6 Best Baritone Ukuleles In 2020 Across All Budgets

Have you been searching the web high and low for the best baritone ukulele, but you can’t seem to find the perfect one?

Maybe you’ve grown out of your concert or just want to learn something new. Either way, I’ve done the hard work (so you don’t have to) and put together a list of the best baritone ukuleles I can find.

No matter your budget or experience level, your next new baritone uke is on this list.

Snapshot: Top 6 Baritone Ukuleles

  1. Oscar Schmidt OU55CE Acoustic-Electric Baritone UkuleleBest Under $1000
  2. Lanikai ACST Baritone UkuleleBest Under $500
  3. Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Mahogany Baritone UkuleleBest under $300
  4. Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone UkuleleBest Under $200
  5. Kmise Mahogany Baritone UkuleleBest Under $100
  6. Lohanu LU-B Baritone Ukulele

Picking a Great Baritone Ukulele

Throughout my research, I wanted to consider the various reasons why people play baritone ukuleles. It’s not quite as straight forward when it comes to baritones.

Some people play the baritone simply because their hands are too big to play a soprano ukulele or concert ukulele, some because they love the classic baritone sound. If you want to play the tenor ukulele then you can check out our post on those.

Then there are the people like me who are completely obsessed with ukuleles and want them all. So, I made sure there’s a uke on this list for you whether you need a neck with extra room, you want that deep baritone sound, or just want to add to your collection.

Of course, I also took craftsmanship and attention to detail into consideration, as we all know a well-crafted uke gives the best sound.

Best Baritone Ukuleles in 2020

1. Oscar Schmidt OU55CE Acoustic-Electric Baritone Ukulele –  Best Under $1000

Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OU55CE Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
21 Reviews
Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OU55CE Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
  • Select Hawaiian Koa top, back & sides
  • Nyatoh neck, Rosewood fingerboard and bridge

In the market for your first acoustic-electric baritone ukulele? Look no further… This beautiful traditional Hawaiian koa uke is classic in both its sound and its look. 

Body

I love most traditional Hawaiian koa Ukuleles but this Oscar Schmidt Baritone is just beautiful. When I’m buying a high-end ukulele I always want to make sure there is something unique about the craftsmanship. Well, the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE definitely doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Its two-piece koa top is beautifully book-matched, giving its body a lovely grained pattern.

My favorite thing about this baritone ukulele, however, is its cutaway. Now, if you’ve read any of my blogs before, you’ll know I love a ukulele with a cutaway. First of all, they are just so darn cute, but second of all, they make playing so much more comfortable. Especially when it comes to an acoustic-electric ukulele like this one which is perfect for on-stage playing.

Neck & Hardware

Now, let’s talk about this nyatoh neck. Have you heard of Nyatoh? I certainly hadn’t until recently. When you’re splashing a couple of hundred dollars on a uke, you want to make sure you know exactly what its made of. That way, you know it will last through years of playing.

The last thing you want is to buy a beautiful uke, only for it to fall apart in your hands. Ugh, now that’s a thought. Don’t worry though, nyatoh is tropical lumber known for its durability. So, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing your new favorite ukulele will serve you for years to come.

Sound

As baritone ukuleles go, the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is actually very bright sounding. Baritone ukuleles are usually quite low and mellow. So, if you love the classic ukulele sound but just need a little bit more room for your hands, you’ll love this uke. I know how frustrating it can be when the only reason you’re looking for a baritone is that concerts and sopranos are just too small to play.

If you want the comfort of a larger instrument but without losing that traditional Hawaiian sound, this is the uke for you.

Electronics

The Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is fitted with a UK2000 Active EQ Pickup system. Means nothing to you? Okay, let me explain… If you have experience with acoustic-electric ukes, you’ve probably heard that horrible, quacky sound that some pickups produce. So, when buying an acoustic-electric ukulele (or any instrument for that matter) I tend to look for ukes with active rather than passive pickups.

