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If you’re shopping for a baritone ukulele specifically, it’s probably because you know what you’re looking for.
A baritone ukulele usually measures 30” in length and features a slightly lower tuning compared to a soprano, concert, or tenor ukulele (it’s also bigger). People who love ukuleles generally end up with multiple models.
In this guide, we’d like to look at the best baritone ukuleles for beginners. We’ll also help you narrow down your options and help you find the perfect instrument for you.
Kala KA-SA-B Solid Acacia Series Baritone Ukulele – Satin Natural
The Kala KA-SA-B is a beautiful baritone instrument with a solid acacia body, rosewood fingerboard, and mahogany neck. And the price certainly reflects its construction.
Acacia features curling that’s quite reminiscent of Koa, which is another favorite for ukulele builds. Solid wood ukuleles tend to sound better with age, after they’ve been broken in, and that goes for this baby too.
Reviewers called the KA-SA-B “an amazing instrument” and enjoyed its rich tone, as well as its reasonable price tag.
Some complained of poor workmanship, but they were in the decided minority, and they were speaking specifically of the finish, not the uke itself.
Item weight: 2.55 lbs.
Package dimensions: 4 x 28 x 10.5 inches
Kala KA-SSEBY-B-CE Solid Spruce Top Striped Ebony – Baritone With Cutaway And EQ
The Kala solid spruce top baritone uke comes with striped ebony back and sides, mahogany binding, striped ebony fingerboard, mahogany neck, and a natural satin finish.
This model comes with a venetian cutaway (for easy access to higher frets) and a Fishman Kula preamp. Yes, this is an acoustic-electric model. And we think it could be great for live performance.
Buyers described this uke as a “professional instrument” and liked its setup, mellow tone, and electronics.
Others thought it was about average in the playability department though.
Item weight: 1 lbs.
Package dimensions: 10.63 x 4.33 x 28.35 inches
Kala Natural Ziricote Baritone
This Kala baritone uke features an all-ziricote construction. It comes with a mahogany neck, 18-fret walnut fingerboard, and a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle.
Ziricote is a rich, dark, chocolate brown wood. This has been accentuated by honey blonde sapwood in the middle and along the sides of the instrument. And it was finished in high gloss to make it all pop.
Looks aren’t everything, but it can certainly draw you to a uke.
Overall, customers said they loved the tone of this ukulele, as well as its playability, craftsmanship, and price.
One reviewer had issues with buzzing. Generally, a qualified tech can do a setup for you if you have any issues with playability. And it’s good to remember that if an instrument is being shipped to a locale with different weather than where it originated, wood tends to contract or expand.
Item weight: 2.7 lbs.
Package dimensions: 31 x 12 x 4 inches
Cordoba 24S Spruce Baritone Ukulele, 24 Series
Here’s an entry via a company that’s perhaps more well known for their guitars than their ukuleles. But the Cordoba 24S spruce baritone ukulele is an impressive piece of wood and steel.
The 24 series uke comes with a spalted maple back and sides, solid spruce top, padauk body and fingerboard binding, padauk rosette, mahogany neck, spalted maple headstock veneer, and a satin polyurethane finish.
Reportedly, the unique combination of tonewoods give this instrument a unique tone.
This is a highly rated instruments, though customers did not leave any specific feedback about it.
Item weight: 1.31 lbs.
Package dimensions: 30.5 x 10 x 3 inches
Kala KA-BE Mahogany Baritone Ukulele With EQ
The Kala KA-BE baritone ukulele comes with a mahogany top, back and sides, cream binding, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, Graph Tech NuBone nut and saddle, and a satin finish.
This instrument offers a full-bodied tone and comes with GHS black nylon strings.
Some buyers liked the KA-BE so much that they said it was on par with more expensive offerings via Kala.
Other users cited issues ranging from setup to strings. Setups can be pricey, so it’s not a laughing matter, but strings are replaceable, and shouldn’t factor into a review.
Item weight: 0.106 ounces
Package dimensions: 12.2 x 3.94 x 32.28 inches
Caramel Baritone Electric Ukulele All Solid Mahogany
The Caramel baritone electric ukulele features an all-mahogany construction, preamp with built-in tuner and LCD color display, adjustable truss rod, and Aquila strings.
The beginner-friendly bundle comes with an extra set of strings, gig bag, three guitar picks, cleaning cloth, wall hanger, strap with pegs, two bridge pins, metal nail drawer, instrument cable, and instructions (manual).
Though affordable, this is not a bargain basement product. Caramel has managed to strike the perfect balance between price and quality.
Customers said they liked the finish, built-in tuner, tone, and playability.
Others seemed to have issues with delivery but didn’t have any problems with the instrument specifically.
Item weight: 5.34 lbs.
