The baritone is the big brother of the ukulele family. With its signature low sound and larger body its a great addition to any collection. They’re especially useful for ukulele players who want a more guitar-like sound. And if you want to go electric with your baritone ukulele, there are plenty of options out there. Plug them in, and you’ll open up a whole new world of sounds!
Here’s our guide to the best baritone ukuleles on the market today.
Kala KA-BE Acoustic-Electric Baritone Ukulele
Summary: A solidly built acoustic-electric baritone ukulele with a classic look and sound
Best for: Someone who wants a no-nonsense baritone ukulele for travel or playing out
Kala’s KA series provides some of the best value around. They keep the construction plain and simple, with no fancy inlays or bells and whistles. Everything is geared towards making the uke sound its best at a great price point. While you won’t get a ukulele that looks like a work of art, once you strum it you’ll see what the fuss is about.
The KA-BE electric baritone, like the rest of the KA series, is made from laminate mahogany. The wood has a nice, faintly striped grain. Otherwise, the only real visual design element is a clean-looking white binding around the edges. It’s a simple and traditional look that might appeal to people who like minimalism.
That traditional look carries over into the sound. The Kala KA-BE hits just the right balance of bass and treble, not too boomy or jangly. There’s a nice punchy sound when its strummed for good projection. It’s also fairly loud for a baritone. This would be a great one to take to noisy jams or for times where you need acoustic volume.
When you plug it in, the KA-BE produces a very natural tone, with a noise-free signal. The Shadow Nanoflex active pickup system that Kala uses is one of the best around. There’s a built-in tuner which works very well even with lots of background noise. Three EQ control knobs for treble, mid, and bass sit alongside one for volume. It’s easy to get the tone you want with this ukulele, and you have plenty of room to experiment.
- Sturdily built
- Strong signal from pickup
- Loud when played acoustically
- Plain looks
Caramel CB103 Electric Baritone Ukulele
Summary: A great value for an acoustic-electric baritone ukulele made with beautiful wood
Best for: Someone looking for a nice-looking and -sounding ukulele at a bargain price
Caramel is a newer ukulele maker based out of China. It’s found mostly on Amazon and other online shops. These online-only brands can be very hit-or-miss, and normally I don’t recommend buying from them. However, Caramel is one of the few exceptions. Their electric baritone ukulele has a lot of great features at a very low price tag.
One of the most striking things about this ukulele is the look. It’s made of zebrawood, with gorgeous light and dark stripes in the grain. The front, back, sides, and headstock all have a matching grain thanks to the wood, making it a visually stunning instrument.
But it’s not all visual flash. The Caramel ZB103 has the classic mellow tone that’s the hallmark of the baritone ukulele. It’s not the loudest ukulele on this list, but it has more than enough volume to hold its own in a jam. And, of course, if you need more volume, there’s always the pickup.
When plugged in, the ZB103 has a very natural sound, with very little noise in the signal. It has an active pickup system, with treble, mid, and bass EQ controls along with a volume knob. There’s also a built-in tuner, which works quite well.
The Caramel ZB103 has a leg up on the competition when it comes to value in many respects. It even has a truss rod in its neck, a great feature on a ukulele at this price. The truss rod helps reinforce the neck and prevent it from bowing. Plus, it makes adjusting the action quite easy. Some people like it high, some people like it low, but you can set it however you like.
- Beautiful wood
- Truss rod
- Great value
- Not as loud as other baritones
Luna High Tide Series Electric Baritone Ukulele
Summary: An acoustic-electric ukulele that sounds as amazing as it looks
Best for: Someone who wants an instrument with both sonic and visual flare
The Luna High Tide Series Electric Baritone Ukulele is yet another visually stunning ukulele. Like the Caramel CB103, it’s made out of zebrawood, with its signature striped grain. The zebrawood that Luna uses is darker overall than what Caramel uses, for a more vintage look. It also features abalone inlays around the soundhole and on the fretboard; the fretboard inlays are waves, in keeping its “High Tide” name.
