If you have been paying attention lately, you will be able to tell that there are various types and sizes of ukulele on the market, and it can be overwhelming to find out which ukulele will be ideal for you to play whether you want to play for a profession or for entertainment. This post focuses more on tenor vs soprano ukulele, but we will also be telling you all you need to know about the different types of ukulele present today.
Knowing what size and model that will be ideal for you is a choice that no one can make easily especially for beginners, The truth is the market is filled with different shapes and sizes of ukuleles on the market, but the most common sizes that you will find on the market are the tenor, baritone, concert, and soprano ukulele. There are manufacturers that have ended up making other shapes and sizes of ukulele, and these new models are;
- Pineapple shape ukulele
- Banjo ukulele
- Bass ukulele
- Sopranissimo ukulele
The size of an ukulele isn’t designed to match a player’s physical size, but this type of design can be found in guitar and violin sizes. The size of an ukulele on the other hand is designed in terms of application and tone, and trust me when i say you will be surprised that the concert, tenor, soprano, and baritone ukulele are all designed to be tuned the exact same way. However, you should not forget that their different names implies they have different sizes.
The soprano ukulele is designed to produce a plinky tone, while the tenor ukulele is designed to produce fuller, deeper, and louder tones. The tenor ukulele is capable of producing these sounds as it comprises of long strings and a larger body, but the tuning of the tenor ukulele ensures it shares same octave and pitches like the soprano ukulele. On the other, the concert ukulele is designed to share same tonal character like the tenor and soprano ukulele.
Ukulele For Guitar Players
The largest size ukulele is the baritone ukulele, and this is the only ukulele that is designed to have a different pattern of tuning. The baritone ukulele is considered as a different type of ukulele from the rest since it boasts of having top four string tuning like that of a standard six string guitar, and starting with a baritone ukulele when learning to play the ukulele musical instrument is something professionals will recommend for beginners.
The baritone ukulele is recommended for beginners as it is easier to learn with, and they are shaped to have fewer amount of strings. Now that you are aware of how similar the baritone ukulele is to a standard guitar, let us compared the other ukulele types for more insight. The tenor, concert, and soprano ukulele are generally tuned 5 or 4 half steps higher compared to the baritone ukulele.
The tuning of the concert, tenor, and soprano ukulele is what we refer to as linear tuning, and it is called linear tuning since its strings are orderly arranged from low to high pitch sounds.
Tenor Vs Soprano Ukulele
This is considered as the ukulele with the standard size based on the traditional sizing of an ukulele, and its designed was obtained from similar instruments that the portuguese immigrants brought along to hawaii. Soprano is considered as the most popular ukulele size, and this is because it is portable and less expensive. Most soprano ukuleles are designed to have about twelve frets, while being under 2-octave range.
Concert And Tenor Ukulele
Large sized concert and tenor ukulele were designed to compete with big band instruments back in the days, and this was about the same time banjo ukuleles were produced. The banjo ukuleles are designed to be louder compared to the concert and tenor ukulele, and they all come with the same ukulele tuning. Producing fuller sounds and more volumes is what the concert and tenor ukuleles are designed to achieve.
When playing the tenor ukulele, you will find out that they sound more like a standard guitar, and you will also realize that they both possess the same kind of tuning. Concert ukuleles are known to produce a tones somewhere in between, but the difference between both instruments is stage performers prefer the tenor to the concert ukulele because of the full dynamic range it delivers.
Tenor ukulele is preferred to concert ukulele for stage performers as tenor ukuleles have high number of playable notes and space between frets.
Choosing The Right Ukulele Size
It is okay to start playing with ukulele size but the most popular choice remains the soprano ukulele. The soprano ukulele is known to have a small size and affordable cost, and its small size makes it very easy to store. The soprano is also a good choice for beginners to learn with as it comes with basic chord positions, but you should know that whatever ukulele you go for depends on your preference and choice.
There is nothing like a wrong choice when it comes to selecting an ukulele, but you should consider the following criteria when selecting an ukulele based on size.
Looks – An ukulele that appeals to your eyes and sense when you come in contact with it is one of the factors you need to pay attention to, and you have to be sure the ukulele you are shopping for will inspire you to play and keep playing.
Tones – Ukuleles are known to produce various sounds and volumes, and playing, reviewing, listening to samples is what you should do if you want to purchase something that will work for you. Ukulele with Aquila Nygut strings should be selected as they are the best for intermediate and entry level ukulele players.
Budget – Tenor and concert ukuleles that are designed to have large sizes will have a higher price tag compared to the soprano ukulele, and the reason for this is that the expensive ukuleles require the use of extra raw materials for construction. However, create a budget and ensure you get a good ukulele that will match your budget.
Summary – Tenor Vs Soprano Ukulele
So many people will opt for the soprano ukulele because of its size and price tag, but if you are considering going for something large and able to produce full sounds then you should consider going for the tenor ukulele. We encourage you to pay close attention to the factors we have discussed briefly so you don’t make a wrong choice when you shop for an ukulele today.
My name is Johnson Lewis and I am a music coach, producer and Blogger. I enjoy writing about music, instruments, music equipments and I love helping people become better singers.