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View Full Version : Extended Fretboard on Sopranos. Yay or Nay



Pukulele Pete
11-11-2015, 01:26 AM
I have over a dozen sopranos , only one has an extended fretboard,
my Martin OXK . I love the uke but I dont really like the extended
fretboard . I'll play up to the 5th , the 7th , rare occasions the 12th, but I never play above that. Doesnt even sound good up higher.
Am I in the minority or majority ? Does anyone play above the twelfth
fret on their soprano ? Is the extended fretboard really needed on a soprano?

Jim Hanks
11-11-2015, 01:44 AM
Nay. It needs to be extended on the other end. ;-)

ukuleleden
11-11-2015, 02:11 AM
Though I am quite content with the 12 frets on my Brüko Soprano Ukes (and other 12-fret Ukes) and typically never go near the 13 to 17 frets on my Martin sopranos, I suppose it can never hurt having those extra registers on the fretboard... Sometimes you may just want to find a higher octave when you least expect it!

Regarding Jim's point about needing space the other way, that point is well taken. I like long neck (super) Sopranos too, but have really concentrated getting the best out of the regular length neck Sopranos over the last several months. The best answer is probably to have at least one of each: Soprano, Super Suprano or Concert, Tenor and eventaully a baritone... I haven't delved into the latter myself, yet.

wayfarer75
11-11-2015, 02:31 AM
Rarely. A soprano's sustain is limited, and going past 12 doesn't sound so good, like plucking piano wire. It isn't that the uke sucks or whatever, there just isn't enough real estate on the string to vibrate when it gets that short. This is why there are longneck sopranos (not to mention the other sizes), but I love the standard size for its classic sound. Songs that go much past 8th fret get played on a concert.

Ukulele Eddie
11-11-2015, 02:38 AM
Like any good answer, it begins with "It depends..." ;-)

On most, I've found them useless. However, on both my Kinnard and my Larrivee which have slightly longer scales (but not longnecks), I find them useful.

Rodney.
11-11-2015, 03:02 AM
Yay. Reaching the limits of your instrument is far worse than reaching your own limits.

WhenDogsSing
11-11-2015, 03:45 AM
Yes, and I'll never understand why all sopranos don't have at least 15 frets. I have one of the older Larrivee sopranos that is a 12 fret. I never play it for that reason and may very well put it up for sale for that reason. Other than that, it is a lovely, nice instrument.

Bill Mc
11-11-2015, 04:29 AM
I vote nay.

pluck
11-11-2015, 05:47 AM
I say nay but I mostly use mine for banging out chords.

lakesideglenn
11-11-2015, 05:50 AM
I say thee nay...if I go higher than 12 I get a nosebleed!

Inksplosive AL
11-11-2015, 07:08 AM
Playing for my own enjoyment I have hit the limitations of my 12 frets on my SEM. Nothing a fingernail holding the string to the body in the right place cannot overcome here and there.

Do they sound plinky that far up the neck hell yes but that's the beauty. If I wanted different I would grab a concert my tenor or hell just break out a guitar.

So while I will not walk from a soprano with only 12 frets I am now questioning purchasing another and the lack of extended frets is now part of the equation. So while only 12 frets is not a deal breaker, extended frets are nice and might add points when considering another addition to my family.

~AL~

Kimosabe
11-11-2015, 07:48 AM
Sometimes I play as low as the 12th on Lyle Ritz arrangements but what I like about an extended soprano fretboard is that it's really a concert neck and therefore my fingers have more room.

Basically, I'm a concert, tenor, baritone kind of guy, but I do have an inexpensive longneck soprano Ohana that I keep in A vacation home and enjoy it there.

Rodney.
11-11-2015, 08:20 AM
Sometimes I play as low as the 12th on Lyle Ritz arrangements but what I like about an extended soprano fretboard is that it's really a concert neck and therefore my fingers have more room.

Basically, I'm a concert, tenor, baritone kind of guy, but I do have an inexpensive longneck soprano Ohana that I keep in A vacation home and enjoy it there.

I think the OP means an extended fretboard on the body, not a longer neck. So there's still the same amount if room between frets. My Alic soprano had like 15 frets. Sold it. But as I stated before: there are times I encounter a 13 or 14 when reading tabs, and I rather not be able to play that because of my own limitations than the limitations of the ukulele. BTW, my bari has just 15 frets, which is unusual AFAIK.

janeray1940
11-11-2015, 08:38 AM
Instrumental-only player here, not a strummer, and for that reason I would never buy a uke that had only 12 frets - I play beyond the 12th all the time.

