In this guide, we’re reviewing the best concert ukuleles available in 2020. Concert ukuleles give a great balance between portability and projection. They’re good for players who want to move on from a soprano uke and while the instrument is still relatively small, it is better for slightly larger hands to play than a soprano uke, which might just be too small.
There are loads of options on the market when it comes to concert ukuleles and our reviews should help you to find the best for your budget and needs as a musician.
Here are the best concert ukuleles 2020:
- Cordoba 28C
- Martin C1K
- Kohala KO-C
- Kala MK-C Pack
- Cordoba 15CM-E
- Lanikai ACS-C
- Fender Fullerton Strat Uke
- Ibanez UEW5
1. Cordoba 28C
The best value concert ukulele for the money
The Cordoba 28C offers a fantastic balance between quality and value. It’s one of the most popular concert ukuleles due to the fact that it is available under $200, and that it has some brilliant features including traditional, quality tonewoods.
The koa top, back, and sides gives you plenty of character to the tone and keeps the sound pretty traditional, as this is the wood often used to make the traditional Hawaiian instruments. It’s a versatile instrument with a satin finish and a pau ferro fingerboard that is comfortable to play.
Another top feature is the C-shaped neck. This makes it incredibly comfortable when fingering and playing chords at the top of the uke.
|Image credit: Cordoba Check Sweetwater||
Though some think the tone is a bit too close to a soprano ukulele, that isn’t a problem for most people who want the concert size mainly for comfort. For a reasonable price, the Cordoba offers a good level of build quality and koa wood for a superb Hawaiian vibe.
2. Martin C1K
The best high-end concert ukulele
Are you the sort of person who needs a professional concert ukulele? If you need a top-rated concert ukulele to keep up with your playing abilities then the Martin C1K could be an option for you.
Interestingly, the C1K mixes some really traditional aspects of the instrument with some more unusual features. For instance, the tradition of the koa tone is fantastic, with a rich and bright sound. It combines the koa top, back, and sides with a longer fretboard scale, so it is easier to play for bigger hands and to reach the higher notes. It has a 15-inch scale in total.
Not only does this have incredible Martin build quality, it is great for larger uke players.
|Image credit: Martin Check Sweetwater||
You pay a bit extra for top-end ukuleles. While this is not an unbelievably expensive option, it isn’t cheap either. For those looking for a beginner ukulele it might be a bit out of reach. If it is within your budget, the Martin quality is virtually unbeatable.
3. Kohala KO-C
The best budget pick under $50
A lot of people are in the market to find the cheapest concert ukulele to get them started and there is nothing wrong with that at all. If you want a cheap option it could be just to try out the hobby or to establish whether your kid is likely to stick at the ukulele if you buy them one. For this reason, we’ve included a budget pick, the Kohala KO-C Kine’O series concert ukulele.
In spite of being a cheap concert ukulele, this doesn’t really have much of a ‘toy’ or amateur feel to it. It is full-sized and it’s robust, with good projection. This is a mahogany design which is popular for intermediate and beginner players. It gives plenty of volume and a reliable build. Though the Kohala might not win too many awards or feature in professional studios, it has a lot to like.
|Image credit: Kohala Check Sweetwater||
For taking to the beach with you, or being able to play around with at home and not worry too much about protecting your investment, this could be a great choice.
4. Kala MK-C Pack
The best concert ukulele pack for beginners
Kala makes ukuleles to suit pretty much everyone’s needs, from cheap options to top-end, thousand-dollar ukes. Their MK-C is the best concert ukulele for beginners on our list. Not only is it a decent instrument available at a reasonable price, but it also comes with loads of accessories to get you playing. If you are brand new to the ukulele, this could be exactly what you need. Many people don’t even know which accessories to buy to get started.
The MK-C Makala Concert Pack includes the MK-C model of the instrument, which has a decent mahogany build. While it isn’t anything particularly special, it has more than enough for a beginner. It’s the accessories that set this apart. It comes with a tuner, gig bag and even some learning materials to get you started. All of this at a really reasonable price of well under $100.
|Image credit: Sweetwater / Kala Check Sweetwater||
This is the best concert ukulele under $100-150 if you need accessories to be included. Kala is a trusted brand, and their range is impressive. We are happy to recommend this to beginners.
5. Cordoba 15CM-E
The best acoustic-electric concert ukulele
If you are looking for a concert ukulele that has electrics in it to make it easy to hook up to an amp or PA system, the 15CM-E could be a good choice for you. To find one of the best concert ukuleles under $200 which has electronics included is rare.
