The Best Concert Ukuleles - Up To $300

The Best Concert Ukuleles up to $300

Original photograph by Joe Bielawa, modified by Gearank.com & available under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

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Here we feature the best concert ukuleles, based on the most current actual user feedback, up to May of 2020.

For this update, we've decided to simplify our recommended list by reducing the sections to just three 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

The Best Concert Ukuleles Under $100

Donner DUC-3 Spruce Concert Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$70
Donner DUC-3 Spruce Concert Ukulele

The Donner DUC-3 is a viable option if you’re looking for an entry-level Concert uke that won’t break the bank. It is outfitted with a laminate spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides, geared tuners, and a rosewood bridge and fingerboard.

While the instrument probably won’t be loud enough to play unamplified in an ensemble setting, it will likely cut through a mix better. The reason for this is that the spruce gives it a brighter tone (more treble), which will help it be heard above mid and low-range (guitar and bass guitar respectively) in a recording.

Lastly, the Donner DUC-3 comes with a gig bag, an extra set of strings, a strap, and a clip on digital tuner.

Specifications

  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Strap, Bag, Tuner, Strings

Pros:

The cool thing about this uke is that while it is intended for beginners it’s generally considered to have a pretty musical tone. It’s described as being both warm and focused, which is likely due to the combination of its spruce top and mahogany back and sides.

Cons:

While there aren't that many complaints about the Uke itself, there are some who gave it slightly lower ratings because of the condition of its factory installed strings and the bundled strap.

Overall:

The Donner DUC-3 sounds more expensive than it actually is, making it very easy to recommend in its price range.

Hola! HM-124MG+ Deluxe

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$70
Hola! Music HM-124MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Concert Ukulele

The Hola! Music HM-124MG+ Deluxe is another affordable Concert ukulele that's getting the approval of most of its users. Thanks to its sound and build quality, which includes having bone nut and saddle, something that's not usually seen in its price range.

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 are nitpick on minor aesthetic flaws.

Overall

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

Donner DUC-1 Mahogany Concert Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 1850+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$70
Donner DUC-1 Mahogany Concert Ukulele

While not as visually impressive as more expensive instruments, the Donner DUC-1 is good enough for beginners looking for a functional entry-level concert sized ukulele.

It sports a mahogany body (laminate) and neck, and it features a rosewood bridge and fingerboard.

The mahogany used in this instrument gives it a warm tone, though it does lack the volume you’d find in an all-solid instrument. It isn’t bad enough to dissuade a beginner from practicing, but it probably wouldn’t be the best choice if you’re looking for an instrument you can record with.

Specifications

  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Strap, Bag, Tuner, Strings

Pros

Something that separates this uke from those that are in a lower price tier is that it actually comes with geared tuners, as opposed to the cheaper tuners you find on most sub-$40 instruments. And this is reflected in reviews, with many appreciating its overall build quality. especially when compared to others in the same price range. Another cool thing about this uke is that when you buy it you get all of the key accessories you’ll need as a beginner. The package includes: a strap, an extra set of strings, as well as a digital clip-on tuner.

Cons

Its unreasonable to expect premium quality wood and aesthetics in this price range, but there are still a few who feel that overall quality is lacking. There are some reports of cosmetic issues, while others are wary of its structural stability.

Overall

Still, for the price, the Donner DUC-1 is a very affordable way for anyone to get into the ukulele scene.

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$99
Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

This is the Highest Rated Concert Ukulele Under $100.

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 ukulele profile, but what sets it apart is Cordoba's penchant for sleek earthy visuals, which makes this ukulele 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

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $100 and $200 along with the Bondi Starter Kit.

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 efficiency of the instrument, making it an ideal starting instrument for those who are truly invested in learning to perform with a ukulele.

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 to 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 ukulele that can also serve as a compact 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

Hola HM-424SSR+ Concert Ukulele

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$130
Hola HM-424SSR+ Concert Ukulele

The Hola HM-424SSR+ offers a step up in terms of specs, with its solid spruce top, a feature that transcends the usual entry level ukuleles. This gives the ukulele a brighter and snappier tone, which many expect to improve as the solid top becomes lighter and more resonant with age.

Contrasting the bright visual of the solid spruce top is the laminate ebony for the back and sides. The neck is crafted from mahogany and topped by a rosewood fingerboard, the same wood used on the bridge. It also has a nice looking slotted headstock design, similar to classical guitars.

Other features include bone nut and saddle, inlaid abalone bindings and rosette, 18 silver nickel frets, and it comes preinstalled with Aquila Nylgut strings.

Specifications

  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body: Ebony
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Padded gig bag, strap and picks

Pros

Reviews are filled with users who are charmed by its visual appeal, describing it as a beautiful looking instrument. Build quality is also often mentioned, some even comparing it favorably over other more expensive ukuleles. It's sound is also well received, described as full, warm and clear.

Cons

There are a few who are not too happy with the quality of its fretwork, while some point out that the body is slightly bigger than conventional concert profile ukuleles.

Overall

With its solid spruce top and good build quality, this will surely be a nice step up for those with entry level ukuleles, and it's an even better first ukulele for those who are just starting out.

Bondi Concert Ukulele Starter Kit

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$199

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $100 and $200 along with the Cordoba 15CM-E.

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 they will send out free online ukulele courses.

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. And thanks to that, it is currently enjoying the top spot as the equal highest rated one in the sub $100 to $200 price range. 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

Ibanez UEW15E Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$230
Ibanez UEW15E Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $200 and $300 along with the Luna Guitars High-Tide Koa.

Ibanez is another prominent guitar brand that is doing well in the ukulele market, and the UEW15E exemplifies what the company is all about, combining modern playability, built-in electronics and sleek looks in an affordable package.

This acoustic-electric ukulele easily stands out visually with its distinct cutaway shape, and nice looking flamed mahogany top, back and sides .

While the built-in under-saddle pickup and UK-300T preamp help it stand out sonically by being viable for stage use. Other features include mahogany neck, purple heart bridge and fretboard, maple inlays, and chrome open-gear tuners.

Specifications

  • Top: Flamed Mahogany
  • Body: Flamed Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Purpleheart
  • Frets: 19"
  • Extras: Built-in Ibanez Undersaddle Pickup and UK-300T Preamp

Pros

Being visually appealing is easily one of the Ibanez UEW15E's strengths, and this is reflected in most reviews. There are also plenty of users who are happy with how it sounds, even more so when plugged in. As expected from Ibanez, there are plenty of commendations pointing to its easy playability.

Cons

There are a some who report minor cosmetic issues, while a few that are not happy with the fretwork quality.

Overall

It's hard to go wrong with Ibanez if you're looking for an affordable stage ready stringed instrument.

Magic Fluke Flea Natural Concert Ukulele

87
GEARANK

87 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 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 any 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 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Concert Ukulele between $200 and $300 along with the Ibanez UEW15E.

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.

Lastly, 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” scale), Concert (23” scale), and Tenor (26” scale). 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.

    This update also sees a ukulele that uses 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

This guide was first published on August 31, 2017 written by Mason Hoberg and the latest comprehensive update was published on written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Mason.

We looked at all the concert ukuleles available from major American music gear retailers and selected 45 of them for closer analysis - you can see them in the Music Gear Database. For this 2020 update, we collated over 11,800 of relevant reviews, ratings and comments - and processed those data with the Gearank Algorithm to produce Gearank 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.

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