- What Are The Best Baritone Ukuleles Available Today?
- My Top Picks for the Best Baritone Ukuleles of 2023
- Why Do People Prefer Baritone Ukuleles?
The baritone ukulele is the largest member of the uke family and it produces a mellow, delicate, and beautiful sound that is somewhat similar to that of a nylon string guitar.
The combination of its deeper tone and lower tuning configuration make the baritone ukulele such a unique voice in terms of its tonal and timbre characteristics.
Baritone ukes are usually tuned to the same pitch as the first four strings of the guitar, making them a popular choice for guitarists who want to add a new dimension to their sound. Ukuleles are very popular among singer-songwriters and offer a great alternative to other accompanying instruments such as the guitar or the piano.
The baritone ukulele has a scale length of 19/20 inches, thus making it more playable than smaller variants in the ukulele family such as the soprano and the tenor ukulele. Its body is typically made from mahogany, acacia, or koa wood, although other woods are also used as we’ll illustrate later.
If you’re looking for an instrument that will add richness and depth to your sound, then the baritone uke is a perfect choice.
In this article, we will take a look at the best baritone ukuleles available today. Thanks to a detailed overview of each product’s features, building materials, specifications, prices, and tonal characteristics, you will be able to have a clear idea of which instrument is more suited to your needs.
Here is a detailed list of my favourite picks for the best baritone ukuleles on the market.
The Kala KA-BE Mahogany Baritone Ukulele with EQ is a standout instrument from Kala’s flagship Satin Mahogany line. This collection has rightfully earned its reputation as an industry standard.
With a traditional design highlighted by a satin finish and cream binding, it’s as appealing to the eyes as it is to the ears. The ukulele’s specifications encompass a Baritone size and a body crafted from mahogany. It also boasts a Rosewood fingerboard and is strung with Aquila Super Nylgut® strings. It also features UK-300TR electronics, which aid in enhancing its sound output. However, it’s worth noting that the product has a warning for California residents due to potential exposure to Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), which can cause birth defects or other reproductive harm and cancer.
- Part of the renowned Satin Mahogany line which is considered an industry standard.
- Traditional design enhanced by satin finish and cream binding.
- Mahogany top, back, and sides that ensure durability and quality sound.
- Equipped with UK-300TR electronics and Aquila Super Nylgut® strings for enhanced sound output.
- Compatible with all Kala Baritone bags and cases.
This Ukulele is priced at around $219.
Pros & Cons
From our perspective, the Kala KA-BE Mahogany Baritone Ukulele with EQ has considerable advantages. It’s a part of Kala’s flagship collection, known for its top-notch quality. The traditional design with a satin finish gives it a classic appeal. The fact that it’s crafted with a Mahogany body gives it a robust and quality sound. Users can also conveniently carry it using any Kala Baritone bag or case, providing additional mobility.
As for the cons, the main issue comes from its UK-300TR electronics which are not permitted in Australia. This limitation could be a drawback for Australian customers.
Despite these concerns, the overall feedback from the users is overwhelmingly positive. Music enthusiasts, both amateurs and professionals, have given the product an average rating of 5 out of 5. They have praised its stellar sound, durability, and the transition ease it provides for guitarists interested in playing the ukulele.
2. Cordoba 20BM
The Cordoba 20BM is a baritone ukulele constructed with a solid mahogany top, back, sides, and neck. This instrument comes with a natural satin finish and an exquisite herringbone pattern in an all-natural wood inlay rosette. The Cordoba 20BM’s bridge is made of rosewood, as is the fingerboard, while its nut and saddle are made of composite material. With 14 frets to the body and a total of 19 frets, it offers a broad range for musicians. Further features include silver tuners with pearl buttons and Aquila Nylgut strings adding to the overall quality and aesthetics of this ukulele.
- The Cordoba 20BM produces a deep and distinct tone, delivering an experience similar to that of a guitar.
- It comes with a Herco HE-360 Humidifier, ensuring the longevity of the instrument.
- The ukulele’s setup can be customized in terms of stringing for left-handed players and preferences for action.
- Inspection for major defects or faults in construction guarantees a high-quality, fully functional instrument.
- The adjustment of the depth, width, and angle of the nut slots and the addressing of high spots in the fretboard provide a more comfortable playing experience.
The Cordoba 20BM is a price-worthy baritone ukulele considering its solid mahogany top and custom setup. This ukulele is priced at approximately US$199.
Pros & Cons
From our experience with the Cordoba 20BM, we can say that its deep tone is a true delight for musicians seeking a guitar-like depth and color in their ukulele sound. The frets are dressed, leveled, and re-crowned for each setup, enhancing sustain and allowing for low action.
