10 Best Concert Ukuleles of 2020: Brand Buying Guide & Reviews

There are a ton of different things you need to consider when you are marketing for the best concert ukulele. Not only do you need to take into account the size and shape of the instrument, but also the materials used in making it, and most importantly, the sound reproduction. And let’s not forget about the pricing and whether it falls into your budget.

With all this in mind, we have put together a comprehensive list of the best concert ukuleles in different budget segments. You should be able to easily find the perfect concert ukulele built with the right materials and producing the perfect tones all the while not weighing down on your pocket.

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Furthermore, we will also discuss some important points on the different things you should consider when considering the best concert Ukuleles. As such, by the end of this read, you can rest assured that you will know almost everything there is to know about concert ukuleles.

So without further ado, let’s get started:

What Is A Concert Ukulele? – The Different Kinds Of Ukulele Based On Size

First, let’s get a clear understanding of what a concert ukulele is.

Depending on its size, a ukulele can be of four different types – the soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

The Soprano is the smallest ukulele measuring around 20 inches in length. Next, we have the Concert ukuleles at 23 inches. The Tenor ukulele goes even bigger and is generally around 26 inches. And finally, we have the Baritone ukuleles that are around the 29-30 inch mark.

The different sizes not only affect the portability and usability of the instrument but also their sound quality. The smaller ukes produce less sound whereas the bigger ones are distinctly louder. The bigger ones also have a heavier tone comparable to a guitar, whereas the smaller ones have that distinct ukulele sound.

What Makes Concert Ukuleles So Popular?

At 23 inches, the Concert ukulele perfectly fits into the palms. This makes playing the instrument a lot easier as your fingers can easily grace the neck and play all the different cords. 

The small size also accounts for better portability which makes it easier to carry around, regardless if you are planning to play it at your friend’s engagement party, or take to a live concert.

Also, as we mentioned, the small size means it can easily produce that distinct ukulele sound with a lighter tone. The bigger ukes like the tenor and the baritone produce a heavier sound that is more comparable to guitars than ukes. 

Furthermore, thanks to its slightly bigger size, the concert ukulele is louder than the soprano which is another plus.

What Features To Consider When Purchasing a Concert Ukulele?

A lot of different factors combine to create the perfect concert ukulele. You need to take into consideration the materials used to construct its body, fretboard, and even the nuts and saddle. The quality of the wood factors into sound production. Not only that, but you also need to consider how the strings are placed, what type of strings are used, and much more.

As such, we have put together a detailed look at all the different features you need to consider when purchasing a concert ukulele:

Body Material

The body of your concert ukulele is most likely to be made of wood. However, the type of wood that is used will affect the price of your uke, but also the sound produced by it. For example, if a softer wood like spruce is used, then the uke will produce a mellower sound which will get better as the instrument ages. 

On the flip side, you can also find ukes made out of plastic. This is especially a good option if you want your children to try out the instrument, to see if they develop a knack for it. Plastic ukuleles are significantly cheaper. The sound is also a bit hollower. As such, if your son or daughter shows promise with the uke, make sure to upgrade them to one that is made from wood.

Fretboard Material

For those who don’t know, the fretboard, also known as the fingerboard or neck, is the long part of the ukulele that is covered by the strings.

Generally, the fretboard is made with the same material as the body of the uke. But in some circumstances, for example, when the body is made with a softer wood, the fretboard is complimented with harder options. This is because the player will mostly glide their hands across the fretboard and press on it to play the music. Therefore, it is preferable to have a sturdier build.

Nut and Saddle Material

The nut refers to the very top of the fretboard where the strings rest and are pulled down and attached to the tuners. The saddle, on the other hand, is found towards the bottom of the uke and is vibrated by the strings as they are strum.

In case of more affordable and budget options, the nuts and saddles are made of hard plastic. However, when you go to more expensive models, you will find the use of bone or hard ebony wood instead.

The Finish

This is one of the last bits of building your ukulele, applying the finish. 

