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Jerryc41
04-04-2018, 03:37 AM
For decades, when you said "ukulele," you were talking about a soprano. All sorts of people played this little instrument, although the concert and tenor sizes were available. Now, the soprano is the third most popular size, after the concert and tenor, which is the most popular size.

Although many people say their hands and fingers are too large to play a soprano, I wonder if "the big boy factor" is at work here. If you want to start a six-year old on the uke, you're not going to give him a baritone or a U-bass. You'll give the little kid a little uke - the soprano. Since you're a fully grown adult, maybe you don't want to be seen playing a child's instrument.

I know there are legitimate reasons why people choose the tenor, the sound, for example, but couldn't the big boy factor enter into it?

I have equal numbers of sopranos and tenors, with concerts close behind. I have a sopranino, as well.

spookelele
04-04-2018, 05:14 AM
big boy factor had 0 influence on my decision to play tenor.

No matter what size uke you play, to a non-uke player its going to be a toy guitar. Really for someone that isn't familiar with a uke, they don't see the couple inch scale difference.

I picked tenor because of the bigger sound. Not the bigger size.

I dont know that I buy the hand size thing. Children playing full size classical or electric guitars really fly in the face of the idea that tenor is too big for a kid. Most commonly, kids get soprano's because they are cheaper.

And as for space... I play up at the joint alot, and thats smaller than open on a soprano, so I don't think soprano is too small.

Croaky Keith
04-04-2018, 05:27 AM
Todays well known players are usually seen playing tenor, & that is why newbies think it's the one for them. ;)

I like the baritone sound, but todays baritones have a 20" scale, not the 19" which is much more comfortable to me, but you can't really spread out in a comfy arm chair with it - but you can with a tenor. :)

I like the tenor scale, but not so much the body size, so my main ukes are tenor scale & concert body, perfect for me.

When learning, & when I occasionally strum, the concert scale is good, & I do like the soprano sound also, so I have long necks (tenor & concert) in my collection, but I realised that I just didn't get on with a regular soprano scale.

Rllink
04-04-2018, 05:33 AM
I think that may have been something I thought about a bit, but not a specific size of ukulele, just ukuleles in general. Mostly I wanted to mess with my classical guitar playing buddy and his friends who were trying to get me to play classical guitar. I knew nothing about ukuleles at the time and had all kinds of reasons that I should get one size over the other, but I wasn't able to decide, so I just went for the middle one. Recently I bought a soprano, and I don't feel like it is a kid's instrument.

Osprey
04-04-2018, 05:39 AM
Most of my ukulele acquisitions have been tenors. I think the “Big Boy Factor” may have had something to do with that choice in the beginning. I also watched some videos of ukulele players and most played tenor. The last year I have switched mostly to Baritone. I have two. I retuned one of my tenors to re-entrant Baritone tuning and hardly play the other remaining tenor. I have been thinking of reforming that tenor and picking up a decent Soprano. So I guess I am mostly over worrying about being a Big Boy.

kerneltime
04-04-2018, 05:53 AM
Not for me.. my fav uke at the moment is a super soprano and I use a flea concert on trips. Tenors are for a bigger sound.. size is just the outcome of the desired sound.. if anything sopranos are great for frequent playing to practice and tenors are better for an audience.

kohanmike
04-04-2018, 06:51 AM
I played guitar for almost 50 years. I bought a uke on a whim and tried playing it, but it was too cramped for me. Turns out it was a soprano, I didn't know about sizes at the time. I went to Sam Ash and tried a few and found that tenor was most comfortable for me.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

bazmaz
04-04-2018, 09:30 AM
I came to uke from guitar. I own all sizes, but by far the most are sopranos, which are also my favourite to play. For me it’s the original and I like the heritage and percussive sound.

I don’t give a damn about image.

70sSanO
04-04-2018, 02:48 PM
As a person plays up the neck the real estate and even the sound tends to diminish, the great John King notwithstanding, with a soprano or even a concert.

In a sense, all scales are the same mathematically, it just depends on where you put the nut.

John

SA Condor
04-04-2018, 05:26 PM
I’m new to the Uke, so I haven’t formed an opinion as to which size works best for me. That being said, my first Uke I purchased was the Romero XS Soprano, so even though I’m coming from a guitar background, no ‘big boy’ image problems here!

Booli
04-04-2018, 09:36 PM
I currently play all sizes from soprano to baritone.

Coming from 35+ yrs of playing guitar, the tenor scale was most comfortable for me to play as a uke newbie.

I acquired the other instruments for their different sound qualities, and to use as tools in my songwriting.

If folks who are ignorant want to ridicule me for my instrument, they can either show me how well they can play, or just shut the hell up and get away from me.

