Having a hard time figuring out what size of ukulele to buy? Maybe you’re trying to figure out what size of ukulele you have? Whatever your questions are, we’re going to look at the different sizes of ukuleles and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
There are four main types (or sizes) of ukuleles:
As you can see, the soprano is the smallest and the baritone is the largest.
The Four Different Ukulele Sizes or Types
As you’ll discover, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” when to playing ukulele but there are unique benefits and drawbacks to each one. In fact, after reading this, you’ll probably want a ukulele in every size!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Let’s take a look!
Tuning: GCEA, ADF#B
Number of frets: 12-15
The most common and standard type of ukulele is the soprano ukulele. It’s the smallest ukulele and is known for its thin, jangly sound so commonly associated with ukuleles. Because it’s so small, it’s perfect for traveling.
The Lanikai LU-11 Soprano Uke – a great ukulele for beginners
Sometimes people with larger fingers or hands have trouble playing the soprano ukulele because the frets are closer together. Because the strings have less tension on a soprano uke, you might find it easy to accidentally bend a string out of tune.
Despite these relatively minor downsides, the soprano ukulele is probably the best bang for the buck. In comparison to other types of ukuleles, it can usually be had for the cheapest price.
Take a listen to how a soprano uke sounds in the following video by doogey9.
Tuning: GCEA (re-entrant), GCEA (linear)
Number of frets: 15-20
The concert ukulele, sometimes referred to as the alto, is just a little bit bigger than the soprano and some would consider it to have a fuller sound. It’s commonly tuned in standard tuning like the soprano uke although some people will opt to tune their g-string down an octave to low G tuning, also known as linear tuning.
The Donner Concert Ukulele – increased frets and spacing on the fretboard
Because a concert uke is longer than a soprano, there will be more tension on the strings. This can be beneficial if you find yourself bending strings out of tune as you press your fingers down on the strings against the frets.
Additionally, the frets are slightly more spaced on a concert ukulele versus a soprano, so folks with larger fingers might find it easier to play. There can be up to 20 frets on a concert ukulele, which allows players to navigate to higher notes on the fretboard which is beneficial for playing in styles like fingerstyle.
Take a listen to the following performance on a concert ukulele by Ribbeemusic.
Tuning: GCEA (re-entrant), GCEA (linear)
Number of frets: 15+
The tenor ukulele is just a little bit bigger than the concert uke. The overall sound and tone is even fuller than its smaller brothers. For performers, the tenor ukulele is ideal because you get a rich full sound, and since you have more frets, you’re able to reach higher notes on the fretboard.
The Cordoba 20TM Tenor Ukulele – best choice for those with large hands or fingers
Tenor ukuleles are commonly tuned in standard re-entrant or linear tuning, but some will choose to tune it lower like a baritone ukulele to D-G-B-E.
In this video, IveBenCrazy gives us a performance of “Sweet Caroline” on a tenor ukulele.
Tuning: DGBE, GCEA
Number of frets: 19+
The baritone ukulele, sometimes referred to as just the “bari”, is the biggest of the ukes. It’s tuned down lower than the other sizes to D-G-B-E baritone tuning, which is equivalent to the tuning of the bottom four strings of a guitar. This is going to produce a significantly deeper sound.
The Kala KA-BG Baritone Ukulele – the biggest ukulele size
While you can still strum a baritone like any other ukulele, you’re going to really lose that bright, crisp sound that you’d get with a soprano. Additionally, those with small hands and fingers may struggle to reach certain chords on the baritone. Bari ukes are great for blues players and fingerpickers or those who prefer that deeper and fuller sound. That said, some baritone players will tune up their instrument to standard tuning (G-C-E-A) and play it like a “normal” ukulele.
If you decide to go the baritone route, you may have some difficulties following along with my lessons, but I have some tips here for you on that. Not to mention just recently we added a full baritone ukulele chord library here so you can easily look up any baritone chord.
In the following video, mugambismonkey gives us a performance of an original song he wrote on the ukulele called “Kiss Me.” You can really hear how much lower the baritone uke sounds in this video.
What Ukulele is Best for Me?
Generally speaking, beginners will start out on a soprano uke because you can usually find a decently playable one for a low price.
If you have small hands and fingers but want a slightly fuller sound, you can’t go wrong with a concert-sized ukulele.
For those who really want to solo in the fingerpicking style on their ukulele, you’ll definitely want a tenor-sized ukulele to more easily reach notes higher up the fretboard.
And for those with really large hands and fingers, the baritone ukulele might be best for you, and remember, you can always tune it like a standard-tuned ukulele to easily follow along with my lessons.
That said, the best thing you can do is to go to your nearest music store and try out a variety of different ukuleles. What ukulele sounds best to you? What ukulele feels best to you? For some, what ukulele looks best to you? These questions are more often not answered as you start playing different kinds of ukuleles.
What’s your favorite size of ukulele? I have a tenor uke and I love it. It gives me a nice full sound, but I still get the plunky, crisp sound when I strum it. I also like that there is more tension on the strings and the frets are wider for my fingers, meaning I’m less likely to inadvertently bend a string out of tune.
Share your thoughts, questions, or comments below.
I started with my impulse bought concert size uke and I absolutely loved the sound it generates… I practice on my concert uke for one week then decided to get one size bigger. My fingers evidently need a little more space to manuver so I went back to my local Music-go-Round and picked up a tenor. Now practicing is alot less of a finger jam…. I love my new tenor uke but I kept my concert uke too. Didn’t have the heart to return it. My son now strums chords on the concert and now claims that it is his. Which is fine with me because it is awesome to jam with my son! We are both beginners but love it just the same.
Dan, that’s awesome! Yeah, me, my brother, dad, and grandpa all play ukulele so it’s fun to be able to rock out together. I bet your son is loving it. I have long fingers too so I find the tenor uke to be a great size for me. I do want to get a concert uke eventually so I can keep my tenor uke tuned to low G and then tune the concert to standard tuning. Need to save up some more though. 🙂
Great information on all sizes. I picked up my fathers Baritone Ukulele with a beginner book and was playing a song in an hour. I started taking lessons to learn more. Great sound. Lots of fun. They say it is tuned like a guitar if you later want to make that jump. You do not have to tune a Baritone nearly as often.
Good to hear a positive review for baritone ukes! They don’t get a whole lot of love sometimes. What type/brand of baritone ukulele did your father have?
I do have a baritone uke, that was given to me. I have determined that its from the 50’s it’s a lyre. But to me the baritones sound too much like a guitar. I like my concert, but also want to get a soprano. Have had every size but the soprano.
My first 2 ukes(a long story!) are baritone. I have one strung with 2 low strings wound and tuned to guitar tuning. The second one is strung with all nylon strings and tuned like a soprano uke GCEA, but I replaced the 4th string with a first string to obtain the high pitch.
I thought a baritone would be easier for me to play as I’m a long-time guitarist and would be a quick easy transition, but it really doesn’t make much difference as the chord shapes are virtually the same and I can easily transpose when playing with other ukers.
I am going to buy a tenor, concert and soprano, too.
great lot of info you give, my personal favorite has got to be the tenor ukulele, I have played all types over the years but find this size suits me well as I have quite large fingers. I also love the fuller richer tone that it produces.
Hey John, I really like my tenor too. I still want to get a concert ukulele, but I’m never motivated to drop the money on when I’m so satisfied with my tenor. I find the tenor is a really versatile uke. Right now, I have it in standard tuning, but I did have it in low G tuning, and I really liked that. Thanks for your comment!
hi brett, i have concert uke by oscar schmidt and i don’t know if i was just lucky but i really love sounds great and stays in tune forever but after listing to the baritone on your video ,wow what great sound so why is there so much negative views on it?
