10 Impressive Concert Ukuleles to Bring the Hawaiian Spirit to Your Music
Last updated: May 11, 2020
66Hours of Research
Those that are in the market for the best concert ukulele know that it is a unique instrument. Not only does it produce amazing music, but it is also smaller and more portable than its cousin, the guitar. The concert ukulele is one step larger than the smallest type of ukuleles — soprano — but is still quite compact. It also makes that beautiful, traditional sound that you often associate with true Hawaiian ukes. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the search for the best concert ukulele is an exciting time.
There is a lot to consider when purchasing a concert ukulele. The size and shape of this instrument will vary slightly, and you will want to find the one that fits your purpose. There are a lot of parts to a concert ukulele, including the type of strings, the wood, and the material used for the tuning pegs. All these will affect both the price and the sound produced by the concert ukulele, so it’s important to really understand what all the feature choices are.
Top 10 Concert Ukuleles Review 2020
To help you find the best concert ukulele, we’ve created this comprehensive guide. It includes a list of the ten best models on the market based on manufacturer information, online reviews, and our personal observations. We’ve also highlighted the details of each concert ukulele. At the end is a comprehensive guide to all the features of a concert ukulele. We hope that your journey to the best concert ukulele ends with the production of sweet music.
Our Editor’s Choice for best concert ukulele is the Hricane UKS-2. This is the perfect instrument if you are looking whether to begin your ukulele career or to continue it. Made from a sapele wood body and a walnut fretboard, it boasts of quality construction. The satin finish means you get to see the wood grains in all their glory.
The four strings on the Hricane UKS-2 are made from carbon sourced from Japan and there are 18 brass frets on the fretboard as well. Traditionally, the frets have position marks to help you play easier. The manufacturers have assured users that the strings are effortless to change, which means there are no barriers to new players.
When you play the Hricane UKS-2 you can count on creating a smooth, simple sound. The music will jump right from the strings to you ears in a harmonious manner, which is no wonder why it’s considered one of the best sounding concert ukuleles.
If you’re still not convinced, don’t just take our word for it. The Hricane UKS-2 is one of the highest ranked concert ukuleles on Amazon. It has an impressively high rating, and previous users rave about this instrument. It is gorgeous to look at, easy to play, and sounds wonderful. To top it off, there is a 30-day money back guarantee, just in case. A guarantee like this is a sure sign that the manufacturer has faith in their creation.
When you think about the ukulele, you probably imagine a Hawaiian beach. There is a person wearing a grass skirt and a lei, strumming a ukulele and singing along. And if you look closely, that ukulele is made out of Koa wood. Koa trees are native to Hawaii and when used to make ukuleles, are the quintessential material. This is because their deep grains and strong coloring make the instruments really pop. The Martin C1K is the best Koa concert ukulele thanks to its Koa wood body and sipo wood fretboard.
The finish for the Martin C1K is satin, which is perfect for this type of wood. Simply give it a nice rub down with a cloth after playing at your concert ukulele will never lose its luster.
While the Martin C1K is amazing for its looks, it is also impressive with its sound. Deep, luscious notes are produced within the body of the ukulele. The strings are nicely paralleled and held in tight in their grooves.
You can also rest assured that once you tune the Martin C1K, it will last for a long time. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to constantly tune an instrument. With this Koa concert ukulele, once you tune it, it will last for a while.
One final reason to purchase the Martin C1K is that while it is at the higher end of the price spectrum, it is still less than other Koa concert ukuleles. So, while you have to pay a premium for its craftsmanship, the price is considerably lower than other similar models.
Those looking for a unique concert ukulele should definitely consider the Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE. While most traditional ukuleles are made from mahogany or walnut, this instrument uses mango wood. Yes, wood from a mango tree. The result is a completely unique coloring and wood pattern. While most other woods are darker in color, mango wood is much lighter, while still being strong enough to create the music from a ukulele.
Paired with the mango wood of the body is a maple fretboard. The result is almost a variation of black and white. The satin finish perfectly pairs with the wood to create an almost rough looking design, although rest assured it is completely smooth. The fret buttons are gold with black accents, leading one to wonder just how luxurious is this instrument?
The only accessory included is a gig bag, but even though this is the priciest concert ukulele on our list, it is worth it. This is thanks to the built-in tuner it has and the unique cutaway patter on the side of the ukulele. Great precision was used to create this concert ukulele and the result is an unparalleled sound.
The Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE is not for beginner ukulele players, mainly due to its price. You wouldn’t want to give this item for a child’s birthday. However, if you are an experienced ukulele player or if you want to add to your collection of instruments, then the Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE is right for you.
The finish of a concert ukulele can either be a glossy veneer or a satin matte. While a satin matte leads to a more natural expression of the wood, a glossy finish looks a bit more rock and roll. And the Enya EUC-M6 is no exception. In fact, along with its glossy mahogany body, the cut out at the top of the ukulele makes the Enya EUC-M6 seem more like a mini guitar than a concert ukulele. Which is just fine by us.
If you want even more design elements, then you’ll want to check out the mother-of-pearl inlay along the fretboard. Peeping out behind the strings, you can make out a series of curls and birds in a mother-of-pearl setting. This is truly unique. Other design features include gold agate die-cast tuners, which not only looks good but ensures the best of sound.
Music from this concert ukulele is further enhanced by the Enya strings. Made of superior quality, these strings lead to precision tones. Your high notes are crisp, and your low tones are bold. Together, they work in perfect harmony.
Altogether, the Enya EUC-M6 has created legions of satisfied customers. Past users rave about both its beauty, and its performance. While the manufacturers do state that the Enya EUC-M6 can be used by both beginners and experts, the price point, north of $200, may suggest otherwise. While this would be a rather nice gift for someone, it is probably not best left in the hands of sticky children.
Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary? At least that seems to be the motto behind the Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele. This selection is the only instrument on our list that has a design on its front. Made with a pattern reminiscent of a 1950’s rock and roll, you can show your true colors with the Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele.
Now, behind the cool design is attention to detail. The body of the concert ukulele is made from mahogany which gives the sound a nice, rich feel to it. The strings and the frets have been placed in perfect order and have a nice, easy feel to them.
While you will have to tune the Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele from time to time, it doesn’t have to be done for each and every session. This is because it will stay in tune for quite some time. For a beginner, this is a welcome detail.
Past users love the Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele for both its look and its sound. The price is also quite affordable, making it the best concert ukulele under $150. However, your purchase doesn’t come with any extras. There are no accessories included, and if you are becoming more of a serious ukulele player, it will cost extra to keep producing quality sounds.
All in all, though, the reviews don’t lie. The Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele sounds great, looks amazing, and would be a welcome addition to any music lover.
Music should be available to everyone, which is why it’s exciting to have such a great concert ukulele at an affordable price. The Kmise KMU23C is made from a luxurious mahogany body with a walnut fretboard. Its satin finish is paired nicely with the grains of the wood. Altogether, the sticker price of the Kmise KMU23C will come at a welcome surprise and makes it one of the best concert ukuleles for the money.
Included in the purchase of the Kmise KMU23C concert ukulele are a gig bag, a tuner, a strap, and strings. It also comes with instructions and online lessons. For those looking for a beginner ukulele, or a ukulele for kids, this is the perfect purchase. You can get this complete bundle at a budget price, and the addition of the online lessons means you, or someone else, can instantly start practicing.
The instruction booklet is easy to read and offers a lot of important tips for starting out. The online lessons have great videos with amazing teachers.
If you’re worried about smaller fingers navigating the fretboard, one unique feature of the Kmise KMU23C is that the fret wires are smooth at the ends. There is no fear of scratching, which can be a bit of an obstacle to learning.
All in all, it’s a nice ukulele under 100 dollars only. As if it’s not enough, Kmise KMU23C also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which is a refreshing feature. You can purchase this concert ukulele and know that if it’s not quite right, you can still return it.
The only downside to the Kmise KMU23C is that the strings are rather tight. You might have to fiddle around with the tension for the first few weeks until they stretch enough.