Why? You ask… Well, built-in pickups produce a much cleaner, natural sound. This is one of the many reasons I think the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is the best ukulele under $1000. There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a baritone just to get that traditional sound when there are acoustic-electrics like this on the market.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Koa with a gloss finish and abalone inlaid rosette and binding
  • Neck & Hardware: Koa neck, rosewood fingerboard, and chrome tuners
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Electronics: UK2000 Active EQ Pickup

The perfect acoustic-electric baritone with a classic ukulele sound

Final Thoughts on the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE

The Oscar Schmidt OU55CE is the perfect acoustic-electric baritone ukulele. When you picture a “classic” ukulele, this is it! If the reason you play a baritone ukulele is that you’re well endowed in the hand department – this is the perfect uke for you. With the Oscar Schmidt OU55CE, you can expect a lovely classic ukulele sound without the finger cramps!

For that reason alone, this is the best baritone ukulele you’ll find under $1000.

2. Lanikai ACST Baritone Ukulele – Best Under $500

Lanikai, 4-String Ukulele (ACST)
5 Reviews
Lanikai, 4-String Ukulele (ACST)
  • Deluxe Grover Chrome open back tuners for tuning accuracy and keeping the headstock light for player comfort
  • NuBone XB nut and saddle for maximum Sustain and best tone
  • Wide comfortable neck profile for player comfort

I’ve been excited to review this uke since I started writing these blogs. I honestly think the Lanikai Baritone is one of the best-kept secrets of the ukulele world. It looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful and it is definitely the best baritone ukulele under $500.

Body

The Lanikai ACST Baritone has a solid acacia top, but its back and sides are laminate acacia. Basically, that means you’re getting an incredible sounding ukulele at half the price. If you’re just dipping into the world of baritones, then you’re probably a bit confused as to why a uke at this price isn’t solid wood.

Just remember a bigger instrument equals more wood and, unfortunately, more wood equals a more expensive uke. If you’ve read my blogs before you’ll know how much I love classic looking ukuleles, and how much I love a satin finish (I get sweaty hands and I’m not afraid to admit it). So, the combination of the two is what my dreams are made of.

Sometimes, when it comes to baritone ukuleles, you have to give up the classic Hawaiian ukulele sound that we all know and love. This is why I like traditional-looking baritone ukuleles so much. If you have to give up the traditional sound to give your hands some room, at least you can hold on to the aesthetic! Also, I love that this ukulele has strap buttons.

For some reason, baritone ukuleles quite often come without strap buttons, then you end up having to pay an extra $15 to get some fitted. Now, I’m a cautious player so the thought of going without a strap really freaks me out. Especially if I’m playing a heavy baritone ukulele, or maybe I just need to hit the gym…

Neck & Hardware

Three words – open geared tuners. Why do I love them so much? I have no idea. Maybe it ties into my love of classical instruments. I think they add a beautiful retro touch and when you’re forking out cash on an instrument, attention to detail is key.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to discuss my favorite details of the Lanikai ACST. Don’t worry, I’ll do it quick-fire style so I don’t bore you because, as always, I’ve got a lot to say. Here goes… The pointed edge of the fingerboard – love it, the maple binding – beautiful, the no-tie bridge – makes life so much easier, and the maple rosette – delicious. Did I just describe a ukulele as delicious? Sometimes no other words will do.

The Lanikai ACST Baritone also has a nice, wide neck (38mm at the nut), so it’s incredibly comfortable to play.

