Baritone Ukuleles

The Best Baritone Ukulele 2018

When you think of the string instrument, probably the first one that comes into your mind is the acoustic guitar. However, recently I’ve been seeing lots of videos that promote not the guitar but the other type of string instrument – the ukulele. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are interested in this instrument, but it seems that they are not very familiar with it.

Click Here to Jump to The 10 Best Baritone Ukuleles.

Some of them really like the ukulele, but since they don’t know much about it, they tend to stick to the guitar. The most common questions are: Is it just a smaller version of the guitar? Can it be amplified? How many strings it has? What is the string order? Can I play it like a guitar? The list goes on and on…

I know how I felt when I bought my first ukulele. The only thing I knew about it is that I like the way it sounds. When I got it, I started to learn and to explore this instrument. The more I knew about it, the more it fascinated me. Soon, I realized that I’m spending more time with ukulele than with the guitar.

Ukulele is the relatively young instrument – it originates from the 19th century. It represents a kind of a variation of the Portuguese machete. Very soon, it became popular in the USA and in the rest of the world.

Types of Ukulele

Some of you may not know this, but there are several types of ukulele. Of course, they can defer in several characteristics, such as material, number of strings, tuning, but probably the most important difference comes from its size. There are 5 different sizes of ukulele. Let’s check them out.

Pocket Ukulele

This is the smallest version of the ukulele. As the name suggests, it can almost fit into your pocket, just like an actual pocket guitar. It is also referred to as piccolo, sopranino, or sopranissimo, so don’t be surprised if you find it under these names. Its typical length is 16 inches, so it is very, very small. If you are a guitar player, this ukulele will be like a toy to you. Since it is this small, it is tuned higher compared to the other ukuleles – its tuning is 5 semitones higher. So, it’s basically like the 5th fret of the standard ukulele.

Amazing thing is that, despite its miniature size, it still works. And it sounds better than you would expect. Of course, playing it can be a little tricky, as the frets are very small. Also, you should take into account that the pitch is really high on this one.

Soprano Ukulele

When you think of ukulele, you probably have this size in mind. It is also called the standard ukulele. The length of this model is 21 inches. So, this is pretty much the traditional sounding ukulele.

Concert Ukulele

This kind of ukulele is a little bigger than the previous one. It is also referred to as the alto ukulele.  Its length is 23 inches.

Since it has a longer scale than soprano, its frets are also bigger. This means that you can move your finger around more. Also, if you have long fingers (or big fingertips) you will probably find this one easier to play.

Tenor Ukulele

The tenor ukulele is the next in like. It is 3 inches longer than concert ukulele (so, its length is 26 inches). The fact that it is bigger than the previous ukuleles on our list indicates that it also has a fuller sound.

Baritone Ukulele

Since this is the ukulele of the biggest interest for us, let’s take a closer look at it.

The baritone ukulele is the biggest standard ukulele (there is also the bass ukulele that is little bigger). Besides being the biggest, it is also the youngest model as it was created in the 1940s. The origins of this ukulele model are pretty vague. Also, it is not completely clear who the actual designer is. If you want to find out more about the origins of the baritone ukulele, I suggest you to take a look at this article.

The typical length of the baritone ukulele is 29 inches, with the 19 inches scale. Due to its bigger body, it is louder than the other ukuleles.

Most Common Ukulele Wood Types

Plywood/Laminate

Plywood and laminate are commonly used in the construction of the cheapest quality ukuleles. These materials are moderately durable, but they provide horrible acoustics, hence ukuleles made from such materials don’t sound too good.

In most cases you’ll see a combination of laminate (or plywood) and other tonewoods, such as, for example spruce. Most brands that look to cut the construction cost use plywood or laminate materials as base and look to compensate for the bad sound with better tonewoods (spruce, rosewood, or such).

Mahogany

Mahogany is, practically, reserved for medium-priced ukuleles. This type of wood offers almost the same level of durability, but it provides better acoustics and resonance. This means that Mahogany ukuleles have a fuller sound characterized with less buzz and extra brightness.

Ukuleles made of this material are generally treated as good in terms of quality, although even some of the more expensive models are often made from it. Mahogany works great when combined with rosewood or maple materials.

Koa

Koa is the type of wood used to make traditional ukuleles – the original inventors of this instrument used this material, so it’s only normal that this is the best type of wood available.

Koa is as sturdy as can be and provides the highest level of acoustics and resonance. If you spot a Koa ukulele, it means that you’ve found a model that’s worth considering, to say the very least. Note that these ukuleles often cost quite a lot.

Common Ukulele Chords

G chord

The G chord is, perhaps, the easiest chord you can play on ukulele apart from the C chord. It’s to be fretted like this – put your finger in a bar chord (just place it across the entire fret) over the second fret on D, G, and B strings while fretting the G string on the third fret.

C chord

C chord is, without any doubt, even easier to play than the G chord. Simply fret the lowest strings openly and hold the “C” note which is located on the third fret of the last string. Even though it’s a sort of an “open chord”, it got the name after the only fretted note – C.

