Oscar Schmidt Ukulele

4.3/5 (83)

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Oscar Schmidt are an offshoot of the Washburn guitar company. They started out as the ‘folk instrument’ wing of Washburn and seem to focus on Autoharps more than ukuleles. Oscar Schmidt ukes tend to be at the cheaper end of the price scale but have a good reputation for quality.

I have an Ashbury Concert Koa uke which is exactly the same as the Oscar Schmidt Concert OU5 (it’s simply branded differently for sale in the UK). If that’s the case, then I can highly recommend it. When I say ‘koa’ it is, of course, laminated rather than solid (meaning there’s a thin layer of koa wood on top of cheaper wood underneath). Having said that, it still makes a good sound and is the easiest to play of all my ukuleles. The action is low and the intonation is very good. I’ve recommended it to a few people as a great first uke.

Oscar Schmidt ukuleles got a bit of TV exposure and a big boost in popularity thanks to Jason Castro using an Oscar Schmidt OU5 for his performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow on American Idol.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here’s the World’s richest man, Warren Buffett, playing an Oscar Schmidt.

On Video

Elliott Brood give their Oscar Schmidt ukuleles a good bashing on The Valley Town.

On eBay

On Musician’s Friend

OU2 Concert Ukulele: $69
OU13 Soprano Ukulele: $99
OU3 Concert Ukulele: $109.90
OU2E Soprano Electric Ukulele: $109.90
OU5 Concert Koa Ukulele: $149
OU53S Baritone Ukulele: $179

Oscar Schmidt OU-2 Ukulele Review

I own an Oscar Schmidt OU-2. She’s a sweet little honey colored concert Uke named ‘Plinky’. It’s the perfect Uke for me. I recommend this model for any first timer (like myself) who has larger hands. I have been playing for only five months and already can’t get her out of my head, hands and heart. The tone and action is rich.

I love the geared tuners. They helped me win my first battle with tuning the Uke (I had a Soprano which would fall out of tune constantly which had friction tuners. I was happy to learn that it wasn’t my ear after all).
This Uke has enriched my life. I watch musicians much differently now.

Review by Michael


  1. Evan May 4th, 2010 4:38 am

    i have an acoustic/electric OU-2 Oscar Schmidt, and i have had many ukuleles before it and this one seems to walk around with me alot more then my others. Its quite loud and perfect for playing outside on a sunny day or playing to a big crowd or whoever. It is very well built and just damn fun to play.

  2. JerHsu July 16th, 2010 10:05 am

    I have an Oscar Schmidt OU17. Its made of mango wood and looks just really beautiful. The wood is just stunning! However, the sound coming from this thing is, sadly, not that great. I’d say its great for beginners but if you’re a seasoned player, you may want to look for the higher end models. The headstock is also quite considerably heavier than the main body of the uke.

  3. Spangy August 24th, 2010 5:01 am

    i have OU-7 .It very easy to play.Sound is very cool.body made from mango wood.it very nice.i love its.

  4. Rev. Marc Fuller September 27th, 2010 12:30 am

    I have an Oscar Schmidt OU-53 which I bought because it is easier on my fingers than my former Taylor guitar. I love the action on this instrument. I wish it had more projection (a pick up solved this problem) with out amplification. I also play a custom built Applause ukulele which was formerly a small travel guitar. It has a custom nut and bridge and a great bass sound. I am planning to install a Roland midi synthesizer on this cut away beauty. Pastor Marc

  5. Steve Summers December 7th, 2010 5:59 pm

    I also picked up one of these up at my local shop not too long ago and after having a few other lesser quality ukes before, this was quite a step up from what I was used to and very much changed the way I viewed uke playing. I also have very large hands and all my previous ukes were very uncomfortable for me, but this seems to fit just right. The sound is great, it looks great, and everything stays in tune perfect even when not played for weeks or months. Very much recommended and within most people’s price range.

