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View Full Version : Why did you choose concert over tenor or vice versa?



Kherome
03-22-2019, 03:25 PM
I have recently acquired a really nice uke. It's so nice that I'm a little hesitant to do certain things with it and I thought maybe I could find a low cost laminate uke to be less careful about while I learn some techniques (Like chucking, which I am afraid I may accidentally lay some scratches down from doing it wrong) so if I go wrong I damage the cheap uke not my good one.

I'm unsure if I want a tenor (like my good uke) or a concert. I know it's all personal taste, but I would like to hear why you would choose a concert over a tenor or a tenor over a concert etc.

I appreciate all insights! Thanks!

RafterGirl
03-22-2019, 03:39 PM
Strictly based and hand & finger size, and the ability to stretch or cram fingers on tenors or sopranos. The concert just “ fits.” If my hands were larger, and my fingers were longer & more flexible, I’d be playing a tenor.

Arcy
03-22-2019, 03:42 PM
I'd get something different from what you have so you can decide what YOU like. Since you have a tenor, get a concert. If you get another tenor then string one low-G and one high-G.

If I have any regrets on uke-buying it's that I bought cheap ukuleles which are now taking up space rather than getting good ones. Countering that regret is that I could have spent more on a single uke than on the entire stable, and I wouldn't have learned that I generally prefer low-G tenor. That preference isn't absolute - before opening the forum I was playing my high-G concert.

I would try not to worry too much about scratches and just play. Whatever you get, spend enough to get something decent rather than a complete throw-away. Life's to short to play an instrument that doesn't sound good, especially if you already have one that does.

mikelz777
03-22-2019, 03:52 PM
My first uke was a concert. I took to it immediately. The size felt comfortable to play and the sound was very close to the "traditional" sound associated with the soprano ukulele. After a while I thought it would be interesting to try some of the other sizes. I tried a few sopranos in the music store and knew almost immediately that my fingers were going to be too crunched on the fretboard. I couldn't comfortably make clean chords, it was just too cramped. I then tried out some tenors. I played one for a while to see if I would like it. Initially I did and ended up springing for a nice Pono tenor. I was very excited when I received it and I played it a lot for a while. As time went by I grew less and less enamored with it until it got to the point where I was barely playing it at all. It was no fault of the uke itself, it was a nice uke and sounded very nice. I just couldn't bond with the size. For me, the tenor was starting to move into guitar territory and the sound was moving a bit too far away from the ukulele sound I was looking for. Since I didn't like the tenor size I never considered a baritone. I would have disliked it for the same reasons I didn't like the tenor but even more so.

Nickie
03-22-2019, 04:05 PM
Good question!
I've owned sopranos, concerts, tenors, and even 2 baris.
I only have concert size ukes left, and my next one is a concert size.
It's like stated above....it fits my hands. The left hand size seems to be the major determiner.
It fits in my case.
I prefer the tone, just midway of a jangly, punchy soprano, and a guitary tenor.
And, it doesn't make me look fat.

glennerd
03-22-2019, 04:16 PM
Soprano. Can't beat the sound (my opinion) and being able to stretch across alllll those frets. Sure, it might feel cramped at first, but then it feels natural after a short while.

Having said that, concert feels so perfect, size-wise. Like mikelz777 said, tenor felt too guitar-like (I got a baritone to keep myself from buying a guitar!). :p But it's worth trying out each size to see what works for you. I rented a soprano for a month to make sure i liked it, so if renting is an option, it will give you a way better idea than 20 minutes in a music shop. As was mentioned, if you don't have a tenor yet, try that.

The downside to switching between sizes is not having the same muscle memory in your fingers as to where your frets are.

gochugogi
03-22-2019, 07:27 PM
Scale preference mainly comes down to what you're used to. After all, I see little kids playing just fine on full sized guitars so the human hands and brain are very flexible. At some point in life we probably don't adjust as easily as when we were younger and then hand size and flexibility comes into play more. I'm way on the wrong side of 60 and my fingers are almost as flexible as I was at 20 (the rest of the body ain't tho').

