When Micky, a member of our inner circle of adults with a fondness for mischief, pranks and cartoons, returned from his trip to Paris, there were two things he couldn’t stop talking about. The first was this instrument which he’d heard a young man playing in a park. It had sounded so wonderful that he’d approached him and asked it what it was. The marvelous instrument in question was none other than a tenor ukulele and Micky, who was already a skilled keyboard player, decided that he simply had to learn to play the instrument which had enchanted him so.
So far, it’s been smooth sailing. If there’s one thing about Micky, it’s his ability to dedicate himself fully to the task at hand. And so far, he’s entertained us to a few hits on his shiny new instrument. And just in case you were wondering: no, he’s still nowhere near Martha’s level of proficiency. What’s more, he knows better than to challenge her to a competition – unlike her twin Mark who really ought to have known better.
The second, of course was the food. And he did treat us to the delectable results of a few culinary courses he’d undertaken. But it was clear the more intriguing of the two from his vacation in the City of Lights, was his favorite new instrument. Especially since he still hasn’t stopped talking about it or practicing with it either. All the better since it means the rest of us are safe from his practical jokes for the time being.
If you too have discovered the bold, clear magical notes which are the hallmark of high quality ukuleles produced by leading brands, this guide is for you.
Here, we share the best tenor ukuleles which come with that classic, lovely sound which is capable of enchanting your friends and family, the way it cast its spell on Micky. And because we at Surf’n’Buy all love extras, we’ve also provided titbits and pointers which you will find especially helpful during your quest for the very best of them all.
Top 3 Tenor Ukuleles
1. Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size
No buzzing sounds, no tuning problems and loads of freebies. That’s what the manufacturers of the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size promise once you purchase this offering which has been made with every ukulele fan in mind. And that’s just the beginning of all the great features you can expect from this product which seems to tick all the right boxes as far as one of the most loved instruments on the globe is concerned.
Thanks to the Sapele and mahogany tone woods and the Super Aquila Nylgut Strings used in its manufacture, you will be able to look forward to creating smooth, melodious notes each time you play it. Especially since its manufacturer has also gone the extra mile and designed its back with a unique arch to enhance the depth and quality of its sound.
And there are those delightful accessories too: A free, padded gig bag with the manufacturer’s logo, a tuner, a brown colored strap and even strap buttons and extra strings too. What’s more, the instrument and its extras also come with a lifetime warranty – proof of the manufacturer’s belief in the fact that its product is simply a cut above the rest. If you’ve been in search of an instrument which seems to tick every box which matters, the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size might just be the embodiment of all you’ve been looking for.
- Excellent design for a full rich sound: The Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size has not only been made from Sapele and mahogany tone woods, but also comes with an arched back for fuller sounds.
- A superb range of accessories: When you purchase the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size, you’ll also get to benefit from a strap and buttons, a tuner, a padded gig bag as well as extra strings.
- A lifetime warranty: This tenor ukulele and its accessories come with a lifetime warranty and the promise of a full refund if you feel dissatisfied with the instrument.
- Issues with durability noted: A few customers who purchased the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size complained about its neck separating from its body shortly after taking delivery of it.
- May be unsuitable for players with small hands: Like all tenor ukuleles, the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size comes with larger spacing between its frets making it more suitable for players with larger hands.
The Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size features high quality tone woods, Super Aquila Nylgut Strings and a specially arched neck which all contribute to its rich, lovely sound. And there are its accessories too which include a strap and its buttons, a tuner, a padded bag and extra strings as well, all of which make it an option worth considering.
2. Kala Tenor Ukulele
At a first glance, the Kala Tenor Ukulele looks as though it’s been spun from silk, with its rich brown, glossy finish. Its satin smooth allure is further enhanced by its ornate rosette which features a traditional Polynesian shark teeth motif. And there’s more to this tenor ukulele than its aesthetic appeal too. Thanks to the high quality mahogany used in its manufacture and its Aquila strings, you will be able to look forward to an instrument which produces sound of amazing quality.
And that’s far from all there is to this instrument which also comes with high quality open gear tuners, and a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle. There are also loads of wonderful extras too such as a Quick Start Guide to enable you to get started with your instrument right away, a tuning app and even free lessons too! No wonder some of the very best ukulele players love Kala. And you too can treat yourself to the Kala Tenor Ukulele and join such select company as well!
- Impressive aesthetic appeal: With its polished mahogany finish and traditional Polynesian etched rosette, the Kala Tenor Ukulele is an instrument you will be proud to show off to your friends or simply admire in the privacy of your music room.
