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Mivo
04-05-2016, 11:32 AM
Does anyone know the history of longneck ukuleles? How long have these been around, and who was the first to commercially offer them? :)

LarryS
04-05-2016, 12:57 PM
I'd also like to know when geared tuners took over friction tuners.

spookelele
04-05-2016, 01:27 PM
Whats the difference between a long neck and small body?

Jim Hanks
04-05-2016, 05:23 PM
Whats the difference between a long neck and small body?
Technically nothing, but pretty much nobody says "small body concert" instead of "long neck soprano". Best way to explain it is by example. What do you see in this video? Do you see three sopranos with normal, long, and longer necks? Or do you see a soprano, concert, and tenor with normal, small, and extra small bodies? Most people will say those are three sopranos.
http://www.theukulelereview.com/2013/03/18/hms-listening-booth-3-koaloha-sopranos-ksm-00-ksm-02-ksm-t2/

ukulelekarcsi
04-05-2016, 10:12 PM
I always thought it was a fairly recent phenomenon, starting in ca. 2004-2005.

I thought Dave Means (Glyph ukuleles) was the first to match larger necks to smaller size bodies with his MezzoSoprano (concert scale lengths on soprano bodies). The first to coin the phrase 'long neck' was KoAloha (at first tenor scale lengths on concert sized bodies) although they seem to switch to the 'supersoprano' and 'superconcert' designations. A third possible contender is Kamaka, who claim they built long neck concerts for employees and family members for some time, but only recently made them available for sale.

Given that brief history, it's nothing short of amazing to see how many brands today offer hybrids with longer necks on smaller bodies.

Mivo
04-06-2016, 01:44 AM
Very interesting, thank you.

Yes, I had noticed that in older materials (videos and a book) there are no references to the hybrids, so I had wondered how recent this approach was. I'm surprised it was only about ten years, though. Hopefully, manufacturers can agree on a name (the situation seems to be a bit like with the size that we call concert today). Personally, I prefer "longneck" over "super", because "super" makes me think of a bigger, larger body, not a longer neck (or smaller body, depending on view). The hybrids seem to be here to stay, not just a fad.

spookelele
04-06-2016, 04:44 AM
Best way to explain it is by example. What do you see in this video? Do you see three sopranos with normal, long, and longer necks? Or do you see a soprano, concert, and tenor with normal, small, and extra small bodies? [/url]

"Tenor" is a scale length not a body size. Same with soprano, concert, and baritone.
It's a clearly defined thing.

There's no definition of body size. A tenor risa stick, isn't a long neck sopranisimo.

Long/super/grand, what ever superlative you slap on the name.. that's a marketing thing.
Size is scale length, not body/volume.

Croaky Keith
04-06-2016, 05:02 AM
I am in agreement that they should be known by their scale lengths. :)

(Then by body size if necessary.)

ukulelekarcsi
04-06-2016, 05:32 AM
I am in agreement that they should be known by their scale lengths. :)

True, but unfortunately the way names are made up, usually defies that kind of logic. The 'mezzo', 'long neck' and 'super' terms start from the body size and only then say 'its a bit bigger scale length-wise'.

Ukulelerick9255
04-06-2016, 06:31 AM
You also have the opposite phenomena now with "jumbo" style ukes with a larger body than what's traditionally on a scale size ex tenor scale but a baritone body. I am receiving one in the next week from Beau Hannam with his Selmer style tenor...a baritone body on a tenor scale.

Joyful Uke
04-06-2016, 07:14 AM
What is the advantage of the hybrids? Does it effect sound? Or is it just to have the option, for example, of playing a concert if you are used to a tenor neck?

Croaky Keith
04-06-2016, 08:29 AM
I can only answer from my perspective, concert neck on soprano body gives me a little more sustain, more comfortable fretting than a soprano, smaller than a concert, easier to handle. :)

janeray1940
04-06-2016, 08:43 AM
What is the advantage of the hybrids? Does it effect sound? Or is it just to have the option, for example, of playing a concert if you are used to a tenor neck?

I mainly play two ukes: a low-G concert, and a reentrant soprano with a concert neck. It does affect sound - as a fingerstyle player I play high up the neck quite frequently, and on the longneck the higher notes have more volume and sustain than on a standard soprano. My longneck soprano also has the join at the 14th fret, which makes getting up there a bit easier, and I have 18 frets instead of the more typical 12-15 on a soprano.

As for sound, it's probably closer to the sound of a concert uke than a soprano (more volume, more sustain, a bit fuller) but still has a bit of the soprano "sweetness." I suppose I could accomplish the same thing with a plain old concert scale uke, but finding one that had the features of the longneck (14-fret join and >15 frets) might be difficult (and is not available from the maker I choose to play).