Georgette you were not lucky i also have the Oscar Schmidt concert. Great uke love it
I play the 5 string banjo a little and want to buy a Ukulele. After reading the information on this page I think I am probably going to go for a tenor. I would like to have bought a baritone, but it strikes me that if I bought and learnt to play a baritone, I would not be able to download tablature for it as easily because it is the only uke that is tuned differently from the others. Is this a fair assumption?
Hey Mark, that’s a very fair assumption. A tenor ukulele is going to give you that deeper sound, similar to a baritone, but you won’t have the tuning issues as you look for ukulele songs on the internet. It’s not a bad way to go. I love my tenor!
One more question. What’s to stop me buying a Baritone Ukulele and then tuning it to the same tuning as a Soprano or Tenor Ukulele? That way I could use ‘normal’ Uku tablature with a Baritone?
You know, I suppose you could try that, but my feeling is that you might run into some troubles with putting a standard string set on baritone ukulele. I would be afraid of snapping a string, and I’d also be concerned that some string sets would not be long enough to work with the longer baritone neck. I suppose you could try it and see what happens.
I’ve never tried it, so I can’t speak from experience, but those would be some concerns of mine. I’d be interested in hearing from anybody who has tried this too.
Guadalupe Strings of Los Angeles make a set for the baritone
that tunes GCEA an octave below standard uke, takes away all
the transposing problems and has a wonderful deep and resonant
tone. Not a set for strumming on but great for fingerstyle.
Kevin, thanks for posting this!
My brother, a longtime guitar player, bought me a baritone for Christmas last year. It was a first for both of us, and he thought the larger size would be easier to play. He put a set of Aquila nylgut strings on and tuned it to the standard GCEA. I’ve had no problems with it tuned that way. I’m considering retuning it to DGBE as I now have a concert as well. Thoughts?
A friend and I both play baritone ukes with with re-entrant tuning, DGBE- replace the thick, low “D” string with a second, thin “E” string and tune it down. This gives a great, rich woody tone, and all the fingerpicking and alternating strum tricks I learned on other ukes still work. Of course, when playing from tabs everything comes out in a different key to on the tenor, but it still sounds good!
Great tip! Thanks, David!
In my other post today, I mention that I have a baritone tuned to guitar tuning and another tuned to standard uke tuning with nylon strings, but I replaced the usual baritone 4th string with a 1st string so I can get the high tuning. It sounds just great, whether playing chords or finger picking .
they actually make a different set of strings to tune baritone to standard tuning they are longer not sure where to get them other then glen roses website
someone please help me. I just got a ukulele for christmas, i have no clue what kind of ukulele it is. i just listened to all of these and they all sound sooooo different from mine. I play guitar so i know how to properly tune the instrument and read tabs but it just doesnt sound right is it a peice of crap? someone tell me what i should do? if it is a peice of crap can someone tell me what i should get (what brand) and what kind i should get because i am totally clueless and really beginning to get frustrated trying to play songs that sound NOTHING like not even in pitch to what the song sounds like.
Hi there, have you tried using the ukulele tuner tool?
Let me know if this helps.
my first uke was a concert makala it was like 60 dollars sounds good and stays in tune very well
I’m a beginner, looking around at ukuleles and my friends recommended me the Lanikai LU-21 series, and i love the sounds of them. The standard, or sopranos, are too small and I feel uncomfortable and awkward holding them. The Baritone, i feel is too big, so I settled for either the concert or tenor. What would you recommend for me, a 14 year old?
Honestly, I think you would enjoy either one! You might find the concert ukulele to be a good fit for you since it is a little smaller and a little cheaper. The tenor is going to be a bit larger, but it will give you a bit more flexibility if you ever want to explore alternate tunings.
Hi everyone – Happy New Year !!
I’ve just been given a Baritone as a Christmas present (I am a beginner on the soprano). I wondered whether anyone could direct me to online chords for a Baritone. Neither my wife (who bought me the Baritone) nor I realised that there would be a difference in the chord shapes. What advice would you give me – continue with the Soprano until I am more proficient before trying the Baritone or try to persevere with both ……
Hey Kevin, what I would recommend is looking up guitar chords but just paying attention to the bottom four strings finger position. Does that make sense? The baritone ukulele is tuned to the bottom four strings of a guitar, so the bottom four strings of the shapes for guitar chords will work great!
Um, that will be TOP fours strings of a guitar – D G B E – rather than the bottom.
Hi Chilos, thanks for the comment. I understand what you are saying. In terms of pitch, DGBE are the “highest” or “top” strings of the guitar. In terms of actual physical position, I like to see them as the bottom four strings of the guitar.
Please see my posts about baritone ukes. I have one tuned with guitar tuning with 3rd and fourth strings wound and the other, with unwound nylon strings tuned as standard uke tuning, but with the 4th string (G), replaced with a 1st string tuned to high G . Hope that makes sense!
I’m tiny…comes with being a Filipina, so I’m perfectly content with my soprano. I bought it while I was vacationing in Hawaii and I’ve always wanted to learn to play. It’s still a little difficult for me to play because my fingers aren’t large enough to, comfortably, bar the frets when needed. Besides that, I, absolutely, looooove playing the uke!
Hey Stephanie, thanks for the comment! Barring the strings takes some time to build up the hand and wrist strength. It’ll come with time and practice. Keep up the good work! 🙂
I’m hapa–half Filipina. Have you checked out Aldrine at the ukueleunderground.com? He’s Filipino, too!
Stephanie, barre chords can be difficult if your fingers forming the barre the same way you would on a guitar, but there is an easier way to barre on a uke.
Instead of pressing your index finger tip at the g-string and letting your first finger joint form the barre, try pushing your index finger so the first joint slightly overhangs the g-string instead. Pressing down is much easier and the other three fingers can easily reach the other notes of the chords. It makes playing E chords almost seem easy.
I’m a complete beginner to th uke, bought a Kala Concert Ukulele (KA-CEM), it’s only a fairly cheap laminate job but it sounds good enough for me to continue practising! I’ve just bought a used mahogany tenor Ukulele on Ebay it looks lovely, solid wood, with beautiful inlaid marquetry detail and solid maple neck, can’t wait to see it! I have pretty large hands and the narrower neck on the concert uke is a bit of a squeeze.
Your new ukulele sounds beautiful! I find my tenor to be the perfect size for me. I like to play it the most.
still can’t decide.. soprano or tenor? im a newbie in ukulele and also in the field of stringed instruments.. have a medium sized hands/fingers..
I find the tenor the most versatile and comfortable to play out of all the sizes. I think you would enjoy a tenor. 🙂
can you recommend a brand sir?
Lanilakis are great in any of their price ranges but are quite expensive, I own a Soprano Kohala uke and a Concert Lanilaki. I totally prefer my soprano since it was my first uke but you get the quality you pay for. Personally I would take a Lanilaki any day but if you want to stay at a lower price, try the Kohalas.
I hope that helps! -Rachel
Add me to the list of happy uke players looking for advice. I have a concert uke and want to buy a second instrument. I love the deeper sound of the baritone and because playing the guitar has always been a bit intimidating to me, I love the idea that a baritone uke could give me a guitar-like sound. But is the tuning something that will be hard to overcome? I wondered if a tenor would give me the deeper sound that I’m looking for, but the clip on this site doesn’t sound much different than my concert. If I restring (as someone else suggested) will the baritone still have that nice deep sound I’m looking for?
