Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 45

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

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    FL, USA
    Posts
    471

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wherahiko View Post
    But a soprano's string length is almost identical to that of a violin, and that hasn't stopped people playing Paganini caprices on violin(!). (In fact, it's usually considered harder to play such virtuosic music on the viola.)
    That depends entirely on the person. While I'm certainly not a virtuoso, I began my playing career on violin, and switched to viola in my mid twenties. It suited me a whole lot better, and despite being a woman of average to short height and build, the tension problems I'd been having with violin melted away. Yes, I found it easier to play the same pieces on viola than violin. I'm convinced it's something rooted in the neck and shoulder posture. Anyway, years later I found that mandola suited me better than mandolin as well, to the point that my left hand was far more comfortable stretching to reach notes than it was scrunching down to fit a lot of fingers in a small space. And when I discovered ukuleles, I gravitated toward the bigger ones as well, for similar reasons. It's all good, because the lower tonalities appeal to me more anyway. Guess I was just meant to play the bigger instruments, although violin was great to learn on as a child.

    bratsche
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele Eddie View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by zztush View Post
    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.
    I get what you are saying: extra frets may not be useful on a soprano because the spacing will be tight. Whether they exist is influenced by the scale length of the instrument and whether they are usable depends on your dexterity. But those extra frets do determine the effective range of the instrument.

    To answer OP wherahiko's original question then, it might be best to suggest that soprano ukuleles and larger scale instruments might better suit different styles of play. If you want to use 100% of your fretboard real estate, a soprano may well be more difficult to play depending on your personal physiology and skill. If you are just strumming on the first 5 frets, then it all comes down to preference.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sweet Home Osaka Japan
    Posts
    580

    Default

    Hi, viola (bratche)!

    When anyone talks about the size of instruments, I always recall Inotomo. She is superb musical in Japan. Her instruments are guitalele and Gibson's jumbo guitar. I prefer small guitars and ukulele.

    Kamaka HF-1 100

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
    Posts
    2,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    I get what you are saying: extra frets may not be useful on a soprano because the spacing will be tight. Whether they exist is influenced by the scale length of the instrument and whether they are usable depends on your dexterity. But those extra frets do determine the effective range of the instrument.

    To answer OP wherahiko's original question then, it might be best to suggest that soprano ukuleles and larger scale instruments might better suit different styles of play. If you want to use 100% of your fretboard real estate, a soprano may well be more difficult to play depending on your personal physiology and skill. If you are just strumming on the first 5 frets, then it all comes down to preference.
    Well said.

    Another point is that a soprano body will not have the same resonance as a tenor body which would also make it challenging to reproduce the sound of certain music composed on a tenor and availing itself of much of the fretboard real estate.
    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. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Sunny Jersey - where the cows come from!
    Posts
    1,094

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wherahiko View Post
    There are many comments on the internet, here and elsewhere, suggesting that "sopranos are hard to play". They usually mention the close fret spacing and short string length. But a soprano's string length is almost identical to that of a violin, and that hasn't stopped people playing Paganini caprices on violin(!).
    A classic example of not comparing like-to-like and making an invalid conclusion!

    Take a statement out of context or abbreviated and you can make spaghetti taste like steak!

    Sopranos are "hard to play" when fretting four-finger chords with big fingers ... simple arithmetic ... they just won't fit comfortably.

    Violins are primarily used to play melodies, mostly one note at a time ... finger-size doesn't come into it.

    String a soprano ukulele like a violin (AKA 5th's tuning, GDAE) and you'll be able to play Paganini caprices using the same fingering that you would on a violin ... you'll need an adept right hand and it won't sound the same, but it could be done!
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sweet Home Osaka Japan
    Posts
    580

    Default

    Hi, Dave!

    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Where is the "can of worms" Emoji when you need one
    Here we have a can of worms!

    Kamaka HF-1 100

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    287

    Default

    Great discussion that I think may have cured my UAS as it has clarified so many things for me.
    Last edited by keod; 11-14-2017 at 03:55 PM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
    Posts
    4,026

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zztush View Post
    Hi, Dave!



    Here we have a can of worms!

    Thanks ZZ

    I will give my 2 cents. A soprano is harder for "me" to play cleanly then a tenor because of the tight fret spacing, especially above the 5th fret. There are many excellent players that do a great job well up the neck on a soprano, I am not one of them.

    Sopranos are fun to play, the small size makes it comfortable and relaxing to play and hold.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa/San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    2,702

    Default

    I love drama, especially violin drama. I don't know all the math when it comes to ukulele scales. And I don't do a lot of comparison studies, because I don't have a very big selection of ukuleles to compare to each other. Besides, my brain doesn't work that way anyway. But I play a concert, and my one and only ukulele student has a soprano. Because she likes to be plugged in so she can be a rock star, and because her little soprano doesn't have a pickup, when she comes for lessons we trade. I have not even noticed the difference between the two when it comes to playing them. And evidently she hasn't either, because we go back and forth between the two and neither of us seem to suffer because of it. Furthermore, I'm not playing up above the 12th fret anyway. I mean, if someone is playing above the 12th fret, they aren't doing what I'm doing. I'm playing songs and singing them, not dinking around up there in the high notes, so for me that isn't an issue. That has been my limited experience.
    Last edited by Rllink; 11-14-2017 at 04:46 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LEY9E_W5sw

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    6

    Default

    For me the advantage of the tenor vs. the soprano comes in the sound I get out of notes beyond the 7th fret. I play pretty low cost instruments so it may not by an issue on higher quality ukes. I found anything on 10th/12th fret was way too plinky on a soprano. I still love it for strumming away chords. I want to see if the longer neck sopranos do a little better with the higher notes.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •