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Tenor Ukulele Buying Guide
Ukuleles are a popular selection for musicians nowadays. If you wish to check out one, you have to know first what a tenor ukulele is and why you should purchase it.
There are 4 types of ukuleles – baritone, concert, soprano, and tenor. Soprano ukes are often the primary selection of beginner players.
However, it’s not the best choice to begin the journey. Tenor ukes are bigger in size than concerts and sopranos. Additionally, the tenor ukuleles have a more traditional ukulele-like tuning, not like the baritones, which have a guitar-like tuning.
Furthermore, it would help if you used the tenor ukes as a concert or soprano ukulele by setting up a high-G string.
Music fans and players choose the tenor ones more; as a result, they tend to offer out a fuller and deeper sound because of their bigger size and acoustic features.
As these have longer necks and might produce thicker sounds, solo artists have a tendency to like them more.
Tenor ukuleles are more widespread with large instrument players and solo performers. Beginners also can play these ukes as they’ve more space on the fretboard to move around more easily and comfortably.
However, they do need to extend their budget as tenor ukes are more expensive than soprano ukes.
With that being mentioned, anybody who’s comfy with the dimensions and features of the tenor ukulele can play it out very efficiently.
Wood Type: Hardwood vs Laminate
When you really need one of the best tenor ukuleles, you must know this: The wood kind of tenor ukuleles straight impacts the tonal quality, and that is why people call them tonewoods. For example, mahogany has a subdued, warm tone, whereas Sapele has more bias towards the higher register with a sparkly tone profile.
Alternatively, Koa stands on top of that food chain with its fully neutral sound that will get better as it ages. So, you will discover the perfect options made out of Koa, and so they’re prone to sounding brighter at first, then turn louder with more inclination toward warmth. Amid all this variety, tonewood diverges into two categories: hardwood (solid wood) and laminate.
Hardwood is the pinnacle of authenticity present in high-end models. It boasts a real tone articulation in comparison with the synthetic laminate. However, authentic tonewoods are prone to be damaged by humidity and scratches, in contrast, to laminate ukes that stand the test of time. But, the tone produced by laminate tops is not as nuanced and sophisticated.
So, which one should you select? Hardwood is a top priority for skilled musicians who need the perfect tenor ukuleles for their profession, whereas laminate is for everyone because it’s less expensive. The tonal quality reveals a huge difference between both. However, in case you’re not looking for music as a profession, go for laminate!
Be aware; that there are different wooden types like Hawaiian koa as well; however, I’ve tried to keep the main choices right here. While Hawaiian koa-made ukuleles are a factor when you’re after a koa wooden-made instrument though, this is an excellent one.
What To Look For In A Good Tenor Ukulele
A bigger tenor ukes make more deep and rich sounds. You need to go for a size that matches your needs. There are not any such big differences in the price of tenor ukuleles varying in size.
If you have a problem with the small fit of the soprano and concert ukuleles, you have to look at the tenor ones. Tenor ukes are going to expand your playing capability.
The tenor-size ukulele is a match for live performances too. That is due to the long neck of the instrument that has a broader range and sound diversity. The solo performers discover it helpful enough as they’ll play more with the frets.
Ukuleles are Hawaiian instruments, and companies from that part of the world usually make one of the best ones.
Manufacturers like Kanilea and Pono make the traditional high-end ukes, whereas Kala, Luna, and Mahala provide the mid-range ones.
Beginners should purchase the tenor ukes that come under 100 $ in a bundle package to get the very best of it. On the other hand, advanced players can search for ones that provide more functionality.
However, tenor ukuleles are gaining a reputation day-to-day, and when you choose the proper one, then it’s great fun to play with.
Thus, for your need, we’ve created a list of the 15 best tenor ukuleles.
Top 15 Best Tenor Ukuleles
We’ve tried to include as many tenor ukes as possible varying in sizes, price range, beginner-friendly or professional features, and functionalities.
Do give it a read. In any case, it’s your selection, and you need to definitely go for the one which most closely fits your needs. So, without further ado, let’s get began.
