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View Full Version : What is your favorite scale uke? 2018 edition.



jer
01-02-2018, 06:29 AM
IF you had to pick just one scale, what would you pick? Choose your favorite. I know this thread/poll has been done before, but I'm just interested in an updated version with all current members who will participate.

kohanmike
01-02-2018, 06:39 AM
My first uke about 4 1/2 years ago was a whim purchase, but when I started playing it, I found it difficult to form chords. I discovered it was a soprano and being that I played guitar for almost 50 years, I decided tenor was better for me. I went out and bought a tenor cutaway and that's been it ever since, gone through 23, down to 7 now.

SoloRule
01-02-2018, 06:50 AM
It’s all depend on the songs and level of difficulties.
If I must pick one I vote for tenor and I just clicked the voting button. That’s cool. I like having a poll

bratsche
01-02-2018, 07:31 AM
I picked baritone, though tenor is slowly growing on me. Tenor requires finer motor movements which I notice particularly in the right hand, but as it gets more familiar and I play it better, I like it more. Baritone is easiest and is still my go-to.

bratsche

Bill Sheehan
01-02-2018, 07:41 AM
I would have to go with soprano. All the scale sizes have their nice attributes, of course, but I like the challenge of standing (or sitting) there with nothing but that little soprano, so "minimalist", and making it "work" with whatever songs I can come up with that fit my ever-declining vocal range (usually songs I grew up loving during the sixties and seventies).

twokatmew
01-02-2018, 08:19 AM
I picked tenor, but I do like the baritone too, especially for finger picking. That said, I started playing guitar in 1968, and I began playing classical guitar in 1977, so I'm definitely not coming at this from an ukulele perspective. I might like to try a concert at some point, but for now I'm happy with my tenor and baritone. :)

buddhuu
01-02-2018, 08:51 AM
I find it really hard to pick between tenor and concert. In the end I went tenor for the slight volume boost and marginally more substantial tone.

mikelz777
01-02-2018, 09:04 AM
Concert! I never considered a soprano because my fingers were just too squished on the ones I tried in various stores. I loved the concert size immediately and still do. I bought a tenor but I was never able to bond with it. To me it seemed more like a guitar than the ukulele size and sound I was looking for. I ended up selling it because I never really wanted to play it.

Kyle23
01-02-2018, 09:13 AM
I'm saving my vote for when my first tenor comes in the mail later this week! Never played one before, but the concert has always seemed cramped for me. But between concert and soprano, definitely concert.

janeray1940
01-02-2018, 09:14 AM
I went for soprano, but only because my true favorite wasn't an option in the poll: longneck soprano! It's the best of all worlds for me, so much so that I think this year I'll be re-homing my two concert ukes in order to fund another longneck soprano.

Booli
01-02-2018, 09:28 AM
Tenor for me. First uke was tenor. Have others in scales from soprano to baritone. Concert is actually way easier for me to play, but I feel that it makes me complacent and going back to tenor is more of an adjustment. Playing tenor actually challenges my fretting hand more, and allows me to keep a good stretch for exotic 9th, 11th and 13th chord shapes, and going back to concert is not a problem.

However, I have some mild arthritis and neuropathy in my hands developed in the past year, and when it flares up, soprano is the easiest for me to play in order to keep my muscle memory and dexterity going. Without practice the arthritis builds up and my hands get atrophied and everything feels tight, so the soprano is more of a therapy session than a regular pay-time indulgence.

fowl
01-02-2018, 09:36 AM
I am old with very small arthritic hands. Many chords I cannot manually make my fingers bend the correct way. I went with soprano since it is the most comfortable.

DownUpDave
01-02-2018, 10:36 AM
Tenor scale for me, followed by baritone.

DownUpDave
01-02-2018, 10:39 AM
I went for soprano, but only because my true favorite wasn't an option in the poll: longneck soprano! It's the best of all worlds for me, so much so that I think this year I'll be re-homing my two concert ukes in order to fund another longneck soprano.

But the poll was "What is your favorite scale uke", so then it would really be a concert scale, wouldn't it??

janeray1940
01-02-2018, 10:44 AM
But the poll was "What is your favorite scale uke", so then it would really be a concert scale, wouldn't it??

I knew someone would say that, and I think it's technically correct, but - a concert body feels absolutely enormous to me compared to a longneck soprano, and really clumsy to play. So for me there's more to it than just scale length. Which is why I chose soprano, because if the question was phrased more like "you can only have ONE uke and one uke only, and your choices are limited to soprano, concert, tenor, or bari" I'd far prefer a soprano to a concert just for pure comfort alone.

