Our #1 Pick for Best Baritone Ukulele
Our top pick for best baritone ukulele goes to the Kala KG-BG. A quality choice of woods with plenty of projection, die cast tuners to help it keep in tune, and super low action making it easier to play. The gloss finish also helps to preserve the natural grain pattern, keeping it looking great for longer. Great value for money. Check Price on Amazon
Baritone ukes are often overshadowed by the more popular, soprano models however, they actually make fantastic instruments to both learn on, and to enjoy as an experienced player. Often, baritone ukuleles are more comfortable to play and pleasing to the ear, compared to other varieties out there.
But with so many versions on the market, how should you know what to look for? Don’t worry, we’re going to help you explore these aspects in a little more depth.
At a Glance – The Best Baritone Ukuleles on the Market
- Caramel CB103
- Kala KA-BG (Editor’s Choice)
- Kmise KMU30B (Best for Kids)
- Kala Mandy Harvey Starter Kit
- Luna Acoustic/Electric
- Oscar Schmidt OU52TAT-A
- Lanikai MAC
- Cordoba 24B
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Table of Contents
- Product Round-up & Reviews – Best Baritone Ukuleles
- Benefits of Playing a Baritone Ukulele
- Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
- So, Which Should I Buy?
Product Round-up & Reviews – Best Baritone Ukuleles
We’re starting off our reviews by taking a look at the CB103 by Caramel.
For a start, this is an electro-acoustic. This quite a rare find among baritone ukes, but it’s super cool because it means you can hook it up to an amp and even introduce some pedal effects to make things interesting.
The tone can be easily controlled by a handy 3 band EQ, which is built into the side of the uke’s body. Another great aspect here is that there’s a battery-powered tuner built into the EQ system, so you can tune anywhere and won’t have to spend any extra cash purchasing a separate one.
In terms of tone, the CB103 doesn’t disappoint either. This is mostly thanks to the hand-polished, walnut fretboard and bridge, which kicks out plenty of sustain and bright mids. Additionally, the body of the instrument is made from Zebra Wood, which not only looks cool, thanks to its striped grain pattern but also sounds pretty nice. Zebra Wood sounds rich and full, which works well in a baritone ukulele design.
The action and overall setup the CB103 comes with is also decent, thanks to the sturdy buffalo bone nut and saddle. There’s also an adjustable truss rod present inside the neck, so, if you need it, there’s the option of changing the tension to just how you like it.
Overall, due to its ability to work with an amp and effects units, we’d recommend the Caramel for anyone wanting to perform as part of an ensemble or band. Just remember, you’ll need a 10v battery to supply the tuner with before you play.
- Electro/ acoustic – This means you can play louder through an amp.
- Built-in EQ – So you can manipulate your tone with a flick of the dials.
- Looks great – The polished Zebra Wood gives this instrument a really classy aesthetic.
- Action is high – This may not be to some people’s tastes, so you may need to sand down the saddle or take the uke into a shop for a setup.
- The neck is glued on to body – The glue is actually a little sloppy in places and isn’t perfect.
The KA-BG by Kala boasts a high-quality mahogany and spruce tonewood used in the instrument’s body and neck. The main bulk of this uke is mahogany, which delivers a warm, well-balanced tone. This complements the instrument’s spruce top, which kicks out bright highs with tons of resonance and volume.
In fact, this thing is so loud that you could use it to play as part of an acoustic ensemble no problem, or solo busking if you prefer. Either way, you’re going to be heard! But, better still, all the high-quality woods used in the KA-BG are coated with a gloss finish, to preserve the natural grain pattern and to protect it from wear and tear.
In terms of playability, this uke’s action is nice and low and its neck is silky smooth, so even players with the most delicate fingers will be able to strum comfortably. In comparison to the CB103 we mentioned above, the KA-BG has an overall better finish, in that, the body is adorned with a tasteful, white binding. It also has a set of die-cast tuners that help it stay in tune nicely.
The only downside is that there are no strap buttons included in the design, so make sure to take this into consideration if you were hoping to perform standing up.