When it comes to playing the concert ukulele, not only do you want your music to sound good, you want to look good playing, too. Thankfully, you can accomplish both of these with the Makai LC-85SM. This concert ukulele produces a lovely range of sounds. There are crisp highs and dulcet lows that combine to create a plethora of notes. No matter what genre of music you’re into, you can create the music you’ve always dreamed of.
The Makai LC-85SM has a unique look to it that will capture the hearts of any expert ukulele player. The body is made from spalted maple which is quite distinct. While the wood is a lighter color, the grain is much darker, giving the concert ukulele a rather rustic feel. The rim of the ukulele is in a dark brown, furthering the contrasting colors.
What’s more, the Makai LC-85SM has a cut away at the top, giving its shape an even more original look. Finally, the satin finish really plays up the diverse wood grain, allowing this concert ukulele to relish in the attention it will receive.
While all this seems too good to be true, the kicker is in the price. While it is the best concert ukulele under $300, it is still almost $300. This is wildly out of budget for most people, especially for beginners or children just getting into ukulele playing. However, if you have a bit of disposable income lying around, you can’t go wrong with this unique beauty.
There are ukuleles for those in a tight budget and there are models for those where the sky is the limit. If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, then the Kala KA-PWC is for you. Coming in under $200, this middle of the road concert ukulele has the perfect blend of craftsmanship and price.
The satin finish of the Kala KA-PWC means there is a lighter brown color with dark brown grains, which is a beautiful contrast. The fretboard is also made of walnut, which makes the Kala KA-PWC appear quite seamless. The bold satin finish allows the walnut to shine in all its glory.
The Kala KA-PWC comes with a bunch of accessories, so it is perfect for anyone just setting out on their ukulele journey. Included are a case, a tuner, and a polishing cloth. As well, there is an instructional DVD. In this DVD you will find tips on how to care for your ukulele and even how to practice some important cords. It’s only natural to want to play with a new toy once you get it, and thankfully you can get started right away with the Kala KA-PWC.
The Kala KA-PWC also features a NuBone nut which works well. However, there were some cases of the bone being a tad high. This can lead to the strings not sitting parallel to the body. Thankfully, a quick filing down was all that was needed to correct it.
When you find something exciting, you want to start playing with it right away. Thankfully, the Donner DUC-1 is fully aware of this fact, which is why they have included just about everything you need to start playing it. Accessories for the Donner DUC-1 include a bag, a strap, carbon nylon strings, and a clip-on digital tuner. It also comes with four colorful picks. Altogether, this assemblage makes the Donner DUC-1 one of the best cheap concert ukuleles on the market.
The mahogany body of the Donner DUC-1 is paired nicely with the rosewood fretboard. Together these lovely woods show that you care about craftsmanship and music. The satin finish is perfect as it highlights the wood’s grain. Audience members will be mesmerized with both your playing and your instrument itself.
Once you start playing the Donner DUC-1, you’ll be amazed at how comfortable it feels. There are non jagged edges, and the whole concert ukulele feels natural in your arms. The distances between the strings and the frets have been designed to be as comfortable as possible. Once you start playing, you won’t want to stop.
The only drawback with the Donner DUC-1 is that the sound can be a bit thin. This is to be expected, though as the price is quite amazing. If you’re a beginner or a child, the Donner DUC-1 is a great find. Those that are more experienced will want to look at the next price bracket.
Interested in playing the ukulele? Want to get started, but aren’t really sure how? The Kala MK-C is the best concert ukulele for beginners. Not only is it an attractive instrument with a lovely sound, but it also comes with everything you need to get started.
The mahogany body of the concert ukulele is paired nicely with the walnut fretboard. The satin finish is perfect for these materials as it really lets the intricate wood pattern shine.
Accessories for the Kala MK-C include a gig bag, a tuner, a strap, extra strings, and a polishing cloth. As well as these extras, the Kala MK-C also comes with an instructional DVD and online lessons. This set makes it ideal for anyone just starting out with the ukulele. Whether you are an adult or a child, the instructional DVD has a lot to offer.
One of the extras the Kala MK-C comes with is a clip-on tuner. This is an excellent feature that allows you to easily keep your ukulele in tune. As most musicians can attest, tuning an instrument can be a lot of work. A tuner will help you understand how each note should sound and leave all your strings sounding great.
