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JohnBoy
04-30-2008, 03:01 AM
JohnBoy here with a question. When I bought my tenor Kala I was told that the tenor size is most popular because it is most playable. Now I read in a blog that a concert size is easier to play because it doesn't make you stretch as far for some cords. There are some cords I just can't reach because my fingers aren't long enough. Any wisdom from people who have played different size ukes? As always, mahalo.

dnewton2
04-30-2008, 03:15 AM
When I first started I got a concert uke. It is not the greatest uke but It got me hooked. I was playing for a few months, and had a trip to Hawaii planned and wanted to get a new uke, not many shops with ukes where i am at. I ended up getting a Tenor, to try out a new size and I have read alot of people play them for various reasons. Now a few months later I find myself playing my cheaper concert more than my tenor. Sort of have some of the same problems as you with playing certian chords and stuff.

It mainly comes down to personal preference. I would try and play with the different sizes to see what is more comfortable for you.

My personal prefrence is Concert over Tenor. (never played soprano or baritone) Hope this helps

UkeNinja
04-30-2008, 03:31 AM
Well, how long have you had your ukulele? How much practice have you put in to the chords you can't get now? (and which are they...)
Try some stretching before you play, do repeated exercises for the chords you find difficult, and it would be really strange if you don't see improvement. Especially if you like the sound of your tenor, perhaps more practice can just help you out? Some lesson books have finger patterns to help your left hand become more smooth when running over the fretboard. A couple of warmups before trying difficult stuff can really make a difference.

Lanark
04-30-2008, 03:35 AM
First Ukulele I messed around with was a soprano that my in-laws have. Neck seemed kind of crowded for me.

I ended up starting with a super-soprano and then ultimately with a concert because it just fit my hands better. It just seemed like a good compromise between fretboard scale and Ukulele sound.

JohnBoy
04-30-2008, 03:53 AM
I seem to have trouble with any cord that requires me to span at least four frets. I haven't tried stretching exercise before playing. Maybe that will help.

14twelve
04-30-2008, 04:09 AM
I'm a beginner too, and have a concert so am used to the size of that, but on the weekend I was playing a friend's tenor, and even though the frets were further apart, it felt good. The stretches were a bit harder, but the chords where your fingers are closer together were easier, and it was easier to hold (sometimes I find with a smaller one it's hard to balance it when you're moving both hands, but that's probably me holding it wrong). I guess there are positives about both concert and tenor, so it really comes down to the sound that you like the best and what feels best for you.:)

JohnBoy
04-30-2008, 04:30 AM
That's my other question...How does the sound compare? Volume? Brightness? Sustain up the neck? Etc

Latinleaders
04-30-2008, 04:30 AM
I'd have to agree with everything said so far.
What could I say that hasn't been said already? :confused:

As said there are different benefits of different sizes, but it is about preference as well. I have a soprano and a concert uke. They both have the same number of frets but they're a little more spaced out on the concert. At some point I'll get a tenor and baritone as well.

The main thing is that you find something that's comfortable for you. Kinda like when you buy a guitar. You wouldn't just walk into a shop and say "I want that one!" You try it out first, get a feel for it. Definitely try out a concert uke if you haven't before and see which you prefer.

Meant to say, as for sound, volume, and brightness, that can depend a number of things. The wood used for the body, the size, shape, the strings and the action as well I think. Generally you can make a cheaper uke sound better with a top quality set of strings but some ukes 'cause of the shape are just not very good.

Take the V shaped uke by Mahalo for example. I have a regular concert uke by Mahalo and that's fine but I found the V shaped uke is very very quiet and the sound is not very good, and for me it just didn't feel right. That's me though.

nikolo727
04-30-2008, 04:55 AM
i have a tenor ukulele and i love it.

but

i still love sopranos.

if you get a nice soprano with some nice strings it can really sound beautiful.


if you have small fingers but you dont like the noisy soprano sound, get a concert ukulele. They are tuned a little bit differently but they are still beautiful instruments. I am looking to get a concert ukulele myself.


I think this might be the type of uke for you.

NotoriousMOK
04-30-2008, 06:00 AM
While a concert size might be a good solution for you if there are too many chords that you cannot finger fast enough to stay in time or at all, you might also consider trying some different ways of fingering the same chord. For example, the common 'E' chord (4442) is one that I simply cannot get into quick enough, so I play it 4447 (barring the 4th fret with my index finger and dropping my pinky on the 7th fret a-string). I can usually use this variation without having to change any other chords in a song.

If this is new ground for you, do a search for 'chord construction' here, as there have been a couple/few good threads on this subject that really make this barrier go away. You can also go to the Sheep Uke (http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/index.html) site for a quickie tool to help show you the alternate 'shapes' for a given chord. I'll tell you this, learning a little on this subject has been the most significant leap for my uke playing.

Throw out an example chord, or better yet a chord progression that you are working on and we can probably recommend some other ways to get you there without busting a knuckle.


Have fun!

tad
04-30-2008, 09:16 AM
Just wanted one Soprano voice in the mix.

