The purpose of this guide is to review some of the best baritone ukuleles currently on the market. The goal is to help you find the best ukulele for your personal needs.
Some of the topics we will be covering include whether or not beginners should play the baritone ukulele, how much a baritone ukulele costs, the best brands, and so much more.
We hope after you read this guide you will have a better understanding of not only what the baritone ukulele is, but whether or not you believe it's the right instrument for you.
Let’s start by sharing what we believe to be the best baritone ukulele currently on the market.
What is the Best Baritone
Why is it our top pick?
There are few baritone ukuleles that can compare to the Kala KA-SA-B. Not only does it look stunning, but the sound it produces is quite amazing. It even feels great to play.
If you are a complete beginner, the best option would no doubt be the Kala KA-B. It can be purchased as a bundle which means you will get everything you need to get started right away.
Another great ukulele for beginners is the Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, this is the ukulele you want.
It produces a great tone and has a beautiful resonant sound.
We will talk more about both of these models, as well as a few more, later on in the guide.
What Is a Baritone Ukulele?
There are four main types of ukuleles you can choose to play. The soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The baritone is the biggest one of them all. It also produces the deepest tone. Hence the name baritone.
The baritone ukulele hasn’t been around as long as some of the other ukuleles. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until the 1940’s that people really started to pay attention to the baritone ukulele.
Historically, baritones are far from being the most popular ukulele. However, in recent years, their fanbase has grown quite large.
This new found popularity is happening for a variety of different reasons. First and foremost is the sound they produce.
The baritone ukulele has a very thick, and full sound. It gives you that low end, big bass sound that you won’t find with other ukuleles.
And while they aren’t as low as a bass guitar, they do have a similar tone to the low strings on a classical guitar.
When most people think of a ukulele, they think of the high sound you get with the soprano. Not the sound you get with the baritone.
For this reason, the baritone ukulele is perfect for anyone looking to be more of a specialist.
One of the first things you have probably noticed about the baritone ukulele is its size. While 29 inches is the standard size, there are some that are larger, and some that are smaller.
There may also be some variation in the shape depending on the size of the ukulele.
Who Is The Baritone Ukulele Best Suited For?
The baritone ukulele has a lot of similarities to the guitar. While other ukuleles are tuned to GCEA, the baritone is usually tuned to DGBE.
If you happen to play the guitar, you will recognize DGBE as the first four strings of the guitar. This makes it easy for guitarists to transition to the baritone.
The chord shapes are exactly the same. The one big difference is the baritone does not have the two lowest strings.
If you have played other ukuleles such as the soprano or tenor, and you wish to follow the GCEA tuning, you may need to change a few strings.
This may be difficult for a newbie, but it's not impossible.
As far as who is the baritone ukulele best suited for, that really boils down to preference.
Do you want the ability to cover more frequencies? The baritone can help you do that. Do you prefer a thicker sound? The baritone provides that.
If you are in a band, the baritone ukulele can act as the rhythm section to ensure the track keeps moving along.
Many jazz players actually prefer the baritone over other instruments because of its rich tone.
Is the baritone ukulele right for you? The only true way to know is to give it a try and see how you like it.
Is The Baritone Ukulele a Good Fit For Beginners?
As a beginner, you can no doubt learn on a baritone ukulele. However, just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Before trying the baritone ukulele, there are a few things you need to understand if you plan to take this route.
The most important thing you need to understand is the tuning factor. If you should decide to move to a concert or tenor ukulele, you will need to know how to revert back to the traditional GCEA tuning.
You will basically be learning the instrument all over again. And while not impossible, it can prove to be a bit of a challenge.
For those with larger hands, you will find the baritone ukulele a lot easier to play. With more room between the frets, you will be able to maneuver around with ease.
Something that’s not possible when playing smaller models such as the soprano or concert ukulele.
Because of the extra room, playing will feel more natural instead of forced.
With the smaller models, it can feel as though you are contorting your fingers to make them hit the right notes.
Trust us, it's not a good feeling. Very uncomfortable to say the least.
So, for the beginners with larger hands, the baritone is a great fit for you.
What Is The Cost Of a Baritone Ukulele?
This question is a bit tricky as the price can vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, the brand, what its made out of, and where you buy it will all play a role in how much you ultimately pay.
For a good quality baritone, you can expect to pay around $500. However, that price is more for someone in the market for a professional baritone.
If you are a beginner just starting out, which is what most of you are, you can easily find a baritone for around $100.
To be completely honest, baritone ukuleles in this price range aren’t always of the best quality. This is the very reason we decided to put together a list of what we believe are the top baritone ukuleles currently on the market.
