A Buying Guide for Getting the Best Baritone Ukulele
What do Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Neil Armstrong, Marlon Brando, Betty Grable and you all have in common? The answer of course is that you all, like millions of other people throughout the world do, or did, enjoy playing the ukulele!
As you have decided the time is right to give a baritone uke a try the mission is, of course, to find the best possible instrument you can, and with some effort, research and leg work, guided by the tips and ideas covered here, that’s not an impossible task.
Key things to consider when looking for a great baritone uke
There are five types of ukulele on the market; the newest being the sopranissimo measuring just 40 cms (6 inches), the 51 cm (20 inches) soprano- the most traditional uke, size wise, the slightly longer (58cms/23 inches) concert ukulele, a little louder than it’s soprano sister, and the current most popular size and the choice of many professional players - the tenor, which is 66 cms (or 26 inches) long.
The big kid in the gang is of course the baritone, weighing in at 76 cms, or 30 inches. Traditionally the slight outsider, due to it being the heaviest in a genre of instruments known for their portability, and for producing deeper tones than smaller ukes, this style is definitely gaining in popularity.
Switching up from a smaller model takes some adjustment, so look for a baritone designed for beginners for the best results.
What do people you know play?
Word of mouth is always a great way to find recommendations based on genuine personal experiences, so if you have friends who play the uke, or you are in some kind of musical group or club ask for advice.
If anyone has a baritone you could try out so much the better, or try local music shops for a practical demonstration.
All ukes are an investment so it doesn’t pay to go to low end and end up with a uke with a disappointing sound, or that needs to be replaced too soon; but as a newcomer to baritone ukes spending too much is a risk.
If possible aim to buy at least one step above the cheapest models, although to be fair in recent years the quality of even the lowest priced ukes has improved. Don’t forget to consider the costs of additional items like a carry bag, if they are not included in the price already.
The most well own brand names in the ukulele field are Kala (known for selling ukes across the entire price range and good starter kits), Kamaka, Mahalo, Lanakai, and luna, as well as Pono and Kanilea which tend to speciaise in the most expensive models.
Overall then, the sensible way to find the best baritone ukulele for yourself is to ask around, try a few out, read plenty of review, and know your budget. For further help and info, visit our baritone ukulele buying guide.
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