Coming from playing classical guitar and bass I initially thought a tenor was impossibly small at first and it cramped up my left hand something terrible. And I'm only 5'8" with medium mitts. So I bought a baritone and tuned it up to G C E A with lighter strings. I struggled with that tiny baritone fingerboard for a year but managed to finally get used to the small 20" scale. Next I practiced on a Pono tenor for a few months and was amazed I could play it, albeit still small feeling. Two years after my baritone experience I'm comfortable on the tenor and can run up and down like a mad man so I figured anybody can adjust if you put in the time. And, yes, I still play 6 and 7 string classical guitars so you brain eventually stores separate fingerboard maps for the various scales and you don't give it a second thought. Only initially it's tough. Really tough.

CommonCurt
03-22-2019, 09:19 PM
Soprano & Concert are my preferred sizes at the moment.
I agree with what some of the others have said about the concert being a great size plus not sounding too far off from the soprano sound.

UkingViking
03-22-2019, 11:17 PM
I havent chosen :-)
I lean slightly towards concert scale, but my best ukes are also tenors.

Concert pros:
Lower tension is easier on the hands,
Looks and sounds more traditional
Less stretch for the fingers on the first few frets.

Tenor pros:
Probably more volume with the higher tension
More sustain,
Better place for the fingers between the frets higher up the neck.

If you want to focus on tenor scale, get one more.
Or try a concert and de ide later.

As people say, it is a matter of habit, and whatever you play the most you will probably be comfortable with.

Croaky Keith
03-23-2019, 12:16 AM
After trying out most sizes, I found the one right for me - I did most of my learning on a concert scale long neck soprano.

I have mostly concert & tenor scale ukes in my collection, but by far my best ukes are the tenor scale long neck concerts that I now have - perfect, for me - maybe take a look yourself. :)

Swamp Yankee
03-23-2019, 12:40 AM
Concerts are my favorites. For me, the scale length and body size just hit a sweet spot in terms of tone, string tension, and playability. Tenors are a close second. Sopranos are finding more favor with me as time goes on. Baritones... meh.

Down Up Dick
03-23-2019, 04:04 AM
I’ve played concerts mostly, but I really like baritones best. I prefer the low tones and the size of them.

I mostly just use them to sing or noodle with now. I guess I’m really into other things at present. :old:

Cluze
03-23-2019, 04:09 AM
Concert scale is my favorite. For me it comes down to two things. Most importantly it just feels the most comfortable for me to play. It just fits how my arm and fingers want to play. It feels more natural than the other scales. Secondly, the concert gives me the sound that I am looking for. It keeps some of the traditional soprano sound while adding just a bit more of the resonance and sustain of a tenor. It's just right...

Kibes37
03-23-2019, 04:28 AM
I have recently acquired a really nice uke. It's so nice that I'm a little hesitant to do certain things with it and I thought maybe I could find a low cost laminate uke to be less careful about while I learn some techniques (Like chucking, which I am afraid I may accidentally lay some scratches down from doing it wrong) so if I go wrong I damage the cheap uke not my good one.

I'm unsure if I want a tenor (like my good uke) or a concert. I know it's all personal taste, but I would like to hear why you would choose a concert over a tenor or a tenor over a concert etc.

I appreciate all insights! Thanks!

Ha, I had the same chucking concerns. My advice is to slow your chuck down to an absolute crawl. Watch the mechanics for a sec. Itís technique. A chuck should not hurt your Uke. I can understand learning on a beater first.

As far as size, I was drawn to Concert. I recently bought a cheap tenor off amazon to satisfy some curiosity. I was stoked to find at this point in my Uke journey Iím not interested. Although, for the best range you obviously need a Low G Tenor. However, I plan on seeing how deep I can take the concert size.

ripock
03-23-2019, 04:39 AM
When I decided to get into ukuleles, I decided from the first moment to be a tenor player. I thought that sopranos would be high-pitched, twangy, and shrill--kind of like a plastic harmonica. Whether that's true or not, it has still been the organizing principle in my hobby.

Kherome
03-23-2019, 04:49 AM
Ha, I had the same chucking concerns. My advice is to slow your chuck down to an absolute crawl. Watch the mechanics for a sec. It’s technique. A chuck should not hurt your Uke. I can understand learning on a beater first.