The Kala MK-C comes in at an affordable price, but because of this does have some flaws. The biggest is with the case. Some previous users noted that the case either came in the wrong size or even had the handle fall off. While this is not ideal, the good news is that there were relatively few complaints about the ukulele itself. And remember, if there are issues, be sure to contact customer service right away.
Includes a lot of accessories
Comes with an instructional DVD and online lessons
The case may break easily
If you have a functional lattee machine at hand, making a perfect latee macchiatto becomes so easy that you could probably make it in your sleep. But how do you choose one? Let’s find out!A concert ukulele can create beautiful music. But you will want to find an instrument that meets all your needs. This buying guide aims to answer all your questions and give you as much information as possible so you can start strumming your favorite tunes.
What is special about concert ukuleles
There are four types of ukuleles. In order of size, they include the soprano, the concert, the tenor and the baritone. Smaller ukuleles produce lighter sounds while larger types have a deeper sound. You may think that the larger the instrument, the easier it is to play, but the opposite is actually the case. A concert ukulele is uniquely sized so as to fit into the palms of a person’s hand, well at lease the neck of the instrument is. If you want to be able to hold a ukulele in your lap and feel comfortable right away with it, then the concert ukulele is your best bet.
Features to consider before buying a concert ukulele
Before you purchase a concert ukulele, there is a lot to understand about the instrument. We’ve created this comprehensive list of features explained so you have all the necessary information.
Most concert ukuleles are made from wood, and the type of wood used can greatly affect the sound price of the instrument. Softer woods produce warmer, more mellow tones. Mahogany is a soft wood and can often sound even better with age. As such, it is very commonly used in the creation of concert ukuleles.
If you want a truly unique sounding concert ukulele, then you will want an instrument made from Koa wood, like the Martin C1K. Grown only in Hawaii, this type of wood is the ukulele personified. It produces a beautiful sound, but what is truly special is how it looks. The unique colors from the wood grain mean that no two ukuleles will look alike. You will have a truly special concert ukulele if it is made from Koa wood.
While most ukuleles are made from wood, there are some made from plastic. Plastic is a good option if you are new to the instrument world, or if you have a child that just wants to try one out. The sound produced may sound a bit hollower, and if you want to continue playing the ukulele, then you’ll want to transition into a more traditional wood design.
The fretboard of a ukulele is the long part that is covered by strings. It is also sometimes referred to as the neck or fingerboard. Most often, the fretboard is made from the same material as the body of the concert ukulele. This is both for sound and aesthetic reasons. However, if the body is made from a very soft wood, the fretboard may be produced with a harder, sturdier type. Common woods used to make a fretboard include mahogany, Koa, maple, walnut, rosewood, and elm.
What’s unique about the fretboard is that it is carved from one piece of wood. Any chips or strains can quickly damage the integrity of the concert ukulele. As such, one piece of wood needs to be used in order to keep it as sturdy as possible.
Nut and saddle material
No, we’re not talking about food or horses. The nut of a ukulele can be found at the very top of the fretboard. It is the place where the strings rest before they run and are attached to the tuners. The nut has grooves for the strings to rest and is one of the few places where the strings touch any part of the ukulele. The saddle can be found towards the bottom of the ukulele and is vibrated by the strings.
The nut and the saddle act as bookends for the strings. The grooves must be the same depth, so the strings remain parallel together. If you are having sound issues, the nut and saddle are often where the issues are taking place.
As for materials, cheaper nuts and saddles will be made out of a hard plastic or composite. More expensive ones will actually be made out of bone or a hard ebony wood.
Once a ukulele has been constructed, the final piece is the finish. This determines how shiny the instrument is. A glossy finish is produced from a varnish and will leave the concert ukulele looking very shiny. The price might be reflected with this finish as it takes extra time to produce the various coats of varnish needed. If you are purchasing a ukulele with a glossy finish, pay attention to the craftsmanship. Cheaper work will apply the varnish in thick layers, which could lead to drips.
You can also opt for a satin or matte finish, which may give the wood a more authentic appearance. A thin layer of varnish is often used a protective layer, but the wood is still more true to its natural look. Matte finishes are more popular for purists.
