Which baritone?

Nickie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
9,827
Points
63
Which baritone is most recommended for a budget to mid price model? It will need a pickup.
 

Arcy

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
798
Points
18
What does "budget to mid price" mean to you?

I love both my Bonanza Homestead Baritone and Kala Cedar-Top Acacias, which are both in the $300-$500ish range without pickups. I've been playing the Kala more since Covid limited my playing spaces, but the Bonanza still makes me smile. I've been considering stringing it in 5ths so I have more of an excuse to play it.

I liked my Amazon-special Caramel "solid Acacia" fine until I had the others to compare to.

--Rob
 

rustydusty

Active member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
219
Points
28
I really like my Clearwater roundback baritone ukulele. Sounds great and is equipped with a passive pickup. 20210718_092843.jpg20210718_092951.jpg20210718_092250.jpgI ordered it on Ebay from "Really Useful Music Co." In England. Around $200 with shipping. Baz gave it a really good review (check it out).
 

Wiggy

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
398
Points
28
I have no idea what your budget is, but I got a chance to play the very affordable Flight EQ DUB38 plugged in. The active pickup system has almost zero "quackiness." It had a little lower output than most, but that was easily made up with the amp input level. Again, I liked that it had none of the typical piezo quack in the B and E strings.

Unplugged, it sounded nice and full, as a baritone should.
 

rustydusty

Active member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
219
Points
28
Come to think of it, the Clearwater baritone was $250 with shipping... then another $40 to get the gig bag.
 

Doc_J

Active member
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
4,664
Points
38
IMHO the Best budget baritone is an old Favilla, if you can find one. They are getting harder to acquire. Plus they are 19” scale.
 

about2

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
182
Points
18
My favorite baritone (and I have 4) actually isn't one. Its a tenor ukulele strung with Guadalupe strings designed to turn a tenor into a bari. They are marvelous. Also good are Pepe Romero's "Baby Baritone" strings which are designed also to turn your tenor into a bari. I prefer the Guad. I have them on my Master Series Pono. Really quite nice. I'd suggest you try them before investing in a bari.

My other Bari's are a Pono Steel String Mango, a solid old mahogany Conrad, and a solid mahogany Harmony that's been modified into a 6 stringer. I enjoy them all but none can touch the Pono with Guadalupe strings.
 

stevejfc

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
2,641
Points
48
As Hodge mentioned an old Favilla. Also, an old Giannini, which is similar. Great sound and playability for the $.
 

EDW

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
2,469
Points
63
As Hodge mentioned an old Favilla. Also, an old Giannini, which is similar. Great sound and playability for the $.
Yes, both are great choices. I know a guy whose uke of choice is the Bari and he swears by both of those.

Old Harmony Baris can also be good if they are set up well. You can hear numerous examples here


They can often be had very reasonably
 

necessaryrooster

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
420
Points
43
Harmony baritones are great. I got one on Goodwill auctions for $40 and it only needs minor work. Even without the work done it still sounds great. It is LOUD, and the whole body vibrates in a good way.
 

Nickie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
9,827
Points
63
What does "budget to mid price" mean to you?

I love both my Bonanza Homestead Baritone and Kala Cedar-Top Acacias, which are both in the $300-$500ish range without pickups. I've been playing the Kala more since Covid limited my playing spaces, but the Bonanza still makes me smile. I've been considering stringing it in 5ths so I have more of an excuse to play it.

I liked my Amazon-special Caramel "solid Acacia" fine until I had the others to compare to.

--Rob
Right about there....

Thanks everyone for your input!
 
Last edited:

VegasGeorge

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
1,770
Points
83
Nickie, check out the beautiful and affordable Baritones at Mainland Ukes. I really like mine.
 

chris667

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
721
Points
43
Personally, I like the slightly thuddy, percussive sound of an inexpensive baritone. Great for that bluesy sound. I have played expensive ones but never wanted to own one.

The best one I ever played was a Harmony. I could never find one of my own though. A rare beast in England.

I have played a couple of Mahalo ones that sounded pretty good.

I also bought a couple of Kmise baritones and they were OK too.

I suggest spending more on the pickup than on the instrument.
 

BBegall

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
Messages
155
Points
18
Which baritone is most recommended for a budget to mid price model? It will need a pickup.
I had a Kala Cedar Top (recently sold) and a Mainland Red Cedar/Rosewood. I liked them both but liked the Mainland more. The Mainland also comes in mahogany which I have not heard or played but the Rosewood has a wonderful rich sound.
 

Griole

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
111
Points
18
For under $500, I would first suggest the Caramels, which are inexpensive, have electronics, and a truss rod. They used to be everywhere, but their website has been "under construction - rebuilding" for some months now. They're not Kamakas, but they're OK. The Clearwater Roundbacks are another value option to consider. Going up the price ladder, the Oscar Schmidt OU55 and the Lanikai ACST-CEB are both sub-$500 and are decent. So is the Kala SSEBY. Bonanza ukes are all great, based on my experience, I highly endorse an old Favilla or Harmony, if you're OK with having to add a pickup. From there, it's a step up in price to the Pono baritones. They're worth it, but are not in the $300-500 range . Don't laugh, but the Samick baritones with a solid spruce tops are very good bargains, but like the Favilla, and Harmony (a.k.a. Silvertone, Airline), they didn't come with electronics. There ARE some decent inexpensive options out there, if you look hard, and are diligent. Good luck with your search!

 

Nickie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
9,827
Points
63
Again, thanks for all the input! We may be adding one to the band!