You look through the shop window. Is it a guitar? Looks like a guitar. Too small to be a guitar. Oh no, it’s only got four strings. Must be a bass. Bit small for a bass. You go to investigate further and find yourself looking at a ukulele.
Funny name, originally from Hawaii. The literal translation into English is ‘jumping flea.’
It was introduced into the islands by Portuguese immigrants in the 1800s as a variant of their ‘machete’ which was a small instrument like a guitar rather than an implement for chopping things up.
It is an instrument taken very seriously by some, but not by others…
In the US and of course, Hawaii, there are ukulele orchestras, and it is very much recognized as an instrument. Coming into its own in the Jazz age in the 1920s.
Small, light, and easy to carry with skills required similar to the guitar, it became a popular choice in some circles. It has its place in the music world.
In the UK, not the same…
A British comedian and singer, George Formby played one and became famous for its use. Because he made jokes and innuendo in his songs and loose references to the instrument, it became a kind of joke instrument and to a certain extent, though not in all circles, still is today,
The irony of it is that Formby’s instrument wasn’t actually a ukulele at all.
Another British ukulele player was Tessie O’Shea. She was on the bill on the Ed Sullivan show, playing one on the night the Beatles conquered America.
It was also the first instrument that Steve Marriott, of the Small Faces and Humble Pie, learned to play after his dad bought him one, following a successful weekend selling jellied eels (don’t ask !), outside the Ruskin Arms Pub in Manor Park, East London.
Aging British rocker, Joe Brown, features one in his act to this day. And, closed the memorial concert for George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall playing it.
As an instrument, it has quite a history…
Please forgive the statement, obvious to some, that a Baritone Ukulele is usually tuned D-G-B-E. This is not always the case, and a different tuning will require a string change for most instruments.
The reason we include that is because we know someone with a baritone ukulele, who tried to tune it E-A-D-G when it was a D-G-B-E version.
It doesn’t work, believe us…
There are four sizes, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone and we are going to have a look at the latter to find the Best Baritone Ukulele for you…
Top 10 Best Baritone Ukuleles In 2020 Reviews
1 Kala Ka-B Mahogany Baritone Ukulele
This is part of Kala’s Satin Mahogany series of ukulele’s. And, if you’re looking to buy a mid-range ukulele, you can’t really go wrong with Kala. They make good instruments at good prices. It offers nothing fancy in its styling and might be considered a little bland. But, it has a certain traditional feel to it.
Not surprisingly the body is made from laminated mahogany with a satin finish. It has a nice white edging. The neck is also mahogany but with a walnut fingerboard. It has a total length of 30 inches with 18 frets on the fingerboard. It’s a comfortable neck to play with quite a low action which we found surprising.
String spacing is adequately proportioned and will; therefore, suit guitar players moving over.
Well made and solid…
It’s not what you might call a stunning instrument, but it is well made and quite solid. Likewise, with the hardware fittings, nothing fancy just there to do the job. And, because it will be played using nylon strings, the tuners need to be of good quality. And there are sealed die-cast chrome tuners fitted.
The bridge is made of Walnut, and the nut and saddle are made of GraphTech’s nubone.
Better than you might imagine it to be…
For a ukulele manufactured by a company that sits in the middle of the price range for these instruments, it has a nice sound and may be better than you might imagine it to be.
It’s quite mellow. And the mahogany construction gives off a warm feeling, whilst also projecting the sound very well, from what is a small body frame.
A nice instrument that plays well.
2 Luna Guitars Luna Uke Vintage Mahogany Baritone
Luna is well-known in the ukulele world and produces some quality instruments. Their product range is sizeable, and there are variations for all four types of ukulele. They also provide product in various price ranges.
The vintage mahogany baritone is made, as you might guess from mahogany. That is to say, the back and sides and the top, are all made from this quality wood. Finished in Red Satin, it has a simple decor around the sound hole tastefully applied. It has a flat top.
Mahogany is a favorite wood for ukulele manufacturers because it is naturally warm sounding. The size of the body of these instruments means they need all the help they can get to project sound and mahogany does that.
They are not trying to be guitars, but it is still nice to have a rich, warm sound if you can achieve it. The neck is also mahogany and has a scale length of 19 inches with 16 frets. It is a nice comfortable ‘C’ shape, which is comfortable in the hand and easy to play.
