Ukuleles may be diminutive in size, but they deliver amazing musical sounds! Ukuleles are available in several types, but the most common one seen is the tenor ukulele.
This instrument is larger than its soprano and concert counterparts, making this a nice choice for those with bigger hands. Musicians tend to prefer the tenor ukulele for live performances too, as it produces a bolder, fuller sound.
Tenor ukuleles may be popular, but as several manufacturers create these instruments, it can be confusing knowing which one to buy. If you’re finding it difficult to choose a tenor ukulele, you’re in the right place!
We’ve listed the best tenor ukuleles available to purchase below. Each of the ukuleles comes with a review that covers its pros and cons.
We’ve also answered the most common questions about tenor ukuleles below, and included a buying guide to help you make your choice.
Have you just started getting acquainted with the ukulele or do you have years of experience under your belt already?
No matter what kind of history you share with this charming instrument, it’s understandable for you to want to make a well-informed decision when shopping around for your next model.
Take a look at these top 11 tenor ukuleles and see what makes each one special so that you can feel confident in choosing which one is right for you!
Best Tenor Ukulele Top 15 List
If you’re looking for an accessible beginner ukulele that will cover all the bases while getting started but won’t break your budget, then the Lohanu LU-T is a great choice!
This affordable yet sturdy uke will hold up under regular hours of use, consistently delivering a high-quality sound that’s sure to please anyone who gathers around the fire for a few tunes.
This ukulele thoroughly earns its stripes as one of the top sellers on Amazon for its value and dependability.
The instrument itself is usually sold as a kit with several starter items that you’ll need to start playing, such as a case, shoulder strap, and picks, which makes it a very beginner-friendly option. The bundle is very handy for vacation trips and gatherings as well, alleviating the need for you to pack a bunch of extra accessories to bring from home!
The Lohanu LU-T also offers great value for the money in terms of sound and playability. Just about everyone who purchases this instrument comes away with a new favorite, impressed by the delightful tone that it provides.
This uke also does a good job of staying in tune, meaning that you won’t have to spend as much time tweaking the strings instead of enjoying your music.
Speaking realistically: As you might expect, there are a few areas where a budget ukulele simply won’t hold up to a professional-quality counterpart.
This uke is made from laminate instead of solid wood, which offers a combination of pros and cons. On one hand, you cannot expect the same resonance or tone as you would from a much more expensive ukulele. But, on the other hand, laminate ukes are more resistant to humidity and cracking, making this affordable gem from Lohanu great for a trip to the beach!
Donner Ukulele (Mahogany DUT-1)
If you’re looking for a starter or travel ukulele with great value for an even lower price tag than the Lohanu LU-T, then this beautiful uke from Donner may be ideal for you.
One of the biggest things that makes this ukulele stand out above comparably-priced competitors is the polished, quality finish that you get for your money.
Musicians who purchase this sturdy little uke are often blown away by how carefully all the details of the instrument’s construction are fitted together to form a beautiful finished product. When you hold this ukulele and inspect the details of the body and hardware, it’ll be easy to forget how little you paid for it!
Appearances aside, this Donner uke feels every bit as good as it looks right out of the box. Users state that the ukulele is easy to tune and the frets are smooth, allowing their fingers to glide through their favorite chords with ease. The tuners are solid and will retain the work you put into achieving the ideal tune, too.
If you’re wondering whether the extras that come with this ukulele in a bundle deal will hold up equally well in terms of quality: The answer is yes.
People who purchased the bundle were delighted to find that the case and strap were pretty nice for the price just like the instrument itself, and many were fond of the fact that the bag has double straps that allow it to be carried hands-free just like a backpack!
In terms of sound, this ukulele is very lightweight which enables it to provide surprisingly good resonance and a warm, inviting tone. The nut and saddle on this uke are also crafted from more durable materials than many budget-friendly instruments are, which contributes further to crisp notes and a rich, mellow sound.
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
This gorgeous mahogany ukulele from Cordoba has earned nods of approval from beginners and experienced uke players alike! In addition to its wonderful looks, this instrument also boasts superior durability and sound.
