Bass Ukuleles are different from the standard bass ones. This might be a little confusing for some people because they do share a lot of similarities. Also, both sound a lot like each other despite their differences.
Ukuleles are generally shorter, but the most significant difference between the two instruments is the strings. Ukulele basses come with plastic, nylon, or flat-wound metal strings, whereas standard basses come with strings that are exclusively made from metal. Besides, the materials and hardware are different.
In this guide, we will talk to you about the best bass ukuleles that you can find and the features of each. Also, we will tell you everything you need to know before you buy a bass ukulele and answer most of the frequently asked questions regarding the topic.
So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.
List of The Best Bass Ukuleles:
- Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series
- Kala Wanderer Bass Ukulele
- Donner DUB-1 Bass Ukulele
- Hadean UKB-23 Bass Ukulele
- Alston’s 30” fretless Ukulele
- Luna Bari-Bass Ukulele
|Bass Ukulele||Body Material||Fingerboard Material||Strings||Tuners||Number of Frets|
|Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series||Mahogany||Mahogany||Aquila strings||Black Die-Cast Open Gear Bass tuners||16|
|Kala Wanderer Bass||Mahogany||Laurel||Kala Round Wound||Custom Black Die-Cas||16|
|Donner DUB-1 Bass||Mahogany||Rosewood||Aquila Nylgut||Die-Cast tuners||18|
|Hadean UKB-23 Bass||Walnut||Rosewood||Aquila Nylgut||Die-Cast tuners||Fretless|
|Alston’s 30” fretless||Butterfly wood||Rosewood||Aquila strings||Geared Black machine tuners||Fretless|
|Luna Bari-Bass||Koa||Walnut||Aquila Thundergut Flatwound||Die-Cast Open Gear Bass tuners||Fretless|
The 6 Best Bass Ukuleles In 2020
1. Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series Bass Ukulele
This series is designed to have high playability, which makes it a perfect choice for beginners.
Oscar Schmidt OUB200k is the most compact on our list. It has a slight beveling on the lower part where the player’s forearms rest while playing, which is one of the reasons why it is more comfortable to play than other bass instruments.
Another reason why it is easier to play is that it has a half-cutaway design. The standard cutaway we see all the time doesn’t affect the entire body. However, this ukulele has a slope from the front of the body to the top right side. This makes it a lot easier to reach far up the neck.
The last bonus when it comes to the design of the instrument is the short scale length. If you have small hands, you will make more progress playing this ukulele than most of the other bass ukuleles.
One concern that’s related to the design and the size of the instrument is that it makes the instrument a bit less resonant acoustically. Yet, if you plug it in, it sounds absolutely amazing with a growling tone.
When it comes to the materials, the ukulele stands out for its price range. The body is made of mahogany, as well as the neck. The fingerboard and the bridge are made of rosewood with 16 frets, including dot inlays.
It is a little tricky when it comes to the strings because the set that comes with the instrument is made of plastic, which is easy for beginners to play. However, if you have a little experience with playing the ukuleles, you will benefit more if you restring the instrument.
The instrument doesn’t come with any accessories, but you can get a complementary gig bag with it, which is a great addition especially if you travel around all the time.
- Compact design
- Comfortable to play
- Short scale makes it easy for those with shorthands to play the instrument
- You can get a complimentary, high-quality gig bag with it
- The acoustic sound is a little thinner than it should be
- It is a bit expensive
Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series Bass Ukulele is a high-end instrument that makes it easier to enjoy your time and feel comfortable while playing. It might be a little expensive for some people, but you will end up getting everything you expect from a bass ukulele.
2. Kala Wanderer Bass Ukulele
Kala Bass Ukuleles are great options for those who are looking for ukuleles that have a rumbling tone, and at the same time, they are sturdy enough to withstand knocks and bumps.
The Wanderer Bass is the most basic among Kala’s U-Bass series with a satin finish that makes it look luxurious. It is beautiful, simple, and pretty straight forward, which gives it a classic appearance.
