So what exactly is a bass ukulele? Well, if you want to oversimplify it, it’s a bass guitar, either solid body or hollow body, that is small and looks like a ukulele. Perhaps that is oversimplifying it a little, but essentially that is what it is.
The hollow body sounds similar to upright bass and the solid body more akin to an electric bass guitar. The latter, of course, comes with a built-in pickup.
Bass ukulele tuning is E-A-D-G, the same as bass and can use either wound or polyurethane strings though the wounds are not so popular. You can even get fretless versions.
So, let’s take a journey to find the best bass ukulele for you…
Top 10 Best Bass Ukulele For The Money 2020 Reviews
1 Hadean Acoustic-Electric Bass Ukulele
Probably not the first name you will think of when thinking ukulele but they are a company that makes a quality instrument at a competitive price.
The body is made from walnut instead of the more usual Koa. This in itself sets this instrument different from the competition as the sound of the walnut will generate a warmth not produced by some other woods. It will also give it a different look to other instruments.
It is very tastefully made, and it is clear from the design and the materials used, that they wanted to make this bass ukulele as attractive as possible. To complement the walnut wood and its eye-catching grain, there is a nice white and black binding and further decoration around the soundhole.
It has a rosewood neck with a truss rod with very ordinary inlays. When you pick up this instrument, it feels substantial, which indicates it is well made with good materials.
With the hardware, they have stayed with rather standard fittings. A rosewood bridge with four individual saddles and at the headstock four die-cast tuners. Not glamorous or particularly expensive looking but they do the job required to tune the instrument and keep it there.
So, what’s it sound like?
It is well-equipped electrically. It comes with a preamp with treble, bass and mid and volume control, a tuner and a three band EQ. Quite a little package.
Unplugged the sound is driven by the walnut body and has a sharp toppy sound, which is nice. The volume is adequate and does project, which is surprising because it is quite a small body to be discussing sound projection.
Plugged in it is fun and the EQ allows you to shape a bit of sound. Watch out for a bit of feedback, though if you get carried away.
At just 30 inches long and weighing just four pounds, it is easy to move around.
A great little bass ukulele at an excellent price.
- Well made with good materials.
- Attractive looking.
- Nice electrics with tuner and EQ.
2 Kala UBASS-EBY-FL Striped Ebony Fretless U-Bass Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
This Fretless ukulele bass has been around for a while, since about 2008, we believe. And we are not surprised that it is still popular and still selling as a very good instrument.
When Kala designed and manufactured this bass ukulele, they really wanted to make sure they were going to make the best sounding instrument they could and ensured the quality of the materials used would guarantee that.
The best of both worlds…
They have drawn their ideas from the big guitar manufacturers. The body has a mahogany back and sides, giving a deep resonance to the bottom end, but then they place an ebony top into the mix which gives it a nice top edge. The best of both worlds if you like.
There is some attractive white edging and decor around the sound hole. While the neck is also mahogany with a walnut fretboard with inlay dots. The neck has a twenty-one-inch scale. It has a walnut bridge with separate saddles for each string, Up at the top end custom die-cast tuners and Kala inlays.
The electric controls are positioned on the top edge but not usually where they might be placed. On this, they are placed near where your elbow might be. Not really so sure that’s a good idea? It has an active EQ and a tuner.
But it sounds really good. Fretless, of course, have a sound that is unique, and this does not let the side down for its overall quality. For such a small body, comparatively speaking, it produces a huge bottom end and will impress.
The sound is well-balanced and even across the strings but is the low notes that make this instrument special for ukulele players.
There will always be a bit of a struggle to keep bass ukuleles in tune, but this wasn’t so bad, and the tuners do their job.
I don’t suppose Jeff Ament will be rushing out to buy one, but it’s a great instrument if a little on the pricey side.
- Fretless design.
- Good materials and quality construction.
- Good fittings and electrics.
- The price will make people think twice.
3 Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series Bass Ukulele
Better known for their acoustic guitar manufacturing which is of a high standard, Oscar Schmidt has produced a bass ukulele that is also of that same high standard.
They have used a lot of their experience in creating guitars, and the use of woods with this bass is in many ways similar. They have used Koa for the back and sides. Koa is a spectacular wood with its colors but is also known for its resonance, and is, therefore, an ideal choice.
They went further than just providing a good wood for the back and sides and placed on the instrument a spruce top. Owners of acoustic guitars will know what adding a spruce top means in terms of sound. That creates a completely different sound for this bass ukulele than you might be used to.
