Tenor ukuleles have become increasingly popular in the last few years thanks to their use by ukulele superstars like James Hill, Jake Shimabukuro and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. With this increase in popularity has come an increase in the number being made. A great thing, but it does pose a bit of a problem for people looking to buy one but overwhelmed by the choice. So what is the best tenor ukulele?
Best Cheap Tenor Ukulele
Tenor ukuleles tend to be more expensive than sopranos, so there's not a great deal of choice in this price range. But the Makala tenor does offer a good starter ukulele for under $100 (or a little over if you want a case and a few other trimmings).
Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele Bundle w/ Gig Bag, Tuner & Polishing Cloth
Time Remaining: 21d 22h 2m
Buy It Now for only: $82.99
MAKALA by KALA MK-TE ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC TENOR UKULELE BUNDLE
Time Remaining: 6d 15h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $119.99
Kala MKA-T Limited Edition Makala-Style Tenor Ukulele
Time Remaining: 21d 22h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $68.95
Best Tenor Under $200
Lanikai make a range of tenor ukes, but their most popular - and cheapest - is the Lanikai LU-21T (along with its electric version the LU-21TE). They're not a showy instrument, but they are well made and have a good sound. Good enough, at least, for Beirut's Zach Condon to use live. If you are looking for something a bit higher scale, and you have deeper pockets, Lanikai have a range of solid koa ukuleles the Lanikai LK range.
Lanikai LU-21T Tenor Ukulele Rosewood Fretboard
Time Remaining: 29d 12h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $124.00
Lanikai LU-21T Tenor Ukulele Rosewood Fretboard, Great Island Vibe
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $79.99
Lanikai LU-21T Ukulele Tenor Nato Discounted
Time Remaining: 9d 12h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $72.25
Best Tenor Under $300
I have a Ohana TK-35G and it's a great sounding ukulele. It's solid mahogany but the cost is kept down as it is made in China. This means that the aesthetics aren't perfect (mine is a bit of a mess inside), but that is more than made up for by its tone. Here's an MP3 of me playing it.
Ohana TK-35G-5 5 String Tenor Ukulele
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $305.99
MIM: Ohana Tenor TK-35G All Solid Mahogany Gloss Setup Ukulele Uke x518 Bstock
Time Remaining: 7d 16h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $242.75
New Ohana TK-35G Solid Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $263.49
Best Expensive Tenor
OK, so you take a champagne shower every morning and and eat diamonds for breakfast. What's the best tenor ukulele for you? Well, KoAloha make some amazing tenors including their signature range of highly stylized ukuleles (so far including the Pineapple Sunday and the Scepter). If I had the budget, I'd definitely get a KoAloha Sceptre. Here's a clip of, the instrument's inventor, Alvin Okami taking about it.