The fretboard is walnut and has pearl dot inlays. While the strings have a nice spacing. The bridge is also made of Walnut, and it has plastic imitation bone nut and saddle. The tuners are open gear, with a chrome finish.
Very easy to play, with a nice sound…
It is a nice looking ukulele and as beginners, model to introduce someone to the instrument a great choice. Very easy to play, with a nice sound with a good neck and fingerboard. The fittings are all quality and the woods used are exceptional, and for the price, this represents a good buy.
3 Kala Ka-Bg Mahogany Baritone Ukulele, Natural
Another baritone ukulele from Kala but this one with a slight difference in construction.
As is common with these instruments the back and sides are made from mahogany, delivering that warm, balanced tone we are used to, but instead of applying a mahogany top, they have finished it off with a spruce top.
This is interesting because the mahogany top instruments that Kala and others produce give off a very warm sound, with their all mahogany construction. Having a Spruce top alters the sound somewhat.
Quite pronounced to our ears…
Suddenly you have a ukulele with a bit of top end that is quite pronounced to our ears. Yes, it still has the ‘mahogany warmth,’ but over the top, there is now a bright tone. It is quite ear catching and maybe not what you might expect, but it certainly gives this instrument a different sound.
Having the Spruce top, that gives you a little bit of treble, also seems to increase the volume of the instrument. And, will certainly let you be heard in a group format.
The body is finished with a nice white binding covering the body edges. The actual finished product is very attractive, and the gloss finish accentuates the grain in the mahogany.
The Neck is made from mahogany with a walnut fingerboard with inlay dots. It is a comfortable ‘C’ shape for ease of playing. On the hardware side, there is a walnut bridge and some good quality die-cast sealed tuners and nickel silver frets.
It is a good instrument, attractive and well-made, and at a very realistic price.
4 Alvarez Ru22b Regent Series Ukulele, Natural/Satin
Alvarez has produced this ukulele as part of the Regent series of instruments, very much designed for the beginner at a budget price. That is not to say it is a cheap instrument.
It is impressive, as we shall see…
The body is made from laminated mahogany with a nice satin finish. Nothing fancy, very traditional shape with no cutaway, just a nice decor around the soundhole. They have even opted to exclude any edge binding, but it doesn’t seem to matter; it still looks nice enough. At a length of thirty inches its all quite standard stuff.
The neck is also mahogany with 18 frets of which 14 can be played easily. It has a rosewood fretboard, which is a nice addition with dot markers. And, the neck is jointed to the body.
Very playable with a comfortable feel…
Again, nothing fancy in its makeup, but we have to say it is very playable with a comfortable feel on the neck. The standard of workmanship is good, and there appear to be no construction or assembly problems.
There are a few surprises, though, for a budget instrument. We have already seen the inclusion of a rosewood fingerboard, and here comes another. It has a real bone saddle and nut, which really is a great addition. The saddle sits on a rosewood bridge.
This is really quite impressive for a budget instrument…
At the headstock, there are chrome closed gear tuners that have nice black buttons. These are, of course, very important, as with nylon strings the tuners become a vital part of the instrument.
The mahogany gives it a warm sound, and whilst it must be said it is not as resonant as some more expensive instruments, it still has a nice tone.
Certainly a very good starter instrument, it is well built, plays easily and sounds nice. It also carries a price tag that says you can’t go far wrong.
5 Caramel Cb500 30 Inch All Rosewood Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
If you know your ukulele’s, then the brand name Caramel will be no stranger to you. They boast a large catalog of ukuleles in all four sizes and styles. But, this ukulele is a little different to the traditional kind, so let’s have a look.
It has a 30-inch body with no cutaway. And, has its back, sides, and top made from a Rosewood laminate, finished in a satin style, that gives it a nice attractive glow. It has a nice binding which gives it a certain style.
But, no traditional soundhole where it is supposed to be. Instead, there is what we could describe as a series of smaller sound holes grouped together at the top of the body.
They are given a real feeling of style because they are made of mixed woods, with varying colors that it has to be said, are really nice. This is not supposed to be a top of the range model, but already it is showing some really nice features, that set it apart.
The neck has a Rosewood fretboard with the standard 18 frets with dot markers and features a truss rod. At the headstock, it comes with chromed sealed tuners with black keys. Another little surprise in store from this ukulele is that it a real bone nut and saddle. Not something you see very often on budget instruments.
