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Bigger than a baritone uke, the bass ukulele is powerful looking in every aspect. It doesn’t hurt that they’re often great sounding too.
But with so many great options avalible to you, which one should you choose? We help you decide by showcaseing some of the best bass ukuleles, then let you know what to look for when buying after.
Kala Rumbler U-Bass – Best Overall
The Kala Rumbler U-Bass (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon, Guitar Center) is one of the best overall bass ukuleles you can buy because of its balance of quality to price. There are less expensive bass ukuleles—you can read about some of them later—but when it comes to the quality of sound and materials, the Kala Rumbler bass ukulele is fantastic.
With strings Aquila made specifically for Kala and custom electronics, you will be surprised at how much punch and clarity this instrument produces. Despite the low register notes of a bass instrument, the Rumbler U-Bass makes a colorful and full tone. You can also customize that tone with the active EQ.
The piezo pickup, the Shadow U-Bass preamp, and Aquila Silver Rumbler strings will almost fool your ears into hearing a standard-size bass guitar. But at its compact size—you can even carry it onto a plane—you can take this instrument just about anywhere without a problem. Other prominent features of this bass ukulele include:
- 21-inch scale length with 16 frets
- Laminate mahogany body
- Piezo pickup with an active equalizer
- Aquila polymer strings
- Walnut fingerboard with custom Kala inlay
- Custom die-cast tuning machine
Besides those features, you will also get a custom U-Bass padded gig bag with this instrument. If you plan on traveling and gigging with your new bass ukulele, this case is a must!
Lanikai SPST-EBU- Premium Option
The Lanikai SPST-EBU (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon, Guitar Center) is not a money-saver as it is a standout bass ukulele with premium pricing. But if you want to invest in one of the best instruments and do not mind spending more money to get it, consider this gorgeous bass ukulele from a well-known and respected brand.
The first standout feature of the Lanikai SPST-EBU is the solid spruce wood on the top with Morado laminate on the back and sides. The Morado body pairs with a rosewood fingerboard to give you a deep/punchy bass sound with an easy and immediate response. The instrument is 23 inches long and has a wide neck for more comfortable technical playing.
The Graphtech NuBone XB nut and saddle help with superior clarity and projection. And when you pair these acoustic features with the Fishman Clásica II preamp, you can amplify your fantastic bass sound into any system. Other unique features of the Lanikai SPST-EBU include:
- Triple-matched grain (beautiful visually)
- Wide neck with truss rod for adjustments
- Graphtech NuBone XB nut and saddle
- Satin finish with Herringbone Purfling binding
- 19 frets
- Okoume material neck with rosewood fingerboard
- Open gear tuner
With 19 frets on a wide rosewood neck, you will get the classic feel of playing the ukulele with the punchy sound of bass guitar. If you can afford the premium pricing, this instrument will impress you!
Donner DUB-110- Best Budget Option
The Donner DUB-110 (check price on Amazon) is not the highest quality instrument you will read about in this collection of best bass ukuleles. But it maintains a decent sound quality and comfortable feel despite its budget-friendly pricing. If the prices of the first two options were intimidating, you might consider this Donner instrument instead—there are also a few similar options below.
In terms of features, the Donner DUB-110 is much longer than the first two options at 30 inches. The playing feel on its wide neck and 18 frets is comfortable, and although you will not get the richness and depth of the previous Lanikai bass ukulele, the sound is surprisingly complex. Acoustically the sound is bright, and the 3-band EQ control lets you make subtle adjustments to that sound.
With materials, this ukulele has a mahogany body—AAA African Mahogany—and basswood and spruce on the back. The combination of this body with a mahogany neck produces a distinctly bright sound, and the Aquila Nylgut strings help you stay in tune. Other notable features include:
- Two built-in strap pins
- 3-band EQ adjustments
- 30-inch length
- Mahogany color and material with basswood and spruce on the back
- Preamp with included tuner
- 18 brass frets
- Four fret marks on the neck and top
Especially for beginners, the fret marks on an instrument this long are helpful, and the included gig bag means you can travel with this instrument comfortably. The sound might not be as professional as the premium instrument, but it is surprisingly fantastic for the price!
The Kala U-BASS-EM-FS (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon, Guitar Center) is another high-end instrument that is only a few marks behind the Lanikai premium instrument you read about above. You can expect a similarly professional-level sound that mimics the richness of an upright bass while maintaining its portability.
This Kala bass ukulele has fewer frets than the Lanikai SPST-EBU—16 instead of 19—but with its similar sound quality and increased portability, you might decide this instrument is the better fit. And despite its size, the piezo pickup with the Fishman U-Bass equalizer gives this instrument a sound much larger than it looks.
