10 Best Ukuleles for Intermediate Players | Review 2021 [Buyer’s Guide]

Originating from Hawaii, the ukulele-stringed musical instrument is adored by every member of the musical community. It’s the unique, soothing sound that makes the Ukulele one of the most popular musical instruments.

Getting started with any instrument is challenging. You need to put in hours of practice when you’re not even sure what to do. But after putting in a ton of hard work, you’ve now leveled up from a clueless newbie to a fairly decent musician. And now that you’ve reached a new level, you need to get equipment more suited to your class.

But the market has a lot to offer. To make sure that you make the best buy, we’ve provided our top picks for the best ukulele for intermediate players. So, go with us over our list and the comprehensive guide to choose the best ukulele for yourself.

Before Moving To The Intermediate Level With Your Ukulele

Know About The Basic Anatomy Of An Ukulele

Before we move on to the products section, let’s get to know the ukulele at a more intimate level. There’s an old saying, ‘Knowing is half the battle.’ So, let’s first take a look at the different body parts of the ukulele.

Headstock

Let’s start from the top, literally. At the top of the ukulele, we have the headstock. It’s where you’ll find the tuners. The headstock makes sure that the strings remain tense to carry the tune. They’re mostly made of solid wood.

Tuning Machines

The tuning machines are the most sensitive parts of the ukulele. They’re rotatable knobs that hold the strings in place. You can rotate the knobs to change the tuning. But be careful. Putting too much pressure on the tuning machines can result in some severe damage.

Each of the knobs holds one string. And since most ukuleles come with four strings, most ukuleles have four tuning knobs, mostly metal.

Fretboard

Now, this is the part that you need to familiarize yourself with the most. The fretboard is where you make the magic happen. This long piece of wood attached to the ukulele’s neck carries the strings on top of it. The fretboard, also known as the fingerboard, is where you press down on the strings.

You need to observe the fretboard carefully. Many cheaply made ukuleles come with distorted frets, which will hinder your efforts at carrying any tune.

Bridge

The bottom part is the bridge. It’s the bridge’s job to keep the four strings in their place. A typical ukulele has the bridge glued to its body.

Soundhole

You’ll see a hole in the body of the ukulele. That’s the soundhole. Thanks to the soundhole, you can hear the sounds of your ukulele. Without it, the strings would not be able to produce as much sound.

Body

The body is the biggest part of the ukulele. It has three parts: front, back, and sides. It’s a crucial part of the ukulele. So, make sure to check what materials constitute the body of the ukulele. The higher the quality used, the better the sounds your ukulele will produce.

However, do note that you’ll get what you pay for. So, if you’re looking for a high-quality sound, you’ll need to pay accordingly.

Strings

Now that we’ve gone over the biggest part of the ukulele let’s look at the central part of the instrument, the strings. Different types of ukuleles come with different strings. For example, a Soprano ukulele features either nylgut or nylon strings. In contrast, larger ukuleles use a fusion of nylon and steel strings.

Pick Up A Few Ukulele Accessories

You’re no longer a beginner who’s only polishing their basics. Now you’re an intermediate player who’s striving to reach an even higher level. For that, you’ll need to put in hours and hours of practice.

And to help you do that more efficiently, there are some accessories that you can pick up. They’re as follows.

Electric Tuner

When playing a musical instrument, you need it to match your pitch. And until you can tune your instrument by ear, you should use an electric tuner. And even if you can already tune your ukulele by ear, it’s still a good idea to use an electric tuner.

They’re pretty straightforward to use. Just turn on the tuner, finger each of the strings separately, and adjust the knobs accordingly. Basic tuners don’t cost much. But if you invest in a costly machine, you’ll get some advanced features too, besides the usuals.

Picks

Picks or plectrums are excellent accessories to have. They can help you hone your skills more efficiently and with more ease. In addition, with picks, you’ll be able to produce louder sounds, so even if you’re in a noisy area, you will be able to hear the tune of your ukulele.

Spare Strings

It’s a good idea to have spare strings. The stock strings that come with the ukulele may not be the best quality. Besides, strings are very fragile. And you don’t want to stop playing if a string breaks.

So to avoid such situations, keep a set of spare strings at hand.

Top 10 Ukuleles For Intermediate Players

Comparison Table

For those running short on time, here’s a quick overview of our picks for the best ukuleles for intermediate players.

