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View Full Version : Soprano, Concert, Tenor...



BBcakes
05-30-2009, 02:59 PM
I promise I've done searches on this, but still can't decide on which ukulele to go with because of all the different suggestions/opinions out there! :confused:Noticed a lot of first-timers choosing concerts over sopranos, tenors over concerts... I do love the sound of a tenor, but am not sure if this is a practical option to start with?

I'm a newbie looking to buy my first uke, somewhere between $60-$150. Thought I had narrowed it down to the Kala KA-S Soprano package from MGM for $109.95.

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Kala-KA-S-Mahogany-Soprano-Ukulele-STARTER-PACK_W0QQitemZ330332761329QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item4ce95decf1&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=|301%3A0|293%3A4|294%3A30

Then saw that many newbies were going for concerts...

http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-BRAND-KA-C-Mahogany-Concert-Ukulele-Setup-w-case_W0QQitemZ270398413902QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item3ef5005c4e&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=|301%3A0|293%3A4|294%3A30

And started to consider the tenor after watching several You Tube videos and loving the sound...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-Kala-KA-T-Mahogany-Tenor-Ukulele-case-w-setup_W0QQitemZ330333811458QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_D efaultDomain_0?hash=item4ce96df302&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=|301%3A1|293%3A4|294%3A30

As you can see, I am sticking with the Kala brand because I'm just driving myself crazy going back and forth between brands, types, prices, etc.! :eek: Besides, I'm such an indecisive person and just need someone to slap me and tell me which one to get already!! I know it's a personal choice and what works for each individual is different...but can someone please help me?

No experience, $60-$150 budget, thinking about purchasing from MGM on eBay.

THANK YOU x10 !!!

kailua
05-30-2009, 03:17 PM
Welcome to the UU!!!I'm not familiar with any of these ukes. In the Bay Area there are several stores selling ukes. They may even have the ones you've listed. I think it is all personal preference about which size you choose. Go to a store and try the different sizes. See what feels good and what sounds good to you. Maybe some UU'ers that live in the Bay Area can help with store locations. Have fun! :music:

CoffeeMate
05-30-2009, 03:23 PM
Size is a personal preference. We have concerts and sopranos, we play the concerts more. I like the extra room on the fretboard and the sound is a bit fuller. We have the Kala concert you are looking at, it is well made and has a nice sound. Kalas are popular and you can't go wrong with MGM. All of our good ukuleles have come from MGM. Top notch service. If you are able to try some different sizes out, do so. I have never played a tenor so I can't comment on them. Welcome to UU, good luck finding your perfect uke :)

jkevinwolfe
05-30-2009, 04:30 PM
You might email MGM and ask questions. He's very helpful.

I think size is the hardest thing to decide for your first uke. Tenors play more like guitars. Sopranos have nice easy string action. Concerts are a good in between with a longer distance between frets than a soprano and a little easier string action than a tenor. The interesting thing is that they all play at the same pitch, but bigger bodies and longer strings add some more midtone.

You really couldn't go wrong with a concert Flea. They are very accurate and playable and the plastic body makes them fairly durable. Unlike all wood, they don't lose their tune when the temperature or humidity changes. Once you buy a more expensive uke (and you will) the flea becomes a nice beater. I know a lot of folks who keep a flea or fluke in their trunk for uke emergencies.

Lori
05-30-2009, 04:40 PM
BBcakes

If you are drawn to the sound of the tenor, by all means start with the tenor. See if you can try out the size first, in a music store, or a friend's uke, then you might get a feel for how the size fits you. If you have any guitar background, the tenor should be just fine for you. I love the Kalas I have. I started out with the Tenor, and now have a long neck soprano (that's a concert neck on a soprano body) and a Kiwi pineapple (standard soprano). In the end, if you really like it, you will get another soon anyway. It is fun to have different sizes or wood types to switch between. The tenor also sounds good with standard tuning or Low G tuning. You need a different string to use the Low G tuning. I like Worths Clear, and their low g string is a non-wound string.

–Lori

Ahnko Honu
05-30-2009, 05:22 PM
E komo mai BB. In my most humblest opinion I always recommend the happy medium Concert size, you can add a soprano or tenor later. I have several sopranos and a tenor but somehow I pick up my Concert most often. I also would like to ad the KALA KA-SC to the mix with solid spruce top and still within your price range. MGM doesn't have one listed but doesn't mean he doesn't have any in stock, try ask him. That solid spruce top sounds great and will only sound better with age. I always prefer a solid top over a laminate top.

grappler
05-30-2009, 05:56 PM
I'd get the tenor.
That is all. But again, personal preference.

