Best Ukulele Brands for Intermediate Players | Tips and Reviews [2019]

Getting started with any instrument is always the hard part— the hours of practice, blisters, and wrong notes at a crucial moment can be tough to get through. There comes a fantastic stage in any process, however, where you suddenly realize that you have evolved from a clueless newbie into competent intermediate, and chances are you are not even sure when it happened.

The intermediate stage is a curious one. You are not new anymore, but you still lack the mysteries and secrets of the elite professionals (spoiler: the secret is just lots of hard work). To help you ascend those dizzying heights, we have put together a list of the best ukulele brands for intermediate players to help you take your skills to the next level.

Our Top Pick

If you’re a wee short on time, our top pick would be the Cordoba 15TM We’ve reviewed it in in-depth first for your convenience, but to sum it up, this model offers the best bang for your buck overall without sacrificing performance.

Review of the Best Ukulele Brands

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

Cordoba is well known for their excellence when it comes to beginner guitars and ukuleles, and they have taken the time to expand this expertise into the intermediate market. This is a great next step if you are looking to retain good quality sound and long-lasting construction, without having to invest vast sums in your instrument.

 

Key Features

  • Concert size
  • Mahogany top, back, sides, and neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Satin finish
  • Silver tuners with pearl buttons
  • Aquila strings

 

What I Like

Cordoba is known for their superior quality when it comes to beginners’ instruments, and it is nice to see them carry this forward into the next stage. The concert size is perfect for an intermediate player, and the satin finish adds an air of elegance and sophistication to the whole model, which makes it a real pleasure to play.

 

What I Don’t Like

The only real criticism is that this model is relatively expensive when compared to competitors.

 

Pros

  • Balanced tone
  • Fantastic dynamic range
  • Aquila strings for excellent quality sound
  • Mahogany wood offers a rich and warm tone

 

Cons

  • The neck and fretboard feel a little cheap, which is disappointing compared to the rest of the appearance and quality

 

Sleek, chic, and ideal for those looking to advance their skills, this takes the top spot as the best ukulele brands for intermediate players with flying colors.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Ukulele Concert Size Bundle from Lohanu (LU-C)

If you are looking to move on to the intermediate stage, but don’t want to spend unnecessary cash on accessories and other extras, this could be a perfect choice. The concert size is a step up from the soprano usually favored by beginners, but still easy to manage and play as you develop and hone your growing skills.

 

Key Features

  • Concert size
  • Comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty
  • The arched back allows for fuller sound
  • Comes with all accessories – strap, tuner, case, picks, and spare strings
  • 24-inches long
  • Sapele/mahogany top, back, neck and sides
  • Technical wood fingerboard
  • Aquila strings
  • Chrome die-cast tuning gears

 

What I Like

This is a great concert-sized offering, which is ideal for players looking to take their skills to the next level. The strings and wood are of high quality, and this means you can continue to learn confident that you are receiving an accurate and authentic ukulele sound.

 

What I Don’t Like

There are some areas where the finish tends to look slightly uneven, and this can make the overall effect feel a little cheap.

 

Pros

  • Comes with all the accessories you need to get started
  • The unconditional lifetime warranty helps give peace of mind to customers
  • Aquila strings allow for high-quality sound
  • Concert size is ideal for intermediate players

 

Cons

  • The finish looks uneven and poor quality in some areas
  • It is tough to keep the strings tuned

 

This is a fantastic option for those looking to evolve from the world of beginner instruments. The balanced sound and ease of use are perfect for intermediate players, making this is a solid choice for your next step.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

High-quality mahogany is used to create a smooth, sleek construction which looks set to stand the test of time and offers a great tone to this soprano uke. The frets are marked to ensure that you have ongoing support as you develop your skills, and the lightweight finish means this is an instrument which is portable and easy to manage.

 

Key Features

  • Mahogany body and neck
  • 12 Brass frets with markers at the 5th, 7th, and 10th frets
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Satin Finish
  • Geared tuners
  • Aquila Nylgut Strings

 

What I Like

This model looks and feels like a premium instrument, from the rich sound of the mahogany and rosewood to the elegant look and feel which sets it all off. The sound is high-quality and clear, and the marked frets are fantastic for those still learning and evolving their skills.

 

What I Don’t Like

It can take a while for the intonation to settle, and this could be off-putting for less confident players.

 

Pros

  • Elegant and refined look and appearance
  • Frets clearly marked – ideal for the ongoing support an intermediate player requires
  • Mahogany and rosewood create a unique and rich sound
  • High-quality sound

 

Cons

  • Takes quite a long time for the intonation to settle, and this can be frustrating
  • The strings are reluctant to stay in tune, though this may change over time

 

This is a high-quality soprano which looks, feels, and plays like an instrument with a far higher price tag. The finish and tone are both high-quality, and the frets are marked—perfect for the support and guidance you are likely to need at this stage.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Concert Ukulele Bundle, Deluxe Series by Hola! Music

A stunning mahogany body is just one of the selling points offered by this ukulele from Hola! The concert size makes it a perfect choice for those wishing to expand their horizons and challenge themselves, and the clear, rich tone will come as a pleasure to anyone who has the chance to play. A great choice for those moving on from beginners’ instruments.

