The Best Concert Ukuleles - Up To $300

The Best Concert Ukuleles up to $300

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The concert ukulele's comfortable size makes it a joy to play, it's just the right size for many - not too small, and not too big. Because of the slightly bigger body, concert size has a bit more mid-range and projects louder, while the extra length and width of the frets make the fingerboard feel less cramped.

Here we look at market favorites, based on actual user feedback, including the most recent reviews and ratings up to March of 2021.

For this update, we've retained three main sections that showcase the best in three price ranges: price ranges, sub $100, $100 to $200 and $200 to $300.

We've also included an informative breakdown of what you should look for in concert ukuleles, and ukuleles in general, in case you want to hunt one that's not included in the list.

The Best Concert Ukuleles

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

The Best Concert Ukuleles Under $100

Kmise Concert Ukulele Sapele

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$60
Kmise Concert Ukulele

The main standout feature of the Kmise Concert ukulele is its laser engraved vine and leaf graphic, which gives it a premium look that goes beyond it's price tag.

But at its core, it doesn't stray much from familiar Concert style designs with its laminate sapele top, back and sides.

It has a C-shape neck that is crafted from okoume and features an 18-fret fingerboard.

Other features include real bone saddles for the nut and bridge, equipped with Aquila strings and it comes pre-equipped with strap locks.

Specifications

  • Top: Sapele
  • Body: Sapele
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Fingerboard: Okoume
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Padded Gig Bag and Tuner

Pros

It gets a lot of praise for its aesthetics, described as beautiful, cute and pretty by both the students and those that bought the instrument for them. Overall quality of the uke is also often praised, from the the wood to the fretboard action. Users describe the sound as nice and good for the price. The included accessories are also often reviewed positively.

Cons

There are some who complain about sharp fret edges that need sanding. Owners also recommend replacing the strings ASAP to get better intonation and action.

Overall

If you're looking for a good quality, affordable ukulele that's easy on the eyes, then this is highly recommended.

Hola! HM-124MG+ Deluxe

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$65
Hola! Music HM-124MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Concert Ukulele

The Hola! Music HM-124MG+ Deluxe is an affordable Concert ukulele that's been getting tons of recommendations and approvals. For the price, it gives you quite a lot of value, including good quality bone nut and saddle.

Many companies use plastic saddle and nut (the little white parts the strings pass over), and since it isn’t as dense as bone, they don't resonate as well, resulting in noticeable difference in volume and clarity when compared to a similarly built instrument with a plastic nut and saddle.

The Hola HM-124MG+ features an all mahogany body which helps give it a slightly warmer (if unfocused when compared to spruce) tone. It’s ideal for accompanying a vocalist, because the warm tone blends well with the voice.

The package comes with the instrument, a few picks, a padded gig bag, as well as a strap.

Specifications

  • Top: Laminate Mahogany
  • Body: Laminate Mahogany
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Padded Bag, Strings, Strap, Picks

Pros:

Most of the positive reviews are from beginners and students, or someone representing them like their parents. And many of them point to its good build and sound quality as its best asset. Given the price point, it is not reasonable to expect it to satisfy the needs of experienced players, but it continues to put a smile on the faces of its intended entry-level market buyers.

Cons:

There are a few reports of intonation issues at the higher frets, while others nitpick on minor aesthetic flaws.

Overall

All in all, the Hola! Music HM-124MG+ is a reliable and affordable ukulele that most will appreciate.

Enya Nova U Concert Travel Ukulele

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 1400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$90
Enya Nova U Concert Carbon Fiber Travel Ukulele 23’’

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Concert Ukulele Under $100.

From the way it looks, down to the materials used, the Enya Nova U is a big departure from conventional ukuleles.

The main material used for the body and neck is carbon fiber composite polycarbonate, known for being waterproof and durable.

In addition to being durable, carbon fiber is also light, which makes this very viable for travel.

Another important feature is the addition of a side soundhole, which projects the sound directly to the player.

Other features include having an arched back for improved low-end and projection, and it has a cutaway for easy upper-fret access.

Specifications

  • Top: Carbon Fiber
  • Body: Carbon Fiber
  • Neck: Carbon Fiber
  • Fingerboard: Carbon Fiber
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Online Lessons, Gig Bag, Strap, Capo and Strings

Pros

The main strength of the Nova U is that it is both reliable and portable, thanks to it's carbon fiber construction - the main reason why many rate this instrument highly. In addition, it gets a lot of thumbs up for its distinctly bright tone, while others appreciate it's comfortable neck profile and light weight. More importantly, it does all this while retaining a very reasonable price tag.

