professional player and musician will likely prefer it. Also, because of its size, the tenor scale gives you a lot more room for a wider array and variety of songs. The fingerboard presents more of a challenge, but once you’ve mastered it, you can play just about anything you want and join the ranks of famous musicians the likes of Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill on your way to greatness.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to choose the best tenor uke out there, and with the price being slightly higher and so many new brands becoming available as of late, doing your research properly has never been more important.

Kala Koa Tenor Gloss Ukulele (Kala KA-KTG)

This uniquely and beautifully fashioned ukulele uses a koa top made from hand-picked koa found on the Big Island of Hawaii. The refined craftsmanship combined with high quality wood, maple trim and laser-etched mother of-pearl inlay work together to create a visually appealing tenor uke that sounds even better than it looks.

Despite its comprehensive design, the Kala KA-KTG only weighs about 2 pounds, and has been crafted to work just as well at home as at the studio or even in areas where the acoustics are impaired. Experts consider it to be a perfect choice for layering on top of classical and acoustic guitars in professional recordings.

Very few other ukes have achieved the kind of feedback that the Kala Koa is responsible for. A large majority of the people who have bought it consider it worth a 5-star rating, and its fine appearance, laminate koa design, D’Addario strings, ease of use and surprising quality sound are among the most praised features of the ukulele.

Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele

Despite being priced below average when compared to other high quality tenor ukes, the Cordoba 20TM tenor ukulele has got it where it counts. It features a solid mahogany top and neck, quality Aquila strings, a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, a natural satin finish and a strong, durable overall design that promotes durability.

There are several things that might attract you to this ukulele. The Cordoba 20TM has an outstanding design and construction that have been praised by reviewers worldwide. It also has a massive table, the mahogany sounds surprisingly good, and the appearance of the wooden top and the aesthetic finishes will make you feel like you’re holding a genuine showpiece.

Cordoba 30T Tenor Ukulele

As with other Cordoba models, solid mahogany is the material of choice in the case of this high quality tenor uke as well. The entire design of the 30T is handmade, featuring a Spanish heel neck joint and a wider fingerboard than similar models, designed for better playability. The rosewood bridge and binding, and the hand-rubbed PU finish, are all designed with aesthetics and increased durability in mind.

The lighter than usual design inspired from the construction of Spanish and classical guitars is part of what makes this tenor uke so appealing to both professional and amateur musicians and ukulele enthusiasts. The craftsmanship and attention to detail and the beautiful, surprisingly loud tone of the Cordoba 30T also shows the manufacturer was on the right track developing this first ever version of tenor ukulele.

Fender Nohea Koa Tenor Ukulele

Yet another Hawaii-inspired ukulele, the new Fender Nohea uses a unique construction based on a koa design and acrylic abalone binding. The tenor uke has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, mahogany neck and a sleek, gloss polyurethane finish that makes it stand out. With die-cast tuners, high quality Hawaiian GHS strings and a laminated koa top, you can expect the sound quality to be well above average.

Reviewers have praised this uke for its consistency, as well as its quality tone and sustain. The reliable design exceeds all expectations when considered next to the cost, and most experts consider that its playability and ease of use are ideal for learners, while the uke still retains the superior performance that professional musicians would require.

Martin 1T IZ Tenor Ukulele

When it comes to beauty and refined quality, very few ukes can compete with the sleek, textured quilted mahogany top design and mahogany block construction of the Martin 1T. The sound is definitely unique, and the instrument comes in a beautiful leather hard case that will make it easy to take with you, whether you’re on tour or traveling to remote areas.

Professionals and aspiring musicians who have tried this ukulele were impressed by its tone and by the remarkable care and attention to detail associated with its construction. If you really want to put on a show that will dazzle your fans, this is one of the best tenor ukuleles for the job.

The Bottom Line

Most of the ukes on this list are averagely priced, but offer performances that are well above the normal expectations for the pricing range in question. If you want durability and ease of use, you’ll probably love the Cordoba designs, you can see our list of the best Cordoba Ukulele here. Products like the Martin 1T IZ and the Kala Koa may give professional players more than they’ve bargained for.

Regardless of your preference, these are all among the most well-designed and beautifully crafted ukes on the market, and any one of them can be an extremely inspired choice should you choose to buy it.

The Best Cordoba Ukuleles Reviewed (2017)

on couch playing ukuleleCordoba is one of the few brands responsible for the manufacturing of high quality stringed instruments that has won global appeal from musicians, amateur music lovers and music experts alike.

While their classical nylon-stringed guitars are recognized worldwide, Cordoba ukuleles are rapidly gaining an equal level of recognition and popularity. The best Cordoba ukuleles are stylish, easy to play and among the most durable instruments in the trade. Moreover, you won’t find them to be as expensive as some of the other available choices.

 

A Few Notes About Cordoba Ukes

Cordoba is essentially a Spanish company, however, their ukes are mainly made in Portugal. Most of the ukuleles they produce are made from mahogany or genuine koa, however, there are a few other options as well. The brand produces everything from high quality soprano ukes that are great for someone just starting out and trying to learn the basics, to the best tenor and concert ukuleles, designed for professional use.

In our review of the Cordoba ukuleles we could not help but notice there beauty and authenticity. The brand is known to compete against some high-caliber manufacturers, including Kala, Fender and Mahalo.

Whether you’re looking for durability and practicality when it comes to buying a portable, highly resilient ukulele that you can take with you wherever you go, or you’re more interested in the actual sound quality and the ability to play music at a professional level, you are sure to find at least a handful of high end ukuleles Cordoba makes that are entirely suitable to help you achieve your goals.

 

1. Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

With a mahogany top, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, ivoroid binding and abalone rosette, the 15CM is a genuine 18-fret concert uke that can be bought at a surprisingly affordable price.

The appearance of this entry level ukulele is impressive, a fact made possible by the binding, the chrome tuning machines fitted with pearl buttons, and the beautiful matte satin finish. You also get a stand and a chrome cast gig bag as part of the offer, allowing you to play like a pro wherever you go.

So far no one who bought this concert uke had a great deal to complain when it comes to its appearance, performance or durability. This Cordoba model has excelled in every respect, being considered a refined piece of high quality craftsmanship that produces great tones, and scores good points for portability.

 

2. Cordoba 25SK Soprano Ukulele

The 25SK is a slightly more upscale option, and if you like soprano ukes, this is probably one of the best you can find on the entire market. Its acacia sides and top, the genuine ebony fingerboard and the superior quality, natural satin finish are among the main highlights we noted when reviewing the Cordoba 25SK.

This is definitely not a toy. The Cordoba has a beautiful, rich tone, and impressive volume/projection. Also, buyers who have purchased other brands of soprano ukuleles in the past have pointed out that the 25SK is clearly handmade, and the attention to detail that went into its construction far exceeds the quality of what brands like Oscar Schmidt or Lanikai have come up with as of yet.

 

3. Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele

The Cordoba 20TM is a completely handmade tenor ukulele and one of Cordoba’s most successful and beautifully designed instruments. It features a solid mahogany top, as well as a mahogany neck, back and sides. The natural wood rosette and natural satin finish are among its most notable and unique features, and the 20TM is also one of the lightest tenor ukes produced by Cordoba.

With an easy to use tuner, great action and impressive overall ease of use, this is a tenor uke you can learn with. Beginners and amateur musicians who just want to play for fun have praised its sound quality and overall feel, considering it superior in sound quality even to ukuleles manufactured by Kala or Fender.

 

4. Cordoba 30T Tenor Ukulele

This is yet another solid mahogany masterpiece produced by Cordoba. Featuring a unique, handcrafted construction, a PU finish and Spanish heel neck joint, it is designed to stand out not just through attention to detail and aesthetic appearance, but also through its rich sound, which is close to what a guitar would sound like.

The beautiful glossy finish and lightweight construction are among its main highlights, most buyers considering it a highly practical and valuable purchase that also happens to be a focused, rich and light sounding instrument.

