If you’re considering a purchase of a tenor ukulele and you’re looking for the best available option, you’re in the right place. As an advanced player with more than thirteen years of experience with string instruments, I know exactly which models are the best. Also, I know how tricky it is to pick a new instrument. There are so many mixed reviews online. Every review says something different and recommends something different. Trust me, I’ve been there. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to use my knowledge to help other musicians. That’s why I created this blog!
Tenor ukuleles are equally popular among beginner and intermediate uke players. Although most of people tend to choose soprano and concert models, this is still a really great and affordable option that gives a lot of value. If you’d like to find out about the differences between the soprano and concert models, feel free to check out my previous article. In today’s article we’re going to focus only on tenor ukuleles. Let’s start with a description of this uke type. Next, we’re going to highlight the most affordable models on the market. Ready? Let’s rock!
Tenor – what does it mean?
Tenor ukuleles are slightly larger than concert ukuleles. Hence, they’re ideal for players with larger hands and longer fingers. If you’re an adult player and you want to start playing this instrument for real, tenor ukes are the way to go. In comparison with concert models, the scale is longer and the instrument is a bit heavier. Thanks to the size, the spacing between frets tends to be wider. What’s interesting, this is the most popular ukulele style among professional players. Nevertheless, it will be a great choice for both beginner and more advanced uke players. The standard tuning for this ukulele type is GCEA.
I highly recommend checking out the video below. In my opinion, it illustrates the differences between concert and tenor ukuleles in a very good way.
In terms of sound, the tenor ukulele tends to have a fuller and deeper tone. Undoubtedly, it’s a result of the larger size. Personally, I think that this is my favorite type of ukulele.
Best Tenor Ukulele
I created a list of six amazing ukuleles that in my opinion are the best for both amateur and more skilled players. All of these models have a great sound, top quality and most importantly – they’re affordable. No doubt, they’re within the reach of any player.
|Cordoba 15TM||See on Amazon|
|Paisen Tenor Ukulele||See on Amazon|
|Kala KA-15||See on Amazon|
|Vangoa Tenor Ukulele||See on Amazon|
|Deviser Tenor Ukulele||See on Amazon|
|Kala KA-BMB-T||See on Amazon|
Cordoba is one of the most popular manufacturers of ukuleles. What I like about their instruments is a really special attention to detail. What’s more, each of their instruments is well set up. Sometimes the high action of strings can be really annoying, but in this case you won’t have to worry about that. This model is totally made of mahogany. As a result, this uke has a really warm and rich sound. Although it’s not the cheapest ukulele available on the market, it offers amazing quality. I highly recommend it to both amateurs and more advanced players. In fact, check this short sound sample below. Sounds amazing, right?
Paisen Tenor Ukulele
A great sounding instrument. What’s more, it offers a whole bundle with all necessary ukulele accessories. Hence, it is a great starter kit for beginner musicians, also for kids. In terms of sound, it features a really clean frequency and a deep sound with high treble at the same time. The manufacturer decided to use rosewood as a base material. As a result, this uke offers excellent sound quality. Personally, I prefer instruments made of mahogany, although this ukulele is truly amazing too. Nice work, Paisen!
Kala is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the ukulele game. What’s more, this mahogany model offers an absolutely unique and warm sound. Although it’s probably the most expensive tenor ukulele on my list, I think it’s the best. There is something really special about its sound. In my opinion, it’s a little wooden piece of art. I highly recommend the KA-15 to both beginner and more skilled players. You’re going to love it. No doubt!
Vangoa Tenor Ukulele
This is one of the most affordable ukuleles on the market. Although it may note be as amazing as the previous Kala KA-15 model, it still offers a really great quality at much lower price. In addition, it comes with a gig bag and a few important accessories that include a ukulele strap, a capo and a tuner. The manufacturer decided to use mahogany wood to produce this model. Hence, the instrument sounds really warm and clear. What’s important, this Vangoa model also features a low string action. As a result, this uke is really enjoyable and comfortable to play. I think that you won’t find anything better at this price. Great choice!
Deviser Tenor Ukulele
Again, this is a really cool and affordable ukulele. In comparison with other models, Deviser uke features an unusual headstock. It actually looks similar to the headstocks used in a lot of electric guitars, such as Ibanez, Schecter or Fender. What’s important, this model is made of koa wood. Undoubtedly, it’s not a popular choice among other manufacturers of ukuleles. That’s why I highly recommend taking a closer look at this uke. If you’re looking for something really unique, you should definitely consider the instruments crafted by Deviser. Great quality at really decent pricing!
This is one of the most interesting ukuleles on the market right now. Although it may be the most expensive uke on my list, it definitely deserves a lot of attention. The instruments features a solid bamboo top, back, sides, neck and fingerboard. You have to admit that it’s really eye-catching! In addition, this model offers Aquila Super Nylgut strings. Certainly, the sound of this ukulele is really special. What’s more, even the simplest melodies sound absolutely spectacular on it. Kala did a fantastic job with this bamboo model. Feel free to have a look at this sound sample below. Sounds and looks great, right?
Best Tenor Ukulele – My Thoughts
As you can see, there are a lot of amazing tenor ukuleles out there. Personally, I think that all six models will be great for beginner and advanced ukelele players. Nevertheless, personally I’d choose one of the Kala models. There is something really unique about their instruments. On top of that, they’re not that expensive. No doubt, their ukuleles are within reach of any motivated player. But don’t get me wrong – I highly recommend all other models too. For example Vangoa Tenor Ukulele, the cheapest option, will also be a great choice. Especially for kids!
What about you? Which model would you choose? Let me know in the comments below!
Dave, the creator of this blog, is an advanced guitar player with thirteen years of experience within the music world. The aim of this site is to educate beginner musicians, highlight the most affordable musical gear and promote the easiest way to learn guitar playing for free. Thanks for checking out this blog. Feel free to share it to spread the word! It will help us grow.