As exciting as you might be the first day you decide to buy a ukulele, at some point you will realize that you have no idea where to start. Eventually, you will go through dozens of websites that list the best of the best (also the most expensive or bargain) ukuleles on the market. I don’t know about you but when I first decided to get my first uke I did not have a lot of money. So while browsing through pro-level instruments is nice for future reference, it might be a good idea to focus on entry-level ukuleles that are also not expensive. On that note, let’s talk a bit about one of the more affordable and good qualities acoustic-electrics ukulele – Caramel CT500 Rosewood Tenor Acoustic Electric Ukulele.
Okay, first of all, I need to get this out of my way: this is a gorgeous looking instrument. I mean, just look at the dark rosewood body with a cool and quirky looking rosette! Rosewood is a very commonly used material for ukuleles. It is great for producing a bright tone. Not only that, if it is a good quality rosewood, the uke will last you a while and only get better with time (if you take good care of it, of course). The neck with a rosewood fretboard is smooth with no sharp frets which make gliding your fingers across it very easy and comfortable. Overall, this uke, while being in a very affordable price range still looks like something out of a $100 and over category.
The CT500 is equipped with rosewood bridge, buffalo bone nut, and saddle. The buffalo bone is an okay material and while it might not take the sound from meh to bombastic, it is still decent and durable. This model also has a truss rod for neck adjustment which is a big plus and the Aquila strings that come with this model are not that amazing. While you can get away with using it for a while I have realized that switching it up might actually make the sound and pitch be twice as good.
Tenor ukuleles are pretty big in size (well, among the ukulele sizes). It comes between concert and baritone and in a way provides the best of the two sizes. While it is not too heavy like a concert, it still has a big sound that is comparable to the sound of the baritone. Overall, the CT500 really proves that the looks are not the biggest deal about this instrument. The sound is. The tone is very well balanced, with full sound and nice resonance. While it takes times for the break-in period (during which I would suggest changing the strings), you will finally end up with a consistent sound.
As a beginner, you are probably confused about what you need in an acoustic-electric guitar (if you have never had any experience with it before). To be honest, you should try to find something that has all the basic controls and is intuitive in use. The CT500 has 3 Band EQ with bass, middle, and treble controls. You also get a chromatic tuner with LDF color display that allows for reading the info much easier for beginners. The low battery indicator also makes your job a lot easier. Overall, this is not a pro-level system by any means but for a beginner, it will do an amazing job of introducing you to the intricate world of acoustic-electric guitars without any extra frustrations.
While ukuleles are probably some of the cheapest instruments thinking that you can get away with spending only about $30-40 ukuleles and expect a pro-level instrument is a little bit unrealistic. So if you are aiming at something on a more affordable size without having a sky-high expectation but still want a ukulele that has a nice design and good enough sound maybe the CT500 is the one for you.