Some shoppers might wonder why this ukulele is sold for a higher price than some budget versions, but without any extra accessories bundled along with it.
Rest assured: The value is all channeled into the instrument itself!
Musicians who have purchased this ukulele are often very pleased with the rich, warm tone that’s enhanced by the high fret bars and comparatively high-end tuners.
The sleek Rosewood bridge is also fitted with a nut and saddle that are crafted from highly durable composite material.
As is the case with the Donner ukulele, these composite hardware pieces lend the instrument a superior sound with clear notes.
The looks of the Cordoba 15TM also make it a good buy for anyone who likes a bit of artistic visual flair in their instrument.
The laminated mahogany that makes up the top, back, and sides of the ukulele is highlighted by a smooth, satin finish that looks and feels wonderful. To top it all off, the soundhole is accented with an eye-catching ring of abalone for an added touch of style and beauty.
In addition to great looks and sound, this Cordoba ukulele offers a level of durability that’s hard to beat. Carefree musicians have reported subjecting this uke to a variety of harsh conditions that would warp and degrade lesser instruments, only to find that the Cordoba 15TM still sounded as clear and warm as ever!
All in all, this ukulele is a great buy for beginners and more experienced players alike, as are most ukuleles from Cordoba. The delightful sound and surprising hardiness of this nice little tenor uke are especially rewarding for anyone who’s just starting out, and the quality holds up over time.
Kulana Deluxe Tenor Ukulele
The Kulana Deluxe is a great buy for anyone who wants a backup, starter, or travel ukulele that sounds better than all of the above. With a surprisingly good tone for the price and the added perk of a soft case for safer transportation, this product is a solid choice for anyone who wants to avoid spending too much.
While some customers noted that the polish of the fretboard wasn’t what they could have expected from a more expensive ukulele, the general consensus is that this doesn’t get in the way of fretting smoothly. The playability and pleasant feel of this affordable uke remain intact, with many musicians stating that they truly enjoy the feel of the instrument. The projection and tone of this ukulele are very nice for the price, with many players stating that it doesn’t sound as cheap as they expected and braced themselves for when they paid so little for it. For beginners who want to get their first ukulele to learn on without gutting their wallet, the Kulana Deluxe will provide everything they need, plus some extras!
This uke is usually sold with a case, picks, a shoulder strap, a battery-powered tuner, and some extra strings. Some people were surprised to find that they had to re-tune their ukulele several times during the first few practice sessions. However, this is normal for any ukulele that’s recently been fitted with a set of shiny, new strings! The strings will take a little while to stretch and acclimate to the instrument and will settle into their shape, leaving you free to play without having to pause and adjust the tuners.
Speaking of the tuners, they do a great job of keeping the instrument in tune over longer periods of time once the strings have settled into place. The tune of this ukulele will require minimal tweaking once you get it where you want it. The neck of the ukulele is smooth as well, which makes it pleasant to hold and play while also keeping it easy for beginners and youngsters to fret.
Kala KA-15T Satin Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
If you’re willing to spend a little more money for some added value and polish, then the Kala KA-15T may be calling your name! With its elegant, classic design and satin-finished mahogany, what’s not to love about the looks of this ukulele? Musicians who have tried this instrument wound up falling in love with it and highly recommended this beautiful uke for others of varying skill levels as well.
The Kala KA-15T comes along with a variety of extras such as a small tuner, a gig bag, strings, and a strap to get you started. This uke is a great starter choice for any beginner who’s new to music and wants to learn on an instrument of higher quality than most budget ukuleles. But more seasoned and advanced players still enjoy this ukulele, too! The affordability of this Kala uke makes it a popular backup or travel option for more experienced players–it’s something dependable and relatively inexpensive that doesn’t sacrifice quality or craftsmanship.