As far as size, I was drawn to Concert. I recently bought a cheap tenor off amazon to satisfy some curiosity. I was stoked to find at this point in my Uke journey I’m not interested. Although, for the best range you obviously need a Low G Tenor. However, I plan on seeing how deep I can take the concert size.

Oh I am working slowly on it! But still Occasionally it goes awry and I am don't want to lay a big scratch across my beautiful uke. So I hope to find a cheaper laminate to practice some of that kind of stuff so I don't muck it up haha!

Kibes37
03-23-2019, 05:16 AM
There are a lot of ways to chuck. I tend to find focusing on making sure my index finger is bent and tucked on the down strum, so only the top of my nail hits and glides before the palm under my thumb follows with the mute. What I find harder is strumming without my index fingernail (now that it is long) catching a string or the side of the neck. I prefer to strum with the meat of my finger tip. I get it eventually, but that could cause some unwanted scratches. Unless you sport your strum scratches like a badge of honor. A lot seem to.

captain-janeway
03-23-2019, 05:42 AM
For me it's all about hand size. Wanted to play tenor because I loved the sound of the one I got, but just can't stretch to do it. Tiny hands.
I had someone from UU trade me that tenor for the same model in concert (solid cedar top) and I totally love it! Put on a low g string. Definitely my favorite uke.
I'm with someone above who said don't go crazy about some scratches. You're playing it, it's not a museum piece.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigger_(guitar)
Have fun!

Swamp Yankee
03-23-2019, 06:10 AM
Concert scale is my favorite. For me it comes down to two things. Most importantly it just feels the most comfortable for me to play. It just fits how my arm and fingers want to play. It feels more natural than the other scales. Secondly, the concert gives me the sound that I am looking for. It keeps some of the traditional soprano sound while adding just a bit more of the resonance and sustain of a tenor. It's just right...

I could add all sorts of words to this, but I couldn't have said it any better. Why do I love concert size? It's just right.

Rllink
03-23-2019, 06:28 AM
I think that James Hill had a video where he told you what size ukulele you should play based on the length of your forearm. I'm not sure how valid that is, as I've seen some pretty excellent big guys playing sopranos, but it is out there somewhere.

aremick
03-23-2019, 06:40 AM
They make super sopranos to give more room on the fretboard - does any one make a short scale tenor to give a tenor voice to a concert scale instrument?

How much does scale length effect the tone vs body size?

AQUATOPAZ
03-23-2019, 06:44 AM
They make super sopranos to give more room on the fretboard - does any one make a short scale tenor to give a tenor voice to a concert scale instrument?

How much does scale length effect the tone vs body size?

Fairly certain that the xs tiny tenor, at 19 inches, must have a shorter scale, albeit a little less of the boomy tenor sound.

natchez
03-23-2019, 06:56 AM
I think that James Hill had a video where he told you what size ukulele you should play based on the length of your forearm. I'm not sure how valid that is, as I've seen some pretty excellent big guys playing sopranos, but it is out there somewhere.

I recall seeing this as well. He indicated that, if you strum where the neck meets the body, when you hold your ukulele the length of your forearm should fall about where the neck meets the body. I suppose I play sopranos or concerts because I have short forearms :o. I guess they just feel more "right" for me.

70sSanO
03-23-2019, 06:57 AM
Being overly simplistic, a tenor is easier to play fingerstyle melodies; especially up the neck where note space is desirable. Since you want to learn chucking, it sounds like it would be just a matter of finding the most comfortable size, as others have pointed out.

You may want to try a cheaper concert just to see if you prefer that size. There is some merit in being able to play a shorter scale length to improve fretting precision. I know it helps to tighten up my playing to scale down when I start getting sloppy.

John

RafterGirl
03-23-2019, 08:26 AM
They make super sopranos to give more room on the fretboard - does any one make a short scale tenor to give a tenor voice to a concert scale instrument?

