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View Full Version : any "SOPRANOS ONLY " people out there ?



Pukulele Pete
04-21-2010, 03:16 AM
I play nothing but sopranos. I feel that anything larger is cheating. Sopranos should have friction tuners and never geared tuners. Anyone else out there feel the same........or am I alone ?

cornfedgroove
04-21-2010, 03:37 AM
haha, awesome...

this reminds me of amish folk I pass in Walmart:cool:

Tudorp
04-21-2010, 03:48 AM
So far, I have three sopranos, (two traditional, and one Banjo Uke). My SK-35 has good friction tuners, but my throwdown Uke has geared. When I restored my vintage Banjo Uke, I replaced the old worn out vintage friction tuners, I did replace them with a nice set of geared tuners. I am a huge fan of nostalgia, and being a collector of antique anything really (especially machinery and technology), I do like to keep the "Charm" of vintage, and do so on static, or display type of antiques, and like to preserve the vintage technology, but for my antiques I actually use, and are functional, I will upgrade them, but try to keep as much original as possible, but see nothing wrong with making it better than it was. So, that also crossed over to my vintage instruments, and my 1930s Banjo Uke was upgraded to geared. However, that said, I also have a 1930's Gretsch tenor banjo that I was able to restore the original vintage friction tuners, and I play it with it's original friction. When the day comes those are no longer serviceable, it will probably get planitary gears (which does maintain the nostalgic look of friction).

I love the soprano Uke, and to date been solely soprano, but not totally loyal to the size, and want to someday get me a nice concert, or tenor. Not sold on the Baratone, before I went to those, I would simply return to a standard 6 string guitar.

Just my take..

jellybean
04-21-2010, 04:29 AM
and yes...friction tuners feel best to me...something about balance...both visually and in my hands.

I'm pretty much an amateur...but I I had a concert to begin with..as soon as I held a soprano, I just knew it was the size for me.

Paul December
04-21-2010, 05:10 AM
I believe the only "true" music is banging two stones against each other...
...anything else is cheating.

bbycrts
04-21-2010, 05:26 AM
Having been through just about every size, I've settled on sopranos simply because I love their sound the best. My two sopranos have wider than average fretboards for comfort, and they do have geared tuners - just a personal preference. I figure the end result is the important thing, and in uking the end result is the sound - I love the sound my two sopranos make, so that's what matters to me.

dnewton2
04-21-2010, 05:36 AM
I believe the only "true" music is banging two stones against each other...
...anything else is cheating.

Who need stones??? I just use hands and body parts.

As for the OP, I am not a Soprano Onlu guy. I would say I prefer Concerts. But I have recently really enjoyed playing my Soprano. It does have geared tuners but I really don't have that big of a preference, I have used both friction and geared. I do want to upgrade my soprano sometime soon though.

I will say I have not been able to get into a Tenor uke that I have owned. I have played some in shops I liked but never bought one I really liked. Both attempts were Kala, one online and I didn't know any better the other time.

ukeshale
04-21-2010, 05:36 AM
and yes...friction tuners feel best to me...something about balance...both visually and in my hands.

I too like friction tuners but only for balancing the instrument - I'm not too concerned about looking traditional. The Ohana Vita, which is labeled in some places as a concert uke but from nut to bridge is a soprano, has such a large body that it needs geared tuners.

I've only ever played sopranos but that's literally just a coincidence. I don't have anything against other sizes.

guitharsis
04-21-2010, 05:48 AM
Not soprano only but mostly. Do LOVE my sopranos! Not sure if I have a tuner preference. Friction tuners take some getting used to but I do like them now.

arashi_nero
04-21-2010, 05:54 AM
i started on a soprano like many people do. i appreciate the sound of the soprano, but i feel that the other sizes are not cheating. different sizes have different timbres (pronounced tamber--don't ask me why). i love the timbre of my soprano, but i love the timbre of my tenor. are they the same, no. they each have their benefit. it's like saying you can't play contrabassoon because it's not a true bassoon or say that you can't play a bassoon with high d and e keys because it's "cheating". eventually i know i will have several sopranos and one or two tenors and concerts in my home (got to have at least one soprano per kid, right?)