The idea is to weed out some of the products that aren’t worth your money. We cover a variety of different price ranges to ensure you find one that fits your budget.
What Are The Best Baritone Ukulele Brands?
No matter what type of ukulele you plan on buying, there will always be certain brands that come up over and over again.
Kala is one of those brands. No other brand offers more baritone ukuleles than Kala. Many believe they are an industry leader. Especially since they have such a rich, Hawaiian history.
Their wide product range is perfect for beginners on a budget, as well as for those who perform professionally.
Other popular ukulele brands include Luna and Oscar Schmidt. Oscar Schmidt is an American company that has been around for over 100 years. Besides baritone ukuleles, they also make guitars and autoharps.
What’s interesting about Oscar Schmidt is they started out by selling their products door to door. They have now grown into one of the most well known, and respected brands on the market.
They also produce some of the more impressive baritone models.
When compared to the soprano, concert, and tenor ukulele, there are far fewer baritone ukuleles on the market.
This is in large part due to the fact they are more of a specialty instrument.
With that being said, let’s dive in and review the top 6 baritone ukuleles.
The Top 6 Baritone Ukuleles Reviewed
When it comes to the best baritone ukuleles, we have taken into account every aspect of the buying process.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for the cheapest option that will get the job done, or you want a baritone that produces the best possible sound, one of the ukuleles below will meet your need.
On that note, here are the top 6 best baritone ukuleles.
When it comes to the best baritone ukulele, this one is at the top of the list. Kala is a very popular brand that has been around for almost 20 years.
They have a huge line of products that are guaranteed to get you excited about playing the ukulele.
The Kala KA-SA-B is made using acacia, a type of wood known for the great baritone sound it produces.
The look of it is very similar to Koa, which is the original type of wood used to build ukuleles.
Interestingly enough, the Kala KA-SA-B is made in San Francisco. And the detailing is literally out of this world.
If the look of the instrument is important to you, this is the one you want.
The body and neck are made using a beautiful mahogany grain. The walnut fingerboard is very detailed and tops off the very classy appearance.
And speaking of classy, the sound produced by this baritone is very classy. The rich design of the baritone gives it the ability to produce a very full sound.
When it comes to comfort, the Kala KA-SA-B has a great feel to it. It's not hard to tell you are holding a piece of equipment that was well made.
The 20BM is the first baritone ukulele manufactured by Cordoba. The sound produced by this ukulele is deeper than most baritone ukuleles on the market.
This of course can be perceived as either good or bad. It all depends on personal preference.
Similar to other ukuleles on this list, the 20BM is made using mahogany wood. This gives it a very beautiful wooden pattern.
If you are looking to stay around the $300 mark, this is one of the best baritone ukuleles in that price range.
The rosewood fingerboard, along with the satin finish, make this ukulele very comfortable to play.
If you are familiar with Martin branded guitars, the mahogany wood will remind you of that brand.
If you like to experiment with different tunings, this ukulele can handle that type of pressure. The tonal quality will remain the same no matter what type of tuning you choose to use.
It's not easy to find a solid mahogany baritone ukulele at this price. Cordoba really did a great job designing this ukulele.
The Kala KA-B, which is a variation of the Kala KA-SA-B that we previously reviewed, is probably one of the most popular baritone ukuleles on the market.
And when you look at all it has to offer, it's easy to see why.
One of the things that makes this ukulele so popular is the fact you can purchase it as a bundle.
This means you will not only get the ukulele, but you will also get a case to carry it in, a tuner to keep it tuned, and a DVD to help you get started the right way.
However, it's not just the bundle that makes this ukulele such a great bargain. It's also the fact that it is constructed in such an amazing way.
The entire Kala line is made using Satin Mahogany. This is what gives it that clean, almost, perfect tone.
And though the Kala KA-B is beautifully constructed, it is still rugged enough to stand up to the rigours of constant practice and play.
Overall this is a great ukulele for someone just getting started.
You know those romantic images you see of the ukulele? The Lanikai ACST-B is the epitome of that.
Lanikai is based out of Hawaii and is named after a beach. And while it is not a huge company, they do produce great ukuleles for musicians.
According to the company, they produce real ukuleles, for real musicians. We 100% agree with that sentiment.
When it comes to price, Lanikai ukuleles are not cheap. Because of their price, they may be better suited for professional musicians who perform on stages every night.
The rich tone it produces makes it the perfect solo instrument.
The body of this ukulele is made with acacia. This wood gives the instrument that classic, very traditional baritone sound.
The one word that can best describe this ukulele is mellow. This is because it produces such a sweet tone.