  6. Tor December 13th, 2010 3:03 pm

    The Oscar Schmidt ukuleles aren’t easily available in Europe, so if Ashbury ukuleles are really the same ones just re-branded, could someone write up a mapping of Oscar Schmidt to Ashbury model numbering, please? Thanks in advance! πŸ™‚

  7. Loreli Lynn December 28th, 2010 7:57 pm

    I have an Oscar Schmidt Soprano and I LOVE it. Really surprised by how much I love the sound compared to other ukes I played. It is a gorgeous instrument made of Rosewood and spruce and stays in tune really well. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone that hasn’t played any string instruments before, the small frets can be a challenged sometimes, but if you are familiar with ukes or even guitar, I would highly recommend it.

  8. Kris January 11th, 2011 12:59 am

    I own an Ashbury Tenor Curly-Koa top, which is the British equivalent of an Oscar Schmidt – I spent a good few hours driving around and trying out 15 different Ukuleles and the sound on this one was unbeatable for the price (159 GBP). Stocked with Aquilas out of the box, the added length takes a little while to get used to if you`re making the leap from a soprano, but being a former bass player helped out with the fret spacing. It also helps that the instrument looks BEAUTIFUL!! I absolutely love it, and its made my Lanikai-friends jealous. Couldn`t recommend it enough.

  9. Susie Q January 17th, 2011 8:24 am

    I purchased a OU-26 Concert ukulele last October after playing the one that a friend of mine had. I immediately fell in love with the sound of it. My OU-26 Concert is made out of mahogany with nice satin finish and it’s easy to tune. For under $100, this is good and inexpensive ukulele to have.

  10. Samantha January 19th, 2011 2:39 am

    I have the OU2E, and I loved this ukulele. I was very happy with the quality and sound. However, I’ve had it for over a year and for some reason it has terrible fret buzz now. I tried changing the strings, but it did nothing. I don’t even like to play it anymore. Hopefully I’ll somehow be able to fix this problem, and then it will be the perfect ukulele.

  11. b8apple March 7th, 2011 4:57 pm

    I just bought the OU2 last week on Amazon for $56. I love it, it’s beautiful. It came with some decent strings, but I replaced them with Aquilas and it sounds really bright and sweet.

  12. CC March 29th, 2011 6:41 pm

    I am leading a band with bari uke and looking for solutions to the amplification problem. I was thinking of getting the OU55CE (Koa baritone with EQ, $279 on eBay) which says it’s “designed for a live setting.” I love the cutaway design and inlay, but has anyone played it? I’m trying to decide if I should get it for live shows or just have a pickup installed in my vintage Giannini, which I already know I love.

  13. Gaby August 6th, 2011 10:25 pm

    I have an Oscar Schmidt OU2PAK model, it’s the “starter kit” on that comes with a gig bag and DVD. It’s a concert size mahogany uke and comes with GHS strings.
    I learned to play on this uke (which I got for under 100 dollars) and I would highly recommend it to any beginner. In my opinion it’s great quality for the price. The only problem I can find with it is that the resonance is not as great as it is on more expensive ukes, but for the price that’s to be expected.
    This uke looks great and people who don’t know the instrument will not notice that you bought an entry-level model. It’s even got abalone inlay (although I think it’s synthetic), which is a great touch.
    I’ve found that even after I have not played in weeks this uke still stays in tune and I don’t have to tune it often.
    A good bye at a good price for any beginner, in my book!

  14. Gaby August 6th, 2011 10:26 pm

    *a good buy. oops!

