View Full Version : Whats the best Tenor ukulele for around $100

10-03-2011, 11:31 AM
I"d like to buy a tenor uke that sounds great!. Can anyone suggest
what tenor uklele sounds best at that price. I personally prefer a DEEPER SOUNDING tenor uke, if thats at all possible.


10-03-2011, 11:34 AM

10-03-2011, 11:47 AM
You can get a Makala tenor (http://www.kalaukulele.com/detail.asp?product_id=MK-T), made by Kala (MSRP $95), for about $60 - $80. If you're willing to spend a little more than $100, you can get a the Kala KA-T (http://www.kalaukulele.com/detail.asp?product_id=KA-T), a mahogany laminate. (MSRP is $155, but you can find them for less.)

I'd also recommend buying an inexpensive ukulele from a seller who will set it up for you, as inexpensive ukuleles are often made with high action that makes them harder to play well. I'd recommend Mim of Mim's Uke's (http://www.mimsukes.com/kala/index.html)or Mike of Uke Republic (http://ukerepublic.com/). Mim (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/member.php?19278-Mim) and Mike (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/member.php?6843-Uke-Republic) are both UU members, and you can contact them through their websites or through UU. They may also have additional recommendations for your price range.

mr moonlight
10-03-2011, 12:04 PM
For $100 you'll be hard pressed to find a great sounding uke. In that price range I'd be more concerned with the quality of construction, intonation, playability, setup and it's ability to stay in tune. If you stick with one of the major brands such as Kala or Lanikai you should be fine. Make sure you purchase from a reputable dealer that will set it up for you. Any uke for around $100 will very likely come with crappy tuners. Replacing them with a decent set will improve your playing experience by leaps and bounds. You can pick up a set of Grover's from Stewmac for less than $15.

Now if you up your budget closer to the $180 range, you can get yourself one of the lower end solid top spruce uke's.

10-03-2011, 02:06 PM
What Mr. Moonlight said.

$100 won't get you much. You'd be much better served to hold on to the money and wait until you're in the $200 - $250 range and can get something that will sound better. Unless you don't have an 'ukulele right now, don't go and get one yet.

10-03-2011, 03:08 PM
I like my Oscar Schmidt OU2T. It's a laminate, not as loud as a solid KOA, but grabbed mine for $67. With a case (gig bag), and the tuners are fine. It did come with GHS strings and I have ordered a set of Aquilas for it. Set up was fine, right out of the box.

10-03-2011, 05:10 PM
What Mr Moonlight and PoiDog say.....

Save your money to buy something better.....you'll be glad you did. You'll have a better sounding instrument that will make you want to play it. I'd even go for somethig used at 200$-250$ to get even better.

10-03-2011, 08:03 PM
I second what mds725 said, the Makala tenor is probably the best sounding, nicest playing uke in that price range. I think ( and have heard it said my many others) that they have better sound than the KA-T or the LU-21T. The MK-T was my first uke and I still play it regularly even though I have quite a few others.

we tigers
10-03-2011, 08:27 PM
Maybe the laminate Islander? I heard some good things about that one..

10-03-2011, 10:08 PM
A good set up is going to cost $50 - $75. You do the math.

10-04-2011, 12:09 AM
SAVE YOUR MONEY!!! See above advice.

mr moonlight
10-04-2011, 05:17 AM
A good set up is going to cost $50 - $75. You do the math.
A number of dealers out there will throw the setup in for free when you buy a uke from them. Even with cheaper uke's. Sometimes you'll save a bit of cash on the uke from some big box dealers, but you'll save overall on the service and setup.

10-04-2011, 05:37 AM
Maybe the laminate Islander? I heard some good things about that one..

I second the Islander if you absolutely, cannot-wait-must-have-one-now. They sound great!!!!

10-04-2011, 10:08 AM
I was totality naive (maybe still am, heehee) when I bought my baritone ukulele (used) and quickly found that I couldn't handle it, and didn't care for the "guitar" sound. So I wasted about $40. I was still dumb when I bought my $100 concert, but I was desperate to start ukeing. Now, I'm pulling my hair out with it! Sometimes I wish I'd have spent more $$$ up front, but then again, I could be yanking my hair out over a lot more money!

10-04-2011, 12:01 PM
I've got a Kala KA-T (you can find them for right at $100) and it's not a bad starter instrument. Can't really compare it to any of the others but I think it sounds alright for the price - as a guitarist, I'm astounded that I spent only a $100 for an instrument that sounds as good as it does. You can hear it in my You Tube videos.

That being said, within a few weeks, I'd already started wishing I'd spent more and gotten a better uke. The KA-T is definitely a starter instrument. I've played a few ukes in the $250-500 range and there is a considerable difference. Out of what I've played (which isn't much), I really like the Mainland ukes - they seem like a great value, even though they're a good bit more than your starting price range.

If you are fairly sure you're going to really play, I'd follow the advice of others upthread and spend a little more. You won't regret it, and you'll end up with an instrument that will hold its value a little better even if you don't stick with it and need to sell it in the future.

10-04-2011, 04:01 PM
I agree with the others, SAVE UP! Buying a cheap crappy uke seems like a good way to decide whether or not it's for you, and to begin on, but you'll really not want to play it when it goes out of tune every 2 minutes and the thing sounds horrid. Save up, or get a new Kamoa Tenor from the UU Store. I have a Kamoa Concert, it's my first real uke, and I'd definitely recommend it.

10-04-2011, 06:30 PM
Another vote for Makala.

10-04-2011, 06:37 PM
My Lanakai LU21-t isn't half bad. A speck boxy sounding, but still nice. I put a set of Aquila Low E's on it and I am still trying to decide If I prefer the Low E of High E.