Gary52
01-02-2018, 10:56 AM
I started on a tenor, but all my current ukes are concerts.

MopMan
01-02-2018, 12:26 PM
Voting Tenor. The sound and fret spacing just work best for me. I might also be slightly enraptured ATM because I just received a really terrific tenor courtesy of UU member Ed Gilkison.

I was tempted to vote "whatever uke is in my hands" but there was no option for that.

rappsy
01-02-2018, 12:28 PM
Tenor when playing songs that call for the chords in the lower 7 frets. After that, I love my Long Neck Tenor (a 19 inch scale that I play as a tenor and not quite a baritone). I am able to do many more chord inversions at the higher frets when playing the longer scale, which I do whenever I can.

sopher
01-02-2018, 12:44 PM
I got a fabulous Pono Pro Classic Bari early on and that sealed the deal for me. I'm a bari man, but I string it re-entrant and play the normal uke instrumental stuff like John King and Rob MacKillop. Campanella rules!

Jarmo_S
01-02-2018, 01:07 PM
I' m surprised to see that concert is leading this scale poll.

For me tenor would be much closer to guitar scale and I found it initially hard for me thee concert's short scale, especially because it is quite hard to solo melody play with different scale lengths.

Still, I have got used to my concert ukulele scale. I am not thinking of going to soprano. And I am able to fit my fingers for the chords too in my concert.

So after this post I go vote for concert.

Ukulele Eddie
01-02-2018, 01:10 PM
I knew someone would say that, and I think it's technically correct, but - a concert body feels absolutely enormous to me compared to a longneck soprano, and really clumsy to play. So for me there's more to it than just scale length. Which is why I chose soprano, because if the question was phrased more like "you can only have ONE uke and one uke only, and your choices are limited to soprano, concert, tenor, or bari" I'd far prefer a soprano to a concert just for pure comfort alone.

I agree. Body size can have a big impact on comfort, so it would be nice to include the longnecks. Right now, if I had to pick one scale I'd say it's my 19" tenor. That one isn't an option here. So I won't vote! ;-)

Lapyang
01-02-2018, 02:38 PM
Concert definitely, Soprano is a close second.

Nickie
01-02-2018, 06:22 PM
Still concert. I've owned all the other sizes, and they just don't work for me. Always, concert.

igorthebarbarian
01-02-2018, 08:42 PM
Concert definitely, Soprano is a close second.

Me too. The smaller they are, the easier they are to hoard too.

Croaky Keith
01-03-2018, 01:23 AM
Spent my learning time on concert & concert scale ukes in the main.

I've tried most combination of sizes/scales now, & have come to the conclusion that the best scale is tenor.

However, not the body size, that is more concert sized.

So my main players are small bodied tenors, long neck concerts, acoustic & electric, (& I just got hold of a steel string too).

Pirate Jim
01-03-2018, 01:28 AM
For comfort of playing I like concert and baritone scale lengths but for the sound I love the bark and fast decay you get with a soprano uke - gets me to play to the ukes strengths and sounds rather than play like I play my guitars, relying on that extra bit of sustain and smoothness. If I had to pick one I'd keep my sopranos.

Ukecaster
01-03-2018, 03:11 AM
.....So my main players are small bodied tenors, long neck concerts......

Is there a difference?

Osprey
01-03-2018, 04:20 AM
I have thought about what I play the most. Up until March of 2017 I would have voted Tenor. But since that time I would have to say Baritone, still love the Tenor but it’s no longer my main player.

RafterGirl
01-03-2018, 04:46 AM
Definitely concert. I've played soprano & tenor as well. Soprano works, but not as comfy as concert. I can't do tenor scale very well, but love the sound. So, I found a "short neck" tenor (tenor body, concert neck) that I should receive soon. We'll see if that satisfies my tenor craving?

Croaky Keith
01-03-2018, 04:57 AM
Is there a difference?

Oh, yes, they certainly are. :)

I have two acoustic long neck concerts, a tenor necked soprano, a RISA solid tenor, a RISA Uke Ellie tenor, & my recently aquired pre used Clearwater steel string electric.