  15. PeterUK September 23rd, 2011 6:38 pm

    Re the Ashbury/Oscar mapping – Some Ashbury and some Oscar Schmidt may well be almost the same in the UK, but not identical. If you look at the Ashbury AU-60 and the Oscar OU2-T they are obviously equivalent but the bridge shapes are very different and the 3-ply is Oak on the Ashbury, and Mahogany on the Oscar. Same plastic surround on the identical fretboard, same sound hole decoration, same price in the UK (80 UKPounds), probably same Indonesian workshop. I like The OU2-T for the money, once restringed with Aquilas of course. Stars are for the OU2-T

  16. steve September 27th, 2011 1:39 pm

    upon first inspection I thought that my OU-13 seemed heavy, I think theirs too much reinforcement inside the uke, then I noticed the action was too high so the intonation had to be off also, then I noticed the tuners were not fit tightly, the sheer joy I get out of playing made me ignore the pain in my hand and fingers trying to get sustain and a little more projetion out of the dull tone it emitted, the strings seemed stiff and thick to strum…but it looks really cool

  17. John December 22nd, 2011 1:19 am

    I bought a OU55CE Koa baritone with EQ a few months ago. I have been very pleased. It has the best cutaway on the market. I bought mine through a local dealer and had it set up with Aquilas. It will not sound like a solid body uke but it sounds nice unplugged and sounds very good through my little Peavy Solo PA.
    The eclectronics are great and it has a very sturdy end pin. It also looks way cool.

  18. Alex January 8th, 2012 10:04 pm

    I have a Oscar Schmidt OU2E and it sounds incredible. It has a really full sound and it’s loud enough for any application. The ukulele is mahogany and it has a really well put together and finished look, it’s surprisingly well built for being under $100 and acoustic electric. Another reviewer said theirs developed an annoying fret buzz, and I had that problem when I first got mine, but I unscrewed the 1/4 jack at the bottom and turned it 180 degrees so the wire wasn’t touching the wood on the front of the instrument and the buzz stopped completely. It’s because there’s a tie that holds the wires secure inside the instrument but there’s a length of wire that still touches the wood and it causes that sound. Other than that though this ukulele is really incredible! It’s been a lot of fun, I borrowed a friend’s awhile ago (the same model) and decided to get one. The pickup is really great, I can plug into my computer and record or an amp and get some distortion, and if you’re looking for an acoustic electric ukulele this one’s really hard to beat!

  19. senne January 9th, 2012 8:08 pm

    My first ukulele was a €25 korala, but recently i bought an Oscar Schmidt OU3 (€119). It’s a huge different!
    The intonation is pretty good and it stays in tune.
    I haven’t changed the strings yet, i wonder if it will be even better with Worths or aquila’s, but i can’t find them in Belgium. I’m not a big fan of the white/yellow color, but after testing some ukulele’s in the store, this one sounded best.
    My best buy of 2011.

  20. AL April 1st, 2012 6:17 pm

    I own two Oscar Schmidt ukulele’s. One OU6 and also the OU6LCE both are Tenor ukulele’s. The quality for the money is amazing, tone is good and they look great. I just ordered the Baritone OS model OU53, I’ve been playing guitar for over 40 years and have spent tons of money on Gibson, Guild, G&L and Heritage guitars (which all sound great) but if your looking for a great deal that you’ll be happy with in a uke for very little money. Go with any of the Oscar Schmidt models that fit your budget. Play On AL : )

  21. Ken Colwill May 18th, 2012 1:10 pm

    I am considering buying the Oscar Schmidt OU2P Concert Pineapple uke. I can’t find a sound test on it anywhere on the net. Has anyone played one of these? Please let me know what you think about it if you have. Thanks.

  22. Nick June 21st, 2012 3:40 pm

    I own an Oscar Schmidt OU2E and I must say it’s amazing for it’s price!
    It’s my first ukulele ever and I’m very pleased with it, the pickup and the equalizer are awesome, you really can play with the sound if you have also equalizer on your amp, you will be amazed what sounds you can get with your uke! =)

  23. Gil August 7th, 2012 6:35 am

    Concerning the Oscar Schmidt OU2P Concert Pineapple uke. I bought one about a year ago. I had my local music shop order it for me. It came with black nylon GHS strings. Tough on the fingers and a “tinny tone” to them. So I replaced them with a set of Aquila Nylgut concert ukulele strings (AQUILA 7U CONCERT w/High G – $4.85 – http://elderly.com/accessories/items/ANCR.htm) and also now use the new Nylgut Low G (AQUILA 71U SINGLE STRING – RED SERIES, CONCERT – $1.25