Cons

Speaking of tone, don't expect this to sound exactly like conventional wooden ukuleles. If you're after traditional sound then this is not for you.

Overall

It doesn't get any more safe and portable than this, highly recommended for musicians whoa re always on the move.

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$99
Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba continues to make their presence known in the stringed instrument market. Included in their conquest is the competitive entry-level ukulele market, where the Cordoba 15CM is currently among the highest rated ones available.

It comes with a familiar laminate mahogany body with a concert profile, but what sets it apart is Cordoba's penchant for sleek earthy visuals, which makes this look more expensive than it is.

It features an abalone-style rosette, an ivoroid binding on the body and fingerboard, and pearl tuner buttons.

Specifications

  • Top: Laminate Mahogany
  • Body: Laminate Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: None

Pros

Most users are impressed with its build quality, especially when considering the price. And as expected, good build quality results in good sound and playability, both of which are often commended in reviews. It also helps that it looks more premium than it really is, which adds even more to its already good market value.

Cons

There are a few who wish for extra accessories and a gig bag, but they are pleased with the overall quality of the instrument all the same. There are also a few who recommend getting the ukulele set up by someone knowledgeable to improve playing experience.

Overall

While there are cheaper options with freebies, the quality and reliability of the Cordoba 15CM is more than enough to make up for them.

The Best Concert Ukuleles Under $200

Cordoba 15CM-E Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$129
Cordoba 15CM-E Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $100 and $200.

The Cordoba 15CM-E is the stage-ready sibling of the 15CM, the main difference being the addition of a built-in pickup system.

This ups the value of the instrument, making it an ideal starting ukulele for those who are truly invested in learning to perform amplified with one.

It's important to note that it uses a passive pickup system with volume control. This means that you'll probably need a separate acoustic preamp to get the best sound if your amp doesn't support passive pickups.

Finally, it doesn't stray too far from conventional designs, with its all mahogany (laminate) body, which gives it a warmer tone.

Specifications

  • Top: Laminate Mahogany
  • Body: Laminate Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 19
  • Extras: None

Pros

The Cordoba 15CM-E is well loved for the value that it brings, being a couch instrument that can also serve as a stage instrument. And since it's not that overly expensive compared to its non-equipped sibling, many feel that getting this stage-ready version is the better and more practical option.

Cons

There are a few reports of string and intonation issues, with some recommending replacing the strings ASAP, to better appreciate this instrument. It also doesn't come with any accessories, which can be a bummer for some whose budget is limited.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable stage-ready ukulele, then be sure to check out the Cordoba 15CME

Luna Great Wave Concert Ukulele

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$129
Luna Artistic Series Great Wave Concert Ukulele

Luna is a guitar and ukulele manufacturer known for distinct graphics and aesthetic designs. The Artistic Series Great Wave is a great example of such, following after traditional specs, while having the top serve as canvass for a popular artwork.

The artwork on this guitar is based on the Great Wave off Kanagawa, a woodblock print by Hokusai, a Japanese artist. Copies of this print can be seen in many museums, attesting to its popularity, and thanks to Luna, you can now appreciate and enjoy the artwork right on your ukulele.

Specifications

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 20
  • Extras: Gig Bag

Pros

Beautiful to both the ears and eyes, this is how most users feel about the Luna Artistic Series Great Wave Concert ukulele. It gets plenty of commendations for its tone, which many consider to be deeper and fuller compared to smaller soprano ones. Quality of the tuners also get praised, an important advantage over their competition.

Cons

There are a few reports of quality related issues regarding the frets and intonation. While there are many who are happy with the tuners, there are a few who report otherwise.

Overall

If you're looking for a visually stunning ukulele that doesn't compromise quality, then do check this out.

Bondi Concert Ukulele Starter Kit

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
Bondi Concert Ukulele Starter Kit

The Bondi Concert Ukulele by itself is pretty standard, with an all mahogany body that doesn't stray too far from conventional designs.

What makes it stand out is the overall quality and quantity of the accessories which come bundled with the instrument.

Speaking of accessories, it comes with a compression sponge case that's often mentioned positively in reviews, felt picks, clip-on tuner, chord stickers, chord chart, and a rainbow design leather strap.

They even throw in a microfiber cleaning cloth and free online ukulele lessons.