The saddle sits on a rosewood bridge.
And, on top of all that…
The Caramel CB500 is acoustic-electric!
Before you get too excited, it is quite basic, but nevertheless, the preamp does have a 3 band EQ for bass, middle and treble, a volume and a nice final touch – a built-in digital tuner.
Amplified it sounds ok, and with the controls, you can play around with the sound, but unplugged, it is a lovely instrument with warm, resonant sounds.
Well made, and attractive, for the money a really great buy.
Made in China.
6 Kala Mk-B Makala Baritone Ukulele
Kala has come up with a nice package for anyone wishing to buy a ukulele either for themselves or as a present for someone. It includes a clip-on tuner, teaching DVD, a cloth to clean your instrument, and best of all, a hard case. A good idea Kala with a brilliant price tag.
So, let’s have a look at the instrument…
It has a very traditional build with a mahogany back and sides and a mahogany top — all good woods for a warm and resonant sound. And of course, for creating a nice look. No cutaway retains the traditional feel.
There is no binding on the edges, but it doesn’t seem to be missed. The wood is a nice shade, with an attractive grain, and is all fitted together very well, so you hardly notice it isn’t there. The mahogany wood is given a satin finish that highlights the grain.
Very traditional, sometimes you just need that…
The neck is mahogany with a walnut fingerboard and dot markers. Nothing elaborate in style and design but just very traditional. Sometimes you just need that.
Featuring the standard 18 frets with 14 easily reachable. It also has chrome plated open gear tuners with white plastic keys. While the bridge is walnut and it has a plastic nut and saddle.
Easy and comfortable to play…
All very basic and they have tried to produce an instrument of decent quality but within certain constraints. They have achieved this in our view.
The sound is nicely generated by the mahogany, and it is easy and comfortable to play. Plus, it is well built, and with all the extras, it represents great value for a first-time buyer.
7 Makala Baritone Mahogany Ukulele By Kala
If you are looking to buy a first ukulele either as a present or for your own use, then this instrument may be what you are looking for. It is basic, but it is made by a well-known company in the ukulele world, and it won’t break the bank.
What you get from Kala are quality materials, a well-constructed instrument, and a nice sound.
So, let’s take a closer look at this model…
The MK-B, as Kala calls it, is a traditional instrument with little in the way of any flamboyant features. But, if this is a starter ukulele, then those things are not important. What is important is that it is well made, easy to play, and sounds nice.
It has a mahogany back and sides and top. This wood is widely used by manufacturers of all string instruments, because of the warm sound it generates, and because it matures with age. This means it will only get better, sound-wise, as it gets older.
Fashioned for ease of use…
It is the standard 30-inch length with 18 frets. And also looks very nice and the satin finish applied allows the grain of the wood to stand out. The neck is also mahogany and has a walnut fingerboard with dot markers. The neck itself has been fashioned for ease of use to suit newcomers to the instrument.
At the headstock, it has open geared tuners with white caps and a plastic nut. And, the bridge is made from walnut with a plastic saddle.
A typically warm mahogany-type sound…
Sound wise it is a nice instrument with a typically warm mahogany-type sound. As a starter instrument, you will go a long way to find a better crafted sounding instrument for the money.
Kala makes good ukuleles at competitive prices, it’s what they do, and this is one of them.
8 Kmise Baritone Ukulele
“And now for something completely different,” as a bunch of loony Brits once said, and still do occasionally.
A baritone ukulele that does not tune to D-G-B-E.
Be warned, it doesn’t, although to be fair, if you buy a set of strings for a baritone ukulele, they will then allow that tuning, but Kmise has chosen not to follow that path. This instrument is tuned G-C-E-A.
Ok, tuning out the way, let’s have a look at the instrument…
In the body build, it stays traditional, with its mahogany back and sides and a mahogany top. It is neatly and well put together but hasn’t got a binding. And, it doesn’t seem to miss it, as the quality of the wood is very good.
It’s given a satin finish to highlight the grain and has an abalone inlay around the soundhole, which is a nice feature. The full ukelele measures the standard thirty inches. The neck is made from Okoume with a Rosewood fingerboard.
It has twenty frets, rather than the usual eighteen, but only fourteen are easily usable as per normal.
Dot markers… EVERYWHERE!
