Ukuleles are a popular choice for musicians these days. If you want to try out one then you must know first what’s a tenor ukulele is and why should you buy it.
There are four types of ukuleles – baritones, concerts, sopranos, and tenors. Soprano ukes are usually the first choice of novice players.
But it is not the best option to start out the journey. Tenor ukes are larger in size than concert and sopranos. Also, the tenor ukuleles have a more traditional ukulele like tuning, unlike the baritones that have a guitar like tuning.
Moreover, you can use the tenor ukes as a concert or soprano ukulele by setting up a high-G string.
Music fans and players prefer the tenor ones more because these tend to give out a fuller and deeper sound due to their larger size and acoustic features.
As these have longer necks and can produce thicker sounds, solo artists tend to like these more.
Tenor ukuleles are more popular with large instrument players and solo performers. Beginners can also play these ukes as they have more space on the fretboard to move around more easily and comfortably.
But they do need to increase their budget as tenor ukes are expensive than soprano ukes.
With that being said, anyone who is comfortable with the size and features of the tenor ukulele can play it out very efficiently.
What To Look For In A Good Tenor Ukulele
A larger uke makes a more deep and rich sound. You should go for a size that fits your needs. There are no such big differences in the price of tenor ukuleles varying in sizes.
If you have an issue with the small fit of the soprano and concert ukuleles, then you must check out the tenor ones. It will expand your playing capability.
A good tenor ukulele is a fit for live performances too. This is because of the long neck of the instrument that has a broader range and sound diversity. The solo performers find it useful enough as they can play more with the frets.
Ukuleles are Hawaiian instruments and companies from that part of the world generally make the best ones.
Brands like Kanilea and Pono make the traditional high-end ukes, whereas Kala, Luna, and Mahala offer the mid-range ones.
Some of these brands also sell tenor ukuleles that come with accessories in a bundle kit. A good quality uke is always made with genuine wood on the body, neck, and fretboard.
Beginners should buy the tenor ukes that come under a 100 bucks in a bundle kit to get the best of it. On the other hand, advanced players can look for ones that provide more functionality.
However, tenor ukuleles are gaining popularity day by day and if you choose the right one then it is great fun to play with.
Thus, for your need, we have curated a list of 15 best tenor ukuleles.
We have tried to incorporate as many options as possible varying in sizes, price range, beginner-friendly or professional features, and functionalities.
Do give it a read. After all, it is your choice and you should definitely go for the one that best suits your needs.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Starting off the list we have the Kala Koa Tenor gloss ukulele, Kala KA-STG. Kala is among the foremost in making high-quality ukuleles and their Koa gloss tenor ukulele is no different.
It is an attractive multicolored piece made with top-class Hawaiian koa. The white and black accents on the trim are maple built.
The headstock of the device is fitted with the laser-etched mother of pearl inlay. The sound produced is deep and full giving you the twangy effect of any ukulele.
The instrument also gives you a premium feel because of the cutaway gloss.
If you don’t want to miss out on the chance of owning a premium looking authentic piece of charm from the big land of Hawaii itself, then you must check out 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 laser etched mother of pearl inlay.
- Has a cutaway gloss.
A certainly budget-friendly tenor ukulele for the fans of music is the Caramel CT207. It comes in three different sizes of 21”, 23” and 26” respectively. But the most popular among them is the 26 inches piece of beauty.
With a rich and full tenor sound, the Caramel CT207 comes in an attractive sunburst design reminding you of the land of Hawaii.
It is built with Acacia at the back and sides with a spruce top. The instrument has inlay design on the rosewood fingerboard and comes with necessary accessories like a tuner, spare strings with a strap, and case.
The sound produced is soft and sweet with much clarity because of the attached Aquila nylon strings.
It is a great value for money instrument. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend on any expensive tenor ukulele for quality features, then you must 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 rosewood inlay designed fingerboard.
- Comes with four advanced quality carbon nylon strings, a digital clip-on tuner, a strap, and a protecting bag.
You must know Caramel if you’re a fan of steel-string acoustic guitars. As a tribute to the great Hawaiian musician Israel ‘Iz’ Kamakawiwo’ole, the company has introduced a premium range of tenor ukuleles.
Built with a solid quilted Zebra Wood body, this tenor uke has a hibiscus flower-designed Indian rosewood head plate. The instrument is a larger 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 adds a distinct grace to each ukulele.
If you’re a fan of the great man who popularised the Hawaiian music worldwide, or wants to own the signature adorned uke, you must check out 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.
- The highest quality hardware used to give a satin finish and premium feel.
We have another koa tenor ukulele in the list 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 big name will be of low quality.
Traditionally, the Hawaiian tenor ukes are made with Koa. Following that tradition, Fender has also managed to build their tenor ukuleles with full high-quality koa wood. Besides, the Fender special telecaster-style headstock gives an amazing addition to the wonderful sound and feel of the instrument. The no-tie bridge of the uke allows for simple tweaking with a beautiful resonant tone.
If you are fond of Fender instruments then you must give their Montecito Koa a try. This is a great mid-range 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.
Here’s a great tenor uke from Kala perfect for the beginners. As it comes in a bundle kit with other necessary accessories, it’s a suitable option for those who are just starting out.
Having a laminated mahogany body, the Kala KA-T tenor sized ukulele allows for easy adaptability. So you can take this to any part of the world.
For maintenance of stability and tension on the instrument, it comes with die-cast chrome tuners.
It also includes a hard covering case, clip-on tuner, polishing cloth, and the Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD in the bundle kit. It delivers nice, warm, and punchy tones.
It is an absolute fit for you if you’re in need of 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.
Another great tenor ukulele from Martin is the T1K model made with the best quality Hawaiian wood.
Coming from the makers of the finest ukuleles since 1916, the Martin T1K is a top-notch tenor uke built with the finest Hawaiian wood, Koa.
It has the entire full-sized Koa body with a high-quality satin lacquer finish. It also 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 great tension and a gig bag for better portability. In the case of tonal integrity and ease of playability, this uke has no match.
The Martin T1K is a top-quality product of craftsmanship. That’s why it makes a place in the 15 best tenor ukuleles available in the market.
- 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.
For beginners who want a low-cost good quality tenor ukulele, the Cordoba 15TM is a perfect fit.
It has a rich Mahogany built top, back and sides construction satin finish all over the body. Due to this structure, it delivers a rich and warm tonal integrity with a bright Hawaiian sound.
In such a price range, the device includes quality silver tuners with pearl buttons, abalone rosette fingerboard binding, and premium Aquila strings. It is a great choice for not only the beginners but the professionals alike.
Because of its quality features and sound clarity, this handmade Cordoba 15TM is definitely a pick in the list of best tenor ukuleles.
- Has a solid Mahogany body with a satin finish.
- Louder in tone 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.
Another Kala ukulele in the list of best tenor ukuleles is the KA-SMHT tenor uke. It is a mid-range ukulele as far as the price is concerned but has some unique features.
Made with good quality Mahogany, the uke has a classic design. The instrument creates warm and mellow tones like a classic guitar. When it is tuned to ‘low-G’ string, it gives out a richer sound.
It includes a laurel fingerboard and natural satin finish all over the body. It is smaller than standard tenor sized ukuleles. But that does not reduce the quality of the sounds produced. It is ideal for playing the different uke chords up and down with ease.
Be it for a solo performer or a beginner, this classic styled Kala KA-SMHT tenor ukulele is a perfect fit.
- Sounds like a classic guitar.
- Mahogany body-construction with the walnut fingerboard.
- Creates a nice, mellow tone.
- Offers stellar playability.
Another tenor ukulele in the list is the Oscar Schmidt OU2T-A-U. The OU2T-A-U series ukuleles from Oscar Schmidt was created in collaboration with the famous luthier Pepe Romero Jr.
The Oscar Schmidt has a full solid mahogany body with a wider fingerboard, suitable for larger hands. Instead of an applied dovetail neck joint, it has an integrated one making it a more stable and lightweight ukulele. It also comes with Aquila Nylgut strings and an included polyfoam case.
It is a great choice for any ukulele player with larger hands. Made from a guitar builder’s viewpoint, the Oscar Schmidt uke stands out among the best 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.
Though the name Makala Tenor suggests that the ukuleles are for professional players, it is mainly targeted at the beginners who are looking for a professional tenor ukulele under budget price. It comes in seven attractive colors and designs perfectly suitable for kids and teenagers.
Having a carefully selected smooth mahogany texture, the instrument has an easy to use rosewood fretboard and bridge. This helps to create a rich and mellow sound. As this is attached with special nylon strings, the tenor uke is not suitable for traveling to different climatic places.
The Makala Tenor is a great value for money tenor ukulele for beginners. It is very easy to learn and play.
- Available in seven colors and design variations.
- Mahogany built body with a matte finish.
- It includes a rosewood fretboard for more comfort.
- Easy to play beginner-friendly tenor sized uke.
Another Kala tenor sized ukulele in our 15 best tenor ukuleles list is the KA-KTGE-C model. It is an acoustic-electric ukulele. Feeling surprised? Yeah, we were too!
It has a mix of two fine kinds of wood construction – Hawaiian Koa body with a mahogany neck. The device also has a nice cutaway neck design that makes it comfortable to hold and play keeping close to the body.
Thus, you can play it more relaxedly while performing solo or in groups around people. Moreover, the device produces classic rich tenor uke sound with different acoustic-electric capabilities.
Being a semi-acoustic ukulele, it is very easy to amplify and play, accessible through your PA systems while performing on stage. No doubt it has made its place among the best tenor ukuleles list.
- 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.
Another product of tribute to the Hawaiian musicians is the Luna Tattoo series tenor ukuleles. It has a traditional look with classic ukulele sounds.
As the name suggests, the design of the uke is based on the popular Hawaiian body tattoos, especially the Hawaiian turtle design representing longevity and endeavor.
This reflects in the build quality too. Both the body and neck are made up of fine Mahogany with a satin finish. The fretboard and bridge are made from walnut which helps to deliver bright and airy tonal content. This tenor uke can produce clear and warm resonating sounds.
Besides unique ornamentation and lasting sustainability, this best tenor ukulele gives out that island vibe on the Pacifics. This is just the right choice for players who want wonderful sound quality in a budget price instrument.
- 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.
As we promised to discuss various options available in the market in terms of best tenor ukuleles, we could not leave behind the amazing eight-string tenor sized ukulele from Oscar Schmidt, the OU28T.
Having a full mahogany body, it gives you the choice between engineered wood and rosewood for the fretboard and the signature “aloha” on the headstock is eye-catching.
As said earlier, this is a bit different from other standard ukuleles. It has two strings close together instead of a single string for varying octaves. This helps to deliver rich and thick sounds.
As you must have come across a 12-string guitar, this 8-string ukulele will not give you a shock, we believe. No matter how many 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.
Kala has a range of wonderful tenor ukuleles for beginners and professionals alike. As we are talking about some of the best of them, we certainly want to include the KA-8 8-string model just after the Oscar Schmidt variant.
It has a classic design on fine mahogany body and neck equipped with a walnut fingerboard. The instrument enables cream binding and has a glossy finish.
It comes bundled with a tuner, polishing cloth, gig bag, and an instructional DVD from Austin Bazaar. The sound is too good to achieve in such a quality tenor ukulele.
If you want a tenor uke that is easy to use and has necessary accessories with it, then you must try this one out.
- It’s an 8-string tenor ukulele.
- Full mahogany body and neck construction with the walnut fretboard.
- Includes Aquila strings that are pretty good.
- Comes in a well made gig bag, a polishing cloth, tuner, and an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD.
And now for the final spot on the list, we have the Lohanu LU-T ukulele. It is another tenor size ukulele coming in a bundle kit.
The instrument is made from laminated Sapele wood making it budget-friendly and lightweight. It’s an apt uke for traveling. As it has an arched back, the sound produced is more sustainable, bright, and natural.
This is by far the best tenor ukulele starter kit. Reviewed by thousands on the internet and receiving full marks in terms of quality, sound, and ease of usage, the Lohanu LUT-2 is definitely a pick in our list of best tenor ukuleles.
- One of the best tenor ukulele starter kits in the market.
- 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 along with an arched back.
If you are just a beginner or coming from a guitar background, or have trouble in playing smaller instruments, then a tenor ukulele is what you should try first.
So you can either add a tenor uke to expand your playability list or can simply begin your journey of music with any of the tenor ukuleles discussed above.
You just need to look for more pros than the cons in a suitable uke. The list of 15 best tenor ukuleles that we have created should help you out on this musical journey.