Hey Meridith, for your tenor ukulele, you might choose to do a low G tuning. This means the top G string is tuned down an octave. This can give you a deeper sound, which I think sounds really great. The baritone ukulele will provide some challenges because a lot of the ukulele chord resources are for standard tuned ukuleles. Since the baritone ukulele is tuned like the bottom four strings of a guitar, it works well to look at the guitar chords and just pay attention to the bottom four strings.
HI guys!! I’m having a bit of a dilemma. I have decided to buy a uke for my boyfriend for his birthday but i want to keep it a surprise and therefore, cannot ask him which size he would prefer. He has big hands and plays guitar so I would assume getting him a tenor would be best but for some reason I keep leaning towards a concert. Any advise?
If he has big hands, it’s possible a tenor will suit him better, but you can’t go wrong with a concert either. I really like my tenor ukulele, so I would recommend that on a gut level. 🙂
This is really a great resource for anyone interested in buying a uke for themselves or someone else. I’ve made my 11 year old take fiddle and more recently (at his request) guitar for a few years. He thinks I should also learn to play an instrument and I’ve always been a fan of ukuleles. I really just want to get the least expensive set (with a bag) because I travel a lot. Seems like a saprano. However, because you are such a huge fan of tenors Brett, I’m going back and forth. I really haven’t played any instrument since 7th grade French horn that was always in the shop. Help me Brett! You’re the uke guru here. Thanks!
If you’re doing a lot of traveling, a soprano is definitely more portable because it’s slightly smaller. Sopranos are also cheaper too. However, if you think you’d like to have a bit more room for your fingers and a bit of a bigger sound, you might consider a tenor. If you can, I’d try to get to a local music store to compare the two.
I play uke with some friends. We were wondering how you play the Baritone alongside the Soprano? Say if a Soprano is playing C, should the Baritone also? Sorry if this is a stupid question… we’re very green!
Hey Cherie, you can definitely play a baritone alongside a soprano. If you are playing in the key of C, the baritone also needs to play in the key of C. Because the baritone ukulele is tuned lower than a soprano by default, the chord shapes will look differently on a baritone ukulele than on a soprano ukulele. To figure out the baritone ukulele chords, it’s best to look at guitar chords and look at the bottom four strings, since the baritone ukulele is tuned like the bottom four strings of a guitar.
If you wanted to play a baritone with a soprano and play the same chord shapes, the baritone ukulele would need to put a capo on the 5th fret to transpose their tuning to be that of a soprano ukulele.
Excellent point Brett,
You can even try to learn a few chord inversions up the neck to introduce some different voicings and textures. Working these out yourself helps you gain a better understanding of what is going on musically.
I am looking to buy a ukulele for my Dad’s 60th birthday. I think the Tenor may fit the bill people seems to be suggested the size would be right for an adult man and the sounds is good. He currently plays blues nad old school rock on both acoustic and electric guitar. Does it sound that a tenor would be suitable for a beginner who would be interested in taking his tab music to ukulele? I have found a pear shaped tenor ukulele called Blue Moon it is definitely striking to look at but i assume the shape will change the sound. Would you recommend sticking with the traditional shape? and I wondered if you could tell me why have they put Baritone strings on it? Thanks for the help this is whole new world to me 🙂
Based on what you’re describing, I think a tenor would be great! I would almost consider a baritone since your Dad plays guitar. The tuning on a baritone ukulele is tuned like the bottom four strings of a guitar (DGBE). This means some of his guitar chord shapes that he already knows will translate well to the baritone ukulele. HOWEVER… I’m a guitar player too and I always enjoy playing a tenor ukulele in standard tuning (GCEA) rather than a baritone ukulele. A baritone ukulele is too much like a guitar to me, so as a guitar player, I enjoy the differences in a tenor ukulele.
I’m unfamiliar with the Blue Moon ukulele. Do you have a link? It sounds like they are putting baritone strings on it to tune it lower to the DGBE baritone tuning.
Hey, I’ve just ordered
A Mitchell MU70 , which it says has 12 frets, but is a concert?
A little Confused, is it actually a soprano? Excited, nevertheless!
Hey Nina, I’m counting 17 frets on your new uke, which would make it a concert. My guess is whoever wrote the description for that ukulele made a little mistake. 🙂
I think probably the “12 frets” indicates that there are 12 frets before the fretboard reaches the body.
A long neck usually indicates that it’s a 14 fret. That is, there are 14 frets before the fretboard reaches the body.
Hi, i would like to know the what kind of ukulele is normally given in starter packs? I was thinking of getting either the saprano or the starter pack as a beginner. I wanted to get the tenor but its a bit to pricey so i thought i would start of with the saprano. I would also like to know what kind of ukulele would fit a 14 year old. is the Rogue brand alright, as it is actually already a bit pricey for me.
Hey ShaneLi, you might consider getting a tenor ukulele and skipping the starter pack. Sometimes the starter packs are a good deal, but you might be hard pressed to find one with a tenor uke at a low price. If you decide you can’t afford a tenor uke, a soprano is very good. I learned on a soprano and a soprano will always give you that classic ukulele sound.
I would recommend any of these ukes here:
Hey guys! Ive been a guitar player since i was about 6. Im 15 now, and also have a soprano ukulele. My mom got it for me amd my brother on one of her many trips to hawaii, (ive also been recently, its amazing!). At first, i didnt get into it as much, but in the past year or two ive been playing it much more. A couple weeks ago the neck snapped off, and i was really sad, but some wood glue fixed it righ up! My little brother (11) and i are currently working on builing our own ukuleles from scratch. Hes making a soprano, and me a concert. I can play a soprano just fine, and my hands are really big. It just takes practice to get your hands used to the chord structures. Im planning on makin my concert a semihollow body electric ukulele, and think this will be amazing! Im planning to use steel strings, because i wanted to be able to make it sound like a guitar a well, so i chose an electric guitar pickup an we will see how that works. The neck i was building was coming along nicely, but there was a bit of an accident and it got cut in a place it shouldnt have. Im having to start over, and we cut down a cedar tree from our yard about a year ago and were using part of the trunk as the neck. Im exited to get this all finished, but if it doesnt work out as good as im hoping, ill probobly just invest in either a tenor or a concert.
Hey Jesse, you and your brother’s projects sound awesome! Please keep me updated. I just started getting really into electronics lately (building electric guitar pedals), so I’d love to take a look at these when you’re finished.
I have never tried the ukulele before and I really want to. I tried the guitar but the strains were just to hard for me to press down. I have no idea which size I should get or what brand or where to get one.
Hey Bob, check out this post for some recommendations:
Do u think it would be okay to get a 39.99 dollar soprano at target or do u think it’s better to get a expensive one at guitar center
I would be very skeptical of buying a ukulele at Target, Wal Mart, or any of those other stores. If you’re buying a musical instrument, go to a music store. That’s just me though. 🙂
I purchased my first cordoba concert uke from BestBuy just over a year ago… for only $60. Best purchase I’ve made in a long time!
I haven’t had any major problem with it (although intonation is slightly off starting at 3-4 frets). I would suggest the same cheap Uke for anyone who is asking themselves “Am I even going to like to play a uke?”. Effectively it was a “try before you buy (a good one)” technique… and I haven’t had any actual need to actually buy anything else.
Now that I’m comfortably out of the beginner stage and into the intermediate techniques, I’m thinking of getting a quality Tenor instrument.