In terms of sound and feel, the ever-important details of any musical instrument, this ukulele brings plenty to the table. Most people who hold and play this trusty instrument state that it feels distinctly better than your average entry-level uke. The body is crafted entirely from mahogany, which lends a rich tone and satisfying resonance to the sound of this ukulele. Additionally, the fingerboard is made from walnut and feels smooth and inviting right out of the box.
Overall, the Kala KA-15T is a wonderful and dependable instrument with a sound and finish that greatly surpass what you’d expect for the price. In fact, many musicians report that this ukulele’s sound even outshines other, more expensive competitors!
Here is video showing how the Kala KA-15T sounds:
6) Makala Tenor Mahogany Ukulele MK-T
For those who are unsure if they want to go all-in when it comes to learning the ukulele, the Makala MK-T is sure to make their first experiences great. Makala is Kala’s less decorative, no-frills line that’s designed to cut costs in all the right places while still providing excellent value for ukulele players who are just starting out.
This attractive uke has a classy, vintage look with smooth, brassy fret bars that make it easy and comfortable to form each chord as you practice all your favorite tunes. The body of the ukulele offers a solid, pleasant tone whenever you strum and pick the strings. While the sound of this instrument cannot be expected to compete with vastly pricier ukuleles, musicians who give it a try report that it holds its own and delivers a satisfying level of sound quality for its budget price.
The Makala MK-T is less commonly sold with added accessories, which is further reflected in its price. One of the great things about this uke is that it doesn’t sacrifice quality in order to keep the price down! The tone doesn’t sound raspy, hollow, tinny, or cheap. The good sound can be partially attributed to the fact that this ukulele comes with Aquila strings, which are known for their excellent and dependable performance once they’ve been tuned. Many ukes that fall within the budget price range don’t include such high-quality strings, and many buyers were delighted by this added perk.
Another great quality of this affordable ukulele is that it’s got nice, low action. This means that there’s less space between the strings and fingerboard and less work is required in order to fret. Beginners often find that this comes in handy while trying to learn, and many musicians find it vastly preferable to higher-action instruments.
Luna Tattoo Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
If you’ve been looking at a wide variety of ukuleles and want something that will stand out from the rest in terms of visual appeal, then you’re bound to love the Luna Tattoo uke!
As you might guess from the name, the eye-catching design on this ukulele is based on the gorgeous tattooing style of the Polynesian people. The composition of the design is inspired by the Hawaiian turtle, which is a symbol of endurance and good luck that might lend some added positivity to your mood while you practice. Even the fret markers on this ukulele are triangular to represent stylized sharks’ teeth! All in all, the well-rounded and expressive design of this ukulele delivers all the beauty that musicians have come to expect from Luna.
Don’t worry: This ukulele sounds every bit as good as it looks! The body, top, and neck of this uke are all crafted from mahogany and the instrument is fitted with Aquila strings. The high G is also changed to a low G, which many ukulele players prefer since it gives you five additional notes to experiment with. The mahogany lends a rich, full, beautiful tone to the ukulele’s sound and has reportedly pleased users across the board.
The only negative point that some musicians made about this uke is that they would have preferred more solid tuners that helped the instrument keep its tune for longer in the face of environmental changes and heavy use. However, this detail is easily fixed by purchasing the tuners of your choice and changing them out if you prefer. Many other uke players found that their tuners did a fine job of keeping their Luna in tune, so this may be a matter of environment. Either way, the quality of this instrument is worth any adjustments that might be necessary!
The mahogany neck performs beautifully despite any variations in humidity or temperature, and the walnut fretboard is smooth and pleasant to the touch. The frets are smooth and gentle and the low action of the ukulele makes it comfortable for musicians of all levels to play.
Lohanu Cutaway Electric
Some people don’t get as excited about fancy designs on the top of the guitar as they do about a more eye-catching shape and all the expressive opportunities that an electric instrument can offer. If this sounds like you, then the Lohanu Cutaway Electric might be better suited to your tastes. This high-quality ukulele offers all the excellent qualities that people have come to expect from other Lohanu ukes, but with a number of other added perks.