    The uke now has great tone and playability. The string spread at the saddle is about 3/8″ wider than most ukes, so solo finger playing is easier. The strings stretch like crazy for the first week or so, but once they settle in the tuning is stable. The action on the one I got was just right. From the frets to the bottom of strings it is 2/32″ at the 5th fret and 3/32″ at the 12th fret. The scale length is 15″ (7.5″ from nut to 12th fret). For the money, between $70 – $90, I think you’ll be happy with this acoustic uke.

  24. Josh September 21st, 2012 4:40 pm

    My shop sells Oscar Schmidt ukuleles. The mahogany ones are too stiff for me, and sound the same way.
    However, I’m really enjoying the Spruce sopranos and concerts (OU3 and OU13). They play very smoothly, have a soft texture, and a warm sound.
    My only complaint is that tuning them can be obnoxious. The tuners don’t react immediately: for the first few twists, they do nothing, and then suddenly jump up 40 cents.

  25. Johnny November 10th, 2012 5:40 pm

    Is oscar schmidt 0u2 good?

  26. Sue November 24th, 2012 3:34 pm

    I ordered an Oscar Schmidt 8 /string tenor and was shipped a 6 string by mistake. I decided to try it and have decided to keep it. It has a unique sound and once you get used to tuning the two double strings it has a wonderful sound. I sanded the edges of the nut to roux pond thence a bit. It was hurting my fingers . Just took a small nail file and fixed that problem. Good sounding instrument for $99 on Amazon.

  27. Alberto December 12th, 2012 3:28 am

    Im to get for firts time a ukulele , i ‘ve been surfing into the web and i get. With. Diferent. Brands that i could get, like. Ohana , kala , fender i m looking for a uke with the best. Relation. Cost-quality . And oscar schmith have atract me with the. Price and its look , Special. O13 Would you recomend it ?

  28. Daniel December 31st, 2012 6:20 am

    I just stumbled on this chat space… last summer I got an Oscar OU-6 Tenor. It looks great and has a very pleasing sound, stays in tune and is easy to play. I’m just learning and have had a hard time with the soprano I originally got. The bigger finger space on the tenor makes it easier for me to learn to play the chords. I am very happy with the tenor.

  29. Michael January 10th, 2013 7:31 pm

    Does anyone have experience with the Oscar Schmidt extra wide neck tenor? I have baseball bats for fingers and am also a lefty so am looking at this instrument and would like feedback before purchasing. Thank michael

  30. Johnny Uke January 19th, 2013 3:36 pm

    I have an OU55CE baritone uke and I play professionally. It feels and plays great, I also use Worth strings which I found to be easy on the fingers and super sound. I would highly recommend Oscar Schmidt products to anyone and I would put it up against any other ukes under $500.

  31. Jimi January 20th, 2013 2:23 am

    I have a Oscar Schmidt wide necked tenor, and find it very easy to play (have large fingers) great sound very well made, but be prepared for everyone wanting to have a go, well worth the price.

  32. Telecaster fan April 14th, 2013 2:28 pm

    I bought a OU225SWK Solid Mahogany concert and had a Mi-si pick-up installed. It’s a wonderful sounding instrument with a very warm tone. I play this uke out with my jazz trio all the time and really like it a lot. For $400 it’s a decent instrument. I had it set up with a low G string. I am thinking of buying a OU240SWK which is a tenor with a satin finish while I am waiting for my Mya- Moe resonator tenor to be completed.

  33. Crystal Lee August 2nd, 2013 8:38 pm

    I just got a gift –OU5. Is it a concert uke? I’m a beginner learner from Singapore.
    Are all OU5 concert ukes? It feels kind of big and heavy. It’s curly koa but I don’t understand what
    it means.It sounds very rich. Please enlighten me. Thank you.