NameSoundingMaterialFretsStrings
Kala KA-15S Mahogany SopranoSopranoMahogany12Aquila Nylon
Lanikai Kaena Solid Koa Concert UkuleleConcertKoa19Aquila Super Nylon
Fender Seaside Soprano UkuleleSopranoMahogany16Aquila Nylgut
Luna High Tide Series Koa Concert UkuleleConcertKoa20Aquila Nylon
Moukey Soprano UkuleleSopranoMahogany12Carbon Nylon
 Martin T1K Koa Tenor UkuleleTenorKoa20Aquila Nylgut
Sawtooth ST-UKE-MS-KIT-1 Mahogany Soprano UkuleleSopranoMahogany15Aquila Nylon
Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert UkuleleConcertKoa16Aquila Nylon
Cordoba 15CM Concert UkuleleConcertMahogany18Aquila Nylgut 7U
Kala KA-ATP-CTG Tenor UkuleleTenorSolid Cedar18Aquila Super Nylon

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

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  • Key Features & Specs
  • Uses Mahogany as material
  • Features nylon string
  • A Soprano ukulele with a satin finish
  • 12 brass frets

Description

Who doesn’t like a user-friendly, affordable instrument? So, it’ll not come as a shock that the Kala KA-15S is one of the most popular ukuleles out there. Its beautiful features will make you fall in love with it.

The KA-15S is a poof of the high-quality instruments that Kala has to offer. With its solid, tight, and clean feel, the KA-15S was supposed to be a budget ukulele. But the craftsmen at Kala are simply unable to manufacture anything but a premium product. So, while you’ll be paying less, you’ll be getting a fantastic ukulele.

Pros

  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard offers a beautiful look
  • Aquila nylon strings provide a sweet, warm tone
  • Devoid of high-action strings, making it easier to play

Cons

  • Occasional reports of going out of tune

Verdict

It’s a great-sounding, affordable product that appeals to beginners and professionals alike. With many wonderful features, The KA-15S is a safe investment.

Lanikai Kaena Solid Koa Concert Ukulele

Lanikai Ukulele (KAENA)

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses Koa as material
  • Features Aquila super nylon strings
  • A concert ukulele with a rosewood fingerboard
  • Fretboard fitted with 19 frets

Description

Now that you’re an intermediate player, you don’t plan on stopping here, right? However, if you’re not satisfied with their current level and want to go up, the Lanikai Kaena Concert ukulele is the perfect choice for you. While initially built for intermediate players, this stringed instrument can appeal to advanced players as well.

With the premium components, the Lanikai Kaena Concert ukulele can satisfy the most demanding players. With a pleasing look, this concert uke offers a rich, full sound. And this fantastic tune is accompanied by an excellent intonation throughout the entire range, which will surely soothe your very soul.

Pros

  • It offers a rich and full sound throughout the entire range
  • Aesthetically pleasing with a stunning finish

Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side

Verdict

While the Lanikai Kaena Concert is a bit expensive, its solid build and outstanding quality will allow you to play this instrument for a long time. It’s a wonderful choice for those who want to invest in a long-standing ukulele.

Fender Seaside Soprano Ukulele

Fender Montecito Tenor Ukulele - Koa

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses Mahogany as material
  • Features Aquila nylgut strings
  • A Soprano ukulele with a no-tie bridge

Description

There are probably not many people that haven’t heard the name of Fender. They’re a world-class brand famous for their lines of guitars. Recently, Fender has entered the ukulele market to offer their professional services. And here we present to you one of the products from their very first series.

The Fener Seaside Soprano ticks all the essential boxes at a reasonable price. No matter the experience level, this soprano uke can fill any of your wishes. With a clean yet balanced tone, the Fender Seaside features Aquila nylon strings to offer a warm, sweet tone. So, you won’t have to worry about any replacements and just take it out and play it.

Pros

  • Aquila Nylgut strings offer a sweet, balanced, and warm tone
  • Rosewood bridge ensures durability
  • Koa top, back, and sides offer the authentic tone of Hawaiian islands.

Cons

  • May not find much use as you get better

Verdict

The Seaside Soprano is a solid choice with its combination of rosewood and koa wood. Its wonderful features, along with its affordability, make it an excellent choice for anyone.

Luna High Tide Series Koa Concert Ukulele

Luna High Tide Koa Concert Acoustic/Electric Ukulele with Preamp, Satin Natural

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses Koa wood as the material
  • Features Aquila strings
  • Has two operations mode
  • A concert ukulele with comfortable access to higher frets
  • Includes 20 frets

Description

Known for their beautiful instruments, Luna Guitars is a company that every musician adores. Their instruments appeal to musicians of all levels and budgets. And the model we’ll be talking about is from Luna’s premium series ‘High Tides.