I don't give a rat's axx if other folks think it's a toy, for to me, that's both confirmation bias and willful ignorance.

It's their loss.

I play and also write music as a cathartic therapy for myself.

I don't do anything to try and impress others. they can love it or leave it.

flynnguy
04-05-2018, 02:22 AM
I originally bought (and still have) a soprano but I just found it too cramped for me. I like the size and I like the sound but sometimes I just have trouble cramming all my fingers on it the right way. Picked up a concert size and it's a much better fit for me. I think eventually I'll have at least one in each size but for now my concert gets the most play time.

I'll also agree with Booli, I play the Uke for myself, I don't care what other people think.

Rllink
04-05-2018, 03:59 AM
Who sees people playing their ukuleles to even have an opinion of it? A large number of ukulele players that I've come across, in person or on the internet, hardly ever play their ukuleles outside the privacy of their own home, and if they do, they play it in a group of other ukulele players. There's safety in numbers, you know. Most people would wonder, "they never come outside," before they would think, "they're in there playing one of those little ukuleles." And who ever comes up to a ukulele player and makes fun of them? I've never had anyone make fun of my ukulele. I guess what I'm getting at is that any sense of insecurity that one might have about playing a ukulele probably comes from within, not from the outside. I'm sure there is someone now who will say that they have been sneered at in public because they had a ukulele, but again, there is about as much likelihood as someone making fun of my bald head, and that has only happened once, in 1994, and the guy was drunk.

Peace Train
04-05-2018, 02:55 PM
The soprano sound is what attracted me to ukulele from the beginning. The more I listened to sound recordings though, I found that I also enjoyed the rich, full sound of tenor as well.

So I had my mind set on starting out with a soprano and eventually moving into a tenor...until my fateful trip to a local music store. That’s when the salesman flat out said (repeatedly) that men don’t play soprano and I needed to get a concert or tenor.

I thought to myself, “What a jerk” and kept reaching for a soprano if only to compare with the other two. To make a long story short: Even though I preferred the form factor of the soprano, I eventually succumbed to my ears’ ultimate preference and ordered a tenor. Online. I vowed not to buy from the music store. But I also thought I’d just do it in reverse and eventually move into a soprano one day.

So yes, there is a Big Boy Factor at play. For some. This may be due to perception, conditioning, insecurity, or a combination thereof. But I don’t think it holds true across the board, especially when you factor in popularity and what’s currently in vogue with the recording industry, tv, and so forth.

Lapyang
04-06-2018, 01:11 AM
I play all sizes. From sopranino to Baritone. I prefer smaller sizes, I like the lower string tension and the intimate feeling of holding a Soprano. Big Boy Factor has nothing on me.

RafterGirl
04-06-2018, 03:30 AM
I play mainly concert scale. I tried tenor and didn’t care for it. I got an Islander laminate soprano to take on sea kayak trips. I chose the Islander for the 1.5 nut to avoid being cramped Since kayak season is approaching I’ve been playing the soprano more lately & find it pretty comfy. I thought about getting a long neck soprano, but now think the wider nut soprano is just fine.

SteveZ
04-06-2018, 06:54 AM
After going from several decades of guitar to the mandolin, the transition to uke occurred in trying to turn a soprano uke into a 4-string "travel mandolin." That led me to other uke sizes, as the 4-string concept versus the 6-string guitar was much more comfortable for these old hands and semi-arthritic fingers. The comfort with the 4-string concept further led me to the tenor guitar and tenor banjo.

These days find me going most often back-and forth from: 1) tenor guitar to tenor uke (6 and 8 string), and 2) tenor banjo to tenor banjo-uke. Everything is tuned CGDA for convenience and imoroved muscle memory.

There are a couple concert-scale ukes in the stable, but the tenors get the most time.

Agreeing with Booli, the music is a personal choice not influenced by others' opinions. It's all a source of relaxation rather than a means for praise or ego inflation.

RafterGirl
04-06-2018, 07:33 AM
This is my experience regarding people’s perception of ukuleles. I got one to take camping. Then I found groups, jams, and workshops to play with others, and grow in knowledge & skills. Then I decided to be brave and ask about joining the worship band at my church. I wasn’t sure how I’d be received. They had a piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and singers. I explained that I wasn’t a singer and I just wanted to expand my horizons and “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” They welcomed me with open arms, and have been super accepting of my uke’s contribution to the group. Up against the electric guitar, I rarely stand out, but add “sparkle” to the overall sound. On Easter Sunday we played Hallelujah with Easter lyrics. We staggered the instruments & singers with the female lead singing alone with the piano on the first verse. I came in on the second verse with all 3 female singers. Then we added the guys and the other guitars with each verse. We all sang the chorus. It sounded awesome. I guess my uke finally got to shine because I had multiple people approach me after the service to compliment my playing. But each one asked the same question....what is that instrument you are playing? When I told them it was a ukulele they were amazed. They had never heard one before or had a different idea about how one sounded. I felt good about bringing the joy & sound of the ukulele to people’s attention.

spongeuke
04-06-2018, 07:35 AM
I have big hands 10 1/2 from thumb to little finger tips and 8 1/2 form birdie to heel. On a soprano there is no problem for me to find room for my finger tips and barring is easy. I play a high G soprano primarily because of the sound that I produce with my strumming patterns. I do use a Baritone to play mainly tragic ballads and such.
I guess it is more of a happy verses sad choice.