One of the special selling points of this ukulele is that it comes with several unique perks, including a built-in tuner and a sturdy pair of strap buttons. This uke is also usually bundled with all kinds of extras when purchased on Amazon, including a case, a shoulder strap, some beginner instructions, and an extra set of high-quality Aquila strings. A ukulele hanger comes with the set as well, making it easy to store or display your instrument when it isn’t in use. Several different picks are also added in, including a leather pick for a warmer tone that doesn’t click the way plastic picks do!
Another unique quality that Lohanu takes pride in is giving this ukulele a domed back. The arched back does wonders to enhance the sound of this uke, making it richer, fuller, and better. Musicians who enjoy both electric and acoustic music are happy to report that this trusty uke sounds just as great plugged into an amp as it does when played acoustically.
Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
This dependable Cordoba, this ukulele sounds just as good as many pricier instruments do and is a great buy for anyone looking for a comparatively high-quality uke to start out with. In fact, musicians of just about all skill levels state that they derive plenty of enjoyment from this well-made ukulele!
This uke is well crafted and nicely balanced with structure and polish that mirror those of far more expensive counterparts. The tone is very sweet and satisfying, with the mahogany body lending all the rich resonance and projection that you could hope for. The rosewood fingerboard is smooth and the fret bars are, too. This ukulele is a joy to play and most people report that it feels anything but cheap.
This ukulele’s design may be minimal in terms of frills and embellishments, but its overall build is sleek and speaks to its high quality and durability. The instrument feels solid to hold and its quality strings and solid top contribute to an almost luxurious-feeling experience when you play it. The tone is rich and friendly, ringing out beautifully once the instrument is tuned and ready to go. The vast majority of musicians who have purchased this beautiful Cordoba are also pleased to say that the tuners hold everything in place for a good, long time!
All in all, most people who purchase the Cordoba 20TM are pleasantly surprised by the balance between quality and affordability. This ukulele offers a level of craftsmanship and sound quality that are above those of most budget buys, but it isn’t fancy or expensive enough to become inaccessible to most beginners. If you want a high-quality uke that will endure through your learning curves and withstand the test of time as your skills grow, then this gem may be perfect for you.
Kala KA-TG Gloss Tenor Ukulele
For dependable sound and a snazzy gloss finish that packs a lot of visual punch, you can turn to the Kala KA-TG ukulele! This accessible ukulele sounds great whether you’re getting yourself a starter uke, upgrading from a cheaper one, or getting a nice gift for a young beginner musician.
People love the mellow, sweet sound that this uke offers for the price, and agree overall that this is a great starter ukulele that doesn’t feel like a toy. Some musicians with a choosier ear for sound will point out that the gloss finish muffles a bit of the projection as compared to a satin finish, but this comes down to personal preference in the end.
Most people who try out this well-made ukulele are happy to find that it holds its tune well since this is an area that tends to suffer in budget ukuleles. The tuners hold the strings well over time and the mahogany body holds up to humidity well, further contributing to the instrument’s ability to hold its tune. The mahogany neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard that people find overall pleasant to use and easy to fret with.
Overall, the quality of this ukulele is touted as dependable and very good for the price! People love the sound and feel of this uke and are often surprised by the level of polish that they get.
Cordoba 25T-CE Exotic Acacia Tenor Cutaway Ukulele
Maybe you’re uninterested in focusing on budget-friendly instruments for your starter uke–or maybe you already have one of those and you’re looking to upgrade to something fancier! If so, then the Cordoba 25T-CE is bound to catch your eye.
This ukulele is made with a solid Acacia top and Acacia laminate sides, resulting in a gorgeous traditional sound. Many uke enthusiasts who have multiple ukuleles in their music rooms find themselves turning to this gorgeous Cordoba Acacia uke time and time again.
The tone of this ukulele is universally well-received, warm, and bright. People who wanted an upgrade from their trusty, old starter ukes were delighted by the improvement they got for the added price, both in terms of sound and looks. The projection and sustain are great, delivering an impressively good sound overall. Odds are, if you get this ukulele, it will be everything you’d hoped for!
