Top 7 Best Concert Ukuleles That Deserve Your Attention

At the moment, the most popular type of ukuleles are sopranos. However, despite being the most mobile and the most preferred type out there, sopranos do have a few faults of their own. If you go up one size and step into concert territory, you'll get rid of a number of those faults. Today we're going to talk about why that is the case and why this type of ukes makes perfect sense. Before we get there, we'll go over our picks for the top 7 best concert ukuleles. Some of these models are among the best ukuleles currently available

Top 7 Best Concert Ukuleles

PRODUCT

FEATURES

PRODUCT

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PRODUCT

FEATURES

Martin-C1K-300x300

AR RATING 96/100

  • Made by one of the best brands in the business.
  • Features authentic Hawaiian koa tonewood.
Oscar-Schmidt-OU280SWK-300x300

AR RATING 95/100

  • Easily one of the best looking concert ukes out there.
  • Features a great sound and plenty of range.
Kohala-Akamai-AK-C-300x300

AR RATING 90/100

  • Handcrafted top back and sides.
  • Features great sound a whole lot of range.
Kala KA-ACP-CT-300x300

AR RATING 88/100

  • Impressive build quality and choice of tonewood.
  • Good hardware which is shows good key retention.
Oscar-Schmidt-OU5LCE-300x300

AR RATING 87/100

  • A very traditional choice of tonewood.
  • Binding all over the place as well as abalone.
Ibanez-UEW15E-300x300

AR RATING 85/100

  • One of the best looking concert ukes in this segment.
  • Good selection of tonewood and great build quality.
Lanikai-MACEC-300x300

AR RATING 85/100

  • A solid construction that makes it very formidable.
  • Great choice of tonewood all ar.
Martin-C1K-300x300

AR RATING 96/100

Martin may not be a popular name in the ukulele business but that doesn't mean that this veteran of the guitar world isn't capable of delivering some awesome ukes. On the contrary, their models such as the Martin C1K really go to show just what kind of quality Martin as a brand has to offer. This uke is beyond impressive.

Made out of solid Hawaiian koa, C1K has a very traditional and simple look to it. It's an authentic concert uke which can be felt in its sound as well. You get a bit more volume and that classic uke tone. Overall, we definitely recommend this model to both intermediate players and pros. Also, it comes with a gig bag

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Made by one of the best brands in the business.
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    Features authentic Hawaiian koa tonewood.
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    Great sound and plenty of volume.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Might come across as simple looking to some.
Oscar-Schmidt-OU280SWK-300x300

AR RATING 95/100

Deciding whether to put that Martin in the first place or this Oscar Schmidt was a fairly tough decision. Both are superb instruments, but Martin had a slight edge. That isn't to say that OU280SWK is bad. On the contrary, this is one of the best looking and best sounding concert ukulels you can get your hands on right now.

For starters, it really has unique look to it. Oscar Schmidt has also used genuine Hawaiian koa for this build, but they also added a whole bunch of abalone binding, an abalone rosette and inlays as well. The uke is an aesthetic masterpiece. When it comes to its sound, it's on point. This is a traditional concert uke for sure.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Easily one of the best looking concert ukes out there.
  • check
    Features a great sound and plenty of range.
  • check
    Made out of genuine Hawaiian koa tonewood.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    We didn't really like the factory strings.
Kohala-Akamai-AK-C-300x300

AR RATING 90/100

Next comes a very formidable concert ukulele bundle that includes just about everything you could need to get started. It comes from Kohala Akamai and goes under the name of AK-C. All things considered, it's a fairly traditional ukulele with the exception of a few aesthetic details. What matters the most is that you're getting good bang for the buck.

AK-C belongs to the category of currently popular mahogany ukes. This tonewood, although not traditional, offers great sound and works well with that 'uke flavor' many are looking for. Same goes for this particular model. The sound is on point while the uke looks quite decent. Best of all, it comes with a padded case and a clip on tuner.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Handcrafted top back and sides.
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    Features great sound a whole lot of range.
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    Comes with a few awesome accessories .

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    The clip on tuner is hard to read at times.
Kala KA-ACP-CT-300x300

AR RATING 88/100

If you know anything about modern ukuleles, you probably know that Kala is the dominant brand. They may not be the absolute best out there, but they pretty much control the mid range segment of the market. Kala KA-ACP-CT is an example of what you can find here. It's a great concert uke that combines traditional sound and modern materials.

What makes this particular uke so special is the fact that it features a solid cedar top paired with acacia back and sides. That combo is pretty unusual, even for Kala. Despite its exotic nature, ACP-CT has a very familiar sound. We're talking mellow uke overtones which really make the whole thing that much more attractive. Binding is also great.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • check
    Impressive build quality and choice of tonewood.
  • check
    Good hardware which is shows good key retention.
  • check
    One of the best looking concert ukes out there.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Might need a tune up out of the box.
Oscar-Schmidt-OU5LCE-300x300

AR RATING 87/100

Next comes another Oscar Schmidt model. Although it has some similarities with our higher end pick from the same brand, those similarities are superficial at best. Despite it being a lot more affordable, OU5LCE definitely brings a lot of qualities you'd want to find in a mid range instrument of this type. Because of that, it's perfect for intermediate players.

