Note: Ukulele World is reader supported. If you purchase using a link on this site, we may get an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
The guitalele is perhaps the perfect mix between a ukulele and a guitar. These instruments have the body of a baritone ukulele while being strung like a guitar with six nylgut strings.
If you’re looking into getting a guitalele for yourself, this article will give you some of the best options currently on the market and highlight what to look for when buying a guitalele.
Luna Henna Dragon Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Guitalele – Best Overall
Let’s start with the main features. This Luna guitalele comes with a built-in tuner and preamp to be ready for a performance right out of the box. It also comes with Aquila Super Nylgut strings.
The Luna Henna Dragon Guitalele uses a baritone ukulele body from complete eastern mahogany. The top is decorated with a stunning henna art piece of a dragon designed by Alex Morgan, an artist from the UK.
The fretboard consists of pau Ferro with an inlay of Pearloid moon phases. The moon’s phases along the neck help to harken back to the Luna name.
This particular guitalele has a gorgeous open poor finish that allows the henna to stand out in all its natural glory. It also comes in a natural finish if you’re not a fan of the open pore.
The head sports an open tuning layout with metal and bone tuning pegs. The saddle also contains bone. At the top of the head is the Luna name, along with the brand symbol of a crescent moon.
As mentioned above, the guitalele comes with Aquila Super Nylgut strings. These strings, along with the baritone-sized mahogany body, provide a warm, rich tone. The nylgut strings also make it very playable for experts to beginners.
This Luna guitalele comes with a gig bag, so you’ll be ready to hit the road as soon as you have it.
Other owners of the Luna Henna Dragon have praised its quality and beauty. The Luna Henna Dragon is an expertly made instrument crafted with care to look amazing and sound fantastic. Luna is a brand that has musicians coming back again and again.
We picked it for the top spot because of its quality and price. While it’s not a budget option, you get a lot for the money you pay.
Luna is a relatively new brand in the world of guitars. It was founded in just 2005 by a stained glass artist. Luna considers their guitars, ukuleles, and other instruments to be a work of art and functional instruments. They put as much focus on aesthetics as they make a sound.
Not only that, but Luna strives to create highly playable instruments. Musicians with small hands may have difficulty with standard-sized instruments, but Luna opts to slim down necks and craft lighter bodies to make it more comfortable for many artists.
Islander Acoustic-Electric Acacia Guitalele – Premium Option
The Islander guitalele is another option that comes with a pickup. The under saddle pickup is a 3-band EQ and a tuner, so you’re ready to hit the stage at once.
The top, back, and sides are all crafted from acacia wood. As a tonewood, acacia shines in the high notes creating a crisp, bright tone. The body was left with its natural color and coated in a satin finish.
This neck consists of okume, topped with a walnut fretboard. The bridge also consists of walnut for cohesive details. White ABS inserts section off the frets.
At the top of the guitalele is the head. The head is acacia to match the body, while the tuning pegs are made entirely of metal with black nobs.
Other musicians have loved this guitalele for the perfect build quality and beautiful finish. The electronics are high quality and produce great sound. The guitalele has a great tone and is ideal for those who highlight crisp higher tones.
With a narrower neck at just two inches wide, it’s effortless to play, even for those with smaller hands.
If you want to pick up this guitalele for yourself, then note that this particular one doesn’t come with a gig bag. So if you’re planning to take it traveling or just out of the house, you may also need to invest in a bag or case.
We chose those guitalele for the premium option thanks to its high-quality materials, great electronics, and easy playability. A premium build comes at a premium price, but we believe it’s worth it for experienced players looking to add to their collection or upgrade from a more budget option.
Islander is a brand that proudly makes all of its guitars, ukuleles, and guitaleles in Hawaii, using only local koa trees for the wood. Joe and Kristen Souza started it. Joe apprenticed under a master luthier named Peter Bermudez at the age of twenty and fell in love with the art of crafting these instruments.
Yamaha GL1 Guitalele – Best Budget Option
We have our budget option for those just starting out or those who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on an instrument that will be used for traveling and likely beaten around a little. The Yamaha GL1 (compare prices at Amazon and Guitar Center) should fit you just nicely.
Yamaha is a trusted supplier of instruments of all shapes and sizes. From guitaleles to pianos to drums, Yamaha likely has it. Despite the large scale, the instruments tend to be high quality. That large production allows them to reduce costs without sacrificing sound or playability, unlike the other smaller-scale businesses we have covered so far.
