The Best Baritone Ukuleles in 2020 – reviewed and rated here!
We’re happy to share with you the best baritone ukulele models we’ve come across in recent years. Baritone ukuleles are pretty special in that they have a different tuning from the soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles. They’re tuned to DGBE, which is lower than the other three sizes’ GCEA tuning. Baritones are also the biggest of all the ukulele sizes so they not only sound boomier but also louder.
Whether you’re looking for your first or next baritone-size uke, you’ll see some great candidates here. We’ve picked out the best, highly rated models from trusted brands. Go check them out!
Our Top Baritone Ukulele Picks
|Kala U-Bass Baritone Ukulele||The Kala U-Bass isn’t technically a baritone uke but is comparable to one. The U-Bass is a combination of a bass guitar and a ukulele. It’s an acoustic-electric instrument and is tuned EADG, which is the traditional tuning for bass guitars. This short-scale bass features an exotic mahogany body and neck, proprietary strings and built-in electronics with an active EQ.|
|Rogue Baritone Ukulele||Looking for a budget baritone uke that won’t let you down? Consider getting the Rogue Baritone Ukulele, which has all the basics covered. It has a sturdy body and neck and a deep and rich baritone uke tone. It’s very playable and beginner-friendly, and it comes with a gig bag so you can carry it wherever you go.|
|Cordoba 20BM Baritone Ukulele||With its premium build and quality sound, the Cordoba 20BM is definitely a must-have for ukulele players serious about their music. This is an investment you won’t regret! The Cordoba 20BM baritone ukulele boasts a solid mahogany top, a mahogany body and neck and a natural satin polyurethane finish. The classy look is perfectly paired with a rich mahogany tone.|
|Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele||The Kala KA-B comes highly recommended as an introductory instrument, an upgrade to a starter uke or simply as an addition to your growing collection. This baritone ukulele features a mahogany body and neck, cream body binding and a sleek satin finish. It’s fun and easy to play and is one of the best baritone ukuleles in its price tier.|
|Kala KA-SMHB Baritone Ukulele||What differentiates this model from the Kala KA-B is that the KA-SMHB boasts a solid mahogany top, back and sides. What this means is that it has a warmer, richer, fuller and more resonant tone that would sound better the more you play it. It also has a slotted headstock and tortoise binding, giving it an elegant and classic look.|
|Oscar Schmidt OU55CE Baritone Ukulele||The Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is a baritone ukulele with electronics installed and features a cutaway for easier upper-fret access. It’s a great option for players looking to get more out of their ukulele. The OU55CE has a select Hawaiian koa top, back and sides, as well as a nyatoh neck. An abalone rosette and purfling add a classy look.|
|Hilo 2655 Baritone Ukulele||Here’s another option for beginners and uke players on a budget. The Hilo 2655 is inexpensive but plays well. This entry-level baritone features a laminate wood body with a mahogany finish and geared tuners. The build, sound and playability are all pretty decent, so if you’re not up to spending lots of cash on a uke yet, consider this model.|
There are plenty of interesting things about the Kala U-Bass. First, it’s a cross between a baritone uke and a bass guitar. It’s a baritone ukulele in size but is tuned like a bass guitar – with EADG instead of DGBE. As such, it produces the same pitch as a bass guitar, but on a short scale.
And because of its unique construction, the U-Bass is also strung with proprietary polyurethane strings and fitted with custom die-cast tuners. The thicker, more robust strings give a fantastic bass playing feel and have a balanced tension.
There are many variants of the U-Bass, but for this list we’ve chosen the Kala EM U-Bass Exotic Mahogany. This model features an exotic mahogany top, back and sides, as well as a mahogany neck. The fingerboard and bridge are made of rosewood, providing a nice contrast to the body and neck woods.
Like other Kala U-Basses, the Exotic Mahogany model is also equipped with electronics. It boasts an active EQ with a built-in tuner so you’re always ready to hit the stage or record in the studio. You also get a deluxe custom U-Bass gig bag with a classy embroidered logo for increased portability.
- Ideal for bassists looking for an easy-to-carry instrument
- Equipped with electronics
- Big strings make playing more comfortable
- Not for ukulele players expecting DGBE tuning
- Fretboard inlays can be difficult to see behind the thick strings
We don’t know much about the complete specs of the Rogue Baritone Ukulele, but we do know that each part works so well with everything else that the uke has become one of the best, yet cheapest baritone ukes around. It costs less than $50, so if you’re looking for a decent baritone-size ukulele that won’t break the bank, this is the model for you.
The Rogue baritone ukulele features a white wood body with an eye-catching burnt orange finish. It has 18 frets, geared tuners and inlaid position markers on the fretboard. It’s nothing much in terms of looks and the construction is pretty plain, but it’s a functional instrument that can get you started on playing a baritone uke.
