If you are in the market for a brand new ukulele, then you might feel overwhelmed by all the different choices. There are Concert ukuleles, Sopranos, Tenors, and finally – the Baritone ukulele.
In this article, we will be going over the best Baritone ukuleles in the market. Not only that, but we will also help you develop a clear understanding of the different types of ukuleles and what makes Baritones special.
So without further ado, Let’s get started:
There are four different kinds of ukuleles according to its size – Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone.
The Soprano is the smallest ukulele following the traditional size at 20 Inches. It is also the most common type of ukulele and produces the classical ukulele sound you were accustomed to while growing up.
The Concert ukulele is a strip bigger at 23 inches. It has a marginally bigger body with a longer neck making more room for the frets. It produces the same signature ukulele sound as Sopranos but is a bit louder. Also, the extra space makes it easier to handle.
The Tenor ukulele is becoming popular as of late and is longer in length at 26 inches. The sound is a bit deeper than what you expect from a classical ukulele and sounds a bit more like a classical guitar. However, it is worth noting that many popular ukulele players, including James Hill, prefer to play using a Tenor ukulele.
And finally, we have the longest Baritone ukuleles which are around 29 inches. However, some manufacturers are making them one or two inches longer or shorter. Regardless, it is the longest and largest of the different ukuleles.
The bigger size means it produces a deeper sound that is more comparable to a classical nylon-stringed guitar, a.k.a. Spanish guitar. As such, when a person is thinking about a ukulele, the sound produced by a Baritone isn’t what they have in mind.
This is one of the reasons why it isn’t nearly as popular as the other three types of ukuleles. But with that being said, it is also the newest type of ukulele created as early as the 1940s. And it is slowly gaining more and more popularity and a wider fanbase every single day.
Because Baritone Ukuleles have a larger form factor and a deeper sound, it is more comparable to Guitars. The standard Ukulele is tuned to GCEA, whereas the Baritone is tuned to DGBE. If you are a guitarist, then you should know that DGBE is the first four strings of your six-string guitar.
So what does this mean?
Well, the standard Sopranos or Concert Ukuleles produce a thinner sound which makes it a bit lacking when trying to go solo. In fact, the thicker sound of the Baritone helps it cover a wider range of frequencies making it ideal for solo performances.
A Baritone ukulele can easily be used for playing the rhythm section, chords, or simply driving a track along. The richer tone also makes it more favored by the Jazz players.
We just discussed how the Baritone Ukulele is slowly gaining traction and is becoming more and more popular. But why is that?
Well, the bigger form factor does provide certain advantages to the player. As such, we have listed down the 5 key benefits of using a Baritone Ukulele to help you understand what makes it so special:
The standard Ukuleles can either be tuned to a low G or high G, but not both at the same time. This limits you to playing only certain types of songs with the instrument. But with the Baritone, you have no such problem.
It gives you access to the high Gs as well as the Low Gs (or in this case, the Low Ds) allowing you to play those pieces which require the extra low bass lines.
The larger size of a Baritone Ukulele means you have more space to play with – literally.
Compared to any standard ukuleles, a Baritone will give you more space between the frets to place your fingers, a wider neck which is always welcome for players with thick fingers, and a longer scale. The body is also a bit bigger which is preferred by many players as it is easier to grab onto and hold.
Baritones are known for their deeper and bass-filled sound which is often preferred by a lot of musicians.
As we discussed earlier, it is not only tuned differently but it is actually tuned lower which helps you hit those bass tones perfectly – something which is not possible with a standard Ukulele.
Remember when we said that Baritone isn’t as popular as the standard Ukuleles. So what happens when you walk in front of an audience with this rare and unique instrument?
It’s not your standard Uke? It is definitely not a guitar. And the sound is also so unique! If you can play it right, it offers an excellent opportunity to woo your audience with something new and unique.
Since the Baritone is similarly tuned to the first four strings of the guitar, it is the perfect transition point between the two instruments.