They have finished the body design nicely with binding around the main body and even to the top, giving it a stylish look. The quality of the build is good, and it looks like a fine instrument.
It has a mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and sixteen frets. Access is possible to the top of the fingerboard because of a slight cutaway. The neck has a really nice profile making it easy to play.
The bridge is made of rosewood and has four independent saddles allowing easy adjustment if necessary. And at the top end, there are four die-cast tuners that are really quite rugged and well built.
As with many bass ukuleles, there is a built-in preamp. It features volume control, bass and treble controls, and a built-in tuner.
The sound is extraordinary. Unplugged it is quite loud with a deep bottom end but plugged in it is very good indeed. The preamp tone controls give you the room to create a sound, and the resonance of the instrument is not lost through amplification.
Oscar Schmidt might be less known in the ukelele community, but this is a fine instrument at a decent price.
- Beautifully made.
- Good materials used.
- Great sound.
- Not recognized as being ukulele manufacturers.
4 Kala Wanderer U-Bass
Another offering from Kala, this time The Wanderer. That could well be a reference to its portability being slightly smaller and easy to wander around with.
Kala does make their ukuleles very well, and this is no exception. The mahogany body gives you the full-bodied sound, it is famous for, and despite its slightly smaller body still seems to create a warm resonance on the deeper notes. A mahogany body on a guitar has a certain sound, and it is with a ukulele.
More quality woods make up the walnut fingerboard inlaid with dots. The bridge is also made of walnut and separate saddles for each string to allow better setup. And at the top end are diecast tuners.
A Piezo electronics pickup gives the bass uke some power and an active EQ offers the chance to construct your own tone with bass middle and treble controls. The control panel is conveniently situated and easy to use and comes with an onboard tuner.
If the ideas with this bass ukulele was to build an instrument that sounded a bit like an upright bass, then we would say they have nearly succeeded. It has a depth to it that is partly assisted by the strings which seem strangely disproportionate in size but nevertheless add depth to the sound.
The choice of woods has also been good, creating a warm deep sound. It may have been designed as a travel instrument, but it will serve a purpose just being used in a regular way.
It’s a good buy if a little on the expensive side. Comes with a gig bag.
- Good materials and excellent construction.
- Deep and warm sounds.
- Some may find it expensive for a short scale bass ukulele.
5 Alston 30″ Fretless Electric Acoustic Ukulele Bass
This might be a new name on the block for ukulele enthusiasts. Alston is not what you might call a household name in the industry, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a good instrument. They are made in China, where there is a growing market.
This bass ukulele is a 30 inch model with a body constructed from wood that has been given an attractive satin polish finish.
It is an attractive looking instrument made more eye-catching by the two bindings on the edges of the body — one a white edging the other patterned which matches the decoration around the sound hole.
A more traditional touch is given to the neck which is made from Rosewood as is the bridge. The saddle is plastic and is fixed.
This is a fretless bass, but it has ‘fret markers’ where the frets would normally be. At first glance, it gives the illusion of there being frets, but it is in fact, fretless. What adds to the confusion a little more are the standard inlay dots, which also give the impression they are positioned for a fretted guitar.
Up at the top, it has some well made geared tuners in black.
There are a built-in pickup and preamp, and the controls are neatly positioned on the top edge of the uke. It features an EQ with bass, middle, and treble controls to allow you to shape the sound and volume control. There is also an onboard tuner and a battery condition indicator. The preamp takes two lithium batteries, which are pre-installed.
String through body design…
It has through instrument stringing, and there is a small opening gate on the back to allow changes to be made.
This is quite a well-made instrument with a decent sound. It hasn’t got the depth or resonance of its more expensive counterparts, but you wouldn’t expect it to. It is a budget instrument and given its cost is good value for money providing you are not expecting too much.
- Good price.
- Tuner and battery indicator.
- Attractive looking.
- An unknown manufacturer might not appeal.
6 Luna Bari-Bass Ukulele
Luna is well-known as ukulele manufacturers, and this bass ukulele carries many of their trademarks of quality in design.
It is built from Koa on the back and sides and also on the top which is why it has that lush deep wooden style.
A little Polynesian history….
Koa originated from Hawaii, and it holds a deep tribal significance. The word itself means warrior. Originally used for making canoes and weapons it has become a wood of some value and is now appreciated for its beauty which is borne out by the look of this bass ukulele.