Pukulele Pete
04-21-2010, 06:00 AM
Hey.......everyone calm down. I'm just trying to be funny when I say "anything larger is cheating". I was looking for a humorous way to say that I prefer sopranos. I hope most people recognized the humor and didnt take it literally.

arashi_nero
04-21-2010, 06:18 AM
yeah, no worries! i didn't take it literally. i don't care about anyone's personal preference to size. and i think "cheating" is just fine lol. i think all the sizes have their benefits and i'm sad that i only have 2 sizes personally. i'd love a concert and a baritone. i think i'll end up buying another soprano and a tenor before i get a concert. baritone will be my absolute last uke. i'm going to try to talk my wife into letting me buy a makala dolphin for my son for his 5th birthday coming up. he hates it when i have to remind him that the soprano he playes is mine.

ukantor
04-21-2010, 06:21 AM
I'm a soprano guy. I also own a concert and tenor, but they don't get played much. I keep the concert tuned down half a tone from gcea, and the tenor down a whole tone. They sound better that way, to my ears. I'm not too bothered by the type of tuners, but some geared tuners affect the balance and feel of a soprano.

John Colter.

Tudorp
04-21-2010, 06:24 AM
I hear ya.. I can play the stones too.. hehheh..

Jason Paul
04-21-2010, 06:57 AM
A couple of days ago I ordered a Kala KA-S from MGM to find out just this very thing. :)

My first uke was a Mahalo U-30 soprano. It has pretty bad intonation, so I can't count it as a fair go on a soprano. Both my other ukes are concerts (a Flea and a Mainland).

So, I wanted a decent soprano that would play in tune, to see if a soprano is "my size".

So far, I haven't been considering a tenor. They just don't seem quite uke-like to me. Maybe some day, but for now, they're too large, too expensive, too high-tension (I hear), and are too close to a guitar for my taste.

As for tuners, I think that geared tuners look silly on a soprano, and still a little silly on a concert. I think they look OK on the Flea/Fluke because of the headstock design. I've never had a problem using friction tuners either. I was a little disappointed that the low-end ukes (like the KA-S) all seem to have geared tuners. Is it really cheaper to make a geared tuner than a decent friction?

Anyway, maybe I'll know after a few weeks of playing the KA-S whether I'm a soprano only guy. I think I'll have a hard time giving up my Mainland concert though.

Jason

RyanMFT
04-21-2010, 07:12 AM
I am a soprano guy. I really prefer to play soprano, and for the life of me, I just don't understand the angst people have with friction tuners. My Kumalae has true wood peg friction tuners and they are a breeze to use. I have had cheap old tuners that simply don't work, but easily replaced them with good friction tuners. Well, to each his own.

Sometimes I have to play my concert when I play with friends who all play concert ukes simply because the volume seems so much louder from their concerts. Then again, perhaps it is just the ukes these guys play (Ohana). Anyway....I digress.....I prefer Soprano, it makes my heart sing (as my voice is pretty dicey). Any way you slice it....they're all ukes!

gibheid
04-21-2010, 07:26 AM
My two sopranos have wider than average fretboards for comfort, and they do have geared tuners - just a personal preference.Hello bbycrts,

I am looking for what you seem to have! Can you tell me the makers of your 'wider than average fretboards', so that I may overcome the limitations of my pork sausage fingers.

Thanks!

:)

ritzer012
04-21-2010, 08:29 AM
i love love love sopranos too! my koaloha and my flea are soprano...i do have a mainland concert that i love too but that is as big as ill go. just got a concert eleuke that im still trying to get used to...taking a little while

i also like friction tuners better! i dont think theyre difficult to use and i think they look cooler too =)

Paul December
04-21-2010, 08:29 AM
Who need stones??? I just use hands and body parts.


Good point! ... I'm going to go "old school" and switch-over to chattering teeth.

beeejums
04-21-2010, 09:29 AM
I go back and forth on this a lot... I don't know if I have a preference. I used to have a tenor... stopped playing it and gave it to my mother so she could learn how to play. I typically either play my Flea (a concert) or my sopranino (which for months was just taken to work in my backpack for music therapy class... not a regular player until recently). And I pretty much only drool over sopranos. I like the feel of them better, and I've noticed when I'm holding a soprano I'm more likely to play original / improvised / stuff that requires singing (which I'm really working on), and when I pick up the concert or the tenor I'm a lot more likely to just play Jake covers (which is fun, but man cannot live by bread alone).

euchre
04-21-2010, 10:32 AM
I'm headed that way. Right now I play soprano 90% of the time.

