There are four primary sizes of ukulele, starting with soprano and increasing in size to the concert, tenor, and baritone. The soprano ukulele is the smallest of the ukulele family, but, arguably the most popular.
When ukuleles are played and portrayed in our culture, it is generally the soprano that holds the spotlight. You may see this little instrument on a beach, in the sun, while hearing the sound of relaxing waves and laughter of friends. Interestingly enough, ukuleles did not originate from Hawaii, as we tend to generalize. Ukuleles were brought to Hawaii from Portugal in the late 19th century. Of the ukuleles brought during that time, the soprano most closely resembles the original instruments. To this day, the soprano uke continues to be the standard size ukulele manufacturers resort to.
A Great Place to Start
Arguably the most popular ukulele, the soprano is a great instrument to start out with if you or a child are learning to play. The small size of the fretboard is great for little fingers or those new to playing. Because the neck is smaller, it doesn’t require as much stretching of the fingers to successfully form chords.
A Happy Sound
Perhaps one of the most distinguishable factors separating the soprano ukulele from its larger counterparts is it’s bright sound. The larger the body of a uke, the warmer and softer the sound it will be. As the soprano has the smallest body, there is less space for the sound to absorb and change within the instrument before it exits the sound hole and enters our ears. If you close your eyes and envision the stereotypical tropical island ukulele sound (don’t forget the relaxing waves) it is probably the bright and cheery melodies of the soprano ukulele entering your memory.
We know the soprano ukulele is the smallest of the four primary sizes, but let’s get into more specifics. The soprano is about 20 inches long. This is three inches shorter than the next size up, the concert ukulele. While three inches doesn’t seem like a lot, it is significant when you’re thinking about scale length. The longer a ukulele’s scale length, the more notes there are on the fretboard. For a player who focuses on individual notes and riffs, the fewer notes on the soprano may impact their playing more. Yet, for the majority of players, the soprano is a lovely small size great for strumming chords and learning.
Soprano vs. Pineapple
Similar in size to the soprano is the pineapple ukulele. While a pineapple ukulele has a round body, the soprano’s body’s sides are pushed in, resulting in a look similar to a guitar body. As a result, the soprano ukulele has a different sound than the pineapple. It is brighter, while the pineapple can be described as full and warm-sounding. Otherwise, they are essentially the same instrument.
Interested in Owning Your Own?
Uku Global offers several options for purchasing a soprano ukulele. We are proud of the fact that these instruments are made with sustainability in mind. All wood used is acquired from sustainable sources. We hope you are as inspired as we are by the instrument’s quality, sound, and artistic designs.
Check out our website to see which instruments appeal to you! Is it the flowery Hibiscus Ukulele design that draws your eye, or the calming waves on our Wanderer Uke? https://ukuglobal.com/product-category/ukuleles/soprano-ukuleles/
Thanks for taking the time to learn about the soprano ukulele!