Best Tenor Ukulele

Best Tenor Ukuleles for Beginners

If you’re looking to pick up a new instrument, the ukulele is a great option! They are super portable, versatile, and have a familiar sound everybody loves. Tenor ukuleles, in particular, are a brilliant choice. 

You already know how intimidating buying a new instrument can be. Tenor ukuleles can be expensive and use a lot of confusing musical jargon. 

Below, you’ll find our five favorite tenor ukuleles that are available today. This review considers the quality of their construction, the sound they produce, and their price. 

Whether you’re a complete beginner looking for a bundle deal that will provide you with everything you need to get started, or you’re an experienced musician looking to take your music to the next level, we’ve got you covered!

What Exactly Are Tenor Ukuleles?

Size and Scale

A tenor ukulele typically has a scale length — the distance from the nut to the saddle — of around 17 inches. This makes it larger than both soprano and concert ukuleles, giving it a deeper and fuller sound. Its body is more extended, providing a more substantial resonance chamber, which contributes to its rich tones.

Sound Profile

Tenor ukuleles offer a warm, rich sound with a bit more bass than smaller ukuleles. The larger size provides a broader range of tones and allows for a more substantial dynamic range. Musicians appreciate the tenor ukulele for its versatility; it can shine in a solo performance setting while still holding its own in ensemble settings.

Playing Comfort

For beginners, the tenor ukulele’s larger fret spacing can be a boon, making it easier to learn and play chords without feeling cramped. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals with larger hands and fingers. The wider neck also facilitates more complex chord formations and fingerpicking styles.

String Configuration

Traditionally, tenor ukuleles come with a high-G tuning (G-C-E-A), but they can also be strung with a low-G string to give it a broader range of sounds, lending an additional depth to its already rich sound profile.

Materials and Construction

Like all ukuleles, tenor ukuleles can be crafted from a wide variety of woods and materials. Common choices include mahogany for a warm, rich sound, and spruce for a brighter, more vibrant tone. The choice of wood can significantly affect the instrument’s sound, so beginners should consider this aspect when choosing their first tenor ukulele.

Versatility

Given its rich sound and comfortable playability, the tenor ukulele is a versatile instrument, well-suited to a wide range of musical styles. Whether you’re strumming chords to accompany a song or picking out intricate melodies note by note, the tenor ukulele is up to the task, making it a favorite choice for many beginner and intermediate players.

Best Tenor Ukuleles (Quick Summary)

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Aquila Strings, Online Lessons, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Aquila Strings, Online Lessons, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Price not available
$209.00
$99.99
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
Price not available
Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
$209.00
Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Aquila Strings, Online Lessons, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Aquila Strings, Online Lessons, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
$99.99

1. Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele
  • ROOMY FRETBOARD: This uke’s larger tenor-sized body exhibits an impressive level of projection and volume, making it perfect for players who find concert ukuleles a bit too small.
  • DYNAMIC RANGE: Featuring all-mahogany construction, the 15TM produces a well-balanced tone, with superb dynamic range and pleasant overtones.
  • TOP QUALITY WOODS: This handmade tenor ukulele features mahogany top, back, and sides, giving this small bodied ukulele a full, rich sound.
  • EASY TUNING: Córdoba Silver with Pearl Button Tuners make it a breeze to tune your ukulele. 19 frets with fret position marks at 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th frets on neck and top of fingerboard provide a visual indication of where you are on the fingerboard.
  • SOLID CRAFTSMANSHIP & ELEGANT DETAILING: Appointments like the 15TM’s abalone-style rosette and cream body and fingerboard binding set this ukulele apart from other similar models. Beginners and professionals alike will appreciate the 15TM’s good looks and easy playability.

If you’re looking for a tenor ukulele from a reputable brand that is affordable, suitable for learners, and well-built, look no further than the cordoba 15TM tenor ukulele. In fact, this budget-friendly ukulele is the best of the best of quality.

With a mahogany top, back, and sides, this ukulele produces a wonderfully rich sound with a warm tone. The sound projection is also quite exceptional, especially when you consider the price tag!

The Cordoba 15TM is perfect for beginners who take learning the ukulele seriously. Thanks to the silver tuners with pearl buttons, this model is incredibly easy to tune. This takes the pressure off a little if you’re still trying to get your head around the basics. 

The craftsmanship and detail of this tenor ukulele really make it stand out from the others within its price range. It boasts an abalone-style rosette and cream body and fingerboard binding set, which really sets it apart from other models. 