Mivo
04-06-2016, 09:17 AM
I don't have many samples to go by, so my experience is a little limited. Relevant in this context are the KoAloha Opio Concert and the KoAloha LN pineapple soprano, and memories of the soprano I sat down on. With those, the sound of the LN pineapple is closer to a soprano than to the concert, but it's probably worth considering that that the sapele Opio Concert has some tonal qualities of a tenor (it has full, big sound), so it's all a bit shifted. And the LN is a pineapple, which in itself sounds a little different from a figure-8 soprano. (Am I helping at all? :p)

The advantages of the LN soprano, to me, are the more comfortable concert fretboard with more "usable" frets, the slightly higher string tension (not as floppy as a soprano, not as uncomfortably tight as a tenor), and the more defined soprano sound (there is more "drive", more ring). I also find it more comfortable to hold than a regular soprano, though 90% of my ukulele time right now is spent on concert necks, so there is definitely the element of being used to that scale length.

cpmusic
04-06-2016, 09:22 AM
I can only answer from my perspective, concert neck on soprano body gives me a little more sustain, more comfortable fretting than a soprano, smaller than a concert, easier to handle. :)

This is my impression, as well. I find the soprano scale cramped and I prefer the 14-fret neck, as well. Also, the concert scale places the bridge further into the lower bout than on the usual concert body.

The tone is different, too. I have Kala's KA-SEM and KA-SLNG, the later of which has the concert neck, and the SLNG has a rounder, less boxy tone despite having the same body. I'm sure the SLNG's gloss finish has something to do with it, but if anything, I'd expect gloss to muffle the tone somewhat.

BTW, aNueNue makes a long-neck soprano in solid wood, but their laminated long-neck is called the Mini-C, for Mini Concert. I have one, and its body is slightly longer than those of my long-neck sopranos (I also have a Gretsch), but slightly is the operative word, and the Gretsch's body is deeper.

90018

Down Up Dick
04-06-2016, 10:56 AM
Ahhh, those long necks--good times with ol' Lone Star in San Antonio . . . :old:

joneo
04-07-2016, 08:26 AM
Does anyone know the history of longneck ukuleles? How long have these been around, and who was the first to commercially offer them? :)

I've been wondering this myself. I too, have tried looking it up, and the only thing I have found thus far is the same thing that ukulelekarcsi found; a short statement by Kamaka that reads that they have been making long neck concerts for friends and family for some time. I imagine that long neck sopranos have a similar history; but am really curious who started regularly making them for sale to the general public.

Personally, I find that the long neck soprano configuration is the best of both worlds when it comes to sopranos vs concerts. My Kala KA-KSLNG looks like a soprano, feels like a soprano, sounds most like a soprano, even fits in both my soprano hard case and soft gig bag, making it just as portable as most any regular soprano. *It will NOT fit in Kala's Deluxe Gig Bag that has extra padding*. But, it has the benefit of the longer concert scale length, which my long skinny fingers prefer.

Croaky Keith
04-07-2016, 08:32 AM
Re gig bag for the Kala KA-SLNG, mine fits (tightly) in a S.U.S. soprano, which is the same as the Stagg bag. :)

southcoastukes
04-08-2016, 01:15 PM
karcsi is right when he says this is a recent phenomenon. We started about 10 years ago, a bit after Katrina, and at that time there were almost none.

But I’d disagree with those who would define instruments by scale. Scale lengths aren’t standard either; Baritones have the biggest differences, but no exact standard is followed for the others either. They’re somewhat variable, the same as body sizes. So in that case I think it makes sense to define them in terms of the sound you’ll get, and while scale definitely effects sound, it doesn’t do so as much as body size.

When we started I believe only a few Sopranos were available, and again, I think karcsi may be right as singling out Dave Means as a strong possibility for being the very first. I don’t think any of the major makers offered long-neck Sopranos in those days, but I think a small number of secondary makers were producing by that time.

My memory is clearer on the other sizes, as I’m pretty sure when it came to longneck Concerts we were second. I remember Kanile’a having one before us and I don’t remember anyone else making them then. Also if Kanile’a didn’t invent the term “longneck”, I think they deserve a lot of credit for popularizing it.

I’m also pretty sure when it came to longneck Tenors we were the first. The only caveat is that around that time William King was experimenting with incremental changes in scale and how they effected sound. He was making some Tenors with slightly longer scales than standard, sometimes fractions of an inch, but generally around 18”. If that would be considered “longneck” as opposed to the sort of variation in standard on Baritones, then I think he could have been first with Tenors.

We even made a few long-neck Baritones, but we called them Cuatros. And with us, that’s where the whole thing came from. After a decade of seeing smaller 4-string instruments in “longneck” proportions (check the photos below), then you almost start to look at Ukuleles as “shortnecks” and that leads to thinking about the differences.