Package dimensions: 32.75 x 13.8 x 5.5 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U 4-String Baritone Ukulele
As with Cordoba, Oscar Schmidt is another brand that is perhaps more well known for their guitars than their ukes.
But here we have the Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U four-string baritone ukulele, which comes with a mahogany top, back and sides, chrome die cast tuners, and a satin finish.
The OU52 features a laser-etched traditional Hawaiian design. It’s also quite affordable overall.
Most buyers thought it was a great instrument for the price, though some apparently had issues with buzz.
Item weight: 1 lbs.
Package dimensions: 24 x 2.75 x 8 inches
MUSOO All Blackwood Baritone Acoustic Electric Ukulele
The MUSOO all blackwood baritone acoustic-electric ukulele has styling like an Ovation guitar.
It features an all-blackwood construction, and it also comes with a preamp, truss rod, rosewood bridge, and a walnut fingerboard.
Some reviewers thought this instrument was simply unbelievable. They enjoyed the finish, sound, and built-in tuner.
Opinions are somewhat split on this though, with some users finding it hard to keep it in tune.
Item weight: 4.09 lbs.
Package dimensions: 33.6 x 14 x 5.25 inches
Makala MK-B Baritone Mahogany Ukulele
Makala is owned by Kala. The main difference between the two, is that Makala makes more affordable, beginner-oriented instruments.
The budget-friendly Makala MK-B baritone entry-level uke features a walnut fingerboard and bridge, mahogany neck, brass frets, and Aquila Super Nylgut strings.
Most buyers rave about this uke, with some calling it their lovechild(!). They liked its quality, value, and playability.
Some, however, had issues with tuning, frets, and buzz.
Item weight: 15.9 ounces
Package dimensions: 30.56 x 10.31 x 3.2 inches
Kmise Baritone Mahogany Ukulele
Here’s one more budget-friendly option for those who are interested in getting started but may not be willing to make a big financial commitment just yet.
The Kmise baritone mahogany ukulele comes with mahogany top, back and sides, Aquila strings, and a satin finish.
The bundle includes a tuner, gig bag, strap, booklet, and five picks.
Many buyers were impressed with the quality of this instrument, and thought it was a great entry-level instrument.
Many reviewers also thought it would be a good idea to replace the strings for optimal performance though.
Item weight: 3.79 lbs.
Package dimensions: 30.8 x 13.2 x 4.3 inches
What Should I Look For In A Baritone Ukulele?
The perfect baritone ukulele is one that sounds good, plays well, feels good, and looks good.
Even so, that’s not going to look the same for everyone.
For instance, someone with more experience might have more discerning tastes when it comes to the instruments they buy. A beginner might feel good about a middle of the road instrument, or even a budget friendly one.
And so, the right instrument for you is personal. We can’t tell you which one that is. But we can equip you with the knowledge necessary to find a uke you’ll enjoy.
When buying a baritone ukulele, it’s worth exploring several factors.
The main criteria considered here are:
Let’s get into each.
The sound of the instrument is obviously important, and depending on how you’re using the instrument, some would even say it comes before all other criteria.
The sound of the instrument is mostly determined by the materials it has been made of, as well as the manufacturing process.
Whether the materials make a big difference is a point of great contention and speculation. One thing we do know for sure is that higher quality materials do feel and look different than lower quality ones.
And when it comes to manufacturing processes, there are so many ways to go about the construction of the instrument, whether it’s handmade or mass-produced in a factory, how the wood was treated, how the instrument is finished and so on.
Anything that touches the instrument affects its tone, and that includes strings. People sometimes forget to look at their strings when they’re thinking about tone, but this is an area worthy of exploration if you’re not happy with how your uke sounds.
And, of course, there’s no denying that tone is also in the fingers of the player. I did not believe this for myself until I studied how Eddie Van Halen played the guitar, and when I started to copy his aggression, I was finally able to achieve similar tone.
The most reliable way to figure out whether you like the tone of an instrument is to play it yourself. The second-best way is to check online demos and reviews. If you’re concerned about tone, then it’s certainly worth doing your homework.
Most instruments should come ready to play out of the box. This isn’t to say they might not need a quick tune up or even setup, but there shouldn’t be any major issues with our kit upon arriving at your door.
If there are any major issues you notice, such as fret buzz, or anything to do with string action, then it’s probably a good idea to take your ukulele to a tech to have it set up.
Beyond the neck, fretboard, and strings, another factor affecting the playability of the instrument is the body and its size. I explore this in a little more detail below (see the heading for “Comfort”).
Again, the best way to figure out whether you like how a uke plays is to play it yourself. And the second-best way is to turn to demos and reviews.
As noted, most brands care about their reputation and will try to make sure you have the best experience possible. But even here, not all instruments are created equal. And that’s a good thing to keep in mind.