1. Kala KA-STG (Budget-Friendly)
Starting off the list, we now have the Kala Ka Koa Tenor gloss ukulele, Kala KA-STG. Kala is among the many foremost in making high-quality ukuleles, and their Koa gloss tenor ukulele isn’t any different.
It’s a beautiful multicolored piece made with top-class Hawaiian solid koa. This tenor Kala Ka ukulele has white and black accents on the trim that are maple constructed.
The headstock of the Kala KA-STG is fitted with the laser-etched mother-of-pearl inlay. The sound produced is deep and full, providing you with the twangy effect of any ukulele.
The instrument additionally offers you a premium feel due to the cutaway gloss and its good value for money.
When you don’t need to miss out on the chance of owning a premium-looking authentic piece of charm from the big land of Hawaii itself, then you have to take a look at the Kala KA-STG multicolored gloss tenor ukulele.
- Made with hand-selected authentic Hawaiian Koa.
- It consists of maple trims with white and black accents.
- The headstock is a laser-etched mother of pearl inlay.
- Has a cutaway gloss.
You Can Buy Kala KA-STG at the Links Below!
2. Caramel CT207 Acacia (Best Quality)
A definitely budget-friendly tenor ukulele for fans of music is the Caramel CT207. It is available in three different sizes 21”, 23”, and 26” respectively. However, the preferred amongst them is the 26 inches piece of beauty.
With a rich and full tenor sound, the Caramel CT207 is available in a beautiful sunburst design reminding you of the land of Hawaii.
It’s constructed with Acacia on the back and sides with a spruce top. The instrument has an inlay design on the rosewood fingerboard and comes with essential accessories like a tuner, spare strings with a strap, and a case.
The sound produced is gentle and sweet with a lot of clarity because of the attached Aquila nylon strings.
It’s a great value-for-money instrument. In case you’re simply beginning out and don’t wish to spend on any expensive tenor ukulele for high-quality features, then you should go for the Caramel CT207.
- A good-quality tenor ukulele within budget.
- Equipped with a tuner, strap, spare strings, and ukulele case.
- Mahogany body construction with spruce top and inlay-designed rosewood fingerboard.
- Comes with four advanced quality carbon nylon strings, a digital clip-on tuner, a strap, and a protecting bag.
3. Caramel 26-inch CT103 (Highly Durable)
You should know Caramel in case you’re a fan of steel-string acoustic guitars. As a tribute to the good Hawaiian musician Israel ‘Iz’ Kamakawiwo’ole, the company has launched a premium range of tenor ukuleles.
Constructed with a solid quilted Zebra Wood body, this tenor uke has a hibiscus flower-designed Indian rosewood head plate. The instrument is a bigger tenor uke than other ukes giving out a rich and fuller sound.
The Caramel 26-inch CT103 tenor ukuleles have been designed in collaboration with the great musician’s wife, Marlene Kamakawiwo’ole. Her signature provides a distinct grace to every ukulele.
In the event you’re a fan of the great man who popularised Hawaiian music worldwide or needs to own the signature-adorned uke, you have to take a look at the Caramel 26-inch CT103 tenor ukulele.
- Built as a tribute to the honorable Hawaiian musician Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ ole.
- Made with genuine zebra wood blocks on full-body and east Indian rosewood head plate along with an applied dovetail neck joint.
- Has an excellent mid-range presence and full sustainability.
- Good quality hardware is used to give a satin finish and a premium feel.
4. Fender Montecito Koa (Best Durability)
We’ve got another koa tenor ukulele in the listing of 15 best tenor ukuleles, the Fender Montecito from the makers of widely known Stratocaster and Telecaster. So there’s no way the tenor uke with such a giant name might be of low build quality.
Historically, the Hawaiian tenor ukes are made with Koa. Following that tradition, Fender has additionally managed to construct their tenor ukuleles with full high-quality koa wood.
Besides, the Fender special telecaster-style headstock offers an incredible addition to the fantastic sound and feel of the instrument. The no-tie bridge of the uke permits for simple tweaking with a wonderful resonant sound.
