Best Tenor Ukuleles Under $200 – 2020 Guide

Vlad
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

If you’re tight on a budget but have a dream of learning how to play an instrument, you would be glad to know that you can find a really good Ukulele under $200.

This article will provide you with everything you will need to learn the basics and even more.

Our Top Picks for Tenor Ukulele Under $200

  • Mahogany Electric Ukulele
  • Electronic 2-band EQ Preamp
  • Handmade model
View Latest Price →
  • Spalted Mango Long Neck model
  • Abalone bindings and rosette
  • Top quality handcraft
View Latest Price →
  • Agathis Natural Satin finish
  • Fret markers on the neck sides
  • Bundled with the accesories
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best Tenor Ukuleles Under $200

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Mahogany Electric Ukulele with Satin finish
  • Electronic Preamp with 2-band EQ
  • Handmade model
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Spalted Mango Long Neck Ukulele
  • Abalone bindings and rosette
  • High build quality, handcrafted
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Agathis Natural Satin finish
  • Fret markers on the neck sides
  • Bundled with the accesories
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Kala Tenor Ukulele Under $200
  • Great Sustain and volume
  • Mahogony modern bindings
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Luna Tenor Ukulele Under $200
  • Strings stay in tune for a long while
  • Unique Red Satin finish with black neck bindings
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Travel Tenor Ukulele Under $200
  • Cutaway design with vintage abalone details
  • Equipped with high-quality D’Addario strings
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Long Neck Tenor Ukulele Under $200
  • Balanced weight design with black bindings
  • Ideal for finger picking
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Exotic Mahogany body with Amber Satin finish
  • Exceptional tone quality at this price range
  • Aquila Super Nylgut Strings provided
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Can You Find a Quality Tenor Ukulele Under $200? 

Ukulele is one of the rare acoustic instruments where a decent model can be found under $200 easily. Sure, you may trade some aspects such as not having a top from a solid wood, and sustain may not be so everlasting like you would like to, but if you can hear such a difference, then you’re probably a dedicated musician who needs a completely professional instrument.

Ukuleles under $200 are considered as a budget model which eventually doesn’t mean it’s bad. As a matter of fact, most people will be more than satisfied with the quality they can find around this figure.

How Do I Know What Size Tenor Ukulele to Buy? 

Luckily, Tenor Ukuleles are usually the same regarding size, but there are certain specific models that may come handy in certain situations.

If you travel often, you should know that there is a Travel Tenor Ukulele model which has a more compact body size. This makes it a much more convenient solution for taking your instrument on a trip.

For those who would like to have a larger fretboard, they might consider a long neck Tenor Ukulele model. Besides having more space between frets, these models usually have a more guitar-like sound and longer sustain as well.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Tenor Ukuleles Under $200 

We will show you some really decent sounding instruments that won’t hit your wallet so hard:

Cordoba 20TM-CE Mahogany Tenor Cutaway Ukulele

PROS

  • Handmade model
  • Electronic Preamp with 2-band EQ
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Mahogany body with a natural Satin finish
  • Vintage cutaway design, made upon Portuguese models

CONS

  • Equalizer could have 3 bands
  • Tuner and strap buttons could be integrated

What Recent Buyers Report

Users were amazed at what they got at this price. While they were praising both sound warmth and the build quality, the handmade factor was a complete winner. 

Also, please bear in mind that the actual product color is a bit lighter than shown on the images.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We got the impression that this Tenor Ukulele sounds almost like those who are two times more expensive. It’s made of mahogany with a solid top and rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Handmade creation, natural satin finish, and no bindings give this instrument a nice vintage look. 

Having electronics setup onboard is also something you don’t expect at this price, yet Cordoba manages to squeeze a decent preamp with 2-band EQ control and a cutaway design is always a welcomed choice for those who plan to perform live as it will keep the weight lightweight without harming the instrument weight balance. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a beginner’s instrument that is going to stay with you for a very long time, consider this Cordoba model. We won’t be surprised if you end up keeping it up as a fond memory of your beginnings.

Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OU7T Long Neck Tenor Ukulele

PROS

  • High build quality, handcrafted
  • Beautiful abalone binding and rosette details
  • Acoustic Tenor made from Spalted Mango wood
  • Mahogany fingerboard and synthetic nut & saddle
  • Deluxe Grover chrome tuners with ebonite buttons

CONS

  • Mango wood has a lot of grain variations
  • Super high gloss finish may be hit and miss

What Recent Buyers Report

Everything about this Ukulele seems to be of high quality. Even the laminated top is a bit more well-made than usual. There are reports which say that it holds an intonation even after 4 years.

However, due to the nature of mango wood grain variation, the final look may vary a lot. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Everything on this Tenor Ukulele is made from exotic Spalted Mango wood except for the neck (Mahogany) with the super high gloss finish. Combining such wood material with the long neck design results in having a slightly darker tone and a larger fingerboard made from Mahogany.

Speaking of design, it will be really hard to mix it up with the toy instrument. Besides the beautiful abalone bindings and rosette, we love the fact that the body and the headstock look like they were made from exactly the same piece of wood and the Deluxe Grover ebonite tuners accompany it perfectly.

Bottom Line

Tenor models are usually purchased for big guys (and girls), so having a long neck model will make it even easier for them to play and we find this handmade model to be the most beautiful we’ve in this category.

Best for the Money:
Makala MK-T Bundle

Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle with Hard Case, Clip-On Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

PROS

  • Excellent action and intonation
  • Fret position marks on the fingerboard
  • Rosewood fretboard with Mahogany neck
  • Agathis body Tenor with a Natural Satin finish
  • Bundled with the soft bag, DVD, polishing cloth, and tuner

CONS

  • Plain design
  • Soft bag could be padded

What Recent Buyers Report

Tuner is pretty basic and the bag isn’t padded which is a real shame. But it is being reported to work properly and the sound somehow exceeds the price you’re paying for.

Users have also commented that it maintains intonation even in damp areas such as New Zealand.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s made out of decent plywood from Agathis body and when compared to the rest of the offer, it simply provides you with a better overall build quality. It feels comfortable while playing and it seems to remain in tune for a while.

Speaking about sound quality, it fits nicely between starter’s and semi-pros models which is a big plus if you notice that it belongs to the lower price tier. 

You’ll also get extra with the provided DVD which will come really useful for beginners. Tuner and soft bags will also do their job.

Bottom Line

Makala is a budget line of Kala, the leading a Ukulele manufacturer. They were made as a compromise between being affordable and keeping the Kala quality and MK-T is keeping up with such pace.

We highly recommend this instrument for your first Tenor Ukulele.

Best Kala Tenor Ukulele Under $200:
Kala KA-EBY-T

Kala KA-EBY-T Ebony Tenor Ukulele Natural

PROS

  • Nice sustain and volume quality
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Modern design with Mahogany binding
  • Fret marks visible on the side of the neck
  • Stripped Ebony Tenor with Natural Satin finish

CONS

  • Could be a bit cheaper
  • Aquila Super Nylgut strings could be provided in the package

What Recent Buyers Report

Users think they got much more than expected and that you simply can’t go wrong with this model. The strings are reported to hold the tune and its fretboard is highly recommended for people with big hands.

But, please beware, the image colors are a bit darker than the product in real life.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s not so often that we find Stripped Ebony as a body material but unlike its design, it won’t deliver you such a dark sound because of the laminated body top. Sustain and volume are far better than an average and the overall build quality removes any muddy fragments from your tone clarity.

We really loved this unique dark brown laminated body with Natural Satin finish perfectly color-matched in opposite with the Rosewood fingerboard that has slightly rounded fret edges polishing all sharp places.

Side neck also has fret markers which will come really handy for beginners.

Bottom Line

If you’re pursuing some great-looking Ukulele that won’t blend with dozens of others, Stripped Ebony wood solution will always come handy. The sound will be on par with the rest of the offer, while you may steal the show with your performance and appearance.

