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.
While drooling over new ukuleles, you may have come across Oscar Schmidt’s unique axes.
Oscar Schmidt manufactures a mix of stringed instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, autoharps, banjos, basses, mandolins, and of course, ukuleles. And they’ve sure got some great looking ukes.
But which ones is right for you? Which are the best? In this guide, we’ll be reviewing the top Oscar Schmidt ukuleles.
Oscar Schmidt OU11TE Tenor A/E Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OU11TE tenor uke is a “two-tone” ukulele with two different woods used in its construction. Koa and spalted mango were combined on the top, back and sides for a unique tone and look.
This tenor sized axe comes with 19 frets (and dot inlays), mahogany neck, abalone purfling and rosette, gloss finish, chrome tuners, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, Aquila strings, and a built-in preamp. And, as with the previous entry, it looks gorgeous.
Customers noted that this uke was a little heavier than expected because of the internal electronics and high gloss. But overall, they were quite pleased with the purchase, especially after they changed the strings.
Sometimes, changing the strings can have a big impact on an instrument’s tone and playability, so if you’re ever unhappy with a uke that arrives at your door, it might be worth experimenting with different strings before attempting to return it or take it in for a set up.
Item weight: 5 lbs.
Package dimensions: 28 x 12 x 5 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU5 Koa Concert Ukulele Bundle
The Oscar Schmidt OU5 Koa concert ukulele is another desirable instrument, and it even comes with an accessory bundle!
The uke itself comes with a Hawaiian Koa top, back, and sides, abalone binding and rosette, 16-fret nyatoh neck, and Grover chrome tuners. The bundle includes a gig big, strap, ukulele strings, Fender Play trial, Austin Bazaar instructional DVD and polishing cloth, as well as a clip-on digital tuner.
Reviewers thought that this was a quality instrument, with an attractive finish and nice tone.
Some had issues with string buzz, however, so if you have any issues, it might be a good idea to bring this Oscar Schmidt into a professional tech for some setup work.
Item weight: 2.65 lbs.
Package dimensions: 25 x 5 x 12 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU500T Comfort Series Tenor Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OU500T Comfort Series tenor ukulele comes with a spruce top and Koa body. The Comfort Series instruments come with a comfort rest on the lower bout to support your forearm, as well as a rosewood partial cutaway for access to higher frets.
The instrument features a mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, rosewood binding, satin finish, Aquila strings, open gear tuners, and 19 frets with dot inlays.
Buyers were almost unanimous in their praise for this instrument, citing its deep tone as one of their favorite aspects of it.
Item weight: 1.75 lbs.
Package dimensions: 27.4 x 8.35 x 3.86 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU53S Baritone Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OU53S baritone ukulele features a baritone body, solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides, fingerboard and sides, and abalone top inlays.
For all those times you need a deeper, richer sound, this uke is a solid choice.
Customers thought it was a great choice for the price, especially comparing it against a Kala uke in a higher price range. What they liked most about it was its sound and playability.
Others found some issues with quality assurance and the strings included on the instrument. As noted earlier, sometimes swapping out strings can help improve the tone and feel of the instrument.
Item weight: 2.2 lbs.
Package dimensions: 31.3 x 13.1 x 4.5 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU52E Mahogany Baritone Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
The Oscar Schmidt OU52E mahogany baritone acoustic-electric ukulele comes with mahogany top, back and sides, rosewood bridge, satin finish, and chrome tuners.
Thanks to the included electronics, you can plug this axe in at a gig, making it quite versatile for practicing, jamming, and gigging alike.
The best thing about this ukulele is its tone and appearance.
Some customers apparently had issues with quality assurance, but they were few and far between.
Item weight: 8 lbs.
Package dimensions: 32 x 13 x 4.5 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU7TK Spalted Mango Tenor Ukulele & Padded Gig Bag
As a uke fan, it would prove an uphill battle to resist this beautiful Oscar Schmidt OU7TK Spalted Mango tenor ukulele.
Its symmetrical, high-contrast appearance is striking, and it comes with a spalted mango body, synthetic bone nut and saddle, abalone binding and rosette, as well as a deluxe heavy duty gig bag. Trust me when I say this instrument looks even more incredible in person (the picture doesn’t do it justice).
So far as Oscar Schmidt ukes are concerned, this one is close to the top of the chain.
In terms of sound, this uke doesn’t necessarily have strong projection or resonance. It has nice, balanced highs, but unfortunately it isn’t necessarily going to give you the volume you need in a jam. So, that might be a consideration if you’re planning to play your axe in group situations.
In general, users loved the ukulele and its appearance, durability, and overall quality.
