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bsfloyd
12-02-2017, 02:11 AM
Hello gang! I am hoping to hear others experiences when switching from concert scale to soprano scale in terms of playability. From my guitar playing experience (I am very new to ukulele), I know that the shorter the scale the lower the string tension - physics.

However, just yesterday I was out still shopping for my first uke at our "not so" local Guitar Center (which was a complete waste of time) and was playing both concert and soprano scale instruments. What I was discovering is opposite of what I thought - that being it felt like the soprano ukuleles had a harder string tension over the concert scale instruments. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it is most likely due to too high of action at the nut? I just don't know if some of this has to do with possibly being unconsciously cramped up on the shorter scale length? Are there different string thicknesses for ukuleles the same there are for classical guitar - i.e. hard, medium, soft/light?

I would love to hear your stories and experiences regarding the topic and going from concert scale to soprano scale. Thanks!

Rllink
12-02-2017, 02:41 AM
I really don't have a story, but I recently bought a soprano after four years playing concert. It was a non-event as far a playability. I've been switching between the two as my mood strikes me over the last week or so and I haven't noticed much of a difference. About the only thing that has caught my attention is that for some of the more spread out chords I don't have to reach so far for them.

DownUpDave
12-02-2017, 02:49 AM
I really don't have a story, but I recently bought a soprano after four years playing concert. It was a non-event as far a playability. I've been switching between the two as my mood strikes me over the last week or so and I haven't noticed much of a difference. About the only thing that has caught my attention is that for some of the more spread out chords I don't have to reach so far for them.

Dude you finally bought a soprano and you didn't tell me what is was, I am crushed, lol:p Congrats Rolli, now go do a NUD.

Sorry for the thread jack, yes physics dictated that a short scale uke should have less tension than a longer scale uke. Soprano strings, if same make, are also thinner in diameter than a concert or tenor string.

RafterGirl
12-02-2017, 03:02 AM
My experience has been similar to Rllink's. I've been playing ukulele for 7 months, all on concert size. I got a soprano because I go sea kayaking a lot and wanted a smaller uke that would fit better inside my kayak. I got an Islander that has a wider nut to give myself a little added string spacing. Otherwise, I switch back and forth without much trouble. Somethings are easier to reach on the soprano and some are a harder fit, but nothing has been difficult. Concert is still my favorite and most comfortable size. To split the difference, I'm also trying out a long neck soprano (soprano body, concert scale). I did try a tenor and found the size too large for my short chubby fingers. I suspect what you were experiencing on the sopranos at Guitar Center was due to poor set-up and high action. Most ukes seem to come with stock Aquilla strings. They are good strings and many people like them, but I did find them to feel harder on my fingers than fluorocarbons.

Choirguy
12-02-2017, 03:53 AM
Check out Vic’s ukulele blog. He has been playing a lot of Soprano lately, particularly after going strong with Baritone for a while.

As for Guitar Center—it is basically the Wal-mart of the music world. They are in a lot of places, have the essentials, and prices can be good because of their purchasing in bulk. On the other hand, ukulele is an afterthought in many of those stores and they certainly aren’t setting up those instruments (adjusting action, dressing frets, etc.) as part of their process. Barry May (gotaukulele) frequently talks about how set up impacts shorter scale instruments in terms of intonation and playability.

My advice...my opinion...is to buy a ukulele from one of the awesome ukulele-centered dealers (Mim’s, Uke Republic, or the Ukulele Site), and many of them will be willing to talk to you about your budget and what quality instuments in their inventory meet that budget. I have dealt with all three and recommend them all.

The other option is a “starter” ukulele. My most recent recommendation is the Enya brand. Right now they have a laminate concert package, including a nice gig bag, for $46 plus 20% off for prime members. It was less expensive last week, but it is still a steal—I don’t know how they make any money on it even if labor costs are scarily low. You might want to buy other strings (I like Martin M600, available at Guitar Center, too), but that would be all you would need.

janeray1940
12-02-2017, 12:04 PM
I switch between soprano and concert scales pretty much daily and don't notice a lot of difference in terms of tension or playability.

As for strings - some manufacturers do make specific "hard" or "light" tension strings for ukulele, others do not.

igorthebarbarian
12-02-2017, 12:40 PM
They’re very similar in terms of feel for me too. Those are the two sizes my smaller hands prefer. Sometimes I even think that sopranos should be tuned up a full step to D tuning. So that’s another nice option to have. (Or a good justification to buy one!)

Down Up Dick
12-02-2017, 08:39 PM
I started off with sopranos, but later tried out concerts and decided that they were for me. I found the sopranos hard to hold and difficult to play. My eighter’s a tenor, and I like it too though I don’t play it much.

I’m really enjoying my baritone freestyle now, and, if something happened to my ukes, i think I’d just play baritones or maybe even a tenor guitar.

I mostly use my small ukes for singing accompaniment whenever I can sing without coughing - ahhh, well . . . :old:

Graham Greenbag
12-03-2017, 01:04 AM
My experience is similar to Rlink’s in that its mostly a none event and switching between Concert and Soprano is no big issue - just need to take a fraction more care positioning my fingers.

I started with Soprano, tried Concert and then (briefly) tenor and decided that Soprano fits best with what I’m looking for. Tenor seemed to be far too large a stretch for my fingers, but Concert was much better. My fat short fingers liked the stretch for chords on the Soprano best and fitted between the strings when I re-spaced them (30mm over the strings at the nut now). The comparative compactness of a Soprano is, for me, a plus too.

bsfloyd
12-03-2017, 01:55 AM
Thanks for the replies, everyone!! I appreciate the experience sharing. Excellent reads. I figured this was due to poor setup, and I know that GC is not one for this. Yes, the instruments they had in stock were all low end, I just wanted to get a feel between concert and soprano. I've been knocking around on a friend's concert scale and I actually didn't pick up a concert at GC, only soprano.

I am either purchasing from the forum's big three suppliers mentioned, or also keeping an eye on the used section here as well.

Also, thanks for the tip on Vic's blog - great videos on there to watch!