Best Luna Tenor Ukulele Under $200:
Luna Guitars VMT RDS Vintage

Luna Guitars Luna Uke Vintage Mahogany Tenor - Red Satin, VMT RDS

PROS

  • Warm and loud tone
  • All-mahogany Ukulele 
  • Strings stay in tune for a long while
  • Black Walnut fretboard with open gear heads
  • Unique Red Satin finish with black neck bindings

CONS

  • No accessory extras included
  • Side fret markers would come really handy

What Recent Buyers Report

They were first impressed with the look. But, the sound was even a bigger shock. They were expecting an average sounding Ukulele, but they got everything except that.

But, it seems that fret edges aren’t polished so well, so you might check that upon arrival or take care of it on your own. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s pretty hard to ignore the Red Satin finish this laminated Mahogany Ukulele comes with. It’s unique, well designed with nice black bindings that match the tuner Open Gear heads on the neck and subtle but very nice engravings around the soundhole.

Strings remain in tune easily and for a really long time and its body generates a lot of volumes, which is especially heard while performing chucks.

And if you fall in love with its color so much (like we did), you should know that there is a Soprano Ukulele available in the same color, too!

Bottom Line

Luna is the Ukulele brand that’s famous for making affordable but very reliable instruments. So, if you’re browsing for budget-friendly alternatives, this red model will be one of the best-looking picks you may find at this price range.

Best Travel Tenor Ukulele Under $200:
Deviser D12-26 Cutaway Bundle

Deviser Tenor Ukulele 26inch Cutaway Thin Body Travel Ukelele kit Solid KOA Top KOA Back & Side Carbon Ukulele Strings With Gig Bag & Tuner & Strap & Polishing Cloth …

PROS

  • Equipped with high-quality D’Addario strings
  • Laminate Koa Tenor Ukulele with a high gloss finish
  • Bundled with gig bag, tuner, polishing cloth, and strap
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge with gold-plated heads
  • Cutaway design with nice vintage abalone bindings and rosette

CONS

  • Not so loud
  • We would prefer a Natural Satin finish on this model

What Recent Buyers Report

Users say that the build quality is decent with smooth fret ends. They feel that the size might be close to perfect as it fits between Concert Ukulele and regular Tenor.

Also, pay attention that the solid Koa wood top is misleading as it’s just a thin surface layer.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Tenor ukulele was designed with a cutaway design that will come really handy if you tend to play higher notes as it will allow you to reach higher notes without body interfering with your hand placement.

Abalone bindings and rosette combined with the slightly Spalted wood texture brings a real vintage flavor to this unit, while D’Addario strings will improve your overall tone a lot.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that the gig bag is quite decent and padded, while the strap matches the color of the instrument nicely. A Clip-on tuner is basic, but it will come handy for your travel purposes.

Bottom Line

This model may not be your top pick regarding sound quality, but it will be more than good enough for your first Ukulele and it will supply you with all the necessary accessories, too. We strongly recommend it for a frequent traveler.

Best Long Neck Tenor Ukulele Under $200:
Kala KA-PWT

Kala KA-PWT Pacific Walnut Tenor Acoustic Ukulele

PROS

  • Ideal for fingerpicking
  • Loud with long sustain tone
  • Rosewood fretboard with Mahogany neck
  • Walnut body Tenor with Natural Satin finish
  • Balanced weight design with black bindings

CONS

  • Some basic accessories would be welcomed
  • Frets may require some polishing upon arrival

What Recent Buyers Report

Some buyers find this model to be a game-changer and the ultimate inspiration for further playing development. They tend to describe it as a “pure joy to play”.

But, it seems that frets are not so polished upon arrival, so be a bit careful with your playing in the first week or two.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Tenor Ukulele is made of three wood types - Pacific Walnut body, Mahogany neck, and the usual Rosewood fretboard and bridge. Black bindings on the top and the bottom improve the body design and combined with the silver nickel frets, this instrument may match the look of some more expensive models out there.