Some manufacturers tend to apply various coats of varnish to create a more glossy and shiny finish. These tend to cost more as they require extra attention to details by the craftsman.

Alternatively, some ukes have a satin or matte finish. This gives the wood a more authentic appearance. A light layer of varnish is still applied to provide a bit of protection.

And finally, there are some ukuleles that come with a paint finish. This is more of a novelty feature, however, you can still get your uke in any color you like. If you are looking for a bit more fun or funkier experience, then you might want to try a paint finish with your uke.

The Strings

And finally, we come to the last component that makes up your ukulele, the strings. Even if you are using the same uke, if you replace or upgrade your strings to a different type, then you will see a noticeable difference in the sound.

Furthermore, if you buy or use a poor quality string, it will easily break while you are practicing, or worse, in the middle of a performance.

Now, generally, when you buy or order a Ukulele, it comes pre-strung with a variation of the “Aquila Nylgut” strings. It is a good quality reliable string made by a prominent Italian company. 

Setup

The setup is also something you should consider when purchasing a ukulele.

Most beginners find it difficult to set up their ukulele, whereas expert users just want to start playing the uke and don’t want to bother about setting up the instrument.

As such, make sure that your ukulele is set up prior to delivery to avoid unnecessary headaches.

The 10 Best Concert Ukuleles

Here is our curated list of the 10 best concert ukuleles in the market. We have made sure to keep the list as diverse as possible so there is something for everybody, all the while making sure including only the best value for money concert ukuleles out there.

So without further ado, let’s get started:

1. Hricane UKS – 2: Best For Beginners

 hricane UKS-2 review

Starting off our list we have the Hricane UKS-2, the perfect concert ukulele for beginners, both in terms of budget as well as performance. Priced under $100, it boasts excellent built quality – the best you can expect at this price point.

The body is designed from Sapele wood which is then complemented with a walnut fretboard. Everything is topped with a satin finish which makes the wood grains more distinguished and appealing.

Now the fretboard itself is divided by 18 brass frets which house the 4 strings made of carbon. The strings can be easily changed which makes things a whole lot easier for beginner players.

All these different parts of the ukulele together produce a sweet and smooth sound which is quite good when you consider the price. As such, it is an excellent concert ukulele that beginners can pick up, and quickly get into learning the instrument.

Features:

  • Good quality construction.
  • The body is made of Sapele wood and the fretboard made of Walnut.
  • Topped with a satin finish.
  • Strings made out of carbon sourced from Japan.
  • Priced below $100.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

And much more.

2. Oscar Schmidt OU5: Best for Kids

Oscar Schmidt ou5 review

Next up, we have the Oscar Schmidt OU5. You can find the ukulele priced around the $120 to $130 mark, and for the price, it is a bang for the buck. The body of the ukulele is made with Koa wood and topped with a glossy finish. The fingerboard and bridge are made with rosewood, whereas the neck uses Nyatoh wood.

Everything is wrapped with an abalone binding and rosette, surrounding the soundhole which creates a unique and classy look. All the different woods used in its construction provide a nice balance ensuring durability and great sound. And speaking of sound, the instrument comes fitted with the Aquila Nylgut strings which produce a mellower tone in contrast to other standard ukes.

Now, with all things considered, what makes it great for kids?

Well, that mostly boils down to its playability. Children who are getting started with the uke need to get accustomed to its sound. This is where having very pronounced highs and lows can be a bit of a problem. However, the mellower tones produced by the OU5 ensures that kids can easily learn the ins and outs of a uke playing the instrument.

Features:

  • Koa for the body, Rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge, and Nyatoh wood for the neck.
  • Comes with a glossy finish.
  • Everything wrapped together with abalone binding.
  • Soundhole comes with a rosette surrounding it.
  • Comes with Aquila Nylgut strings.
  • Known for its mellower sound tones.
  • Lifetime warranty.

And much more.

3. Kala KA-PWC: Best Under $200

Kala Ka-PWC review

Now if you are ready to upgrade from those budget options and ukes aimed at kids and beginners, then here is the Kala KA-PWC concert ukulele. Now, granted it isn’t the top of the line priced at around $200, but it will still do justice if you wish to take it on your professional performances.

