When we’re discussing things ukulele, there’s nothing worse than being caught off guard when someone refers to something like the nut or fret on a ukulele, and you have no idea what they mean. So to clarify any confusion, and to get all of us on the same page, let’s look at the different parts of a ukulele.
Whenever you pluck a string on the ukulele, the string vibrates the saddle, which is the white piece of plastic or bone that is supported by the bridge on the top of the ukulele. The energy that comes from plucking the string transfers from the saddle and bridge to vibrate the top of the ukulele. The body of the ukulele acts as a chamber which resonates the sound and then projects it out of the soundhole.
The neck of the ukulele is attached to the body. The top side of the neck is considered the fretboard. The frets are the vertical pieces of metal that lay across the fretboard.
At the top of the fretboard, the strings rest in the grooves of the nut, which then attach themselves in the tuners on the headstock.
The picture above shows a ukulele tuner detached from the headstock.
It’s quite amazing how all these parts work together to produce a beautiful sound. Different types of woods, tuners, nuts, saddles, and craftsmanship and will have a tremendous impact of the overall sound of the instrument. That’s why it’s important to make the investment in a well-made instrument.
Let’s hear from our readers. What type of ukulele do you have? What do you look for when considering the craftsmanship of a ukulele?
Hi, just wanted to thank you for sharing the tuning of a ukulele. I live in a rural area and there isn’t even some one here that I can take lessons from. Need to start somewhere, so thank a lot.
Renee, you are very welcome! Thanks for your comment.
i have a silvertone piece junk. will be buying a new uke
that has a better tone.
Do you happen to know if the thick part of the neck that meets the body has a name? – the shoulder perhaps? or is it just all the neck?
That’s a great question. There may be a technical name, but I just see it all as the neck.
I believe it’s called the heel.
I just purchased a 6 string Ukelele very very reasonable. Steel strings. 9″ fretboard, 13 frets. Looking at different sites, a 9″ fretboard means it is a Soprano (I Hope). However the nut has been replaced by a wider nut which extends on either side of the neck. However there isn`t a maker mark or paper inside at all. Cannot put a name to this one. If there is a way to identify it from how it is made, please let me know. Nice site for identifying parts. Happy New Year.
Hi Brett, I´m writing from Chile. I bought a ukulele a couple of mons ago. It´s a soprano ukulele. I have played and I love this instrument. Now I have to buy a tenor ukulele, but yesterday saw one of that with one metal string, so I would like to know:
1.- The tipical ukulele have nylon o stell string?
2.- Is a normal situation, find ukulele tenor with one stell string (4th).
Thanks a lot.
Hi Alejandro, 1.) yep, typically ukulele’s have nylon strings; 2.) some tenor ukuleles are tuned to low G tuning and have a steel string as the 4th string to add extra tension on the low string. For more on low G tuning, see here: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/tuning-your-ukulele-to-low-g/
How do you tune Ukuleles without breaking the strings?
Hi Caitlyn, is it possible that you are tuning the strings too tightly? It’s important to tune the appropriate ukulele strings for the tuning you wish to use on your ukulele. For example, if you wish to tune to standard tuning (gCEA), ensure that you are using “standard tuning” ukulele strings.
is it right that the sizes of strings are 1-2-2-1 for tenor uke?
I’m confused by your question. Most of the times strings are sized in terms of gauge. A tenor ukulele string set from the top g-string to bottom A-string has the string gauges (inches) 0.0290, 0.0410, 0.0327, 0.0290, however you will find variations depending on the string manufacturer.
Received my first Uke today for Christmas…while play the piano and can read music…this is a whole new way of doing it. Thanks so much for these tutorials…I”ll be studying them!
i believe you are right although not all ukes have a true heel.