Unlike your typical acoustic ukulele, this model features a preamp that will allow you to connect your instrument to external speakers. So, if you’re planning to perform in a live performance, this unit should be your choice.

But that’s not all. Thanks to its wonderful features, the Luna high Tide Concert uke offers a deep, full tone. And its satin finish and rosewood binding provide a lovely view. So, not only it has many wonderful features, but it also looks classy.

Pros

  • Features open-style tuners to keep the uke in precise tuning
  • Includes a cutaway to offer access to higher fret
  • Features a satin finish to provide a pleasing look

Cons

  • Occasional reports of minor finish flaw

Verdict

With onboard preamp, a koa body, and open-style tuners, this ukulele has it all. It’s a great choice who wants to perform live with an amp.

Moukey Soprano Ukulele

Moukey Soprano Ukulele 21 Inch Mahogany Beginner Kit MUS-2 With Bag Tuner Nylon String Strap

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses mahogany wood as the material
  • Features four carbon nylon strings
  • A Soprano ukulele with a standard size
  • Features 12 frets

Description

As an intermediate musician, you want to become an advanced player. To do that, you’ll need to better your fundamentals. That’s why you need the Moukey Soprano Ukulele. Built for learning, the Moukey Soprano will help you hone your skills.

With 12 frets, this model features standard fret markings to help you perfect your fingertips positions. In addition, Moukey has built this unit to last. With high-grade materials, this Soprano uke delivers a rugged construction with a wonderful tune.

Moreover, you won’t have to pay a lot which only adds to the attractiveness of this instrument.

Pros

  • Equipped with an easy-to-use tuner to stay tuned
  • Features Sapele wood
  • Includes different accessories

Cons

  • Occasional complaints of producing defects

Verdict

It’s the best instrument to understand the fundamentals. With superb usability and quality, it’s a perfect choice for an intermediate musician.

Martin T1K Koa Tenor Ukulele

Hand-Rubbed Finish, Tenor Ukulele Neck Shape with Standard Taper

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses Koa wood as the material
  • Features a set of Aquila nylgut strings
  • Includes 20 frets on the fingerboard

Description

Many people complain that the ukulele isn’t loud enough. Well, they indeed haven’t seen the Martin T1K. With a loud sound, the T1K is a prime example of the wonderful, joyful ukulele.

The T1K produces a balanced sound with well-defined notes. It’s a solid koa ukulele with a solid hardwood neck. The T1K’s solid Morado wood fretboard features 20 frets to carry any type of sound you want. So, while it’s a bit expensive than its competitors, the T1K is at the low end of the price range for its build.

Pros

  • This handmade uke features an aesthetically pleasing look with its satin lacquer finish.
  • Delivers a clear, crisp tone
  • Greater playability for all genres

Cons

  • Includes no strap buttons

Verdict

With its helpful features and affordability, the T1K is a solid choice for intermediate and advanced players who stick to a strict budget.

Sawtooth ST-UKE-MS-KIT-1 Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

Sawtooth ST-UKE-MS-KIT-1 Mahogany Soprano Ukulele with Quick Start Guide

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses mahogany wood as the material
  • Features Aquila strings
  • Fretboard includes 15 frets

Description

Sawtooth is known for its value-for-money, and this unit is no different. With an astounding price point, the Sawtooth ST offers an impressive sound. However, contrary to its low price, the ST unit produces a rich, warm, balanced tone that you’d expect from more expensive products.

The ST unit features Aquila strings that are known for their durability. So, you won’t have to worry about replacements and play your instrument freely. With a wonderful sound, a solid build, and an affordable price, the Sawtooth ST has it all.

Pros

  • Features geared tuning keys to provide precise tuning
  • Offers a sweet, warm, and balanced tone.
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • High-action notes

Verdict

The mellow sound and the playability make the Sawtooth ST a bargain not to be missed. It’s one of the best affordable ukes for intermediate players.

Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses koa wood as the material
  • Strung with Aquila strings
  • Features 16 strings

Description

A common complaint amongst most stringed instrument players is that the more affordable models tend to be inconsistent. But, unfortunately, while they’re not entirely wrong, they aren’t quite right either. And the reason why they aren’t is the Oscar Schmidt OU5. It’s one of the most consistent and best ukuleles in its price range.

People tend to compare ukes in the $50 and over $100 price range. That’s because they don’t know better. However, after picking up the Oscar Schmidt OU5 and playing it, you’ll see the difference between the two levels of cost and why such a difference exists.

The OU5 features the sweet and mellow tone, which is a common trait of the Koa wood. And being a concert uke, the OU5 produces a bigger sound. As a result, it’s the best instrument you can pick up without spending a fortune.

