There are four types of ukulele– soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. A tenor ukulele is relatively bigger than the first two types. It is known to produce a deeper and fuller sound, which is why this particular type is preferred by a lot of musicians.
Whether you’re buying for yourself or thinking of giving it as a gift, the best tenor ukulele is waiting for you. To give you an idea of which one to choose, here are the top 10 choices to help you with your decision.
10 Best Tenor Ukuleles (2021 Review)
- Lohanu Tenor Size Ukulele LU-T
- Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele Bundle
- Kala Ka-KTG Tenor Hawaiian Ukulele
- Martin IZ Tenor Ukulele Natural
- Cordoba 30T All Solid Tenor Ukulele with Polyfoam Case
- Enya Tenor Ukulele EUT-X1
- Caramel CT904 Tenor Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Kala Mandy Harvey Ukulele
- Martin Smith Tenor Ukulele
- Oscar Schmidt Spalted Mango TENOR Acoustic/Electric Ukulele, OU7TE
With excellent quality and incredible features (all at an affordable price), it is without a doubt that the Lohanu Tenor Ukuleleis your top choice for the best tenor ukulele found in the market. Because of its tenor size, it produces a bigger sound, compared to other types of the ukulele.
With its sweet and eargasmic sound, the Lohanu Ukulele will easily leave you in awe. If you’re looking for rich tonality and solid construction, you’re better off with this tenor ukulele.
Boasting an arched back and great tonewood combination, this tenor ukulele produces a relatively fuller sound and longer sustain.
It features a rosewood fingerboard, hand-made ABS binding, and Chrome die-cast tuners to ensure its sound is in check at all times. Top it all off with Aquila strings, and you’ll be off making lovely music.
You don’t have to worry about accessories, because this tenor ukulele comes with all your necessities when it comes to playing this instrument. Included items are a strap, case, pick holder, two picks, and an extra set of Aquila strings. Talk about getting more than what you paid for!
- Arched back for better sound
- Strap buttons are pre-installed
- Has an extra set of Aquila strings
- Some encountered difficulties with the tuner
Featuring a very lovely abalone detail, a natural dual-herringbone wood pattern rosette, complete with a satin finish, you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off of the Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele.
Aside from its eye-catching design, the 20TM owns an excellent tonewood combination, which is the main reason for its heavenly sound and tonality. Once you’ll get to know its features, you won’t question why the 20TM is a great option as the best tenor ukulele.
Featuring a solid mahogany construction, you’ll be expecting the 20TM to have a rich sound with warmth and resonance. You also don’t have to worry about its volume, as it has quite a sufficient level. It also features very functional tuners which keep it in tune for a long time.
- Rich sound
- Loud volume
- Great tuners
- Low-quality gig bag
Now, this one will give you legit Hawaiian vibes. The Kala Ka-KTG Tenor Ukulele will have you feeling like you’re in a tropical getaway in Hawaii whenever you play this instrument. If your definition for the best tenor ukulele is a remembrance of its origin, then the Ka-KTG is for you.
The first and most important thing you need to know about the Ka-KTG is that it’s entirely made of Hawaiian Koa, which basically means solid construction and really pure and robust tonality. With its loud volume, the Ka-KTG will fill your room with its amazing tone.
It features D’Addario strings which helps improve its sound and playability. To complete its beauty, the Ka-KTG comes with a glossy finish, which tends to be beneficial as it helps in preserving its construction.
- Koa construction
- Nice volume
- Glossy finish
- Fretboard could be better
If you’re a long-time string instrument player, then you know that Martin guitars always produce the best-sounding guitars. Fortunately, the same observation reflects on its ukuleles.
Made as a tribute to the icon, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Martin comes up with its very own tenor ukulele that’s named after the said legendary artist. That being said, the Martin IZ Tenor Ukulele could be your best tenor ukulele.
The IZ Tenor Ukulele is one beautiful tenor ukulele, inside and out. Made from mahogany, the IZ produces a very warm sound that will easily sweep you off your feet. Boasting a natural color as its finish, the IZ would be greatly appreciated by those who are fans of neutral and earthy tones.
It also comes with Hawaiian Koa inlaid, and a single ringed rosette with black/white fiber.
Lastly, the IZ owns a dovetailed neck joint which makes for excellent durability and enhanced playability.
- Hawaiian Koa inlay
- Natural color
Joining Cordoba’s new 30 series is its very own 30T with premium features and attractive physical characteristics. Sporting Cordoba’s signature elevated headstock with a figured Acacia overlay, abalone rosette, and fan bracing, the 30T does not take its physical features for granted.