BBcakes
05-30-2009, 08:20 PM
Mahalo to all for your time and suggestions! It's been pretty darn helpful. :)

t0th1nk
05-30-2009, 08:31 PM
Actually it is really up to you. I started with a Soprano and still am playing it but i'm going to change it soon to a concert because i like the sound alot.

If you like a tenor then go for it but maybe before getting any, maybe try going to the shops PERSONALLY to try the different ukuleles cause only you will know whether you would like it or not. Btw, research online is only part of the help you need, it all comes down to you to try them out. :p

I still say maybe get a soprano first? It is afterall the standard and if you really get good at it or think you're ready for a better one then upgrate. So my advice to you is, start with the basics and oh, i nearly forgot, you have to decide whether you're taking this seriously or not.

Hope that helped? Best of luck dude! :D

UkeNinja
05-30-2009, 09:17 PM
Is there anyone around you that plays? If there is, ask them for hands-on experience. If not, this is how I think: strumming can be done on any size uke, picking is a bit easier on a bigger size. Portability is where sopranos are king/queen, so if you plan to carry it around in a backpack think about this. And they are cute and cuddly. And buy one you think looks nice, or else you will not want to touch it all the time (really!).

Personal tip: don't get caught up too much in the endless search for the Holy uke thing after you make your purchase, but enjoy and relax, look at vids, (re)search the web, maybe get a book if you want to, find other players, and practice, practice, practice... if you invest in your skillz, it will make your playing many times more fun! :nana:

Teek
05-30-2009, 11:20 PM
Having ahem more than one of each size except tenor, I'd say concert is a really nice useful and friendly size to start. My concerts are just right for studying new stuff online in front of my computer, for sitting in my rocker and fingerpicking, or on my back porch. They travel well too. You will want to pick and learn more than strums and it's easy, and that extra room on the fingerboard will help with that. Be aware that tenors have a higher tension and you may need softer strings to start, anything flourocarbon (Worth, Fremont) will be fine. Kala gets raves for finish and sound for a good price. A tenor gets a little less cuddly ( I love that above reference re: sopranos, I have 3) and the baritone is a nice little 4 string guitar but can feel bulky after even a tenor.

Soundwise if you like the punchy to plinky more traditional sound a soprano has that, but for learning can be frustrating because of the cramped fingerboard. Actually getting some practice time in on a bigger uke will translate to being able to play a soprano better and easier. If you like the deeper and richer tenor a concert is still a nice compromise to start if you want to spend a little less, but if you have a real pull to the tenor go for it. BUT like all the recs above, if you can get your hands on the sizes in real life do so, it will tell you a LOT!

Good luck. :)

And you really can't go wrong with MGM! :bowdown:

HoldinCoffee
05-30-2009, 11:27 PM
started to consider the tenor after watching several You Tube videos and loving the sound...

Follow your heart

Ukuleleblues
05-31-2009, 02:34 AM
Try and find a club or a strore and go and play some. Just remeber you will probably end up with two or three of each before it is all over. Add Sopronino and Baritone to you list.

hoosierhiver
05-31-2009, 03:20 AM
Welcome to the UU!!!I'm not familiar with any of these ukes. In the Bay Area there are several stores selling ukes. They may even have the ones you've listed. I think it is all personal preference about which size you choose. Go to a store and try the different sizes. See what feels good and what sounds good to you. Maybe some UU'ers that live in the Bay Area can help with store locations. Have fun! :music:

This is a good example of why I think folks should list their location on their profile. There might to help closer than you think. Whether it is a uke shop, club or fellow UU member. :old:

Lanark
05-31-2009, 04:15 AM
E komo mai BB. In my most humblest opinion I always recommend the happy medium Concert size, you can add a soprano or tenor later. I have several sopranos and a tenor but somehow I pick up my Concert most often. I also would like to ad the KALA KA-SC to the mix with solid spruce top and still within your price range. MGM doesn't have one listed but doesn't mean he doesn't have any in stock, try ask him. That solid spruce top sounds great and will only sound better with age. I always prefer a solid top over a laminate top.

Sage advice.

More than likely you're going to try all three scales at some point, may as well start in the middle. (My concerts are usually first out of the case.)
And solid top. Always go solid if you can.

SailQwest
05-31-2009, 05:30 AM
I think concert is the way to go for your first ukulele, too.

I love the sound of tenors also, but find their wider spacing between frets a bit too challenging. The concert is a very friendly size. :D

BBcakes
05-31-2009, 07:59 AM
I think I'll start looking for a solid top concert. Thanks everyone! :)

Ukulele JJ
05-31-2009, 08:32 AM
I think concert is the way to go for your first ukulele, too.