Booli
04-07-2018, 03:37 AM
Who sees people playing their ukuleles to even have an opinion of it? A large number of ukulele players that I've come across, in person or on the internet, hardly ever play their ukuleles outside the privacy of their own home, and if they do, they play it in a group of other ukulele players. There's safety in numbers, you know. Most people would wonder, "they never come outside," before they would think, "they're in there playing one of those little ukuleles." And who ever comes up to a ukulele player and makes fun of them? I've never had anyone make fun of my ukulele. I guess what I'm getting at is that any sense of insecurity that one might have about playing a ukulele probably comes from within, not from the outside. I'm sure there is someone now who will say that they have been sneered at in public because they had a ukulele, but again, there is about as much likelihood as someone making fun of my bald head, and that has only happened once, in 1994, and the guy was drunk.

I've had people literally laugh in my face if/when I told them I play ukulele.

Then I start playing. Sometimes I see jaws dropping, other times I see folks giggling/pointing at me in a ridiculing manner.

When it's friends and family that have this reaction, it's demoralizing. I think of these specific people as first-class a-holes now. They are not worth my time. Toxic people are removed from my life ASAP.

They all will be deprived of my music unless they opt to buy it on iTunes or Amazon when I eventually publish and distribute the fruits of my songwriting efforts.

Until then, I will reserve public ukulele playing for when I know for sure that I am in the welcome presence other uke players.

Iulia
04-07-2018, 04:05 AM
I'm sort of the opposite - one of the reasons I like sopranos is they are cute :D

I do get how the extra resonance of the tenor appeals - I do wonder if I'm missing something when I listen to good players.

They can sound like a small guitar though rather than a uke. Which is ok, guitar is nice :-)

RafterGirl
04-07-2018, 04:14 AM
I've had people literally laugh in my face if/when I told them I play ukulele.

Then I start playing. Sometimes I see jaws dropping, other times I see folks giggling/pointing at me in a ridiculing manner.

When it's friends and family that have this reaction, it's demoralizing. I think of these specific people as first-class a-holes now. They are not worth my time. Toxic people are removed from my life ASAP.

They all will be deprived of my music unless they opt to buy it on iTunes or Amazon when I eventually publish and distribute the fruits of my songwriting efforts.

Until then, I will reserve public ukulele playing for when I know for sure that I am in the welcome presence other uke players.

The jaw dropping reaction was what I got at church last Sunday. It was a rare occasion to have just me & my uke, our female singers, and the piano for a verse of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. People's reaction was interesting. Some had heard ukuleles before & had some had not, but they all were surprised by how nice it sounded & they all were very complimentary. I really have no qualms about blending in with the rest of the band. Being a novice at public performance, that's my comfort zone. I'm there to use something I have a passion for in worship. But it was nice to have the ukulele sound stand out & get noticed in a positive way.

To the point of this thread ......play whatever size ukulele is comfortable for you & whatever makes you happy. Play alone to soothe your soul, or play with others for fun and a sense of community. Play for others to uplift them & make them smile. If someone belittles your ukulele as "just a toy" then the loss is theirs.

Booli
04-07-2018, 04:19 AM
The jaw dropping reaction was what I got at church last Sunday. It was a rare occasion to have just me & my uke, our female singers, and the piano for a verse of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. People's reaction was interesting. Some had heard ukuleles before & had some had not, but they all were surprised by how nice it sounded & they all were very complimentary. I really have no qualms about blending in with the rest of the band. Being a novice at public performance, that's my comfort zone. I'm there to use something I have a passion for in worship. But it was nice to have the ukulele sound stand out & get noticed in a positive way.

To the point of this thread ......play whatever size ukulele is comfortable for you & whatever makes you happy. Play alone to soothe your soul, or play with others for fun and a sense of community. Play for others to uplift them & make them smile. If someone belittles your ukulele as "just a toy" then the loss is theirs.

Thank you very much.

I am both inspired and filled with joy that YOUR playing uke in the Church band is both personally fulfilling for you, and has also been admired by those listening.