D chord

The D chord is relatively easy to grasp. Place your fingers in a bar chord across the last three strings and fret the first one openly. The D chord got its name after the second fretted note, as it’s the root note around which the notes A and F# accompany it, making it sound a bit fuller.

Em chord

The E minor is one of the most melodious, gloomy chords in both ukulele and guitar worlds. Fret the B note (second fret on the last string), the G note (third fret on the B string), and the E note (fourth fret on the G string).

Types of Ukulele Tunings

Standard G tuning – G-C-E-A

The standard ukulele tuning (or standard G) is, well, the most common ukulele tuning. It’s commonly used for Sopranos, Concert ukuleles, and Tenor ukuleles, but alternative tunings are possible for each one. Let’s see what are the alternate tunings for each of the aforementioned types:

  • Soprano alternate tuning – A-D-F#-B
  • Concert alternate tuning – G-C-E-A
  • Tenor alternate tuning – D-G-B-E

These “alternate” tunings can be used to play different songs by fretting the notes differently. The “alternate” tunings correspond to “guitar alternate” tunings (open tunings, dropped tunings, and such).

Ukulele D tuning – D-G-B-E

The only ukulele type that uses a different tuning from the common G is Baritone ukulele. Apart from being the biggest of the four types, Baritone uses a guitar-like tuning called “Standard D” tuning which goes by D-G-B-E.

The alternate tuning for baritone ukulele type is C-G-B-E. That means that you’ll only have to drop the D string by two semitones – the rest remain the same.

In order to help you to choose the best baritone ukulele, we review the 10 best below:

1. Cordoba 20BM

Cordoba 20BM

Brief Overview and General Specs

Most of you probably associate Cordoba manufacturer with classical guitars. However, this company is also very successful in making ukuleles. This brand mainly deals with classical and nylon-strung guitars, but as you can see, their selection of ukuleles is quite formidable.

Models such as 20SM, UP1000, U1 (and others) are among the best ukes ever built, and it’s only natural that we’ve decided to start off with someone as big as Cordoba. The 20BM features a mahogany body and neck, and a fingerboard made of rosewood. Let’s see what this ukulele can offer you.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $170

It is true that this ukulele costs a little more than you would expect, but there are good reasons why this is the case. First of all, it has a solid mahogany top, which means that it has a fuller sound with a better resonance compared to the laminated top. On top of that, the materials 20BM is made of are very durable and sturdy – you can expect that it will last you for years to come, given proper and daily maintenance.

The hardware is excellent – it has robust, stable tuners. What’s more, the exquisite tuners hold the tune for a very long time, and it’s no wonder most professional uke players recommend it. Besides that, the saddle and bridge have a great projection – the action offers a phenomenal balance between playability and intonation.

All in all, it is true that you will pay a little more money for this baritone ukulele but having in mind its quality, you will definitely save money in a long term.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

There are plenty of things a pro would like about Cordoba’s 20BM, but the most important one is definitely the sound quality it offers. It doesn’t look too spectacular, that’s a given, but once you strum the very first notes, you’ll begin the notice the difference between 20BM and other, inferior ukulele models.

On top of that, there are some premium-quality features onboard – the robust tuners, both back and sides being made of mahogany, an ultra-playable fingerboard, as well as a set of Aquila Nylgut strings, you name it.

If that’s not enough, the sheer durability of 20BM promises a lot. It’s intended for people who wish to get a keeper – an ukulele which is characterized by refined quality, capable of withstanding years, if not decades of use.

What We Thought Could be Improved

In all truth, there are but a handful of things that Cordoba’s 20BM lacks – if these little flaws were to be neglected, we could easily label it as one of the best baritone ukulele models ever built, and then some.

For starters, it costs a small fortune – Cordoba’s 20BM belongs to the medium bracket of the “expensive” price point category. Even so, this price range is filled with numerous quality ukulele models, and it remains on top.

There’s another issue, although it wouldn’t exactly be fair to dub it as a “flaw” per se. Namely, Cordoba’s 20BM doesn’t look “professional”. In fact, it doesn’t even look that great – it’s obvious that it was meant for performance, and not the looks. There are flashier, cooler models, and if it’s aesthetics that you value above performance, continue scrolling.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Basically, Cordoba’s 20BM is one of our more expensive recommendations. It belongs to the “expensive” price range, just like we’ve mentioned, but it packs a strong punch for the buck. You’d have to search far and wide in order to find a better ukulele for the money.