That said, this uke is designed for those who are unsure yet whether a baritone-size uke is for them. It’s a small investment that offers a lot of value, especially with the included Rogue gig bag. This model is also a good option for ukulele players who want to expand their tonal range.
Sound-wise, the Rogue baritone ukulele produces a decent tone, rich and deep as you would expect from a baritone after a proper setup.
The Cordoba 20BM is the company’s first baritone ukulele and Cordoba made sure to fit it with the best quality materials. Here’s a rundown of the specs that make it one of the best baritone ukuleles you can buy today.
The Cordoba 20BM has a solid mahogany top and laminate mahogany back and sides, giving the uke a woody tone with rich mid-range frequencies, a think bottom end and a warm top end. Mahogany is also used for the neck, which is carved with a comfortable C-shaped profile. The mahogany construction also contributes to a good sustain.
This baritone uke also has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Small pearloid dots serve as position markers on the fretboard. The bridge, saddle and nut are made from a durable composite material. As for the tuners, this uke is fitted with Cordoba nickel tuning machines with pearl buttons.
Around the soundhole you’ll find a beautifully designed and expertly inlaid natural wood herringbone pattern rosette. Topping off the classy, elegant look is a natural satin polyurethane finish that’s smooth to the touch and makes playing more enjoyable.
The quality craftsmanship results in a quality sound, making the Cordoba 20BM a definite must-have.
Many beginners get their start on a Kala instrument and it’s easy to see why. Kala ukuleles have set the standard for quality products offered at an affordable price.
The Kala KA-B is one such ukulele. It’s part of the Satin Mahogany line, the brand’s flagship collection. Like the other models in the series, the KA-B features a mahogany construction with a satin finish. The top, back, sides and neck are all made of mahogany. It has a traditional design, which is highlighted with a cream binding at the top. The binding also serves to protect the edges of the ukulele from bumps and nicks.
The Kala KA-B baritone ukulele also has a walnut fingerboard, GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle and Aquila Super Nylgut strings. The overall construction results in a beautiful, rich tone.
If you’re a beginner, you can get the Kala KA-B bundled with all the accessories you’ll need. The ukulele bundle comes with a gig bag to keep your uke secure and protected when you’re on the go. You also get a clip-on tuner, which comes very handy during those first few days when the strings are still stretching and you would need to tune constantly.
The Kala KA-SMHB is another baritone ukulele offering from Kala. This model offers a more premium build and sound quality than the Kala KA-B. It has a higher price tag though, but still within what can be considered affordable for serious uke players.
The Kala KA-SMHB baritone ukulele has an all-solid mahogany top, back and sides with faux tortoiseshell binding and a smooth satin finish. The solid-wood construction gives the ukulele an extremely rich and resonant tone. The tone will get richer the more the uke is played and the wood matures. If you’re looking for a baritone ukulele that sounds very warm yet still balanced and with a good midrange focus, this is the model for you.
This baritone ukulele also has a mahogany neck for added sustain and chrome die-cast open-geared tuners to ensure tuning stability. The fingerboard is made of walnut and the uke is strung with Aquila Super Nylgut strings.
The downside to getting the Kala KA-SMHB is that it is more sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature than ukuleles with laminate wood. If you’re going to be taking this uke outdoors, you need to get a good case for it and some humidifiers/dehumidifiers.
If you’ve been wanting to make recordings with your ukulele or are planning to perform with it, your life will be made a whole lot easier with an acoustic-electric uke. The Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is one such model that can bring your ukulele playing to new heights.
The Oscar Schmidt OU55CE baritone ukulele features a select Hawaiian koa top, back and sides. Koa is a favorite among ukulele players as it’s the traditional tonewood used in Hawaiian ukes, koa being endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The warm-sounding koa body is paired with a sturdy nyatoh neck, which is topped with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also made of rosewood.
This baritone uke also features a cutaway so you can reach the upper frets much easier. The OU55CE has a classic look with a gloss finish and tasteful appointments such as a cream binding and abalone purfling at the top as well as an abalone rosette. The chrome tuners are Grover-branded ones so you can be sure the tuning will stay put after the strings have stabilized.
For its electronics, the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE has a UK2000 active EQ pickup system with volume, bass and treble controls.
- Sounds good plugged and unplugged
- Comes with a gig bag
- Easy amplification and tone-shaping with built-in pickup/preamp system
- Wide neck can feel big for ukulele players
- Some string buzz when playing open strings
The Hilo 2655 is a good fit for beginners and cash-strapped players looking for a decent baritone ukulele at a low price. As can be expected from an inexpensive entry-level uke, it doesn’t have the quality materials that say, a Cordoba or a Kala ukulele has. Still, the materials come together well, allowing the uke to produce a good baritone sound.