I prefer the soprano.
Actually, I prefer to practice on my concert, and then play on my soprano-- to me, I've got little hands, and the Sop just WORKS. Everything's close together, yeah, but that means everything's near by. No giant steps for the fingers. Plus, it's got the most authentic sound, to my ear-- it's the OG of ukuleles.

And personally, one of the things I like about the ukulele is that it's small. I'm a big believer in the beauty of small things. Tenors sometimes almost just look like runtish guitars to me.

I'd like to try a tenor, but I'm not gonna buy one til I have. Til then, I'll just stick with the sopranos and concerts...

Though sopraninos are a bit tempting, too.

Jacman Rasta Bicycle
04-30-2008, 09:18 AM
$0.02:
i started on a soprano. switched to tenors and concerts for hand comfort. IMO, the soprano has the traditional "ukulele" sound, the concerts are a bit warmer, and the tenors are...tenors.
i like the sound of all of them, but each sounds a bit different.
so, as previously suggested, play a few and find one that you are happy with.

you are the one making music. the instrument is merely a means of expressing that music.

NotoriousMOK
04-30-2008, 10:53 AM
you are the one making music. the instrument is merely a means of expressing that music.


amen, brother!

ltlpenguin
04-30-2008, 12:56 PM
I guess my question falls under the same topic, so...

I would prefer to start on a tenor since it is the same size as my viola, but someone i know is selling a concert and soprano and buying from her would be easier than ordering online. Which should I go with?

seeso
04-30-2008, 01:17 PM
I guess my question falls under the same topic, so...

I would prefer to start on a tenor since it is the same size as my viola, but someone i know is selling a concert and soprano and buying from her would be easier than ordering online. Which should I go with?

What make and model are the ukes she's selling?

ltlpenguin
04-30-2008, 01:29 PM
What make and model are the ukes she's selling?

A Bushman concert and a Kamaka soprano with a pickup. I haven't contacted her with specific details yet.

menehunenyc
04-30-2008, 01:38 PM
A Bushman concert and a Kamaka soprano with a pickup. I haven't contacted her with specific details yet.

Boy, both are solid ukes. I have a Hilo soprano that goes wacky after the 5th fret, and my Kamaka tenor is heavenly, so I couldn't really make a solid suggestion based on MY playing experience...Having said that, you just gotta play them both and see what sound you prefer. going from concert to soprano shouldn't be that big of a jump, like I did going from soprano to tenor, but once you get used to it, the size didn't make that much of a difference. What DID make a difference was the quality of the sound they each made, so hence I don't pick up the Hilo anymore, love my Kamaka...

NotoriousMOK
04-30-2008, 02:28 PM
Assuming this is somebody close to you, I'd play them both and weigh the price as well. Generally, I'd recommend a concert to start with (easier to determine to big/small/justright). Kamaka's usually get more moolah, so that may be a factor for you, also if you need/want a pickup.

If it's your first, you may want to go low-dough to start with. If uke turns out to be your 'thing', it will probably be the first of 'several' you will acquire as time passes. Then again, if it's a rockin' deal on the kamaka, and it plays/sounds good to you, it could be a deal you're not likely to find again.

From here, I'd gather more facts about the condition of each, play them both, and get pricing. If she wants full price on the Kamaka, it might be out of your range anyways. Let us know what you find out, okay?

Plainsong
04-30-2008, 02:30 PM
I find the concert scale the most comfortable for my fingers, but tenor is still comfortable, and I low G'd mine to give a bit of variety, and an added reason to pick it up. If there's none for you to pick up and test out, I think the concert scale is as good a place as any to start out.

JohnBoy
05-01-2008, 03:52 AM
After hearing what you all have said, I think I know what I am going to do. I think I just need to buy a concert and play it for a while before I will know which would be best for me. Is this UAS? This could get serious! Help....call the doctor!

salukulady
05-02-2008, 04:42 AM
After hearing what you all have said, I think I know what I am going to do. I think I just need to buy a concert and play it for a while before I will know which would be best for me. Is this UAS? This could get serious! Help....call the doctor!Oh yea, that's how it starts....one at a time. I started with a concert in January.....I now have five! Had to have one of every size plus this cool tenor thats shaped like a mandolin....I play everyday and everyday I change which one I'm playing so I don't get used to one size, I want to stay flexible. I like the different sizes for different type songs, the soprano for traditional Hawaiian music, my baritone for contemporary ballads, etc. Now I've got my eye on a sopranonino....hmmm looks like the perfect size for.....
www.youtube.com/watch?v=53eB6O0xHY0

Valerie
05-02-2008, 04:55 AM
I'm going to put in another "Here, here!" for trying before buying.

Last weekend I drove two hours to the closest ukulele store in my region and probably played every uke in the shop.

I went in sure I would like a low-g tenor the best. After all, I'm a guitar player and that's what I was reading online said "guitar players like baratone and low-g tenors."

Of course, I hated the low-g tenors... And loved the feel of the concert sized ukes.

The high-g tenors were okay, but they didn't have the crisp sound I had gotten use to hearing from my soprano- and the concerts did- with longer sustain to boot.

I ended up buying a concert... It's mailing has just been delayed- well- cause I'm living in a disaster zone right now and UPS isn't delivering :(