- Quality tonewood – The mahogany and spruce body mean this thing is really loud.
- Die-Cast Tuners – These help to keep the strings in tune for long periods of time.
- Low Action – This makes chords and scales easier to play and comfortable on fingers.
- No strap buttons – This means you’ll have to play sitting down, rather than standing.
- Not electro-acoustic – This isn’t really a bad thing, as the KA-BG already gets pretty loud on its own.
With the KMU30B Kmise have used high-quality mahogany in the top, back and sides to ensure it looks elegant and has a great tone. This means the sound it produces is really warm, with plenty of resonance. Reassuringly, the mahogany is also coated in a satin finish, for extra protection and a stylish, natural look.
Another great feature is the set of premium metallic and nylon strings, which are soft on fingers and help to enhance the instrument’s natural warmth. This makes it perfect for even children to play without experiencing any soreness. It’s worth mentioning that the strings come already set up, to intentionally reduce string buzz.
The tuners that come with this uke are a set of 18:1 geared pegs, which manage to hold a tuning really well, even with new strings. The overall playability of the KMU30B is pretty decent too. This is mostly thanks to Kmise’s clever craftsmanship in designing a smooth walnut fretboard, a low action walnut bridge, and nice silver/nickel fret wires.
Overall, thanks to its fantastic tone and playability, we’d recommend this uke for children or beginner adults. The strings are soft and the fingerboard is nice and smooth, so you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable playing it from day one.
- Great for kids – This uke is comfortable to hold and play, as well as being kind to fingertips.
- Tone – The mahogany and walnut used here give the instrument a pleasantly warm, resonant sound.
- Holds tuning well – The gear tuners will help to keep your strings in tune from the get-go.
- Entry-level – This is great to learn on or for kids to play, but can’t go as loud as the two models we mentioned above.
- Laminate – Although the tone isn’t sacrificed too much here, the laminate wood means this thing isn’t as durable as most models.
Kala Mandy Harvey Starter Kit
Interestingly, this uke has designed in light of the artist Mandy Harvey, a famous singer/ songwriter who, despite becoming deaf at 19, pursued her dream to win the golden buzzer from Simon Cowell during America’s Got Talent. This is really inspiring stuff, but what’s so great about the uke itself?
Well, this instrument is probably the best looking we’ve seen so far, thanks to the 1800s style, Swiss folk art adorned on the body. Incredibly, the floral vine pattern was designed by Mandy’s sister, making it pretty special!
The tonewood used here is similar to the KMU30B we mentioned above, with the uke comprising of a satin-finished, mahogany body and a walnut fingerboard, which give out a nice warm tone. But, the second-best thing is the set of Aquila Super Nyglut strings that Kala has installed. These are super soft and comfortable to play, so even complete beginners should feel comfortable pressing them.
In addition, the nut and saddle are made from durable, Graphtech NuBone too, so you can be sure your strings will stay in tune well. The kit itself provides some fantastic resources, in that, it comes with free online lessons, taught by Harvey herself, a learning app for smartphones, as well as some free songs, a handy clip-on tuner, and a protective gig bag.
This uke is a great option for anyone wanting to learn from home, using a beautiful, full-sounding instrument. The only downside is that there are no strap buttons, so you don’t get the option of standing up to perform, unfortunately.
- Looks great – The 1800s swiss vine theme looks stunning across the instrument’s body.
- Learning tools – There’s a smartphone app and free online lessons included with this kit.
- Aquila Strings – These are super soft and pliable, so your fingers won’t have a hard time pressing them.
- Needs a setup – Whilst you get a lot for your money here, you’ll probably have to take this thing to a shop to get the action set properly.
- No strap pegs – This means you’ll have to play sitting down, rather than standing.
Now to the second electro-acoustic on our list, this time it’s a vintage design by Luna.
The rich, warm, vintage tone that is produced by the quality mahogany body/neck and walnut fretboard. We should probably mention that the neck itself is a comfortable, C shape and professionally set, so will be able to withstand any knocks and bangs with ease. As well as all this, there’s even a set of tough, geared tuners, so you’ll never have to worry about your strings slipping out of tune.
The built-in Luna UK-TW pre-amp and tuner is pretty good too. This lets you adjust your tone to exactly how you like it when it comes out through an amplifier, and to tune your instrument without buying a separate tuner.
Speaking of strings, here Luna has included a set of two Aquila and two steel versions, so you get a nice balance of twang and softness cutting through your tone when you strum.
In terms of aesthetics, this uke really does live up to its vintage description, thanks to the tasteful, laser-etched rosette design surrounding the dark, mahogany soundhole. Classier still, Luna has even included triangular pearl inlays and a natural satin finish, to show off the mahogany’s natural grain.
The only downside is that there are no strap buttons, so you’ll have to play this uke sat down.
Overall, we’d say Luna’s Electro/Acoustic Baritone is the perfect choice for any musician looking for vintage tone and looks, with the ability to play through an amp. Just don’t forget to grab a battery for the tuner!
- Built-in Tuner – This saves you a little extra cash and is convenient too.
- Output jack – This means you can play as loud as you like, or as part of a band.
- Looks great – The pearl inlays and vintage rosette design really are eye-catching.
- No strap buttons – This means you won’t be able to stand whilst performing.
- Preamp/ Tuner requires batteries – This isn’t really a downside, but it can be annoying when you forget to pack a spare.
Oscar Schmidt OU52TAT-A
This delivers a warm, rich sound, thanks to the hand-crafted mahogany top, back and sides. But as well as all this, Oscar Schmidt has designed it to kick out a ton of resonance too and have included a Rosetek fingerboard and bridge, to bring some sparkling, bright highs into the mix.
All this quality wood has been coated in a satin finish to enhance its natural grain and to protect it from wear and tear. Saying that the die-cast tuners that Oscar Schmidt has chosen are pretty durable too, seeing as they’re made from tough, chrome material, which guarantees your strings won’t slip.
They’ve alsp included a lifetime warranty, for your peace of mind.
One of the best aspects here has to be the instrument’s aesthetic. This thing has a cool engraving across its top, which has been specially designed to resemble a traditional, Hawaiian tribal tattoo, hence the ‘TAT’ part of its name. So, you’re guaranteed to be noticed by your audience when you perform with this instrument.
Overall, we’d recommend this uke to anyone looking for something that’s built to last, with a lively tone. There are no strap buttons included here, so you’ll need to be happy to play sitting down.
- Cool design – Features a unique tribal tattoo engraving across its top.
- Tone – This thing kicks out plenty of warm tones, but with some bright highs too.
- Lifetime warranty – So you can rest assured this instrument is built to last.
- No extras included – You’ll need to buy a separate gig bag and tuner if you don’t already have one.
- No strap buttons – This isn’t the end of the world, but can be annoying if you want to play standing up.
The neck and headstock are the Lanikai MAC’s greatest features. In particular, the headstock is nice and light, with a set of sturdy chrome, open-back tuners, to ensure your strings stay in tune well. As well as this, the neck is nice and wide, with a silky-smooth, walnut fingerboard for extra comfort and playability.
The MAC’s action is also nice and low, thanks to the NuBone XB nut and saddle and the durable walnut bridge. This is really handy, as it means you don’t need to spend any extra cash taking the uke in for a professional set up at a music shop.
The bridge also features a convenient, no tie, string change system, to make it easier to replace the set after they’ve worn down. With that in mind, the strings the MAC comes with are D’Addario EJ88’s, which are soft to the touch and provide a punchy, traditional ukulele tone.
In terms of the overall sound, it sustains well and produces a full, warm tone, due to the quality mahogany tonewood used to craft its body. It’s worth mentioning, that all this beautiful wood is preserved in a satin finish, which shows off its natural grain nicely.
Better still, the MAC even comes with two strong, chrome strap buttons, so you’ll be able to stand up to perform if you prefer. This is great news, as most of the baritones we’ve looked at don’t have anything like this installed. Lanikai have been pretty generous here, as you also get a protective, padded gig bag with the instrument, so you’ll be saving a little money not having to purchase one separately.
Overall, we’d recommend this ukulele to anyone looking for a value for money, mid-range instrument.
- Strap Buttons – So you can play standing up, as well as sat down.
- Playability – The walnut fingerboard is super smooth and the D’Addario strings, super soft, so playing this thing isn’t going to be a struggle.
- Bridge – This features a no-tie system, to make changing strings super easy.
- No electronics – This isn’t really an issue; just remember you can’t run it through an amp.
- No strap included – Yes there’s a set of strap buttons, but you’ll need to purchase a strap separately.
The Cordoba 24B boasts a variety of tonewoods in the body, neck, and fretboard. The back and sides are made from spalted maple, which brings some tasteful, shimmering highs into the mix. Then there’s the solid cedar wood top, the mahogany neck, and the rosewood fingerboard, all of which provide the uke with full, rich, warm tones, that complement the highs from the maple nicely.
The spalted maple is a visually unique wood, with eye-catching grain lines so you’ll definitely turn some heads when you perform with this instrument.
You also get a set of soft, pliable Aquila Nyglut 21U strings that are super easy to play with so even folks without finger callusing will manage to strum this uke with ease. The tuners are pretty sturdy too, thanks to the manufacturers choosing a set of tough, geared metal versions.
In addition, they throw in a polish cloth, uke stand, and a clip-on tuner, so you get quite a lot of handy equipment for your money.
The only real downside here is that there are no strap buttons built into the instrument’s body, which we kind of expected for the price. But, saying that, we’d still recommend this uke to any experienced players, looking for high-quality craftsmanship and tone, in a decent package.
- Tone – The mixture of cedar, maple, rosewood, and mahogany give this baritone the most unique tone of all the models we’ve reviewed.
- Aquila Strings – This set is extremely soft on fingers, to enhance playability.
- Geared tuners – This means you won’t get any annoying string slipping whilst you play.
- Price – This is a little more expensive than most mid-range baritones, however, you get some really high-quality craftsmanship for your dollar.
- No strap buttons – So you’ll have to play sitting down, rather than standing.
Benefits of Playing a Baritone Ukulele
You’re probably wondering what all the hype when it comes to baritone ukuleles, so, below we’ve listed some of their most common advantages.
In contrast to soprano ukes that produce a relatively bright, high pitch tone, baritones provide a rich, bassy sound, which is why they often form an integral part of musical ensembles. Sopranos are often the go-to choice for solo musicians, however, there’s nothing stopping you using a baritone instead.
In fact, high-end and even mid-range models can produce a fuller tone, with plenty of warmth, and they often sound smoother than soprano ukes too. So, whether you’re thinking of playing as part of a group or solo, baritones will be a great addition to your musical inventory when it comes to tone.
While soprano ukuleles are often the popular choice among small children, baritone ukes are a better choice for larger builds because of their size. People with large handspans often find the neck and fret size of sopranos far too small to play comfortably, so opt for baritones for their playability and comfort.
Because the neck and nut width is larger, the frets on a baritone are much wider, making them easier for adults to play. The standard is 18 frets,
If you can play the guitar, you’ll find it easy to tune a baritone ukulele. Why? Because baritone ukuleles are tuned to DGBE, the same as the top four strings of a guitar. This makes it the same as playing the guitar without the two low E and A strings.
This is not only easier to get your head around, but it also means you can use the same guitar chords and scales on your instrument, rather than learning a whole set of new uke chords, saving a lot of time learning extra music theory.
As well as all this, the baritone uke’s larger size, in comparison to soprano models, means it’s slightly less fiddly to restring and tune too.
Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
Types of Baritone Uke
Now and again you come across electric-acoustic versions, which as well as being able to project the sound acoustically, have a pickup installed to receive vibrations from your instrument’s strings, to send the signal to an amplifier.