How much does scale length effect the tone vs body size?
I owned a Gary Gill concert scale tenor for awhile. Mike Periera also makes a short scale tenor pineapple in his Cali line.
https://www.mpukulele.com/new-cali-model

I was at my local acoustic guitar & ukulele shop this morning to drop off my KoAloha concert for some work. While I was there, I sat down for awhile and played a Martin tenor. Just to satisfy my curiosity. It's been a year since I had a tenor. I walked away still feeling that I'm a concert scale person.

UkerDanno
03-23-2019, 08:43 AM
For one thing, chucking or chunking shouldn't damage anything anymore than strumming, you just mute with your palm against the strings.

My first uke was a soprano, just getting started, I wanted something traditional and cheap. After a while, when I decided to upgrade, I went with a concert, just to not get too big. I also have an old Martin soprano I enjoy, but mostly play concerts. I tried tenors, the reach is just awkward for me, just used to concert I guess.

Kherome
03-23-2019, 08:43 AM
They make super sopranos to give more room on the fretboard - does any one make a short scale tenor to give a tenor voice to a concert scale instrument?

How much does scale length effect the tone vs body size?

They make a baritone with a tenor neck
https://www.mimsukes.com/listing/mims-ukes-ohana-baritone-tenor-bkt-70-all-solid-spruce-lam-mahogany-bs-setup-ukulele-uke-936/20594407

Croaky Keith
03-23-2019, 08:49 AM
.....How much does scale length effect the tone vs body size?

Scale length tends to control sustain, whilst body size adds to the fullness of the tone. :)

Mik
03-23-2019, 09:57 AM
Concert is my preferred size. It just feels the most comfortable with my short fingers and forearm length. I do play the tenor because I've always wanted to play the guitar since I was little, however I couldn't stretch my small hands comfortably enough so tenor's the closest thing to playing the guitar for me.

Col50
03-23-2019, 10:16 AM
I did not choose a Concert.

For me the Tenor is far more comfortable to play especially with my old arthritic fingers

kohanmike
03-23-2019, 08:17 PM
Having come from guitar for almost 50 years, and playing a soprano I bought on a whim that was uncomfortable, I went to Sam Ash and tried a concert and tenor. Tenor was very comfortable so that's all I play, which are also cutaway.

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

Booksniffer
03-24-2019, 03:49 AM
If you want a 'beater' to use instead of your good / expensive tenor for practicing risky stuff (or taking it along to places where it might get damaged, etc), I would suggest getting another tenor; that way, muscle memory will transfer better.

Concerts and sopranos are fun too, though!

Swiftsailor98
03-25-2019, 07:19 AM
Oh I am working slowly on it! But still Occasionally it goes awry and I am don't want to lay a big scratch across my beautiful uke. So I hope to find a cheaper laminate to practice some of that kind of stuff so I don't muck it up haha!


If you want a 'beater' to use instead of your good / expensive tenor for practicing risky stuff (or taking it along to places where it might get damaged, etc), I would suggest getting another tenor; that way, muscle memory will transfer better.

Depending on the finish on your beautiful tenor, may I suggest an alternative option. With a gloss finish, I was similarly concerned about scratches with my new tenor.

Reading through some posts I went to my local tech store and picked up a generic tablet screen protector that specifically said "cut to fit" as a feature. I cut a custom patch to cover the upper bout area right below my fretboard, and I've seen some folks who have done a second patch above the fretboard as well.

Unless I run my fingers over the soundboard I can't tell it's on my uke. I haven't noticed any change to the sound, and I feel confident in aggressive strumming, chucking, or the like, knowing I won't scrape my finish.

I acknowledge the camp that say 'normal wear and scratches give your uke character', but I found this protection option gives me the best of all worlds. I get to play my favorite uke, and I can keep that uke looking incredible. I'll save the 'normal wear character' for the fretboard.

Just my two cents....

spookelele
03-25-2019, 09:14 AM
Depending on the finish on your beautiful tenor, may I suggest an alternative option. With a gloss finish, I was similarly concerned about scratches with my new tenor.

Reading through some posts I went to my local tech store and picked up a generic tablet screen protector that specifically said "cut to fit" as a feature. I cut a custom patch to cover the upper bout area right below my fretboard, and I've seen some folks who have done a second patch above the fretboard as well.

Unless I run my fingers over the soundboard I can't tell it's on my uke. I haven't noticed any change to the sound, and I feel confident in aggressive strumming, chucking, or the like, knowing I won't scrape my finish.

I acknowledge the camp that say 'normal wear and scratches give your uke character', but I found this protection option gives me the best of all worlds. I get to play my favorite uke, and I can keep that uke looking incredible. I'll save the 'normal wear character' for the fretboard.

Just my two cents....

I agree. If the concern is scratching from fingers, a guard is the right solution. And the plastic static screen protectors work very well on gloss surfaces, and I can't hear any difference using one.

Now.. if the concern is.. am I playing the right size for me... that's a whole lot of personal preference.

Longer scales have more sustain, higher tension, and more energy (volume) because of physics. They tend to have a sound that is more guitar like and less soprano like... because.. physics.

I think the first thing people think is hand size.. but like.. fenge is tiny, and shreds a tenor, while you have very large men playing tiny sopranino's/minis, which leads me to say that's not really a thing. If you think your hand is too small... look for video of kids playing full sized guitar, and you'll get over it.

Now.. that isn't to say comfort is equal.... its not.

As you like your tenor, I don't think you need to change sizes, unless you're just curious, in which case, I'd suggest borrowing another size, or going to a music store and trying them for a while rather than buying blind.

Rllink
03-26-2019, 03:46 AM
The only reason that I have not owned a tenor is because I had to draw the line somewhere. I mean, after tenor there is baritone, and as far as I'm concerned once you go to baritone you might as well just get the real thing and play guitar. So I drew the line at concert. Totally arbitrary. Also, I have a soprano and two concerts and that's enough for me, so I'm not going to buy one just to have it.

When it comes to scratches, ukuleles are made to be played. You are going to get some scratches in it but you aren't going to wear it out. I know that this isn't the case always, but a lot of times when I see someone with a pristine ukulele my first impression is newbie. There is nothing wrong with a ukulele that looks like it has been played. Just saying, reasonable caution is all that is warranted.

spookelele
03-26-2019, 06:08 AM
T
When it comes to scratches, ukuleles are made to be played. You are going to get some scratches in it but you aren't going to wear it out. I know that this isn't the case always, but a lot of times when I see someone with a pristine ukulele my first impression is newbie. There is nothing wrong with a ukulele that looks like it has been played. Just saying, reasonable caution is all that is warranted.

A car is meant to be driven, but it still has bumpers and airbags.

A screen protector is a very simple and inexpensive solution. The OP was concerned about scratches, and there's a great solution. If you don't care about scratches, then don't worry about it. But.. the OP does.

Rllink
03-26-2019, 09:03 AM
A car is meant to be driven, but it still has bumpers and airbags.

A screen protector is a very simple and inexpensive solution. The OP was concerned about scratches, and there's a great solution. If you don't care about scratches, then don't worry about it. But.. the OP does.Okay, I was just sharing an opinion.

AustinHing
03-26-2019, 05:15 PM
I think once you get your first scratch, ding or mark, likely you would kind of heck care. Personally I won’t put a screen protector. It felt as if I’m babying it and potentially affect my playing and learning curve psychologically.

What OP should really do is get an uke that is even more expensive, more glossy, more everything! Then the current uke that seems so precious now is the go-to uke.

And you are welcome! Just kidding.

Jerryc41
03-26-2019, 11:52 PM
I started with a soprano - the standard. Then I bought a concert and then a tenor and a sopranino. I have about equal numbers of the three major sizes. I'm not concerned with the size of shape of the uke. When I go to a session, I bring a regular uke and a banjo uke or a resonator.

Kherome
03-27-2019, 12:55 AM
I think once you get your first scratch, ding or mark, likely you would kind of heck care. Personally I won’t put a screen protector. It felt as if I’m babying it and potentially affect my playing and learning curve psychologically.

What OP should really do is get an uke that is even more expensive, more glossy, more everything! Then the current uke that seems so precious now is the go-to uke.

And you are welcome! Just kidding.

Very funny! I would if I could but that's not possible haha

Jerryc41
03-27-2019, 01:02 AM
I think that James Hill had a video where he told you what size ukulele you should play based on the length of your forearm.