However, the 30T is not just all about its looks. Its sound quality and playability are the bomb, too.
Cordoba is backed by a well-known luthier, Pepe Romero Jr, which was partly the mastermind behind the designs on the 30 series. Featuring an all-out mahogany construction, the 30T produces a warm and balanced sound, plus it contributes to its light weight.
Adding to its easy playability is its wider fingerboard and handmade Spanish heel neck joint. Complete with a hand-rubbed polyurethane finish, the 30T gives of an excellent resonance.
- Has a reasonable price
- Nice quality
- Light tone
- A little heavy
Poor quality instruments can really get in the way of your playing experience. And if you are keen on mastering your ukulele playing skills, it is crucial that you work with an instrument that brings out the best in your music.
Many people have the impression that better quality always means higher cost. Luckily, there’s the ukulele brand Enya who aims to challenge the norms with its cost-effective musical instruments.
The Enya EUT-X1 is a 26” sized tenor ukulele with a High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) Koa top, back, and sides. It also comes with a mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard.
While HPL “woods” are nothing impressive, the material used on this ukulele still manages to provide the richest and fullest sounds among entry-level tenors. And the best part? It’s extremely affordable.
While it is not the cheapest option in the market, it is the most pocket-friendly among the higher-grade choices. The handmade details and the nicely built components make this a step up from its other entry-level opponents.
In my opinion, the Enya EUT-X1 is the instrument to get if you’re on a tight budget but do not like to be cheap with quality.
- A nicely built ukulele with a pocket-friendly price
- HPL woods still resonates a sound similar to a solid wood uke
- Comes with a bundle full of useful accessories such as a pick
- Capo etc.
- The tuner is a challenge to attach and use
- Sounds a bit too light for most users
How can you not notice the beautiful details on the Caramel CT904? I fell in love with this tenor ukulele the first time I saw it. Judging from the meticulous attention to detail and the ornate design, I know that this tenor will not disappoint me in terms of sound quality.
I had high expectations from the Caramel CT904. It comes with a laminated ebony body, finished with a neat matt coating. There’s also a walnut 18-fret fretboard and a matching walnut bridge to balance the rustic appearance of its body.
It finishes off with fine details such as the buffalo bone nut and saddle and closed geared tuners.
I like how this ukulele also comes with a Truss rod embedded on its neck, enabling users to adjust the neck. Moreover, it also comes with 3 Band EQ controls for electronics: Bass, Middle, and Treble.
In addition to this, it also has a chromatic tuner with LCD color display. So, if you’re looking for a stylish acoustic/electric guitar, make sure that the Caramel CT904 is on your list.
- Features a beautiful design
- Impressive workmanship and attention to detail
- An acoustic/electric that sounds authentic acoustically
- Comes with an adjustable neck
- The quality of the tuner needs some improvement
- Made with laminated ebony instead of solid wood
If you are a fan of the talent show competition America’s Got Talent, then you might be familiar with the name Mandy Harvey. The singer and ukulele player lost her hearing at the age of 19 but instead of giving up, she continued on with her music.
She was Simon’s Golden Buzzer in the 12th season of America’s Got Talent and now, Kala teams up with the inspiring singer to produce the Kala Mandy Harvey Ukulele.
The body and its top are made of mahogany, and the 17” scale mahogany neck comes with an 18-fret walnut fingerboard. To top everything off, it also has a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle, and Aquila Super Nylgut Strings. In short, it is made of all things beautiful and deserving of Mandy Harvey’s inspiring story.
What really got to me was the original artwork created by Mandy’s sister, making it a very special piece that hopes to give meaning to a player’s passion in learning music. Tonally, the guitar is full, rich, and warm – as expected from a good quality tenor size ukulele.
- Sports a beautiful design representing the inspiring story of Mandy Harvey
- Made with top-notch tonewoods
- Great craftsmanship and attention to detail
- Comes with good quality accessories
- A bit pricier than most ukuleles with the same quality
No ukulele list is ever complete without mentioning the Martin Smith Tenor Ukulele. Just one look at this rustic masterpiece and you know that it’s capable of producing a sound that’s as beautiful as it looks.
I highly recommend this ukulele for beginners of all ages simply because it’s fun and easy to play with.
The Sapele material on this ukulele delivers a sound that’s comparable to a low from a mahogany uke, but at the same time providing a middle-end warmth and a defined high end.
It’s basically everything a ukulele player could ever ask for. The Aquila strings and cutaway design are great additions in making this guitar one of the most comfortable ukuleles to play in this list.