A guitarist who is trying to get into playing a uke will only have to adjust to playing on a smaller instrument (smaller compared to a guitar that is) and four strings. The chords are going to be the same.
Similarly, a ukulele player thinking of trying out the guitar can first go to the Baritone and get used to the DGBE tuning before they make the jump to the bigger six-string.
That depends! Are you a complete beginner and considering trying out a Baritone ukulele as your first to musical instruments? Or, do you have experience playing other instruments like the guitar, and a beginner when it comes to playing the Baritone?
Either way, the Baritone Ukulele is a fairly simple instrument to learn, as far as stringed instruments are concerned.
For the absolute beginner trying out the Baritone as their first instrument, it will feel like playing a small guitar with four strings. In fact, the smaller size makes it more manageable. And thanks to the sufficient amount of space between the frets and the larger neck, players with bigger hands and fingers will hardly experience any problem.
Likewise, if you have previous experience playing the guitar, then learning Baritone is simply about getting accustomed to the comparatively shorter size and playing on four strings. The fact that it uses the first four strings of the guitar – DGBE – makes the transition all the more straightforward.
However, for standard ukulele players – who are accustomed to Sopranos and Concert ukuleles, the larger size of the Baritone might take away from the portability and the compact form factor. So they will need some time to get accustomed to the increased proportions. Not only that, but a standard ukulele is tuned to GCEA. So there is going to be a bit of a learning curve getting used to the DGBE tuning.
Now that you have a clear understanding of a Baritone Ukulele, its various benefits, and who it’s for, let’s go over the 10 best Baritone Ukuleles so you can start making music with the instrument.
Starting off our list of the best Baritone Ukuleles, we have the 20BM model from Cordoba. The company is a well-known name when it comes to manufacturing ukuleles, and the 20BM is their first-ever take on the Baritone ukulele.
The instrument is made using mahogany and boasts a beautiful natural wood pattern. You get a natural wood inlay rosette combined with a satin finish and a detailed rosewood fingerboard. Not only does it look beautiful, but it is also extremely comfortable to play with.
Now coming to the sound reproduction, the instrument tends to produce a richer sound quality that is deeper than most other baritones on the market. However, the best part of using the instrument is that players can easily tune it differently according to their preferences. The tonal qualities remain unaltered whether you jump between the traditional GCEA tuning or DGBE tuning.
And now, for the icing on the cake – the Cordoba 20BM with its well-designed mahogany build and flexible tonal qualities, is priced below $300. This makes it an excellent bang for the buck Baritone ukulele.
And much more.
Lanikai is based in Hawaii and named after one of the Hawaiian beaches. As such, they really understand the heritage of the ukulele, which shows in their craftsmanship. Just look at the ACST-B Baritone from Lanikai – it boasts the perfect romantic image the ukulele is known for.
In terms of design, the Ukulele is made using acacia. Not only does it look super cool and classy, but is one of the reasons it manages to attain that traditional and classical look of the ukulele. Also, keeping musicians with larger hands in mind, the instrument sports a wide neck and wider nuts to make playing it as comfortable as possible.
However, the sound quality is where the ACST-B gets all its praise. Almost everyone who has played the instrument complemented its sound as “mellow,” managing to produce rich sweet tones while playing both chords as well as melodies.
Now finally coming down to the price of the instrument, you can get it from somewhere around $300. Yes, that might seem expensive considering the design doesn’t use any mahogany or other expensive wood. But in the end, you are actually looking for good design and great sound quality, and on those terms, the ACST-B takes the cake.
And much more.
Oscar Schmidt is one of the most popular names when it comes to musical instruments, and their OU57 is an awesome mid-range Baritone ukulele. Although a beginner can easily take it up as their first ukulele, the premium price might become a bit of a barrier. The meticulously crafted awesome sounding OU57 Baritone is priced around the $500 mark.
So what you are getting for that much money? Why, one of the finest uke in the market of course!