Now please correct us if we are wrong, but this instrument has dot markers on the fingerboard. Nothing unusual about that. But, it also has them on the top edge of the fingerboard. We have not seen that before on a ukulele, but to us, that is an important aspect of playing this instrument.
The bridge is rosewood and the saddle and nut real ox bone, another nice touch. And, to complete the hardware, it has sealed chrome tuners.
Neatly made and attractive…
It is a good ukulele this model. Neatly made and attractive, it plays well and is well worth the price tag. The tuning is confusing, but it does offer an option if nothing else. Therefore, well worth a look!
9 Lanikai Ukulele
Lanikai is a company from Hawaii and is well-known in the ukulele world for building quality instruments. The company taking its name after a beach on one of the Hawaiian islands. They pride themselves on manufacturing ukuleles that are used around the world in studios and on stages.
They might not be as large a company as some of the others, but nevertheless, produce a quality instrument. And musicians have come to rely on them to produce good quality instruments.
So, let’s take a look at this instrument…
As is very much the norm, the back and sides are built from mahogany as is the top. We don’t need to spend too much time discussing the quality of mahogany for stringed instruments. But, it is especially suitable for the ukulele, where the sound generated is very unique compared with other stringed instruments.
It is given a satin finish that accentuates the grain of the wood. It also has some other nice features. A NuBone XB nut and saddle are included. These are both known to give great sustain to instruments and are a good addition. Up at the headstock are chrome open-backed tuners.
The wide and comfortable neck allows ease of playing action right up to the fingerboard. It has dot markers.
The thing that strikes you immediately is the quality of the build and the materials used. Without very much added assistance, they look the part.
Very clear and smooth…
The sound is warm and quieter than most, but with a very gentle aspect that is very clear and smooth. It is a nice instrument. Not the cheapest by any means, but a quality buy for those who want to spend a little more money.
10 Cordoba 20bm Baritone Ukulele
Let us clear up a little bit of confusion about Cordoba before we start.
Despite its very Spanish sounding name, Cordoba is these days a US company. Some instruments, the higher end guitars, are made in Valencia, Spain, but the majority of others and all the ukuleles are made in China.
Ok, so on to this model, a new product for Cordoba which is exceptional…
It features which is almost standard with ukuleles – a mahogany top, back, and sides. And, has a stylish rosette feature in natural woods fitted expertly around the sound hole while it has been given a satin finish, that brings out the best in the grain of the wood.
The neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard with 19 frets, 14 to the body. Pearl inlay dot markers are added. Featuring a rosewood bridge with a composite saddle and likewise, the nut is also composite. There are die-cast open back tuners with attractive pearl keys.
The sound is warm and sweet…
This, we believe, is Cordoba’s first attempt at a baritone ukulele, and we have to say they have made a good job of it. They have used quality woods, and therefore, the sound is warm and sweet, and it has a gorgeous sustain.
It plays nicely, and with the strings being spaced a bit wider than the usual, is very easy to play if you are coming from the guitar.
Looks to die for!
Above all these things, which are obviously important, is the look of the instrument – which is outstanding! Well made, with no flaws, it has a real style to it.
Not the cheapest, but a quality instrument.
So, It’s Time To Buy One Of The Best Baritone Ukuleles…
They are interesting instruments. In fact, more than that, they are great little instruments. Easy to learn with some guitar technique, which will transfer to the ukulele.
They are easy to carry around, fun to have, and very affordable. And, most songs seem to be able to work on the ukulele.
What Is There Not To Like?
Of course, they are not just a fun instrument; they are serious instruments but in a certain environment. Maybe we can all picture a sing-song around a campfire at night or sitting on a beach somewhere strumming away.
But, there are ukulele orchestras where serious music is played.
They have featured on hit records by well-known artists. Fearless (Taylor Swift) and Ram On (Paul McCartney) are two that come to mind.
They are an important part of our music culture, past, present, and future.
Is It For You Or A Present?
If you are buying for yourself or as a present, maybe for a beginner, there were quite a few to choose from on the list we reviewed. There are some very good instruments at amazing prices covered in this review.
The materials used are all about the same, so it’s really all about how it sounds, and how comfortable it is to play.
Plus, there were one or two with some interesting options — one with a preamp and pickup, another with a Spruce rather than traditional Mahogany top.
There are definitely some choices.