When you first lay eyes on this ukulele, the maple and ebony accents are likely to grab your attention first, their pleasing rope pattern lending an artistic touch to an already impressive instrument. The cutaway shape is also eye-grabbing as well and many people find it preferable to the traditional design. The bone saddle and nut also add a nice bit of detail while the satin finish ties the entire look of the instrument together for a beautiful finished product.
Overall, Cordoba really delivers with the good looks and beautiful sound of this ukulele. This is a great pick if you don’t want to compromise on quality and finesse just to save a few bucks, and is sure to deliver excellent value for every penny you spend on it!
This tenor ukulele is a cut above the rest! It’s made from ziricote, a Central American wood sourced from a tree of the same name. This durable wood delivers a supreme sound with impressive acoustics.
Its glossy finish makes this model shine, creating an instrument that looks as good as it sounds. Ziricote may be a laminate, but it still produces pleasant tones.
The KA-ZCT-T’s body is made from ziricote, but its neck and fretboard are made from mahogany and rosewood. The mahogany neck is partly responsible for its dark and bold sound.
Similarly, as rosewood is more porous, it creates soft and warm tones.
This tenor ukulele also comes with additional accessories, including a DVD with lessons, a gig bag, cloth, and a clip-on tuner. The instructional DVD is ideal for beginners and the gig bag allows for easy transportation.
The rest of the supplies are suitable for both new players and experienced musicians.
One disadvantage is that the strings can pulsate unevenly, which may take a while to adapt to. Nevertheless, this model creates better tones than a lot of tenor ukuleles currently available.
- Attractive design
- Durable Ziricote wood
- Impressive full sound
- Equipped with essential accessories
- Strings can vibrate a lot
- Tenor size
- Ziricote top, back, and sides
- Mahogany neck
- Walnut fingerboard
- Black binding
If you need an acoustic-electric tenor uke that boosts sound well, Cordoba’s 20TM-CE will suit you well! It has a hardwood mahogany top that projects a warm, temperate sound.
The sides and back are also made from mahogany, linked by a high-quality binding that pulls the design together.
The 20TM-CE has a cutaway next to the soundboard, allowing you to access the upper frets easier. The bridge and fretboard aren’t mahogany, but they’re made from rosewood.
This material stabilizes its Aquila strings well compared to composites on lower-quality models.
Even though this tenor uke is electro-acoustic, it isn’t as expensive as other electric ukuleles. It’s equipped with two faders that control the treble and bass, so you can manipulate how dark or crisp the tone sounds.
Cordoba’s 20TM-CE is a well-made model that projects a warm, fuller sound. It’s a great choice for those that want a higher-quality tenor ukulele without spending too much.
- Mahogany hard-wood produces a warm sound
- Cut-away allows access to upper frets
- Rosewood stabilizes the strings well
- High action may make Aquila strings ‘buzz’
- Solid Mahogany top
- Mahogany back and sides, Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
- Soft cutaway with 2Band EQ
- Natural satin finish
- Aquila Nylgut Tenor strings (GCEA)
Beginners may find it difficult to choose their first tenor ukulele, but that’s where this model comes in. Lohanu’s LU-T model boasts impressive value and includes a well-equipped starter kit perfect for new players.
The tenor uke itself uses a mix of mahogany and Sapele. Mahogany is an impressive tonewood that reflects a somber, full sound. In contrast, Sapele creates crisp and clear high and mid notes.
However, this tonewood blend does use more laminate than solid wood.
A major advantage of this model is its arched back. An arched back gives sound more space to reflect off of, producing a continual, bolder sound compared to flat-backed options.
The fretboard is made from rosewood which isn’t that smooth, but it can help beginners become accustomed to the rigidity of the strings.
Other than the tenor ukulele, this model comes with a strap, gig bag, clip-on tuner, and another string set. It also includes video lessons with Joseph Chung, Lohanu’s founder.
The LU-T is a great instrument for those just starting, as it produces an impressive sound for a great value. New players will also benefit from the extra items.
