The baritone ukulele offers a very interesting cross-section of guitars and ukuleles. While the instrument has only 4 strings like a ukulele, the strings are tuned differently from the other, smaller variations of ukuleles. Instead of being tuned “GCEA”, they are tuned “DGBE“.
The baritone ukulele is a bit of an unusual instrument in the fact that not many people know that it exists.
If it is so unique then, what actually constitutes the best baritone ukulele?
One of its features is that it is crafted with the sole purpose of providing a deep, rich sound.
As with any instrument, the size is a factor when producing unique intonations, and that’s where the baritone uke comes in. It is smaller than a classical guitar but larger than other ukuleles.
If you’re interested in a blend between the ukulele and a guitar, this instrument could be perfect for you.
- Top 5 Best Baritone Ukuleles:
- How to Pick the Best Baritone Ukulele: Basics
- So, What Is the Best Sounding Baritone Ukulele?
Top 5 Best Baritone Ukuleles:
|Oscar Schmidt OU53S|
|Caramel CB103 (Editor's Choice)|
Caramel CB103 Baritone Ukulele (Editor’s Choice)
Size and Sound
This Caramel CB103 model is equipped with Three Band and EQ controls – Bass, Middle, Treble.
There is a Chromatic tuner with an LCD color display and a low battery indicator.
All of these added features, and it weighs in at only 2 pounds! The intonation appears spot on with a phenomenal tone both acoustic and amped.
It is pre-strung with Aquila strings D and G which ring out loud and clear.
The gloss finish makes it a bit slippery to hold, although a strap can help with that.
It does need a bit of personal attention as the intonation is just slightly off at the 12th fret but not enough to be bothersome. The action is a little high as well. The fret ends are kind of sharp and need some filing or sanding.
The tuner knobs are cast and chromed. Some of them may be uncomfortable on the fingers. A file will take care of that problem right away.
- Excellent electronic features
- Very light weight, easy to use
- Phenomenal tone, both acoustic and amped
- Intonation is slightly off
- Very sharp frets
Cordoba 20BM – Best Sounding Baritone Ukulele
Size and Sound
The Cordoba 20BM comes set up in one of the more popular tunings, which matches the top 4 strings on a guitar (DGBE). It is 5 pounds, so it is a bit heavier than most other baritones.
However, this model is still very manageable. The 20BM has a solid mahogany top and mahogany laminate back and sides, and with its pre-strung Aquila strings it sounds sweet and warm.
You can really hear the classic Spanish guitar influence in this model.
The neck is constructed of a single piece of wood (unlike some cheaper instruments which are pieced together). A little set-up tweaking might improve the action.
However, the instrument is pretty well ready to go out of the box. Perfectly balanced with a center of gravity where the neck meets the body.
The geared tuners stay nice and tight, and compliment a perfectly straight neck with spot-on intonation all throughout the scale. This provides a richness that will make any listener grin with pleasure.
Some may want to switch out the tuners (after months of playing) as they might lose their grip. This is because there is a problem with the strings buzzing. Once the tuners lose some of their grip, the buzzing will hinder the playing.
Nevertheless, this model is highly recommended for a serious-minded beginner.
- Classic Spanish guitar influence
- Perfect balance
- Strings buzz too much
- Tuners may need to be swapped out for better ones
Kala KA-B – Best Baritone Ukulele for Beginners
Size and Sound
The Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele features a traditional mahogany body with traditional white binding. The Kala baritone has a beautiful voice, and the mahogany laminate sound is warm and full.
The intonations are excellent as well. Every first fret note on each different string is right in tune with a clean half step…It sounds almost closer to an acoustic guitar than
It sounds almost closer to an acoustic guitar than a ukulele.
The action is easy, no need to lower the saddle or the bridge. It is pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut with very minimal buzzing in the strings. The wood and finish are average and not very striking. However, these aesthetics don’t affect the sound or playability.
The Kala KA-B is an easy transfer from guitar because of the tuning and it has a solid deep uke tone that uke lovers want. It has quality geared tuners that help it stay in tune.
Once the strings settle down after a couple of days of playing, the tune will stay well in place.
Watch out for the third-string, though. Some have mentioned a nasty buzz from the first to sixth fret. Other than that, this instrument is very well balanced and great for beginners and intermediate players.
- Traditional mahogany with a full sound
- Very closely resembles the sound of an acoustic guitar
- A nasty buzz on some of the strings
Kala MK-B Makala – Best Cheap Baritone Ukulele
Size and Sound
The Kala MK-B Makala is surprisingly loud and very sweet and is absolutely recommended for beginners.