Usually, bass ukuleles don’t sound loud when they are played acoustically, but that’s not the case with Kala Wanderer bass. It has a deep and round sound that’s no different from the standard acoustic bass sound.
The instrument has mahogany back, front, sides, and neck. The fingerboard is Laurel, which is not that common among ukuleles; however, it makes the fingerboard stronger than most of the other ukuleles.
It has a 16-fret fingerboard and comes with Kala round wound strings.
- Simple design
- Sturdy enough to handle knocks and bumps
- Sounds great when played acoustically
Kala Wanderer Bass Ukulele makes a great travel instrument, and that’s why it is named “Wanderer.” It is more solid than the standard bass ukulele, and it has an amazing rumbling sound.
3. Donner DUB-1 Ukulele
Donner DUB-1 is an impressive electric bass ukulele and makes an excellent choice for those who are looking for an instrument that sounds good, but they are on a budget, or they don’t want to invest much in it.
It is a standard 8 figure bass ukulele with a very simple design. People love it because of its great sound quality and high playability.
The ukulele has a full mahogany body and a mahogany neck as well. On the other side, the fingerboard and the bridge are made of rosewood. Besides, it is built with 18 frets with dot inlays and comes with Aquila Nylgut bass strings.
Surprisingly, it has a loud sound with plenty of definition, which can be attributed to the mahogany body and the high-quality strings.
Donner DUB-1 comes with a 600D nylon padded bag. The pad is 12 mm in thickness and extends all over the bag to protect the instrument.
- Small size and portable
- Comes with high-performing Aquila Nylgut strings
- Comes with a Preamp
- Lack of straps
Donner DUB-1 isn’t only a good choice for beginners, but its impressive performance, build quality, and great sound make it an excellent choice for advanced players who are on a budget as well.
4. Hadean UKB-23 Ukulele
Hadean UKB-23 has a unique design that makes it look clean and more expensive than it actually is. Also, it has a soft finish that adds more value to the instrument.
The body of the ukulele is made of walnut with a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. It is fretless with standard inlays and comes with Aquila Nylgut strings.
When it comes to the sound quality, it has an impressive sharp sound with a little more edge than what you might find in other standard ukulele basses.
The sound is clear and well defined, so you won’t have to worry about getting a muddy sound. Besides, the pre-installed strings ensure tuning stability because they absorb less moisture than other similar strings that come with other models with increased accuracy of fret-intonation.
- Unique design
- High-quality pre-installed strings
- Looks more like a guitar than a uke
Hadean UKB-23 is an excellent bass ukulele with a distinctive tone and a professional design. Despite being durable and having high-quality, it is affordable. It looks more expensive than it actually is, so it is a good value for your money.
5. Alston 30” Fretless Ukulele
Alston is a new ukulele made that is based in China. Surprisingly, they became popular and are making good profits with their instruments.
This model has a unique decoration that makes it eye-catching. There are two bindings on the edge of the body; one is white, and the other is patterned.
The instrument is made of butterfly wood with a rosewood neck, bridge, and fretboard.
It is fretless, but it is marked with the standard inlay dots. The Aquila strings are well made and offer a decent sound.
The only downside is that this ukulele won’t give you the deep, resonant sound that other expensive counterparts can offer. However, it still sounds beautiful both acoustically and through its electronics.
One feature that a lot of players admire is the presence of a small open gate on its lower back that makes replacing the strings much easier.
- Beautiful design
- Warm sound
- Easy string replacement
- Lacks the deep, resonant tone that other more expensive ukuleles have
Although Alston is not a very popular brand, this model hasn’t got a single negative review on Amazon so far. It looks unique, sounds great whether you play it acoustically or plugged in, and you won’t break a bank to buy it.
6. Luna Bari-Bass Ukulele
Luna is one of the well-known guitar and ukulele manufacturers. Their instruments are top-notch, and this one is no different.