That being said, it is also an excellent choice for beginners, mostly because it comes with an instructional DVD bundled in. In fact, there are a bunch of accessories that make it an excellent starter ukulele. The package comes complete with its own case, a tuner, and a dedicated polishing cloth.

Now, coming to the build of the instrument, the body and the fingerboard are designed using walnut wood, whereas the neck uses Mahogany. To top it off, we have a satin finish which helps to bring out the contrasting light brown colors of the wood with its darker brownish grains. 

Features:

  • Body and fingerboard built using walnut wood.
  • Neck made of Mahogany.
  • Topped with a satin finish.
  • Comes bundled with a case, tuner, polishing cloth, and an instructional DVD.

And much more.

4. Makai LC-85SM: Best Under $300

Makai LC-85SM Review

If you raise your budget a bit higher, then you can get the Makai LC-85SM under $300. This is generally considered mid to high range when you are in the market for ukuleles, and the Makai LC-85SM fits this category perfectly. 

The looks, the build, and most importantly the sound, just come together perfectly making an awesome bang for the buck concert uke at the budget.

Starting off, let’s look at its design and build quality. We have a body that is completely crafted out of spalted maple which has a light color contrasted by darker grains. This gives the uke a rustic feel. This is further amplified by the dark brown rim surrounding the body. All this is topped with a satin finish, which adds more personality to the grains.

Now, the instrument comes with a dedicated cut away at the top for the pickup. You also get in-built side-geared tuners with built-in chrome buttons which ensures your instrument never falls out of tune. Whereas, for actually playing the uke, you get the trusty Aquila strings pre-strung.

Features:

  • Body crafted using Spalted Maple wood.
  • Comes with a dedicated cut out for the pickup with a built-in one.
  • Side-geared tuners also present with chrome buttons.
  • Pre-strung with Aquila strings.

And much more.

5. Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE: Best Under $500

Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE Review

Ortega Guitars, as you can guess by the name, is a prominent guitar manufacturer, and the RUMG-CE is their take on a Concert Ukulele. Now, besides being one of the best concert ukuleles under $500, one of the things that will immediately grab your attention would be its unique design.

The body of the uke is made of Mango Wood i.e., wood from a mango tree. This is fairly uncommon when choosing a material for a ukulele and is generally much lighter than traditional options like mahogany or koa. Furthermore, since it is as hard and sturdy as other woods, you won’t notice any distortion or compromise when producing music.

The light-colored body is complemented with a darker fretboard made using maple wood. Everything is then topped with a satin matte finish which creates a compelling rough-looking design but is completely smooth to the touch.

Now, the sound production, as stated earlier, is very good – as good as you would expect from a $500 uke. It comes with a built-in tuner that is placed in a unique cutaway pattern on the sides of the ukulele.

Features:

  • The body is made using light-colored mango wood.
  • Fretboard designed using darker maple wood.
  • Topped with a satin-matte finish.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Comes with built-in tuners.

And much more.

6. Martin C1K: Best Koa Concert Ukulele

Martin C1K review

Koa wood is most synonymous with the Ukulele as it is native to the Hawaiian islands, the land of the ukes. As such, if you are planning to go for a Concert Ukulele made of Koa, then the Martin C1K would be an excellent choice. 

In fact, the entire body, as well as the fretboard, is made using Koa. This is then topped with a high-quality satin lacquer finish which makes the deep grains and color of the wood pop out. And for the final touches, you also get a dovetail neck joint.

With that being said, the Martin C1K isn’t purely known for its Koa body and uniquely Hawaiian look but also manages to sound just as lovely. The wood helps the sound to reverberate and resonate which creates that distinguishable Hawaiian ukulele melody with deep luscious notes.

Now, all things considered, the Martin C1K is an expensive option priced above $500. But that is expected of a uke made purely of Koa wood. However, the uke is designed to last and is an instrument you can rely on for years to come.