In terms of materials, this ukulele uses mahogany wood for the body and walnut for the fingerboard and bridge—the rosewood on the Lanikai is slightly more professional, but walnut is also fantastic. And their combination of tonewoods and strings allows the instrument to resonate like the much larger double bass. Other features include:
- Built-in volume control
- Proprietary polymer strings
- Compact fingerboard/instrument size (16 frets)
- Die-cast tuner
- Embroidered gig bag included
- Exotic mahogany body
Unless you are an advanced ukulele player or listener, you might not notice the differences between this Kala instrument and the equivalent Lanikai. But the differences in materials produce a subtly different sound, and the smaller size of the U-BASS-EM-FS might be relevant.
The Lanikai FB-EBU (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is up next, and this instrument is similar in quality to the previous Kala bass ukulele. If the 16 frets of the Kala U-BASS-EM-FS is a turn-off for you, then this longer Lanikai might be worth researching further.
This bass ukulele is 23 inches long and has 19 frets, and the neck is wide enough to be comfortable no matter your hand size. This instrument is unique for its warm and mellow sound, and while that might be a downside for those that want a punchy bass tone, it can be a valuable sound quality in ensemble playing.
You can expect a fantastic acoustic sound from this ukulele, but in professional settings, you can also rely on the Fishman Clasica II electronics that amplify your sound beautifully. Like many ukuleles with electric preamps, you also have a built-in tuner with this instrument. Other standout features include:
- Figured Bocote body
- Satin finish
- Okoume neck
- Ovangkol fingerboard/bridge with 19 frets
- D’Addario strings
- White dots on the fingerboard inlay
- Graph Tech nut and saddles
As the previous Lanikai premium option had, this instrument also has an adjustable truss rod to help you maintain the ideal playing feel. And like most bass ukuleles here, this product comes with a gig bag.
Luna Koa Bari-Bass Ukulele
The Luna Bari-Bass Ukulele (compare price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an instrument that exists in between the categories of baritone and bass ukuleles. As such, you can expect this to be one of the shorter bass ukuleles in this article—it has 16 frets.
Despite its smaller size, this ukulele makes a shockingly deep and resonant sound, and it has a much darker tone compared to the mellow quality of the previous Lanikai FB-EBU. This Luna tone comes from the combination of the koa wood body, mahogany neck, and walnut fingerboard.
A concept that is part of their mission statement, this instrument gives you a fantastic combination of price and quality—for a much more affordable price, you can get ukuleles that sound professional and feel effortless. And for those that need to gig, the high-quality Fishman Clasica II electronics will give you amplification ability. Other features include:
- 20 inches long with 16 frets
- C profile mahogany neck
- Laminated koa wood body
- Die-cast open gear tuners
- Aquila Thundergut flat-wound strings
- Preamp with volume, tuner, bass, treble, and phase controls
Overall, you can expect a distinctly fantastic quality from the Luna brand, namely the appreciation of aesthetics. Luna makes their instruments sound good, but they also put a lot of care into making them look beautiful.
Alvarez Artist Bass Ukulele
The Alvarez Artist Bass Ukulele (check price on Guitar Center) is another acoustic-electric combination instrument that gives you the ukulele sound and feels but with the depth and tuning of a bass. You will not pay as much for this instrument as other premium ukuleles in this article, but the materials and build still produce a legitimate and professional sound.
The body of this Alvarez ukulele uses A+ Sitka Spruce wood for the top and mahogany for the back and sides. This ukulele also has a mahogany neck, and the fingerboard and bridge use Techwood. This bridge is also slotted, which helps create a resonant sound with a fast response, especially when moving between strings.
The general combination of these materials, combined with the strength of the dovetail neck joint design, produces a particularly open sound. Many bass ukuleles bring out a punchy and compact sound, so this openness is worth noting. Other notable design features of this ukulele include:
- Real-bone nut and saddles
- Black ABS binding
- Aquila Nylgut strings
- Slotted bridge for better projection
- A modified fan-style bracing design
- Dovetail neck joint (for strength and response)
One subtle note to consider is that, unlike many of the bass ukuleles in this collection, you will not get a case or gig bag with this instrument.
Luna Tattoo Bass Ukulele
The Luna Tattoo Bass Ukulele (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon) is not the same quality as the previous Luna Bari-Bass ukulele. But you can trust this brand to care about the quality of its instruments at every level. The expensive models will sound the most professional, but the Luna Tattoo is one of their top-selling ukuleles for a reason—it has brilliant sound and feels.