I have heard that a bad (cheap) instrument can turn people off from continuing their practice – so keep that in mind if you get a cheap one just to see if you like to play…
Hey I was really stressed about which one I should get and I was leaning toward tenor but when I went to guitar center I ended up liking the concert better. U really should go out to a store and try cause that’s really the only way u can figure out which one you like the most.
im 14 and i’ve played quite a few music instruments and music usually comes naturally to me. recently i wanted to play the guitar but it’s too much stretching and different to any brass instruments that ive ever picked up – i think i can learn to read guitar/ukelele music but a ukelele sounds linke a good investment… i dont want a horrible sounding one so i dont know whether to go for a cheap soprano (might be bad quality), concert or tenor – i have quite small hands for my age and i was wandering if you could maybe help me decide which one to buy, i sing aswell and i want a ukele that goes with voice and has a nice sound/high quality – any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂
Hey Clan, great choice on the ukulele! You have a lot of options for ukuleles. The best advice is get one and play it! Under the “Reviews” tab at the top of the site, you can check out some ukulele recommendations to give you an idea. When it comes to buying an instrument, it’s most important to set your budget at first. How much you can spend will dictate what kind of ukulele you can get. The sky is really the limit so a budget will help you find the ukulele that works for you.
Hey there, I love your website incredibly- it makes everything so much easier and answers a lot of questions I’ve had. I’m sure you hear that all the time, though. Anyways, I’m just starting out playing and have been fooling around on my grandmother’s little Soprano, but I would love to invest in a nice Concert uke. Any recommendations that aren’t outrageously priced? Cheers!
Hey Summer, when it comes to purchasing a uke, it’s all about how much you can spend, because the sky can be the limit. I’d recommend saving up around $200-$300 for a nicer concert ukulele, especially if you’ve been playing your grandmother’s soprano ukulele. I’d look at brands like Kala, Mainland Ukuleles, Cordoba, Luna, and any others around this price range.
I’ve been reading your site for a while, but first time writer! I live on the island of Borneo and a few of us have taken up the Ukulele recently. I want to upgrade from my Mahalo soprano and wanted your opinion on either a Tenor or a Concert. Both are on sale on ebay in the UK, so I can’t test them but was hoping that you or one of your readers could help. They are both Kala brand – the concert is the KA-CMHS-JB, which is a Joe Brown Signature Solid Mahogany and the Tenor is the KA-TE, which is an electro acoustic. Any suggestions? Any help will be appreciated. Keep up the excellent website!
Hey Trev, thanks for the comment! It’s great to hear from you. I’ve actually used the Kala KA-TE for a live show once and I really liked it. It has a good tone and the added electronics are nice. I also prefer the bigger sized tenor. If you have a soprano right now, it might be nice to mix things up a little with a tenor. However, you can’t go wrong with either. In an ideal world, you’d have one of every kind of ukulele! Ha 🙂
Thank you for creating Ukulele Tricks. 🙂
I hope I’d be able to buy the right Uke for me. I don’t know if there are good Ukulele here in my place. I don’t have enough money either. But still, I’m glad that I found your site. It motivates me more to save money to be able to buy Uke. I want one, as soon as possible, especially now that I know you are always here to help 😀
Hi eLKira, you’re very welcome! You are right; if you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment! 🙂
Hey Brett, My husband got me a Rogue Soprano Ukulele for Christmas about 4 years ago… I couldn’t find hardly anything to teach me about a uke, so it went in the closet until about 3 weeks ago… I discovered uke tuners online and that got me started… once I got it tuned, I love it now, and it stays in tune… I’ve read you should tune your ukulele before every song, but I’m not having a tuning problem at all now… the Ukulele is a fun instrument… I’m a total beginner, but I’m just playing around w/ it… if I’m sitting I’m strumming…I only know the most basic cords CGAF, but I’m amazed how many songs I can play just w/ these basic cords… I found your free ebook and now I’m thinking about your strumming course…
I do have problems in holding my ukulele… I’ve not found any women ukulele players giving tips on holding the ukulele… Do you have any suggestions for the best way to hold the ukulele for women… : )
Hey Shelia, I’m glad you dusted off your ukulele! Sounds like you’re having a great time. Unfortunately, I can’t offer too much advice for holding the ukulele for women, but I do know there is a good discussion on this in the Ukulele Strumming Tricks course. From what I gather, a lot of women (and men too) really like using a ukulele strap to stabilize and hold the ukulele. You might look into an option like that!
As a long time guitar player I used to think that the Uke was just basically a toy, boy was I wrong! about three years ago I remarried and my husband had a souvenir soprano uke that his son brought back from Hawaii. Since we are both musicians he gave it to me with these words, “when you learn to play this well I’ll buy you a really good uke” Well, that was a challenge so of course I jumped right in. the only problem I had was holding it securely. I found the strap to be a great solution for me. Playing it was so much fun that soon I wanted a better one. When we saw a Kala concert acoustic/electric in a music store and tried it out I fell in love with it on the spot. After just two days my husband loved it so much he ordered one for himself! It wasn’t long before I replaced the first G string with a low G which gave me more versatility. Now of course I want a different size to add to my collection and am vacillating between a tenor or a baritone. I actually played a baritone in the music store and really like it. It was easy to pick up since I play guitar. I haven’t played the tenor but after reading your comments I am leaning toward this size. I have taken my concert Uke on the plane when traveling and would do the same with whatever I buy next. Do you think a tenor would be better suited for airplane travel than a baritone? Happy strumming. Buy the way I just turned 70 recently and now I am learning to play the bells in a bell choir so you are never to old to learn a new instrument.
Hi Frances, that’s an exciting “learning to play the ukulele” story! I’ve traveled on an airplane with my tenor ukulele in a soft case a few times now. I just ensure that it underneath the seat in front of me so it doesn’t accidentally get smashed in the overhead bin.
I am a blind musician from the Bahamas. I’ve been playing guitar for about 11 years now and am thainking of taking up the ukulele. Unfortunately, good ukuleles are hard to come by here–the only avalable ones look and play like toys. What brands would you recommend and whhat sizes? I have about average hands but quite long fingers.
Nice to bump into your website! …. I just bought myself a tenor 2 days back out of impulse and was having lots of fun with it. Very good information on the different types of Ukes and lessons! Cheers 🙂
Thanks for checking out Ukulele Tricks, Patrick! Appreciate your comment. Don’t be a stranger! 🙂
Brett, A question about the baritone ukulele. Is it possible to tune a baritone to the standard (or conventional) tuning? I believe standard tuning is gCEA.
I heard that there are specific strings, I think the brand is Aquila , that allow one to do this.
I ask because I’m a bigger guy and feel the baritone size might fit me better. But I don’t want to lose all the great resources out there for ukes, 99% which seem to be for standard tuning. Thanks! Great website.
Hi Mike, I’ve never tuned a baritone ukulele like this so I can’t recommend it from experience or speak on the affects this would have on your ukulele. I’d recommend use a capo to barre the strings at the 5th fret. This would convert the tuning to GCEA (low G tuning) which would allow you to learn and follow along with the chord shapes presented on this website.
My mother starting playing Soprano when she was younger and then bought a Baritone to travel with while she was in the Peace Corps. She used to sing songs to me and play her uke to help me fall asleep as a child. As I got older, I attempted to play the guitar but had trouble with the whole not playing all of the strings for every chord thing. Out of frustration, I put my guitar playing on the back burner and picked up my mom’s Baritone. It was easy to play chords since I’d learned most of the basics for the guitar. Since then, I’ve purchased a few Concert ukes (mainly because I couldn’t find tenors) and a Baritone of my own. I’m so happy to have found your website. Your videos are very helpful and it’s nice to have help from ukulele pros.