Rllink
01-03-2018, 07:04 AM
I would have to go with soprano. All the scale sizes have their nice attributes, of course, but I like the challenge of standing (or sitting) there with nothing but that little soprano, so "minimalist", and making it "work" with whatever songs I can come up with that fit my ever-declining vocal range (usually songs I grew up loving during the sixties and seventies).
I voted concert, I guess because I picked concert to start with and I have two of them. But Bill's argument makes a lot of sense to me. I recently got a spruce top soprano and frankly have not hardly picked up my concert since I got it, pretty much for the same reasons that Bill states. If I hadn't already have clicked on the button, I would vote soprano.

frolicks
01-04-2018, 12:48 PM
I chose the concert scale. When I switched to the ukulele a couple of years back, I was used to the scale of a regular electric bass. At that time, I couldn't get happy with anything shorter than a tenor scale. And that's what I played for about two years, until a friend cured me from that believe by first handing me his sopranino. Of course, I couldn't get along with that at all. But after trying the sopranino for about ten minutes, his Glyph custom made soprano uke suddenly felt like a double bass in my hands. From that moment, I started enjoying the soprano scale as well.

But even the best custom made soprano can't make my huge hands any smaller, and although I am able to play regular, simpler stuff on a soprano, I still feel more comfortable with a longer scale for more jazzy or other elaborated stuff.
Now, I find most tenor ukes somewhat oversized, and I agree with the user who earlier wrote that his famous ukulele size is a soprano longneck. Mostly, because I often prefer the sound of a soprano. But for me, that means it's a concert SCALE, although size-wise it's a soprano.

However, the latest addition to my collection, just arrived earlier this week, is the Koaloha soprano with a tenor neck. Right now, I suppose she has a very good chance to be my favourite uke. So maybe in the next edition of this poll, I might vote for the tenor scale again. I think it's all constantly changing.

actadh
01-05-2018, 07:40 AM
Soprano for me. I started on a concert and have two tenors, but I always come back to a soprano.

PTOEguy
01-05-2018, 08:53 AM
concert for me - its where the string tension suits the music I play. Also, when I bought my Blackbird uke, the only way to get an ekoa instrument was to buy concert scale. And the Blackbird Clara does it all - put reentrant strings on it and it does a great soprano bark, the linear tuning sounds as good as any tenor for finger picking... wish I had two so I could keep one in each tuning.

Jarmo_S
01-06-2018, 03:12 AM
Aaah the scales. In my opinion a fretboard soloist has 2 things to learn. The scale and how to adjust mentally when going higher up the neck.

And I think maybe one can learn 2 different scales, like soprano and concert. Or concert and tenor. I would imagine the difference between soprano and tenor is maybe too large, that you would need to look where your fingers go?

When I got my concert I would always need to look, because I was used to guitar scale. Now that I have got used to it, i can play "blind", but noticed that now I need look on my guitar. Because the scale is so different.

I'm only talking about guitar like instruments where you have 1st, second , 3rd and little finger on subsequent frets normally. Instruments like mandolin that is tuned to 5ths, require a different attitude. Myself I don't know about it, but used to play violin as a hobby until I got tired of upsetting my neighbours lool.

stevejfc
01-06-2018, 06:10 AM
16" scale concert

Rllink
01-06-2018, 10:41 AM
When I first started thinking about playing the ukulele and was researching it I just got confused with so many opinions and options, so I picked concert just because it was in the middle, thinking not too small not too big. But I think that I have pretty big fingers, size 11 ring finger, I don't know how that compares to others, but I have not noticed any difficulty in fretting a soprano after four years of playing concerts. In fact, I was surprised that the soprano was a bit easier to play because I didn't have to stretch so far for some of the more spread out chords that I have to play sometimes.

TobyDog
01-06-2018, 11:16 AM
I voted for concert because that's all I've played at this point. I have 2 concerts, but I'm eyeing an Outdoor Ukulele(soprano) and a Tiny Tenor for 2018. So my preference could change once I have some more experience.

Chopped Liver
01-06-2018, 11:28 AM
I voted for tenor. I am not sure if it is because it is my favorite scale or if it is that I just like the way my tenor sounds compared to the others I have.

OK, this sounds really weird. I am a petite woman. 5'2" (on a good day). I have small hands - wear a ring size 4.5 and can reach an octave on the piano but not much more. YET, the concert and tenor ukuleles seem to be easier for me than the soprano. I have a hard time holding a soprano - too small. The small neck is harder, too. I can finger the chords fine, but it is just the holding of the soprano that is hard for me. I got a Pono soprano because the neck is a little wider, but it mostly sits in its case.