While the soprano size of the Luna Tattoo series is the most affordable, this bass ukulele is understandably more expensive—it uses more wood and incorporates electronics with an EQ. Like the other Tattoo instruments, this ukulele has a laminated mahogany body and spruce top. The C-profile neck also uses mahogany and has a walnut fingerboard. And with Luna electronics, you have control over volume, presence, and bass EQ.
Take special note of the visual aesthetics on the top of the body, a laser-etched design that harkens to the Hawaiian roots of the ukulele. These designs give this instrument an authentic look and feel. Some of this product’s other primary features include:
- Walnut bridge
- 20 inches long with 15 frets
- Walnut fingerboard with flat radius and pearl triangle inlays
- Luna preamp with die-cast and open-gear tuning
- Control over volume, presence, and bass EQ
- Gig bag included
Overall, this is a reasonably compact instrument, and its depth and strength of tone will likely surprise you.
AKLOT Electric Bass Ukulele
The AKLOT Electric Bass Ukulele (check price on Amazon) is the final bass ukulele in this collection, and it is another budget-friendly option. Depending on your history—whether you are coming from playing other ukuleles or the bass—you can decide on purchasing a fretless or fretted version of this instrument. Fretted is a better option for beginners who want more stability of sound and help to play in tune.
The body of this bass ukulele uses stripped ebony on the top, back, and sides. The neck uses Okoume wood, and the fingerboard uses walnut. At 30 inches long, this instrument is significantly larger than many of the other bass ukuleles in this collection. So while the materials and resonance might not be as expensive, the size alone compensates by helping to make a larger sound.
In terms of ease of playing, this instrument is also beginner friendly because it has a low action—you do not need to push the strings down hard to get a solid sound. And speaking of strings, this ukulele comes with Aquila Thundergut strings. Other notable features include:
- Fretless and fretted versions
- Built-in preamp and EQ
- 30 inches long
- Low action for ease of playing
- Adjustable neck
That last feature is a huge plus, and this AKLOT ukulele comes with the Allen wrench you need to change the convex of the neck.
What To Look For in a Bass Ukulele
Reading a bunch of product features and reviews at once can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the terminology. Professional musicians often know what they want and have tried many ukuleles, but an amateur or beginner can be easily confused.
So to give you an easier time comparing and contrasting the models above and some others you may encounter, this section will go into more detail about what to look for in a quality ukulele. In addition to quality and price, you will get a better idea of what differentiates baritone ukuleles from these bass models.
Durability is a confusing topic for musical instruments—while you should always treat an instrument with the utmost care, wear and tear is a real thing. On top of normal usage, minor accidents can happen where a more durable construction will protect your instrument.
Besides the better sound quality of high-priced wood and binding, stronger materials will resist damage more. Durability is not just about avoiding major damage. Often the subtlest of bumps can bend the neck and ruin the feel/response. So if you can afford the intermediate models or higher, you will both avoid cracks and chips while also maintaining the delicate shape of your ukulele, especially in the neck.
Unfortunately, price is a huge factor in the quality of musical instruments, and the quality of your instrument correlates strongly with its price. You should not spend more than you can afford, but air on the side of more expensive than the cheapest if you can. Besides durability and sound quality, a more expensive instrument will grow with you over time as you improve.
Avoid the cheapest ukuleles if you can, especially those made from the cheapest materials—avoid plastic instruments at all costs! Lastly, understand that more notable brand names—those discussed below—will tend to cost more but are usually worth it. Popular companies are usually popular because people are happy with the quality of their instruments.
As discussed in the durability section, your ukulele’s material has a huge effect on the quality of its sound. And while these bass ukuleles have electronic components, they are only amplifying the acoustic sounds—they do not work any miracles on a poorly constructed instrument with bad resonance.
Like any wooden instrument, the specific materials and design affect how the vibration is produced and projected—the balance between instrument sections is critical, as is the binding between them. So in this section, you will learn about the most common woods that ukuleles use and which ones are best.
You probably read the word mahogany too many times while learning about the bass ukuleles above, and that is because it is the most common wood material in ukulele construction. A mahogany body is stable, durable, and makes a warm and balanced sound.
While mahogany resonates best with middle register notes, it also sounds fantastic on bass because it produces clarity.
You will usually find koa wood on more expensive instruments as it particularly brings out the percussive sound of these instruments. While percussive strumming is less of a concern with bass ukuleles, the higher quality of koa wood is also a factor when it comes to balance.
Fingerboard: Walnut vs. Rosewood
Many of the ukuleles you read about above had either walnut or rosewood fingerboards, and this section will briefly explore the differences between them. Both are high-quality, but the more expensive ukuleles will have rosewood.