 

Key Features

  • Walnut bridge and fingerboard
  • Mahogany body and neck
  • Bone nut and saddle
  • Quality Aquila strings
  • Comes with gig bag, strap and handle, picks, and extra strings
  • Also includes two free months of live classes to help you improve

 

What I Like

One of my favorite aspects of this offering is the convenience. It comes with everything you could possibly need while playing, and so works out as a super cost-effective solution. It also means you can enjoy your new instrument straight out of the box, and this is important for steady and consistent practice and learning.

 

What I Don’t Like

The edges of the frets are quite sharp and may need to be filed down. This is an easy fix, but it is still an inconvenience.

 

Pros

  • Has a stunning aesthetic for a great finish
  • Bone nut components add a touch of elegance
  • Concert size is perfect for intermediate players
  • Comes with all necessary accessories
  • Includes free classes to help you hone and practice your skills
  • Mahogany neck and body lead to a warm sound

 

Cons

  • Does have a slightly tinny sound
  • Quality is quite disappointing compared to other models in the range
  • Fret edges are quite sharp

 

With a great aesthetic and a warm, rich sound, this is a perfect chance to grab a high-quality instrument on a budget. Just be aware that the frets may require extra sanding before you play.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Cordoba 20CM Ukulele

This hand-built beauty from Cordoba is truly stunning. The exceptional craftsmanship seems at odds with the affordable price, especially when we consider the fantastic, top-quality sound which this can produce. With a warm tone and a perfect finish, this is a definite top choice for anyone looking for a new intermediate ukulele.

 

Key Features

  • Solid mahogany back, sides, and top
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Natural satin finish
  • Aquila Nylgut strings (GCEA)

 

What I Like

This uke is built by hand, and the quality is clear to see in every aspect of the design. The craftsmanship speaks for itself, and I was glad to see this was not just a focus on appearance with nothing to back it up. On the contrary, there is a warm and rich tone, which is delightful to hear, and this is truly a premium product at an affordable price.

 

What I Don’t Like

Compared to similar models available, this is a little expensive. However, the high-quality means that you are still getting a great bargain.

 

Pros

  • Comes with a gig bag to keep our instrument protected
  • Great quality considering the price
  • Comes with Aquila strings for a great sound quality
  • Solid mahogany body

 

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to similar models

 

If you are looking for a high-quality instrument at a price you can afford, this should absolutely be your first pick.

 

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

ADM Koa Intermediate Ukulele Bundle with Gig Bag and Tuner

This bundle is an excellent choice for intermediate players and was designed and created with this audience in mind. This means it is suited for progression while offering just the right amount of support you need to keep you motivated and constantly learning. The gorgeous design is a bonus to the excellent sound, and this is a solid investment for those looking to take their playing to the next level.

 

Key Features

  • All Koa plywood body and neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Quality and fashion full closed die-cast chrome tuners
  • Laser etched rosette
  • Aquila strings
  • 18 Brass frets with markers at 5th,7th, 10th, 12th, and 15th frets
  • 100-percent money back guarantee within one month and extra years against manufacturer’s defects

 

What I Like

The choice to use Koa wood gives the whole instrument a luxurious and elegant feel and offers a sweet, rich sound which is unique and individual. The addition of a rosewood bridge only enhances this. These woods, combined with the choice to include Aquila strings, means that the sound quality is at a very high level every time you play.

 

What I Don’t Like

Some maintenance is needed before playing. The frets tend to be relatively sharp and may need filing so that you can stay safe and comfortable while practicing.

 

Pros

  • Stunning Koa wood is a treat to play
  • Frets are marked, making it easier for you to learn and grow as an intermediate player
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard add a touch of elegance
  • Aquila strings are included for a high-quality sound and experience
  • Comes with a gig bag to protect your instrument

 

Cons

  • Does feature some sharp edges which can be dangerous and uncomfortable to play

 

This Koa wood ukulele is a real treat and offers the chance to try something new and fresh. The tone is authentically Hawaiian and transports you to a luscious tropical paradise with every note.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Buying Guide

Along with helping you out by reviewing the best ukulele brands for intermediate players, we have also taken it upon ourselves to simplify the buying process and ensure that you have an easy ride.

In the simplest terms, there are four main sizes, or types, of ukulele: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. These increase in size, from smallest to largest, and each has its own unique tone. In addition, there is a vast range of woods which can be used to make ukuleles.

Each of these tonewoods can offer a totally different sound. Current favorites include Koa wood, mahogany, spruce, and walnut, but, as we have seen with the examples above, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Deciding on a wood type and size is a personal choice—as a rule, beginners tend to do better starting with sopranos, as they are smaller and easier to handle, and intermediates move to the concert size. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, however. Play around with different sizes until you find a comfortable one. Ultimately, the decision will be entirely in your hands; just as the wand chooses the wizard, so the ukulele chooses the player.

 

Final Thoughts

While all our options above are good picks, the top spot has to go to the Cordoba 15TM Tenor ukulele. Cordoba has long earned its stripes with string instruments, and this proves that their ukuleles are no exception!

The sleek, chic, and sophisticated appearance feels and sounds far more premium than the real price tag, and this ensures that even intermediate players don’t feel shortchanged or as though they are sacrificing something by having a smaller budget.

Instead, they have the chance to enjoy a high-quality instrument, which produces a stunning sound, and this is a motivating factor in learning and practicing, which is likely to keep intermediate players striving to succeed.

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