Pros

  • Durable, heavy construction
  • Consistent performance
  • Mellow tune

Cons

  • The finish may be a bit slippery

Verdict

While the Oscar Schmidt OU5 isn’t the best product out there, it represents a good ukulele for its price range. It’s a good choice for intermediate players who’re struggling with an entry-level model.

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses Mahogany as the material
  • Features Aquila Nylgut 7U strings
  • Features an ivory body with a satin finish

Description

Some prefer larger frets with their bigger palms. So, they have a hard time with ukuleles as they offer smaller frets. That’s why Cordoba has brought out the 15CM concert ukulele, with those people in mind.

This concert model features a longer neck and larger frets. Thanks to the long neck, the 15CM can remain in tune longer than its competitors. And with larger frets, you’ll have more accessibility to the fretboard and will be able to maneuver through it with more ease.

The Cordoba 15CM features Aquila nylon 7U strings which help it produce a balanced and soothing tone. And its ivory body, along with the rosewood and mahogany fretboard, adds to its visual appeal and durability. And while it may cost the same as an entry-level model, it offers the performance of a professional one.

Pros

  • Visually pleasing look
  • Features Aquila nylgut 7U string to offer a fantastic sound
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • It may not be the perfect choice for recording purposes

Verdict

With its wonderful features and solid build, it’s a cost-effective buy that’s good for beginner to intermediate players.

Kala KA-ATP-CTG Tenor Ukulele

Kala KA-ATP-CTG-CE Cedar Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Tenor Ukulele Natural

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Key Features & Specs

  • Uses solid cedar as the material
  • Features Aquila Super Nylgut strings
  • Features 18 frets

Description

With a solid cedar top and solid acacia wood body, the Kala KA-ATP-CTG offers a stunning tone. And its glossy finish gives it a beautiful look. And if you’re looking for consistency, its Grover tuning machines help you keep playing happily.

While this unit has an attractive price for intermediate musicians, its features and build-quality appeal to advanced players as well. And any alterations by a qualified luthier will help you remedy any problems that you may face.

Pros

  • Its solid cedar top helps deliver a loud, deep, warm tone
  • Very comfortable to hold
  • Features a simple, classic look

Cons

  • Its glossy finish may attract fingerprints

Verdict

The Kala KA-ATP-CTG Tenor Ukulele is a great and cost-effective choice. However, it’s mainly for those intermediate players on a budget but needs to upgrade their equipment.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Ukulele

There are few factors that you need to consider when buying a ukulele. They are as follows.

Build Material

The material of your instrument dramatically affects the quality of your music. So, it’s a good idea to get the best quality material for your instrument. However, the higher the quality, the more expensive your instrument will be. So, choose an ukulele that fits your budget.

Plastic

If you’re always on the go and like to take your uke with you, a plastic ukulele is a good choice for you. Most plastic ukuleles have a compact design and are built for grab-and-go. However, some may find them too small. So, if you want a little more space on the fretboard, you should invest in a different build.

Laminated Wood

Laminated ukes are a great budget buy. They’re not the best ukes out there but will still offer you a pleasant enough sound. However, if you’re a seasoned player who likes to play often, it’d be a good idea to look elsewhere.

Mahogany

Mahogany is one of the most widely used woods for ukes. As a result, mahogany ukuleles have a wide price range. Just as you can find some mid-level ukes with this wood, some premium models also use Mahogany as their material. They produce a rich, warm tone that can be pleasant to the ears.

Rosewood

This rugged, dense wood mainly constitutes the fretboards and bodies. Apart from its durability, its figuring and rich coloration is very aesthetically pleasing, making it one of the top choices for materials.

Cedar

Cedar is a commonly used material for baritone and tenor ukes. Thanks to its lush, soft tone, cedar allows a higher range that is perfect for baritone and tenor ukuleles. In addition, with their louder volume, a solid cedar top will enable you to practice finger-style playing.

Size & Form Factor

Ukuleles come in different shapes and sizes. While they won’t affect the price of your instrument, they’ll affect the sound your uke produces and your comfort while playing. So, make sure to pick the size and shape that fits you.

Pineapple

Compared to your standard size ukuleles, the pineapple-shaped ukuleles provide a higher resonance. Moreover, they’re beautiful to look at. While it’s always fun to play ukuleles because they produce a passionate tune, it’s even better for the pineapple ukuleles.

Guitar

It’s like a guitar, but smaller. So you can basically call it a mini-guitar. The guitar shape is prevalent amongst ukuleles with a curved portion on the upper body. Different brands offer cutaways in the upper bout so that you can access the upper frets with ease.