Those who love this model love it because of its bass frequencies. It gives you a much broader sound than you get with other baritone ukuleles.
You can expect to pay around $300 for this particular ukulele. For some this may seem a bit expensive. Especially since it's not made with mahogany wood.
Even still, the build and quality of sound is amazing.
The neck and nut on the ACST-B are quite wide. This is perfect for those who have larger hands, and need a bit more space when fretting.
The fingerboard is also easy to maneuver around which makes it great to play.
We have included two Oscar Schmidt ukuleles on this list, this one is the more affordable option.
As far as looks go, the OU52-A-U is very traditional. It has a mahogany body and an Aloha engraving on the headstock. Doesn’t get any more traditional than that.
When you think of Oscar Schmidt you think of quality. And while many would describe the OU52-A-U as a cheap baritone ukulele, it has plenty of important features for the price.
It is therefore a solid option for both beginners and intermediate players.
The sound produced by the OU52-A-U is very clear, and very crisp. And that is just on the high end. The low end is just as impressive.
While the sound does not rival the more professional ukuleles, it is great for the price. You can pick this ukulele up for less than $150.
It is probably one of the best all around options for those on a budget. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy a great brand without breaking the bank.
It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But it will certainly get the job done.
This is an upgrade from the OU52-A-U, which we just reviewed. When we say it's an upgrade, we are talking about more than just the sound.
It is also an upgrade in terms of price. You can actually expect to pay a bit more for this ukulele. Because of this, the OU57 is geared more towards professional level players.
It's made using both Abalone and Spalted Mango, which makes for a very interesting look. The fretboard is made using rosewood, which is pretty standard on these types of ukuleles.
And thanks to the gloss finish, the OU57 has a very clean and professional look.
While the tuning pegs may fall a little short on the OU52-A-U, they live up to expectations on this model.
The grover machines ensure this ukulele is able to hold its tune for a long time. That means you don’t have to worry about tuning up in the middle of your gig.
While we don’t consider this the best baritone ukulele for under $500, we do think it's a great option for beginners who are looking to upgrade.
How To Keep Your Baritone Ukulele Safe
Before we wrap things up, let’s take a minute to talk about keeping your baritone ukulele safe.
While the baritone ukulele isn’t the most expensive instrument on the market, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect it.
The great thing about smaller ukuleles is they tend to come with a bag. This however isn’t so common with bigger ukuleles such as the baritone.
Some baritone ukuleles do come with a bag, but it's not near as many as with the smaller models. This is in large part due to the size of the baritone ukulele.
Not only is it quite large, but the size is unorthodox.
While having a bag is not a necessity, for most players, it makes a ton of sense.
At some point, especially if you start playing gigs, you will need to take your ukulele out and about with you.
A bag, or some sort of hardshell carrying case, can keep your instrument protected at all times.
This may seem like a pointless piece of advice, but please don’t ignore it. Carrying around a $500 instrument without adequate protection is never a good idea.
What happens when you are traveling and the instrument gets thrown around? Chances are it will end up with a few scratches, or even worse, broken.
This can all be avoided by investing in a decent bag or case. And while you can never guarantee no damage will take place, you can minimize the chances of it happening.
If you are doing a lot of touring, and your ukulele is constantly being thrown in and out of the trunk of cars, having a good case is essential.
Ukulele bags aren’t all that expensive. Investing in one can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run.
Look at them as a form of insurance. You want to make sure you have it just in case something happens.
While we believe the Kala KA-SA-B is one of the best baritone ukuleles on the market, truth be told, it's not for everyone.
Luckily for you there are quite a few great options that you can choose from.
This, despite the fact that the baritone ukulele market is somewhat small. As more and more people start to become interested in the baritone ukulele, the market will only get bigger.
The type of baritone ukulele you invest in will depend on your personal wants and needs. There is no one ukulele that is better than the other. It's all about finding the one that works best for your situation.
So the question is, what’s important to you? Is it price? Tone? Brand? Look?
Deciding on how you want the instrument to look, feel, and sound, will help you make the best possible decision.
The options we have listed in this guide can be used by beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
Please know not all models are suitable for all players. It is therefore your responsibility to spend time researching each model.
Going through the reviews will help you find the ukulele you will be happy with. In some cases you may find you need to spend a little more to get what you want.
By taking that extra step and getting exactly what you want, you will increase your chances of actually sticking with the instrument.
If you are a beginner just trying the baritone ukulele out for the first time, we would recommend you stick with the cheaper options.
Once you decide it is the instrument for you, you can then invest in something a little more expensive.
We hope you have found this guide useful. If you have, please share it on all your favorite social media sites.
Until next time, keep strumming!