All that being said, I don't get to play very much - or haven't lately. I am trying to schedule it into my evening. I will have to test drive my ukes to make a more informed decision. But for now, I'm sticking with tenor.

I have never tried a baritone.

janeray1940
01-06-2018, 11:54 AM
I voted for tenor. I am not sure if it is because it is my favorite scale or if it is that I just like the way my tenor sounds compared to the others I have.

OK, this sounds really weird. I am a petite woman. 5'2" (on a good day). I have small hands - wear a ring size 4.5 and can reach an octave on the piano but not much more. YET, the concert and tenor ukuleles seem to be easier for me than the soprano. I have a hard time holding a soprano - too small. The small neck is harder, too. I can finger the chords fine, but it is just the holding of the soprano that is hard for me. I got a Pono soprano because the neck is a little wider, but it mostly sits in its case.

All that being said, I don't get to play very much - or haven't lately. I am trying to schedule it into my evening. I will have to test drive my ukes to make a more informed decision. But for now, I'm sticking with tenor.

I have never tried a baritone.

Installing a strap button makes a huge difference when it comes to holding a soprano - just sayin'.

Your post does underscore my earlier statement that it's not just scale length that makes a favorite, a favorite. Sounds like we're about the same size and I've got small hands too, and can reach chords just fine on concert scale - but as I mentioned earlier, a regular concert body feels enormous and clumsy (as does a tenor or a guitar for that matter!) for me. Ukulele ergonomics - could be a whole other post! :)

Chopped Liver
01-06-2018, 01:02 PM
Installing a strap button makes a huge difference when it comes to holding a soprano - just sayin'.

Your post does underscore my earlier statement that it's not just scale length that makes a favorite, a favorite. Sounds like we're about the same size and I've got small hands too, and can reach chords just fine on concert scale - but as I mentioned earlier, a regular concert body feels enormous and clumsy (as does a tenor or a guitar for that matter!) for me. Ukulele ergonomics - could be a whole other post! :)

Yep, a strap would help, but it doesn't help with the width of the neck. For some unknown reason, I like the larger body of the concert and tenor. Go figure! :)

dinghy
01-06-2018, 01:48 PM
ahoy

first and second ukes were concerts

was advised
not to get soprano
too small, just toys

third uke was soprano
right off just felt right

now pick up a concert or tenor
they feel like huge beasts

make mine soprano

yours truly
mac

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
01-06-2018, 01:50 PM
always interesting to see such polls being a builder.

buddhuu
01-06-2018, 02:11 PM
always interesting to see such polls being a builder.

I bet it really is.

As a non-builder I'd guess that sopranos are the hardest to get right. There can't be much margin for error there. (Probably wrong. My wild guesses tend to be! :D )

tangimango
01-06-2018, 08:37 PM
I like three sizes, #1 baritone, then #2 concert, then a #3 concert longneck. But if i had to pick one. Baritone. Buuuut, concert is best out of tenor or soprano.

Griffis
01-07-2018, 03:35 PM
I'm not truly an extremist but I only really enjoy the ends of the spectrum...soprano and baritone.

KamakOzzie
01-07-2018, 08:00 PM
16" scale concert

Funny you should say that Steve. I'm liking the 16" scale on the Ohta-San that I got from you.

That wasn't in the poll though.

Sharpshin
01-07-2018, 08:52 PM
I like sopranos, the intimacy of the size, the bark, the challenge of campanella on a soprano makes me laugh. Curling up in a easy chair with such a tiny instrument and coaxing satisfying noise makes me happy. Soprano size has allowed me to learn more about music and how it works because it seems more attainable...only 48 notes to memorize the fretboard seems less intimidating than a guitar. I also have a wonderful concert and rarely play it, too big to carry around or have one in every room. Tenor scale instruments just makes me wish I had baritone. I don't have a baritone for fear it would just make me want a guitar....and I have a guitar! The guitar rarely is played though I might get it out again...any minute!

Croaky Keith
01-08-2018, 12:45 AM
Most guitar players tend to forget about them once they start playing the uke - a baritone might just be your 'other' instrument. :D

jksk8in
01-08-2018, 04:03 PM
Soprano. Perfect string tension for clawhammer style IMO.

stevejfc
01-09-2018, 03:58 AM
Funny you should say that Steve. I'm liking the 16" scale on the Ohta-San that I got from you.