Pros

  • Superior sound quality – few ukuleles could hope of going toe to toe with 20BM in terms of performance
  • Robust build – premium-quality mahogany and rosewood materials ensure that you’ll be able to use it for decades before it starts to show signs of cracking or warping
  • Great action – Cordoba’s 20BM boasts excellent playability without hindering the level of intonation provided by exceptional tuners
  • Tremendous value for the money – though expensive, 20BM is among the best baritone ukuleles ever built

Cons

  • Poor aesthetics – even though it shows a lot of promise in numerous fields of performance, it doesn’t really look the part
  • Costs a small fortune – the only real flaw of Cordoba’s 20BM is that it costs quite a lot

Our Verdict

If you’ve managed to save up enough cash for Cordoba’s 20BM, we assure you – it’s worth every single cent. Surely enough, it’s expensive, but we daresay its value highly exceeds that of most similarly priced ukuleles. Consider it even if you haven’t played ukulele for long – it’s a keeper, and it will make any ukulele you’ve played before appear small and inferior.

2. Makai BK-55

Makai BK-55

Brief Overview and General Specs

Makai baritone ukulele stands for one of the best entry-level baritone ukuleles that you can find. It’s not as expensive as Cordoba’s 20BM, and it offers a relatively similar set of benefits.

Truth be told, Makai might not be as famous as some of the brands you’re about to see in our best baritone ukulele review, but they’ve more than deserved the spot with this beautiful model. The least you should expect is premium-quality sound output and exceptional playability.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Price: around $100

With its matt finish and darker color, this is really a beautiful looking ukulele. In fact, what Cordoba’s BM20 lacks in aesthetics, Makai’s BK-55 provides in abundance. Basically, it’s a beautiful looking ukulele, adorned with a traditional outfit of features – nothing too fancy, but flashy enough to attract the eyes of laymen and pros alike.

Besides looking good, it also sounds great! It has a warm and rich tone that is characteristic for more expensive ukuleles. When compared to Cordoba’s 20BM, Makai BK-55 sounds relatively inferior, although that’s only normal given the difference in price – the latter is only half as pricey.

When it comes to playing, you won’t have any problems – the neck has a great finish and low action. That means that it’s suitable for intermediate level players and immediate beginners alike – the low action, however, impedes upon the intonation a bit, so you might have to tune it in a bit more frequently.

In one word, Makai baritone ukulele represents a great compromise between the price and the quality – for an entry level ukulele, that is.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

Ukulele is all about playing good while looking good, and luckily, Makai BK-55 is capable of providing both. This ukulele looks absolutely stunning – the finish is plain awesome, the color is on point, and one might say that it resembles an acoustic guitar.

Apart from that, beginners are welcome to try it out – the low action significantly improves the already great playability of this ukulele, albeit at the cost of intonation.

The quality of sound is impeccable for an entry level guitar – you’ll get nothing short of premium-quality sound. Last, but certainly not the least, Makai BK-55 doesn’t cost too much – even though it’s not as expensive as our previous pick, it, however, can’t be considered as the cheapest ukulele in our review.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

In all fairness, Makai’s BK-55 is a wonderful ukulele, that much is a given. However, with a few simple tweaks, it could’ve been much better than it already is.

The first thing that we didn’t like so much about it was its durability. Namely, Makai’s BK-55 was sturdy enough to pass most performance checks – with a full mahogany build (with exceptions of rosewood fingerboard and nato neck), most people would assume that it was as sturdy as can be. However, the truth is that it might not last as long as, for example, Cordoba’s 20BM.

Price Range and Price Point

We’ve already mentioned that this beautiful ukulele costs as half as much as Cordoba’s model we’ve reviewed earlier. That means that it’s significantly less expensive, as it belongs to the medium bracket of the “medium” price point category.

Its value transcends its price, and that’s a major understatement. Most people who didn’t know how much it actually costs would easily pay $20, or even $50 more – especially since it’s so well suited for beginners and intermediate level players.

Pros

  • Great sounding ukulele – Makai’s BK-55 boasts superb sound quality for an entry level ukulele
  • Decent price – though it can hardly be considered as a cheap ukulele, BK-55 is far from being expensive
  • Low action – best suited for beginners, but any uke player who values playability will find it as great
  • Looks absolutely stunning – It’s easy to note that Makai BK-55 excels in aesthetics, among other fields of performance

Cons

  • Inferior intonation – goes out of tune every once in a while. Not a sure deal breaker, but certainly isn’t convenient for most people
  • Medium durability – most materials of which this ukulele is made of are durable, although it’s not sturdy enough to withstand decades of use

Our Verdict

All things considered, Makai’s BK-55 is a beautiful, great sounding ukulele. It boasts a massive level of playability, it promises a lot in terms of sound quality, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to top it all. We highly recommend it to any new ukulele players, as well as to veterans who are looking for a quality uke to polish their skills back to full shine.

3. Kala MK-B

Kala MK-B

Brief Overview and General Specs

Kala stands for one on the most popular ukulele manufacturers. They have released a plethora of premium-quality ukulele series, and if you’re looking for a good baritone ukulele, you might as well start your search here.

  • Body: Agathis
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $100

This is indeed a high-quality instrument, both in terms of design and structure. It looks classy, comes outfitted with 18 very playable frets, and the overall outline of the features it’s packing is pretty great.