If you’re fond of Fender instruments, then you have to give their Montecito Koa a try. It is a great mid-range, high-quality option for you.
- A high-quality tenor-sized ukulele from the famous guitar manufacturer Fender.
- The uke has a full solid Koa body crafted with a beautiful acrylic abalone binding and rose-shaped decoration.
- Includes Fender telecaster style headstock.
- Available in four different color choices.
You Can Buy the Fender Montecito Ukulele at the Links Below!
5. Kala KA-T (Budget One)
Right here’s an incredible tenor uke from Kala perfect tenor ukulele for beginners. Because it is available in a bundle package with different essential accessories, it’s an acceptable option for individuals who are simply beginning out.
With a laminated mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the Kala KA-T tenor-sized ukulele allows easy adaptability. So you may take this to any part of the world.
For maintenance of stability and tension on the Kala KA-T, it comes with die-cast chrome tuners.
The bundle package also features a hard-protecting case, a clip-on tuner, a polishing cloth, and the Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD. This Kala KA-T tenor ukulele delivers good, warm, and punchy tones.
It’s an absolute match for you in case you require a low-cost, travel-friendly entry-level tenor ukulele.
- Comes in a bundle kit with a gig bag, a clip-on tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and a polishing cloth.
- Made up of laminated mahogany with rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
- Lightweight and portable travel-friendly tenor uke.
- Fit as an affordable ideal starter kit.
You Can Buy Kala KA-T at the Links Below!
6. Martin T1K (Brilliant Resonance)
Another great tenor ukulele from Martin is the T1K model made with the highest quality Hawaiian wood.
Since 1916, the Martin T1K is a top-notch tenor uke constructed with the best Hawaiian wood, Koa, coming from the makers of the best ukuleles.
It has a whole full-sized Koa body with a high-quality satin finish. This Martin T1K additionally features an applied dovetail neck joint but lacks the strap buttons for attaching any straps.
The instrument comes with nickel open-gear tuners allowing for excellent tension and a gig bag for better portability. Within the case of tonal integrity and ease of playability, this uke has no match.
The Martin T1K is a top-quality solid koa wood product of craftsmanship. That’s why it makes a spot in the 15 best tenor ukuleles available out there.
- Solid Hawaiian koa body with dovetail neck joint and hand-rubbed satin lacquer finish overall.
- It produces a full tenor ukulele sound.
- Comes with a gig bag for extra protection.
- Equipped with a fretboard and bridge made from Sipo.
You Can Buy Martin T1K at the Links Below!
7. Cordoba 20TM (Handcrafted One)
For beginners who need a low-cost good high-quality tenor ukulele, the Cordoba 20TM is an ideal match.
It has a rich mahogany top, back, and sides construction satin finish all around the body. Because of this structure, this uke delivers a rich and warm tonal integrity with a bright Hawaiian sound.
The instrument contains high-quality silver tuners with pearl buttons, abalone rosette fingerboard binding, and premium Aquila strings in such a price range. It’s a nice alternative for not only the newbies but the professionals alike.
Due to its high-quality features and sound clarity, this handmade Cordoba 20TM is certainly a choice within the list of the best tenor ukuleles.
- Has a solid Mahogany body with a satin finish.
- Louder than a standard tenor-sized uke.
- It has an abalone-style rosette and ivory body, and fingerboard binding.
- Includes premium Aquila strings and silver tuners with pearl buttons.
You Can Buy Cordoba 20TM at the Links Below!
8. Kala KA-SMHT (Best For Beginners)
Another Kala ukulele in the listing of best tenor ukuleles is the KA-SMHT tenor uke. It’s a mid-range ukulele so far as the price is concerned but has some unique features.
Made with good high-quality Mahogany, the uke has a traditional design. This Kala model creates warm and mellow tones like a traditional guitar. When it’s tuned to low-G string, it provides a richer sound.
It features a walnut fingerboard and natural satin finish all around the body. It’s smaller than standard tenor ukuleles. However, that doesn’t reduce the good quality of the sounds produced. It’s perfect for playing the different uke chords up and down with ease.
