5 Best Baritone Ukuleles – Finding Your Big Buddy

159-Best-baritone-Ukes

We come to the biggest of the ukulele sizes – the baritone. It’s certainly not for everyone in terms of sound, tunings or playability, but for those who like a ukulele with a little more oomph, a baritone may well be what you are looking for.

Compared to the smaller sized ukuleles, the baritone is the newest uke size – created in the 1940s, although the exact origins are unknown. It’s said that two men in particular – television star Arthur Godfrey and luthier Hercules ‘Herk’ Favilla – played a major part in the baritone’s development, although no exact details can be verified. However, if you’re interested, here’s an interesting article surrounding the birth of the baritone ukulele.

When buying a baritone ukulele, there are lots of models crying for your attention. So, to help make your decision a little easier, we’ve compiled a short chart highlighting five of the top baritone ukuleles currently on the market.

There are many more, but this chart gives you a good look at some of the most popular, most playable, and best value – ranging from just below $100 to those just pushing $500.

Let’s dive into the chart, then stick around for our guide to baritone ukuleles.

Top 5 Baritone Ukuleles:

ImageUkuleles / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Kala KA-ASAC-B Baritone Ukulele Kala KA-ASAC-B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

A beautiful high-end ukulele with the best tone on this list.

+ - Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

Unique looks on offer with this cool mid-range baritone.

+ - Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.70/5   4.70 Stars

A simple baritone uke in style, showing off good quality and value.

+ - Alvarez RU22B Baritone Ukulele Alvarez RU22B Baritone Ukulele

Total of 4.67/5   4.67 Stars

This affordable baritone from Alvarez more than proves its worth!

+ - Caramel CB500 Baritone Electro-Acoustic Caramel CB500 Baritone Electro-Acoustic

Total of 4.70/5   4.70 Stars

Impressive looks for such a budget baritone ukulele.

Kala KA-ASAC-B Baritone Ukulele

Kala KA-ASAC-B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

You don’t always have to pay a substantial amount to find a superb baritone ukulele that offers style and tone in abundance – but it certainly helps, as this KA-ASAC-B from Kala proves. As you’d expect from the most premium model in this chart, the craftsmanship on offer is excellent, and playability just as good, with a satin-finished mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. It features a body made entirely from nicely-grained solid acacia with attractive detailing giving it a high-end look. As we highlight in the KA-ASAC-B’s full review, there’s also an arched back for huge projection, which is good news, as the tone of this baritone is wonderful – deep and very warm.

Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Cordoba 24B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

The next baritone on our list is part of Cordoba’s 24 Series, and shows off equally good style, with a unique, eye-catching look. Featuring a traditional non-cutaway baritone body, the top is made with a relatively simple solid cedar, while the back and sides steal the show by using striking spalted maple. The red padauk binding and rosette also enhances the appeal, while playability is superb thanks to the sleek mahogany neck and 19-fret rosewood fretboard. How does it sound? Mostly warm, but very well-balanced with great volume – there’s a lot of tone on offer for under $300. Be sure to check out our full review of the Cordoba 24B for all the details.

Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele

Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

Another Kala on our chart, this time part of the brand’s flagship Satin Mahogany series, which falls into the affordable sub-$200 price range. With a traditional body, the looks aren’t particularly striking, but there’s plenty of playability and quality on offer. The body – top, back and sides – are made from satin-finished laminated mahogany. Joining the body at the 14th fret, there also a mahogany neck, a rosewood fretboard (although this may be walnut, depending on the marketplace) and a total of 18 frets. The hardware is good for the price, and it sounds lovely too – leaning to the warm side of things. Everything you need to know about the Kala KA-B can be found in the full review.