Rosewood is a harder wood, and this density makes the feel and response of these fingerboards more professional—the sound will be warmer and denser. But the downside of rosewood is that it is more difficult for beginners to manipulate the strings.
Walnut has a softer texture that is more suited to beginners because it makes fast and technical passages easier to play. Many professional instruments still use walnut, and it is not a sign of a bad instrument. But for the most advanced playing—clarity of fast notes—rosewood is superior.
Besides mahogany, acacia is another common wood for ukuleles, especially in body construction. Compared to mahogany, acacia will make a more percussive and full tone. While rustic and percussive tones capture an authentic Hawaiian sound, they work better for the smaller ukulele sizes.
But if you do spot a bass ukulele with acacia wood, keep an ear out for these differences in sound quality, as you might end up preferring the harshness of the acacia!
While the visuals of an instrument matter little if it does not sound good, a beautiful-looking instrument is worth considering, especially when it comes to ukuleles. The cosmetics of a ukulele are essential because they touch on the Hawaiian origins of the instrument.
Plane wood without any cosmetics is boring, and the models that use beautiful binding and thoughtful combinations of wood are ideal. Some brands will also etch shapes and drawings to decorate the wood, like the Luna Tattoo line of ukuleles.
Since all of these bass ukuleles include electronic components, it is worth paying attention to the quality of those electronics. Your instrument should sound full and resonant acoustically, but it should also have quality electronics that enhance the sound when you amplify. The acoustic sound is converted to an electric signal via the pickup, and from there, your preamp will amplify the signal to appropriate levels for an amp.
If any of those components along the chain are cheap, the sound quality will suffer. The best instruments usually have a piezo under-saddle pickup, and the cheapest ones will just attach to the soundboard. If you want to use effect pedals, having a solid preamp is important.
Besides the preamp, there are usually equalizer channels that allow you to adjust other aspects of the sound signal. Smaller ukuleles might have 3-channel EQ abilities, but with bass, you will likely only need a bass adjustment. You may also have a dial to adjust the presence of your bass sound.
There are two aspects to tuning that you should be aware of when you are researching ukuleles. Firstly, ensure the electronics on your ukulele come with a tuner—this will greatly simplify your daily tuning. Most of the models in this article come with tuners that allow you to tune visually.
The second factor with intonation is the quality of your instrument. Low-quality instruments struggle to stay in tune, and they will leave you frustrated by having to constantly retune. With better materials and build, intermediate and professional ukuleles have more tuning stability, and they will stay in tune even after aggressive playing.
The build of the frets is also important—any inaccuracy on a cheaper model will mean your notes are naturally out of tune. This fret problem happens especially in the higher register where the frets are closer together. If you have classical training on the bass, consider trying a fretless option that gives you ultimate control over the tuning.
Of all the instrument parts that affect intonation, the quality of the neck is the most important. Any twist to the neck will cause tuning problems. Even if you are buying an expensive instrument, visually inspect the neck to make sure it is straight, especially if it is a used ukulele.
Beginner vs. Intermediate/Professional
While beginner ukuleles make a lot of sense for those who want a soprano or concert ukulele—many of those models can be under 100 dollars—beginner models make less sense with the bass-sized instruments.
Bass models are more expensive because they require more wood and build quality, and the price difference when upgrading to an intermediate is much less. If you can afford it, consider at least intermediate models to get a strong bass sound that will grow with you for years.
Baritone vs. Bass Ukuleles
Some of the smaller bass ukuleles in this article, those under 23 inches, will be similar to the baritone-sized ukulele. The Luna Bari-Bass Ukulele from earlier in the article would be an example of one such size that blurs the categories between baritone and bass. But even at the same size, a bass ukulele will have different strings that can play in the lower octaves with a punchier bass sound.
If you desire a sound similar to the traditional ukulele sound—for example, the percussive and harsh rhythmic sounds of a concert or soprano ukulele—then consider a bass ukulele with a similar size to baritone instruments. But if you want a distinct bass sound—deep resonance with a lot of punch—look for those 30 inches long.
Bass Ukulele vs. Regular Bass
Folks that already play regular bass, either electric or upright, will have a smooth transition to the bass ukulele. Compared to the standard-sized bass, the tuning is the same, and the slotting of the notes will feel more or less the same, depending on the size of your bass ukulele.
While the bass ukulele utilizes the same tuning as regular bass instruments—E, A, D, G—the notes sound one octave higher than on the bass. If you are transitioning from the double bass, look for a longer bass ukulele with a wider fingerboard, which will be most similar to the intervals you already know. But for folks transitioning from a smaller ukulele—for example, a tenor ukulele—a small size like the Lanikai FB-EBU would be better.