Needless to say that it also sounds great – it comes pre strung with quality strings which feel gentle under fingers and provide a bright, clear tone. It has all that you would expect from a baritone ukulele – a warm and full sound, with a lot of low tones and bass.

It is also very easy to play. It has plastic strings, so you don’t have to press the frets too hard in order to produce a tone. A gentle contact will be enough to provide a clean tone. Even though there are better sounding ukuleles to be had for some $50 to $100 extra, the Aquila Nylgut strings outfitted to Kala’s MK-B Makala are beyond decent.

Besides Kala MK-B baritone ukulele, you will also get a gig bag, a pack of strings, tuner, polish cloth, strap, free online lessons, and instructional DVD. Complementary features are always welcome, and this bundle has everything you need to start playing right away.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

Kala’s MK-B looks are something most uke enthusiasts would talk about for hours. This ukulele excels in aesthetics, boasting a classy, elegant design. Its agathis body is incredibly sturdy for an entry level ukulele, and the mahogany neck is as durable as it is playable.

What’s more, with the fingerboard, as well as the bridge being made of quality rosewood, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to enjoy playing for years, if not decades.

Additionally, we really liked the price of Kala’s MK-B. It goes without saying that its value goes beyond the price tag – it’s not just that it comes with a plethora of gratis features, the ukulele itself is great.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

First and foremost, this baritone ukulele is ideal for beginners. Intermediate level players and veterans with plenty of experience might find its sound a bit dull, or even playability as nothing too exemplary.

The lowest string is also a bit different from the rest – it might be the factory strings problem, or it was, perhaps, designed with it, but you’ll notice that the sound isn’t as clear or bright when this string is strummed. Expect some buzz, but it’s nothing too drastic.

Knowing this, we recommend that you re-string Kala’s MK-B – a set of new strings shouldn’t be too expensive.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Kala’s MK-B Makala is a decently affordable quality baritone ukulele. It belongs to the upper bracket of the “affordable” price point category, although it’s more valuable than most similarly priced ukes.

We should also take into consideration that this baritone ukulele comes outfitted with a chromatic tuner, a set of replacement strings, and a neat ukulele strap – all of these sum up to some $20 – $25. If we’re to take that out from the equation, this ukulele might even be considered as a bargain.

Pros

  • Awesome sound – Kala’s MK-B Makala sounds very bright and rich, it’s definitely better than most ukuleles in the price range
  • Exquisite materials – Agathis body, mahogany neck, and rosewood fingerboard & bridge
  • Comes outfitted with gratis features – you’ll get a tuner, a set of replacement strings, and a convenient little ukulele strap completely free of charge
  • Looks plain awesome – Saying that Kala’s MK-B Makala is beautiful would be a major understatement

Cons

  • Potential problems with the lowest string – it stands out in terms of sound, but the replacement set of strings should take care of the issue
  • Great for beginners – all of the aforementioned can be regarded as true if you’re a beginner. Veterans and intermediate level players might not like the sound or the playability of this ukulele

Our Verdict

Let’s not beat around the bush – Kala’s MK-B is a wonderful baritone ukulele, and you could say the same by simple taking a look at it. It looks expensive, but it’s actually very affordable and valuable for the buck. Great choice of materials, awesome sound, and outstanding aesthetics are just some of the most notable characteristics of Kala’s MK-B Makala.

4. Caramel CB500

Caramel CB500

Brief Overview and General Specs

This Caramel baritone ukulele is definitely one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. It has a very unique design solution. Atop of its beautiful outlooks are the very playable frets, an all rosewood construction, and the option to be plugged into an amplifier. Simply put, you’ll have a wonderful, unique experience if you opt for Caramel’s CB500.

  • Body: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Rosewood
  • Price: around $100

The first thing that you will notice is that this ukulele doesn’t have a standard soundhole. Instead one, it has 5 mini soundholes. As you’ve probably figured already, soundholes are meant to complement the acoustics and depending on the design of the hole, the sound is different. Having five, the Caramel CB500 offers a distinctive, pristine clear sound you’ll come to love.

The great thing is that Caramel baritone ukulele has a truss rod, which means that you can adjust its neck. This is a very important advantage. By adjusting the neck, you’ll be able to customize the level of playability and intonation to better suit your needs.

The sound is clear and transparent – it sounds as good as it looks! Also, this baritone ukulele is electro-acoustic as it has electronics built in (with a 3-band EQ and a tuner), so you can attach it to the amplifier. Being able to switch between acoustic and electric settings provides a more versatile approach to ukulele playing.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

This is the first electric acoustic ukulele (semi-acoustic) we’re reviewing, and if that’s something you’re after, Caramel’s CB500 will deliver. It has a great outward appearance and doesn’t lag behind in any aspect of performance – it’s very durable, the sound is awesome, and the premium-quality all rosewood construction will make you in love with this ukulele.