Honestly, we love pretty much everything that Cordoba produces, and this ukulele is absolutely no exception. The construction is exceptional and the tone it produces is well-balanced. 

Pros

  • Cordoba – has an excellent reputation for ukuleles. 
  • Mahogany construction – produces a well-balanced, warm tone. 
  • Silver tuners with pearl buttons – makes tuning the ukulele much easier. 
  • Budget-friendly considering the quality of this ukulele.

Cons

  • No bag – you have to purchase a gig back separately. 

2. Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba 20TM Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
  • Solid mahogany top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Natural satin finish
  • Aquila Nylgut Tenor strings (GCEA)

If you are want something a little bigger, consider purchasing the Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele. It has a less striking appearance than the 15TM. However, the quality and tone of this instrument really give it a unique personality. 

Thanks to its solid mahogany top and laminate mahogany back and sides, the sound produced by this ukulele is incredibly warm and vibrant. In fact, unlike many other tenor ukuleles, the Cordoba 20TM still produces a good high-end response. 

This tenor ukulele comes fitted with these features:

  • A rosewood bridge that is easy to move your fingers along for smooth playing.
  • A rosette with a dual herringbone pattern so you can appreciate its beauty (and brag a bit)
  • Aquila Nylgut Tenor strings to make your notes sound sweeter
  • Cordoba nickel tuning machines with pearl buttons for the most accurate notes

You can play it at any skill level. 

Even though this ukulele may look a bit more basic than the first on this list, it is the simplicity of the design that makes it truly a sight to behold. It has a natural satin finish that gives it the perfect glow. 

The sound it produces is unique. However, this model isn’t for you if you’re on a tighter budget. 

Pros

  • Solid mahogany top – produces a wonderful sound. 
  • Good high-end response – some tenor ukuleles have a subpar high-end response. 
  • Suitable for any skill level – this ukulele is ideal whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced player. 
  • Natural satin finish – makes for a classic-looking ukulele. 

Cons

  • Price – this is less budget-friendly than others on this list. 

3. Kala MK-T Tenor Ukulele

Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strap, Aquila Strings, Online Lessons, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
  • Agathis body with a satin finish
  • Tenor Size
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Mahogany neck
  • Fret position marks on fingerboard

If you’ve been hunting for the perfect tenor ukulele, it is likely that you’ve come across Kala. Kala is one of the biggest ukulele manufacturers out there! The company produces brilliant pieces of equipment and caters to every budget. 

The Kala MK-T Tenor Ukulele is ideal if you’re shopping on a budget, but don’t want to compromise on sound quality. The mahogany body means that the sound projection of this model is comparable to more expensive options. 

Kala tailors this model to be more affordable. They make the nut and saddle of plastic. However, this doesn’t result in a compromise on the sound quality or playability of the instrument at all. 

Besides being a quality piece of musical equipment, this ukulele also looks the part. The dark wood finish and grain pattern give it a classic-meets-cool, retro feel. If you’re hoping that your ukulele will make you look cooler, buy the MK-T. 

It doesn’t have the same quality of construction or number of features as the more expensive options on this list. Still, it is a really great and affordable piece of kit. We also love that it comes as a bundle! This is perfect for beginners who want to reduce their search time for a complete set of equipment. 

Pros

  • Mahogany body – means that the tone and sound projection are great, considering the price. 
  • Dark wood finish and grain pattern – make for a cool and retro look. 
  • Bundle – ideal for beginners and those who want to save money
  • Budget-friendly perfect – for people looking for an inexpensive but quality ukulele. 

Cons

  • Materials – not as high-quality as others on this list. 

4. Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele 

Enya Tenor Ukulele 26 Inch AAA Solid Mahogany Cutaway Gloss Ukelele for beginner Intermediate Advanced(EUT-M6)
  • ♫ 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.

If you’re a musician who wants to take their practice to the next level, look no further than the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele. It is a little more expensive than others on this list, but it is also superior in terms of quality. 

The first thing you’ll notice when you look at this model is the unique fingerboard. It features a completely mesmerizing design that impresses! When combined with the classic look of the body, the Enya EUT-M6 stands out from the rest. 

However, if you take your eyes off the wonderful design, you’ll notice the overall quality of this ukulele. The solid mahogany construction means that the resonance and sound will improve as you use it. 

This ukulele produces a wonderfully full-bodied sound and boasts a warm, balanced tone. It resonates clearly with a clean sustain. The cutaway design and quality of the Enya craftsmanship really set this instrument apart. 

