Curious about six string ukuleles? Not to be confused with guitarleles, these amazing instruments have two C strings, 2 A strings, a G string, and an E string, with GCCEAA tuning. Even though they look like miniature guitars, 6-string ukuleles are in a class all their own.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
Six string ukulele setups vary. Sometimes the two C strings are tuned an octave apart, expanding your range, and the two As are tuned exactly alike, so your music has a fuller, richer sound. This might be reversed too, so the A strings are an octave apart and the C strings are in unison. Sometimes both the C and A strings are tuned an octave apart, and sometimes both are tuned in unison.
Although you play a six-string ukulele the same way you play a four-string ukulele and you use the same chord shapes you’re already familiar with, you’ll need to use just a little more of your fingertips to hold down the double C and double A strings. This can feel challenging and many players find that it takes a little bit of getting used to. Some people feel like the wider neck is a touch more cumbersome than a standard 4-string ukulele’s neck at first, but once they’re accustomed to the feel, they really enjoy expanding their musicianship with this instrument.
What to Look for in a Six-String Ukulele
If you’re in the market for a six-string uke, the first thing you’ll want to check is that the instrument in question really is a 6-stringed ukulele and not a guitarlele! The two instruments look similar but they’re designed to support different strings – in other words, they are not interchangeable.
You’ll also want to take a look at overall quality. While this category doesn’t have as many issues with bad workmanship as the standard 4-string ukulele does, there are definite differences in things like tonewood, tuning machines, finishes, and more. We’re going to cover seven different 6-string ukes here with some highly affordable lower line instruments, one good mid-range option, and a couple of high-end six-string ukes that any professional would be proud to own and play.
Lower Line 6-String Ukuleles: Four Fun, Affordable Choices
The Kala KA-6 is a tenor 6-string ukulele with a mahogany body that contrasts nicely with a traditional rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The nut and saddle are made with GraphTech NuBone®. This is a pretty, traditional-looking ukulele with a glossy finish that shows off the wood’s grain. The cream binding, slotted headstock, chrome tuners, and cream-colored buttons add more visual interest. Like many tenor ukuleles, this one has 18 frets. It arrives strung with Aquila Super Nylgut strings.
This ukulele has a mellow, sweet voice with plenty of projection, but it doesn’t ring out quite a loudly as some of the better 6-string ukuleles we’ll look at in a minute. It’s a lot of fun to play and if you’re interested in dabbling rather than really making an investment into an instrument, you’ll appreciate the affordable pricing.
- Very affordable
- Attractive appearance with many traditional features
- Pleasant, appealing sound
- No bag included
Kala KA-6E (with EQ)
In the event that you’re looking for an acoustic electric six string ukulele, you’ll want to take a peek at the Kala KA-6E. This is basically the same ukulele as the Kala KA-6, but with a Shadow Ukulele NFX active pickup that lets you play with an amp. The pickup has a volume dial as well as a tone dial.
The top, back, and sides are mahogany, and so is the neck. The bridge and fingerboard are made with walnut in this version. Just like its acoustic cousin, the Kala KA-6E is a tenor ukulele. The setup is similar too. it features a GraphTech NuBone® nut and saddle, and it arrives pre-strung with Aquila Super Nylgut strings. The slotted headstock, cream-colored buttons, and chrome tuners are in keeping with Kala’s signature style, lending an attractive appearance to this beautiful looking, sweet-sounding instrument.
- Great price
- Nice, traditional-looking ukulele
- Sounds good whether plugged in or unplugged
- Sold without a case
The Ohana TK-70-6 six-string ukulele features a solid spruce top that contrasts nicely with the solid mahogany back and sides. The Rosewood bindings are a nice touch, reflecting the same color as the rosewood bridge and fingerboard. This ukulele features a mahogany neck that terminates in an open headstock with geared tuners and contrasting white buttons. The bone nut and saddle are nice upgrades and the satin finish keeps this uke looking natural.
Like other ukuleles with spruce tops, this one has a nice bright sound with mellow undertones that make it a pleasure to play. GHS Tenor 6 strings are pre-installed.