Like a lot of the modern concert ukuleles, this has a longer scale and allows for easy playing. The Cordoba offers both acoustic and electric tones that are great, and can allow you to easily amplify. The dynamic range is impressive and Cordoba has made a ukulele here that projects to a good level when played acoustically, in spite of the option to amplify. It’s largely made out of mahogany and provides a good all-rounder. This is a good upgrade from a lot of the beginner options and one of the best intermediate concert ukuleles.
|Image credit: Cordoba Check Sweetwater||
The one real negative can easily be solved by purchasing some new strings, and if you want an acoustic-electric concert ukulele then this model can give you a great setup that doesn’t break the bank.
6. Lanikai ACS-C
The best concert ukulele under $500
Are you looking for a luxury feel on a relatively reasonable budget? It is easy to spend over $1,000 on a concert ukulele, but luckily, you don’t have to with the ACS-C and you can still benefit from the feel of a brilliant ukulele. The Lanikai plays like a fairly high-end model.
Many people love this because of how it plays, the Lanikai is one of the best ukes for playability and it is top rated due to a wider neck that makes it simple to play both melodies and chords.
The tone is pretty warm, the acacia build of this uke doesn’t give it a traditionally bright tone, but that doesn’t mean this uke should be ignored. In fact, it can produce a brilliant tone for those who want something rich, with guitar-like frequencies.
|Image credit: Lanikai Check Sweetwater||
Generally, people who are spending more than a couple of hundred dollars on their uke will know what they are looking for. The warm tone divides opinion, you might think this is the best-sounding concert ukulele but if you want something that has a bit more tradition then you might want to look elsewhere.
7. Fender Fullerton Strat Uke
Fender manufactures ukuleles as well as guitars. Though their range does include some models that look like traditional ukuleles, they also have some designs that pay homage to the famous design of their world-renowned guitar. With this, you get the unmistakable design of the Fender Stratocaster, with a great uke tone.
This is not just a novelty product like you might assume. Like most Fender products, it is well made. It has a spruce top and mahogany sides, and this gives it a tone that has a guitar feel to it. The maple neck and walnut fingerboard are combined with a synthetic bone saddle. This feels like a well-made instrument.
|Image credit: Fender Check Sweetwater||
Fender lovers may well look at this and instantly drool. It’s a fantastic instrument for those who want an exciting design, but it has its merits for live performances and can easily be amplified too. Its tone is quite far from a traditional soprano uke or Hawaiian instrument but this may be what you are looking for.
8. Ibanez UEW5
This is another example of a brand we might know better for guitars, but the UEW5 is a superb acoustic ukulele which provides great value. It also has a cutaway design, which makes it great for soloing.
The mahogany body gives a great projection, and the rosewood fingerboard is crisp, with a rich tone and easy playability. This model has a maple inlay and abalone rosette. The finish is very high-quality for an instrument that is really affordable, making it a popular ukulele.
The UEW5 does have a set of Ibanez/Aquila NYBLACK strings. It’s fair to say these divide opinion when it comes to ukulele tone, some people like them but others would rather restring to their tastes. This is not a huge job, fortunately.
When creating our concert ukulele reviews, we didn’t expect an Ibanez on the list, but this model sounds as good as it looks. It has an open pore design which makes the wood look rustic and authentic. You’ll struggle to find another affordable uke that has such a pro feel to it.
|Image credit: Ibanez Check Sweetwater||
If you are looking for a design for easily playing the higher frets, and are on a relatively modest budget, the Ibanez UEW5 acoustic ukulele is definitely worth considering, a really nice instrument for an affordable price, it’s no wonder this is becoming popular. We’re pleasantly surprised to be including an Ibanez model on the best concert ukuleles list.
Buying a ukulele is an exciting prospect for most, but it can also be really confusing if you don’t know exactly what to look for. Some concert ukuleles are among the most popular on the market, and we’ve reviewed some of the very best concert ukuleles to help you choose.
As you can see, your choices vary from the cheaper beginner options and bundles to some truly special instruments made by incredible brands, that would sound at home in any pro studio or live environment.
Ben is a writer, musician and former studio engineer from the UK with qualifications including music technology. A self-confessed audiophile, Ben can also play multiple instruments.
Ben has worked in recording studios in the East of England, and written about all aspects of music equipment and the music business, as well as production and engineering.