- A delightful, full, rich sound: Thanks to its superb design, the excellent quality of tone wood and Aquila strings used in its manufacture, the Kala Tenor Ukulele will provide smooth, rich notes when played.
- A welcome selection of extras: When you purchase this instrument, you will not only have access to a Quick Start Guide, but will also be able to download its tuning app and even enjoy free online lessons.
- May be unsuitable for players with small hands: Like all tenor ukuleles, the Kala Tenor Ukulele comes with larger spacing between its frets making it more suitable for players with larger hands.
- May have issues with durability: A few customers who purchased the Kala Tenor Ukulele noted it was not as robust as instruments provided by other brands.
Like all the best instruments, the Kala Tenor Ukulele is the perfect combination of aesthetics and quality. There’s its perfect balance of the classical and the trendy and its excellent tone wood and Aquila strings. The result is an instrument which will make you want to practice all the time and with which you will be able to create notes made from true magic. And thanks to its extras which include a gig bag, Quick Start Guide, tuning app and free lessons, you will be able to enjoy your instrument to the fullest.
3. Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele
It’s easy to tune and easy to play as well. But a closer look at the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele reveals why it’s all these things and so much more. There’s its solid mahogany top which can take the credit for its rich, clear notes as well as those Import DAddario strings which serve to enhance the effect of the tone wood by adding a fuller dimension to the instrument’s sound.
What’s more, you will also be able to look forward to a tenor ukulele which will remain in tune for longer – a definite plus, since nothing can be more exasperating than notes that don’t sound right especially when played correctly. There’s also the fact that it sits at the top of the scale as far as aesthetics are concerned too with its unique figure 8 design and glossy, dark finish which lend it an especially sophisticated appeal.
Its highly ornate fretboard which enhances the beauty of this tenor ukulele, is also worthy of a special mention. All these features make the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele a superb option for you whether you happen to be discovering ukuleles for the very first time, or are an experienced player.
- Excellent sound quality: The Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele is capable of providing rich, clear notes thanks to its tone wood and strings.
- Extraordinary aesthetic appeal: The Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele features a glossy dark polish, a unique design and an exquisitely decorated fretboard.
- The right notes for longer periods of time: Thanks to its ability to remain tuned for longer, this tenor ukulele will produce beautiful clear notes for longer as well, making it especially convenient to play.
- May be unsuitable for players with small hands: Like all tenor ukuleles, the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele comes with larger spacing between its frets making it unsuitable for small children or players with smaller hands and fingers.
- A slightly muted sound: The Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele may produce a slightly muted sound compared to other ukuleles.
It isn’t that often that you come across an instrument which seems to tick all the right boxes. And that’s what makes the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele seem extra special. In addition to its extraordinary aesthetic appeal, there’s also the fact that it has been manufactured using high quality tone wood and also comes with Import DAddario strings which serve to enhance the fullness of its notes. And the icing on the cake? Its gold agate die-cast tuner which will enable you to keep those notes sounding just how they’re meant to.
What Makes a Tenor Ukulele?
The main distinguishing features of the tenor ukulele are as follows:
- Size: With an average length of 26 inches, the tenor ukulele is always larger than a soprano or a concert (it’s about a couple of inches longer than a concert ukulele). As a result, its frets are more widely spaced apart, making it an excellent option for finger picking.
- Sound: Compared to its soprano and concert counterparts, a tenor ukulele possesses a more robust, fuller sound. This difference in the quality of its notes is due to its larger size. It’s worth noting however, that baritone ukuleles have a heavier sound (since they’re the largest of all ukuleles).
- String tension: This term relates to the tightness of the strings on an instrument. The string tension on tenor ukuleles is generally greater compared to concert ukuleles. This quality also contributes to the ability of tenors to generate more volume compared to smaller sized instruments.
Who Are Tenor Ukuleles for?
Tenor ukuleles are not only tuned in a similar manner to soprano and concert ukuleles but also come with the added benefit of having most ukulele music being written for them – just like the other two, as well. However, their main difference is that they are somewhat bigger than the other two varieties – in spite of being smaller than baritones.
Due to these reasons, tenor ukuleles may be considered suitable for beginners just like soprano and concert ukuleles. It is also worth noting that they are a superb choice for skilled players and are a firm favorite among professional players. However, due to their larger size and the spacing of their frets, they are particularly suitable for players with larger hands.
Is a Tenor Ukulele Good for Beginners?
Yes, tenor ukuleles are an ideal option for anyone first learning to play the instrument. This is due to the reasons noted above: the availability of music for tenor ukuleles as well as the fact that they are tuned in a similar manner to their soprano and concert counterparts – G-C-E-A. However, they are generally unsuitable for little children due to their larger frets, and are also unsuitable for adults or teens who have small hands and fingers, too.