Sound

Wow. Where do I start? This is the best sounding baritone ukulele under $500 by a mile. The acacia wood gives it a traditional sound with a bit of a twist. The Lanikai ACST Baritone takes the classic ukulele sound but makes it richer and more mellow. What more could you want? A Nubone nut and saddle for maximum sustain, maybe? Well, you’re in luck. This baritone ukulele really does have it all.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Solid acacia top, laminate acacia back and sides
  • Neck & Hardware: Acacia neck with maple binding
  • Fingerboard: Nubone
  • Bridge: 8 holes, no tie

A beautifully crafted baritone ukulele that sounds exceptional

Final Thoughts on the Lanikai ACST Baritone Ukulele

This is one of the most magical baritone ukuleles you’ll ever play. It’s beautifully crafted and exceptional to hear. The Lanikai ACST is by far the best baritone ukulele under $500. I know the laminate sides and back would put some people off but honestly, it sounds better than a lot of all-solid wood ukes, in my opinion.

It’s absolutely perfect if you’re thinking of adding a baritone to your collection.

3. Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Mahogany Baritone Ukulele – Best under $300

Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Mahogany Baritone Ukulele
9 Reviews
Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Mahogany Baritone Ukulele
  • Baritone Ukulele with Mahogany Back/Sides
  • Walnut Fingerboard - Gloss Natural
  • Solid Spruce Top

Okay, queue the Kalas… Everyone knows that I’m a massive fan of Kala ukuleles. They’re always incredibly well crafted and the KA-SBG definitely lives up to my expectations, so I know you’ll love it.

Body

We all know I love a bit of quirk, so the contrasting wood used to craft this beautiful baritone ukulele definitely catches my eye. The sides and back are made of laminate mahogany and the top of solid spruce. Again, this just means you’ll still get a beautiful tone from the solid wood but at a more affordable price point.

Baritone ukuleles are bigger in size, so more wood is needed to craft them. Hence, all solid wood baritones are pretty extortionate. A baritone ukulele that combines laminate and solid wood is a great choice if you’re not quite ready to splash the cash on a completely solid wood uke. Plus, you’ll barely notice a difference in the sound.

Neck & Hardware

The Kala KA-SBG has a bit of a skinny neck, meaning it may not be great for my large-handed friends. However, if you’re used to playing concert ukes and just want a change or to add to your collection, you’ll love the Kala KA-SBG. However, Kala clearly didn’t get my memo about the open geared tuners. I guess we can forgive them though, right?

Sound

If you’re a big fan of baritone ukuleles you will love how the Kala KA-SBG sounds. It has quite a mellow voice but still sounds really happy. Does that make sense? I find it quite difficult to describe baritones without sounding strange. Sometimes baritones can lose the ukulele sound completely if they’re too low and mellow.

However, the Kala KA-SBG  strikes the perfect balance between the iconic ukulele and mellow baritone sounds.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Solid spruce top, laminate mahogany back and sides with a gloss finish
  • Neck & Hardware: Laminate mahogany neck
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Bridge: Walnut

The perfect baritone ukulele if you’re used to concerts

Final Thoughts on the Kala KA-SBG Spruce Top Baritone Ukulele

The Kala KA-SBG is the best option if you’re used to playing a concert or even a soprano ukulele. Its skinnier neck will make the transition easier but you’ll still get that lovely baritone sound.

This would be a lovely addition to your collection or would make a brilliant upgrade if you’re not quite ready for all-solid wood.

4. Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele – Best Under $200

Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele, Natural, Baritone
34 Reviews
Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele, Natural, Baritone
  • Full-Bodied Tone
  • Gloss Finish
  • Chrome Die Cast tuners

If you’ve passed the beginner stage, have fallen in love with the instrument, and think now is the time to upgrade, this uke would be a great choice.

Body

When you get under the $200 mark, a laminate wood body is to be expected. But, as I always say, laminate wood makes a really durable instrument. As long as the ukulele has been well crafted, a laminate mahogany body is nothing to worry about. There’s no need to stress about changes in temperature or humidity and you won’t run the risk of scratching up the body.

These guys are durable, let me tell ya! Living in Scotland the weather is incredibly temperamental, so I tend to sway towards laminate wood ukes. Then I don’t need to spend hours tuning before I even get to play!