What’s more, it doesn’t cost a fortune – it’s one of the most affordable, yet high-quality baritone ukulele models you’ll find, no matter how hard you look.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

Now, let’s focus on the exquisite soundhole design – we already said that there were five of them, right? Four of them are smaller and the biggest one is actually doing the “acoustic isolation” part, but there’s a downfall hidden here. Namely, this kind of soundhole reduces the overall durability of the ukulele.

On the other hand, this is a semi-acoustic ukulele. That means that you can plug it into an amp, but that also means that pure “acoustics” are a bit different than what you’d normally feel with traditional ukuleles. The sound is great, that’s a given, but it’s different, so some people might not like it as much.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Just like our previous pick, Caramel’s CB500 is in the upper bracket of the “affordable” price point category. Even though this is a completely different ukulele, bearing very little semblance to most ukes in this review, it will find much value in practiced, skillful hands. We highly recommend it to intermediate level players who already own an amp (otherwise you’d have to pitch in extra cash for one).

Pros

  • Semi-acoustic ukulele – might be a pro, might be a con, depending on how you look at it, but the option to use this uke with an amp is surely something that catches the eye
  • Exquisite design – Caramel’s CB500 looks absolutely stunning. It’s one of the most unique ukuleles on the market aesthetic wise
  • All rosewood construction – premium quality hand picked wood materials were used in the manufacturing process of this ukulele
  • Does a good bang for the buck – it’s an affordable, highly valuable ukulele

Cons

  • Low overall durability – the specific soundhole design leaves room for structural weaknesses

Our Verdict

Most folks who never played on a semi-acoustic ukulele tend to mix them up with semi-acoustic guitars. The design of the former is usually resembling the latter, true, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try Caramel CB-500 out nevertheless. It’s one of the best entry level semi-acoustic baritone ukuleles available.

5. Caramel CB103

Caramel CB103

Brief Overview and General Specs

This is a very interesting looking baritone ukulele. It has a brighter color compared to the other ukuleles, so it really stands out. What’s more, it comes from the same brand as our last pick – Caramel.

If you liked CB500, we can guarantee that you’re going to love Caramel’s CB103. Just like the former, CB103 is a semi-electric baritone ukulele.

  • Body: Zebrawood
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Neck: Walnut
  • Price: around $100

I was instantly attached to this baritone ukulele due to its beautiful look. The zebrawood is definitely the great solution when it comes to the visual aspect of the instrument. However, it also provides a very good sound.

This is electric-acoustic baritone ukulele, so you can connect it to your amplifier and even play with a band. It has a build in 3-band EQ and a tuner.

Another great thing is that is has a truss rod so if you have any problems with the neck, you can always tighten or loosen the neck. Be mindful, though, that adjusting the neck can lead to warping if you’ve never done it before.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

First of all, the price is absolutely fantastic. Most quality semi acoustic baritone ukuleles cost above $150 or $200, but that’s not the case with Caramel’s CB103. It’s an affordable option for people who are looking for amp-capable baritone ukulele.

Furthermore, we were absolutely staggered by the beautiful outlook of this ukulele. It’s as classy and elegant as can be.

Last, but certainly not least, the zebrawood construction promises a lot in terms of durability. So, it’s not hard to see why this ukulele is a keeper.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

There are just two things we didn’t like about CB103. First, the finish leaves some room for improvement. The neck, being glued to uke’s body, has certain spots that show sloppy workmanship. Secondly, the playability of this ukulele is only decent at best – for the buck, though, it’s pretty great.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Caramel’s CB103 is a wonderful ukulele in the price range of $100. It’s in the same price range as the other Caramel uke in our review (our previous pick), and it packs quite a punch for the cash.

Pros

  • Great hardware – this ukulele remains in tune for quite a while
  • Awesome sound – impeccable strings and an awesome feature outfit are responsible for the great sound of Caramel’s CB103
  • Convenient truss rod – you can use it to easily modify the neck in case it warps
  • Semi-acoustic ukulele – if you have an amp, you can plug your ukulele in

Cons

  • Decent playability for the buck – nothing too special when compared to other ukuleles in our review
  • Sloppy glued pieces – the neck could’ve been glued together to the body in a better way

Our Verdict

All things considered, the CB103 is one of the finest ukuleles in the price range of just under $100. It boasts excellent sound quality, it’s pretty durable, and it looks absolutely fantastic. Even though there are a couple of small flaws in the construction, they are more than compensated for with a plethora of benefits it brings to the table.

6. Santa Rosa BU17 Baritone Ukulele

 

Santa Rosa BU17 Baritone Ukulele

 

Santa Rosa might not be the most famous brand ever, but they have quite a few quality ukuleles in their assortment. For instance, their U2 Soprano uke is both cheap and does a good bang for the buck.

Sadly, one of the biggest reasons why people haven’t heard about this brand is because they specialize in making blueberry, peach, and apricot jams. Regardless, we’ve picked out their BU17 for our review of the best baritone ukulele as it rocks a huge value for the buck despite being cheap.