The Yamaha comes with a baritone-sized ukulele body for a deep resonate sound. The top of the body consists of spruce, while the back contains meranti. Spruce is generally an excellent wood for guitaleles. It can be very thin, allowing for a lighter guitar while having excellent tonal properties. Spruce is one of those woods that project any sound it encounters. This Spruce allows even a soft touch to produce great sound.
The meranti back is what helps keep the price of this instrument down. Meranti wood is strong and cheap, but tone-wise, it doesn’t add anything to the instrument. It has a neutral, if not dull, tone. But don’t worry, the spruce top is plenty to create a great sounding guitalele.
The neck contains nato wood. Nato is a type of mahogany that’s also very affordable. As a neck wood, you get all the strength of mahogany without the price tag.
On top of that is a rosewood fretboard. Rosewood is a widespread fretboard wood and adds to the elegance of this instrument.
The Yamaha comes with nylon strings similar to other guitaleles. Nylon strings are softer than steel strings and are generally easier to play.
The Yamaha guitalele comes with a padded gig bag, so you’ll be ready to take it on the road. However, if you need a hard shell case, such as if you are planning to take it on a plane, Yamaha should have everything you need.
This model comes in a natural color, featuring the yellow coloring natural to spruce wood. It’s covered with a glossy finish.
If a natural finish isn’t for you, the Yamaha GL1 has two other options. Tabacco Sunburst is another classic finish that features a reddish stain towards the sides of the top and the sides and back. The edges are stained black.
Persimmon is the third color option with its deep burnt red color, like a dark terra cotta. Unlike Tabacco Sunburst, Persimmon is a solid color with no variations.
On all three models, the head matches the body. In the Yamaha guitalele, the tuning pegs are made of metal with cream nobs. It features an open-style tuning.
Other musicians love this guitalele. The affordability tends to be the main draw at first, but after they start to play it, other musicians have praised the playability and tone. Many have even said it had become their go-to guitar, loving the smaller, compact size and fantastic sound.
The only downside some musicians have mentioned is the action. The action is the distance from the strings to the fretboard. Some find the action on this guitalele relatively wide, making it difficult for some to play, especially those who prefer fingerstyle.
Overall, we believe this is the perfect option for a budget guitalele. It’s made well yet of inexpensive materials, sounds great, looks great, and won’t break the bank.
Vorson EGL-ST S-Style Guitalele – Best Electric Option
So far, we have focused on acoustic or acoustic with a pickup. However, as metal fans would point out, there are other types of guitaleles. Vorson is one of the best fully electric options we could find, full of great features and fun colors.
The Vorson EGL-ST S-Style Guitalele (see the price at Amazon) is built on a tenor-sized body. The shape is a classical electric guitar, harkening back to the Stradivarius electric guitars. It comes in three available colors black, cherry red, and blue. We were a particular fan of the cherry red option.
It features SMD Active electronics for some fantastic sound. It has two SY-S single coil pickups and a three-way pickup selector.
Like most electric guitars, it comes tuned like a mandolin or ukulele at A-D-G-C-E-A. This tuning makes it the perfect addition to any band as it will cover the higher registers perfectly.
Unlike other guitaleles, it comes with electric steel strings as an electric option. This instrument was not built for nylon strings like the acoustic options.
The control panel on the top of the body features nobs for controlling the tone, mid-shape boost, and volume. On the back of the body, a battery compartment is easy to access. The battery helps to power the electronics inside the guitalele, allowing for active pickups and better tone control. And a higher output.
As a bonus, this Vorson electric guitalele comes with a gig bag and a cable. You’ll be able to bring it to your next performance and plug it right into an amp with no setup.
Other musicians have said this is a great option for a travel electric. It’s portable, has great sound, and is easy to play. As it is ukulele sized, some users find the strings too close, making it difficult for those with larger hands or fingertips. The strings that come with it are said not to be great either, so it is recommended to pick up another set when you buy it. D’addario and Elixir are two great options for electric strings.
The flaws of this guitalele can be forgiven thanks to the price. It is a very affordable little guitalele with the bonus of being one of the few excellent electric options. Guitaleles themselves tend to be on the niche end of instruments. An electric guitalele is a whole other ball game.
We chose this guitalele as the best electric option for exactly that reason. In the world of little choice, this is one of the best options while still being affordable.
Caramel CB402G Guitalele – Best Looking
While we could have put the Luna Henna Dragon in this category, we chose this Caramel CB 402G guitalele (see the price on Amazon) as the most aesthetically pleasing option, thanks to the gorgeous striped acacia.