The instrument is built using a mix of Abalone and Spalted Mango which helps to create its sophisticated and polished look. On top of that, you get a rosewood fretboard, which admittedly is quite standard at this price bracket. Now everything is topped off with a glossy finish to deliver that clean and professional appeal.
Also worth mentioning are its awesome tuning pegs. Not only do they look and feel premium, but do a wonderful tuning job, helping you to maintain a tune for a long time. You don’t have to worry about your tune falling mid-song making it your perfect companion that you can take to gigs and performances.
And much more.
Up next, we have the Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U. You can look at it as the little brother to the OU57 we discussed previously. If the latter was pricy for you at a $500 price tag, then you might like this option which is available for $100. However, don’t let the drastic fall in price fool you. Made by Oscar Schmidt, you can expect the same level of craftsmanship and impeccable sound quality.
First, taking a look at the design, it looks as traditional as ukuleles get with a body made using mahogany wood topped with a satin finish. However, in order to keep it affordable, the fingerboard and bridge have been designed using engineered wood. And lastly, you have the abalone rosette and binding as the finishing touch.
The instrument helps play lively tunes and melodies that resonate through its body covering broad spectrums of highs and lows. However, if you put this ukulele against any one of the others we have mentioned on the list, then you will find it somewhat lacking.
It isn’t something you would want to take to professional gigs. But when you look at the price tag, it wasn’t meant to be used professionally either. However, it is perfect for beginners – those who want to try a good uke without breaking the bank.
And much more.
Kala is one of the most recognized brands when talking about ukuleles and their KA-B is by far one of the most popular and widely reviewed Baritone ukuleles in the market. And why shouldn’t it be?
This little thing comes packed with so many features, and it is amazing how reliable it can be. In fact, many professionals prefer the KA-B Baritone while performing gigs and solo performances.
One of the best things about the KA-B is that it is sold as a bundle complete with a hard case, tuner, strap, fender play, and a DVD with instructions on how to play the instrument. This makes it very popular for beginners as everything they need comes bundled in one affordable package of around $100.
And despite being budget-friendly, it is also extremely well built using mahogany wood for the body and the neck coupled with a walnut fingerboard, cream binding, and satin finish. This helps it produce a clear and clean tone which is another plus, especially at this price point.
And much more.
The Kmise Baritone ukulele does something completely different, in that it follows the standard ukulele tuning in GCEA instead of the DGBE (which is the case with Baritone). The instrument comes with Aquila strings that are set to the GCEA tuning.
But with that being said, you can always get yourself a new set of strings and tune it to DGBE if that is what you prefer.
Moving on from the peculiar way in which it is tuned, let’s look at its design. In this department as well, the instrument boasts a traditional look with mahogany wood used for its top, back, and sides. This is coupled with an Okoume neck and a rosewood fingerboard. And finally, the uke is topped with a satin finish and an abalone inlay around the soundhole for extra panache.
Another notable aspect of the uke is that it gives you twenty frets instead of eighteen, which is usually the case. However, the length still follows the standard measurement of 30 inches. Also, surprisingly, the instrument boasts dot markers on the fingerboard which is also uncommon for ukes but does help in playing the instrument.
And much more.
The Luna Vintage Mahogany Uke, as the name implies, uses Mahogany wood for its back, top, and sides. Everything is finished off with this red satin and a simple decorative pattern around the soundhole. Not only does the mahogany build give it a polished texture, but it also helps produce a warm natural sound.
The neck of the Baritone is also made with mahogany and is 19inches in scale length divided into 16 frets. It is shaped like a C which makes it super comfortable to hold.
The only thing that isn’t mahogany would be the walnut fretboard and bridge compliment with pearl dot inlays. All this is topped with a plastic imitation bone nut and the saddle with tuners that are open gears boasting a chrome finish.
Without a doubt, the instrument is a pleasure to hold and play which makes it perfect for beginners looking for long practice sessions with the uke. Also, despite being curated for beginners, it sounds surprisingly nice with its rich and mellow tones.