 

Protege by Cordoba U100CM Concert Ukulele

We’ve saved the best for last, and the high quality Protege U100CM concert ukulele is definitely worth the attention it’s given. The uke features a unique mahogany top and ring rosette. It also comes with a stunning matte satin finish and a gig bag that allows you to take it with you to your gigs and concerts, which its exceptional sound quality is fully suited for.

Out of dozens of amateur and professional musicians who have purchased the Protege, most agree that it’s the very best ukulele in the entry level price range. This uke is well above its class, and the sleek laminate top, the solid mahogany neck and the mother-of-pearl rosette make it both beautiful and easy to play.

Some of the main highlights of the instrument are definitely its impressive loudness and superior tone. Also, the Protege is easy to use and tune, as well as light enough to carry around just about anywhere you go.

 

Making Your Choice

It’s not necessarily easy to decide what to choose when it comes to buying the best Cordoba uke on the market. While all the aforementioned instruments are worth their price, you have to consider whether you prefer a concert uke like the 15CM, that’s geared toward durability and consistent sound, or you’d like a full tenor ukulele like the beautiful Cordoba 30T.

Most experts, however, will point to the Protege by Cordoba U100CM Concert Ukulele, considering it to be the most playable, easy to use, portable, beautifully sounding and aesthetically appealing ukulele designed both for amateur and professional musicians, and available at a much better price than most of Cordoba’s other products. Hopefully this review has helped you in choosing the right Cordoba Ukulele for you.

Best Cheap Digital Piano Under $500

Girl Playing KeyboardIf you don’t have the money or the space necessary to buy and accommodate a grand piano, electric digital pianos are the next best thing. The instruments mentioned below are the best digital pianos for under $500, yet they can still exceed your expectations when it comes to their performance and outstanding sound quality.

The Williams Legato 88-Key Digital Piano

The Williams Legato is an affordable and highly portable digital piano that is considered ideal for both performing and practicing. The piano comes with 5 different voices, piano, electric piano, organ, bass and synth, and it has a built-in metronome, speakers, stereo jacks and MIDI USB connectors.

Reviewers consider this piano to be ideal for intermediate piano players and beginners. The 88-key Williams Legato is ideal for playing basically anything you want, the sound quality is above average, and even though it can’t get you to Carnegie Hall, it can definitely get you past the intermediate level.

 

Williams Allegro 2 88-Key Hammer Action Digital Piano

This Williams piano is slightly more expensive than the Legato but still a highly affordable piano. You definitely get your money’s worth with the 88 full-size, realistic, hammer-action weighted keys and the advanced modulation/FX control for vibrato effects. The piano also comes with a bright LCD screen, USB/MIDI connectivity and a unique, HD sound library.

This is also a truly portable piano that weighs only 29 lbs, and even piano players with decades of experience handling a genuine grand piano can attest to the realistic feel of the Williams Allegro. Although it is light weight and easy to play it’s not the best keyboard for children and I would recommend one of the list in this article.

 

Yamaha P71 88-Key Digital Piano

With 88 fully weighted keys, 10 realistic voices and a unique dual mode that allows you to combine voices, the Yamaha P71 gives you a lot more than what you’ll pay for. This digital piano is designed not only for performing and practicing, but also for creating beautiful music as an aspiring composer.

Some of the main highlights pointed out by both expert and beginning musicians who have used this Yamaha digital piano include its remarkable ease of use, authentic piano feel, lightweight portable construction, and its distinctive Yamaha sound engine with AWM Stereo Sampling.

The Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano

The Alesis Recital is one of the most affordable digital pianos on this list. It features 88 semi-weighted keys, four different modes, including one for beginners that features 128 max. polyphony, and many adjustable settings to help you add reverb, chorus and pedal resonance FX.

The built-in metronome capable of adjusting accurately between 30 and 280 beats per minute, the loud 20 watt speakers and the handy “Lesson Mode” which makes learning the piano easier than ever, are some of the most loved features of this top rated affordable piano.

The Alesis Coda Pro

Pros and beginners alike will simply love the Alesis Coda Pro. This outstanding 88-key hammer-action weighted keyboard features 20 voices, 60 built-in preset songs, a recording tool that allows you to record your own songs, as well as a unique duet mode featuring 50 accompaniment patters.