Boat Paddle

The boat paddle ukes are the rarest and the most complicated-looking ukuleles. They’re uncommon because of their complex structure. Moreover, they’re not for your average joes. So, unless you want to go through all that trouble to have a different-looking uke, it’s better to stick with the classics.

Price Point

As with all other things, your budget will play a vital role in your consideration of a ukulele. If possible, try to spend freely so that the instrument can help you grow instead of being an obstacle that you need to overcome. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to spend a fortune to get the correct equipment. Pick any of the products that we mentioned above, and you should be good to go.

Type

Contrary to popular belief, there are several types of ukuleles. While you may come across only a few of them, you should make yourself aware of each of their features.

Most beginners can’t tell the difference between the different types and end up choosing randomly. While that’s fine for beginners, you should select the type that suits you most since you’re at the intermediate level.

Pocket

Also known as a piccolo, a pocket ukulele will have a scale length of 28cm and a maximum length of 41cm. That means it has ten to twelve frets that offer a range of G4 to E6.

Soprano

Soprano ukes are one of the most common models that you’ll come across. While bigger than piccolos, Soprano ukuleles have a scale length of 33cm and a maximum length of 53cm. It’s effortless to use and perfect for beginners. Sopranos offers a range between C4 to A5.

Concert

If you want a louder and deeper sound, concert ukuleles are the perfect choice for you. With a scale length of 38cm and an overall length of 58cm, the Concert uke has 15 to 20 frets.

Tenor

The Taro Patch or the Tenor uke are the next on the list. With a scale length of 43cm and an overall length of 66cm, the Tenor offers a classic sound with its 16 or more frets.

Baritone

With a range of D3 to A#5, the baritone offers a deep and resonant sound. It can produce such beautiful tunes thanks to its scale length of 48cm and an overall length of 74cm with 18 to 21 frets.

Bass

The bass ukes offer a big low-end punch with their tunes. While it’s not a hugely popular choice, but some prefer this low-end, warm tune. With a scale length of 51cm and an overall length of 76cm, the bass ukulele holds a range from E2 to B4.

Contrabass

The Contrabass is a scarce model with a scale length of 53cm and an overall length of 81cm. The U-Bass offers a range of E1 to B3, carrying a close resemblance to the bass ukes.

Some Intermediate Tunings For An Ukulele

Like all stringed instruments, you can tune your ukulele in different pitches. Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the most common tunings.

C6 Tuning

The C6 tuning is one of the most popular ones. The tuning is G4-C4-E4-A4. If you want to turn down the close-harmony chording, you can tune the G string an octave higher. To have the opposite effect, you’ll have to adjust the G string an octave lower.

D6 Tuning

If you want to go a step higher than the C6 tuning, you can use the D6 tuning. Also known as higher string tension, the D6 tuning in A4-D4-F#4-B4. However, there’s a variation of this tuning in Canada that’s constituted by lowering the A string by an octave.

Dotara Tuning

If you’re not familiar with the dotara, it’s a stringed instrument popular in Bangladesh and India. This instrument has an exotic sound that’s popular amongst many people. If you’re such an individual, you can tune your ukulele into this tune. The strings will go like this: E-B-E-A.

Some Famous Songs You Can Try Playing

Thanks to years of experimentation by many famous musicians, you can use the ukulele to play some well-known songs. It all started in 1930 with a big hit that was played by a ukulele.

The song was ‘I’m a Bear In A Ladies’ Boudoir’ by Cliff Edwards. From then on, many famous musicians like Elvis Presley, George Formby, and many more continued to experiment with the ukulele.

You can try some of these songs, such as: ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You,’ ‘What A Wonderful World,’ and many more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much should I spend on my ukulele?

The answer depends on you. Some ukuleles can get for less than a hundred dollars, and some will cost you over thousands of dollars. So what you’ll need to do is set a budget and get the best buy for that value.

How long does it take to learn to play the ukulele decently?

It depends on how much work you’re putting in. The necessity of practice can’t be understated. If you practice regularly, you’ll find that you’ll be pretty good at it within three or four months.

Bottom Line

With that, we’ve reached the end of the article. While picking the right musical instrument is challenging, it’s an exciting job. So, don’t be afraid to pick up every uke available. Try to play it and see if it feels natural to you. While we’ve introduced you to the ten best ukuleles for intermediate players, it’s your job to pick put which fits you the most.

In that particular venture, our comprehensive buying should be of help to you. Thanks for letting us be a part of your journey as a musician.

Last update on 2021-09-25 at 23:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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