Item weight: 3.29 lbs.
Package dimensions: 23 x 7 x 4 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU28TE 8-String Tenor Ukulele, Satin Finish
One of the reasons people are attracted to Oscar Schmidt’s ukuleles is because of their double-course stringed instruments, like this one, the Oscar Schmidt OU28TE eight-string tenor ukulele.
Like a 12-string guitar or a mandolin, this one features a double course of strings. When you pluck or pick one string, you’re really playing two strings an octave apart (except for the top two strings which are tuned in unison), which produces a fuller sound, rich with warmth, plus undertones and harmonics.
The axe comes with mahogany top, back, and sides, pearl dot inlays, satin finish, chrome tuners, NuBone nut and saddle, and Aquila strings.
Overall, its tone makes it a great choice for folk and bluegrass music (sounds a lot like a mandolin), but it’s worth experimenting with all styles.
We liked its tone, and overall, it is one of the more affordable eight-string ukes available.
One thing to be aware of with eight-string instruments, though, is that they are a little harder to tune and keep tuned than four-strings. Makes sense, right? When you have more strings to tune, it can be more of a challenge. So, keep that in mind if you choose this one.
Item weight: 2.25 lbs.
Package dimensions: 37 x 17 x 8 inches
Oscar Schmidt By Washburn OU13 Soprano Ukulele
From the outset, Oscar Schmidt’s OU13 soprano ukulele is a sturdy looking instrument. Could be perfect for beginners and intermediate players alike, and it is priced moderately.
It comes with a select spruce top, rosewood back and sides, abalone binding and rosette, as well as a gloss finish.
The good – this axe comes with a great finish, a clear and sweet tone, and solid playability.
The bad – this ukulele may not be ready to play out of the box. Setup is recommended.
Item weight: 1.75 lbs.
Package dimensions: 23 x 9 x 4 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U 4-String Baritone Ukulele
To finish off this list, we’ll be looking at a series of Oscar Schmidts that all have a relatively standard look and feel. They are decent instruments, and affordable besides, but if we’re being honest, they all tend to look alike.
The OU52-A-U baritone ukulele comes with a basic mahogany body and satin finish. Which means it could be a reasonable choice for a beginner or intermediate player who is still learning and practicing.
The best – because it’s made of laminated wood, it’s a sturdier instrument than more expensive ones. It’s also a great instrument for the price.
The bad – not much to speak of, though apparently some buyers had issues with buzzing.
Item weight: Unknown
Package dimensions: 24 x 2.75 x 8 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU2-A-U 4-String Concert Ukulele
As noted, there isn’t a huge difference between the Oscar Schmidt OU2-A-U concert ukulele and the previous one on this list, except a considerable difference in size and price (making this a good budget option).
The instrument comes with a mahogany body, satin finish, geared tuners, and a bound mahogany neck.
Overall, this is a good beginner uke. Its tone isn’t half bad, especially given its price point. And we couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
Item weight: Unknown
Package dimensions: 24 x 2.75 x 8 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU2T Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
And now for the OU2T mahogany tenor uke. It comes with a mahogany top, back, and sides (as you would expect), ebony headstock and bridge, ivory body binding, chrome tuners, and a satin finish.
As with the concert model, the tenor seen here represents excellent value. It looks and feels good, it sounds good, and it plays nicely too.
Though it does sport somewhat of a “generic” look, it looks even better in person.
Item weight: 3.15 lbs.
Package dimensions: 26 x 9 x 4 inches
Oscar Schmidt OU2F Concert Ukulele
This budget grade ukulele looks surprisingly good for being so low cost.
The OU2F concert size ukulele comes with a flame mahogany top, back, and sides, black ebony tuning buttons, Aquila strings, and 18 frets.
And the uke doesn’t really disappoint. It comes with smooth, low action and a nice tone to boot.
Item weight: 1.45 lbs.
Package dimensions: 25 x 8.9 x 3.6 inches
What Should I Look For In An Oscar Schmidt Ukulele?
So, you’re interested in an Oscar Schmidt ukulele. You’re just not sure which one is right for you.
In general, there are a few factors you should consider before buying a ukulele. These can help you narrow down your options and home in on the instrument that’s right for you.
Here are the main criteria considered here:
- How the instrument sounds
- How playable the ukulele is
- Whether to get an eight-string or four-string instrument
- The appearance of the uke
- The quality of the ukulele
- How much the instrument costs
Let’s dig into each.
Tone & Sound
Beginner players might not notice much of a difference between how a beginner instrument sounds and how an advanced one sounds.
But experience is a great teacher. With time, you begin to develop an ear for tone, and with it, preferences as well.