Anyway, this unusual wood combination results in a crisp and clear tone that will have a proper sustain no matter what style of playing you prefer. And it’s also one of the rare Ukuleles where we would highly recommend to add up a low G string as it will sound terrific.

Bottom Line

This Ukulele is most suitable for beginners and semi-pro players, especially if they are all about fingerpicking. It will follow your personal development quite well and we believe you won’t have to look for an upgrade so soon.

Editor's Pick:
Kala KA-TEMB

Kala KA-CEM Exotic Mahogany Concert Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag, Clip-On Tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

PROS

  • Walnut fretboard and silver nickel frets
  • Comes with Aquila Super Nylgut Strings
  • Exceptional tone quality at this price range
  • Exotic Mahogany body with Amber Satin finish
  • Bundled with tuner, DVD, polishing cloth and softbag

CONS

  • Strap and strap buttons could be included
  • Softbag quality doesn’t match the instrument

What Recent Buyers Report

Because it sounds very good, especially for the given price they would gladly recommend it to the others. Even after a couple of years, they are still satisfied with its sound.

But, if you plan to use the provided gig bag frequently be careful with the zippers as they can scratch your instrument easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Exotic Mahogany is rare to find at this price range, especially with Amber Satin finish and silver nickel frets. Sure, it’s laminated wood, but, it sounds somewhat better from the rest of the models at this price range. Wood type moves the whole instrument to the higher tier and the black binding will give it a more premium look, too.

Also, it stands out because of its sound which is drastically improved because it comes with the Aquila Super Nylgut strings, so, with the bundled tuner and polishing cloth, newbie players will have everything they need for a good start.

Bottom Line

This is our favorite because of the wood and finish choice. It’s rare to find such models at this price and we feel that it might be the one you will gladly keep even after you outgrow it because of its tone quality.

Best Electric Tenor Ukulele Under $200:
Enya EUT-X1+EQ

Enya EUT-X1+EQ Tenor Acoustic Electric Ukulele HPL 26 inch Starter Kit with Online Lessons, String,Tuner,Strap,Finger shaker,Gig bag,Capo,Picks,Polishing cloth (Tenor EQ)

PROS

  • HPL Koa Wood body with Matte finish
  • The biggest accessory bundle found at this price
  • Loud and good pickup mounted in the soundhole
  • Tech Ebony fingerboard with the classical headstock
  • Nice vintage design with no bindings and strap buttons installed

CONS

  • No onboard tuner
  • Preamp position might be awkward to access while playing

What Recent Buyers Report

It was really hard to find any bad reviews about this model and their customer support seems to be very responsive and helpful. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Everything about this Enya model is top quality and the only reason why it’s not placed in the top 2 places is that those models were handcrafted. It is made from high-pressure laminate wood which upgrades the sound quality compared to the usual laminate.

Preamp position is a bit strange, but what’s more important, it works exceptionally loud and well.

The rest of the bundle follows up the quality of the instrument, so you won’t have to look for a durable gig bag. Probably all accessories that you may think of will be included, including the capo and even the finger shaker!

Bottom Line

Having a good electric ukulele is always a great investment to consider. It will provide you with all the options necessary for live performance, while the overall sound won’t be any worse compared to the acoustic models at this price range.

Hacks For Better Ukulele Sound - How to Improve Tips

Even if you’re tight on a budget you should know that some tips will improve any Ukulele sound:

Change Strings

You would be surprised how premium strings can improve the overall Ukulele sound. Or, let’s put it in different words, bad and old strings can make even the best Ukulele instrument mediocre. If you switch from nylon strings to fluorocarbon it will be impossible to not hear the sound difference.

Fingers, Not (Guitar) Picks!

The core of the Ukulele sound lies in the warmth and sweetness. Picks and especially guitar picks can create a sound that’s too sharp for Ukulele nature. That’s why we recommend you to use Ukulele picks only as a last resort and try to play with fingers as much as possible.

