View Full Version : Good Solid Tenor Ukes in the $200-$300 Range?

01-27-2011, 03:02 AM
Hey, I've been looking to get a tenor. I found my newly fixed-up Lanikai LU-21 to be too small for my hands. I can play it, don't get me wrong, but it's too small. Being a guitar player for five years, it's rough to pick up my soprano uke.

So, I'm looking into getting a tenor uke. For a while I looked at Concerts, but now I have my mindset on a tenor. I really like the Mainland Mahogany Tenor line because they are solid wood and they are (relatively) cheap.

Does anyone have the Mainland Mahogany Tenor? What do you think of it?

and are there any better tenors for under $300?

01-27-2011, 03:16 AM
Everything I've heard about Mainlands has been very positive. Great bang for your buck.

01-27-2011, 03:42 AM
You might also consider a Kala acacia tenor. I've played once before and the sound is really nice. It's also a beautiful instrument.

01-27-2011, 03:46 AM
I have the Mainland Mahogany Tenor. I picked it up used, already strung with a low "G," and I've left it that way because I have another tenor strung gCEA. I like it a lot. Possibly because of the low-G tuning and the types of strings used, it doesn't have the zip of my Lanikai SM-T (another good option, though just barely out of your price range unless you find it on sale), but it's very warm, mellow, and resonant. The intonation is quite good.

You could also check out MGM's eBay store; I've heard good things about his customer service, and he sets every instrument up before he sends it out.

01-27-2011, 03:53 AM
You might also consider a Kala acacia tenor. I've played once before and the sound is really nice. It's also a beautiful instrument.

This is a great sounding and looking uke in that price range. I've had one and I've also had a mainland mahogany concert which I really enjoyed. You can't go wrong either way.

Love the avatar. Go Phils!

01-27-2011, 06:01 AM
I think the mainland would be a good choice, there are lots of positive reviews from them and it's a midwest American company (even though the uke is made overseas). I think the owner is known to be respected in the uke community. If it was my money, I'd go with the slotted headstock tenor for a few bucks more.

Also, if you want to hit the low end of your scale, definitely check out Koa Pili Koko. Aldrine owns one and I've heard those are excellent as well. I think the tenor goes for just under $200 on ebay, with a case. The uke is made from solid acacia, not koa but close.

I own a Lanikai LSM-T (solid mahogany tenor), it's nice, but I would go for something else if you're going to pay full retail (I got mine for $150 on Amazon). Also, that Kala Acacia tenor is great looking/sounding too.

Either way, you're going to be a lot happier with a tenor compared to a soprano. Lot's more comfortable to play and not as plunky.

Good luck and let us know what you get

Doug W
01-27-2011, 07:26 AM
I have a Mainland mahogany cut-away tenor, my wife has a Mainland mahogany concert, a third person in our uke group got a Mainland mahogany soprano for Christmas. They are all sweet instruments. I prefer the tenor and it is really the only uke I play. The additional frets are also a bonus if you play up there.

01-27-2011, 07:42 AM
The Mainland Cedar/Rosewood is a really nice tenor.

01-27-2011, 07:45 AM
I have both Mainland and Kala Acacia, the Kala is just amazing for the money. Not questions on getting one of those. I love my mainlands to but they take some time to open up. Either is great, i would get the Kala for the sound though.

01-27-2011, 08:28 AM
$195 a tenor model and $225 a deluxe tenor model.
Great solid uke for less $200.

01-27-2011, 08:34 AM
The Koa Pili Koko tenor is a very good uke and less than the Mainland (another very good uke) Don't think you will go wrong with either!

01-27-2011, 08:46 AM
I had a KPK. Pretty good too. Great looking and good sound.

01-27-2011, 12:57 PM
I have a Mainland tenor in mango. It came with the hands-down best action and setup I've ever received on any non-custom instrument (I have one built-for-me SG style electric guitar that just barely edges it). The action on the Mainland is even slightly lower than that on my KoAloha concert uke. I've tried the Mainland strung both high- and low-g and it sounds equally good (with fluorocarbon strings - wasn't crazy about the Aquilas that came on it).

My one beef with the Mainlands is that gosh-awful rope binding. To be fair, it's not as bad in person as it looks in pictures but I just don't care for it. It almost put me off ordering my mango. Even so, if Mainland offered a concert-neck soprano in mango or mahogany tomorrow I'd be calling Mike with my credit card in hand, rope binding not withstanding!

However, I have to say I've heard so many good reports lately on the KPK instruments that I'm getting tempted to order one just to see for myself if they're really that good.


01-27-2011, 02:01 PM
Great answers here - I have a Kala Acacia Tenor and it sounds and playes great. Bought from MGM.

Uncle Leroy
01-27-2011, 02:53 PM
I have a Pono Mahogany Tenor and it is an excellent uke!

01-27-2011, 05:06 PM
I have a Lanikai NK-T Custom - It's not all solid woods - but it has very nice appointments: It has a solid koa top, laminate koa sides and back, flamed maple bindings (back and neck), abalone & maple bindings (top), abalone rosette, ebony fretboard, Grover 18:1 gold tuners with ebony buttons, an ebony head plate and abalone inlay Lanikai logo on the headstock. It looks gorgeous, plays smooth and sounds great. I bought it new for $299.00. I'm very happy with it.