This is one of the top quality ukuleles, and it is designed in the US and the UK. Even though there is nothing too special about the design, the instrument looks traditional and expensive.
The body is made of Koa, which holds a deep tribal significance. The neck is made of mahogany, whereas the fingerboard is made of walnut. It is fretless, and the original strings set is Aquila Thundergut Flatwound.
Luna Bari-Bass has a great sound with a good definition and a decent action. It has plenty of girth, especially in the lower range. You can get a gig bag which is of excellent quality.
- Made of Koa
- Amazing deep and rich sound
- No built-in toner
You don’t need to think twice before you buy a Luna instrument. Although it is a little expensive for some people, you will never get something as good at the same price.
How to Pick a Bass Ukulele?
Well, there was a time when this was a little bit of a struggle. Fortunately, it is not that hard anymore. There is a wide variety of bass ukuleles with different price ranges.
The first thing you need to decide is how much you are willing to invest in your new instrument. Then you shall go through the specs we mentioned above. One mistake that a lot of people make is confusing a bass ukulele with a baritone one. You must make sure you don’t fall for this, and as we mentioned earlier, the major difference between the two instruments is the type of strings used.
Once everything is settled, your main goal should be to get an instrument that has a decent pickup and preamp, something that we searched about and made sure you will be getting if you pick any of the instruments we talked about in our list.
One last thing that is always good to do is to go to YouTube and see players using the instrument you have in your mind and notice how it sounds. Maybe you can learn about others’ experience with the specific model you are considering to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Does a Bass Ukulele Sound Like?
Bass instruments don’t really sound that bright, but because ukuleles usually have a bright, happy sound, it gets a little confusing to think about what a bass ukulele sounds like.
To simplify things, a bass ukulele sounds somewhere in between. It has a limited upright tone without that classic ukulele sparkle. However, you don’t lose it all, and it still sounds a little upbeat.
Besides, most people play plugged in, and even if you decide to play in an unplugged setting, your bass ukulele will carry out its own weight just fine.
Do Bass Guitars and Ukuleles Have the Same Chords?
Well, although the two instruments look a lot like each other and each of them has four strings, things are quite different. A bass guitar is tuned E A D G from the top string to the bottom one.
On the other hand, the ukulele is tuner G C E A from the top string to the bottom one for soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles. Baritones are tuned D G B E, and thus, the same notes are played on different frets, and you need to learn the different chords for each of these instruments.
Why is an Amp Required with a Bass Ukulele?
Ukuleles have small bodies. This makes it hard to capture the resonance and produce a brighter sound. Although a lot of bass ukuleles will sound okay when played acoustically, whenever a bass ukulele is being made, the manufacturer keeps the amplification on the top of the list while designing the instrument.
Which is better fretted or fretless ukuleles?
There is no right answer to this question because it is a matter of individual preferences. You will find that most of the ukuleles you will find are fretted; however, fretless instruments have a couple of advantages over fretted ones.
The first advantage is that they allow you to play higher up on the neck without going out of tune. The second advantage is that they will enable you to compensate for flat tuning since the polyurethane strings suffer from unpredictable stretching all the time.
Yet, fretted instruments can be more than great for some people who find things easier when the instrument is fretted. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable while playing, and you like the sound your instrument produces.
It should be much easier to decide which bass ukulele is right for you now. All the instruments we talked about stand out each in a different way. If you want a bass uke at a reasonable price yet, it sounds natural, then Hadean UKB-23 is the way to go.
However, if you are willing to invest a little more in getting a superior sound, then get the Kala Wanderer Bass Ukulele.
If you want to get the full package, then the Oscar Schmidt Comfort Series is an excellent choice for you.
The rest of the instruments on the list are suitable for all beginners who are on a tight budget and are not willing to spend much money on getting a fancy instrument.
Hope this guide helped you find the best bass ukulele and the most suitable for you.