There are valid reasons for both short & longnecks – as always, it comes down to what sort of sound and feel suits the individual player.

9005990060


**********************

A final thought on Kanile'a. In those days no one thought of them as "Big K". They were very much a small shop - Joe, Kristen and maybe one part-time helper. It was not long after he got started on his own that I came back up from Central America. After buying, fixing up and selling a lot of vintage Ukuleles I started to get the feeling they just weren't as good a fit for me as some of those "longnecks" I had down south. At that point I saw this new company called Kanile'a and came very close to buying one of their first longnecks for myself. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and though Joe probably would have been happy to accomodate me in those days, in the end I started up an association with the Latin fellow who made our instruments for eight years until he retired.

But I think Kanile'a, being a small outfit in those days, was looking to get noticed. Those longnecks got them noticed, and Joe's success with them helped establish not only his enterprise, but helped establish those sorts of designs as well.

I do remember when down the road, Kamaka in particular, offered their first longneck for sale. Those who had been critical of the whole concept suddenly took another look.

cpmusic
04-08-2016, 03:16 PM
Re gig bag for the Kala KA-SLNG, mine fits (tightly) in a S.U.S. soprano, which is the same as the Stagg bag. :)

Two other soprano bags that will work with the SLNG are Hola, available at Amazon, and Road Runner, available at Guitar Center. The fit is snug, but not enough to worry about.

Nickie
04-08-2016, 03:40 PM
I've only played concert scale instruments. My newest uke is what I'd call a "short scale" neck. If I want to play up the neck more, having a very short pinkie that barely reaches long chords, would a super concert neck be too much of a reach for me? Is it the same as a tenor neck?

mmfitzsimons
04-08-2016, 03:51 PM
I try not to think too hard about the naming; that way madness lies. I have a Kanile'a "super tenor" with a 19-inch neck; the sustain is for days, and the tone is pretty unique too, though I suspect that's mostly due to an extra wide lower bout (wider than many baritones, though the total body length is typical tenor 12-inch-ish).

Owning that uke has been really a cool experience, because it kinda made me stop thinking of musical instruments as rigid categories, and instead think of them as a fluid continuum. Many baritones are 19-inch—if I string my super tenor DGBE, is it still a super tenor? I hope we see more and more difficult-to-define instruments as builders explore designs and tunings. I say baritone, Dirk says cuatro... but in the end the sound is what speaks for itself. :)

Jim Hanks
04-08-2016, 04:17 PM
If I want to play up the neck more, having a very short pinkie that barely reaches long chords, would a super concert neck be too much of a reach for me? Is it the same as a tenor neck?
Only you can answer the first question. For the second, as others have said "super concert" is not a well defined term. The Cocobolo Ukulele super concert is 16" scale. But I'd venture to say that most "longneck concerts" are standard tenor 17" scale.

Nickie
04-08-2016, 04:21 PM
Thanks Jim! You are always so helpful. I think I shall consider a super concert next time!

southcoastukes
04-08-2016, 05:26 PM
I hope we see more and more difficult-to-define instruments as builders explore designs and tunings. ... :)

Yes, this!

joneo
04-10-2016, 06:35 AM
karcsi is right when he says this is a recent phenomenon. We started about 10 years ago, a bit after Katrina, and at that time there were almost none.

But I’d disagree with those who would define instruments by scale. Scale lengths aren’t standard either; Baritones have the biggest differences, but no exact standard is followed for the others either. They’re somewhat variable, the same as body sizes. So in that case I think it makes sense to define them in terms of the sound you’ll get, and while scale definitely effects sound, it doesn’t do so as much as body size.

When we started I believe only a few Sopranos were available, and again, I think karcsi may be right as singling out Dave Means as a strong possibility for being the very first. I don’t think any of the major makers offered long-neck Sopranos in those days, but I think a small number of secondary makers were producing by that time.

My memory is clearer on the other sizes, as I’m pretty sure when it came to longneck Concerts we were second. I remember Kanile’a having one before us and I don’t remember anyone else making them then. Also if Kanile’a didn’t invent the term “longneck”, I think they deserve a lot of credit for popularizing it.

I’m also pretty sure when it came to longneck Tenors we were the first. The only caveat is that around that time William King was experimenting with incremental changes in scale and how they effected sound. He was making some Tenors with slightly longer scales than standard, sometimes fractions of an inch, but generally around 18”. If that would be considered “longneck” as opposed to the sort of variation in standard on Baritones, then I think he could have been first with Tenors.

We even made a few long-neck Baritones, but we called them Cuatros. And with us, that’s where the whole thing came from. After a decade of seeing smaller 4-string instruments in “longneck” proportions (check the photos below), then you almost start to look at Ukuleles as “shortnecks” and that leads to thinking about the differences.