So, tone tends to be one of the key factors. That said, it only matters to the degree that it matters to you.
Oscar Schmidt instruments are quite good. But they’re all a little different, depending on the materials they’re made of.
The best way to figure out what works for you is to try the instruments out for yourself (at a guitar store). The second-best way is to watch video demos and reviews on YouTube. The third best way is to read written reviews.
It’s okay if not all of these are options. The trick is to do a bit of homework – use your ears, ask others for recommendations, check out how reviewers are liking their Oscar Schmidt instruments, and so on.
Tone is individual. But with a bit of digging, you can often find an instrument that suits you well.
Playability & Feel
No less important is the playability and overall feel of an instrument.
If a ukulele is well balanced, it will feel “right” in your hands, and against your body. It will feel comfortable.
When the action is properly set up, the ukulele will prove much easier to play, preventing you from having to press harder with your fingers to get the desired sound out of the instrument.
Generally, the more expensive the instrument, the better balance of tone and playability it features. This isn’t always the case, though, as you may have noticed our comment about the spalted mango uke featured at the top of the list. A great uke, it just sounds a little thin.
Anyway, if in doubt, you can always swap out strings, and if that still doesn’t work, you can take your uke to a tech to get a professional setup. And if that doesn’t work (rare), then you might want to get a different instrument.
Playability is important for players of all levels, but especially for beginners who don’t need added resistance when they are training their fingers to do things they’ve never done before.
8 Strings Or 4 Strings?
Oscar Schmidt has eight-string and four-string instruments. The question is, which should you get?
Well, in most cases, you’ll probably be looking at a four-string ukulele. This is “standard,” and if you don’t have many instruments in your collection yet, you probably don’t want to jump to a more niche or specialty instrument like an eight-string uke just yet.
That said, while eight-string ukes aren’t unique to Oscar Schmidt, not every brand or manufacturer makes them. If you already have your “main slots” covered, then perhaps you would be well-served considering an eight-string uke.
The closest thing to an eight-string ukulele is obviously a mandolin, though there are some clear differences, including the tuning.
How much does the appearance of a ukulele matter? Again, this largely depends on the individual.
Oscar Schmidt’s ukuleles are generally gorgeous at every level, regardless of the price, to the point where the pictures don’t quite do them justice.
I suppose the only other consideration, then, is what you want your uke to look like. Ultimately, they are all made of wood, but the type of wood, as well as the wood grain itself can drastically change the overall esthetics of the instrument.
In most cases, it would still be better to choose based on how the uke sounds, as well as how it plays, but if the color or appearance is especially important to you, then it’s okay to choose based on materials. Of course, materials do make a difference when it comes to tone as well.
We all want quality instruments at affordable prices. Not every brand offers that, but Oscar Schmidt does. They pride themselves in developing ukuleles that are good for the money, and overall, customer sentiment seems to reflect this fact.
We do hear some reports of quality issues. There seem to be fewer cases than with some other manufacturers we’ve reviewed in the past, so for the most part, it may not be a major concern.
Of course, if you somehow end up with a defective instrument, you should be able to get a refund or exchange on it.
We always think it best to avoid going into debt to buy musical gear. In the long run, it’s not worth it.
That said, the ukes here only range from about $60 to $230. We can’t imagine you’ll break the bank on a purchase like that, but just in case.
Additionally, budget is a good filter to put your purchases through. It can be the final deciding factor when all else fails.
About Oscar Schmidt
Oscar Schmidt was originally founded in 1871 and is owned by Washburn, which is probably best known for its Nuno Bettencourt signature model electric guitars (though they make everything from acoustic guitars to mandolins).
Oscar Schmidt’s main product range includes acoustic guitars, autoharps, banjos, basses, electric guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, and cases/bags.
They have a tradition of producing instruments with excellent tone and volume, especially at the price point. And this is what they are still known for today.
Top Oscar Schmidt Ukuleles, Final Thoughts
If you’re shopping for an Oscar Schmidt, one could certainly make the case that it would be worth giving an eight-string uke a try (unless it’s just not your thing). Eight-string instruments aren’t exactly rare, but they aren’t in abundant supply either.
That said, their entire product range is worth a look, from budget options all the way up to pricier solid top ukes. Generally, you can count on Oscar Schmidt instruments to be excellent value for the money, which is what makes them a go-to for plenty of players.
Although YouTube isn’t overflowing with video demos and reviews for Oscar Schmidt ukuleles, if you need more information, it might be worth popping into your local guitar shop to try out a few axes for yourself. With that, we wish you the best of luck in chasing down your perfect uke!