Most baritone ukuleles measure 30” in length. It should be a comfortable size for most, but if you need smaller, soprano and concert instruments might be better options. You won’t be buying a baritone to play easy ukulele songs.
That said, each instrument will probably feel a little differently in your hands. There are no one size fits all solutions, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.
In an ideal world, you would try out all instruments before deciding on one. If that’s not an option, then it’s best to depend on online demos and reviews.
If you’re a complete beginner, then do keep in mind that all instruments feel a little awkward at first. It can take a while for you to get acquainted with any instrument. So, be patient and take your time.
Do you need electronics?
Several ukes on our list come with built-in electronics and even tuners. This can come in especially handy since tuning is a frequent requirement of any stringed instrument.
So far as preamps are concerned if you plan to plug your ukulele into a sound system or amplifier, it would be a good idea to buy an instrument with built-in electronics.
As well, if you’re planning to perform with your ukulele, or take it to an open mic, you’ll probably like having the option.
Electronics are not a requirement, and not everyone wants or needs them, regardless of where or how they use their instrument. That said, it’s still a good factor to keep in mind while shopping for the right instrument.
Ready to buy a ukulele? So, what’s your budget?
Do you have a little bit to spend, or is your budget virtually unlimited?
Ukuleles featured above cost somewhere in the range of $70 to $420. They’re not priced to break the bank, but several hundred dollars can still be a lot to some.
Use your budget, first and foremost, to whittle down your options. Buy something that’s within your spending limit.
Beyond that, we always advise against going into debt. If you want to buy a better-quality instrument, be sure to save up for it.
What Types Of Ukuleles Are There?
Many musicians love their baritone ukuleles. That said, it has probably come to your attention that there are many other types of ukuleles.
These ukuleles differ in size and tend to feature different tunings. Some ukes also come with electronics, making them “acoustic-electric ukuleles,” though we would not consider these a category all their own.
The main types of ukuleles are as follows:
- Sopranino. A 12” ukulele that sometimes features a “pineapple” shaped body.
- Soprano. The second smallest ukulele at 21” with a standard tuning of G-C-E-A.
- Concert. The third smallest ukulele at 23” with a standard tuning.
- Tenor. Just like a soprano or concert ukulele, except that it’s around 30” in length.
- Baritone. The baritone is also 30” in length, but tends to be a little broader than a tenor. It also has a deeper tuning: D-G-B-E.
- Bass. Features the tuning of a bass guitar (E-A-D-G) and the body of a baritone.
- Guitalele. A six-string ukulele or quarter-size guitar that’s a cross between a classical guitar and a baritone uke.
- Banjolele. Features a small banjo style body and a fretted ukulele neck.
Most ukuleles are quite small and are good choices for those with small hands.
A baritone is a nice “in-between” option, as it measures 30” in length. But do keep in mind that its tuning is lower than standard. This doesn’t change the way you play the instrument necessarily, but it does mean whatever you play is by default in a lower key.
What Are The Best Baritone Ukulele Brands?
The following baritone ukulele brands are some of the most well-known. That said, this list should not be considered comprehensive, as there are many manufacturers that make ukuleles, from beginner all the way to advanced.
Kala specializes in quality ukuleles, and it’s what they are most known for. But they also make guitars, percussion, accessories, parts, apparel, and more.
For the most part, Kala is a reputable, reliable brand. As with any brand, though, there is the occasional miss.
Kala also owns Makala.
Cordoba (or Cordoba Guitars) makes both guitars and ukuleles, and their artist roster includes the likes of Vahagni, Jose Gonzalez, Emma Ruth Rundle, Dave Martone, Bruskers Guitar Duo, and others.
Caramel (or Caramel Ukulele) makes moderately priced beginner to intermediate ukuleles. What’s great about them is that you can find just about any model of ukulele you’re looking for – acoustic or acoustic-electric, solid top or laminated. They have ukuleles of all sizes (baritone, tenor, etc.) made with different top materials (zebrawood, spruce, rosewood, etc.) and more.
Oscar Schmidt (by Washburn) is certainly more known for their guitars than ukuleles. That said, they do make autoharps, banjos, basses, electric guitars, and mandolins too.
At times, they might fall under the radar, but Oscar Schmidt is another brand worth looking to when shopping for a ukulele.
Top Baritone Ukuleles For Beginners, Final Thoughts
Finding the right instrument is personal. The process can look a little different for everyone, and the instrument you end up with might not be what someone else ends up with.
Sometimes, shopping for a uke can require a little stamina. You’ll do your research, you’ll try a bunch of instruments, and even after all that, you might not arrive at a buying decision immediately. It’s okay –take your time. When all is said and done and you’re playing your favorite ukulele songs, it’ll all have been worth it.
This guide contains everything you need to make your decision. Happy shopping!