However, it’s worth noting that the standard G C E A tuning doesn’t produce the same sound as the baritone ukulele. Tuning and tension adjustments may be required based on your personal preferences. On the positive side, the unique sound of the baritone ukulele can inspire different compositions, adding an interesting twist to your music creation process.
The Mitchell MUB70S is a distinctive baritone ukulele that sets itself apart from the standard MU70 version. As a concert body type instrument, it accommodates a unique special D-G-B-E tuning, similar to the top four strings of a regular guitar. This 30″ L X 10″ W X 3.1″ D instrument weighs only 2.2 lbs, making it a perfect portable option for music lovers.
- Innovative D-G-B-E tuning, easing the transition for guitarists to ukulele.
- Classic aesthetics with abalone rosette and purfling.
- A stunning mother of pearl mini-dot inlay.
- Every instrument enjoys a comprehensive stateside setup and quality control inspection before delivery, ensuring exceptional playability.
Considering the quality and craftsmanship of the Mitchell MUB70S Baritone Ukulele Natural, it can be expected to provide great value for the price. We have it priced at approximately US$199.
Pros & Cons
From my experience, the Mitchell MUB70S has several notable features that contribute to its high-quality performance and aesthetic appeal. One of the most significant upgrades is its solid spruce top, which greatly enhances both the volume and sustain of the instrument. Adding to its visual allure, the ukulele sports a beautiful beveled edge headstock complete with white binding.
The fretboard is crafted from Indian rosewood, a material revered for its durability as well as its rich tonal qualities. In terms of functionality, the instrument features a compensated saddle to ensure accurate intonation. The neck is constructed from mahogany and is finished with a glossy coat, providing players with a smooth and comfortable playing experience.
Furthermore, the tuning machines are sealed, which serves to enhance tuning stability. However, it’s worth noting that the ukulele has one significant drawback: it lacks a pickup/preamp system, thereby limiting its versatility in scenarios requiring amplification.
The Alvarez RU22B Regent Series Baritone Ukulele is designed to be a beginner-friendly instrument with a beautiful appearance and a warm, full sound. Drawing from Alvarez’s guitar-making expertise, the ukulele aims to provide a satisfying and enjoyable playing experience.
Its construction includes a dovetail neck joint for optimal energy transfer, a design modification on traditional fan style bracing for enhanced response, and high-quality components like seasoned tonewoods, real bone nut and saddles, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, and premium tuners.
The body and top wood of the ukulele are made of mahogany, with the back and sides made of African Mahogany. The ukulele’s natural, satin-finished baritone shape is complemented by a Techwood bridge and fingerboard, and Aquila Nylgut strings.
- Solid “slotted” rosewood bridge for improved projection and easy string changes
- Attractive abalone rosette around the soundhole
- 18 frets on a rosewood fretboard with dot markers
- Real bone nut and saddle for consistent tone
- Good sound projection, sustain, and intonation due to its construction, size, and fan-braced top
- Warm, woody sound, thanks to the mahogany body
Despite its simplicity, the RU22B offers value beyond its affordable price. Its quality construction and components, coupled with its excellent playability and sound, make it a perfect budget-friendly choice for practice or travel. This ukulele is priced at approximately US$109.
Pros & Cons
As with any product, the Alvarez RU22B has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it offers a lot more than what you’d expect from a budget baritone ukulele. The total length of just over 30 inches and a simple, no-frills design make it a commendable instrument. The frets are nicely dressed with no rough patches.
While it doesn’t feature any electronics, it does have good hardware that complements the overall feel and tone. The sound, though not as rich or complex as some other baritone ukuleles, is quite good for its price.
However, if you’re looking for a baritone ukulele with a more complex sound, you might find the sound of the RU22B a bit simple. But considering its affordable price, it gives excellent value for the money.
The Lanikai Acacia Solid Top Baritone A/E Ukulele is a beautifully crafted instrument with a solid Acacia top and Acacia laminate back and sides. This ukulele combines traditional aesthetics with modern features, delivering a unique ukulele experience. It is meticulously designed with adjustable truss rods for optimal neck straightness and playability, and smooth action chrome open back tuners for tuning accuracy.
The comfort of the player is paramount in this design, with a wide nut and comfortable neck profile, plus two Chrome Strap Buttons added for convenience, safety, and comfort. The ukulele also comes with a 20mm Lanikai padded gig bag for ease of transport and a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
- Traditional Ukulele Tone and Look: The Acacia Solid Top and laminate back and sides of this ukulele give it a traditional ukulele tone and look.