There are valid reasons for both short & longnecks – as always, it comes down to what sort of sound and feel suits the individual player.


Thanks for the very informative post!

ukulelekarcsi
07-06-2016, 04:56 AM
You also have the opposite phenomena now with "jumbo" style ukes with a larger body than what's traditionally on a scale size ex tenor scale but a baritone body. I am receiving one in the next week from Beau Hannam with his Selmer style tenor...a baritone body on a tenor scale.

There's a fourth contender I forgot about, Brueko in Bavaria, Germany, who also offered longer-scale necks on soprano bodies in that 2005-2010 time slot. Interestingly, at the same time they also offered oversized bodies on their concert scale ukuleles (called exactly 'jumbo'). At the same time they used the same body size for concert and tenor ukes, resulting in half of their concerts had bigger 'jumbo' bodies than all of their tenors.

jollyboy
07-06-2016, 05:16 AM
I'm planning on acquiring a long-neck soprano soon - it's a toss up between the regular Kala laminate SLNG and the spruce top SSLNG. I want a beater, something portable, but with a scale my sausage fingers can handle. The laminate seems more practical - since the uke will be out and about, getting exposed to the elements - but I kinda like the spruce. Mim has a comparison review of the two up on YouTube, and the spruce sounded a little livelier to me.

Just selling a few bits on Ebay - and then I'll have some spare 'fun money' :)

Edit: If anyone has any recommendations for a cheap soprano gig bag that they know for sure a long neck will fit into I'd be grateful. Cheers.

hoosierhiver
07-06-2016, 05:26 AM
The first "long necks" I remember where from the now defunct Vineyard Music. They offered a soprano long neck about 10 years ago.

Uke Republic
07-06-2016, 05:50 AM
There is also one that Kamoa makes called the Grand Concert which is between a concert and tenor scale @ 16"

warndt
07-06-2016, 06:48 AM
The first "long necks" I remember where from the now defunct Vineyard Music. They offered a soprano long neck about 10 years ago.

I believe that one had a soprano body with a tenor scale neck...MGM was selling them.

hoosierhiver
07-06-2016, 08:01 AM
I believe that one had a soprano body with a tenor scale neck...MGM was selling them.

Yes, they were very cool and under-appreciated at the time.

sukie
07-06-2016, 09:14 AM
Thanks Jim! You are always so helpful. I think I shall consider a super concert next time!
Nickie -- do you remember my ukulele? It's what I call a super-concert (concert with tenor neck). The fret spacing gets smaller when you go up. It's not a problem. The problem for me was the other end. It was the extra spacing that was tough to get used to. Now it's kinda fun to play a regular concert because I can stretch across more notes.

sukie
07-06-2016, 09:18 AM
I'm planning on acquiring a long-neck soprano soon...

Edit: If anyone has any recommendations for a cheap soprano gig bag that they know for sure a long neck will fit into I'd be grateful. Cheers.
If a soft gig bag is all you want, and you can't find what you need? You (or somebody you know) sews, you can make a bag. I did it. Turned out great.

Croaky Keith
07-06-2016, 09:21 AM
My Kala KA-SLNG fits into a S.U.S. soprano gig bag, (just), same as a Stagg. :)

jollyboy
07-06-2016, 09:51 AM
You (or somebody you know) sews, you can make a bag.

Ah, I wish. I can just about put a button back on, or darn a sock (at a push). Bloomin' sausage fingers... :)



My Kala KA-SLNG fits into a S.U.S. soprano gig bag, (just), same as a Stagg. :)

Thanks Keith :) SUS look to be out-of-stock of their own brand soprano bag but they have got the Stagg. Looks ideal. I will almost certainly add one to the order, when I get the new uke.

PereBourik
07-06-2016, 10:14 AM
If you're seeking a padded gig bag, Access Cases Stage One bag for soprano & concert ukes fits my KoAloha l/n pineapple perfectly.

joneo
07-07-2016, 06:22 AM
I'm planning on acquiring a long-neck soprano soon - it's a toss up between the regular Kala laminate SLNG and the spruce top SSLNG. I want a beater, something portable, but with a scale my sausage fingers can handle. The laminate seems more practical - since the uke will be out and about, getting exposed to the elements - but I kinda like the spruce. Mim has a comparison review of the two up on YouTube, and the spruce sounded a little livelier to me.

Just selling a few bits on Ebay - and then I'll have some spare 'fun money' :)

Edit: If anyone has any recommendations for a cheap soprano gig bag that they know for sure a long neck will fit into I'd be grateful. Cheers.

I like the laminate koa KA-KSLNG personally. Also, it seems to fit most soprano gig bags I've tried- just not Kala's Deluxe model b/c the padding is too thick for it to fit.