Neck & Hardware

The Kala KA-BG has eighteen frets, fourteen before the joint. This is pretty standard for baritone ukuleles which is great. Its mahogany neck is bound beautifully to its walnut fingerboard. Something to look out for when you’re in the market for a more affordable uke is the finishing of its frets. The last thing you want is a scratchy neck! Don’t worry though, the Kala KA-BG is silky smooth.

Sound

The Kala KA-BG is the ultimate baritone ukulele for blues players. It gives off such a mellow, soulful sound. In comparison to the other ukes on this list, the Kala KA-BG has much more of a classic baritone sound. I know I always say how much I love the traditional ukulele sound but there’s something about this baritone that gives its sound more of an edge.

I often find that more affordable baritones can sound a little bit like a guitar that’s missing some strings. This soulful beauty is definitely a diamond in the rough. You won’t hear a better sounding baritone under $200.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Laminate mahogany with a gloss finish
  • Neck & Hardware: Laminate mahogany neck with closed, geared tuners
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Bridge: Walnut

An affordable, soulful uke with a beautiful sound

Final Thoughts on the Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

If you’re looking for that iconic baritone sound, the Kala KA-BG is your guy. This uke would make the perfect addition to any collection or the perfect gift.

It’s soulful and sweet-sounding, which, to me, is a great combo.

5. Kmise Mahogany Baritone Ukulele – Best Under $100

Wow. You will not find a more gorgeous baritone ukulele under $100. This uke really caught my eye, it is absolutely beautiful and I honestly couldn’t believe the price.

Body

I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of in awe of this Kmise ukulele. When I first discovered it, I fell in love with how it looked. It’s got a beautiful laminate mahogany body which is just to die for. Although, my favorite thing about this uke has to be its curved back (why do I always feel so weird saying that? I can’t help it, it has to be said). It’s difficult to tell from the pictures because it’s not quite as curved as some ukes.

Personally, I prefer the look of a straight back but I just love how curved ones sound. So, the fact that this Kmise baritone is so subtly curved is perfect in my opinion. Why curve the back of a ukulele, you ask? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute…

Neck & Hardware

Another thing I love about this baritone uke is how expensive it looks. I mean, I don’t know about you but even if I’m going to buy an affordable ukulele, I still want it to look expensive. The way its fingerboard is finished in a beautifully carved point looks just like the Lanikai ACST (which is more than double the price).

You can see evidence of great craftsmanship on this Kmise baritone and I am living for it. But, do you want to hear the best part? It has adjustable action, so you can ensure this uke suits your preference and playing style.

Sound

Okay, now this is the part you’ve been waiting for, right? It’s a beautiful uke but how does it sound? Well… Want the one-word answer? Amazing. This Kmise baritone uke almost sounds like a classical guitar. Its rounded back gives it such a full, soulful sound. I just can’t get over this ukulele’s value for money. If you like fingerpicking, you’re going to absolutely love this Kmise.

It’s like a little harp! Just beautiful.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Laminate mahogany with a natural, satin finish
  • Neck & Hardware: Laminate mahogany neck with closed, geared tuners
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Bridge: Walnut

An incredible sounding baritone ukulele, great value for money

Final Thoughts on the Kmise Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

I am in awe, this ukulele is an absolute dream and I honestly can’t believe it’s under $100. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a ukulele junky, you’ve just found it. Even if you just want to treat yourself, go ahead.

You won’t be disappointed.

6. Lohanu LU-B Baritone Ukulele

Sale
Ukulele Baritone Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-B) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Hanger...
91 Reviews
Ukulele Baritone Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-B) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Case Tuner Picks Hanger...
  • BEST BARITONE UKULELE BUNDLE DEAL! This is the Baritone size version of the Lohanu ukulele that has the Most 5 star reviews for a ukulele on Amazon! Comes installed with Low DGBE tuning, and also...
  • UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME WARRANTY for Ukulele & All Accessories!!! BEST Customer Service from a CANADIAN Company!! FREE Bonus Ukulele Video Lessons!
  • AMAZING SOUND! Sounds so much better than a cheap ukulele, and very close to a high end ukulele! Features an Arched Back to give longer sustain & fuller sound!