This is the true gift of sharing the music. :)

UkerDanno
04-07-2018, 04:31 AM
I love playing my old Martin, it's probably the most fun to play for me. If I had to go through life with one ukulele, I think I'd have to pick the old Martin. I typically prefer concert size, it's a little easier to play for me. I tried tenor, but just don't like the longer space between frets.

Rllink
04-07-2018, 10:58 AM
I've had people literally laugh in my face if/when I told them I play ukulele.

That's crazy. I've never had anyone laugh at me when I told them I played the ukulele. I've had people who didn't take it seriously. I mean, no one has ever just immediately thought that I am some serious musician because I play the ukulele, but never a laugh or even a snicker. But then I don't take myself as a serious musician either, so that doesn't really bother me. Now tap dancing, that's another thing. When I tell my friends that next week I'm going to start tap dancing lessons, I've gotten some laughs. Just thinking about me tap dancing make me laugh.

ripock
04-07-2018, 11:44 AM
My goodness! This thread is quite popular. I suppose the Big Boy factor influenced me. When I decided to play ukulele, it was a solely intellectual conception. I didn't go play any or anything like that. I just decided to play and I decided to play tenor because the soprano seemed like a toy to me--like a plastic harmonica in the toy aisle of the grocery store. The soprano sounded tinny, I said to myself. It sounded like playing a guitar between the bridge and the tail-piece. So, based solely on a prejudice that I conjured out of thin air, I committed to the tenor scale and to this day that is what I have in my stable. However I have learnt that the lion's share of that initial prejudice was false, but the damage is done. I am a tenor fanatic and I can't play the soprano without squenching up my hand. Despite how I arrived at this point, I just enjoy the result and play my tenors, even though I now hold no bad thoughts about the soprano.

As for people ridiculing me. If they say they saw me playing my guitar on the porch, I let them simmer in their own ignorance. I don't tell them it is actually a ukulele. I guess the spectres of Tiny Tim or George Formby loom as menaces on the edge of my consciousness and fearing to be associated with them, I am taciturn about this lifestyle.

drbekken
04-10-2018, 10:20 AM
I like the soprano and the baritone best. The mid-sized concert and tenor never had the same appeal. String tension is the deciding factor for me. No 'big boy' stuff.

kitsunegarcia
04-10-2018, 11:06 AM
No Big Boy factor for me. I just went into a uke shop and tried out a bunch of them. The concert seemed the best fit for my size for my first uke. I have since bought many different sized ukes. Ironically, I play a tenor scaled uke and a soprano the most though!

And I too have encountered other people laughing at me for playing the ukulele at open mikes, mostly guitarists who take themselves too seriously. But they usually stfu after the performance. (And really if they are *that* good why are they even at an open mike?) I'm starting to see more and more ukuleles at open mikes in my area. It's sort of like being in a gang where all the uke peoples sit together even if they don't know each other and give each other support.

rubykey
04-10-2018, 12:05 PM
I haven't been laughed at, except by one idiot who started singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips. But I do often get ignored in music jams. I have big pipes and a good repertoire of songs so I Stand My Ground. But countless times I get skipped over if I don't speak up. I play my ukulele proudly. I work at it a lot and spend a fair amount of time around musicians. The good ones pay attention and respect that I keep improving. As for the big boy Factor, yes the boys seem to be the worst offenders. I was at a party recently and two women who are great musicians and singers asked me to join them. One on fiddle and one on resonator guitar. A few men tried to get in on the jam, a clarinet, and a washtub bass succeeded because they let the three of us call the tunes, and they supplied background fill. Some other big boys with big guitars meandered over and realized they were out of our league. We don't try to outdo one another. We support one another, listen to each other, and see where we could enhance. It makes all three of us sound great. But most important we were making good music.

Where I do get raised eyebrows, or patronizing platitudes about ukulele is when someone asks me " what do you play?" They might hem and haw, mumble about someone they know has one or maybe they have one, offer an apologetic "that's nice," or follow up with "so what else do you play?," or tell me that there are ukulele groups you can go to. It's like I can't be a serious musician if I play the ukulele. So now I say " I will tell you what I play if you promise not to be patronizing, but act genuinely impressed." That stops them in their tracks and I have been pleasantly surprised to get favorable responses that way. I volunteer at a very respected music venue, so have lots of contact with musicians. One awesome Rockin piano player Diva songstess was wildly supportive. She said she wanted to dedicate one of her songs to me but there wasn't time in the short set for her to bust out her ukulele which she admitted she's not very good on. That was different :-) Then again it was a talented woman.

Rob Uker
04-18-2018, 09:39 AM
I like playing chord songs on a solid mahogany soprano the best. To my ear that is the true ukulele sound.
But when I play finger style I lean toward a concert or tenor, mostly for comfort and some extra frets.