That wasn't in the poll though.

I miss it!

Croaky Keith
01-09-2018, 05:07 AM
The poll seems to be stacking up as I would have expected. :)

40% Tenor
30% Concert
20% Soprano
10% Baritone

ehood54
01-09-2018, 08:26 AM
I would have to go with soprano. All the scale sizes have their nice attributes, of course, but I like the challenge of standing (or sitting) there with nothing but that little soprano, so "minimalist", and making it "work" with whatever songs I can come up with that fit my ever-declining vocal range (usually songs I grew up loving during the sixties and seventies).
Definitely agree. I play entire sets on a soprano and just ordered a custom soprano uke with a wide 1.5" nut ...good for classical tunes, campanella style, chord melody jazz standards and clawhammer. No stretch , no stress.....just cool.

spookelele
01-09-2018, 10:15 AM
sometimes I really wonder how much of these, is
"I know what I like"
vs
"I like what I know"

When I first started on tenor, sometimes I would wonder about if I should be playing concert because some of the fingering I wanted was a stretch especially at first position.
But now my left hand index and pinky can span almost an inch wider than my right hand, and I don't feel that shorter would be better, and playing up the neck more.. makes the stretch pretty much moot.

People say that it's a hand size issue.. but then we see videos of tiny kids shredding the crap out of a tenor, and full adult men shredding on micro ukes, which stands in direct opposition to hands to small, or space too cramped.

But... one thing that is definite... a longer scale has more sustain, and maintains tone better up the neck.

bratsche
01-09-2018, 10:47 AM
For me, it all starts with what I want to hear.... low tones, check..... sustain, absolutely..... a wide good-sounding working range, yes, as I am all over the fretboard.

That's why I like baritone. And I'm a woman with small hands, so I have to make it happen, somehow. It means my left hand, besides being flexible, is constantly moving, seldom in the same place for long.... so that even when playing a single chord, I sometimes have to slide my hand up midway through it, to catch the treble notes.

We do what we must with what we have. :)

bratsche

bsfloyd
01-09-2018, 11:39 AM
I finally voted and chose baritone. Though my second choice, and I wish we could have picked two, is surely tenor. I do prefer the deeper timbre of the baritone, and being a guitar player I like the longer scale length. However, I'm currently in the market for an eight string tenor to tune in mandola tuning :)

Tootler
01-09-2018, 09:02 PM
I've not voted partly because it doesn't show up on the mobile version I'm on just now,and partly because I'm not sure.

I started on soprano and for a long time resisted getting a tenor and it was only when I tuned one dGBE I felt it had something to offer. Now I'm mostly playing my 6 & 8 string tenors and like the extra fullness they have so my sopranos have been somewhat neglected. My one concert is definitely neglected. I've only fairly recently got a baritone and I like it. It did take me longer to adjust to than the other scales, though.

I no longer feel I have a preferred size. They all have their qualities.

A thought:
Long neck soprano = small body concert
Long neck concert = small body tenor
Long neck tenor = small body baritone

Should we define them by scale length rather than body size? Then what do you call those of intermediate scale length?

Just a thought.

Croaky Keith
01-09-2018, 11:27 PM
Apart from what has become established, i.e. long neck & super, those being designations of the next scale up on any one particular body size, we usually go by scale length.

That is because it is the most important aspect to the player, (i.e. how far you have to move your fingers on the fretboard).

I now prefer to call my 'misfits' small bodied tenors. :)

I think I should also refer to my RISA solids (tenor & concert) as travel ukes. ;)

guitarman
01-15-2018, 01:33 PM
When I started playing, I was really into tenors. But now I'm gravitating towards sopranos, I really like the traditional punchy sound it has. put in some low g's and i can play all day. But i really like all the sizes. :drool:

bsfloyd
01-16-2018, 02:09 AM
But now I'm gravitating towards sopranos, I really like the traditional punchy sound it has. put in some low g's and i can play all day. But i really like all the sizes. :drool:

This has been in my serious thoughts as of late :)

Joyful Uke
01-26-2018, 10:17 AM
Favorite (at the moment) seems to be 16" concert. The good news is that there aren't too many options, which limits UAS. :-)

So, I guess I'd have to vote for concert, though that's really not accurate, since it's the 16" version that seems to work best for me.

Croaky Keith
01-26-2018, 11:55 PM
I'm finding the same with tenor scale concert body, not many about, so my UAS has come to an end. :D