Hands, Not the Gear

In the end, always remember that the final sound comes from your playing technique and not the instrument quality. So, if you devote some time to practicing you will quickly come to a group of those players who will sound wonderful on any instrument.

Also, don’t be shy and perform as soon as you get some confidence. The best practice and the way to get the most experience for any instrument lies in performing!

How to Clean a Ukulele - Tips For Beginners

Keeping your instrument tidy is important not just for the longevity of your instrument, but it also can affect the sound quality and lifespan of both your strings and your instrument. Here are some starter’s tips on how to do it quick:

  1. First rule of maintaining your wooden Ukulele is to not use any kind of chemicals. It can significantly affect the sound quality and in the long run, degrade the body of your instrument.

  2. For basic cleaning, all you’re going to need is a microfiber cloth. You don’t need a specific cloth, even basic ones from markets will do the job. Pay attention to clean the space beneath and between strings as well. If there’s any stain try to remove it with water only first.

  3. If your fingerboard goes dry you can use the lemon oil, but watch out to find a real lemon oil and not another chemical with lemon scent over it. That’s why we would recommend you to use Bore Oil products instead. Also, don’t overdo it - oiling once a year easily is enough. Take the strings completely off and put a tiny drop between every fret and wipe it all together.

You can also watch the video tutorial of what we have described above:

Conclusion 

Tenor Ukulele is a nice crossover model between the classical Ukulele and acoustic guitar both in terms of sound and the size. For any semi-pro musician out there, all the models we've put on a list will prove the point that it is possible to find both affordable and decent sounding Ukulele.

People Also Ask

Now, we’re going to resolve some regular questions we’re getting about Tenor Ukulele, such as its key and tuning. Also, we’re going to cover some beginners’ questions regarding learning an instrument, should they buy a cheap model first and if the Tenor Ukulele is a good choice for them:

Are Cheap Ukuleles Any Good?

Cheap Ukuleles can be a good pick for Beginners, especially for children. For such beginners learning how to strum and how to place a grip on the neck is much more important than sound quality. This way you may save money until you find out how serious this Ukulele learning thing has become.

Is a Tenor Ukulele Good For a Beginner?

Tenor Ukulele is a great choice for all kinds of beginners especially for those who have bigger hands as the frets will be much larger compared to the Soprano Ukulele. Also, if you have played the guitar before, we highly recommend the Tenor or even Baritone Ukulele model for a perfect transition.

What Key is a Tenor Ukulele in?

The Tenor Ukulele is usually tuned in the C key, just like all the other Ukuleles. Compared to the regular acoustic guitar, it’s tuned eight semitones higher so bear that in mind if you already have some guitar playing skills. It’s like setting the capo at the 8th fret.

What is the Tuning For a Tenor Ukulele?

The tuning is the same as for the Soprano and Concert Ukulele - it’s GCEA and the string G can be set in either low G or high G position, too.

You may wind a Tenor Ukulele tuned in D key and in that case the tuning will be ADF#B.

What is a Travel Tenor Ukulele?

Travel Tenor Ukulele has a thin body coming between 1.5 and 2.5 inches thick. As its name suggests, it was designed to be more travel-friendly but due to its body design, it can’t match sound quality with the standard Tenor, especially in a sustained area. 

Is Ukulele Easier Than Guitar?

The playing technique can be much more advanced on the acoustic guitar and you’re playing on four instead of six strings. Also, frets are much more wider so it may take some time to adapt to certain hand placement. This grip may not be so awkward on a Ukulele.

Can You Learn Ukulele By Yourself?

There are so many very handy video tutorials on the internet, so it’s quite possible. It all depends on your consistency, devotion, and organization skills. Even if you get stuck at some point there are special groups on social networks that will help you out at any stage.

Is it Bad to Leave a Ukulele in the Car?

It depends on several factors. If your model is made of plastic or Carbon Fibre you’re completely safe. But, if it’s made of wood, it’s not recommended to put in the hot places and those exposed to direct sunlight for a long time. It can damage the wood and make your strings out of tune.

Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.