The Caramel CB402G guitalele is also one of the few options on this list that feature solid wood rather than laminate. Solid wood guitaleles tend to deliver a richer, more rounded sound and are truly the premium option among all stringed instruments.
What makes this guitalele shine is the body. It’s made of solid acacia, not just the top but the entire body of the guitar. This solid material not only makes it stronger but improves the tone quality. The body is then lightly stained and left with a satin finish to bring out the natural grain of the acacia wood. It is little wonder that we picked this as the best-looking guitalele with that kind of natural beauty.
Acacia is a common wood type for this instrument and creates a crisp, bright tone, particularly in the higher notes.
The soundhole within the body of this guitalele has artist pearl finishes that add a touch of handcrafted charm.
The bridge and saddle of this particular guitalele are made of buffalo bone.
The neck utilizes solid walnut, including the ultra smooth fretboard.
The all-metal construction includes copper gear. Not only does this add a little extra visual pizzazz, but it also contributes to the ultra-precise tuning capability. The tuning pegs even add a little uniqueness to this instrument.
It was exciting to see the inclusion of an adjustable truss rod with an included wrench. This premium feature allows experienced players to adjust the action (distance from the strings to the fretboard) to their liking. You can adjust the truss by opening the small door on the head and using the included wrench.
Already installed on the body of this guitalele is a pickup with three ban EQ controls for the bass, middle, and treble. The built-in tuner has a chromatic LCD color display. Two 3V batteries power it. As it also comes with a cable, all you will need is an amp, and you will be able to go fully electric if you so choose.
This particular guitalele comes as a full kit. You get a world-class instrument and an extra set of strings, three guitar picks, a gig bag, a cleaning cloth, a wall hanger, a strap, an EQ cable, and an instruction book.
Other musicians simply love this guitalele. It plays amazing and looks stunning. Not only that, but the full kit makes it a steal for what you pay. Some musicians found that it sounded better overall if you switched to classical steel guitar strings rather than keeping the included nylon strings. The body of this guitalele can certainly withstand the strain of steel strings, especially since you can easily adjust the neck to lower the action if needed.
We chose this guitalele as the most beautiful thanks to the stunning acacia grain. It also has a fantastic build of solid wood and a built-in pickup. On top of all that, the included kit comes with everything you might dream of needing to get started.
Caramel is a smaller instrument manufacturer, churning out more ukuleles and guitars with the same stunning details as this guitalele.
What To Look For in a Guitalele
Let’s start this buying guide with a little information on the guitalele and why you may want to buy one. As stated in the introduction, a guitalele is an instrument that lies somewhere in between a guitar and a ukulele. It is the body of a baritone ukulele with six strings like a guitar. The tuning is very similar to that of a guitar as well. The only difference is a guitalele is the same as having a capo on the 5th fret of a guitar.
If you’re looking for a suitable one, don’t forget that it may also be called a guilele or a guitarlele.
There are a few reasons why someone might want to have a guitalele. One of the biggest reasons is for traveling. At the same time, travel guitars do exist. Many guitarists element that the sound isn’t usually that great. Since a guitalele is built to be small, it comes with a clear, bright sound. Meanwhile, a travel guitar isn’t as small as a guitalele, and the sound resonance can be disappointing compared to a full-sized guitar.
Another reason you may want a guitalele is if you want to play both ukulele tunes and guitar songs on a single instrument. If you want to play guitar songs, simply use all the strings. With the way a guitalele is tuned, the bottom four strings can be played as though you are playing a ukulele, with the expectation that the 4th string is tuned one octave higher.
Lastly, a guitalele is great for those with small hands or even those who simply prefer the ease of nylon strings that usually come with a ukulele while having the full playing capability of a guitar.
When buying a guitalele, you’re looking for all the same things that make a guitar great. This includes things like sound, build quality, and fretboard.
The sound is by far the most important part of any instrument. In a perfect scenario, you could test a potential guitalele before buying. Any instrument shop will usually let you strum a few chords before you commit. You want a sound that is bright and clear. Keep an ear out for buzzing or a dim resonance.
If you can’t play it before you buy it, then take the time to look over reviews first. This should give you a better idea if an instrument is worth your while.
When buying a guitalele, you are looking for the same quality of build that you might start with a ukulele or a guitar. To start, take a look at the body.
A good quality guitalele body should be made entirely of wood (for acoustic guitaleles). Wood will resonate with the sound better and give you a richer tone overall.