- Optimal Projection: The solid Acacia top enhances the tone of the ukulele and increases its projection ability.
- Stage and Recording Ready: This ukulele is equipped with a Fishman® Kula preamp and tuner, making it an ideal instrument for stage or recording.
- Player Comfort: The wider nut and comfortable neck profile ensure that the player stays comfortable during prolonged playing sessions.
- Easy Action Adjustments: The adjustable truss rod allows for easy action adjustments to suit individual playing styles.
- Unique Aesthetics: The ukulele features select figured woods for construction, open back tuners, and wood marquetry for a unique aesthetic appeal.
- Durable and Reliable: The ukulele uses a NuBone XB® nut and saddle, is strung with D’Addario® strings, and comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
The Lanikai Acacia Solid Top Baritone A/E Ukulele is priced at around US$319.
Pros & Cons
Advantages of the Lanikai Acacia Solid Top Baritone A/E Ukulele include its traditional tone and aesthetics, player comfort features, easy action adjustments, unique aesthetics, and durable construction. It’s also ready for stage and recording thanks to the Fishman® Kula preamp and tuner, and it comes with a convenient padded gig bag and a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
The only potential downside we can identify is the lack of user reviews. As this is a relatively new product, we still don’t have feedback from users to provide a comprehensive view of its performance. However, given its features and Lanikai’s reputation for quality, we’re confident that this ukulele is a solid choice for any player.
The Luna High Tide Koa Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele Satin Natural is a unique member of the High Tide Series, a collection of ukuleles inspired by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide. The design is especially captivating, with abalone wave fret markers appearing to “rise” towards the moon symbol at the first fret, an homage to the lunar influence on ocean tides. It’s constructed from laminate exotic mahogany and finished in a smooth satin, and it comes fitted with Grover open gears and Aquila strings. Weighing in at 490g, it’s slightly neck heavy, giving it a distinct feel.
- Deep, warm baritone tone catering to those who prefer a larger ukulele body size
- Aesthetically pleasing with its exotic mahogany body and unique ocean-inspired design
- Easy amplification with onboard preamp
- Comes with Grover open-style tuners for precise tuning
- Includes a protective gig bag
The Luna High Tide Koa Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele Satin Natural is quite reasonably priced at roughly US$349, especially considering its unique design and features.
Pros & Cons
As ukulele enthusiasts, we appreciate several aspects of the Luna High Tide Koa Baritone. It has an eastern mahogany neck, walnut bridge, and fretboard that contribute to a clear tone with decent sustain. It’s also easy to amplify thanks to its onboard preamp. And we can’t overlook the aesthetics; the design inspired by the moon and ocean tides is simply beautiful.
However, there are a few drawbacks that we have noticed. For instance, the ukulele’s setup right out of the box could use some improvements, particularly in terms of the high nut and saddle. The sustain, while decent, could be better to give the notes more life and character. The volume is also not as loud as we would prefer, and it doesn’t project as well as some of its competitors.
Upon close examination, we also found some minor build issues, such as scruffiness in the binding and the walnut fingerboard looking out of place. And while not necessarily a con, it’s worth noting that the nut width might not suit every player.
Despite these minor issues, we believe the Luna High Tide Koa Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele Satin Natural is a solid choice for ukulele aficionados looking for a unique, aesthetically pleasing instrument.
7. Kanilea’a K-1 Series
Kanile’a is a Hawaiian-based company committed to building the highest level of professional ukuleles. For over 24 years, Kanile’a has built stunning instruments while following core values such as tradition, innovation, and sustainability. If your budget allows it, purchasing a Kanile’s baritone ukulele will be the investment of a lifetime.
Like all Kanile’a ukuleles, the K-1 baritone model is handcrafted with top-quality and well-seasoned Koa wood sourced directly in Hawaii. All ukuleles can be customised with your choice of straight grain, curly, and premium curly koa wood.
A solid mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard, bridge, and head plate complete the high-grade design of this baritone uke.
The result is a stunning and elegant instrument with incredible resonance and sustain. Every note sounds detailed, rich, warm, and powerful. The careful attention to delivering perfect intonation makes the Kanile’a K-1 the best-sounding baritone ukulele I have ever played.
- Professional grade baritone ukulele with a stunning look
- Handcrafted in Hawaii
- Built with high-grade and aged koa wood
- Mahogany neck
- Ebony fingerboard, bridge, and headplate
- Chrome geared tuners
- NuBone nut and saddle
- White Mother of Pearls markers and logo
- UV cured finish
- Case included
- Aquila super nylgut strings
Prices for a baritone ukulele K-1 start at $1,795. Extra customizations and features can be added for an additional cost. Pick-up installation starts at $178 for a passive pick-up system.
