best uke for under $200

Top Tenor Ukuleles Under $200

Looking for good, playable tenor ukuleles under $200?

It’s not hard at all to find surprising good tenor ukuleles under $200. In fact, you can spend only around $100 and still get a very acceptable instrument.

Whenever I start up a new uke class, I get twenty emails asking “What ukulele should I buy?” And the underlying sentiment is, can I buy a cheap ukulele or do I have to spend a lot of money?

Now if you want a ukulele that’s a step up but still not crazy expensive, here’s a nice video overview from the folks at Hawaii Music Supply. As stated above, there are plenty of playable ukes for way less than $200 (and plenty of reasons to have one), but if you’re at all serious, it’s nice to get an a serious instrument.

(I think a very decent starter uke is this little Lanikai, available from Amazon. It comes with a case and a tuner (very important!) and is generally reliable and musical).

In the video:

Quick comparisons of these tenor ukuleles under $200:

My hunch is the differences will be hard to detect on typical computer speakers, so listen with headphone and see what you think!

(By the way, the links go out to Amazon–and most of these ukes come in at quite a bit under $200).

Which one would you buy? Leave a comment and let’s fight it out.

Other articles to help you find a good, cheap ukulele:

 

  • ukenut says:

    As an Amazon junkie and customer of theukulelesite.com, I’d strongly recommend buying from theukulelesite.com instead of Amazon. They will properly set up the instrument while Amazon will not. Most manufacturers ship with high action, assuming the dealer will perform set up per the customer’s preference. Theukulelesite.com does this very well and doesn’t charge extra for it. They also respond quickly to any questions you may have about the instrument.

    • Danno Sullivan says:

      Hey, you ukenut! Excellent advice, and just to be clear theukulelesite.com IS Hawaii Music Supply, who put together this video in the first place.

      Amazon is convenient for a lot of folks, and I find the reviews from actual users invaluable. But nothing beats a well-made uke set-up by pros. So thanks for the reminder.

  • ralph says:

    I got the Gretsch and really like it. I got it to have a laminate uke readily available during the winter months when the humidity was not in good control. I noticed that HMS had stocked them once, rejected a lot for quality problems. I got mine from Elderly. A great lower cost uke. Maybe better than some of my more expensive ukes.

    • Danno says:

      Hey, that’s great to have a real-world report. I’m with you, too–there’s not necessarily a correlation between high cost and good sound!

    • Danno says:

      Finally got the try out the Gretsch, now that a local shop is carrying them (surprisingly!). Not bad at all…

  • Stephen Beauregard says:

    I’d suggest heading over to the local music shop (if one still exist) and see what they have in stock. The best way to buy an instrument is to play it first.

    • Danno says:

      Hey, Stephen,

      No doubt you are correct. But if your local music shop is anything like my local music shop, they STILL don’t have much of a ukulele selection. In that case, there really are some decent mail order options.

  • Barry says:

    There *is* a music shop in my small town and that’s where I’m going. This weekend I’m going to pick out my own Uke and get going.

    Never held one – and this site has inspired me to dig in. Anything that looks so fun has to be a part of my life.

    • Danno says:

      Your uke will always be a part of your life, and so will I–you can never get away… (creepy music…)

    • Barry says:

      GOT IT! Christmas. So happy. Strumming away. Now to learn what the heck I’m doing. Thanks for all the guidance and inspiration.

      • Danno says:

        We accept you, we accept you, gabba gabba, one of us, one of us!

  • What is that beautiful; sone the musician is playing? I have to learn to play it. Beautiful musicianship by the way.

    • Danno says:

      That’s the guy from Hawaii Music Supply playing–and it is beautiful. Sorry to say, I don’t know the song.

  • I was very lucky, I was at GuitarCenter trading in some old musical equipment that has been laying around for years, and asked what they had in entry level ukuleles. They showed me the Lanikai LU22CGC concert, and it happened to be on sale for $70. They gave me $60 in credit, so essentially I got it for $10 and I love it! It came with the Aquila strings and once broke in, the seem to hold tune very well. My daughter (11) heard me playing and saw how much fun I was having, so she wanted to start playing too. We went online and got her the pink (only color she will have) Makala Dolphin ($60 for the uke, gig bag, and mini tuner), and now we are learning together. I think the Makala has a brighter sound, after all it is a soprano, but they sound amazing together and are both a riot to play. The only thing I can say about the Dolphin is my old, fat fingers have a hard time on some of the chords, but my daughters nimble little fingers have no problems navigating the smaller fretboard.

    • Danno says:

      I see a lot of those Lanikai ukes come through my classes. They seem solid and reliable–and how can you can wrong for ten bucks!