Specifications

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Not specified
  • Fingerboard: Black Ebony
  • Frets: Black Ebony
  • Extras: Felt picks, clip-on tuner, handcrafted deluxe saddle, compression sponge case, chord stickers and chart, a rainbow design leather strap, microfibre cleaning cloth, and online ukulele course.

Pros

Value for money seem to be the main reason why many are giving the Bondi Concert Ukulele perfect ratings. There is plenty of positive feedback on its overall sound, while others are impressed with the quality of the included accessories, from the case down to the picks.

Cons

There are a few who report that the case they receive looks a bit different than the one in the picture, but they are still pleased all in all.

Overall

If you're looking for a great bang per buck ukulele with accessories that are of good quality, then this is for you.

The Best Concert Ukuleles Under $300

Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$220
Fender Grace VanderWaal Signature Ukulele

The Grace VanderWaal Concert uke is an acoustic-electric ukulele that combines traditional sapele body with a 4 in-line headstock that resembles the Fender Telecaster, resulting in a familiar sounding yet distinct looking instrument.

Joining it's all laminate sapele body is a nato neck, topped by a flat-radius walnut fingerboard with 16 frets. The walnut bridge matches the fingerboard, and it houses a bone saddle which also matches its bone nut.

For getting your sound amplified, it is outfitted with Fishman Kula electronics, with the preamp control section housing a nifty built-in tuner.

As the name implies, this is the signature ukulele of Grace VanderWaal, who won the 11th season of America’s Got Talent.

Specifications

  • Top: Sapele
  • Body: Sapele
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 16
  • Extras: Built-in Fishman Kula Electronics with Tuner, Gig Bag

Pros

As expected, fans of Grace are pleased, but there are also plenty of non-fans who are impressed with its overall quality. Most owners agree that it looks nice, some even comment that marketing pictures don't do it justice, it looks way better in person. There are also many positive comments about its playability, alongside those who are happy with how it projects sound. Having good quality built-in electronics is also another reason why it continues to get high ratings.

Cons

There are a few who wish that the price is a bit lower, while others report on cosmetic and tuning issues.

Overall

You don't have to be a Grace VanderWaal fan to appreciate this acoustic-electric ukulele.

Magic Fluke Flea Natural Concert Ukulele

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$239
Magic Fluke Flea Natural Concert Ukulele

One look at the Magic Fluke Flea and you'll easily figure out that it is not your average ukulele. While it does retain conventional elements like having a wooden birch soundboard and hard maple neck, it features polycarbonate fingerboard and a molded body, that's far more durable than regular wood.

This improved structural strength and durability makes this instrument more viable for outdoor use, and should also be more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.

The frets are also molded with the fingerboard, so there are no metal frets that can be uneven or rough on the hands.

The obvious downside to not using wood is that there will be a noticeable difference in tone when compared to a traditional all wood ukulele.

Specifications

  • Top: Birch
  • Body: Molded Polycarbonate
  • Neck: Hard Maple
  • Fingerboard: Polycarbonate
  • Frets: 14
  • Extras: Polycarbonate

Pros

The Magic Fluke Flea gets a lot of thumbs up for its durability, people report that it has become their grab and go instrument be it at home or outdoors. There are many who favor the smooth playability its polycarbonate fretboard, along with its intonation and ability to keep the strings in tune. Users are also pleased with its tone, which is described as warm yet clear sounding.

Cons

This is not a ukulele for those who prefer traditional wooden instruments. Since the fret wires are molded with the fingerboard, the frets can be hard to see in low light settings, but experienced players who don't need to look at the fretboard while playing won't have any problems.

Overall

It doesn't get much more durable and sturdy than the Magic Fluke Flea, don't hesitate to check this out if you're looking for a reliable and portable ukulele.

Luna Guitars High-Tide Koa Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$279
Luna Guitars High-Tide Koa Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $200 and $300.

The Luna High-Tide Koa Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele sports a koa body, which is a step in a different direction compared to conventional designs. Koa is known for its distinct aesthetic appeal and tone, both of which have made it a favorite of many musicians.

And as expected from a Luna Guitars instrument, this one comes with cosmetic detail that ups its overall look further.

On top of all that, this ukulele comes with built-in active electronics, with a preamp that allows you to sculpt your tone.

And the instrument does come with a gig bag.