Be it for a solo performer or a newbie; this classic-styled Kala KA-SMHT tenor ukulele is an ideal fit.
- Sounds like a classical guitar.
- Mahogany body construction with the walnut fingerboard.
- Creates a nice, mellow sound.
- Offers stellar playability.
You Can Buy Kala KA-SMHT at the Links Below!
9. Oscar Schmidt OU2T-A-U (Classic Design)
Another tenor ukulele within the list is the Oscar Schmidt OU2T-A-U. The OU2T-A-U series tenor ukuleles from Oscar Schmidt were created in collaboration with the well-known luthier Pepe Romero Jr.
The Oscar Schmidt has a full solid mahogany body with a wider fingerboard, suitable for bigger hands. As an alternative to an applied dovetail neck joint, it has a built-in one making it a more stable and lightweight ukulele. It additionally comes with Aquila Nylgut strings and an included polyfoam case.
It’s a great selection for any ukulele player with bigger hands. Created from a guitar builder’s viewpoint, the Oscar Schmidt uke stands out among the many greatest tenor ukuleles on the list.
- The instrument uses the “Spanish Heel” design.
- Lightweight ukulele allowing for greater stability.
- Includes a polyfoam case for protection.
- Solid mahogany body with abalone style rosette fingerboard and an overall hand-rubbed PU finish.
10. Makala Tenor Mahogany Ukulele by Kala (MK-T) (Reliable One)
Although the name Makala Tenor means that the ukuleles are for professional players, it’s primarily targeted at beginners who’re in search of a professional tenor ukulele below the budget price. This Makala tenor ukulele is available in seven attractive colors and designs perfectly appropriate for kids and teenagers.
Having a carefully chosen smooth mahogany texture, the instrument has a simple-to-use rosewood fretboard and bridge. This helps to create a rich and mellow sound. As that is attached with special nylon strings, this Makala tenor uke isn’t appropriate for traveling to different climatic places.
The Makala Tenor is a good worth for cash, and it’s the perfect tenor ukulele for newbies. It is very simple to learn and play.
- Available in seven colors and design variations.
- Mahogany built a body with a matte finish.
- It includes a rosewood fretboard for more comfort.
- Easy to play beginner-friendly tenor-sized uke.
You Can Buy Kala MK-T Makala at the Links Below!
11. Kala KA-KTGE-C (Popular Choice)
Another Kala tenor-sized ukulele is the KA-KTGE-C model. It’s an acoustic-electric ukulele. Feeling surprised? Yeah, we have been too when we found out that it is an acoustic-electric tenor ukulele!
It has a mixture of two fine sorts of wood construction – a Hawaiian Koa body with a mahogany neck. The instrument additionally has a nice cutaway neck design that makes it comfy to carry and play, keeping it near the body.
Thus, you may play it more relaxedly while performing solo or in groups around people. Moreover, this acoustic-electric instrument produces traditional rich tenor uke sound with different acoustic-electric capabilities.
Being a semi-acoustic ukulele, it is effortless to amplify and play, accessible through your PA systems while performing on stage.
- It is an acoustic-electric tenor uke.
- Made with Hawaiian Koa.
- It has a cutaway mahogany neck for a comfortable hold close to the body.
- It includes an inbuilt tuner for easy acoustic-electric amplification.
Kala KA-KTGE-C Tenor Ukulele features
12. Luna Tattoo Mahogany Tenor Uke (Exceptional Looks)
Another product of tribute to the Hawaiian musicians is the Luna Tattoo series of tenor ukuleles. It has a standard look with traditional ukulele sounds.
As the name suggests, the design of the uke relies on the popular Hawaiian body tattoos, especially the Hawaiian turtle design representing longevity and endeavor.
This reflects in the construct’s high quality too. This model comes with a high-quality mahogany body and neck and with a satin finish. The fretboard and bridge are created from walnut, which helps to deliver bright and airy tonal content. This tenor uke can produce clear and warm resonating sounds.
In addition to unique ornamentation and lasting sustainability, this finest tenor ukulele provides that island vibe on the Pacifics. That is simply the proper choice for players who need great sound quality in budget-priced tenor ukuleles.