This is a koa build that features a cutaway and all the usual Oscar Schmidt aesthetic features. By that we mean abalone everywhere. When it comes to sound, this thing is on point. Unplugged it sounds quite traditional and very full. When you decide to plug it in, you'll find that it packs a very authentic tone across the board.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • check
    A very traditional choice of tonewood.
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    Binding all over the place as well as abalone.
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    Features a built in pre amp and tuner .

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Might require a tune up out of the box.
Ibanez-UEW15E-300x300

AR RATING 85/100

Despite their legendary reputation, Ibanez still holds a very weird place in the whole ukulele industry. Their products are awesome, structurally sound instruments but they do have a very specific look to them. Ibanez tends to be hard to dislodge from a groove and that's probably a good thing. Ibanez UEW15E represents a great bang for the buck mid-range choice.

What we have here is a flamed mahogany build which which sports a cutaway, full binding all around the top and a nice rosette. That flamed mahogany top gives this uke a very interesting look. Looks aside, the sound you can expect is impressive considering the price tag on this bad boy. Best of all, it features a built-in preamp.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • check
    One of the best looking concert ukes in this segment.
  • check
    Good selection of tonewood and great build quality.
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    Built in preamp system makes it even more functional.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    The tune that comes with it isn't the best.
Lanikai-MACEC-300x300

AR RATING 85/100

Lanikai is right up there with Kala when it comes to quality and overall designs. Their ukes are built to perform and endure regular use without having any issues. On top of that, Lanikai seems to have Kala beat when it comes to aesthetics. If Lanikai MACEC is any indication, Lanikai offers a great deal of style for the money

When it comes to performance, MACEC features a full mahogany body, binding all around the top and fretboard, quality hardware and a built in preamp system. If you were thinking about being plugged in on the regular, this preamp is going to get you the performance you need. At this price, Lanikai MACEC is just too hard to beat overall.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • check
    A solid construction that makes it very formidable.
  • check
    Great choice of tonewood all around.
  • check
    Awesome tone both unplugged and plugged in.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    A change of strings would do it quite some good.

Concert Ukuleles And Why They Deserve More Attention 

Ever since ukuleles started gaining in popularity, almost everyone aside from musicians who were already into ukes was going with soprano ukuleles. There are numerous reasons for this, most of them drawing from the fact that soprano has that classic uke sound to it. However, what many don't realize is that there are more types of ukuleles out there which may be a much better fit for their needs. Concert ukes are one size above soprano. They are slightly larger and more rounded version of this instrument. Despite that, you can still find concert ukes in the $100 price range. Concert ukuleles are actually the most practical compact uke size. In order to expand on this, we are going to name a few pros and explain them in detail.

Quality Of Sound 

Here's the thing about the sound when it comes to concert ukuleles. They sound almost exactly like sopranos, which is what everyone is after, only better. There is much more volume in a concert ukulele, much more width to the sound. That additional power is more than welcome if you are planing on performing with your uke or recording something with a microphone. When we say that the sound is almost identical to that of a soprano, we mean in terms of color. A good percentage of people wouldn't be able to tell a difference between these two in a blind test.

Size Makes The Difference 

No matter how subtle it can be sometimes, the actual difference in size between the soprano and concert is quite significant the close you look. Those few inches of scale make a whole lot of difference if you have larger hands. Sometimes sopranos can be incredibly hard to grip properly. Especially if you are trying to do fast chord progressions. A slightly larger ukulele improves this situation significantly. Also, sopranos can be extremely tiny even for average users. Keep in mind that sopranos are designed around being compact which is great for traveling but not necessarily something you want if you are mostly playing at home. In this case, a concert uke might be a much better solution. This also introduces an important point, and that is that you should choose your ukuleles based on your intended application. It will yield much better results in the long run.

Concert Or Tenor? 

The next logical question that comes to mind is why settle with a concert uke when you can go for a tenor? Well, tenor ukuleles, although becoming increasingly popular, are a very different beast altogether. These are much larger and pack a much deeper sound. Not only that, but you can experiment with different string setups and a whole lot more. In general, tenors are a pretty serious upgrade and should be considered when you decide to up your game. For those who are new to ukuleles, a concert sized uke is a good of a place to start as any.

Conclusion

While concert ukuleles aren't the most popular piece of gear out there, they're definitely worth of your time. If you're just starting out and looking for your first uke, we strongly urge you to consider this size as well. With that said, the models we've listed above are some of the best we could find on the market today. Despite being an underdog on the market, there are still plenty of awesome models which fit this particular segment. Models on our list will get you the necessary performance. All you have to do is find the one you like most.

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