Outside of the wood type, look at the build quality itself. It is always a good idea to visually inspect your instrument for flaws before committing to it. Cheaper instruments are likely to have minor visual imperfections, such as small dents. For the most part, this shouldn’t affect the playing, but it will help to give you some idea of how much care was put into the instrument. Also, take a look for any cracks or major scratchers.
An extremely important part of the body is the wood type. Different woods come with different tonal properties. We’ll cover a few of those here.
A very common wood type to see for the body. It’s a dense wood that creates a warm tone and has a great midrange. This is a good wood for general players.
Even when a guitar doesn’t feature mahogany in the main body, it’s fairly common to see it used in places like the neck, where the strength of this dense wood can hold up to the strain of strings and playing.
Cedar still has a warm tone like mahogany, but where mahogany shines in the midrange, cedar brings the darker tones alive. This is considered a perfect wood type for finger players.
Rosewood is a wood that creates extremely warm tones that are rich and resonate. It’s a very dense wood with an almost bell-like treble range. It is the choice wood for truly premium guitaleles.
Rosewood is a rare wood type and can be quite expensive. It’s also heavy, so it’s rare to see a solid rosewood guitalele or any instrument at all. You will often see rosewood used in places like the fretboard or other small details.
Alder is a truely nuetral wood. It creates tone complexity, allowing for warmth and brightness all at once.
Walnut is another dense wood type that brings bright tones. Since it’s dense and therefore heavy, it’s rare to see a solid walnut built. More likely, you’ll see walnut used in body tops or necks.
We should start this section by pointing out that not all acacia wood guitaleles are made with koa wood. Koa is a type of acacia and is considered the best of acacia woods for instruments. All koa is acacia, but not all acacia is koa.
Koa is grown in Hawaii and has become synonymous with ukuleles. Koa tends to look stunning thanks to the strong grain markings. As for sound, they shine in the high range, offering middle to warm tones with a touch of brightness. It’s perhaps not as loud as other woods but great for crisp notes.
This is an inexpensive wood type with a generally unassuming tonality. The tones are very neutral, with a touch of warmth. Basswood is not particularly resonating, nor does it add much richness. You may see basswood used in the back or sides of a suitable to cut down on price and weight, as it is a fairly light wood type.
Fret Board and Strings
After inspecting the body, take a look down the fretboard. It should be completely straight without any twists, and the strings should be very close to the frets. The closer the strings are, the easier it is to play in general.
The entire fretboard should be solidly built, and nothing should be able to shift around. The fretboard will be made of wood, and it is common to see either rosewood or mahogany as these are strong, dense wood that can take the strain off the neck.
Most guitaleles will come with nylgut strings. Nylgut is very gentle for beginner players and creates a classical sound.
Few guitaleles come with steel strings, but it is possible to swap them for steel strings if you prefer a more acoustic guitar-like sound. The only thing to note is that a guitalele is made to take the strain of nylgut strings. Cheaper guitaleles may not hold up under steel strings very well. In either case, you may notice the distance from the fretboard to the strings being slightly higher with steel strings.
At the top of the fretboard will be the head with the tuning pegs. Ideally, you want the tuning pegs to be entirely metal (the nob itself can be something else). Metal parts will help your guitalele stay in tune for longer.
We’ll finish this section with a note on accessories. When you get when you purchase a guitalele can vary wildly. Sometimes you may buy just the instrument, while sometimes, you may be able to buy the full kit with a case and extra strings included.
Outside of that, there are some other accessories that you may want to consider if you are planning to purchase a guitalele.
One is an electric pickup. This small device is mounted on the side of your instruments that you can plug into an amp. If you want a pickup, we recommend finding a guitalele that has one already installed, so you don’t risk the build quality down the road.
Also, take a moment to consider travel and storage. For some, a soft gib bag will be enough, while frequent airplane travelers may want a hard case. For home, you may want a stand, or a wall mount too.
Best Guitalele Brands
We’ll finish this buying guide with a few recommended brands for you to explore.
Yamaha – Trusted builder of guitars, guitaleles, ukuleles, and many more instruments.
Kmise – Offers some great budget options that still play great.
Vorson – Excelent option for an electric guitalele.
Kremona – Handcrafted instruments with Bulgarian heritage.
Caramel – Lightweight yet expertly crafted instruments.
Top Guitaleles, Final Thoughts
We hope that you have enjoyed our review of the top guitaleles. This instrument travels well and is adaptable enough to play as either a ukulele or a guitar. This hybrid instrument may be the perfect addition to your instrument collection or the perfect place to start your musical journey.
If you are planning on purchasing a guitalele of your own, we hope this article helped you find the guitalele of your dreams.