Gipserio
04-21-2010, 10:59 AM
100 % soprano. I have a Lanikai LU 21, my first uke, and a loprinzi soprano. I feel no need to have other kinds of ukes. I feel that soprano is the real uke and the rest are ukes crossed with guitars. Lately I've been dreaming with a Spirito Santo reproduction uke by Da Silva.

Chris Tarman
04-21-2010, 01:15 PM
I would say I play soprano probably 90% of the time (or more). I own a baritone, a tenor, two concerts, and eight sopranos. I really like the sound and feel of soprano, and the humorous size contrast between them and bass guitar (my main instrument). I wouldn't mind a better concert someday (mine are both laminated mahogany-one is nice and the other is a hog but was cheap and has a pick-up). But I have decided that I am really a soprano guy. Everything I want to buy is pretty much a soprano. And like you, I think sopranos look much better with friction tuners. They seem "wrong" somehow with geared tuners. I've never had any problem with friction tuners and kind of wish they were more common on other sizes. My baritone (a plastic Maccaferri Islander) DOES have friction tuners, but most of the tenors and concerts I've looked (and all the ones I own) have geared.

Dane
04-21-2010, 01:30 PM
I love the sound of any ukulele, however, the fretboard size of sopranos and concerts does not like my hands (It's quite painful for me) This is why I have such a fascination with super-concerts, and if I can find and afford one at some point I'd like to get a super-super-soprano. We all have our different reasons for playing different sizes of ukes, and I do not believe that I am cheating at all by playing a tenor size uke. Ukulele for me is not about skill or the difficulty of playing different sized ukes (I presume this is what you mean by cheating) I like the instrument for it's pure sound, for it's like-able nature, and for it's great community, not for it's size.

mailman
04-21-2010, 01:30 PM
I love the Sopranos, too....but I don't limit myself to just the Sopranos. I also like the Godfather, Goodfellas....just about any good gangster show! As for concerts, I like a good concert as much as anyone (but , of course, it depends on who's playing). As long as it's not the tenors, I'm in. I can't get my head around opera, tenors or otherwise.

Wait. What? We're talking about ukes? Er, ummm.....never mind!

StereoJoker
04-21-2010, 02:47 PM
I love the Sopranos, too....but I don't limit myself to just the Sopranos. I also like the Godfather, Goodfellas....just about any good gangster show!

Bahahaha. Niiiiice. (The Godfather III should be off-limits, though. I don't care what anybody says -- that was awful.)

As if it hasn't been made obvious enough on this forum so far, my mantra is "smaller is better". My preference leans heavily toward sub-soprano sizes (if that's on the other end of the spectrum, would that be "masochistic"? :D), but I must admit that I'm more inclined to take an "all-soprano-all-the-time" stance (disregarding the sopraninos for the moment, of course). I think the originals are always better than the sequels.

ukulelearp
04-21-2010, 03:14 PM
To be honest, I just don't like the look of friction tuners. I know they're traditional, light, blah blah blah. I also prefer the precision of geared tuners. As far as the original question, I feel almost tenor-only. But I do like the more plinky sound of my soprano.

clayton56
04-21-2010, 10:54 PM
I too like the sopranos and think the other sizes are cheating. Although I decided this by buying one concert, which I rarely play. HOWEVER I may record rhythm tracks with it because it sounds much fuller and it records well. It's not louder, but more lush. I'm finding sopranos hard to record well.

My sopranos are mostly melody line instruments, and I think they penetrate better. I think they're more comfortable to hold and reach over - my wrist fall asleep playing the concert. I like having a 9 or 10 fret reach. And I think they are "real" ukes.

Pukulele Pete
04-22-2010, 01:37 AM
haha, awesome...

this reminds me of amish folk I pass in Walmart:cool:

I'll bet everyone steers clear of you at Walmart.

Dane
04-22-2010, 07:11 AM
Could any of you soprano-junkies tell me why you think concert and tenors are "cheating"? Just curious =)

paraclete
04-22-2010, 07:17 AM
I'm undecided at this point. I have a soprano and a tenor. Haven't tried a concert yet or a baritone. I prolly will never make up my mind, as I am one of those types who find it endlessly amusing to switch between a number of instruments of all different tunings and sizes.... such as taking my soprano along to kill time between sets (when I'm playing bass with my band). The most difficult switch is between fiddle and classical guitar in the middle of a song. Given that, choosing a particular size of uke has a pretty low priority at the moment.