  34. Gavin August 16th, 2013 1:10 am

    Picked up a OU-2 for Β£49.99 UK and it was worth every penny and more, the very best in the budget by a mile.

    Very happy with the sound quality.

  35. Cass March 9th, 2014 4:51 pm

    I’ve got an OU2P pineapple concert Uke. It was in the budget at $110 at the time and I’m happy to have it, it sounds awesome. πŸ™‚

  36. Bas C March 19th, 2014 4:45 pm

    I own an OU5 LCE which I bought after I was attracted to its extra long neck and frets n cutaway body, for note play. I had joined a Uke Ensemble reading TAB and wanted a uke for a clean – note sound. This Uke was great and even better when I changed the strings for Worth Carbon – fibre (Amazon)as recommended by Brittni Paiva. Brilliant. Use a Kala Tenor Low G for chord play and Jazz.

  37. Lenny March 21st, 2014 8:10 am

    I’ve just purchased an OU6 LCE, shipped to Australia no probe and love the instrument! Although I too found it had a buzz. I tried the fix Alex suggested above (turn the 1/4 jack around) and problem solved! Thanks Alex, now strumming away with great delight πŸ™‚

  38. cesar caceres June 21st, 2014 4:23 am

    hola soy de argentina y nuevo en uke, compre un uke OU7E, quisiera saber sus opiniones si fue una buena compra?

  39. John July 13th, 2014 6:53 pm

    I purchased the Oscar Schmidt OU 7T spalted mango tenor uke in October, 2013. It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship with great tuners and came with Aquila strings. It stays in tune for prolonged periods. It has a wonderfully bright, mellow sound. The projection sustain are good though slightly less than solid ukes I’ve played.It’s a laminate. I recommend this uke;you won’t be disappointed.

  40. Joel August 25th, 2015 6:22 pm

    I have several Oscar Schmidts, including a concert U-5, a tenor OU-4, and an acoustic electric tenor made of spalted maple (I forget the model #). Their sound improves 100% with Worth clear strings. They overcome their generally quiet nature and provide a brightness that seems just right to me, without seeming harsh.

  41. Ian Denchasy March 15th, 2016 5:11 pm

    I bought an OU-7TLH, which is their spalted maple tenor ukulele adjusted for left-handed players (they reverse the strings, bridge, and nut). It is not only gorgeous to look at, but plays with a sound way above my playing level. I’m what’s considered an advanced beginner and am quite satisfied this one will take me many years down the road. I managed to find it on eBay for less than 200 bucks, so my wallet is happy, also!

  42. karl September 21st, 2016 8:58 am

    Oscar Schmidt actually started out in Jersey City, NJ, far away from Chicago-based Lyon&Healy (which is the company that spawned the Washburn brand).

    The Washburn brand was sold of in 1964 and ended up in the hands of JAM industries, currently renamed U.S. Music Corporation, still in a Chicago suburb. BTW, the old Lyon and Healy company still continues to make concert harps in downtown Chicago.

    But there is a link between the two. OS folded in 1939, and its brands (not the facilities or the stock inventory) were bought by Chicago-based Harmony (which didn’t do much with them). When Harmony folded in 1975, the Oscar Schmidt brand went through the hands of Ovation and ended up with JAM around 2000, who used it for their first ukulele line.

  43. Joe V. December 16th, 2016 2:23 am

    I have had an OU4 (Tenor) for the past year and a half. I find it to be an excellent instrument. The fit and finish are well done and the strings that came on it were Aquilla. My only concern has been that the action is quite high and the strings seem to require more strength to push down making baring a little more difficult. All in all awesome little instrument.

  44. Nancy June 19th, 2021 4:47 am

    Is the OU9 Concert Bocote ukulele a good instrument. They have been discontinued by the company but are selling at a good price now

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