Thanks for all the helpful information. I’ve been wanting to start playing the ukulele not long after I started playing classical guitar, but I don’t know anyone near where I live who plays the ukulele so this website has helped me a lot 🙂
I have been practicing on a super cheap soprano ukulele that my sister got for her birthday as a joke present (it’s a white ukulele with pineapples painted on it) but it’s great to learn some chords and strumming patterns. So I’m going to have a look around the music shop near me and practice on some nicer ones.
Hey just a very quick question do you have a recommendation for a soprano ukulele? Thanks.
Hi Oliver, it depends how much you are looking to spend. Check out some of my recommendations here for some beginner ukes:
Hey just a quick question, i have a Lorenzo soprano ukulele but it really doesn’t sound right, i have a tuner so its not because it is out of tune is it simply because it is a bad ukulele or am i doing something wrong? Thanks.
Hi Brett: Just like everyone else, I love your website! My husband and I have one concert uke (Kala KA-C) and want to get a second uke so we can play together. We’re trying to figure out if it’s best to have two of the same type or two different types if we want to play songs together. So the bottom line question is…..should we get a second concert of slightly higher quality, or should we get a soprano? We’re both beginners.
Hi Brett, Im a young 79, looking to buy an Oscar schmit OU6W tenor ukulele, with its wider neck. I have big hands and as a beginner, could I do with its extra width. what do you think? A very helpfull website.Thankyou
I hadn’t realized that Oscar Schmidt was doing wider neck ukuleles. That sounds like a great idea!
I am musically challenged. After listening to Amanda palmers ukulele anthem, I have decided that maybe art isn’t hard. I have decided to start out with a 4 string instrument. I was thinking of the ruan or ukulele. Where do I start? I have sausage fingers so I’m guessing a tenor ukulele would be best. Where do you get sheet music from and do they make those digital tuners for the ukulele? I’d hate to get a uke and have no music to play on it.
Hey Simon, I’d recommend a tenor ukulele. Definitely pick up an electronic chromatic tuner as well to keep your ukulele in tune. For music, a lot of ukulele players look up ‘song chords’ on Google. I do have some fingerpicking pieces that have sheet music under the ukulele lessons section of Ukulele Tricks.
Hi! I’m looking to buy a ukulele online to learn how to play so i can use it in my comedy routines in the near future. (this means i eould probably be traveling with it frequently.) and I’m a pretty small person with small fingers, I was considering a soprano but I’m kind of sold on a concert but nothing is set in stone at the moment. I currently hve two ukulele options in mind ill post the links, any one in particular you think would be better for a beginner with small fingers? http://m.guitarcenter.com/Mahalo-U-200-SOPRANO-UKULELE-H02945-i1547078.gc http://m.guitarcenter.com/Lanikai-KO-C-Kine-O-Concert-Ukulele-H73346-i1881084.gc
What do you think of electronic ukes? I have a student rock band of 3-6th graders and am thinking of a baritone uke to transition to guitar or even in place of guitar. Do you have any recs for decent baritone electronic/acoustics?
Hi Pasta, if you think you’ll be amplifying your instrument, then a ukulele with electronics isn’t a bad idea. I believe that Lanikai makes some baritone ukuleles with electronics installed. You might take a look at their offerings.
Wow! this is a great help to me! I’ve had a soprano uke for a year now, and I love it, but the sound isn’t very rich or full. I was already planning on getting a tenor, but i just wanted to see what people thought of concert ukes before i made my decision. This really helped, and it answered just about every question that i had (except price ranges). Normally i have to search through several pages to get my answers, but i got them all on one page! Thank you so much!
P.S. I’m still planning on getting a tenor
I’m looking to purchase a tenor uke that sounds clean, crisp, and deep, yet doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Since the humidity in my area varies greatly from day to day, should I buy a plywood instrument so the wood distort as easily? Which brands and models would you recommend?
Hi Tak, definitely don’t be afraid to get a nicer ukulele (i.e. one that isn’t plywood) just because of humidity. As long as you are storing it indoors, you’ll be fine. If you wanted, you could get a case and store your ukulele in the case. Additionally, put a humidifier in the case to give your uke a balanced humid environment.
Typo “so the wood doesn’t distort as easily”
Thanks very much.
The 5th fret on the baritone BIG help. Also now use on my guitar, fantastic
If you capo the 5th fret on the Baritone how do you get your fingers around to play that 1st fret? So far I’m finding it easier to learn the new chord positions. Am I doing something wrong? (and of course never choosing to play in F like I do on my other ukes)
Hi Shirley, there’s nothing wrong with learning the new chord positions for a baritone ukulele. I only ever suggest to capo on the 5th fret if you wish to follow along with me using the exact same positions that I’m using.
My first ukes were a soprano and a baritone that I named Eddie and Fay. Unfortunately the baritone came broken, but I love my soprano and recently purchased a banjolele. I really really want a concert now. Ukes are so adicting!
Hi, I’m really interested in buying and learning ukelele. They only sell Soprano ukelele here but I dont really mind since I have tiny hands and short fingers(I’m petite).
I play acoustic 3/4 size guitar and adult size violin. The question is learning ukelele really similar to guitar? Is it quite easy to pick up? Any good online website or book you recommend?
By the way, they only sell Congress Soprano and Ibanez soprano here, are they good? I dont plan to order online since this is just my first ukelele.
Hi! What an interesting site; I’ve wanted a uke ever since I heard the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain in concert awhile back. I had the fortune of talking to a couple of the performers afterward, and mentioned I wanted to play and what would be best for me..currently, I play violin/fiddle and a little mandolin and a little guitar. One of them said the baritone (or was it bass) would be easiest since I have played string bass in the past (not in a long time, though, in my music major days of the early 1980s). Sound-wise, I like all of the ones shown here, maybe less the soprano one, as I prefer the deeper qualities. Based on the conversation here, I’m thinking I would probably like the tenor or baritone best. One other thing: when I took string bass in college, it was a challenge to find one that would fit my small hands. But guitar is no problem…just some things to inform your advice. Thanks again!
I would like to learn the ukulele
but is it hard to learn?
and do I have to get a teacher?
Hi Jacey, like anything, to learn something well, it takes practice and dedication. I will say though that compared to other instruments the ukulele is very beginner friendly. As you are starting, I would recommend trying to find some friends at school who play the ukulele. Also, do some searching in your area for different ukulele clubs or groups. While this isn’t required to learn, it’s always fun to learn how to play with other people. As you are first beginning, I recommend using my free ukulele lesson book to get started: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-lesson-book/
Hey, I’ve never played a ukulele before and I was wondering which size I should get. I’m 14 but I an pretty small for my age and my hands are a little smaller than usual as well. I am leaning toward the concert because I like the fuller sound, but I don’t know if my hands are big enough. Which size do you think I should go for?
Hi Ellie, I think if you want to get a concert you’ll be just fine. Typically a soprano ukulele isn’t much smaller than a concert ukulele.
This is going to sound like a strange question but does anyone know the length of the Ibanez concert ukulele pictured from the back of the uke to the bridge.
I just got an Epiphone Les Paul concert ukulele, which I like quite a lot. At one of my local music stores, I noticed that they had a ukulele bass, as well. It was large, of course, and the thick nylon strings were kind of funny to see. Just thought I’d mention another ukulele variation.
My grandpa has had this baritone uke for like 50 years, and he just gave it to me. It’s a regal. I want to learn. I already play the cello, but I’m hesitant because this has frets, so… Any help for a beginner? What book should I get for a baritone uke? ARE there any books for the baritone? I want to learn for my grandpa, and plus its seems like a nice uke!
Hi Miranda, the biggest challenge you will have with the baritone ukulele is figuring out the chords. Because of the different tuning, the chords for a baritone ukulele are different. I recommend looking up guitar chords and looking at the bottom four strings, since the baritone ukulele’s strings are tuned exactly as the four bottom strings of a guitar.