Brief Overview and General Specs

Generally, Santa Rosa’s BU17 is a beginner’s baritone ukulele. It’s 30-inch large and its playability is pretty high considering the standard in the price range. Both back and sides are made of honey maple while the top is made of Pumpkin Spruce materials. The frets are made of plain metal which is neither a plus or a minus in the equation, and there are several inlaid markers for easier fretting. The neck is decently slim, and you’ll come to love the mahogany fingerboard build. Machine heads stay in tune for quite a while considering this is an entry level ukulele.

  • Body: Honey Maple
  • Fingerboard: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $70

What We Liked About This Ukulele

It’s cheap and looks quite funky – those were our first remarks upon seeing the BU17. The honey maple is a decently uncommon material, providing decent durability. Apart from that, the slim neck profile further improves the already-great playability.

To top it all, this ukulele doesn’t cost much at all. Even though it’s cheap, it provides a mellow sound, and the acoustics are pretty neat overall.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

Even though the sound is pretty decent for a low-budget baritone ukulele, the factory strings of BU17 aren’t anything special. They feel decently gentle under the fingers once strummed, but the playability of this uke would’ve been much higher if you upgrade these strings.

Apart from that, it would be worthwhile to note that this is an all-around ukulele. That means that it doesn’t lack any particular features, it even doesn’t lag behind in any sphere of performance, but sadly, it doesn’t excel in any either.

Price Range and Price Point Category

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Santa Rosa BU17 baritone ukulele is a cheap uke. It belongs to the moderate bracket of the “affordable” price range, but there’s a plethora of reasons why we label it as valuable for the buck.

First and foremost, there are but a few models in the price range that could match its playability. Surely enough, the strings need an upgrade, but with great acoustics and bright sounding tone, this ukulele is absolutely great for any beginner, even intermediate level players.

Pros:

 

  • Outstanding level of playability – superb slim neck design and gentle frets provide an exceptional level of playability
  • Awesome value for the cash – despite being cheap, this uke could easily go toe to toe with more expensive models
  • Durable and sturdy – honey maple and premium quality mahogany materials ensure the longevity of this ukulele

 

 

Cons:

 

  • Bad strings – consider replacing them as soon as possible

 

Conclusion

In all truth, Santa Rosa BU17 is an ideal pick if you’re tight on budget. By spending some $30 to $50 more you’ll be able to find an ukulele which would sound drastically better, but if you want to start practicing without investing too much, this is a perfect pick for you.

7. Hamano U-320B

Hamano U-320B

Brief Overview and General Specs

Hamano baritone ukulele represents a combination of quality and affordable price. As far as cheap goes, it doesn’t get much better than this – Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele is even more affordable than Kala’s MK-B (standalone), but the punchline is that it shouldn’t be regarded as a “cheap” ukulele per se.

Namely, it’s made of high-quality tonewoods (Mahogany and Rosewood for the most part), it comes pre-strung with premium Aquila Nylgut set of strings, and it features a set of gold-plated machine heads. What’s more, you’ll even get a couple of bonus accessories for free.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $80

This baritone ukulele is great for both beginners and more experienced players. It is very playable, has an excellent finish, and decent hardware. Of course, it goes without saying that cheaper ukuleles shouldn’t be compared to more expensive models – this uke is an exception, as it’s capable of going on par with models from the higher price point categories.

The sound is not the best that you will ever hear but it is more than you would expect for this amount of money. The most important thing is that you can clearly hear every note and that there is no buzz. That’s, of course, where the Aquila Nylgut strings come into play – these strings are made by one of the most reputable Italian brands, and you’ll know it’s quality you hear as soon as you start playing.

With this Hamano baritone ukulele, you will also receive a gig bag. This isn’t too much when compared to other bundles we’ve seen – a tuner is always a nice addition, certain brands pitch in an instructional DVD to help beginners out, but that’s not the case here. Regardless, these “flaws” are compensated for with the low price.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

Most people would assume that cheap ukuleles are flimsy and that they would break after a couple of months of usage. The situation with Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele is strikingly different, as it’s made of premium-quality Rosewood and Mahogany woods. It’s durable, it’s sturdy, and you can bet that you’ll play on it for more than a couple of mere months.

To top it all, the affordability of this ukulele is great, considering the quality craftsmanship that comes into play. You’ll find it hard to find a better ukulele for the buck.

Lastly, the hardware is beyond average considering the price. Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele remains in tune for quite a long time, and its playability is excellent, to say the very least.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

Frankly, the sound Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele provides isn’t anything special. It’s not all bad, though, as you’ll still get to hear everything, but it’s very far from being perfect.

Price Range and Price Point Category

The price is definitely one of the best things Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele can offer. It’s exceptionally cheap, and it offers more than you’d bargain for in terms of performance. Surely enough, the sound isn’t great, but the durability and aesthetics of this ukulele are more than enough to compromise.