If you’re still unsure if a baritone uke is for you, this would be a good instrument for testing the waters. It’s easy to play and can get you through the basics. It has a tone that could convince unsure players that yes, a baritone uke can brighten up their days. Just put some better-quality strings on it and it will surely sound like a more expensive uke.
The Hilo 2655 baritone ukulele is made from laminated wood with a mahogany finish. It has a wood fingerboard with 12 frets and white position markers. The tuners are not of the best quality but they get the job done. The overall craftsmanship is a notch down from that of beginner ukes that cost more, but for less than $70 this ukulele sounds way better than others in its price range.
The Best Baritone Ukuleles and Their Tuning
Of all the ukulele sizes, the baritone stands out not only because it’s the biggest and therefore has the strongest sound – it also has a different tuning. With the exception of the Kala U-Bass, all of the baritone ukuleles in this list have a DGBE tuning, which is the same as that of the four highest-pitched strings on a guitar. The standard tuning of a guitar is EADGBE.
Baritone ukuleles are great for beginners who may find smaller ukes a bit difficult to get used to. Baritones are closer in size to a 1/8 or travel-size guitar, and many players find it more comfortable to hold, especially those who have played acoustic guitars before picking up the ukulele.
And if you already play guitar, you’ll find it easy to play a baritone uke because as we’ve mentioned, the tuning is similar to that of a guitar, and so the chords are similar as well. If you’re a beginner, you can use a guitar chord diagram to see the chord positions on the baritone ukulele – just pay attention to the chord shapes on the bottom four strings (ignore the two bass strings or the lower E and A strings), and you’re good to go!
A baritone ukulele has the longest scale length among all the ukulele sizes, and as such offers plenty of flexibility in terms of chord selection. Chords will ring out loud as well because it has the largest soundbox.
If you’ve been wanting to try another instrument that you can travel with, a baritone uke offers the portability and flexibility you’ve been looking for.
Let’s take a closer look at the baritone uke and how it’s tuned so you can be better prepared to play as soon as you get your own “bari uke.”
The baritone ukulele standard tuning
The soprano, concert and tenor ukulele sizes are tuned to GCEA so they are all similar in sound. On the other hand, the baritone size is tuned to DGBE as its standard tuning. It is also tuned low to high – it is not re-entrant, unlike the GCEA tuning.
The baritone uke DGBE standard tuning is also described as linear – the D string is the lowest string and the E is the highest. In the GCEA standard tuning for the smaller uke sizes, the G string is a high note. Players can also put a low G string instead, but the standard is a high G.
Bari ukes also produce a deeper and lower-pitched sound than the other three ukulele sizes.
You can, however tune the baritone ukulele up to GCEA. For re-entrant tuning on a baritone uke, you will need a different set of strings. The strings should be designed specifically for baritone ukuleles with a higher tuning.
When you’re tuned to GCEA, you can play standard ukulele chords.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your strings every time you want to play in GCEA tuning, here’s another thing you can do. Get a ukulele capo and place it on the fifth fret of the baritone uke. The capo will hold the strings down at the fifth fret and act like a nut, shortening the scale length and in effect transposing the baritone’s tuning to GCEA.
Keeping your baritone ukulele in tune
It’s important to make sure your baritone uke is in tune every time you play. This task will be so much easier if you have a digital/chromatic tuner on hand. A guitar tuner will work just fine as guitars and baritone ukes share a similar tuning. Your tuner can be in the form of a clip-on tuner, an online tuner or even a tuner app installed in your phone.
Check your tuning every time before you play and make the necessary adjustments. Note that during the first few days upon receiving your uke, the strings would still be stretching and would go out of tune. You would need to re-tune constantly. When the strings are done stretching out and have stabilized, you would not have to re-tune as much as before, but you would still need to check if everything’s in order before you play.
How about the Kala U-Bass?
The standard tuning of the Kala U-Bass is EADG, like a bass guitar. This is why it’s often referred to a bass ukulele, a hybrid model that offers the range and boomy sound of a bass guitar in a small baritone ukulele body.
Bass ukes are usually fitted with thicker polyurethane strings. While they may be played acoustically, they perform best when plugged into an amp. The sound would be just like a full-sized electric bass guitar. Bass uke models are either acoustic-electric (like the Kala U-Bass in our list) or simply electric.
If you’re wanting to have a deeper sound to expand your tonal repertoire, it’s worth considering bass ukes and baritone ukuleles as an addition to your ukulele arsenal. We hope this list helps you choose the best baritone ukulele for your needs. Have fun!