At the same time, while I don’t have baritone-specific lessons, there is still much to learn, especially from my strumming lessons, which you can find here:
In the future, I hope to have lessons that are tailored to the baritone ukulele player.
I am an actress and singer, and really want to learn to play the uke to accompany myself in auditions and onstage. I’m an alto and wondering which uke will compliment my voice best? Any recommendations? Will a soprano uke be suitable for me?
Nicola, great question. The names to identify the ukulele sizes are a little bit misleading. Although your voice is suited as an alto, a soprano, concert, or tenor ukulele will work just fine with your voice since they are commonly all tuned the same (gCEA). To suit the ukulele to your vocal range, it’s more about playing chords from a key that suits your voice. So as an alto, if you have a chord chart from a song in the key of G, but you know that it will suit your voice better in the key of D, it’s just a matter of transposing the chords to the key of D, which is easy enough to figure out down the road. As a female actress that might be moving around the stage, I’d recommend going with a soprano or concert ukulele, as the smaller size will suit you better (I think) than a tenor.
I just found your web site recently and am very excited to get started with the lessons. I have played for several years on my (from Hawaii) Baritone UKE, but wanted to expand my skills to blues and/or classical music. I love the Baritone for its rich sound, and find it easier to pick than the smaller ukelele’s.I have considered buying a Banjo Uke. Do you have an opinion on those intruments?
Hi Michael, I don’t have much experience with them, but I think they sound cool!
i have a concert size and i loooooove it! i think it has a fuller sound but still sounds like an ukulele while paring with other ukes or even guitars! very happy!
I have been taking beginner lessons on the ukulele. I have a music background in piano (up to grade 6) so it helps a fair bit. However, the one problem I have is that I simply cannot curve my fingers (eg. B Minor is impossible to strum for me). Is there a trick for this? I find that the difficulty for me is in the physical aspects – curvature of fingers or consistent strumming that doesn’t sound like one of the strings is gonna snap and go TWANG at any moment. I am petite and have small hands. I own a soprano ukulele. I have not tried an alto but have had a go on the tenor. While it was much easier to hold the strings down, it was too long for me. Any advice would be fabulous!
(Also, is $300 for 8 lessons in a class of 7 a reasonable deal? I used to pay $150 for 4 individual lessons at my home when I learnt the piano. I’m not too sure about the market rate for ukulele lessons.) Thanks loads for your time! =)
Good questions! With fretting your chords, it takes practice for sure. I’d recommend to work at the chords and pluck each individual string to see where the problem note is. Then, try to adjust your fingers for that position. With the strumming, think about a light, easy, loose relaxed hand and fingers to strum. Just think about coasting over the top of the strings. It sounds like you might be digging in a little too hard.
It’s hard to say if $300 is a reasonable deal. It all depends on how good the teacher is. How long is the lesson? For an hour lesson, that wouldn’t be too bad. Part of the high price might also be that there aren’t a lot of ukulele teachers in your area (less competition equals higher prices that teachers can charge). I always think learning an instrument with others is one of the best ways to learn, so I say go for it!
I recently got the urge to learn the ukulele. I, unfortunately, am cursed with stubby, fat hands. Will I be able to work a uke or should I accept my plight and just listen to the awesome uke sounds of someone else? Any suggestions?
Hi Chris, you never know until you try! I’d recommend however looking at buying a tenor or baritone ukulele, which will give you a little bit more space for your fingers.
I have had a concert ukelele for a few months and I’m really enjoying playing it! However, singing along with it is difficult in that I have to sing high notes that I’m not comfortable with and end up sounding squeaky. the next octave down doesn’t work either — too low for my voice. Do you think I should consider a baritone uke?
Hi Pam, rather than buying a whole new ukulele, I recommend transposing the chords of a song to a key that is more suitable for your voice. I have a lesson on that here:
Going to Hawaii and will be looking at picking up a Kala KA8 tenor. Became a fan of the 8 string ukulele when we were in Tahiti. We are going to Oahu and was wondering if you know what shops I should look at? Thanks
Hi James, I haven’t been yet, so I can’t recommend any from personal experience. I’ll be going later this year, so hopefully I’ll have some recommendations for you then! Let me know what you find.
I will do that, will be checking out the stadium flea market and a few other shops.
We just got back and had a great time visited many ukulele stores. The biggest and best shop was on the north shore it was called the Hawaiian music supply. Talk with Aaron about the Kala KA8 and he tuned one up and let me play it and many others in the shop. There was no pressure to purchase anything he is just a great guy who loves ukuleles. I did purchase the Kala KA8 and he matched the price that is on their website. Check them out when you go!
I recently picked up a sSoprano ukelele at the Goodwill Store. While it was fun to start on, I found it a bit small and constantly out of tune. My neighbor leant me his beautiful tenor uke, which I have played around on from books and online videos, and now there is no going back to the soprano. I used to play guitar, so I’m familiar with playing on strings. I love to sing with it, and plan on bringing one to camping trips. I’m trying to decide between buying a tenor or a concert. Any suggestion for a woman, a bit nubby hands, who likes to sing second soprano? Also, my fingers hurt the next day from pressing on the strings Any special strings you would put on a new ukelele or would you just use the ones that come with it? Thanks so much.
Hi Ellyn, if you have a smaller hands, the concert is a great way to go, since you get that classic ukulele sound. The tenor is nice if you want flexibility down the road with low G tuning. As far the sore fingertips, this is quite normal as you are first learning. It’ll take a couple/few weeks for the ends of your fingers to build up some callouses. Eventually, it won’t hurt so bad, but it takes time. I recommend practicing consistently throughout the week, but don’t practice too long and take a lot of breaks! Have fun!
I play a Kala soprano long neck, named her Dolores. I played around in the music shop for a while, and found the soprano to be the most comfortable to hold, but I also wanted a little more maneuverability. I’m thinking about buying a banjo uke in the near future, and if it’s anything like my Dolores then I’ll never put it down. Thank you for your website and videos. They were instrumental in my decision to learn the ukulele. You and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
I would like to get a ukulele but I’m not sure whether I should get the soprano or the concert.
Do you know any brand or model that you think I should go for?
Well, I’m a 14 years old girl beginner and my fingers and hands are kinda small…
Which type do you think I should go for?
I’ve read quite a few of the posts above and they are very helpful. I currently own a tenor and would like to switch to baritone for the fuller sound. What I can’t clearly understand is the tuning and fingering difference in the tenor and baritone. I have several uke books. Can I use the same fingering I’ve learned on the tenor, on the baritone? Is it totally different fingering? I thought I saw someone mention that I could tune the baritone differently as well so I could use the same fingering as the tenor even though it will sound in a different key, which is fine for me. I have to do that with other instruments. Did I understand that correctly? Sorry for all the questions, just want to make sure my ducks are in a row before I sell the tenor and buy a baritone. Thanks so much! Very informative website!
Great questions, Lisa! Check out this post I wrote that I think will address both of your questions:
The finger patterns are the same on all ukuleles. If you keep the same shapes (finger patterns) and change ukuleles you get the same chord type (major, minor, seventh etc.) just the root (letter) is changed. The triangle shape for a D chord on the baritone uke is a G chord on the soprano uke.
Use alphabetical distance. From D to G is 4 letters in the alphabet. The Am shape on the baritone is Dm on the soprano. When you change ukes just make the same shapes and know that the root or letter of the chord changes according to a constant alphabetical distance (in this example 4). The type of chord (major, minor,
7th etc stays the same! I you can play one uke you can play them all….