euchre
04-22-2010, 08:09 AM
Could any of you soprano-junkies tell me why you think concert and tenors are "cheating"? Just curious =)

I wouldn't call it cheating, but I'll take a stab at it. Soprano is the traditional size and has the sound most associated with ukulele. Concerts and tenors, with their larger size, are easier to play and have a different sound from sopranos. Playing any size larger than soprano is taking the easy way out. LOL

Dane
04-22-2010, 08:25 AM
I wouldn't call it cheating, but I'll take a stab at it. Soprano is the traditional size and has the sound most associated with ukulele. Concerts and tenors, with their larger size, are easier to play and have a different sound from sopranos. Playing any size larger than soprano is taking the easy way out. LOL

AH but not necessarily, some things I play on my tenor I stretch my fingers a good 7 frets, and some of my chords that I make span 5 frets, which is considerably more difficult on a tenor uke at the low frets, and that's just easier to do on a soprano, so THAT is an easy way out lol. Each size has their own thing that is "harder" or "easier" to do on their particular size of fretboard. Traditional it may be, but it seems like a lot of the performers now play tenors and concerts now. If you enjoy a particular sound and size of uke, I don't think it's cheating. Cheating would imply that I was doing something wrong in order to take advantage of something, which as stated above, I obviously am not lol

Pukulele Pete
04-22-2010, 09:16 AM
Hey.......everyone calm down. I'm just trying to be funny when I say "anything larger is cheating". I was looking for a humorous way to say that I prefer sopranos. I hope most people recognized the humor and didnt take it literally.

Man.........I cant beleive everyone is freaking out cause I used the word " cheating" Of course it is NOT cheating to play a concert or a tenor or even a baritone. It is not cheating, your instrument will not be confiscated, you can still play it. But things will change when I become King.

Dane
04-22-2010, 09:20 AM
Man.........I cant beleive everyone is freaking out cause I used the word " cheating" Of course it is NOT cheating to play a concert or a tenor or even a baritone. It is not cheating, your instrument will not be confiscated, you can still play it. But things will change when I become King.

I think you're actually the only one percieving it as getting heated. I'm just having a casual conversation with everyone. Obviously were all here to have fun and enjoy ourselves, but what you said is something that many people really do think about uke players who prefer concerts and tenors, so I just wanted to discuss it further.

clayton56
04-22-2010, 09:20 AM
Could any of you soprano-junkies tell me why you think concert and tenors are "cheating"? Just curious =)


Ok, I'll try.

In all other instrument families, different sizes of the original are tuned differently to cover differerent ranges. Soprano is high, alto is lower, tenor is lower, etc. Ukulele is the only one where all the sizes are tuned exactly the same. So why have them? It's like the makers can't decide how a ukulele should sound. Should a soprano ukulele be the size of a soprano, a concert, or a tenor? They can't decide.

The bigger, mellower sound of the other sizes is nice, but it's like they aren't ukes, they're trying to appeal to guitarists or something. Note that Martin only makes soprano ukes, then they make their guitars.

I think the baritone is a legitimate uke because it's tuned lower, it has a legitimate place in the uke family. But the tenor, to be called a tenor, ought to be tuned between a soprano and a baritone.

Of course, you can do this yourself. Tune soprano to D, Concert to C, Tenor to Bb (or A), Baritone to G, and you have a legitimate family.

Dane
04-22-2010, 09:25 AM
Ok, I'll try.

In all other instrument families, different sizes of the original are tuned differently to cover differerent ranges. Soprano is high, alto is lower, tenor is lower, etc. Ukulele is the only one where all the sizes are tuned exactly the same. So why have them? It's like the makers can't decide how a ukulele should sound. Should a soprano ukulele be the size of a soprano, a concert, or a tenor? They can't decide.

The bigger, mellower sound of the other sizes is nice, but it's like they aren't ukes, they're trying to appeal to guitarists or something. Note that Martin only makes soprano ukes, then they make their guitars.

I think the baritone is a legitimate uke because it's tuned lower, it has a legitimate place in the uke family. But the tenor, to be called a tenor, ought to be tuned between a soprano and a baritone.

Of course, you can do this yourself. Tune soprano to D, Concert to C, Tenor to Bb (or A), Baritone to G, and you have a legitimate family.

What if I want an illegitimate ukulele family? haha

Joking aside, you make a good point here. Because traditional tuning would be D when most ukes were soprano correct? So perhaps the other ukes originally were tuned differently, and overtime C just became a stand for convenience sake. Does anyone know the history behind this? I would really like to know.