Specifications

  • Top: Koa (Not Specified If It’s Laminate or Solid)
  • Body: Koa (Not Specified If It’s Laminate or Solid)
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 20
  • Extras: Gig Bag

Pros:

Thanks to Luna's eccentric designs, the High-Tide Koa easily stands out from among what other brands have to offer. And this unique look continues to gather compliments from its owners. Tone quality also gets a lot of thumbs up, with some describing it as being very clear sounding.

Cons:

There are some complaints about the bundled case, while others report having to tune the instrument a bit more often than what they expected.

Overall

If you want a ukulele that will turn heads on stage, then do check out the Luna High-Tide Koa.

Things to Consider When Buying a Concert Ukulele

If you’re looking for the best concert ukulele for your situation, there are a few things you’re going to need to know. We’ve laid out some information that will give you all the information you need to make an informed purchase.

  • Concert Ukuleles Compared to Other Sizes

    There are three commonly found traditional ukulele sizes, ordered from smallest to largest: Soprano (21”), Concert (23”), and Tenor (26”). The smaller the uke the thinner and brighter the sound, with the inverse being true of larger ukuleles. The concert uke is a middle ground between the soprano and tenor, having the almost plinky tone of the former with the warmth of the latter.

  • A Brief Primer on Tonewood

    Tonewood is kind of a contentious subject, because a lot of the differences between how one species of wood’s tone compares to another is subjective. The objective fact is that no one quality tonewood (this excludes things like white wood and NATO) are objectively superior to one another.

    Below is a list of some more commonly found tonewoods, though as implied by the heading don’t consider this a definitive word on the subject.

    • Mahogany:
      Mahogany is a warm sounding tonewood, commonly used in ukuleles. It has a strong representation in the low end, decent mids, and glassy (though understated) highs. Koa has a similar response.
    • Spruce:
      Spruce is very high-end focused, with a bright tone with plenty of punch. It can sound a bit brittle at times, depending on the body size and the other woods used in an instrument’s construction.
    • Cedar:
      Cedar is warmer than both spruce and mahogany, and is described as being very bass heavy. Great if you’re looking for a soft-sounding instrument, though it does lack some punch.
    • Rosewood:
      Rosewood is a mid-range focused wood, great if you’re looking for clarity and volume. It does a phenomenal job of cutting through a mix, though like spruce it can sometimes sound brittle.
    • Maple:
      Maple, like rosewood, is renowned for its clarity. It’s similar to rosewood, but brighter. When used in a well-built instrument it’s arguably going to be one of the most defined instruments in a mix.
  • Solid vs. Laminated Wood

    Something a lot of beginning musicians don’t know is that the wood used in instruments falls into two categories, laminate and solid. Laminate wood is thin pieces of wood glued together, while solid wood is literally a solid piece of wood.

    Laminate wood doesn’t resonate as well as a solid wood, so it has a lower representation of frequencies as well as less volume. Solid wood is louder and in virtually every situation will sound better.

  • Non Wood Ukuleles

    Some modern ukuleles use polycarbonate material, which is far more reliable and resistant to temperature and humidity changes. The downside is that it will sound different (not better or worse) compared to traditional wooden ukuleles.

  • Acoustic vs. Acoustic-Electric

    A term you’re going to hear thrown around while you’re looking for a uke is, “acoustic-electric.” Put simply, an acoustic-electric instrument is an acoustic instrument with a pickup in it which allows it to be amplified. When you’re not using the pickup the instrument still has a good acoustic tone, but you also have the option to easily amplify it.

    With that being said, there is a trade-off inherent to getting an acoustic-electric instrument. When you get an instrument with a pickup in it you’re paying for the pickup in addition to the instrument itself, so you’ll get less acoustic tone relative to the money you put in.

    If you’re pretty sure you’re never going to play live, an instrument without a pickup may be the better option. Likewise, if you’re planning on gigging regularly you’re definitely going to want an acoustic-electric instrument.

Best Concert Ukulele Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the latest edition was published on March 12, 2021.

We looked at all the concert ukuleles available from major American music gear retailers and for this update, we ended up with an initial list of 51 for closer analysis - you can see most of them in the Music Gear Database. We then collated over 18,000 relevant reviews, ratings and comments, including the most recent ones up to March of 2021 - and processed those data with the Gearank Algorithm to produce Gearank Rating scores out of 100 for each of them. Finally, we selected the highest rated concert ukes in each price tier to recommend above. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Original photograph by Joe Bielawa, modified by Gearank.com & available under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

The videos above have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

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