For those just beginning their ukulele journey, you may not know that there’s more than one size of the instrument. After you’ve made the decision to learn to play, the next step is to decide which size ukulele is best for you.
There are four common ukulele types, differentiated by size starting with soprano being the smallest. After soprano, the next largest is concert, then tenor, and the largest being baritone. Most ukulele players opt for the most popular sizes: soprano or concert. Truthfully though, choosing which size ukulele to play shouldn’t be about which is the most common. You should use your creative intuition and factor in your musical tastes to decide. We will try to help you make that decision.
Size: The soprano ukulele is the smallest of the collection. If you have very small hands or are shopping for a young person, keep this factor in mind. When learning, you may find this size more rewarding because you won’t have to strain your fingers to reach the notes.
Sound: If you are looking for a bright and vibrant sound, the soprano ukulele may be right for you. Because the fretboard is smaller, the instrument will sound higher, like a soprano singer in a choir. Also, as higher notes can be heard more easily over others, the soprano uke may assist you in leading a ukulele choir if that is something you’re interested in.
First of all, the soprano and concert ukuleles are very similar. Their tuning is the same, meaning they are both g-C-E-A. Also, both sit on the more vibrant sounding side of the ukulele family table.
Size: The concert uke is about three inches longer than the soprano. It has more frets and therefore a wider range of note playing opportunities.
Sound: Due to the larger size, the concert ukulele has a slightly deeper sound. Think of an alto voice in the choir. It gives a comfortable blend of warm and bright sounds depending on where on the instrument you are playing. If you are looking for a smaller sized ukulele with a less-bright sound than the soprano, the concert ukulele may be the one for you.
The tenor ukulele is tuned the same as the soprano and concert, so, if you already know how to play one of those do not hesitate to give this one a try!
Size: The tenor ukulele is about three inches longer than the concert. If you have larger hands or are more accustomed to the wide spread frets of the guitar, you might want to grab a tenor ukulele. Because there is more space between the frets on the tenor, it is also easier to play individual notes. Players who are intrigued by riffs and scales may opt for a larger ukulele.
Sound: As the tenor is on the larger end of the ukulele family, it’s sound is significantly different from the soprano or concert. It has a warm, soothing sound more akin to the guitar. If you are using the ukulele to accompany your singing voice and find it most comfortable to sing middle or lower range pitches, the tenor ukulele may be your ideal size.
If you are a proficient guitar player, you may be drawn to the baritone ukulele. It has a unique tuning different from the other ukes: D-G-B-E. As a result, this instrument’s chord shapes are more similar to the guitar than other ukuleles. Actually, the baritone ukulele’s strings are tuned the same as the bottom four strings on the guitar. If you plan on learning to play other types of ukuleles the baritone may not be the one to begin with, as the tuning and chord shapes are different.
Size: The baritone ukulele is the largest of the ukulele family. If you have very large hands or are switching from guitar to uke, this instrument is the one for you as it will feel the most natural and comfortable.
Sound: While the tenor ukulele is “warm and soothing” the baritone may be described as deep and full. If you are looking to complete the sound of your ukulele ensemble, the baritone would be sure to do it. It is a unique and beautiful instrument.
We hope this information helps you in your search for the right size ukulele!