Note, you can also look into the contrabass ukulele, which is much bigger and tuned in the same octave as a standard bass.
If you plan to use your ukulele in casual settings like backyard hangs and jams with friends, this section will be less relevant. You still want a ukulele that sounds good, but top-of-the-line electronics and sound quality are not worth spending a ton of money on.
But if you plan to gig on your instrument, investing in a professional instrument is usually worth it. Compared to intermediate ukuleles, professional models can be well over 500 dollars and be over 1000. Expensive professional models should have wide necks, more frets, and rosewood fingerboards that allow for clearer technical playing.
Whether your new instrument comes with accessories does not affect the quality, and often it is the beginner packages that come with the most accessories. These are nice for the beginner soprano ukulele packages that come with spare strings, a case, and sometimes even an amplifier.
But the main accessory to look for when buying a bass ukulele is a gig bag/case. Especially if you plan to gig or travel with your new instrument, this can be a wonderful bonus.
Best Bass Ukulele Brands
The space of ukuleles can be confusing because of how popular the instrument is—you will find many brands in the marketplace, and not all of them make reliable instruments. With some brands, a budget-friendly price means you will be getting bad workmanship on an instrument that does not sound good. But many reputable brands make fantastic instruments at affordable prices.
Ultimately, a guide like this is just a starting point for you to decide on what kind of investment to make—buying an instrument should be a careful decision where you plan for the long run. But whatever your budget is, you probably noticed that most of the instruments in this article centered around the same top ukulele brands at various prices. Many of these brands make beginner instruments whose sound will surprise you.
So let’s explore the top brands making bass ukuleles and why you can expect high-quality instruments from them.
Luna does not have the most expensive option in this collection of best bass ukuleles, but the most notable feature of this brand is that they put equal care into all of their models. Their intermediate ukuleles sound fantastic, but they also utilize thoughtful designs and materials in their beginner models. If you are interested in a budget-friendly bass ukulele that has a solid sound, Luna is a brand to consider.
Luna also takes care to make instruments that capture the sound and look of the ukulele’s Hawaiian and Pacific roots. Hawaiian ukulele playing has a distinct sound, and instruments from that region also have decorations with traditional shapes and ornaments. The Luna Tattoo series recommended above has its name because they put laser-etched shapes and decorations on the top layer of wood.
Donner only recently entered the ukulele space compared to many brands that have years and years of experience—some brands have been making ukuleles for over one hundred years! You might consider this newness a downside, but there are some positives to this aspect too. Bass ukuleles require electric preamps to hear them properly, and Donner has a reputation for having fantastic electronics with cutting-edge technology that is regularly updated.
The Donner instrument recommended earlier in the article was the budget pick, but Donner does have other models of higher quality. Overall, you will most likely go for another brand if you want the best-sounding acoustic instrument. But if you care most about the electronics—preamps, pickups, EQ, etc.—then this brand is worth considering. Donner is also fantastic at having regular updates to their designs.
Lanikai makes some of the highest-quality professional ukuleles as well as budget-friendly beginner models. Two of the most expensive and premium bass ukuleles in this article came from this brand, and there is a reason: this popular brand has held the trust of the ukulele community for years. Their instruments have high-quality materials, sound great, and feel easy to play.
Many of their instruments are at retailers, and they also have authentic models that you can only buy in Hawaii. While the location of production is not necessarily a mark of quality, with a traditional instrument like the ukulele, it is still something worth considering. Both electric bass ukulele models in this article are fantastic instruments that will produce some of the best bass ukulele sounds you can get.
Kala is a huge brand name in the world of ukuleles, and it is a company that specializes in making these instruments. Many companies began making guitars and then later took advantage of the growing ukulele market. But Kala was founded as a ukulele company, something that might be worth considering.
You read about two Kala instruments in this article, one of them being only slightly less expensive than the premium Lanikai options. You can expect these instruments to have a professional sound and feel, and the electronics are high-quality enough for professional gigging. The best option for most people was also significantly cheaper while still having fantastic sound quality.
The main takeaway from Kala is that, like Luna, you can expect thoughtful designs and high-quality materials in their range of instruments. Beginner models will not sound cheap, and professional models are competitive with any of the top brands.
Top Bass Ukuleles, Final Thoughts
As you can see, there is a lot to consider as you shop around for bass ukuleles. The most expensive models utilize high-quality materials and expensive electronics to give you a professional sound. But for those on a budget, there are plenty of bass ukuleles that still sound amazing without costing you a fortune. Hopefully, you have learned enough to find the instrument that is right for you!