- The tattoo design on the instrument is inspired by the Polynesian tattoo styles in Hawaii.
- The design is based on the Hawaiian turtle(honu), symbolical of long life and endurance.
- Full Mahogany body construction with the natural reddish-brown satin finish on the tonewood.
- Walnut fretboard and bridge for a more bright sound.
You Can Buy Luna Guitars Uke Tattoo at the Links Below!
13. Oscar Schmidt OU28TE (Solid Choice)
As we promised to discuss various options available in the market for the best tenor ukuleles, we couldn’t go away behind the wonderful eight-string tenor-sized ukulele from Oscar Schmidt, the OU28T.
Having a full mahogany body provides you with the choice between engineered wood and rosewood for the fretboard, and the signature “aloha” on the headstock is eye-catching.
As mentioned earlier, it is a bit different from other standard tenor ukuleles. It has two strings close together instead of a single string for varying octaves. This helps the ukulele deliver rich and thick sounds.
As you must have come across a 12-string guitar, this 8-string ukulele won’t give you a shock, we believe. No matter what number of pros and cons this OU28T has, it’s a choice for players with varying tastes.
- This instrument is an eight-string ukulele.
- Has great reviews from chord-playing performers.
- Sometimes it can be tricky for entry-level players to tune and play.
- Fine Mahogany body with an alternative rosewood and engineered wood fretboards along with Pearl Dot fret inlays.
14. Kala KA-8 (Intermediate Choice)
Kala has a range of fantastic tenor ukuleles for beginners and professionals alike. As we’re speaking about some of the best of them, we definitely need to embrace the KA-8, tenor 8-string ukulele model just after the Oscar Schmidt variant.
It has a traditional design on a wonderful mahogany body and neck equipped with a walnut fingerboard. The instrument enables cream binding and has a shiny finish.
It comes bundled with a tuner, polishing cloth, gig bag, and an instructional DVD from Austin Bazaar. The sound is simply too good to achieve in such a quality tenor ukulele.
If you need a tenor uke that’s simple to use and has the necessary accessories with it, then you have to try this one out.
- It’s an 8-string tenor ukulele.
- Full mahogany neck and body construction with the walnut fretboard.
- Ukulele includes Aquila strings that are pretty good.
- Comes in a well-made gig bag, a polishing cloth, tuner, and an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD.
You Can Buy Kala KA-8 at the Links Below!
15. Lohanu LU-T (Complete Package)
And now, for the final spot on the listing, we have the Lohanu LU-T ukulele. It’s another tenor ukulele coming in a bundle package.
The ukulele is created from laminated Sapele wood, making it budget-friendly and lightweight. It’s an apt uke for traveling. Because it has an arched back, the sound produced is more sustainable, bright, and natural.
That is by far one of the best tenor ukulele starter packages. Reviewed by hundreds on the internet and receiving full marks when it comes to quality, sound, and ease of usage, the Lohanu LU-T is certainly a pick in our listing of best tenor ukuleles.
- The best tenor ukulele starter kit in the market.
- It comes with 2 strap pins, a strap case, a tuner picks hanger and an installation DVD.
- Has the best unconditional lifetime warranty.
- Made up of Sapele wood with white bindings all around the body and neck and an arched back.
You Can Buy Lohanu LU-T at the Links Below!
Watch: Tenor Ukuleles for BEGINNERS OR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS
In case you are just a beginner or coming from a guitar background, or have trouble playing smaller instruments, then a tenor ukulele is what you need to try first.
So you may either add a tenor uke to expand your playability list or can simply start your journey of music with any of the tenor ukuleles mentioned above.
I hope you have found this guide helpful for serving to choose the proper option for you. The tenor-sized ukulele is what masters hold, beginners practice on, and where intermediate players see their technique growing!
Now that you have got a solid understanding of what makes some tenors better than others, the time has come to pick the perfect tenor uke for you.
You simply have to look for more pros than cons in an appropriate tenor uke. The list of 15 best tenor ukuleles that we have created should assist you on this musical journey.