- Solid construction; not laminate
- Premium materials
- Satin finish doesn’t pick up many fingerprints, smudges, etc.
- One report that the instrument was received damaged
Lanikai – MA-6T
The Lanikai MA-6T 6-string ukulele is made with natural mahogany laminate. The chrome open-back tuners are a nice, traditional-looking touch inside the open headstock, and the pre-installed chrome strap buttons are a fantastic “extra.” This ukulele features a beautiful walnut fingerboard and bridge, along with a natural bone nut and saddle. White binding provides some added visual contrast. Premium Aquila strings are preinstalled.
While this might not be the best 6 string ukulele on the market, it does come with a padded gig bag. You also get a “bonus uke” just for fun, maybe to pass on to a child who wants to learn to play!
- Great value
- Nice, sweet sound
- Comes with some great extras
- Laminate doesn’t sound quite as nice as solid wood
Middle-Range 6-String Ukulele: The Kala – KA-ATP6-CTG
The Kala KA-ATP6-CTG six-string ukulele is similar to Kala’s popular tenor KA-ATP-CTG model. Just like it’s four-stringed cousin, this fantastic uke has a solid cedar top that lends plenty of warm brilliance to its tone. It has an acacia wood back and sides, nicely protected by a gloss finish. The mahogany neck feels fantastic in your hands. Meanwhile, the walnut fingerboard and bridge add a touch of contrast, as does the attractive padauk binding. Inside the open headstock, you’ll find six geared Grover tuners with a chrome finish. The GraphTech NuBone® nut and saddle lend to this instrument’s beautiful sustain. In case an 8-string ukulele is on your list, Kala makes an excellent one in the same line with the same finishes and materials.
- Great sound with distinct, complex overtones
- Solid tonewoods
- Excellent materials and fittings
- You might not want to put it down!
High-End 6-String Ukuleles: Incredible Artistry, Amazing Sound
Kanilea K-1 T6 Koa
The 6-string tenor Kanilea K-1 T6 Koa ukulele is handcrafted in Hawaii, by artisans with years of experience at this family-owned company. Beautifully constructed of select koa wood, it is protected by a UV high-gloss finish that brings out the wood’s beauty in striking detail.
Kanilea uses a proprietary TRU bracing system inside its top, and it makes this ukulele with a rounded back so the sound rings out loud, clear, and bright. The neck is reinforced with an internal graphite rod. Made with strong South American mahogany, it’s stronger than necks reinforced with steel plus it offers a warmer tonal response. This ukulele features a NuBone nut and saddle, a rosewood bridge, a rosewood fretboard with Paua Abalone position dots, and custom chrome geared tuning keys from Kanilea. Aquila Corde strings are preinstalled, and a hard shell case with a plush lining is included.
- Exquisite custom instrument
- Exceptional fittings
- Case is included
- You might have to save up!
The Kamaka HF-36 tenor six-string ukulele was designed by none other than Sam Kamaka Jr. This ukulele has been around since 1959 – it was originally created as a unique way to celebrate Hawaii’s statehood while paying homage to Queen Liliuokalani. As expected, this instrument is of the very best quality. Made with solid select Koa wood protected by a semi-gloss finish, it looks as incredible as it sounds. Kamaka strings are preinstalled, and you have the option of asking for a low G instead of a high G at setup.
The Kamaka 6-string ukulele comes with a deluxe wooden Kamaka hard case and a humidifier. The company offers an upgraded humidifier as well as other additions including strap buttons and a pickup so you can play amplified if you prefer. If you’re looking for the best of the best, this ukulele is certain to please!
- Customizable features
- Top quality materials and fittings
- Case and humidifier are included
- Premium pricing – but you do get a gorgeous instrument!
Whether you’re a newer player looking to expand your musical horizons or a seasoned expert in search of a new companion that’s certain to delight your audience, you’ll enjoy everything that six-string ukuleles have to offer! With great options at every price range, it’s easy for anyone to enjoy the full, sweet sound that this unique ukulele style has to offer. Enjoy!