These will suit them well until they want to spend more on accessories in the future.
- Includes well-equipped starter kit
- Impressive tonewood mix
- Arched back produces a full sound
- Includes beginner lessons
- Majority laminate wood
- BEST VALUE & BEST CHOICE! Soprano (21 in) is suitable for adults with small hands & children age 8 & under. Concert (24 in) is MOST POPULAR & has wider spaced frets. Concert is recommended for most adults & children age 9 & up. Tenor (26 in) is recommended for adults with large hands.
- EXCLUSIVE ARCHED BACK Almost Professional Sounding Instrument, produces a Deeper, Louder, Longer Sustained & Fuller sound than a flat back or a cheap solid wood ukulele! BEAUTIFUL DESIGN Sapele Wood, Premium White Bindings all around ukalalee body & neck. Chrome shiny tuning gears, keeps in perfect tuning.
- BEST & MOST COMPLETE ACCESSORIES! Includes 2 strap buttons installed, tuner, padded case, picks, extra Super Aquila Nylgut strings. EXCLUSIVE Leather Pick & Uke hanger! All accessories easily $40-50 Value!
- BONUS FREE EXCLUSIVE Step by Step Video Lessons for Beginners at a perfect pace, not too fast. 15+ lessons. Digital Songbooks included. Learn through favorite ukele sing along songs & Hawaiian Songs. Not available to public. $30-40+ Value!
- BEST UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME WARRANTY for Ukelele & All Accessories!! Complete Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back. Most 5 Star Reviews & most total reviews for ukulele. Lohanu means ‘Love, Family & Unity’. BEST Customer Service from a CANADIAN Company!
This well-made tenor ukulele comes in two finishes, natural and blue. They are both made from a complete mahogany body and have a stunning glossy appearance.
The instrument is easy to carry around, making it a good choice for beginners and professional musicians alike. The full mahogany body is a great tonewood that’s resilient to general wear and tear.
Its high-gloss finish means it’s able to create impressive, explicit, and harmonious tones.
While most of the EUT-M6 is made from mahogany, its inlay and fretboard are made of mother of pearl and richlite. These materials give this model an elegant appearance, but the richlite isn’t as durable as real hardwood.
Nevertheless, richlite is a nice alternative to rosewood, as it is relatively strong and resists moisture well.
This tenor ukulele is equipped with well-established D’Addario J87 strings and comes with a gig bag so you can transport it easily.
Overall, the EUT-M6 is a beautifully made instrument that delivers a rich, yet clear sound, making it suitable for a range of experience levels.
- Very well made
- Comes with a gig bag for easy portability
- Mahogany body creates bold and clear sound
- Professional musicians may dislike richlite fretboard
- Cut-out design may be unfamiliar
- ♫ The all-solid mahogany ukeleles boast a warm, balanced tone that resonates clearly with long, clean sustain. This ukalalee is the perfect tool for the musician looking to take their uke playing to the next level.
- ♫ The tenor size means excellent string spacing and louder projection, coupled with this instrument’s rich assortment of aesthetic design choices such as the addition of abalone Inlay means that this instrument is made to “wow”!
- ♫ The tried-and-true solid mahogany line features a classic look destined to last a lifetime. Using all solid wood allows the resonance and sound to improve as the uke is broken in.
- ♫ The import strings provide stability and durability sound not only can avoid stroke but also allows for a full-bodied sound when you play ukulele songs. With 1:18 gold agate die-cast ensures the ukulele the best Intonation, stays in tune for longer times.
- ♫ The cutaway design and quality Enya craftsmanship make this an instrument suitable for high levels of professional play and will be sure to stand out in the studio and on stage.
Yet another tenor ukulele from Kala, the KA-STG is a simple, yet tasteful choice. The design isn’t too complex, but its bare-bones look does emit a certain grace.
This well-known brand has focused on creating a resilient ukulele that projects an impressive sound.
