The Best Tenor Ukulele for Beginner Players

October 01, 2020

The Best Tenor Ukulele for Beginner Players

When it comes to the best ukulele, there are many variations that can be seen in the market. Concert ukulele and tenors have very similar qualities. Although some may argue that there is not much difference, there is a certain advantage mainly with the Tenor ukulele for beginners. By knowing to play a Tenor, you should be able to easily transition to a Concert ukulele and vice-versa.

For what it is worth, Tenor ukuleles tend to be more favorable because the structure is made comfortable for beginners. There is room to start awkwardly and refine with practice. Moreover, Tenor’s have a fuller and louder tone which is a plus for any instrument.

What is Tenor Ukulele?

The Tenor Ukulele is classified as one of the largest when compared to a Soprano or a Concert ukulele. It is also one of the most favored sizes by many expert musicians.

The tenor ukulele averages at 26 inches in height. Sound-wise, it is louder and able to sustain the strummed note longer. Thus, making it perfect for playing melodies of a song. The neck built of the ukulele is joined with the body on the 14th fret. Sometimes, you may see varieties joined at the 15th fret, enabling you to stroke higher notes.

Since the Tenor Ukulele is longer, the strings come with more tension. This means that it could be harder to stroke than a Soprano or Concert ukulele.

The Best Tenor Ukulele 2020

1. Kala KA-ZCT-T

  • A Kala Tenor Ukulele is a product manufactured in China
  • Body material is made with Zircote and the fret is made with walnut
  • Decent sound quality
  • Nice-looking instrument
  • Easy to setup and use

2. Enya EUT-M6

  • Body material is made with mahogany and the fret is made with ebony technology
  • Great craftsmanship
  • Produces high quality, crisp sound
  • Light to carry
  • Ideal for live performances

3. Ibanez UEWT5E

  • Body material is made with mahogany and the fret is made with rosewood
  • Durable instrument
  • Flexible to play
  • Highly affordable price
  • Decent sound quality

4. Martin Smith Tenor Ukulele

  • Body material is made with sapele wood
  • Has a soft, warm sound
  • Kit version is suitable for beginners

5. Lanikai Ukulele QMNACET

  • An acoustic-electric tenor ukulele
  • Body material is made with maple and the fret is made with walnut
  • Clear tune to play
  • Good bass sound

Is a tenor ukulele good for a beginner?

When it comes to playing the ukulele, you can actually start with a Tenor or Concert. Playing one or the other does not make too much of a difference, but there is an advantage that comes with it. Below we discuss a comparison between these two types.

1. Tuning

The Tenor uke tuning has a similar standard tuning as the concert ukulele. From the notes, scales, and chords – you will notice that these two are somewhat identical which is why if you play the tenor, it is likely that you can also play a concert ukulele.

2. Size

In comparison of sizes, it is obvious that the Tenor is larger. It is usually around 26 inches while the Concerts are available at 23 inches in overall height. Of course, the exact sizing can slightly vary depending on the manufacturer, but they will be close to the numbers mentioned. Despite the size gap, the tenor and concert are not really as noticeable according to professional instrument players.

3. Length of Scales

Coming to the scale difference, the Concert ukuleles have a 15-inch scale while the Tenor has a 17-inch. This length is the overall distance from the nut to the saddle. What is good here is that the length of the scale also determines the spacing between frets. The smaller size will have a slightly smaller distance and oppositely, the larger size would have longer space distance. This distance is a factor for playability. If you have smaller hands, perhaps the Concert ukulele will be more for you and larger folks for Tenors.

4. String Tension

For ukuleles that have a longer scale length, the string tension is higher. This means that between Tenor and the Concert, the Tenor would be more taut by 35-50%. Although it sounds a lot, there is not much huge difference between the two when actually played. With a higher tension string, musicians can drive harder on the notes and produce more volume.

5. Length of Fretboard

The fretboard length gives easy access to higher notes. With the Tenor ukulele, the fingerboard has two more frets that stick out because it is joined at the 14th fret. And the Concert ukulele would be joined on the 12th. Some professionals enjoy this extra room while it is not so much of a factor for others.

6. Tone

The rule for acoustic instruments is that by having a bigger body size, the more bass and volume it can produce. Thus, the Tenor Ukulele tends to have a richer sound. The uke’s shape, build quality also has a factor in delivering good sound. Solid wood delivers better acoustic that those that are poorly built.

How to Tune a Tenor Ukulele?

The standard level of tenor ukulele tuning follows a G-C-E-A but can however have a high-G variation and a low-G variation. If you plan to go for the high-G and low-G, there are different strings needed on the 4th string.

To tune a ukulele, there are different ways that you can employ, from a relative tuning to using an electric tuner.

 Although the Tenor Ukulele is played the same way as the Soprano or Concert, there is a good advantage to start with a Tenor. One main feature is the fretboard. In a tenor ukulele the has a fretboard space that tends to be more comfortable and easier to shift. You can easily position your fingers on a note until it feels natural. Perhaps after reading our article, you might choose a specific size that fits you better. In any case, you should love the instrument to progress.

Recommended Products

Beginner's Best Choice
UKM2 Mahogany Wood Concert Ukulele
Ukulele size: Concert (23")
Headstock: Mahogany
Body (soundboard, back, and sides): Mahogany
Fretboard: Engineered wood
Bridge: Engineered wood
Tuning pegs: Sealed chromed
Strings: Aquila Nylgut
Color: Matte Burnished brown
Saddles: Ox bone
Accessories: A carrying bag and an additional set of four strings.

Best Value
UKE1 Solid Spruce Wood Concert Ukulele
Ukulele size: Concert (23")
Top: Solid spruce
Back and sides: Striped ebony
Headstock: Striped ebony
Fretboard: Walnut
Bridge: Walnut
Tuning pegs: Sealed chrome
Strings: Aquila Nylgut
Color: Natural
Saddle: Ox bone
Accessories: A carrying bag and an additional set of four strings

Top League
UKD90 Solid Flamed Koa Wood Tenor Ukulele
Ukulele size: Tenor (26”)
Headstock: Solid striped flamed koa wood
Body (soundboard, back, and sides): Solid striped flamed koa wood
Fretboard: Black Walnut
Bridge: Black Walnut
Neck: Okoume
Tuning pegs: Open gold with agate buttons
Strings: Aquila Nylgut
Color: Natural
Finish: Glossy
Saddle: Ox bone
Accessories: A carrying bag and an additional set of four strings