Kanile’a baritone ukuleles are superior instruments that are specifically built for professionals and serious players. Their features, high-quality koa woods, and stunning sound make them the best ukuleles money can buy. If ukuleles are your passion and first instrument of choice, the Kanile’a baritone uke should be your dream instrument to own.
The Kala KA-BE Mahogany Baritone Ukulele with EQ makes a fantastic choice in terms of affordability and quality. Kala is renowned for crafting instruments with high-quality material and excellent sound projection, perfect for beginners as well as intermediate-level players who want an upgrade. The traditional design combined with cutting-edge features makes this uke hard to resist.
When it comes to acoustic-electric baritone ukuleles, the Luna Uke High Tide Baritone Koa w/Preamp takes the lead. Not only is this instrument crafted using superior materials but its aesthetic appeal adds a unique touch that sets it apart from conventional ukuleles. When plugged in, its awesome sound comes into full bloom.
Lastly, we have the Kanile’a K-1 Series baritone uke which though on the high end of the pricing spectrum is completely worth that investment if ukulele is your passion or profession. Made in Hawaii by expert craftsmen using seasoned koa wood this instrument delivers unparalleled resonance and sustain, making each note played sound rich and powerful.
Why Do People Prefer Baritone Ukuleles?
Baritone ukuleles are the biggest in the ukulele family and, as such, have a quite distinctive sound when compared to the other types. Baritone ukes have a deeper, more powerful, and warmer tone, which suits different styles of music and offers unique musical textures and colourations.
Therefore, these instruments can be used to move away from the tonal characteristics of smaller-sized ukuleles both in live performances and recorded music.
In addition, baritone ukuleles are usually tuned to D-G-B-E, which is the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar. This makes them ideal for guitar players who want to add the sound of the baritone ukulele to their repertoire. If you already play guitar, the switch will be easy and gratifying.
In fact, the similarity of the tuning between the two instruments allows guitar players to transfer their chord and scale knowledge directly into the baritone ukulele. The different timbre, playability, and overall feel will contribute to creating a refreshing experience that will spark their creativity.
Additionally, some players find regular ukuleles, such as soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles, tricky to play due to the limited size of their fret spacing and fingerboard. This makes playing chords and single-note passages a bit clumsy and hindered, especially for players with larger hands. The larger scale of the baritone uke, which sits at around 19-20″, eliminates these problems and fosters easier playability and performance.
Finally, learning the baritone ukulele can be a great choice for people who plan to tackle the guitar at some stage but do not want to deal with the complexities of playing across 6 strings. Moreover, the baritone uke is gentler on the hands due to its smaller scale and lighter nylon strings.
Learning the baritone ukulele will offer them an understanding of the tuning layout, which will transfer to the guitar as well as preparing for the more physical challenges that guitars present.
The most common tuning for the baritone uke is D3-G3-B3-E4. Initially, this may seem overwhelming and discouraging fact for soprano, concert, and tenor ukulele players as they are used to playing in g-C-E-A (by the way, this is what we call a ‘re-entering tuning’ because the pitch of the highest sounding string is located at the top of the instrument rather than the bottom).
They usually conclude that playing the baritone ukulele is out of their reach because the tuning is completely different and therefore means learning everything from scratch. There are many inaccurate resources on the internet that wrongly assume that baritone ukuleles require knowledge of different chord shapes and patterns.
With the aid of some music theory fundamentals, I can guarantee you that the only thing that baritone differs from other ukes is the key it sounds. If you compare the shape of a G major chord in a soprano ukulele to the shape of a D major in a baritone uke, you will see that the two shapes are identical.
The only disadvantage to switching to a baritone ukulele is that you have to transpose songs to a different key, without the fear of throwing away everything you’ve learned along your musical journey.
Baritone ukuleles are great instruments with unique timbre and sonic properties. There is something quite special about their soothing sound and ability to conjure up feelings of joy, calm, and togetherness.
They are versatile and can be used for a wide range of musical genres. They are also relatively easy to play, especially for guitarists who want to add a new sound to their arsenal or for people who are just starting to tackle a musical instrument.
They are light and easy to carry around and make the perfect travelling companion for when you are on the road. Whether you prefer the sound of an acoustic uke or the versatility of an acoustic-electric model, this complete guide will help you make the right decision.
I am sure that you will have fun and enjoy being creative with your new favourite musical toy!