Hi! Love your website. I have a 10 year old daughter who is interested in ukulele. Should I start her on a soprano or a concert? And what do you think of the Kahuna ukulele’s?
Concert – http://www.costco.com/Kahuna-Zebrawood-Concert-Ukulele-Bundle.product.100074150.html Soprano – http://www.costco.com/Kahuna-Pearl-Mahogany-Soprano-Ukulele-Bundle.product.100056046.html
My daughter is petite and plays a 3/4 size guitar. Thank you so much for your help.
thank you, for the information, now, I am ready for to get my tenor uke 😉
So awesome to randomly find this site! I am an uke enthusiast and I love the sound of all of them (although I like the more cheerful sound of the first three rather than the more kind of “nostalgic” sound of the baritone). I am still a rookie but moving forward really fast since, as I said, I love the instrument and spend several hours a day practicing. I started with a soprano (indeed had the large fingers-small frets problem) and now I want to move to an electro-acustic one. Which one do you thing would be the best to buy? which one do you recommend?… also, as much as i would like to spend lots of money in a professional ukulele, I have to stick to a more reasonable budget.
ps: great site!!
I have a question. I want to get a uke and I love the sound of the baritone, but I’m only 13 and I don’t know if it’s going to be too big for me. Help?
I’ve been playing a concert kala uke I got last spring and just love it! I want a smaller one to travel with, but sopranos have such small necks and I’ve got big fingers.
Is there a soprano uke out there with a wider neck that is less than $100?
Baritone uke is tuned the same as guitar using only the four high strings. Ukulele players very rarely read notes.
I can’t find (real) music for baritone uke that involves reading notes. Why?
I use baritone to teach students to read real music notation. We use guitar music (which is easy to find) and play the notes above
middle C (low string in the baritone is D above middle C).
You can use the baritone uke to teach reading notes on the guitar using an inexpensive instrument which is
easy for children to hold and transfers to the BIG, expensive and hard to hold (for kids) guitar.
i’m thinking of taking up the ukelele. I toyed with a guitar a few years ago and enjoyed the strumming but found that my fingers were too short to hit all the notes. I think the ukelele may solve that problem, but they are also chubby fingers, so i’m guessing a soprano isn’t for me?
Hey, I’m a singer who is hella intimidated by the few attempts I’ve made to sing and play an instrument, either piano or guitar. On a celebratory whim about 6 months ago I bought little yellow tenor uke (a Hula), and I LOVE it. I play it all the time. Tried a tenor uke for the first time a couple of weeks ago and definitely want to try more, and then maybe invest in a bigger, better model than I already have. My question is: if uke playing emboldens me to the point where I think I can take on guitar, is playing the sop or tenor in the standard c tuning going to make that transition really difficult? Should I be playing, say, a baritone, so its at least similar? Or does it not really make a difference? Second question: people keep saying its hard to find tab for baritone tuning- surely you coukd just work of guitar tabs? I pretty much do that with the sop, and sit and scribble the uke fingering onto it… but I’m not very advanced… will that not work as the songs get harder?
Lots of great questions, Heather. I recommend learning to play ukulele on a soprano, concert or tenor. The tuning is different than a guitar, but you’ll find that the finger positions will be very common between the two–you’ll just need to refigure some chords in your brain, which isn’t too terribly difficult when you go to make the switch. The baritone ukulele is fun, but there isn’t a lot of instruction focused to it, but like you said, you can just use the guitar tabs for music and pay attention to the bottom four strings. This takes a little bit of mental work as you might know. Overall, the differences between ukulele and guitar are few in the sense that the physical movements you learn playing the ukulele will equip you well if you ever want to give guitar a go.
Hey there Brett,
Great to read the comments and advice as well as tricks!
I tuned my Little Martin Tenor Guitar to Uke and it is awesome – so good – have a 4 string banjo and a uke in one bag!!
I really want a ukelele! My buddy has a concert and he’s a tenor singer. I’m a bass singer with bigger hands and I’m wondering if the Bari will sound nice to play alongside him? Or should I get a Tenor? Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
Hi Sean, the ukulele sizes soprano, concert, tenor or baritone don’t mean a lot when it comes to your own singing range. You can transpose any song on any ukulele to be in a key that is suitable for your voice. If you have bigger hands, I’d recommend the tenor ukulele. With the tenor, you still get that classic ukulele sound but you have some more room for your fingers.
I’ve been thinking about getting me a uke for some time now (family told me that a guitar’d be better and that ukes are kind of goofy and not as good….but I was gonna get one anyway because I know how awesome ukuleles are) and I gotta say, your post certainly helped me in picking the top two ukuleles I felt suited me best. Mainly, the Soprano and the Concerto. I’m a fairly tall gal, ‘5″5, with moderate-sized hands (and fairly long fingers). I think either one’d be fine for me, though I’d like to hear your opinion.
I do have a few questions. Regarding the minor problems with the Soprano: “Because the strings have less tension on a soprano uke, you might find it easy to accidentally bend a string out of tune.” How much of a problem is that? I think that was the only thing that had me a bit hesitant in choosing the Soprano uke. The Concert one is lovely, too. I like how full it sounds, but the Soprano’s just so….jolly and light. I’m having a hard time deciding. Perhaps your opinion could help? Oh, and one more thing: I’m a beginner and this will be my first ukulele.
Hi Noir, to be honest, it won’t be much of a problem if the ukulele you purchase is of reasonable quality. The cheaper ukuleles tend to have the biggest issue with this. As long as you aren’t too heavy-handed, you shouldn’t worry about this or let it sway you from getting a soprano.
For me, nothing beats the soprano. It is traditional, the beginning of all the ukuleles around! 🙂
I have two acoustic tenors, one acoustic/electric tenor, one electric tenor, and one bass uke. The tenor has a classic ukulele tone without sounding toy-ish. There are some nice concerts out there, but the tenor is just more versatile for my uses. I think my next purchase, however, will be a cavaquinho. It’s the South American predecessor of the Hawaiian ukulele. I played one a couple of years ago and absolutely fell in love with the sound.
I just bought a ukulele after traveling to Hawaii a few weeks ago. The people I bought it from were I believe to be Japanese and didn’t speak English very well so unfortunately I wasn’t able to know what kind of uke I was purchasing. So far I’ve determined that it’s a soprano, but as far as the make, I have no clue. The only leads I have is that hey only told me that the ukulele itself was made of real mahogany (which made it pretty pricy), if you look into the sound hole it says “Pacific Ukuleles” with a carving of a turtle underneath it and the Model was “ESU-05”. I’m really curious as to whether I got ripped off or not, but nonetheless I really do love playing it. So if anyone has any info at all about the uke I have it would be much appreciated!
I really want a baritone uke but lefty’s cost way too much. I can find affordable left-handed soprano ukes but not one with a compensated bridge. If I’m going to spend money on it, I want a good one. My wife has a very nice right-handed Mahalo which I got on eBay for about $40 (US). A left-handed Tenor would cost me three to five times as much but I found a nice looking Concert for about $80 so that’s probably what I’m going to wind up with.
Hey everybody! I have just bought a soprano ukulele. I am beginner at ukulele, but i play guitar so i hope this will help.. I just wanted to ask something.. I have complex with brands, and the ukulele i bought was a cheap one from a tourist shop. I have played with other soprano ukuleles and they re pretty mich the same.. So does it really matter.? It looks good and it sounds fairly well for its price, so could i rely on it?