Features:

  • The entire body, as well as the fretboard, is designed using Koa wood.
  • Highly durable and sturdy.
  • It is then topped with a satin lacquer finish.
  • Comes with a dovetail neck joint.
  • Sound quality is excellent managing to produce deep luscious notes.

And much more.

7. Enya EUC-M6: Best Glossy Concert Ukulele

Enya EUC-M6 review

Another awesome looking concert ukulele on the list, here we have the Enya EUC-M6. It is one of the most beautiful concert ukes boasting a glossy finish. Besides this, it also comes with a distinct cut out at the top which actually makes it look like a miniature rock and roll guitar.

Now coming to the building, the uke uses mahogany wood for the body as well as the fretboard. This is then topped with several layers of varnish for an awesome glossy texture. Not only does it look good, but it also helps protect the instrument from any wear with increased corrosion resistance.

One more unique aspect of the uke would be the mother of pearls design inlay on the fretboard which adds more character and personality to the ukulele. On top of the fretboard, we have Enya’s proprietary strings that are durable and produce full-bodied sounds.

Other notable aspects of the ukulele would be its 1:18 gold agate die-cast that is finely tuned and promises better intonations and managing to hold a tune for longer.

Features:

  • Body and Fretboard designed using mahogany.
  • Boasts the unique “The Mother of Pearl” design inlay on the fingerboard.
  • Multiple layers of varnish for that awesome glossy finish.
  • Pre-strung with Enya Strings.
  • Comes with a 1:18 gold agate die-cast.

And much more.

8. Luna Artistic Series – Big waves: An Eye-Catching Design

Luna Artistic Series Big Waves review

Now, if you are looking for the best-looking concert ukulele on the market, then the Luna Artistic Series – Big Waves would be it. It boasts the awesome “Great Wave of Kanagawa” graphic made by a famous Japanese artist on its body. Without a doubt, the uke is going to attract a lot of attention with its great design.

But with that being said, don’t think it is only about the looks and no substance. In fact, the ukulele is comprised of a lot of quality tonewoods and manages to produce good sound quality. And the best part is that all this comes at an affordable price bracket, below $150.

Looking at its build, the ukulele is completely made out of Mahogany wood, which comprises both the body as well as the neck. For sound reproduction, it comes pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut strings along with a set of awesome tuning gears.

Features:

  • Printed graphic of “The Great Wave of Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai.
  • Full body and neck made out of Mahogany wood.
  • Comes with Aquila Nylgut strings.
  • Great sound and easy playability.
  • Comes with intonations.
  • Priced below $150.

And much more.

9. Cordoba 15CM: Best Sounding Ukulele

Cordoba 15CM review

We just went over a lot of awesome looking ukuleles with great design and build quality. However, if you are only interested in the sound quality and have a limited budget, then the Cordoba 15CM will be your best bet.

First, let’s quickly go over its build. The ukulele sports a simple design with mahogany wood used to craft the body. The fingerboard and bridge are made using Rosewood. And everything is topped off with a satin-matte finish. Wrapping around the instrument you have an abalone style rosette for extra style and good looks. 

Now coming to what makes this one of the best sounding ukuleles in a budget. For below the $100 price tag, you will get access to the latest 7U edition of Aquila Nylgut strings that produces rich mellow sounds. Besides this, you get access to a silver tuner with pearl buttons to help you tune the instrument.

Features:

  • Well built design.
  • Body made of Mahogany wood.
  • Fingerboard and Bridge made using Rosewood.
  • Comes with a satin-matte finish.
  • Pre-strung with the latest 7U edition of the Aquila Nylgut strings.
  • Produces excellent sound quality.
  • Priced below $100.

And much more.

10. Kala 1KOA-C Elite: Built For The Best

Kala 1KOA-C Elite review

And now, last but not the least, we have saved the best concert ukulele – the Kala 1KOA Elite. It brings together an awesome built-quality paired with stellar sound reproduction, all wrapped together under a premium price tag that ranges between $800 – $900. 

The top, back, and sides of the body are made with Koa which is then coupled with a neck made of Honduran Mahogany. This is then topped with a UV-cured satin finish. In one word, the ukulele looks ‘exquisite’ and has a premium appeal.

But what about the sound?

Well, the combination of tonewood in its construction helps to produce pitch-perfect tones. On top of that, the uke comes pre-strung with Fluorocarbon strings that resonate and reverberate to create stunning melodies. You also get ample sustainability which helps to excel volume as well as the depth.

Features:

  • Excellent build quality and sound reproduction.
  • Body made with Hawaiian Koa wood.
  • The neck is made using Honduran Mahogany.
  • Fingerboard and Bridge made with Indian Rosewood.
  • The fingerboard is divided into 18 frets.
  • Everything is topped with a UV-cured satin finish.
  • Custom Kala tuners and Fluorocarbon strings.
  • Comes with an alligator hard case.

And much more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Concert Ukuleles

Here are some FAQs regarding concert ukuleles. Hope these manages to address any questions or doubts you had regarding the instrument:

Are Concert Ukuleles Beginner Friendly?

The short answer would be yes. Concert ukuleles are one of the easier stringed instruments to get started with. 

The smaller size makes it easier to hold, and the neck easily fits into your palms. This makes reaching the strings all the more effortless. Furthermore, speaking of strings, since ukuleles only come with four strings, instead of six-stringed guitars, it is much easier to handle.

Can Left-Handed People Play It?

Generally, right-handed players hold the neck of the ukulele with their left hand and strum with their right-hand. This becomes completely opposite for southpaws (left-handed people).

Now, to be clear, playing the instrument with your left hand won’t be the same experience as playing it with your right hand. This is why you will find ukuleles specifically designed for left-handed players. But with that being said, they are rare to come by and tend to be more expensive than their right-handed counterparts.

However, you can always try playing your uke as if you were right-handed. In terms of playing instruments, you will be amazed to find just how many players show ambidextrous potential.

But if playing it right-handed feels too uncomfortable or borderline painful, then we have another fix you can try out.

First, switch the second string with the third string. Since these two strings are typical of the same thickness, it won’t affect the sound and help you to play the notes more comfortably. You can also try fiddling about with the neck and bridge of your ukulele. With some minor adjustments paired with a couple of hours of trial and error, you should be able to configure your ukulele perfectly to your needs.

Does Having A Glossy Finish Improve Longevity?

We touched on this earlier that a few layers of varnish not only makes your ukulele much glossier but also doubles as a protective layer. This is why satin or matte finish also comes with a thin layer of varnish on top.

Unprotected wood tends to twist and warp when it comes in contact with the elements. However, a few extra layers of varnish can protect it from the elements, thus improving longevity.

But with that being said, ukuleles with a matte or satin finish also comes with appropriate varnish. You can further improve its longevity by keeping it clean, storing it in its case, and making sure it doesn’t come into contact with water.

How To Take Care Of Your Concert Ukulele?

Once you have purchased your concert ukulele, make sure you properly take care of it so that it lasts as long as possible, and you get a bang for the buck.

Now taking care of your uke is all about consistency. After every time you use the instrument, remember to clean it with something soft, preferably a microfiber cloth. Avoid using rough materials like a brush that might accidentally scratch the wood.

Also, while not using the ukulele, store it inside its case. This protects it from accumulating dust overtime.

Finally, keep your ukulele in a place that’s not too moist or highly humid. The moisture in the air will affect the wood and warp it. Even if the warping is not noticeable superficially, it will surely show in the distorted sound. 

Wrapping Up

So these were our picks for the best concert Ukuleles in the market. As you can see, we have put together a diverse selection of various concert ukuleles to meet your various demands. 

You will find ukuleles falling under specific budget segments as well as ukes that are specifically good for beginners and children. We have also categorized the list to highlight which of the ukuleles are best in terms of design, built quality, and even sound reproduction. Not to mention, we have also boiled down to the best concert Ukuleles that brings the best construction and sound reproduction you can get for your money.

As such, we are sure that you will find the best concert ukulele that meets both your budget and needs.

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