Enya built it with incredible quality and has a beautiful design. It sounds absolutely magnificent. What more could you want from a uke? 

Pros

  • Intricate fingerboard design – makes for a beautiful instrument. 
  • Solid mahogany construction – means the resonance and sound will improve. 
  • Quality craftsmanship – means this is a very sturdy and high-quality piece of equipment. 

Cons

  • Price – this is more suited to experienced musicians with larger budgets. 

5. Kala Mandy Harvey Starter Kit

KALA, 4-String Ukulele, Right, Mahogany & White, Tenor LTP-MH
  • This uke comes with everything a beginner needs to start playing songs right away, including Mandy’s most popular songs, accessible via the free Kala App, free online lessons, or the included booklet
  • The Mandy Harvey Learn to Play Signature Series Tenor Ukulele is made of Satin Mahogany and includes white binding and original artwork reminiscent of 1800s Swiss folk art, The delicate vine pattern with birds and flowers was created by Mandy’s sister, making this a very personal, one-of-a-kind piece of art
  • 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
  • The kit includes a padded ukulele gig bag with custom artwork, Kala Klipz Chromatic Clip-On Tuner, a 20-page Quick Start Guide with information about your new ukulele, all the tips you need to get started and FREE, easy to follow online lessons through the Kala Brand Music website
  • What makes the ukulele a great instrument to play is that you don’t need a lot of accessories to be successful, We can help you get in tune and start playing songs today

We just had to include this wonderful KalaMandy Harvey Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit. If you’re a total beginner, this product is perfect for you. 

Kala made the ukulele in this kit of satin mahogany. This makes for a great-sounding instrument that is also quite affordable. In fact, to create this instrument, Kala collaborated with Mandy, a deaf singer-songwriter, to make learning the ukulele easier and more accessible. 

You notice that Kala uniquely decorated this ukulele with a beautiful and unique pattern. Mandy’s sister designed this pattern. It includes artwork reminiscent of 1800s Swiss folk art. This really makes this kit a unique one. 

The best thing about this ukulele is that it comes with everything you need to get started. This bundle includes the following

  • A padded ukulele gig bag with custom artwork
  • A 20-page Quick Start Guide with all the information necessary for you to start learning ASAP
  • Five of Mandy’s most popular songs! 

When we tested this ukulele, the overall quality of the kit surprised us. Even though the ukulele isn’t as good quality as some others in this list, the bundle makes the process of learning ukulele oh-so-easy! After you purchase, you also gain access to easy-to-follow online tutorials through the Kala Brand Music website. 

Pros

  • Made from satin mahogany – affordable and well-sounding material. 
  • Beautiful design – makes for a unique and bold instrument. 
  • Bundle – this kit provides everything you need to get started. 
  • Access to online tutorials – perfect for beginners. 

Cons

  • Quality of instrument – not as good as others on this list. 

6. Martin T1K Tenor Ukulele

Hand-Rubbed Finish, Tenor Ukulele Neck Shape with Standard Taper
  • PROFESSIONAL SOUND: The top, back, and sides of Martin’s T1K ukuleles are constructed from solid, Hawaiian koa wood. Hawaiian koa allows the ukulele to deliver a crisp, clear sound. The tenor body style complements the solid wood construction by providing soft and pleasing tones, allowing the musician to enjoy the captivating melody.
  • SUPERIOR APPEARANCE: The Martin T1K tenor uke is expertly handmade and boasts a solid Hawaiian koa top, back, and sides. Each instrument is finished with a satin lacquer. It has an applied dovetail neck joint, non-scalloped brace, standard taper neck, and nickel open gear tuners, making it look as captivating as it sounds.
  • PREMIUM HANDMADE UKULELE: Handmade from the highest-quality wood, each Martin ukulele is built to stand up to late-night jams, long studio sessions, outdoor playing, and plenty of strumming or picking. Each wooden ukulele is designed from high-quality materials and delivers unique designs, professional sounds, and enjoyable playing.
  • ENHANCED PLAYABILITY: In addition to Martin’s iconic tone, known worldwide, our acoustic ukuleles deliver enhanced playability that makes playing a pleasure, no matter your experience or skill level. Whether you’re playing traditional Hawaiian music, rock, country, folk, or bluegrass, these ukuleles deliver a natural playing experience that you will love.
  • MARTIN UKULELES & GUITARS: Martin’s superior ukulele, guitar, and string products remain the choice of musicians around the world for their unrivaled quality, craftsmanship, and tone. Still handmade. Still the standard. Martin instruments are the real deal—not an imitation.

