The Best Concert Ukuleles - Acoustic & Electric

The Highest Rated Concert Ukuleles

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While it is not as small as a soprano, and not as big as a tenor, the concert ukulele gives you a little bit of both in terms of tone and portability. This is why it appeals to a lot of people, having just the right size for novices, while requiring minimal technique adjustments from those who already own different size ukes.

Here we feature top rated concert ukuleles, based on market feedback, including the most recent reviews and ratings up to February of 2022.

The Best Concert Ukuleles

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

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

The Best Concert Ukuleles - Acoustic

Hola! Music HM-124MG+

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 1900+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$68
Hola! Music HM-124MG+ Deluxe Mahogany Concert Ukulele

The Hola! Music HM-124MG+ is an all mahogany body ukulele with traditional aesthetics. Mahogany works well with its concert body shape, giving it a warmer voicing that balances its bright tonality.

Its streamlined aesthetics matches its tone nicely, in that it doesn't distract from what it is supposed to be, a wooden stringed instrument.

And for the price, this uke comes with bone nut and saddle, an advantage over other similarly priced instruments that use plastic alternatives.

And speaking of price, this ukulele is bundled with quite a lot of extras, including a padded gig bag, a strap, picks and a digital clip-on tuner.

Specifications

  • Top: Laminate Mahogany
  • Body: Laminate Mahogany
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Strap Buttons, Padded Bag, Strings, Strap, Picks, Clip-On Tuner

Pros:

This bundle is rated highly by beginners, and rightly so given that they are the intended market. Both students and the parents are pleased with its build quality, which translates to good playability. Kudos for its good tone also often comes up in reviews, there are even experienced musicians who chime in with their approval. Many consider this to be money well spent.

Cons:

Its streamlined look may not appeal to young musicians who want something colorful. As expected in its price range, there are a few reports of tuning stability issues and minor cosmetic flaws.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable, great value concert ukulele, then this is your best pick.

Lohanu LU-C Concert Ukulele

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 4950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$70
Lohanu LU-C Concert Ukulele

The Lohanu LU-C concert ukulele comes with a sapele body, a wood commonly used in instruments as alternative to mahogany.

The overall look and build of the body follows traditional concert uke designs, with the main difference being the slightly arched back, which helps improve sound projection and tone.

Traditional aesthetic elements have been applied, including white bindings for the top, bottom and neck, which results in smoother feel around the body and more importantly on the neck as you fret.

Hardware includes guitar-style tuners, pre-installed strap buttons, and a plastic nut and saddle.

It's part of a bundle that includes essential accessories like picks, clip-on tuner, extra set of strings and a gig bag.

Specifications

  • Top: Laminate Sapele
  • Body: Laminate Sapele
  • Neck: Not Specified (Most Likely Mahogany)
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Strap Buttons, Gig Bag, Strap, Tuner, Picks, Strings

Pros:

Easy playability is one of the main reasons why users rate the Lohanu LU-C highly. And this is all thanks to its good build quality, which many compare favorably over similarly priced ukuleles. Tone is also another big factor, impressing even seasoned musicians. And owners are also pleased with the quality of the extras included in the bundle.

Cons:

There are some reports of minor finish imperfections, while a few had issues with the fretwork.

Overall:

The Lohanu LU-C can either be a great beginner ukulele, or a good grab-and-go beater instrument, well worth taking a closer look.

The Best Concert Ukuleles - Acoustic-Electric

Cordoba 15CM-E

96
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$149
Cordoba 15CM-E Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

The Cordoba 15CM-E is the stage-ready sibling of the 15CM, with the 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, but not necessary with most acoustic amps.

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 overly expensive compared to its non-pickup 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 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 good quality stage-ready ukulele, then be sure to check out the Cordoba 15CME

Fender Fullerton Tele Uke

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$220
Fender Fullerton Tele Uke - Acoustic-Electric Concert Ukulele - Butterscotch Blonde

This is a concert ukulele that takes on the shape of the iconic Fender Telecaster, albeit miniaturized and with 4 strings.

Its familiar single cutaway Tele body is hard to miss, complete with pickguard and bindings, and is available in popular butterscotch blonde and black finishes.