This is, by far, the cheapest ukulele in our review – it belongs to the medium bracket of the “affordable” price point category, and it does a massive bang for the buck.

Pros

  • Remarkably beautiful – even without the exquisite Satin finish, Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele looks awesome, and that’s a major understatement
  • Huge price to value ratio – even though it’s cheap, the U-320B promises a lot in terms of performance and sports a huge value for the cash
  • Premium hardware – the gold plated machine heads allow Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele to remain in tune for a very long time
  • Complementary gig bag – it’s not much, but it’s completely free of charge. The gratis gig bag aims to help beginners transport the U-320B to gigs, practice sessions, or such.

Cons

  • Sounds mediocre – in all truth, Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele doesn’t sound special. Every strummed note will be heard, though.

Our Verdict

There are several things that Hamano’s U-320B Deluxe baritone ukulele lacks, that’s true – a bonus tuner, perhaps, better strings. On the other hand, there are a lot of things that U-320B brings to the table – it’s very cheap, its playability is good, to say the very least, and it stays in tune longer than most similarly priced ukuleles.

Overall, it’s a great ukulele, especially if you’re new to the whole thing.

8. Hilo Baritone Ukulele

Hilo Baritone Ukulele

Brief Overview and General Specs

All right, all beginners should pay close attention to this one. This is a very affordable and yet playable ukulele. It doesn’t offer much in terms of sound, it might not be the most durable ukulele you’ll play on, but it’s a perfect pick if you never played this instrument before.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $65

So, as you can see, this is an extremely cheap ukulele. Having this in mind, you shouldn’t expect too much from it. In fact, some people would regard it as a “toy ukulele”, as it looks a bit dull, sounds mediocre at best, and it doesn’t offer any special benefits unlike the models we’ve seen so far.

I have tried it out and I can say that it is a pretty decent instrument. It doesn’t have the fullest and brightest sound or the best hardware, but it definitely serves the purpose. Playing on it will certainly help you learn the basics of how ukulele should be played, and the plus side is that you don’t have to pay too much for it.

It has a clear sound without the buzz, the neck is well finished, and the tuners are relatively stable. So, it has everything that a beginner player needs. Intonation is decent, the action is a bit higher than you’d expect from a cheap ukulele, but its playability isn’t an issue, so there’s another plus.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

Amongst the plethora of small imperfections, there are a couple of things that Hilo’s baritone ukulele actually does properly.

First of all, it’s best suited for beginner players. Its high playability and gentle frets won’t feel too hard on your fingers, and you’ll even get to nail down some chords without getting blisters.

Secondly, the intonation of this ukulele is probably its biggest advantage. Most cheap ukuleles fall out of tune easily and fast, but that’s not the case with Hilo’s Baritone ukulele.

Last, but not least, this is an incredibly cheap ukulele. Even though it’s best for beginners, players who need a replacement, or an instrument to practice on without fretting about damaging their main ukulele should definitely consider Hilo’s baritone ukulele.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

Well, first of all, Hilo is an underdog brand. Most people would think “why would I even consider this ukulele when I can get a Kala uke for some $10 – $15 extra?”. That’s, sadly, true – pitching in a couple of bucks more could get you a better ukulele, and even though this model is cheap, it’s price to value ratio isn’t exemplary.

Without going too deep into details, Hilo’s baritone ukulele lags behind in almost every aspect of performance. It’s not as durable as Kala’s MK-B, it doesn’t provide the clear sound of Caramel’s ukes, and it’s certainly not as playable as Makai.

Price Range and Price Point Category

This is the best part of Hilo’s baritone ukulele – it’s as cheap as can be, thus it’s a no brainer if you’re on a tight budget. Hilo’s ukulele belongs to the lower bracket of the “affordable” price point category – this means that you’ll find cheaper ukes only if you consider toys.

Pros

  • One of the cheapest ukuleles ever – Hilo’s baritone ukulele belongs to the lower bracket of the “affordable” price range. The only ukes that boast a higher level of affordability are toy-like ukuleles and low-quality models
  • Great intonation – despite being cheap, this ukulele remains in tune for quite a long time
  • Great playability – gentle frets and strings heavily contribute to the already great playability of Hilo’s ukulele
  • Absolutely ideal for beginners – alternatively, it can be considered as a replacement ukulele if you’re doing gigs

Cons

  • Low durability – it’s flimsy, but that’s only to be expected of cheap ukuleles
  • Dull sound – you’ll get to hear every strummed note, sure, but don’t expect any tone brightness or clearness

Our Verdict

Don’t get the wrong impression – Hilo’s baritone ukulele is pretty great for the money. Even though it doesn’t offer much, its playability and intonation qualities are awesome. Bad sound and low durability, however, should be considered and treated as potential deal breakers.

9. Savannah Baritone Ukulele

Savannah Baritone Ukulele

Brief Overview and General Specs

All right, this one is the absolute champion in the cheap-ukuleles category! It’s a shamefully cheap ukulele that, surprisingly enough, offers a lot for the price. It’s made of white wood and maple for the most part, boasts a decently high level of durability, and its sound isn’t as bad as you’d expect.