Luna instruments are designed in the US and the UK and manufactured under strict quality control in China and Korea.
The neck is made of mahogany with a walnut fingerboard and a 20.2-inch scale length. At the top end, it has open gear die-cast tuners that are very well made.
What about the electronics?
It has a Piezo pickup and a Fishman Classica II preamp system that has a built-in tuner. The control panel is situated in a comfortable position on the top of the instrument and has treble and bass controls as well as a phase dial. There is also a battery condition indicator and an all important digital tuner.
It is a comfortable ukulele to play and is nicely balanced. The unplugged tones are deep and rich, and whilst not being great in volume, they have a warm feel to them. When the instrument is plugged in, it shows the richness of sound that the woods produce.
It is, however, quite at home as an acoustic instrument but might get lost at times.
A nice instrument but moving towards the expensive side. Gigbag included.
- Well made with good materials.
- Rich deep sound.
- Might be considered expensive.
7 Kala UBASS-JYMN-FS Journeyman Acoustic-Electric U-Bass
Another quality bass ukulele from Kala, The Journeyman is an Acoustic-electric offering that is built to the high standards of a company who specialize in these instruments.
The first thing you notice about this instrument is its design and shape. It definitely has that orchestral feel in the design and seems to lean heavily on the cello or upright bass for its look — no bad thing. Even the ‘F’ holes and the Venetian cutaway add a touch of class.
A real looker…What’s it made from?
The main body of the ukulele is built on the back and sides, from mahogany and Kala have decided to utilize this wood on the top also. Mahogany is known to produce warm tones with a deep resonance, so there aren’t many better woods to build a bass ukulele from to create a great tone. And, they have added a cream binding to give it a rich and desirable look.
It has a mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard with sixteen frets on a 21-inch scale. Dot inlays are placed in the usual positions. The cutaway gives full access to the fingerboard. At the top, there are well made, and sturdy custom open geared die-cast tuners in black and access to the truss rod.
And what does it sound like?
Giving it the amplified sound is a piezo pickup with an active EQ providing tone and volume controls. There is also a built-in tuner.
It is a well-made instrument with the advantage of being able to handle nylon or wound strings. Using wounds would give you a whole new perspective on how a bass ukelele can sound, and it even takes a bit of slap if you are not too harsh.
Good instrument, great design.
- Nice design with good materials.
- Warm, resonant sound.
- Some may not like the body design preferring a more vintage look.
8 Donner DUB-1 30 inch Electric Bass Ukulele
Donner might be considered one of the lesser knowns in the world of the ukulele, especially when compared with the likes of Kala and others. But they do a good job of producing a quality instrument at an affordable price.
They have only been in existence a few short years, since 2012 to be exact, but they have in that time crafted some fine instruments. The company is based in North Carolina.
The better the wood, the better the sound…
They do try to use good materials to produce their instruments knowing that the better the wood, the better the sound. The body of this bass ukulele is made from mahogany, back, sides, and top.
The quality of the build is very good, and the design is completed with a tasteful black edging to the body and attractive design around the sound hole. All very nicely done.
It has a mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays and markers on the top of the fingerboard that feels comfortable and easy to play. It has 18 frets.
If this instrument is designed as a first-time introduction to the bass ukulele, then Donner has exceeded the requirements by quite a way. This would suit a more experienced player.
In terms of the hardware, there is nothing exceptional. A Rosewood bridge with four saddles that are adjustable and at the top four diecast tuners. As we say nothing elaborate but they get the job done.
For this model Donner have come up with their own preamp which includes a three-band EQ. This has bass, middle, treble and volume controls, a battery indicator and an onboard tuner.
There is no doubt this is a quality bass uke, and when considered with its cost is a great buy. Good to look at, well-made and easy to play – what more can you ask for? Oh yes, you could ask for a gig bag. It comes with one of those as well! Great value.
- Good materials.
- Really nice sound with or without electrics
- Some people prefer established manufacturers
9 Luna Guitars Bass Ukulele
We think all you have to do is look at this bass ukulele by Luna and you see the real quality. Everything about it just seems to say ‘look at me’ I am rather nice.
Luna are well-known for their instruments, and whilst they may not be considered at the same level as some manufacturers, they are clearly making a statement of intent with this instrument.
The back and the sides of the body are made from mahogany delivering the rich and warm tone that the wood is famous for producing. A deep tone that is eminently suitable for a bass instrument.
