View Full Version : Uke scale question

09-23-2009, 06:21 AM
Hey guys, this is my first post and I wasn't really sure where I should post this so if it's in the wrong area I apologize in advance. Anyway, I have a giannini GCSE17 CT EL ukulele and I feel like the scale is too small for me. It's an awesome uke and I love it. However, it looks like it's smaller that some of the other ukes I've seen people play and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good, somewhat inexpensive (Koaloha and pono ukes are amazing, but I don't have that kind of cash right now) acoustic/electric uke that I could get to accommodate my bigger hands. Or is it just an issue of me not playing often enough? Is there a difference in scale size between tenor, concert, soprano, etc? I still want to buy another Uke though, so suggestions there would be nice. I like Julia Nunes Bushman uke, something along those lines. Sorry for rambling, I just wanted to get as much info as I could.

Here's a link to the page with my uke on it, I couldn't find the scale info.

09-23-2009, 06:43 AM
Yes there's a difference in scale lengths. That's pretty much what defines the different sizes you see. Soprano is the smallest, followed by Concert, Tenor, and finally Baritone.

I don't know where a Brazilian Cavaquinho fits in that range, but it looks pretty short to me. Probably near to the Soprano size. What's the scale length measurement, nut to saddle?

I have two Tenors and one Concert. My fingers feel crowded on the Concert. I tried a Soprano in a store and quickly decided it wasn't for me. My fingers aren't particularly short or stubby, it just feels crowded compared to the other sizes. I've seen Mandolin players who do quite well with an even shorter scale. It's pretty much just what you're used to.

Technique can make up for some of the size limitations. Instead of three finger chords, you can sometimes substitute a partial barre to free up one finger. Rolling your wrist so you come at the strings more from the headstock end instead of at right angles can help with some of the more crowded fingerings.

For price, I like the Kalas. A lot of instrument for not much money. Sure, there are better Ukes but at my present skill level I couldn't appreciate the subtleties enough to warrant the higher price.

09-23-2009, 03:49 PM
First time I picked up a Soprand Uke 13- 13.5 inch scale I could not make chords (I play Guitar). So I bought a baritone, then a concert, now I can magically play a soprano. I did not wash my hands and put them in a dryer so I think it's just a function of geting the hands accostomed to playing the smaller scale, I 'm 6'3 250 and don't have small hands. I have a sopranino that is hard to play second position on (11 15/16" or something like that scale.) You probably are seeing a lot of folks playing Tenors 17" Hope that helps.