- Made with good quality materials
- Great craftsmanship from a well-trusted brand
- Produces amazing lows
- Middle ends and high ends
- Thanks to the premium quality Sapele
- Has Aquila strings for comfortable and easy playing
- Comes with useful accessories such as a tuner
- A strap
- Cleaning cloth and a gig bag
- The included tuner can be better in terms of quality
I have to be honest; I am enamored by the appearance of the Oscar Schmidt OU7TE and it is one of the biggest reasons why it is in on my personal list of favorites. Just by its face value, it’s not hard to tell that it showcases great craftsmanship and top-notch quality materials.
The OUT7E is made with Spalted Mango top, back, and sides. While it’s not a material you come across very often, this wood material produces a full and rich tenor sound like no other.
I also love the small details on this uke from the synthetic bone nut and saddle to the attractive abalone binding and rosette. The attention to detail alone is well worth the money already but the OU7TE isn’t just for show.
I believe that this ukulele is the best solution for intermediate players. While it may not be the most budget-friendly option in this list, the overall quality of this uke is worth the investment. It will age with you without compromising the quality.
It comes with deluxe Grover chrome tuners with ebonite buttons – a step up from the standard tuners on other ukes. In short, this uke is for players who want a step-up from the entry-level ukuleles but do not want to spend too much on a higher-end option.
- Sports a beautiful and unique design
- Made with good quality wood
- Nicely built with great craftsmanship
- Comes with a deluxe Grover tuner for easy tuning
- One of the more expensive options on the list
- Does not come with extra gear unlike other more affordable options
Factors To Consider When Buying a Tenor Ukulele
Consider Its Shape
You may not realize it, but there are actually different kinds of tenor ukulele shapes. These shapes are the traditional or eight-shaped or pineapple-shaped one. However, the former type is the most commonly used shape, as it’s the traditional design.
The eight-shaped body of a tenor ukulele is curved on the upper body. This type is easier to handle since it has the same shape of a guitar. It also gives you more control over the strings.
On the other hand, a tenor ukulele that’s shaped like a pineapple is a less likely used design. Only the pros and more experienced players find this type manageable.
The strings are closer and gives its users the options to create more complex notes. This design is also suitable for users with faster playing motions with the ukulele.
The Kind of Tone Wood
Tenor ukuleles are commonly made with solid or laminate wood. The best tenor ukuleles commonly uses solid woods, so take not of that. Solid wood construction provides fuller and richer tone, especially as it ages.
On the other hand, a laminated wood construction preserves its appearance for a much longer time because of the number of layers that are laminated.
But, one downside of this route is that ukuleles made from laminate woods may tend to weigh heavier. Some also say that ukuleles made with laminated woods give off a consistent sound.
Whichever wood construction you choose, make sure to pick the best tenor ukulele with a solid and sturdy construction, which won’t wear out quickly.
Mind The Fretboard, Too
Aside from the tonewood, you should also check out its fretboard as it also affects how the ukulele would sound. One way to check if the fretboard has a good quality is to check out its material.
Usually, good-quality fretboards are made out of rosewood as it keeps the sound sturdy and consistent, High-end ukuleles and guitars have ebony fretboards, which makes the sound fuller.
Aside from the material, fretboards should also have a lot of fret markers, as it helps play the tenor ukulele without hassle. We might want a good-looking fretboard, but we also need a functional fretboard. Fret markers are represented differently, and it’s up to the manufacturers to put their own touch on it.
You may know by now that there are different types of strings—metal and nylon-wound, and there might even be gut strings. The type of string also affects how the tenor ukulele sounds.
Steel or metal strings give more durability, however, they are more preferred by experts and professionals. If you’re a beginner, or just don’t consider yourself as a pro, then it’s best if you use nylon strings to avoid damaging your instrument.
Now, gut strings are not commonly used when compared to the other types. Gut strings are animal-based and can only last for a while. The sound they produce might not be as full, but they create a light touch that would still work well in a ukulele when used properly.
So, if you’re thinking about buying the best tenor ukulele, consider the Lohanu Tenor Ukulele as your top choice. It produces a sound that’s loud, at the same time, sweet. You’ll feel like you’re in a Hawaiian paradise every time you spend your time with this tenor ukulele. Plus, who wouldn’t love a tenor ukulele that won’t break the bank?
The Lohanu Tenor Ukulele features an arched back that produces an overall great sound, which is also one of the reasons its users love it. You also don’t have to worry if the strings wear out, as it comes with an extra set of Aquila strings. However, users attested that they had difficulty with the enclosed tuners.