One of the final finish options is paint. More of a novelty feature, ukuleles can come in a variety of colors. If you have a child interested in the instrument, or just want a funkier experience, a painted ukulele can add a bit of excitement to your music.
The concert ukuleles on our list are a mix of glossy and satin finishes. But if you want a truly unique concert ukulele, then check out the Luna RADIOACTIVE Concert Ukulele. With its 1950’s inspired graphics, your performance will be sure to delight your audience.
Your purchase of a concert ukulele may come with accessories. The most common is a case or gig bag. The Kmise KMU23C is a great starter purchase as it also includes a tuner, strap, strings, online lessons, and instructions. Likewise, the Donner DUC-1 includes not only a gig bag but also a ukulele strap, carbon nylon string and a digital clip-on tuner. While accessories are not needed to play, they can greatly enhance your playing experience.
Any extra features that come with the purchase of your concert ukulele mean there is more bang for your buck. The beautifully crafted Makai LC-85SM comes with chrome die-cast tuners and a built-in pickup. The Kmise KMU23C is a great option if you’re not sure about an online purchase as it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
How to maintain a concert ukulele
After investing in a concert ukulele, you’ll want to maintain it properly, so it lasts as long as possible. While there are plenty of commercial cleaners and devices you can purchase, the key for maintenance is consistency. After each use, be sure to wipe your concert ukulele down. Just use a soft cloth, made from microfiber, for instance. Do not use a brush or anything that could scratch the wood. Even if your concert ukulele doesn’t look dirty, the oils on your hands can quickly accumulate.
If your instrument comes with a carrying case, store your ukulele in this. The case will protect your uke from any dust interfering with the insides.
Finally, store your ukulele somewhere with an adequate level of humidity. Even in its case, the wood can still be subject to moisture in the air. High humidity will quickly warp the wood, which will drastically change the appearance and sound of your ukulele.
Gloss on a ukulele not only gives the instrument a shinier look, but it also protects it. Even a satin or matte finish often includes a layer of gloss. Wood needs to be protected. Otherwise, it can warp or twist and be affected by the elements. If you don’t want a shiny ukulele, you can still protect it without multiple layers of gloss. Keep it clean, store it in its case and your ukulele will last for quite a while.
The concert ukulele is a very good instrument to learn on. The smaller sized instruments, including the concert and the soprano, are much easier to learn on than the larger sized tenor and baritone. You can reach all of the strings well, and you won’t have to flex your fingers too much when learning how to play.
Southpaws take heart. You can play a ukulele! The easiest way to go about this is by purchasing a specific left-handed ukulele. However, these can be hard to find, and unfortunately, a bit more expensive than regular ukuleles.
Another relatively simple strategy, although maybe a bit harder to learn, is to just play as a right-handed person would. This obviously won’t work for everyone, and if it is painful or too uncomfortable, you’ll want to switch things around. But it’s worth trying out a ukulele and playing with your right hand, especially at the beginning. Some players find that they are more ambidextrous than they realized and a regular ukulele can still be played well.
If these first two solutions aren’t working, you can make a few adjustments to your ukulele. First, switch the two middle strings. These outer strings are similar thickness and shouldn’t affect the notes. You can also adjust the neck and bridge of the ukulele so that everything feels more comfortable. Finding the right fit for left-handed players can be difficult, but with a bit of luck, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the sounds of the concert ukulele.
We’ve given you a lot of choices in this article on the best concert ukuleles, and hopefully one of the instruments on our list has struck a chord with you. The Ortega Guitars RUMG-CE is the best concert ukulele under 500, and while it is on the pricier spectrum, it offers both immense beauty and delightful sounds.
If you want an authentic Hawaiian Koa concert ukulele, then look no further than the Martin C1K. Made from traditional wood, this concert ukulele will quickly transport you to the land of luaus and mai tais.
Finally, our Editor’s Choice for best concert ukulele is the Hricane UKS-2. This best all-around pick looks good, plays well, and is more affordably priced than others on our list.
Whichever concert ukulele you choose, we wish you good vibes and happy playing.