Buying any instrument should involve a bit of research to ensure you are purchasing a product best suited to your needs.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional, choosing the best tenor ukulele to advance your playing can be something of a challenge.
A challenge made easier by our guide and collection of some of the very top models on the market, as we’ve thoroughly reviewed and recommended tenor ukuleles to suit every player and budget.
- Our Top Picks For The Best Tenor Ukuleles
- What Is a Tenor Ukulele?
- Who Are Tenor Ukuleles For?
- Is a Tenor Ukulele Good For Beginners?
- Tenor Ukulele Brands
- How Much To Spend on A Tenor Ukulele?
- Top 9 Tenor Ukulele Reviews
Our Top Picks For The Best Tenor Ukuleles
Before we dive fully into specifics and in-depth tenor ukulele reviews, here are three great picks that you should consider when choosing the right instrument for your needs.
What Is a Tenor Ukulele?
If you are already a ukulele player or a fan of music which uses the ukulele frequently, you may know that ukuleles tend to come in four different sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.
Tenor ukulele is the third largest in terms of body size, and the largest ukulele which is tuned to the traditional ukulele tuning, as the baritone is tuned more like a guitar.
Tenor ukes, due to their size and acoustic properties, have more of a full sound, covering more frequencies than the soprano and concert ukuleles.
The tone is closer in some ways to a classical guitar tone due to the fact that the lower frequencies ring out more.
Because of this, a lot of musicians are beginning to prefer the tenor ukulele.
It is better for solo performances due to its thicker sound, and they also tend to have longer necks, which means more frets to play with.
Of course, the size doesn’t just have implications to the sound, and a slightly larger tenor ukulele may feel more natural than playing a tiny soprano model.
To be exact with sizes, tenor ukuleles are generally 26 inches long as opposed to 21 or 23 inches for soprano or concert.
The size difference may not sound like much, but it has a big impact on the sound and the playability.
Some models may be slightly longer or shorter than 26 inches, but this is generally the size a tenor ukulele will be.
Who Are Tenor Ukuleles For?
Tenor ukuleles are popular among larger players due to the fact that they will probably feel more natural to hold.
They are also popular among people who want to play the ukulele solo at times, or even perform on it, as it will cover more frequencies and generally sound a lot more satisfying on its own.
Generally, it boils down to preference and which tone of ukulele you prefer.
Is a Tenor Ukulele Good For Beginners?
Due to the fact that there is no difference to the way the tenor, concert and soprano ukulele are played then there is no significant disadvantage to learning on a tenor ukulele.
The fact you have a little more space on the fretboard may actually make it easier to move around and more comfortable, so it is very popular that beginners opt for tenor ukuleles over some of the other types.
The only downsides for beginners are the fact that tenor ukuleles are slightly more expensive due to the materials used.
You can buy an entry-level soprano ukulele for cheaper than an entry-level tenor ukulele.
As well as this, if you do ever plan to move to the smaller models, there will be a period of getting used to the smaller fretboard.
This is not a huge disadvantage, though, and if you plan to move from one type to another there will always be some level of adjustment needed.
Tenor Ukulele Brands
There are some brilliant brands out there making ukuleles. Many of them have Hawaiian sounding names due to the fact that ukuleles hail from that part of the world.
The companies making tenor ukuleles are split between these older brands, and newer brands who have expanded from making guitars to making ukuleles too.
For instance, Fender and Martin make some exceptional guitars.
Traditional high-end ukulele brands include Pono and Kanilea, with other brands such as Kala, Mahala and Luna offering both mid-range products and even starter kits which often contain spare strings, tuners, cases and plectrums among other items.
How Much To Spend on A Tenor Ukulele?
Naturally, people all approach buying an instrument differently, and with different budgetary constraints.
In general, though, there are some very rough rules to how much you should spend depending on what you wish to get out of your instrument.
If you are a beginner or newcomer then you can probably get a tenor ukulele kit for under $100.
Some of the items we’ve recommended below are ukulele kits, which come with everything you need to get started.
While you probably won’t be playing any large gigs with $60 ukuleles, they are great for those who are making their first steps into playing.
If you have some knowledge already or are looking to move into a more advanced level, then you can purchase models from around $100 to $300.
These products are what we will call ‘mid-range’ and tend to be a step up from beginner models in terms of tone and build quality but not quite up their with elite models.
Elite models can be $500 or more. There are some incredibly good quality ukuleles out there.
Built exceptionally and beautiful looking, with good quality wood for both tonal and aesthetical advantages.
Instruments at a high-end level can be extremely expensive, and ukuleles are no different, however if you plan to be the best, only the top quality instruments will do.
Top 9 Tenor Ukulele Reviews
On to our full reviews. Only the highest rated tenor ukuleles have been considered for this list, with all of the tenor ukulele recommendations being based on our opinion as well as other consumer reviews.
As this guide will show you, there are a huge variety of instruments within the “tenor ukulele” category.
Choosing which one is best for you will come down to spending a little time educating yourself on the products, as well as considering your own unique needs.
Whether you are looking for a passable model to see if you like playing the uke, or you need something to take on a world tour with your band, there are suitable products listed above, as well as a wide spectrum of others in between.
It is easy to see why tenor ukuleles are growing in popularity, and the right models can be a lot of fun to play.
Choosing a good ukulele can be the difference between sticking with the hobby until you are a virtuoso, or giving up after one week.
Be sure to consider the pros and cons carefully before you make your decision!