Like many of its High Tide Series counterparts, the baritone has a nice, mellow sound. It’s quieter than most other baritones, but makes up for a lack of volume with a rich tone. The baritone ukulele is known for being the low end of the ukulele scale, and the Luna HIgh Tide baritone really brings out those lovely bass-y notes.
Out of the box, the action is nice and low, and the frets are well-dressed. Luna does a great job with quality control, and the fit and finish of this and the other High Tide ukuleles is very good. Combined with the flashy looks, this is an impressive ukulele in many ways.
Luna outfits their ukuleles with their own proprietary active pickup system. It does a great job of reproducing the acoustic sound of the ukulele. The signal is clear and strong, with minimal noise. Three sliders give the player control over treble, bass, and volume. The only quibble I have with the pickup system is the lack of a tuner. However, it does give the control box a slimmer profile, taking up less room on the body.
- Striking wood and inlays
- Mellow tone with pronounced bass
- No built-in tuner
Oscar Schmidt OU52E Electric Baritone Ukulele
Summary: A traditional baritone ukulele with a guitar-like tone
Best for: A ukulele player who wants to sound like a guitar player
Oscar Schmidt has made a name for itself as a maker of many great instruments, including ukuleles and guitars. The OU52E baritone ukulele shows some of that, because it’s probably the most guitar-like baritone on this list. It’s also a very good value for an acoustic-electric baritone.
Like the Kala KA-BE, this is not a visually striking ukulele. Oscar Schmidt opted for a plainer, more traditional design for the OU52E. It’s made out of laminate mahogany, and a black-and-white circle around the soundhole is the only decoration.
Once you start strumming, though, it has a sound and feel all its own. As I mentioned, the sound is really the closest to a guitar out of all the baritone ukuleles on this list. Many ukulele players turn to the baritone to match the sound of their favorite elctric or acoustic guitar. If that’s the case for you, the OU52E is your best bet.
The fit and finish is nice out of the box, with good action and intonation. As with all of the ukuleles on this list, the strings it comes with are OK but worth changing. The frets are perhaps a little sharp on some of the edges, but that’s probably nitpicking. The OU52E is also very sturdily built. This is definitely an electric baritone ukulele that will hold up to the bumps and bruises of travel or gigging.
The UK-2000 active preamp system on the OU52E is simple but effective. Two EQ sliders for treble and bass sit alongside a volume slider. That’s all there is on the controls; there’s no built-in tuner or any other bells and whistles. Luckily, the pickup works very well. Even with just two EQ controls, there’s plenty of leeway for the player to find the tone they’re looking for. The preamp delivers a strong signal without any distortion or noisiness.
- Guitar-like sound
- Sturdy construction
- Plain looks
Caramel CB500 Electric Baritone Ukulele
Summary: An acoustic-electric baritone ukulele with a one-of-a-kind design
Best for: Someone who wants something different out of their baritone ukulele
Like its brother the CB103, the Caramel CB500 packs a lot in for its price. And like the CB103, it has a striking look. This time, it’s thanks to the offset soundhole design. Instead of one large soundhole, it has five smaller ones of varying sizes. Around these holes is a beautiful inlaid pattern made of multicolored wood, which contrasts nicely with the dark rosewood of the body. It looks a lot like the patterns on Ovation guitars, where I’m assuming the inspiration came from.
While the soundholes are smaller, there doesn’t seem to be much effect on the volume. It’s not the loudest baritone ukulele out there, but it has plenty of volume. Strummed hard, it has a boomy projection, and sound very guitar-like. It also has more sustain than a lot of similar baritone ukuleles.
This is fitted with the same active pickup system as the CB103. EQ controls give the player room to adjust the treble, mid, and bass, as well as the volume. The built-in tuner works well even in noisy conditions. Overall, the pickup system produces a very strong and clear signal without much noise.
Caramel always manages to get some premium features into its ukuleles, even at budget prices. Like the CB103, the CB500 has a truss rod in the neck for easy action adjustment. It also has a real bone nut, rather than the plastic usually found on these kinds of ukuleles. This is one of the big reasons for its great tone and sustain, along with the solid rosewood construction.
- Unique design
- Great sustain and volume
- Truss rod
- Design may not be for everyone