HelloI I begon with a soprano, i have now 3 soprano, 2 concerts, 1 banolele (clarophone),1 banjo guitar and i want to purchase a mini guitar (mahalo) en try to make it re entrant.I played 30 years guitar and uke gave me the feeling you get in your midlife crisis when you dump your old woman for a chick 🙂 I play finger picking and the re entrant gives a lot of new possibilities.
Hey thanks for this information!
My daughter wanted a ukulele so my dad gave her one of his (a collector of instruments not particularly a player). Using your guide I think it is a baritone – 30.5″ long, 18 frets. My daughter loves messing around with it, but I want to start teaching her chords etc. thus I need to figure out which tuning…My dad had it tuned to ADF#B – can we get away with that?
Hi Victoria, my grandpa gave me my first ukulele too! How fun. ADF#B is a common tuning. What you’ll find that is a lot of instructional material (such as the lessons found here) are taught in standard ukulele tuning (gCEA), which happens to just be a whole step lower than ADF#B. It’d be easy to tune your ukulele strings down a note to match standard ukulele tuning, and if the result is not desirable, I’d recommend purchasing a set of strings made for standard ukulele tuning.
hi im ingrid and im only 11 years old i have a subject in school ukulele and im having trouble based on the history the parts and the kinds this website dide a lot of help
Can a tenorukulele become a “sopranoukulele” with a capo? You know with the chords the soprano-way?
I tried to tune my tenorukulele like a soprano – it did not end well…
Hi Hege, you can tune a tenor ukulele the same as a soprano in standard ukulele tuning (gCEA). Just make sure you purchase a “tenor” set of strings in standard tuning for your tenor ukulele.
Hye Brett, thanks for the information, I just started to play Ukelele when my friends bring it along with him to my place. I found that it’s so much fun to play this musical instrument, the sound was just awesome. I hope I can learn further because I’m still a beginner and there’s a lot more things to learn. I will follow your advice.. 🙂
I bought myself a Kala soprano 2 months ago and I absolutely love it! I’m 16 and I have small hands so I thought the ukulele would be perfect. I was able to pick it up pretty quickly. I also just bought an electric ukulele that should be coming in the mail within the next few days. It’s a tenor and I was wondering, how much of a size difference is the tenor from the soprano?
I own an Eleuke Peanut solid body soprano ‘electric’ uke, a cheap KeAloha soprano, and my favourite a Tanglewood TU4 tenor – with the original black strings that I’ve read are “so disgusting to play”. Funnily enough I’ve had the same black strings on this sweet sounding instrument for almost 18 months and they are still staying in tune and show little sign of stretching. It just goes to show; try the instrument yourself rather than relying on bias of someone else. What they may loathe, you might love!
Now to find a great baritone and a U-bass.
Thank you for the information in the original article as well as thanks to those who commented. This one webpage has helped me tremendously in choosing an instrument. I’m going to buy an entry level Kala KA-15S. It seems to have the best review. I’m hoping to strum along on it until my Son (now 2.5 yr old) takes interest.
Started with a concert, but as a bit of a guitarist, I found the baritone came naturally: it’s like a young guitar. For simplicity, everyone in our group uses gCEA or GCEA tuning. With new players, it avoids transposition issues. You need to get decent strings for the baritone to avoid breakages though.
Hey there uke players,
I bought a soprano ukulele, but I really want to sing along and I’m a contralto singer. Which uke should I get? I’m going to noodle around on this one for a while to make sure I want to invest more time and possibly more money in an instrument. The first song I learned is one of my favorites, You Are My Sunshine, but I find it hard to sing that high. Thanks for your advice.
Hi Marjorie, ukulele sizes have no real relationship to your voice’s range. Get whichever size you like most!
I want to buy a uke each for our daughter and me… We want to learn and play together. Should we buy the same one or different ones; which would harmonize well together? Soprano and a concert? Concert and Tenor? Ignore size… we want to know which ones will play well together. Thank you.
I have small hands and short fingers. I like the sound of tenor ukes. better than concert. I like it to be closer to the guitar sound. But have never played an instrument before. Should i learn on a concert, and buy one that has good wood quality? Or just buy a tenor. Thanks
This may have already been answered, sorry didn’t read all the comments. My question is this, I have a soprano ukulele and looking to buy one for my wife to learn and play along with me. Also the chance to switch between different units. So with this in mind for a nice sound for just the two of us playing together what would you recommend? Also, we have a guitar already, so not looking to go to a baritone. Thanks for your input!
Will a soprano ukulele fit into a concert ukulele’s case? There is this case I was looking at but, it said it was for concert ukuleles.
I just got my first uke. I got a concert size and am really excited to learn more than the 3 chords I know now. I have a 4 year old who says its the perfect size for her and she keeps jamming out on it. So I’m getting really good at tuning it. Will probably buy her a fun cheap soprano one so we can jam together.
I have a problem with E chord on my soprano uke. Is there an uke with wider neck?
Hey, Simon, a soprano ukulele will have the smallest neck. For a wider neck, I recommend going up to a tenor ukulele.
Hi Brett, I purchased an Ibanez tenor ukulele and am a beginner, I joined a group of ukulele players to learn how to play. The problem I have now is my husband plays base guitar and we play together but he doesn’t like the Hawaiian sound so I am seriously contemplating buying the baritone. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Hey, Penny! As you’re discovering, sometimes you just need to have a ukulele in every size! 🙂 There are many baritone options out there and most will depend on your budget. Some popular baritone brands on a budget worth checking out are Kala, Cordoba, Lanikai, Luna, and Makala. I play a solid mahogany Kala baritone ukulele that has a nice mellow sound.
I started learning on a Tenor, but switched to a Baritone after learning that my nephew who graduated from ‘Cornish School of Music in Seattle played a Baritone. I figured I might get a lesson or some help at times from him when he was not touring. He was mainly a horn player, but he played a lot of instruments and was a writer of music. As it tuned out after a too short marriage went under because of the touring, he got a degree in marine biology, and a permanent marriage and gave up music.
I stuck with my Caramel Baritone . Small enough to travel with easily, and you can use guitar sheet music when you can’t find something for the Baritone. I recently bought a ukulele bass after hearing one used by a touring blue grass player in a concert in Blythe CA, I don’t know anything about playing the bass yet but a bass this small makes the prospect a lot more interesting that the full sized fretless acoustic option, if you want to take it places with you.
I am new a playing a ukulele and i am also learning all the terminology so please bear with me.
I have a Baritone ukulele and a string broke so i changed it and i am unable to tune it, If i tune to a low “pitch” (sorry, i cannot think of the right word) the string bounces link a wet noodle and if i tune it to a high pitch, the string will just snap.
I’ll be getting new strings next week and the shop keeper can put them on.
I’ll be getting a clip on tuner as well.
Thanks for reading.
Hey Lewis, it sounds like maybe the strings are not threaded properly through the tuning pegs, or it’s possible the strings are not the right gauge (size) for your baritone. It’s also easy to mix up the strings, so I would double check you are using the correct string for the correct tuning peg! A local shop is normally more than happy to help with this to make sure you get set up with your instrument properly but also having a clip on tuner will help.
Hi! I’m really wanting to learn an instrument and I love the sound of ukelele. I am a woman with small, delicate hands with slender fingers and a “light touch”. I like the sound on the tenor best, but am afraid I couldn’t use it (they all sound nice). Do you think a concert or soprano would be better? Unfortunately, I know nothing at all about music and would be learning from scratch. I just want something I can enjoy playing solo and I’d prefer to be able to play some variety or find lots of music for it, but it isn’t a deal breaker. Loudness and cost aren’t an issue.
Hey Laura, if you have small fingers, I’d go with the soprano or concert! Probably would learn more for the concert if you ever want to explore fingerpicking the ukulele solo 🙂