For a good while I was content with extended-fretboard sopranos, but recently discovered the concert-neck soprano and have never looked back. My sopranos had the join at the 12th and then anywhere between 5-9 frets on the extended fretboard - but discovering the concert neck with the join at the 14th and then 4 frets on the extended fretboard after that was... just life-altering :)

ScooterD35
11-11-2015, 10:08 AM
Same answer here as in the UMGF.

I've always suspected the extended fretboards on modern day Martin sopranos were a structural "cheat" of sorts to help keep the neck from moving. I don't particularly like the way they look.


Scooter

brimmer
11-11-2015, 11:16 AM
The answer depends on what you choose to play. My arrangements (the ones I create and those of others) rarely go to 13 and beyond, but I am up between 9 and 12 very often. For me, the most critical thing is having a clear tone and good intonation between 9 and 12 on all 4 strings.

One of my sopranos has an extended fretboard, and it fun to play up there. I have maybe ten arrangements that I play regularly that go up to 14 on the A string. I think it sounds nice, but it takes some extra practice to get a nice tone up that high. So my suggestion is to look at the arrangements in your collection and ask yourself is 12 enough.

Strumdaddy
11-11-2015, 11:34 AM
I like to "dig in" with my fingers when playing, and on a soprano sized uke my fingers fall right over where an extended fretboard would be. I need that space to get under the strings and pluck away. Otherwise I move my hand back towards the soundhole when picking, and back up to the neck join for strumming. I'd rather just leave my hand in one place - especially since that extra bit of fret area is rarely/never used, so an extended fretboard on a soprano would be a deal breaker for me.
I have been offered several free Martin 5k's in my time and have refused them because of those pesky extra frets.

Ukuleleblues
11-11-2015, 11:56 AM
I like to "dig in" with my fingers when playing, and on a soprano sized uke my fingers fall right over where an extended fretboard would be. I need that space to get under the strings and pluck away. Otherwise I move my hand back towards the soundhole when picking, and back up to the neck join for strumming. I'd rather just leave my hand in one place - especially since that extra bit of fret area is rarely/never used, so an extended fretboard on a soprano would be a deal breaker for me.
I have been offered several free Martin 5k's in my time and have refused them because of those pesky extra frets.I like the extra space under the strings too. I play concert but would like to find one like my old harmony's that are not extended.

Strumdaddy
11-11-2015, 01:22 PM
I like the extra space under the strings too. I play concert but would like to find one like my old harmony's that are not extended.

I have a Johnny Marvin like that. There,s a nice Roy Smeck on eeeb-Ayyy right noe. Check it out!!

[URL="http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE1930s-ROY-SMECK-CONCERT-SOPRANO-UKULELE-BY-HARMONY-/131647777238"]

PeteyHoudini
11-11-2015, 02:20 PM
I like having 17 frets on my Martin sopranos. My Kamaka longneck soprano has 18 that are quite accessible. I use them. The sound can get pretty dead up there on a soprano so you need to use it appropriately. I'm doing an arrangement of a Beethoven piece right now and I go up to the 17th fret!

Pete

Neal
11-11-2015, 02:27 PM
I'm a yes. I'll play any, 12 or 17, but prefer 17. Why not, it doesn't hurt, finger picking isn't compromised if you control your attack on the strings, but the key there is to practice your technique. Having said that, I think 12 is fine for most players.

ukuleleden
11-12-2015, 04:17 AM
Same answer here as in the UMGF.

I've always suspected the extended fretboards on modern day Martin sopranos were a structural "cheat" of sorts to help keep the neck from moving. I don't particularly like the way they look.


Scooter

I'm with you on the looks. Aesthetically and practically, I feel that I much prefer the 12-fret design, though I thoroughly enjoy playing my 17-fret Martins as well.

I'd need more info about the "structural cheat" aspect of the Martin for neck stability you mentioned, but I will say that as Ken Middleton's review of the Brüko #6 put it, the Brüko is extremely tidy, solid and faultless in it's build with that 12-fret design, as well as action comparable to the Martin S1. But I won't go into a full-on comparison review here, but I'll put up some picture of them side-by-side, and a link of more details pictures for those who may be interested.



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Extra pics link:----->> https://goo.gl/photos/3v1QESZmkHqV2VVp7