I see a market developing for custom-sized ukuleles - and cases. :D

mgsondance
03-29-2019, 10:21 PM
I'd get something different from what you have so you can decide what YOU like. Since you have a tenor, get a concert. If you get another tenor then string one low-G and one high-G.

If I have any regrets on uke-buying it's that I bought cheap ukuleles which are now taking up space rather than getting good ones. Countering that regret is that I could have spent more on a single uke than on the entire stable, and I wouldn't have learned that I generally prefer low-G tenor. That preference isn't absolute - before opening the forum I was playing my high-G concert.

I would try not to worry too much about scratches and just play. Whatever you get, spend enough to get something decent rather than a complete throw-away. Life's to short to play an instrument that doesn't sound good, especially if you already have one that does.

I totally agree. I see people on f/b who buy one $50 uke after another and I wonder... Although it can be fun to have a variety, I think having one nice uke is better than a bunch of cheap ones. If you don't appreciate the sound difference in the beginning, you will develop a better ear over time.

UkingViking
03-30-2019, 12:12 AM
I see plenty of argument for just playing as much as possible on that nice quality uke in stead of adding cheaper ukuleles.

But there are plenty of reasons to have an extra ukulele.
- to have a "beater"
- to be a le to have two tunings at once, like high and low G
- to always have a playable Ukulele with the strings settled in, also after changing strings on one of them.
- being able to have ukuleles with different sounds.

Adding a $50 ukulele to the collection may be dissapointing in comparison, but you can get some pretty nice stuff below $200, which will still be a nice addition.

I would listen to some ukulele sound demos online, and see if there are some woods or sizes that gives a sound you don't get from your primary ukulele.

If you are comfortable with the tension and fret spacing of the tenor, and you don't miss that concert sound, then I dont think you necessarily need to go experiment with more scales right now.
If your primary ukulele is koa, you could get something in Mahogany or spruce. Or perhaps a long neck concert, which has a Tenor scale on a concert body for a more concert like sound. That way you wont need to change scales all the time. And you can use the same strings for both ukuleles, so you only need one stash.

The advantage of the tenor is that if you are happy with the sound for the initial first position chord strumming, it will be easier to expand to playing up the neck on the tenor. So if you are happy with it now, you will probably be even happier later on.

When I can't let go of concert scale, it is because I like sound, looks and lower tension of it.

Croaky Keith
03-30-2019, 12:26 AM
Tenor scale also has the advantage of being fitted with soprano, concert, regular, & even baritone bodies, they are all out there.

So just one scale giving the choice of quite different tones & sounds.

Kherome
03-30-2019, 04:05 AM
When I returned my original Uke (a Cordoba 15TM) a friend loaned me theirs to use, which I still have. She doesn't play and doesn't mind if I keep it around for awhile. This is the Uke I am borrowing: https://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/ohana-ck-450qel-solid-quilted-eucalyptus-concert-ukulele

I really like it, but it's also very "fancy" although it's still about half the MSRP of the Kala Elite. I don't feel a lot of difference in playing the tenor or the concert. I don't think one feels easier to me. The Kala Elite is tuned to low G so that is very different in sound.

captain-janeway
03-30-2019, 05:31 AM
When I returned my original Uke (a Cordoba 15TM) a friend loaned me theirs to use, which I still have. She doesn't play and doesn't mind if I keep it around for awhile. This is the Uke I am borrowing: https://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/ohana-ck-450qel-solid-quilted-eucalyptus-concert-ukulele

I really like it, but it's also very "fancy" although it's still about half the MSRP of the Kala Elite. I don't feel a lot of difference in playing the tenor or the concert. I don't think one feels easier to me. The Kala Elite is tuned to low G so that is very different in sound.

Wow, that's a beautiful uke. Heck if you feel comfortable with both, play both if you feel like having more than one. I'd play tenor if I could, but I love my cedar concert.
Have fun!!

Kherome
03-30-2019, 06:33 AM
It's so pretty. I think she said she bought it on a whim, after the Grace Vanderwall AGT win that made everyone want a Uke. Played a little bit, put it away and it's sat. So she's loaned it to me. It's got a beautiful sound.