Lohanu makes incredibly affordable ukuleles that always sound great. So when they announced their new baritone model I was really excited.

Body

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of how the Lohanu LU-B looks. I think the patterned rosette makes it look a little bit cheap. I mean, maybe cheap is the wrong word but I just think it’s a shame that this uke has such beautiful white binding around its body and neck which is kind of ruined by its rosette. But hey, some people absolutely loved patterned rosettes so maybe this is right up your street.

Unfortunately, the aesthetic just missed the mark a little for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful ukulele. Apparently, I’ve just become a little picky about my rosettes. Like the Kmise baritone, this Lohanu LU-B also has an arched back, giving a fuller sound and much longer sustain.

Neck & Hardware

Okay, so this ukes neck makes up for its body. I absolutely love the cream binding around its fingerboard I think it is so pretty. I’ve actually noticed this feature on quite a lot of Lohanu ukes so I love that they’ve got their own little signature touch. Another great feature of this ukulele is that you can adjust the action.

For beginners, I would recommend leaving the action as is. But, if you like lower or higher action, I think it’s a great touch to be able to personalize your instrument. This uke also has 20 frets, which is amazing if you enjoy fingerpicking that bit more than strumming.

Sound

This uke has such clear tonality. Strumming sounds great because you can hear each string so clearly. However, I think the Lohanu LU-B shines when you pluck the strings instead. That’s why I wanted to feature it on this list.

If you’ve got a baritone already but find that it kind of buzzes a little when you’re fingerpicking, this uke would be a great addition. Yes, I am one of those ukulele junkies who has a different ukulele depending on what I want to play that day. So, I know there are more out there!

Yes, I’m talking to you… In all seriousness though, this is a great-sounding affordable uke if you’re thinking about adding to your collection.

Spec Summary

  • Body: Sapele/Mahogany
  • Neck & Hardware: Sapele/Mahogany with chrome die-cast tuning gears
  • Fingerboard: Technical wood
  • Bridge: Sapele/Mahogany

A lovely little baritone uke with adjustable action

Final Thoughts on the Lohanu LU-B Baritone Ukulele

The Lohanu LU-B is really great affordable option if you’re looking for a baritone ukulele. I think it would be perfect for a beginner. Then, once you get more advanced you could easily lower the action for a different sound. The only reason I don’t think this is the best baritone uke under $100 is that it missed the mark a little where aesthetics are concerned. However, it is a really great little instrument and would make a brilliant first baritone uke.

Baritones for Every Budget

There are two issues when it comes to baritone ukuleles.

Firstly, finding the right one for your budget. Maybe you’re just starting out and are looking for a beginner’s uke but want to keep it cheap. So, if you’ve only just dipped your toe into the world of baritones, go for the Kmise. It’s incredibly good value for money and, honestly, it sounds better than a lot of the expensive baritones I’ve come across in my time and doesn’t look cheap at all!

On the other hand, if you’ve been playing for years and don’t mind splashing the cash on a fancy upgrade, I hope this list has given you some clarity. I’d highly recommend the Oscar Schmidt OU55E if you’ve got deep pockets.

It’s a wonderful instrument and you’ll have so much fun playing it. Baritones are also a great starting point for guitarists who want to try out the ukulele.

If that sounds like you, the Lanikai ACST will be your new best friend. You’ll find it a lot more comfortable than a concert uke but you’ll still get that classic Hawaiian sound. Baritone ukuleles are such versatile instruments. Some sound more like classical guitars, others are closer to the traditional ukulele sound.

Hopefully this list of the best baritone ukuleles has narrowed down your choices so you can start playing your new uke ASAP!

Further Reading:

Last update on 2020-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Fiona