Best Tenor Ukulele Available for Your Budget

Image of a ukuleleBefore trying to look for the “best” type of ukulele on the market, it’s important to note that there’s really no such thing. Tenor ukes give you some intriguing advantages, but they’re not necessarily better or worse than the other types, and choosing them is usually a matter of preference.

That being said, there’s a lot to be considered regarding the quality of the craftsmanship, the sound, the durability of the wood and many other important factors that will determine whether or not you should buy a particular tenor ukulele.

 

Why Would You Consider a Tenor Uke?

When it comes to buying a ukulele, there are three popular choices you can make: getting a tenor, concert or a soprano uke. So why is it that some aspiring and expert musicians would express their interest in a tenor uke?

First of all, tenor is the largest of the three sizes, and anyone interested in becoming a professional player and musician will likely prefer it. Also, because of its size, the tenor scale gives you a lot more room for a wider array and variety of songs. The fingerboard presents more of a challenge, but once you’ve mastered it, you can play just about anything you want and join the ranks of famous musicians the likes of Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill on your way to greatness.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to choose the best tenor uke out there, and with the price being slightly higher and so many new brands becoming available as of late, doing your research properly has never been more important.

 

Kala Koa Tenor Gloss Ukulele (Kala KA-KTG)

This uniquely and beautifully fashioned ukulele uses a koa top made from hand-picked koa found on the Big Island of Hawaii. The refined craftsmanship combined with high quality wood, maple trim and laser-etched mother of-pearl inlay work together to create a visually appealing tenor uke that sounds even better than it looks.

Despite its comprehensive design, the Kala KA-KTG only weighs about 2 pounds, and has been crafted to work just as well at home as at the studio or even in areas where the acoustics are impaired. Experts consider it to be a perfect choice for layering on top of classical and acoustic guitars in professional recordings.

Very few other ukes have achieved the kind of feedback that the Kala Koa is responsible for. A large majority of the people who have bought it consider it worth a 5-star rating, and its fine appearance, laminate koa design, D’Addario strings, ease of use and surprising quality sound are among the most praised features of the ukulele.

 

Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele

Despite being priced below average when compared to other high quality tenor ukes, the Cordoba 20TM tenor ukulele has got it where it counts. It features a solid mahogany top and neck, quality Aquila strings, a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, a natural satin finish and a strong, durable overall design that promotes durability.

There are several things that might attract you to this ukulele. The Cordoba 20TM has an outstanding design and construction that have been praised by reviewers worldwide. It also has a massive table, the mahogany sounds surprisingly good, and the appearance of the wooden top and the aesthetic finishes will make you feel like you’re holding a genuine showpiece.

 

Cordoba 30T Tenor Ukulele

As with other Cordoba models, solid mahogany is the material of choice in the case of this high quality tenor uke as well. The entire design of the 30T is handmade, featuring a Spanish heel neck joint and a wider fingerboard than similar models, designed for better playability. The rosewood bridge and binding, and the hand-rubbed PU finish, are all designed with aesthetics and increased durability in mind.

The lighter than usual design inspired from the construction of Spanish and classical guitars is part of what makes this tenor uke so appealing to both professional and amateur musicians and ukulele enthusiasts. The craftsmanship and attention to detail and the beautiful, surprisingly loud tone of the Cordoba 30T also shows the manufacturer was on the right track developing this first ever version of tenor ukulele.

 

Fender Nohea Koa Tenor Ukulele

Yet another Hawaii-inspired ukulele, the new Fender Nohea uses a unique construction based on a koa design and acrylic abalone binding. The tenor uke has a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, mahogany neck and a sleek, gloss polyurethane finish that makes it stand out. With die-cast tuners, high quality Hawaiian GHS strings and a laminated koa top, you can expect the sound quality to be well above average.

Reviewers have praised this uke for its consistency, as well as its quality tone and sustain. The reliable design exceeds all expectations when considered next to the cost, and most experts consider that its playability and ease of use are ideal for learners, while the uke still retains the superior performance that professional musicians would require.

 

Martin 1T IZ Tenor Ukulele

When it comes to beauty and refined quality, very few ukes can compete with the sleek, textured quilted mahogany top design and mahogany block construction of the Martin 1T. The sound is definitely unique, and the instrument comes in a beautiful leather hard case that will make it easy to take with you, whether you’re on tour or traveling to remote areas.

Professionals and aspiring musicians who have tried this ukulele were impressed by its tone and by the remarkable care and attention to detail associated with its construction. If you really want to put on a show that will dazzle your fans, this is one of the best tenor ukuleles for the job.

 

The Bottom Line

Most of the ukes on this list are averagely priced, but offer performances that are well above the normal expectations for the pricing range in question. If you want durability and ease of use, you’ll probably love the Cordoba designs, you can see our list of the best Cordoba Ukulele here. Products like the Martin 1T IZ and the Kala Koa may give professional players more than they’ve bargained for.

Regardless of your preference, these are all among the most well-designed and beautifully crafted ukes on the market, and any one of them can be an extremely inspired choice should you choose to buy it.

