A Ukulele is a fun instrument that produces lovely and enlivening notes the relaxes you. These are available in different colours, sizes, types and brands.
Finding a perfect ukulele as per your requirement is a bit difficult task. To help you decide the right choice, here we are providing a guide. This will explain different sizes of ukulele, including its sound and how they are tuned. Go through this guide to know which size suits perfectly for you to play the ukulele.
Types of Ukulele:
Ukulele comes in different sizes and shapes, which makes beginners hard to pick out the right size for them. There are 4 main types of the ukulele – soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone ukulele.
Other than these four types, the ukulele is also available in various sizes like the smallest pineapple ukulele, super soprano (comes between soprano & concert), bass (superior to baritone) and Guitalele (tiny guitar). But the above four types are the most popular sizes which we will come across.
Different Sizes of Ukulele:
One may find the difference in the size of these ukuleles.
- Baritone: Size – 76cm long / 30 inches & Number of Frets – 18 to 21
- Tenor: Size – 66cm long / 26 inches & Number of Frets – 16
- Concert: Size – 58cm long / 22 to 23 inches & Number of Frets – 15 to 20
- Soprano: Length – 53cm long / 20 or 21 inches & Number of Frets – 12 to 15
Let’s know about them in detail.
1. Baritone Ukulele:
It is the largest ukulele with around 10 cm longer than tenor. It offers frets wider and has wide space and its strings are tuned to D/G/B/E and its size, it resembles and makes you feel like playing a classical guitar. It provides resonant, deep and full sound with bass. It is perfect for professionals and all levels of players, especially for those with large hands and fingers. Its average size is 76 cm long.
2. Tenor Ukulele:
Tenor ukulele provides a louder and more resonant sound, which resembles a classical acoustic guitar. With its large scale, little wider neck, and versatile sound, this ukulele makes it more appealing to players who finger-pick to play chords easily. It suits perfectly for both beginners and professional players.
Its average size is 66cm long and its strings are tuned to G/C/A/E. It is even more comfortable for those with larger hands and fingers when compared with concert size. Its larger size provides a deeper, fuller sound with a resonant (bass-y tone) and projects better and bit louder volume than a concert.
Note – Tenor XL is a new version of tenor, which has been gaining its popularity over the last few years. It is larger and more comfortable than tenor and provides a deeper and warmer sound with more resonance.
3. Concert Ukulele:
A concert ukulele comes next to a soprano in terms of size and projection of sound. It comes in the middle of tenor and soprano sizes, which means, one can benefit from those tenor and soprano types. It provides bright and soft tones as a soprano along with little more depth akin to that of tenor. It has slightly longerscale and a bit wider neck that allows for extra frets and has extra spacing between them. This is perfect for adults, especially for those who have larger fingers.
The concert ukulele with its deeper body projectssound and thus makes louder volume. The average size of this ukulele is 58cm long and this concert has a tuning of G/C/E/A.
4. Soprano Ukulele:
Whenever you think of ukulele, this soprano is the most common type that appears in your mind. It is the smallest and lightest uke size. With its shallower body, tighter fret spacing, and shorter scale, this ukulele produces a traditional plinky(or classic uke) sound with bright and soft tone but has less chance to resonate. It is a perfect option for beginners with smaller hands or fingers.
Its average size is 21 inches or 53cm long and has a standard tuning of G/C/E/A. One can see the variation in pineapple shape soprano size, in which its waist is eliminated to increase the surface area of the soundboard for a full sound.
Check out our Buying Guide for Ukulele to get more information on how to purchase the right Ukulele.
Tuning & Playing:
The tenor, concert and soprano ukuleles will tune in the same way – G/C/E/A, which is termed as standard tuning. This means that if you learn to play on soprano ukulele, you will be able to play a tenor or concert.
Whereas, the baritone ukulele has different tuning – D/G/B/E, which resembles a guitar. It has a musical relationship with other sizes. We usually recommend beginners to stick with any of the three sizes (soprano, concert or tenor size) and avoid using baritone.
The tone of an acoustic instrument with a bigger body will have more brass, volume and overall resonance. So, tenor and concert ukuleles will tend to produce full sound than a soprano ukulele.
Most people prefer to have a warmer, fuller tone of the larger sizes and feel their fuller voice, whereas some people will love the traditional sound of soprano uke and enjoy bright, tinkly tone. It all depends on their personal preference.
Best Ukulele for Beginners:
The soprano is the best choice for beginners to learn how to play those classic plinky sound with a ukulele. Try concert or tenor ukulele if you have larger fingers, as they utilize the ukulele tuning but your hands’ size will determine which one suits best for you. Most of the experts suggest to choose a soprano ukulele initially and then try out other sizes/types of a ukulele.
Have a look at some of the reviews of Best Ukuleles in India for Beginners & Professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Turn the tuners of the ukuleles, which is present on the headstock of the instrument. This will either tighten or loosen the strings, as per your requirement. Also, one has to unwind the tuner slightly before tuning it to get the right note. This will prevent the strings breakage and let you tune a ukulele properly.
If you’re a beginner then it is quite essential to understand how to hold a ukulele before learning to play it. One has to hold it against their chest while cradling the body with their right arm at 90°. Readjust the position to make yourself comfortable. Strum the strings with your thumb or index finger by keeping the wrist straight with fingers cupping the bottom.
To determine the right size of a ukulele, you have to check whether the arm of playing hand will rest comfortably on the side of your uke or not. Also, it is essential to check the hand fingers won’t get stuck in between the strings while playing the uke. In case, if you feel comfortable then that uke is the perfect sized one for you to play.
Hope you got an idea on selecting the correct size ukulele. One can easily find ukuleles for beginners, intermediates and professional players in the market. Still having any queries, don’t hesitate to ask us.
Which size you’re planning to get? What else do you look for in a ukulele? Let us know in the below comments section.