If you’re serious about learning to play the piano at a higher level, or you’re already a professional with years of experience, the Alesis Coda Pro should definitely be at the top of your list. The piano has everything you need from a grand piano (including genuine sound and feel), and it weighs no more than 28 lbs, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.

How to Choose The Best Musical Keyboard for Kids

Children Playing MusicIntroducing your kid to music is certainly an excellent idea and choosing the keyboard for an instrument is the best choice. However, if you have been trying to figure out the type of item that would delight your kid, would give him or her a sense of achievement and will not disrupt the comfort of your home, you surely know that the selection of the best item to buy is far from being easy. In what follows, we would like to help you with a few aspects and factors to take into consideration while browsing pianos and keyboards and with a few product recommendations as well.

Keyboard or Piano

This is actually the very first question to make up your mind about. Pianos used to be considered the best in terms of sound quality, but with today’s advanced technologies, musical keyboards are able to deliver sound that is just as clear and crispy. Pianos also come with some notable disadvantages such as high price and Children Learning Pianobulkiness – features that are eliminated with keyboards. If you are looking for an instrument that your kid can use to find out whether he or she likes playing piano music, buying a musical keyboard is probably the best solution – it is affordable, small, lightweight, easy to move one room to the other and versatile, perfect for making the initial learning period not only efficient, but also great fun. And one more benefit of keyboards: most of them can be played using headphones, so the initial odd sounds that your kid gets out of the instrument will not disturb the rest of the family.

What to Look for in A Keyboard

Here are a few of the most important features to look for when evaluating musical keyboards:

  • Number of keys – instruments vary in size and in the number of keys as well. Standard pianos have 88 keys, and that is the number of keys you should get for advanced players, but smaller items that feature a smaller number of keys can be just perfect for a kid just about to start learning the piano
  • Maximum polyphony – the term refers to the number of notes the instrument is able to produce at the same time. Look for at least 8-note polyphony for beginners, but for an advanced player, get an instrument that provides at least 32-note polyphony
  • Integrated songs, sounds and tones – musical keyboards can help beginners a lot by showing them how to play certain songs key by key. Most units also offer variety by giving the player the choice of switching between piano, organ and other instrument sounds.

Should you Get Your Kids Lessons When Starting Out?

In the past, learning to hit the right keys maintaining the right position and to read music was impossible without a teacher. However, nowadays there are so many great online resources, such as complete courses, tutorials and other types of instructional materials, that, with a little discipline, your kids can learn to play the instrument in an easy and enjoyable way.

Our Favorite Keyboards

Here are our top picks that can make a very good choice for children:

Casio SA76 44 Mini

This super-small, lightweight, battery-operated, and portable Casio keyboard is just perfect for beginners. The SA76 features 44 keys and 8-note polyphony for great sound that will motivate beginner players to continue practicing. The small unit comes with 10 integrated songs, 50 different rhythms and 100 different tones to make playing great fun, while the integrated audio jack allows players to play for themselves until they feel comfortable showing their skills to an audience.

Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable

This unit is larger and more complex than the previous one, being suitable not only for beginner players, but also for piano masters or for those who want to compose music. The 76 keys that the keyboard comprises are touch sensitive, thus giving the player the perfect feeling of playing a grand piano – amazing sound included. The keyboard comes with an educational suit with lessons for each hand, a 6-track recorder, stereo sound and lots of other great digital features that makes learning very entertaining.

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard

This 61-key unit comes with 32-note polyphony and a huge database that includes over 750 voices, over 200 different tempos and more than two dozen integrated songs, all of them providing great help for beginner players. The Grand button allows you to switch instantly to the grand piano mode, which replicates the sound that only sophisticated pianos can deliver.

The keyboard comes with great compatibility features as well – the provided USB port allows you to hook the keyboard to a computer for even more functionality and you can also connect your headphones, a mixer or even to another keyboard. The unit runs on battery, but you can purchase an adapter for it and operate it using a current outlet if you find that solution more comfortable.

Choose any of the above keyboards and you are guaranteed your child will love practicing on it!