The Martin T1K Tenor Ukulele is one of the popular choices among both beginners and experienced players. It’s igh-quality instrument that is built to satisfy both beginners and seasoned players. Leveraging solid Koa construction, it delivers a vibrant, rich sound that is expected to mature beautifully over time. Though it comes at a slightly premium price point, its construction, sound quality, and the reputation of the Martin brand justify the investment.

Pros

  1. Sound Quality: The Martin T1K offers a rich, full sound that is characteristic of tenor ukuleles, with a warmth and depth that will please discerning ears.
  2. Construction: Crafted with solid Hawaiian Koa, this ukulele not only looks beautiful with its rich grain and hues but also offers a resonant and vibrant sound that improves with age.
  3. Playability: The T1K has a comfortable neck and well-spaced frets which make playing, even for extended periods, a pleasant experience.
  4. Brand Reputation: Martin is a well-established brand known for producing high-quality instruments, and the T1K lives up to this reputation.

Cons

  1. Price: For beginners on a tight budget, the T1K might seem a bit pricey. However, it is a worthy investment for serious players.
  2. Aesthetics: While the T1K has a simple and elegant design, some users might desire more flashy inlays and detailing which are absent on this model.

7. Kala Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

Makala Tenor Mahogany Ukulele by Kala (MK-T)
  • The Makala Classic line by Kala is simply the best entry-level ukulele on the market
  • Kala focuses on the essentials – quality at an affordable price – making any Makala the perfect ukulele to begin with
  • Modeled after mahogany ukuleles made over 100 years ago, the Makala line is a truly traditional, vintage ukulele that emits a soft, warm, full-bodied, balanced tone and ages beautifully.
  • The Makala Series is built using the same construction standards as all our Kala Ukuleles. Comes complete with a beautiful Walnut fingerboard and bridge, Mahogany neck, brass frets, and Aquila Super Nylgut strings from Italy
  • Kala ukuleles are played by some of the most renowned players around the world including: twenty one pilots, Vance Joy, dodie, EatMyUke, The Ukulele Teacher, and Zac Brown.

The Kala Mahogany Tenor Ukulele stands as a popular choice among beginners and intermediate players, and for good reasons. Offering a warm and robust sound courtesy of its mahogany construction, it presents a pleasing auditory experience that matches its visual aesthetics brought forward by a satin finish.

Its affordability does not compromise its build quality, making it a value for money investment for budding ukulele enthusiasts.

While it has some minor downsides, such as the occasional need to replace strings or address quality control issues, it generally promises a satisfying playing experience, making it a strong contender in its price bracket.

Pros

  1. Sound Quality: This Kala tenor ukulele is noted for producing a warm and full-bodied sound, a characteristic brought forward by its mahogany construction.
  2. Affordability: One of the standout features of this ukulele is its affordability, making it an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate players alike.
  3. Construction: Kala is known for its consistent build quality, and this ukulele is no exception with its sturdy mahogany build paired with a walnut fingerboard and bridge.
  4. Appearance: The satin finish not only enhances the natural grain of the mahogany but also gives it a sleek and classic look.
  5. Playability: Many users praise the ukulele’s playability, noting its comfortable neck and well-dressed frets which facilitate smooth playing.

Cons

  1. String Quality: The ukulele comes with Aquila Super Nylgut strings which, while decent, might not be to everyone’s liking, prompting a potential string change to better suit personal preferences.
  2. Consistency: While Kala generally maintains good quality control, there have been occasional reports of minor cosmetic imperfections or buzzing issues.

8. Lohanu Bundle Kit

The Lohanu Bundle Kit Tenor Ukulele emerges as a beginner-friendly option, bringing together a good-quality ukulele with a host of essential accessories that add to the convenience and readiness to start playing immediately.

The instrument, crafted with decent materials, delivers a warm sound, though it may not meet the standards of more discerning, experienced players.

Its affordability and the value-added bundle make it a popular choice for those embarking on their ukulele journey.

Pros

  1. Value-Added Bundle: The bundle kit comes with essential accessories including a strap, tuner, extra strings, and a padded case which adds value and convenience for beginners.
  2. Affordability: Considering the bundle of accessories it comes with, this Lohanu ukulele kit offers great value for money, making it an economical choice for beginners.
  3. Build and Design: Featuring a sapele/mahogany top and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the ukulele not only looks appealing but also offers a warm and pleasant sound.