With all this being said, you should also note that the instrument comes under an affordable price tag. So, in a nutshell, you are getting an excellent design that can produce quality sound at a budget price point, making it bang for the buck Baritone ukulele.
And much more.
The Ru22b from Alvarez is a part of their Regent series of instruments that are solely designed for beginners at an affordable price. However, the price and the target demographic should lead you to think it is an incompetent Baritone uke.
Starting off with its design, it looks very traditional with the body made using laminated mahogany topped with a satin finish. There is a nice decor around the soundhole to give it more personality. Alvarez seems to have opted to not include the edge binding but doesn’t affect the design and it looks pretty good.
The neck is also made with mahogany boasting 18 frets. The fretboard itself is made with rosewood with dot markers which is always a nice addition, considering it’s a budget uke. Another point noting is that it comes with real bone nuts and saddles on a rosewood bridge.
Overall, the neck feels really comfortable to hold, which adds to the playability of the Baritone.
Owing to the mahogany build, the uke can produce some nice warm sounds, however, it isn’t as resonant as is the case with some other more expensive models. But with that being said, you will be buying this instrument to learn how to play the Baritone uke, as such the sound won’t affect your venture.
And much more.
The CB500 from Caramel is one of the most stunning Baritone ukuleles on the list. It does sport the standard 30-inch body, but unlike most ukes, it doesn’t have a sound hole in the middle. Instead, you get a series of smaller soundholes grouped together at the top of the body, boasting an interesting decoration.
Coming to the design and built, the body is made with Rosewood laminate with no cutaways. This is topped with a satin style finish to give a nice attractive glow. The binding is stylized to add even more character to the design.
The neck, too, is made using Rosewood and is segmented into 18 frets with dot markers as well as truss rod. The head stick boasts sealed tuners with black keys. And would you believe it, they have also thrown in real bone nuts and saddle sitting on top of a rosewood bridge.
The unique decision on where to place the sound holes paired with the Rosewood build already makes it an eyecatcher. But this isn’t where its uniqueness ends.
The CB500 is actually an acoustic-electric Baritone uke, although pretty elementary. The preamp comes with 3 band equalizers to control the bass, middle, and treble, along with a volume key and a dedicated digital tuner.
When plugged into an amplifier, the sound is okay, and the extra controls give you room to experiment with the instrument. When playing as an acoustic, the sound is decent with warm tones and an ample amount of resonance.
And much more.
And last but not the least, we have the Kala Ka-Sa-B, one of Kala’s elite models when it comes to Baritone ukuleles. This is the second Baritone uke from Kala we have mentioned in the list and is by far one of their best models.
Appearance-wise, it seems that the instrument is made from Koa, a popular Hawaiian wood used in making ukes. But, on the contrary, the Ka-Sa-B is made using Acacia wood which helps produce that distinct ukulele sound. A lot of attention has been put into detailing the instrument as well. The mahogany neck and the walnut fingerboard boasts sufficient detail to show off its fine craftsmanship.
And just like its classy appearance, the sound is also phenomenal. The Baritone can produce rich tones with a deep sound. It is an excellent instrument to take with on solo performances and is great for playing riffs, fingerstyle, or playing those moody melodies.
And much more.
So these were our picks for the best Baritone ukuleles. As you can see, the 10 ukes we mentioned on the list all come with different features and functionalities, making them ideal for different players.
For example, if you are already a uke player looking for a transition to a Baritone, then the Kmise Baritone Ukulele would make the most sense as it is tuned to GCEA like all standard ukes.
Alternatively, complete beginners would fare best with the Kala KA-B, mainly because of its affordable pricing and the fact that it comes with all the necessary accessories bundled in.
On the flip side, if you are looking to upgrade your current Baritone uke to something more suited for professional use, then the Kala Ka-Sa-B is an excellent choice.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you need in terms of design, sound quality, and pricing. With this in mind, this list of the best Baritone ukuleles should help you find the perfect instrument that meets your requirements as well as budget.