But then what to go on the top. So important to the sound especially of an acoustic instrument. Luna didn’t go with the easy option, more mahogany or maybe a cheaper wood, but they go for Spruce with its little bit of toppy twang. It creates a great combination.
To finish off the body design, there is a white edge binding and decor around the sound hole. The body color is completed with an impressive gloss black finish. And very impressive it looks.
The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fretboard with the standard dot inlay markers. At the top end, it has custom made closed gear tuners. These are tough and sturdy and designed to hold wound strings if the user so chooses. The extras are completed by a rosewood bridge.
The electrics are quite basic a Luna pickup and preamp with bass and treble controls and a volume in slider style. There is also a battery condition indicator but sadly no tuner.
The sound is great. Unplugged it is warm and rich even though it is an octave higher than a standard bass. Through an amp, it is great and is where the spruce top delivers its twang to compliment the deep notes.
It is just a great bass ukelele, and at this price, definitely a contender for the best bass ukelele buy.
- Well made with good materials.
- Great looking.
10 Kala U-Bass
One more from the impressive stable that is Kala ukuleles. But, this model is rather close to the top of their range. What’s more, it is what they term as travel size so it can be carried around with you wherever you go. Only being thirty-six inches in length makes it very portable.
Of all the models we have heard so far, this one comes closest to an authentic bass sound. It is deep and rich and uncluttered with buzzes or unwanted vibrations, just pure bass sound.
The tone of any guitar bass included is often determined by the nature and the quality of the woods used in construction. In this case, they have used mahogany for the back and sides for its warm and rich resonance and given it a solid spruce top.
This has the effect of having the lush tones produced by the mahogany body but overlaying a crispness from the spruce. The result is an excellent sounding bass uke.
They have completed the build with a mahogany neck and walnut fingerboard and bridge with separate saddles with some diecast tuners at the top end.
The sound is staggering…
A Piezo pickup and active EQ provide the electrics with tone and volume controls and an onboard tuner.
It is an exceptional instrument, well made from good materials. But it is the sound that is staggering. From such a small instrument comes such a deep bass you begin to wonder if it’s actually you playing it.
Expensive, yes, but quality like this always is.
- Excellent materials and good build.
- Great bass tones.
- The price will put some people off.
Also see: Top 10 Best Baritone Ukuleles To Buy
Best Bass Ukulele Buyers Guide – It’s Bass Time Down Ukelele Way!
When asked about ukuleles, many people recognize four kinds, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone. No Bass ukulele is mentioned. There is some discussion about whether the baritone is bass but in the real understanding of the word it isn’t.
A baritone sits above the bass in choral and orchestral terms, so it is a different thing. They are close to each other though but is has been bass ukuleles we have reviewed not the best baritone ukuleles in our best bass ukulele review.
There are many similarities between the instruments, and in many cases, it will depend on how much you want to spend and do you want to rely on a proven manufacturer.
There are some ‘new kids on the block’ in the reviews who have produced some fine instruments. Some budget ukuleles and one really upmarket instrument.
What Will You Use It For?
If it is just for home and playing for enjoyment, then they all really fit the bill. They all play well, are well made, and the sounds are slightly different but nice to hear. Some are acoustically a little louder than others, but if it is just for your own amusement, then that may not be a consideration.
It might be as an instrument for someone to learn the bass ukulele, in which case again they are all acceptable. The actions are nice, the necks comfortable and they play easily.
Depending on which strings you choose to use, there are usually problems with keeping it in tune for any period of time but that, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast. Some are better than others in this regard.
If however, you are planning to gig with it the choice becomes a different matter. That is when the pickup and preamp will be important. The bass ukulele will likely be swallowed up by chord playing ukes in a group situation so it will need some sound boost.
The electrics supplied on some very. They are all competent, but the possibilities of shaping a bit of sound for your instrument is different, and that might be something to consider. There are some bass ukuleles there with tried and trusted electronics, and if you are concerned about the sound, it might be best to look at those first.
Undertaking a bass ukulele review has been fascinating for us, and we hope will help in your choice, as you find the best bass ukulele for your particular needs.
So, What’s The Best Bass Ukulele?
We would want it quite simple but with some decent electrics on board. Well made and looking good is important to us as well. We will need some electronics onboard but having decided that it plays well we want something that is just nice to see.
We have therefore chosen as the best Bass Ukulele the…
A good instrument at a decent price but with a look that says come and get me.
Our choice for the best bass ukulele.