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Thread: Why do people say sopranos are hard to play?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele Eddie View Post
    Generally no, it wouldn't be, because most of Jake's music leverages a lot of the real estate of a tenor fretboard, and a soprano doesn't have the same octave range.

    That's not to say that in the right hands somebody cannot shred on a soprano. If you're not familiar with him, check out George Elmes.
    I'm not sure what you're saying here, and because of that, I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you, but from the photos I've seen, Jake's uke has 18 frets. My soprano has 17. Both are strung reentrant, so they have nearly the same octave range. Of course they don't sound the same. Could you please clarify?

    I agree completely about George!

    When playing soprano or concert, and probably tenor too, it's a major benefit of you can bend the first joint of your finger and cover two or three strings at once. I can't imagine doing D any other way. And as mentioned, a wide neck can be nice. As far as difficulty goes, each size has its challenges. I find the distance between frets on anything larger than a concert difficult. The kind of music you want to play is a big factor in which size will be easiest.

    Having said all that I see no reason you couldn't try the acrobatics of any tenor player on a concert. I think playing like George on a tenor would be difficult! Playing like George on anything would be difficult.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziret View Post
    I'm not sure what you're saying here, and because of that, I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you, but from the photos I've seen, Jake's uke has 18 frets. My soprano has 17. Both are strung reentrant, so they have nearly the same octave range. Of course they don't sound the same. Could you please clarify?
    Sure, let me try it this way. The scale length determines how many frets are useable. The typical soprano is 13" scale or thereabouts. A tenor is 17". The longer scale provides a much wider range of useable notes available.
    Last edited by Ukulele Eddie; 11-13-2017 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Revised because original wording was misleading
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele Eddie View Post
    Sure, let me try it this way. The number of frets is not what determines the octive range. The scale is the determining factor. The typical soprano is 13" scale or thereabouts. A tenor is 17". The longer scale provides a much wider range of notes available.
    Would this not be determined by the number of frets rather than the scale length?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    Would this not be determined by the number of frets rather than the scale length?
    Fret placement is mathematically determined by scale length. The range from the lowest to highest note is constrained by the scale. There is a question of how many frets a luthier choses to provide, but the maximum number is limited by the scale length, though certainly usefulness comes into question as frets can get so narrow as to be useless. That's why you see some sopranos with only 12 frets and others with more. It's very challenging for most people to make worthy notes much above the 12th fret of a soprano.
    Last edited by Ukulele Eddie; 11-13-2017 at 05:57 PM.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  5. #15
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    A lot of fingerstyle, Jake and others, can be done in 15 frets. I have tried to play that style and the real estate is a little to compressed for me. However if you look at the late John King, the answer should be yes. What an amazing person and player.

    John

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wherahiko View Post
    Why do people say sopranos are hard to play?
    Sounds like beginners just parroting what they heard from someone else, who was also woefully misinformed...

    ...which happens often due to either ignorance and/or lack of hands-on personal experience.

    --

    A 17-18 fret soprano, strung either re-entrant or linear, when compared to concert or tenor with SAME number of frets and also strung/tuned re-entrant or linear to MATCH the tuning of the soprano, in fact all have the same 'relative note range'.

    To suggest that a 17 fret soprano and a 17 fret tenor have different note ranges when tuned/strung the same, is simply incorrect.

    I suggest that folks on this tangent check their facts with either a tuner or on Wikipedia via:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukulele#Types_and_sizes.

    However, as usual, the opinion of some folks will not change the facts of science, but the facts of science can influence those folks with an open mind, to change their opinions.

    Opinions are like the genes in our DNA, everybody's got some, which includes defective/recessive ones.
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  7. #17
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    ahoy

    don't think playing soprano
    is any harder than playing tenor or concert

    have tried all three
    fell in love with the sound and feel of soprano

    your results may vary
    offer not good in sector R or D

    yours truly
    mac

  8. #18
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    After a bit of experimenting with different size ukuleles (soprano, concert, tenor) I consider the concert to be the most comfortable for me personally. The concert is my every day player. To introduce some variety, I bought a soprano with 14 frets to the body and a wider 1.5 inch nut. Some stuff is easier, some is harder, but all in all it's perfectly fine. The soprano will serve me quite well as my outdoor uke that fits better inside my sea kayak. I will probably add a long neck soprano to get the soprano sound with the concert scale that I find more comfortable. I have a lovely tenor that I've tried to embrace, but it just feels too big for me, so I'm sending it on to a new owner. I think what's easy or difficult depends on way too many variables to classify.... like hand size, finger size, dexterity & flexibility, style of play, and personal preference to name a few.

    I not sure if this is a soprano or a concert, but this dude is having a lot of fun on the ukulele..... Australian actor who plays guitar and ukulele.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_SH5w2hZt4
    Last edited by RafterGirl; 11-13-2017 at 02:43 PM.

  9. #19
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    Well, I own Soprano, Concert, and Tenor ukes, and I find Sopranos a little bit cramped. Just personal preference, but that's why I say it.

  10. #20
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    Hi, MopMan!

    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    Would this not be determined by the number of frets rather than the scale length?
    We have always only 12 frets in the first 1/2 of the scale (see the figure below). We can not add many frets in the 2nd half. The only way to expand second half is adding scale length. We often shift neck joint from 12 to 14 fret.



    It is only 3 fret difference in this case on the figure. Soprano with low G string is larger range than high G tenor. Soprano is not bad at all.
    Last edited by zztush; 11-13-2017 at 02:57 PM.
    Kamaka HF-1 100

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