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The Best Cordoba Ukuleles (2017)

on couch playing ukuleleCordoba is one of the few brands responsible for the manufacturing of high quality stringed instruments that has won global appeal from musicians, amateur music lovers and music experts alike.

While their classical nylon-stringed guitars are recognized worldwide, Cordoba ukuleles are rapidly gaining an equal level of recognition and popularity. The best Cordoba ukuleles are stylish, easy to play and among the most durable instruments in the trade. Moreover, you won’t find them to be as expensive as some of the other available choices.

 

A Few Notes About Cordoba Ukes

Cordoba is essentially a Spanish company, however, their ukes are mainly made in Portugal. Most of the ukuleles they produce are made from mahogany or genuine koa, however, there are a few other options as well. The brand produces everything from high quality soprano ukes that are great for someone just starting out and trying to learn the basics, to the best tenor and concert ukuleles, designed for professional use.

Beauty and authenticity are two qualities that Cordoba instruments never lack. The brand is known to compete against some high-caliber manufacturers, including Kala, Fender and Mahalo.

Whether you’re looking for durability and practicality when it comes to buying a portable, highly resilient ukulele that you can take with you wherever you go, or you’re more interested in the actual sound quality and the ability to play music at a professional level, you are sure to find at least a handful of high end ukuleles Cordoba makes that are entirely suitable to help you achieve your goals.

 

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

With a mahogany top, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, ivoroid binding and abalone rosette, the 15CM is a genuine 18-fret concert uke that can be bought at a surprisingly affordable price.

The appearance of this entry level ukulele is impressive, a fact made possible by the binding, the chrome tuning machines fitted with pearl buttons, and the beautiful matte satin finish. You also get a stand and a chrome cast gig bag as part of the offer, allowing you to play like a pro wherever you go.

So far no one who bought this concert uke had a great deal to complain when it comes to its appearance, performance or durability. This Cordoba model has excelled in every respect, being considered a refined piece of high quality craftsmanship that produces great tones, and scores good points for portability.

 

Cordoba 25SK Soprano Ukulele

The 25SK is a slightly more upscale option, and if you like soprano ukes, this is probably one of the best you can find on the entire market. Its acacia sides and top, the genuine ebony fingerboard and the superior quality, natural satin finish are among the main highlights that reviewers have pointed out when talking about the Cordoba 25SK.

This is definitely not a toy. The Cordoba has a beautiful, rich tone, and impressive volume/projection. Also, buyers who have purchased other brands of soprano ukuleles in the past have pointed out that the 25SK is clearly handmade, and the attention to detail that went into its construction far exceeds the quality of what brands like Oscar Schmidt or Lanikai have come up with as of yet.

 

Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele

The Cordoba 20TM is a completely handmade tenor ukulele and one of Cordoba’s most successful and beautifully designed instruments. It features a solid mahogany top, as well as a mahogany neck, back and sides. The natural wood rosette and natural satin finish are among its most notable and unique features, and the 20TM is also one of the lightest tenor ukes produced by Cordoba.

With an easy to use tuner, great action and impressive overall ease of use, this is a tenor uke you can learn with. Beginners and amateur musicians who just want to play for fun have praised its sound quality and overall feel, considering it superior in sound quality even to ukuleles manufactured by Kala or Fender.

 

Cordoba 30T Tenor Ukulele

This is yet another solid mahogany masterpiece produced by Cordoba. Featuring a unique, handcrafted construction, a PU finish and Spanish heel neck joint, it is designed to stand out not just through attention to detail and aesthetic appearance, but also through its rich sound, which is close to what a guitar would sound like.

The beautiful glossy finish and lightweight construction are among its main highlights, most buyers considering it a highly practical and valuable purchase that also happens to be a focused, rich and light sounding instrument.

Protege by Cordoba U100CM Concert Ukulele

We’ve saved the best for last, and the high quality Protege U100CM concert ukulele is definitely worth the attention it’s given. The uke features a unique mahogany top and ring rosette. It also comes with a stunning matte satin finish and a gig bag that allows you to take it with you to your gigs and concerts, which its exceptional sound quality is fully suited for.

Out of dozens of amateur and professional musicians who have purchased the Protege, most agree that it’s the very best ukulele in the entry level price range. This uke is well above its class, and the sleek laminate top, the solid mahogany neck and the mother-of-pearl rosette make it both beautiful and easy to play.

Some of the main highlights of the instrument are definitely its impressive loudness and superior tone. Also, the Protege is easy to use and tune, as well as light enough to carry around just about anywhere you go.

 

Making Your Choice

It’s not necessarily easy to decide what to choose when it comes to buying the best Cordoba uke on the market. While all the aforementioned instruments are worth their price, you have to consider whether you prefer a concert uke like the 15CM, that’s geared toward durability and consistent sound, or you’d like a full tenor ukulele like the beautiful Cordoba 30T.

Most experts, however, will point to the Protege by Cordoba U100CM Concert Ukulele, considering it to be the most playable, easy to use, portable, beautifully sounding and aesthetically appealing ukulele designed both for amateur and professional musicians, and available at a much better price than most of Cordoba’s other products.

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