At 2.8 pounds, it is a comfortable size, complete with a bundle of goodies. These include a gig bag, clip-on digital tuner, instructional DVD, and a polishing cloth.
It holds a tune well, and the intonation of the instrument is generally bright and rich and vibrant. The tuner that accompanies it seems to work wonders.
The action might be a little high right out of the box and may need to be lowered. There is a definite buzzing sound when the plastic rings around the tuners vibrate. There is also sometimes a problem with the tuning pegs The fasteners around the pegs, which appear to be completely decorative, rattle sometimes while playing. It is a good idea to replace them with something quieter. However, it is not enough to ruin the sound or make it unplayable.
The accuracy in features of this particular model is quite varied amongst different users. For some users this is only based on a personal preference. Still, many users complain that this model is not set-up very well by the manufacturer. For that reason, it is a good choice for children or beginners.
- Comfortable size, rich and vibrant sound
- Comes with gig bag, tuner, instructional DVD and a polishing cloth
- Cheap tuners that cause buzzing
- Set-up is sloppy. Needs personal detail
Oscar Schmidt OU53S – Best Baritone Ukulele Under $100
Size and Sound
The Oscar Schmidt OU53S Baritone Ukulele features a select spruce top for exceptional resonance and tone, and gorgeous rosewood back and sides. The fingerboard and bridge are also rosewood, with abalone top inlays.It comes pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut strings which stay in tune with
It comes pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut strings which stay in tune with a little adjusting. The sound is a little frail– It has wonderful acoustics, although some have said it is not the best to play solo.
Excellent finishing, great action, straight neck. The fret ends are very sharp, though, and they must be filed.
This model may require many adjustments before playing. A new student that has no background with instruments would find it difficult to use this ukulele in the condition it arrived in.
The strings are sometimes not properly placed on the instrument. The “G” string and “D” strings can be reversed in position. This would be a problem for a person new to the baritone ukulele.
Additionally, the nut is not properly prepared and the original strings are wedged into the nut creating tension on the string.
This tension makes it difficult to obtain a proper tune. Also, there is a bad fret buzz that comes and goes unpredictably.
- Gorgeous look
- Set-up is not very user-friendly, especially for beginners
- Needs serious attention in order to make it personally playable
- Inconsistent flaws from manufacturer
How to Pick the Best Baritone Ukulele: Basics
Size, Weight, and Sound of Baritone Ukulele
The Baritone ukulele provides a distinct range of sound when compared with the Soprano, Concert, and Tenor ukuleles. It is known for its increase in number of frets (18 to 21 frets for a baritone).
This larger fretboard makes it a wonderful medium between a tenor ukulele and a classical guitar.
Additionally, the baritone uke is smaller, lighter, and easier to travel with. This is a such a bonus if you are continuously mobile for your gigs or in your daily life.
Set-Up and Material of Baritone Ukulele
The material that the ukulele is made of will have a definitive impact on the tone. For some of the more expensive ukuleles, deep mahogany or acacia wood is recommended.
However, for these baritone ukuleles that are more inexpensive, we will only be looking at laminate wood. Laminate wood is more durable and is not susceptible to humidity or temperature changes.
Though you won’t get the same resonance out of it as you would with an instrument made of wood. Nonetheless, as long as the material is not too cheap, you can still get a good sound.
Almost all inexpensive baritone ukuleles will come with geared tuners. The geared tuner is exceptional at holding the string in place, allowing for fewer instances of slipping. They provide more accuracy to the instrument and are easier than peg tuners to get an exact sound.
However, some geared tuners are better than others. You will want tuners that are easier to use, have a tighter grip, and don’t get in the way of playing the instrument.
Strings and Pitch for Baritone Ukuleles
Traditionally, the baritone is tuned much lower in pitch than the tenor ukulele. So, the durability and stability of tuning over time are important factors to consider.
For this reason, it’s important to pay attention the strings that accompany your model. Most will be pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut, which is the most accepted string for a Ukulele.
The baritone is known for its close resemblance to the guitar with strings D, G, B.
So, What Is the Best Sounding Baritone Ukulele?
All things considered, the Caramel CB103 baritone ukulele is one of the best baritone ukuleles on the market. It is light, easy-to-use, and provides an excellent balance between the traditional ukulele and the traditional guitar.
With its acoustic and amp features, it will give you the best of both worlds. It only requires a little attention to personal modifications, although that is completely expected with any instrument.
All in all, the Caramel CB103 baritone ukulele is an outstanding choice for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players alike!