The KA-STG has a hardwood spruce top, a tonewood that reflects sound well. This instrument is loud, and thanks to its mahogany sides and rear, you’ll notice a full and developed sound as you play.
This ukulele may be little, but it is powerful!
This is a nice tenor ukulele for beginners that want more out of their instrument. New players that started on laminate wood will find this model nice to progress to, becoming appreciative of its beautiful warm tones.
Complete with established Aquila Nylgut strings and an impressive binding, the KA-STG is great for intermediate players and beginners that are making a step up from their first tenor uke.
- Spruce top delivers Impressive loud sound
- High-quality craftsmanship at good value
- Sealed tuners
- Chords can be difficult to play
- Kala Ukulele, known for high-quality instruments, is the most recognized and sought after ukulele brand in the world. Kala ukuleles are the instrument of choice for schools - more people learn to play on a Kala than any other ukulele brand
Tenor ukuleles are becoming increasingly popular, but it can be tricky deciding which one you should purchase. We’ve listed some points to consider to make sure you choose the best tenor ukulele for your needs.
Who Are Tenor Ukuleles Made For?
Tenor ukuleles are greater in width, so they’re better suited to players with larger hands, as smaller fingers will struggle to reach the frets.
People who like to play solo or often perform live may prefer the tenor, as it sounds bolder and can handle more frequencies.
Everyone has their tone preference, but if you like a bolder sound, a tenor ukulele will likely be your best bet.
Are Tenor Ukuleles Good For Beginner Players?
All ukuleles, no matter if they are soprano, concert, or tenor, are all played in the same manner. There aren’t any huge disadvantages faced when choosing to learn on a tenor ukulele.
As the fretboard has more spaces in between them, beginners may find a tenor uke more comfortable, as their fingers have more space to move easily.
This is why you’ll often see beginners favoring tenor ukes over other models.
Despite this advantage, tenor ukuleles tend to be more expensive due to the necessary craftsmanship. The price is the only major disadvantage for new players.
Beginner soprano ukes are normally less expensive than beginner tenors.
However, it may take more time and practice to become accustomed to the smaller fretboard. This isn’t a major issue, as moving from one ukulele to another will always need a few adaptations.
Ukulele Features To Think About Before Purchasing
Choosing a tenor ukulele can be confusing, but don’t just buy the first one you see! You should know a little about their features and components beforehand, which we’ll cover below.
Two Types Of Ukuleles
Ukuleles come in two main types, acoustic and acoustic-electric. Acoustic ukuleles are designed to raise and reflect sound.
Acoustic-electric types have electronic parts within that use an amplifier to make sound bolder and louder.
The type you choose will depend on your taste. Acoustic ukuleles are normally better learners who haven’t played one before.
Acoustic-electric ukuleles are a good choice for live shows so that everyone can hear your performance, even if you’re playing to a large audience.
Materials And How It’s Made
If you want your ukulele to produce a nice sound, you need to look for one made with real wood. Established woods like spruce, zebra, mahogany, and Sapele create a pleasant, comforting sound.
If you want to go for the classic Hawaiian option, Koa wood ukuleles may be a nice choice, but they will cost more.
If you do choose a Koa wood uke, we’d recommend using it for shorter periods and purchasing another one for longer playing sessions.
This can prolong the Koa wood’s lifespan and avoid it depreciating over time, particularly if you’re looking to play it outdoors or travel with it.
Solid Or Laminated Wood?
The type of wood your ukulele is made from has a major effect on its tone, which is why they’re also known as tonewoods. For instance, Sapele creates higher tones that sound lighter and brighter.
On the other hand, mahogany creates lower, but temperate notes, creating a comforting sound.
They are expensive, but Koa wood is one of the better ones to go for. This tonewood emits a balanced tone that sounds better as time goes on. Koa wood ukuleles sound nice and bright when first made.
As they get older, the sound becomes louder and begins to sound warmer in style. Tonewoods come in several types, but they can be placed in two groups, solid (hardwood) and laminate.