What makes this different from a Tele is the addition of a sound hole to make it function like a conventional acoustic uke. Even the headstock follows the familiar Tele shape, with 4 string in-line tuners.

For its other hardware, Fender equipped this with synthetic bone and saddle, along with walnut fingerboard and bridge.

And in keeping with its electric guitar like design, this uke comes with built-in electronics that allow for volume and tone adjustments, and also has a built-in tuner.

Specifications

  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Frets: 19
  • Extras: Built-in tuner

Pros

The Fender Fullerton Tele gets most of its positive reviews from fans of the Telecaster design, even those who don't play ukulele end up getting it because of its familiar look. Of course, there are regular uke players who appreciate its good looks and build quality, and this is reflected in owner reviews. This uke is described as fun and easy to play, which makes it appeal even to younger students.

Cons

For some reason it does not come with strap buttons, which is baffling since this is an acoustic-electric uke inspired by the Telecaster.

Overall

This is a no brainer for fans of the Telecaster guitar, but you don't have to be a Tele aficionado to appreciate its quality and sound.

Luna Guitars High-Tide Koa Concert

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$299
Luna Guitars High-Tide Koa Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

The Luna High-Tide Koa Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele sports a koa body known for its distinct aesthetic appeal and tone. And while koa is not as commonly used as other tonewoods, it does have a lot of fans who love how it looks and sounds when used on ukuleles and guitars.

As expected from a Luna Guitars instrument, this one comes with cosmetic detail that ups its overall look, utilizing abalone fret markers to show the interaction between the moon and the tides.

On top of all that, it comes with built-in active electronics, with a preamp that allows you to sculpt your tone via a 2-band EQ.

It also comes 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 combined with top notch craftsmanship helps propel this ukulele into the hands of more owners. Tone quality also gets a lot of thumbs up, with some describing it as very clear sounding acoustically and when plugged-in.

Cons:

There are some complaints about the bundled gig bag, while others report having to tune the instrument a bit more often than what they expected. The preamp is also a bit lacking in features compared to what others have to offer.

Overall

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

Acoustic-Electric Budget Option

Kmise UK-24 Hawaii Solid Spruce Concert

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$70
Kmise Solid Spruce Concert Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

With its solid spruce top, the Kmise UK-24 is hard to beat in terms of value. This gives it an edge in terms of acoustic tone and projection, not to mention that the specs are great given its price.

Supporting its solid spruce top are sapele back and sides, that form its concert body shape.

For plugging in, it comes equipped with active pickup and preamp electronics. The preamp has a built-in tuner and a 3-band EQ that you can use for shaping your sound.

Instead of plastic, it utilizes bone material for the nut and saddle, which is another add-value feature which helps it resonate better.

Finally, the top has nice looking graphics that make it visually stand out.

Specifications

  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body: Sapele
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 18
  • Extras: Built-in Electronics with 3-Band EQ and Tuner

Pros:

Compliments pointing to its good tone are common in reviews, impressing even experienced musicians who were expecting less given its low price. There are also plenty of kudos for its overall build quality and the extra cosmetics, which make it look more expensive than it actually is. Speaking of expense, owners agree that this is a great value ukulele.

Cons:

Intonation and tuning related issues came up a few times, along with those who spotted small blemishes, but those are common issues with cheaper options.

Overall

If you're looking for a market approved and budget friendly acoustic-electric ukulele, then definitely consider the Kmise UK-24.

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, but it tends to cost more.

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 current edition was published on February 7, 2022.

We looked at all the concert ukuleles available from major American music gear retailers, and ended up with an initial list of 68 for closer analysis - you can see most of them in the Music Gear Database. We then collated over 35,900 relevant reviews, ratings and comments, including the most recent ones up to February 2022 - and processed those data with the Gearank Algorithm to produce Gearank Rating scores out of 100 for each of them. For this edition, we decided to divide the guide into two main sections, first for top rated non-pickup ukuleles, and second for pickup-equipped ukes. We then selected the highest rated options and put them in their appropriate sections. Finally, we added a budget option section featuring a highly rated yet affordable acoustic-electric ukulele for those with limited funds. 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

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my 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: Grace VanderWaal Live at the 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 2/7/18" by Theresa C. Sanchez - published under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 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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