  • Body: Whitewood
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Neck: Whitewood
  • Price: around $50

If you are looking for a cheap baritone ukulele, this is the one for you. Of course, you shouldn’t expect too much from it.

I believe that this instrument is good enough for beginners or for the ones of you who are not sure whether you really want to play the ukulele. So, instead of buying an expensive instrument, probably the best idea is to start with this one as it has all of the characteristics of the more expensive ukulele.

The hardware is decent, so if you are careful with it, it can last for a long period of time. Considering the sound – I would advise you to change the strings as the ones on it are not very good.

What We Liked About This Ukulele

Okay, let’s get one thing straight – this ukulele can sound pretty good, it’s just that the factory strings are bad. That being said, Savannah’s baritone ukulele has a huge sound quality potential, though it will sound pretty dull and will buzz on occasion until you upgrade.

On the other hand, it’s best suited for beginners who are looking to score a good quality ukulele for low cash. Being affordable is one thing, but Savannah’s baritone ukulele is practically the best bargain you can hope of getting.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

The strings, for instance, on this baritone ukulele are very bad. It’s not that they sound dull, but they will snap after a month or two.

The overall durability of Savannah’s baritone ukulele isn’t anything special – white wood makes it look okay, to say the least, but it’s not the sturdiest build material ever.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Savannah’s baritone ukulele belongs to the lower bracket of the “affordable” price point category and packs quite a punch for the buck.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginners – Savannah’s baritone ukulele comes with a gratis carry bag, and it’s one of the cheapest ukuleles you’ll find
  • Decently durable body – white wood and maple construction aren’t tough as nails, but they’re decently sturdy to withstand several months of usage
  • Nice hardware – the intonation of this ukulele is pretty great, although it’s far from being perfect
  • Great sound quality potential – if you replace the strings, you’ll find that this ukulele has great acoustics

Cons

  • Awful strings – the factory strings on this ukulele are plain bad

Our Verdict

Objectively speaking, Savannah’s baritone ukulele is good for beginners and beginners only. It’s a decent ukulele for the price, although it doesn’t bring anything special aside of being cheap and sturdy.

10. Luna Tattoo 6-String Baritone Ukulele

Luna Tattoo 6-String Baritone Ukulele

Brief Overview and General Specs

This is the most original baritone ukulele on our list. There are two main reasons why this is the case. First, it looks absolutely ravishing, having the exquisite “tattoo” print on its body. Secondly, it’s made of some of the finest tonewoods.

  • Body: Mahogany with a spruce top.
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Price: around $150

I know that this is not a cheap baritone ukulele, but believe me, the price reflects the quality. First of all, this Luna ukulele has the most beautiful tattoo design on its top. It really looks wonderful and exotic. Needless to say that it is done without any mistakes.

Another thing that surprised me was the number of strings. Unlike the other baritone ukuleles on our list, this one has 6 strings. This means that you can play it like a guitar. Basically, it is a smaller version of the acoustic guitar.

It has chrome hardware so you don’t have to worry about the tuners. If you want to hear how it sounds, check out this video:

What We Liked About This Ukulele

We liked everything about Luna’s Tattoo baritone ukulele. It comes on top above all other models we’ve reviewed in terms of aesthetics, sound, performance, intonation, and playability. Let’s skip the details – if you’re looking for quality, you’ve found the ukulele that’s a schoolbook example of such.

What We Thought Could Be Improved

Basically, the only thing that could come between you and buying this ukulele is the price. It’s a bit more expensive than most people are prepared to pay for – it costs nearly twice as much as most budget options we’ve listed so far.

Price Range and Price Point Category

Luna’s Tattoo baritone ukulele is in the lower bracket of the “expensive” price point category. It does not cost a fortune per se, but most beginners wouldn’t feel too good about paying this much money.

Pros

  • Amazing sound quality – Luna’s Tattoo baritone ukulele offers a distinctive, bright sound
  • Incredibly sturdy –  Mahogany, Spruce, and Rosewood materials were used in the manufacturing process of this ukulele
  • Great value for the buck – it’s hard to find a better sounding, better-looking ukulele

Cons

  • Expensive – the only thing that Luna’s Tattoo doesn’t offer is affordability

Our Verdict

Let’s be frank – if you’re prepared to pay top dollar, you don’t want anything but Luna’s Tattoo baritone ukulele. This is, by far, the best baritone ukulele we’ve used and reviewed, so save up some cash and don’t think twice – get it.

Conclusion

This list contains different kinds of baritone ukulele, so you should take a good look at each one of them and choose the one that suits your preferences and financial situation. We hope you found this rundown useful. Of course, if you have any questions or additional remarks, don’t hesitate to ask. Stay safe and rock on!

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Your GC247 Admin and Content Editor. Use the Contact Form or Comment section if you have any questions or suggestions for me.
 
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