This means you can tune up the volume manually or even add extra effects into your mix if you like. So, perhaps an electro-acoustic would make a great choice for anyone wanting to play loud, with a band or ensemble.
A vast array of tonewoods can be used to craft a ukulele. Some of the most common include koa, mahogany, spruce, rosewood and maple, to mention just a few.
As the ukulele originated in Hawaii, plenty of early models are made from the country’s native Koa wood. This tonewood is warm, vibrant and produces plenty of sustain, so is the go-to choice for many high end ukuleles.
Mahogany is the most common type of wood used in mid-range ukuleles (and satin mahogany is popular too). This is a popular choice thanks to it’s strong but lightweight structure. In higher-end models, you find solid mahogany. As for tone, the mahogany baritone is less bright than those made of Koa wood, but still focused, punchy, and widely available.
Another common choice when it comes to body wood is spruce, which produces a very loud, crisp tone. Spruce is readily available to manufacturers worldwide, so it is often used in entry-level ukes alongside other types, such as cedar.
Many companies opt for rosewood fingerboard and rosewood bridge. This is a great choice not only for its beautiful appearance but also for its smoothness, which enhances playability. Occasionally, you may find a uke with an ebony fingerboard, but they’re often high-end models, as ebony is denser and more expensive than rosewood. In terms of tone, ebony is super bright and silky smooth to play.
Higher-end ukuleles will mostly use solid woods (such as solid spruce, solid mahogany, etc.). However, entry-level and even mid-range instruments are often made using laminated wood.
This means the layer you see on the outer surface doesn’t run the whole way through the body. By opting for a laminated uke you may be sacrificing some tone and stability, but in the budget price range, laminates can still sound awesome.
Sometimes manufacturers include a few extra items worth checking out:
Gig Bags: This basically enables you to carry around your uke in a padded bag or hard carry case. Of course, the hard case is the more protective of the two however, they can be heavy if you’ve got to carry your instrument. Some fabric gig bags don’t actually have any padding, this means your uke won’t be as protected from bumps or knocks, so it may be worth taking that into account too.
Strap and Strap Buttons: Strap buttons act as attachment sites for the strap. So, if you’re looking to purchase a ukulele you can play whilst standing, you’re going to need something with both of these items included. Just bear in mind, that the quality of ukulele straps can differ, as the materials vary between cotton, plastic, and leather, with leather being more durable, so make sure to read the product description before you buy.
Electronic Tuners: Manufacturers often include a detachable, clip-on tuner with their product. This is handy as it means you won’t have to go to a shop and buy one separately to keep your instrument in tune. Clip-on tuners are also highly portable thanks to their small size, so you’ll be able to carry it with you no problem. Just remember each model’s reliability can vary, so you should check out some reviews before you make a purchase.
So, Which Should I Buy?
As you’ve seen, there are loads of models on the market and all have different features.
If you’re looking to play as part of a group or ensemble, Caramel’s CB103 would make a great choice as it can be amped up to compete with other instruments.
If, on the other hand, you need something with fantastic playability then opt for the Kala’s KA-BG. It has a nice low action that’s perfect for beginners, a smooth neck, and a decent choice of woods with a gloss finish.
Perhaps you’re looking for an instrument that’s great for kids to play? If so, Kmise’s KMU30B is small enough for young children to play comfortably and comes with a set of super-soft strings, perfect for little fingers.
Maybe you’re a complete beginner? If that’s you, then Kala’s Mandy Harvey will make a fantastic choice, seeing as it comes with a free learning app and online lessons.
If you prefer the sound of vintage baritone ukuleles, then try out either Luna’s Electro-Acoustic or Oscar Schmidt’s OU5TAT with its mahogany top and sides. Both produce an authentic Hawaiian tone and look great.
Perhaps you’re a more experienced player looking for a high-quality instrument? If so, then the Cordoba 24 B baritone ukulele. This uke is made from several different types of high-grade tonewoods, which gives it a completely unique, well-balanced tone.