The key word there being "first". There will be a second. And third. And...

So it's not really a choice of whether you get a concert instead of getting a soprano or tenor, it's whether you get a concert before you get a soprano and tenor.

:D

JJ

Kanaka916
05-31-2009, 08:48 AM
I think the best advice I can give you is to try all 3 and see which one you feel the most comfortable with. There's Gryphons (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/) in Palo Alto and Mike DaSilva's shop (http://www.ukemaker.com/Calendar.html) in Berkeley. There's also Ukulele Source in SJ. (599 N. 5th Street,(408) 998-2640, closed on Sun/Mon).

ichadwick
06-01-2009, 03:25 PM
Kala is a good brand. I have two of them, both nice. Consider Mainland, too. Very good ukes - bright and loud. Reviews of both on my uke page, noted below.

Size can lead to a lot of arguments here over which is best. Soprano is traditional, but small and some find it cramped. That's why concert was born - give players a bit more space. Then we guitarists got into it and wanted something even roomier - hence tenor.

Baritones are bigger yet, but some question whether a baritone is really a uke at all, but rather a small (tenor) guitar.

Bigger bodies mean different sound, too. Tenors have more low-end tone and generally a louder, more complex sound. Some people prefer the bright soprano, others like the added bass of the tenor. You choose!

Me, I prefer the tenor size and sound. Not better or worse, just different. Well, of course tenors ARE superior instruments, and their players are simply better than all others, but let's save that for another thread... :D

jdmcnasty
06-01-2009, 04:53 PM
I went straight from my very first uke, a Lanikai soprano, to a tenor and haven't looked back! I feel like you can get so much more out of a tenor. But that is, as everyone says, personal preferance.

strum4ever
06-01-2009, 08:51 PM
I played the soprano for many years before finally buying a concert ukulele, now I can't put the concert down and my sopranos are very lonely. I don't know what would happen if I bought a tenor? :)

PihSant
06-02-2009, 12:28 AM
My first was that Kala KA-T. I loved it. I bought it because I liked the sound of a tenor, and it was a pretty good price. I bought one in that price range to see if I would even like playing uke. I play the bass guitar, so I like to play larger instruments. The tenor is big, but not a baritone.

ichadwick
06-02-2009, 01:13 AM
The tenor is big, but not a baritone.
Big compared to a soprano, maybe. But my guitars look giagantic beside one. I have cats with bigger bodies than some of my ukes!

Kurobashi
06-02-2009, 02:00 AM
I have some soprano's and a concert. I cannot really say that I prefer either one, I love all of them (except the cheapo wallhangers).

All ukulele's have their different sound and feeling, it feels good to just pick up a uke dependent of the mood you're in or the music you are about to play (or exercises you are about to do ;)).
That said I will probably get me a tenor one day when I can justify the expense. :shaka:

BBcakes
06-02-2009, 11:43 AM
OK, I've made my decision. Kala Sitka Solid Spruce Top Concert. I figure it's an in between size, laminate sides w/ solid top and within my price range. I'm just waiting for MGM to get back to me on whether he has any in stock (not listed on eBay) :(

Thanks again to everyone for their time and input!!! Extremely helpful!

russ_buss
06-02-2009, 11:49 AM
OK, I've made my decision. Kala Sitka Solid Spruce Top Concert. I figure it's an in between size, laminate sides w/ solid top and within my price range. I'm just waiting for MGM to get back to me on whether he has any in stock (not listed on eBay) :(

Thanks again to everyone for their time and input!!! Extremely helpful!

nice choice. good luck with your purchase!

also, i see you're in SF. you can always drop by Aloha Warehouse in Japantown to check out ukes in other sizes. they have a pretty good selection there.

BBcakes
06-02-2009, 12:38 PM
you can always drop by Aloha Warehouse in Japantown to check out ukes in other sizes. they have a pretty good selection there.


I'll be sure to do that! Maybe this weekend.. Thanks!:D

Roy Jovero
06-06-2009, 01:37 PM
I'm 100% positive that her first uke is a Koa Pili Koko deluxe soprano.

BBcakes
06-06-2009, 05:24 PM
I'm 100% positive that her first uke is a Koa Pili Koko deluxe soprano.

:D and lovin it! Think it's time to change your signature...LoL

Roy Jovero
06-06-2009, 05:29 PM
:D and lovin it! Think it's time to change your signature...LoL
Thanks for reminding me. Enjoy the ukulele. Lemme know when you wanna jam! :)

BBcakes
06-06-2009, 05:35 PM
Most def! Thank you x100:smileybounce: