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View Full Version : Soprano: number of frets?



DukeofUke
06-04-2009, 10:05 PM
I'm buying a new soprano and I can't decide if it's worth it to spend an extra $50 to get an extra 5 frets. What do you guys think? How often do those extra 5 frets come into play?

Thanks!

ukantor
06-04-2009, 10:37 PM
I can't imagine ever using more than twelve frets on a soprano uke, but some people do. However, my favourite soprano has fifteen frets. The main benefit to me is that the longer fret board helps to stop my fingers catching on the strings when strumming. Too much space under the string makes it too easy to produce involuntary twanging noises. For the same reason, I like ukes that have no fretboard ie. frets set directly into the neck, which is flush with the front - Island style.

Ukantor

SailQwest
06-05-2009, 02:12 AM
The longer I play, the higher up the fretboard I go. After playng for about 2-1/2 years, I frequently find myself running up to the 15th fret. I am finding my Risa Solid Soprano a bit limiting because of that. But it's my backpack uke so I can deal with it.

On the other hand, my husband doesn't usually go past the 8th fret, so he's fine with fewer frets on the Risa.

Also, is it an additional $50 on a $150 uke, or on a $400 uke? Might not be worth it on a lower-priced one.

Choboy
06-05-2009, 02:57 AM
Also, is it an additional $50 on a $150 uke, or on a $400 uke? Might not be worth it on a lower-priced one.

I agree. If you consider the uke nice and somewhat high on your price range i'd spend the extra 50 bucks. i would like the option of having those extra few frets.

Lanark
06-05-2009, 05:48 AM
I'm like SailQwest. The longer I play the more I find myself poking around on the upper end of the fret board for different things.

But I suppose it depends on what and how you're interested in playing now and eventually. Personally, I'd rather have the extra frets just to keep my options open.

Lori
06-05-2009, 06:46 AM
I'm buying a new soprano and I can't decide if it's worth it to spend an extra $50 to get an extra 5 frets. What do you guys think? How often do those extra 5 frets come into play?

Thanks!
Is that a choice between a regular soprano and a "long neck" soprano? Or is it the same sized soprano neck with more frets?

If it is a "long neck" you not only get more frets, but a longer scale (concert size neck on soprano body). Some people find that more comfortable to play. Others like the shorter scale so their fingers can reach more notes.

I really like my Long Neck Soprano. I do play some songs that go beyond the 12th fret.

–Lori

haole
06-05-2009, 07:23 AM
I would go for extra frets if I were you, especially if it's a nice uke. If you don't get them, you'll miss them when you start to play stuff higher on the neck. Although, if it's a cheaper uke, you could always get a bigger one with more frets somewhere down the road and it won't break the bank as much.

Got a concert so I could have 15 usable frets; my soprano has 14 (and enough space on the fretboard for two more...argh!). Now I need 17. :(

DukeofUke
06-05-2009, 08:06 AM
Also, is it an additional $50 on a $150 uke, or on a $400 uke? Might not be worth it on a lower-priced one.

I'm debating between the Kiwaya KTS-4 and Kiwaya KTS- 5, found a used 4 for $350 and musicguymic has a 5 for $590, so it's quite a bit more but you guys have me thinking it's worth it in the long run.

ukulele2544
06-05-2009, 11:36 AM
If I were you I would just get a concert

Tsani
06-05-2009, 01:57 PM
It probably depends on how you want to play. If you see yourself as strictly a strummer, then the extra frets may not be as important. But if you are a picker, you will probably want the extra frets.

I find myself fairly frequently constrained by the ukulele's two octave range. If you are trying to play all the notes - the full melody - you will frequently find yourself changing keys to make the song fit on the fretboard. Try picking out "The Star Spangled Banner" or a similar song with a big range. It will run you right off the fretboard.

Take a look at some of the youtube videos of John King playing classical and traditional Hawaiian music. His specially built ukulele has frets all the way up to the sound hole. On the other hand, I have seen Jake Shimabukuro go off the fretboard and create high notes by just pressing the "A" string against the soundboard with his fingernail. ...But then again, I'm not Jake, so I'd prefer to have the frets.

My ukulele only has the traditional 12 frets. It is a limitation. There is an authenticity factor of course. All instruments have a specific range and specific limitations. The master of an instrument learns to live within those limitations - and break them when he can. Jake, John King, Herb Ohta, Troy Fernandez - all these guys show what unbelieveable things can be done with 12 frets and 4 strings.

Take your 12 or 17 and do what you can with it.

psesinkclee
06-05-2009, 03:31 PM
I go both ways on this one (calm down boys, calm down). I like to have my sopranos for happy strumming Paul, then my concerts/tenor for fancy picking Paul :p

ukeatan
06-05-2009, 03:53 PM
I'm debating between the Kiwaya KTS-4 and Kiwaya KTS- 5, found a used 4 for $350 and musicguymic has a 5 for $590, so it's quite a bit more but you guys have me thinking it's worth it in the long run.

Confusion :confused:... $590 - 350 = $140, not $50 right? If it's that big of a difference, probably not worth it.

I use the higher frets on my sopranos that have them and miss them on the one that doesn't, but it really does get pretty plunky sounding and hard to finger up there. So if you have another uke that you can play higher up on when you have the urge to, I'd go for the KTS-4.

I have a Kiwaya laminate soprano, btw -- great instruments, you'll love yours.

DukeofUke
06-08-2009, 12:39 PM
Confusion :confused:... $590 - 350 = $140, not $50 right? If it's that big of a difference, probably not worth it.

$590 was a typo, the KTS-5 is $490 and MGM sells the KTS-4 for $439 (that's the $50 dif), I just happened to find one used for $350 but I ended up buying the KTS-5! I'm sort of impulsive that way...I can't wait for it to get here!!!!

Kiwaya + soprano + 17 frets = heaven

ukeatan
06-08-2009, 01:35 PM
$590 was a typo, the KTS-5 is $490 and MGM sells the KTS-4 for $439 (that's the $50 dif), I just happened to find one used for $350 but I ended up buying the KTS-5! I'm sort of impulsive that way...I can't wait for it to get here!!!!

Kiwaya + soprano + 17 frets = heaven

Hahaha -- nice work, man. Like I said, that uke's gonna be a blast.

ukantor
06-08-2009, 01:44 PM
I played a friend's Kiwaya 12 fret soprano last Sunday. It was superb - very much like the classic Martin style 0, in appearance and sound. Twelve frets or more, this is a top uke.:worship:

John Colter (Ukantor)