Cons

  1. Sound Quality: While it offers a decent sound, it might not satisfy more experienced players seeking a ukulele with a rich and full-bodied tone.
  2. Quality Control: There have been sporadic reports of quality control issues, including concerns with fret buzz and inconsistent setup out of the box.

9. Kala Koa Gloss Tenor

Kala KA-KTG Tenor Hawaiian Ukulele – Koa Gloss, MultiColored, Tenor
  • Body size: Tenor
  • Top: Hawaiian koa
  • Back and sides: Hawiian koa
  • Trim: Maple with white and black accents
  • Headstock: Slotted with laser-etched mother of-pearl inlay

The Kala Koa Gloss Tenor Ukulele stands as a testament to Kala’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Leveraging the native Hawaiian koa wood, it delivers a sound that is both rich and vibrant, promising a delightful playing and auditory experience.

Its beautiful gloss finish amplifies the natural beauty of the koa wood, though potential buyers should note the natural variability in the wood grain.

Despite its higher price point, it offers value for money through its build quality, sound projection, and resonance, making it a suitable choice for both intermediate and advanced players seeking to invest in a high-quality instrument.

Pros

  1. Construction: This model showcases Kala’s craftsmanship with a solid build quality, featuring a full-bodied koa wood top, back, and sides that not only look stunning but also offer durability.
  2. Finish: The gloss finish not only enhances the beautiful grain of the koa wood but also provides a smooth and sleek surface, adding to the ukulele’s aesthetic appeal.
  3. Playability: Players often commend the playability of this ukulele, highlighting the comfortable neck profile and well-aligned frets that facilitate a smooth playing experience.
  4. Projection and Resonance: This tenor ukulele offers a notable projection and resonance, allowing for a fuller sound that is both warm and vibrant.

Cons

  1. Price: The Kala Koa Gloss Tenor is on the pricier side, which might deter beginners or players on a budget from opting for this model.
  2. Variability in Wood Grain: While koa wood is undeniably beautiful, there can be considerable variation in the wood grain, meaning that not all units will have the same visual appeal.

10. Oscar Schmidt Tenor Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt OU28TE 8-String Tenor Ukulele, Satin Finish
  • Oscar Schmidt OU28TE 8-string tenor size ukulele, mahogany, active electronics, satin finish
  • Handcrafted quality
  • Fine Mahogany top, back and sides
  • Eight strings with two octave and two unison tuning

The Oscar Schmidt Tenor Ukulele range provides a decent option for both beginners and intermediate players, offering a good balance between price and quality.

Boasting respectable craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal, these ukuleles are generally known to deliver a pleasing sound with a good amount of warmth and resonance. Despite occasional inconsistencies in build and factory setup, many find them to be a reliable choice, with a variety of options to suit different preferences.

For those willing to possibly undertake minor setup adjustments, an Oscar Schmidt tenor ukulele could prove to be a valuable companion in their musical journey.

Pros

  1. Sound Quality: The Oscar Schmidt Tenor Ukuleles are generally well-received for their sound quality. They tend to offer a balanced tone with a decent amount of resonance and warmth.
  2. Build and Craftsmanship: Oscar Schmidt has a reputation for creating instruments with good craftsmanship. Their tenor ukuleles often feature quality wood construction, leading to a durable and aesthetically pleasing instrument.
  3. Aesthetics: Many of the tenor ukuleles from Oscar Schmidt come with attractive inlays and bindings, which add to the visual appeal of the instrument.
  4. Price: These ukuleles are often priced reasonably, providing good value for the money, especially for beginners and intermediate players.

Cons

  1. Inconsistency: While many report positive experiences with these ukuleles, there have been instances of inconsistency in terms of build quality and sound production.
  2. Factory Setup: Some users have noted that the factory setup of these ukuleles might require adjustments for optimal playability, including potential fretwork and action adjustment.

Buyers Guide For the Best Tenor Ukuleles

If you’re interested in learning how to play the ukulele, you’re probably feeling excited about what the future holds for you. 

In fact, you’re likely daydreaming about late summer evenings on the beach playing your friends’ favorite songs around the campfire, calm evenings spent learning how to be a better musician, or even playing as a part of a funky folk band at open mic nights. 

Before you get there, you need to buy the perfect ukulele for you. This purchase can be an intimidating or stressful one, especially for beginners.

That’s why we’ve included this handy buyers’ guide. It comprises every detail you need to know before purchasing a ukulele. We cover everything, from what material you should look out for to how to pick a uke that matches your skill level. Check it out below!

What type of material makes the best ukuleles?

You’ve likely noticed that in every review, we have mentioned the ukulele’s material. The materials for constructing ukuleles have a significant effect on the sound that a ukulele produces. 

The most important material is the type of wood for the uke. Different woods transmit the vibration to create the sound that the ukulele produces. The properties of the wood, such as density, thickness, and pore structure, determine the tone of the uke. 

Below, we’ve listed the most common types of wood and their unique properties.

1. Mahogany 

This is the most common type of wood in tenor ukuleles. In terms of density, it sits comfortably in the middle ground, which provides a more rounded and woody tone, particularly in the midrange. 

Thanks to its density, mahogany is also flexible. This allows the top to vibrate freely, resulting in the supple uke sound that you’re used to. If you want a clear and direct sound and projection, mahogany is a great choice. 

2. Nato 

Nato a popular material for beginner-style ukuleles. It has quite a similar grain pattern and tone to mahogany, but it places more emphasis on treble notes. It is also more dense than mahogany. 

If you’re a beginner, a nato ukulele is a good choice. However, if you’re a more experienced musician, opt for mahogany, as it is the better option, especially for tenor ukuleles. 

3. Koa 

If you’re looking for a traditional Hawaiian ukulele, you will need to look for koa material. Koa is the most authentic wood. It only grows in the Hawaiian Islands and is the best material for traditional ukuleles. 

Koa is more dense than mahogany. However, it still makes a very warm and mellow tone. It resembles mahogany in tone, in the sense that it is clear and warm, but it has a bit more of a bright feel to it. 

Laminate Vs. Solid Wood – which is better for tenor ukuleles?

Some ukuleles use laminate wood, and others use solid wood. There are pros and cons to each type. Check them out below to figure out which one is more appropriate for you. 

Laminate 

Laminate is less expensive than solid wood. Ukuleles using laminate wood are usually less pricey than those made from solid wood. Laminate is less likely to warp or change according to atmospheric conditions, which makes laminate ukuleles far more durable. 

However, laminate ukulele tops are stiff, which prevents them from vibrating as freely as you would like. Laminating wood removes some of the tonal qualities of wood. They may not produce as rich a sound.

Solid Wood 

Solid wood is the preferred option for seasoned musicians. They provide a more authentic, deep, and rich sound, which gets much better with time. Solid woods produce a more mature sound as they age. 

Saying that, solid wood ukuleles do come with their downsides. They are less durable than their laminate counterparts and require more care and maintenance. You also need to keep solid-wood ukuleles in an environment with the right humidity and temperature, so that the wood doesn’t warp. 

What is a good price range for tenor ukuleles?

The typical price of a good-quality ukulele is usually somewhere between $200 and $300. However, if your budget is less than that, don’t let this put you off learning the instrument.

You can find a more affordable ukulele that will work just as well when you’re a beginner. Just keep in mind that more affordable models likely won’t be of the same quality as the more expensive ones. However, they can still provide you with everything you need as a student. 

What ukuleles are best for beginners? 

If you’re a beginner, don’t think that you need an all-singing, all-dancing, super expensive ukulele to succeed. Rather, look for ukuleles or bundle deals specifically for learners. 

Such products likely include access to useful tutorials or tuning tools that will make your life as a student easier. Try not to spend too much on this new potential hobby (or possible future career). If you don’t enjoy playing the uke as much as you thought you would, you won’t lose a lot of money. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Big Is A Tenor Ukulele? 

Tenor ukuleles are a little larger than your average ukulele. They are usually around 30 inches long. However, they still have the standard ukulele tuning of G-C-E-A.

Is The Ukulele Easier To Learn Than The Guitar? 

Most consider the ukulele to be much easier to learn than the guitar and other stringed instruments (e.g. the mandolin). The strings are more gentle on your fingers. There are also fewer strings, which makes chords and scales significantly easier to understand. 

Is Tenor Better Than Concert Ukulele? 

Tenor ukuleles have a much fuller and deeper sound, with almost a bass-y tone. However, this doesn’t mean that tenor ukuleles are better than concert ukuleles. Each has its own merits.

What Ukulele Does Billie Eilish Use? 

Billie Eilish currently uses a concert acoustic-electric style Fender ukulele. It has a kind of gothic but fun style that has become synonymous with the singer. 

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