Alvarez RU22B Baritone Ukulele

Alvarez RU22B Baritone Ukulele

Body And Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

Take a rich sound, good playability and super value, and what do you get? The RU22B baritone ukulele from Alvarez Guitar’s Regent Series. For under 100 bucks you’re getting plenty of ukulele. There’s a full-size baritone body, which is humble in appearance, using laminated mahogany for the top, back and sides, with a simple abalone rosette to add a little character. The craftsmanship is commendable, with very little work needed out of the box to enjoy playing straight away. As we mention in the full review of the RU22B, this uke features a mahogany neck, 18 frets, and good hardware for the price – including a real bone nut and saddle, and very solid chrome closed-gear tuners.

Caramel CB500 Baritone Electro-Acoustic

Caramel CB500 Baritone Electro-Acoustic

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

Looking for a budget baritone? It’s hard to look past the super-affordable Caramel CB500, which comes in at well under $100. There’s lots going on with the design, which gives it a very unique look, including a multi-soundhole and wooden leaf rosette which sits on a laminated rosewood body. On the neck sits a rosewood fretboard and 18 frets (joined at the 14th), while inside is a truss-rod. We look at the Caramel CB500 in more detail in the full review , but know that – even in this budget price range – this uke offers a basic pickup and preamp system, featuring 3-band EQ controls, allowing you to amplify the naturally warm tone. Great value.

What Makes a Baritone Ukulele?

A baritone ukulele is the biggest of all the ukulele sizes, with a typical total length of around 29” (that’s a scale length of around 19”). With its extended length, a baritone uke will have around 18 to 21 frets, which is close to what a guitar would have.

But the guitar similarities don’t end there. Instead of the G-C-E-A you may be familiar with on soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles, a baritone features a different tuning. In fact, the four strings are tuned exactly like the highest four strings of a guitar: D-G-B E.

What Does a Baritone Ukulele Sound Like?

A baritone uke has quite a distinctive sound. It doesn’t quite sound like a ukulele… but then, neither does it sound like a guitar.

While the materials used in the ukulele’s construction will play a part in the overall tone of the instrument (for example, maple bodies will be brighter while the use of mahogany is always much warmer), all baritones share some qualities.

Because of the bigger body and soundhole, all baritones are acoustically louder than their smaller-sized counterparts, while offering a deeper, richer tone with more warmth than soprano and concert sized ukes – partly down to the size, partly because of the lower tuning.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Baritone Ukulele

Baritones have their cons, but there is a lot going for this wonderful ukulele size. We’ve already highlighted the deeper, richer sound, which some ukulelists – jazz players in particular – prefer.

A baritone is also easy to play – depending on the player as an individual. For example, if you are a guitarist, you’ll be able to play the baritone ukulele with no further instruction as it’s essentially the same experience, albeit without the lowest two strings of the guitar. This means notes and chords are the same. The string spacing and fretboard room is more generous too, so bigger-handed players will find a baritone easy to maneuver around.

However, beginners to the ukulele should steer clear of baritones for the simple reason that learning from traditional ukulele chord sheets and song books – even online videos – will be difficult due to different tunings.

Another slight negative is that there is generally less choice when it comes to baritone models. That’s not to say they can’t be found. However, when compared to the smaller sizes, you’re limited on choice – especially in the budget categories, where baritone models are few and far between. Having said that, as our chart proves, you can find a good budget baritone if you know where to look!

What are the Alternatives?

As we’ve established, a baritone ukulele is a wonderful instrument – but it’s not for everyone.

If you crave a slightly brighter tone, a concert or tenor ukulele would suit you better. Want the vibrant, happy, traditional Hawaiian ukulele sound? A soprano ukulele would be the size for you.

For complete beginners, we always recommend a concert ukulele, as these are a great all-rounder – offering the typical ukulele sound, standard ukulele tuning, and a decent sized fretboard to get to grips with.

The Final Word

There we have it – baritone ukuleles discussed and digested! If you’re ready to try one out, you’ll need to get your hands on one.

Watching videos online, reading reviews, and – where possible – trying out a range of ukuleles is the best way to know which model is right for you. Although if you start with the five on our chart, you’ll see what the benchmark of a good baritone ukulele is.

Good luck with your search for your ideal baritone ukulele!


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