Solid wood models reign supreme in higher-quality ukuleles. The hardwood creates a superior, authentic sound in contrast with synthetic woods. Despite this, genuine tonewoods don’t hold up as well to wear and tear.
Laminate wood can last for a very long time, but humidity and scratches can affect hardwood, shortening its lifespan in the process.
Laminate wood may last longer, but it won’t produce as intricate or complex a sound as hardwood can.
The wood you should choose depends on your needs. If you’re a professional musician, you’ll probably want your tenor ukulele to produce the best sound possible. In this case, solid wood will be a better choice.
Beginners or those who aren’t looking for a music career may prefer laminate, as it’s a lot cheaper.
Check The Fretboard
Don’t purchase a ukulele without checking the fretboard, as this component influences the way the instrument sounds. Check what material the fretboard is made out of.
Well-made fretboards are normally made from rosewood, a wood that maintains an authentic and harmonious sound.
Higher-end, more expensive ukuleles generally use ebony fretboards, a wood that produces a bolder sound.
Other than the fretboard material, you should also look at the fret markers. The fretboard may look nice, but it needs to be practical. Fret markers can be designed in several ways depending on the maker.
Some may have simple dots, while others are symbolized in patterns, like half-moons or flowers. Make sure that the fret markers allow you to play the tenor ukulele easily.
Seasoned ukulele players won’t need certain accessories, like cases or instructional lessons. Beginners or completely new players may benefit from a few extra items.
Even if these accessories aren’t the best quality, they may help you on your journey. You can always spend some more money on tuners, neck straps, or a robust case once you become accustomed to playing.
In this case, beginners may prefer an instrument that comes with a starter kit.
Some people may prefer tenor ukuleles that come with other features. These vary, but some examples include a specific finish, a money-back guarantee, or a unique design.
These aren’t necessary features, but maybe something to think about, particularly if you’re going to be playing the ukulele for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Tenor Better Than Concert Ukulele?
One type of ukulele isn’t better than the other. The one that suits you better will depend on a few factors. Concert and tenor ukuleles aren’t extremely different. They both have similar features, just in different sizes.
If you have long fingers or big hands, you may prefer more room on the fretboard, so tenors may be a better choice. Tenor ukes also have a slightly fuller and larger sound which some players may prefer.
However, if you have smaller hands or prefer a less bold tone, you may favor concert ukuleles over tenors.
Is A Tenor Ukulele Harder To Play?
Unlike their soprano or concert counterparts, tenor ukuleles normally have more frets with more space in between them.
Young children or people with smaller hands may find a tenor uke harder to play, as their fingers may not reach each fret easily.
On the other hand, people with larger hands or fingers will find tenor ukuleles easier to play with, as their fingers are well suited for the frets.
Guitar players trying out the ukulele may also find a tenor uke easier to play due to more spacing between the strings/
How Do I Know If My Ukulele Is Of Good Quality?
Before you purchase your ukulele, make sure that it has been crafted well. Examine the smaller features that can go unnoticed. Run your hands down the fretboard to make sure it’s smooth.
It shouldn’t have any rough parts that could hurt your fingers. The wood should be sanded down well and smooth all over. Frets shouldn’t extend over the neck or be too prominent.
Lastly, check that the ukulele neck isn’t slanted or at an angle, it should be perfectly straight.
Shopping for your ideal ukulele will never be something that you can do wholly by the books since each musician is different. Do you prioritize feel or sound? How important is it for your uke to be visually unique and stand out from others? What does your budget look like? Would you prefer to invest in a higher-quality instrument now or wait to get a feel for a starter ukulele first before you commit?
Make sure to weigh all the most important factors on your checklist against the features that each ukulele has to offer, and you’ll be on your way to strumming beside the bonfire in no time!
Tenor ukuleles are suitable for beginners and more experienced players, though those with smaller hands may prefer a soprano or concert option.
We hope our list above makes it easier for you to choose a tenor ukulele, but do make sure to go through our buying guide beforehand.
It’ll give you a better understanding of what makes some models better than others, such as choosing hardwood or laminate.
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