Are Tenor and Soprano Ukulele Tuned the Same?
Yes they are. As noted above, both tenor and soprano ukuleles – and even concerts too – are tuned in a similar manner. They are usually tuned using G-C-E-A, which is the most common type and is known to provide the traditional ukulele sound. Fun fact: This tuning is referred to as rentrant tuning since the pitch of the notes doesn’t get progressively higher as you descend from the highest to the lowest string. Ideally, a ukulele should be tuned right before you pick it up to practice with it or to play it. Failing to do so will result in notes which simply sound wrong.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Tenor Ukulele
In order to ensure you select the tenor ukulele that’s just right for you, you will need to consider the following points:
- Cost: Generally experts recommend going for instruments which cost $50 and above. That is because cheaper options tend to come with tuning problems which can be a tad frustrating especially if you happen to be a beginner.
- String type: The strings your instrument comes fitted with will influence the quality of sound it produces. Aquila Nylgut strings happen to be a firm favorite among expert players due to their ability to provide the excellent tone of natural gut and the durability of nylon.
- Number of strings: The standard number of strings on an ukulele is four – the recommended number for a beginner. However, there are instruments which come with as many as six to eight strings. Such instruments are more complex even though they do produce more robust notes, and are recommended for expert players.
As far as ukuleles go, tenors seem pretty amazing and those produced by leading brands simply belong in a class all their own. And we believe those which got to earn a coveted spot on our list of favorites, are simply the most awesome of all. Especially since they happen to have been produced by manufacturers who seem to be fans of great music and know just what to provide. The fact that they also come with loads of helpful extras certainly earns them even more points. Which of the three stood out to you the most? Here’s a brief overview of each instrument to remind you of all their impressive qualities.
Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size: When it comes to products which have been manufactured with meticulous attention to detail, the Lohanu Ukulele Tenor Size is quite simply, an ideal example. This instrument which embodies a simple, stylistic elegance has also been impressively designed. There’s its meticulous construction featuring high quality tone woods – mahogany and Sapele – and the Super Aquila Nylgut Strings, resulting in a tenor ukulele which sounds as great as it looks. There’s also the fact that such attention to detail actually includes the instrument’s accessories which include all you need to play conveniently. That list of extras includes a padded gig bag, a tuner and even a strap and buttons. All these qualities mean that this tenor ukulele has what it takes to enable you to create wonderful musical moments all day long.
Kala Tenor Ukulele: Another aesthetically pleasing option with its smooth brown glossy appeal enhanced by a traditional Polynesian pattern around its rosette, the Kala Tenor Ukulele also comes with Aquila strings as well as high quality open gear tuners, and GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle. What’s more, you also get to benefit from loads of extras including a handy guide, a tuning app and free lessons too. Thanks to all these features, you too can get to join numerous ukulele fans all over the world and experience an instrument which looks and sounds awesome.
Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele: A cutaway figure-8 shape, a rich dark hue and a smooth glossy polish, not to mention its stylish fretboard, meant that we were simply drawn to the Enya EUT-M6 Tenor Ukulele. Especially since we had to find out if an instrument that looked that good could possibly sound as amazing too. And we’re glad we opted for a closer look since we got to discover its full, deep notes which can be credited to its solid mahogany tone wood and Import DAddario strings. It also earned bonus points in our book for being able to stay in tune for longer; the fact that the manufacturer also added a gold agate die-cast tuner as well as a professional looking gig bag also earned it extra cool points as well. All in all, we did feel that this instrument which sounded and looked lovely was a perfect choice for any ukulele fan regardless of their skill level.
And that brings us to the end of another Surf’n’Buy guide on some of our favorite musical instruments. And just as we always do with all our guides, we had loads of fun putting it together for you. Especially since we got to enlist our best musicians on the team – by promising them loads of their favorite snacks – and getting their input too. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it and find it especially helpful in selecting the one tenor ukulele which you won’t be able to resist playing.
- Austin Bazaar, Ukulele Buying Guide – Different Ukulele Sizes
- Beginner Ukuleles, Concert Vs. Tenor Ukulele
- Dummies, What to Consider When Buying Your First Ukulele
- Kala Brand, Ukulele Sizes Explained
- Merriam Music, How to tune a ukulele: Tenor, Concert, Soprano, Standard Tuning
- Normans, 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Ukulele
- Ukulele Tricks – Ukulele Tuning: The Ultimate Guide For How to Tune Your Ukulele