GrumpyCoyote
04-22-2010, 09:37 AM
Interesting. The concept that one uke size or style is somehow more "valid" than another reminds me of the "ukes aren't real instruments" stuff we often hear from the guitar set. In short - shenanigans.

There are purists on all sides - and for all sorts of reasons, almost all of those reasons are irrational (that is not to say "bad", but just not based in rational thought).To me, it doesn't have to be a religious war or lifestyle choice. They all do differnet things, and all have thier place.

For me, I like to make sounds - a large variety of them. To make those varied sounds, I sometimes need different tools. What uke I use is dependant on what sound I want to make and not based on what I think is "right"... LowG, High G, Tenor, Baritone, Soprano, CigarBox, old cookie tin, - whatever it takes to make the sound I want.

arashi_nero
04-22-2010, 10:08 AM
Ok, I'll try.

In all other instrument families, different sizes of the original are tuned differently to cover differerent ranges. Soprano is high, alto is lower, tenor is lower, etc. Ukulele is the only one where all the sizes are tuned exactly the same. So why have them? It's like the makers can't decide how a ukulele should sound. Should a soprano ukulele be the size of a soprano, a concert, or a tenor? They can't decide.

The bigger, mellower sound of the other sizes is nice, but it's like they aren't ukes, they're trying to appeal to guitarists or something. Note that Martin only makes soprano ukes, then they make their guitars.

I think the baritone is a legitimate uke because it's tuned lower, it has a legitimate place in the uke family. But the tenor, to be called a tenor, ought to be tuned between a soprano and a baritone.

Of course, you can do this yourself. Tune soprano to D, Concert to C, Tenor to Bb (or A), Baritone to G, and you have a legitimate family.

i understand your arguement, but at the same time, if there wasn't a reason to have tenor and concert, why would they make them? like i have said many times, it's all about tone color (timbre). while soprano, concert, and tenor are generally tuned to the same notes, they don't sound exactly the same. and just because things come from the same family doesn't mean they have to be tuned different. cornet and trumpet are from the same family and tuned exactly the same, but parts written for each are generally seperate because the timbre is different. same goes for acoustic guitar and eletric guitar. same tuning, and when amped, different sound. are either wrong? no. they both serve different sound purposes. i'm sure the reason they gave these different names is because each gives a different sound quality in lower sounds as the body gets bigger. my soprano doesn't give me the same deep sound as my tenor, but my tenor doesn't give me the same high sound as my soprano even though they're tuned the same.

as for cheating, i think soprano is much easier to play than the other 3. i never played guitar, so i can't say i like tenor more because i'm used to playing a bigger instrument. soprano is easiest because the tension of the strings feels less than the bigger instruments. and i don't have to stretch my fingers to try and get certain notes. however, i love the timbre of my tenor a little more than the timbre of my soprano. i play them both about the same tho.

casarole45
04-22-2010, 11:13 AM
I love the sound of any ukulele, however, the fretboard size of sopranos and concerts does not like my hands (It's quite painful for me) This is why I have such a fascination with super-concerts, and if I can find and afford one at some point I'd like to get a super-super-soprano. We all have our different reasons for playing different sizes of ukes, and I do not believe that I am cheating at all by playing a tenor size uke. Ukulele for me is not about skill or the difficulty of playing different sized ukes (I presume this is what you mean by cheating) I like the instrument for it's pure sound, for it's like-able nature, and for it's great community, not for it's size.

Ohana do a tenor neck soprano, check the site, its all solid mahogany too =D awesome...

As for me.... Many spanish players have awesome finger stretching abilities..... unfortunately I have freakishly small hands (kids extra extra large glove size or something). I love soprano bodies and absolutley love the fact I can stretch so far on the fret board, but it just doesn't have frets and fret spacing at the top end for my playing, so I'm loving my Koaloha 'Concert neck' Soprano uke, its the ideal compromise for me. Tenor looses that bright sound I love and borders on starting to sound very guitar like for me. Also its just not compact, a concert neck soprano fits in a tiny soprano case... ideal.

I'm just waiting for Ohana to do a concert neck Sk-35g.... and my life will be complete =D

casarole45
04-22-2010, 11:29 AM
Ok, I'll try.

In all other instrument families, different sizes of the original are tuned differently to cover differerent ranges. Soprano is high, alto is lower, tenor is lower, etc. Ukulele is the only one where all the sizes are tuned exactly the same. So why have them? It's like the makers can't decide how a ukulele should sound. Should a soprano ukulele be the size of a soprano, a concert, or a tenor? They can't decide.

The bigger, mellower sound of the other sizes is nice, but it's like they aren't ukes, they're trying to appeal to guitarists or something. Note that Martin only makes soprano ukes, then they make their guitars.

I think the baritone is a legitimate uke because it's tuned lower, it has a legitimate place in the uke family. But the tenor, to be called a tenor, ought to be tuned between a soprano and a baritone.

Of course, you can do this yourself. Tune soprano to D, Concert to C, Tenor to Bb (or A), Baritone to G, and you have a legitimate family.

I challenge that sir :p

As for the size thing, it's not just uke's that have the same tuning for different sizes. Guitars are exactly the same for the same reason (louder fuller range). You get the dreadnaught body, the jumbo body which is huge (I think this is the same tuning). You also obviously get the 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 size amongst others... no doubt many other instruments are the same also

Edit: ... rethink... I think the soprano, concert, tenor thing is more about the tonal qualities of the instrument.... soprano = bright and high, tenor = mellow and deeper

arashi_nero
04-22-2010, 11:42 AM
@casarole45--you basically said exactly what i did 2 posts earlier in a few shorter words hahahaha.

HaileISela
04-22-2010, 11:48 AM
I really don't understand how anyone could dismiss another type of Uke without even playing it. All those ideas that everything not Soprano is not a true Uke... I don't get it. A Baritone is just as much an 'ukulele as the others are.

I would highly recommend everyone to just try out everything you can get your hand on before dismissing anything, you might just miss something you'd loved, too. Music is not about right or wrong, big or small or whatever. and limiting yourself to anything because of an idea of this is better than that, puh, that slightly reminds me of a sentence that I sadly heard too often already: "I don't have a problem with foreigners, but..." Stereotypes won't get you far, without the willingness to correct them.

just my :2cents:

casarole45
04-22-2010, 11:48 AM
@casarole45--you basically said exactly what i did 2 posts earlier in a few shorter words hahahaha.

lol soz, I'm tired but found the thread really interesting and ahhh skim read a few posts, my short attention span catches me out again.... so in this case I shall change my message to the shortest possible....

:agree: with arashi_nero

=D

Chris Tarman
04-22-2010, 12:16 PM
Ohana do a tenor neck soprano, check the site, its all solid mahogany too =D awesome...



I want a Soprano-necked Tenor! Lol

luvdat
04-22-2010, 01:06 PM
Not too long ago I purchased a Flea soprano. It served as the entry-drug to tenors. Why? I had to admit that tonally the Flea was NOT your typical soprano and esp. not in terms of playability. I became a little frustrated, however, above the 5th fret with barre chord/single note play combinations that did not have the depth I wanted (including that of other sopranos I had tried). I could have gone concert with the Flea or puchased a concert. Instead I flipped for an inexpensive tenor, the Kala KA-T that I tried on 3 separate occasions. In short, I spoke too soon even a few days ago saying I preferred a soprano, when actually, for the long haul I can do more than just get by on a tenor, including an inexpensive one.

Dane
04-22-2010, 01:47 PM
She is beautiful! And only $169! Made in china I presume but very cool nonetheless! Thanks for the tip Casarole

http://www.ohana-music.com/sopr/sk30l/mod_f.jpg

filippelli
04-22-2010, 05:54 PM
Soprano-only here. My neighbor didn't know any better and called it a "baby guitar" last week.

pdxuke
04-22-2010, 05:54 PM
All soprano, all the time. (See below.)

clayton56
04-22-2010, 09:13 PM
I challenge that sir :p

As for the size thing, it's not just uke's that have the same tuning for different sizes. Guitars are exactly the same for the same reason (louder fuller range). You get the dreadnaught body, the jumbo body which is huge (I think this is the same tuning). You also obviously get the 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 size amongst others... no doubt many other instruments are the same also

Edit: ... rethink... I think the soprano, concert, tenor thing is more about the tonal qualities of the instrument.... soprano = bright and high, tenor = mellow and deeper


Well I'm thinking about other instrument families where it's about range. Classical instruments like violins, clarinets, saxes, etc. Guitars have different sized bodies for different tonal qualities, but they're still called guitars (I have heard the term tenor guitar, but there's nothing listed in my Mel Bay reference book - just one type of guitar there, plus Mexican riquinto). Guitars also have half size, 3/4 size, but that's to accomodate young players. The range is the same and they're just called guitars. When the range changes they would be called something else.

Tenor banjos are tuned differently than regular banjos. Why have a body variation with the same tuning and call it a tenor?

Also, aren't concert and tenor ukes a new trend? Did they spring up so ukes would be louder and project better in groups of professional musicians? I seem to think the 1920's ukes were all soprano and larger sizes didn't start appearing until the '40's or '50's.

Sure the different body sizes and scale lengths allow for different tonal qualities, I'm just saying it's the first time an instrument family's members are named for their body size and construction rather than the ranges they cover. To me that makes it less than legitimate - it doesn't fit into the tradition and is confusing.

luvdat
04-22-2010, 10:31 PM
What's interesting is that soprano purists have no problem saying that a particular instrument is "banjoey" but when a tenor is considered too "guitarish": heresy. I think it's fair to say that the "standard" (based on a Portuguese instrument) comes first...but even the big names of Hawaiian music like Ohta-San have concerts named after them. I myself have been guilty of this type of purism.

Dane
04-22-2010, 11:15 PM
I don't understand the "guitarish" thing. I play guitar, I play a tenor uke, my uke is NO WHERE near a guitar. Even if I capo my guitar at the 5th fret (GCEA) and play all my uke songs on the first 4 strings, it sounds so different.

luvdat
04-23-2010, 12:47 AM
I don't understand the "guitarish" thing. I play guitar, I play a tenor uke, my uke is NO WHERE near a guitar. Even if I capo my guitar at the 5th fret (GCEA) and play all my uke songs on the first 4 strings, it sounds so different.

I'm at the point where I just want to sing, play and make music. After the 1960's and before the 90's I think it's fair to say that esp. outside Hawaii the ukulele was mostly in the hands of collector's and enthusiasts. Converts to the soprano, like converts to a new faith, frequently consider themselves either having found the true form or even on a different level than cradle ukulele players who have fewer issues with the tenor size. I think it's also fair to say that even today the soprano (esp outside Hawaii) despite the noted tendency to revere it as the "standard" is the ukulele most associated with novelty, genre and comedy acts. BTW, I am NOT a fan of making the tenor the ukulele of choice for "more serious players." For me, it;s simply a tonal option.

HaileISela
04-23-2010, 01:07 AM
Sure the different body sizes and scale lengths allow for different tonal qualities, I'm just saying it's the first time an instrument family's members are named for their body size and construction rather than the ranges they cover. To me that makes it less than legitimate - it doesn't fit into the tradition and is confusing.

One could actually refer to the different tunings of the sizes as follows: standard soprano ADF#B, standard concert GCEA, standard tenor gCEA and standard baritone DGBE... but anyway, why would you bother?

ukantor
04-23-2010, 02:01 AM
Standard tenor gCEA - since when?

Ukantor.

HaileISela
04-23-2010, 05:13 AM
Standard tenor gCEA - since when?

Ukantor.

ok, maybe not standard, but those are differences you might find.

arashi_nero
04-23-2010, 05:42 AM
Well I'm thinking about other instrument families where it's about range. Classical instruments like violins, clarinets, saxes, etc. Guitars have different sized bodies for different tonal qualities, but they're still called guitars (I have heard the term tenor guitar, but there's nothing listed in my Mel Bay reference book - just one type of guitar there, plus Mexican riquinto). Guitars also have half size, 3/4 size, but that's to accomodate young players. The range is the same and they're just called guitars. When the range changes they would be called something else.

Tenor banjos are tuned differently than regular banjos. Why have a body variation with the same tuning and call it a tenor?

Also, aren't concert and tenor ukes a new trend? Did they spring up so ukes would be louder and project better in groups of professional musicians? I seem to think the 1920's ukes were all soprano and larger sizes didn't start appearing until the '40's or '50's.

Sure the different body sizes and scale lengths allow for different tonal qualities, I'm just saying it's the first time an instrument family's members are named for their body size and construction rather than the ranges they cover. To me that makes it less than legitimate - it doesn't fit into the tradition and is confusing.

so, you're bent out of shape about bigger ukes because of the name? and why does everything always have to follow tradition? reminds me of Fidler on the Roof. i can hear the song now "traaaaditiooooooooooon, tradition,.....tradition!......." :rofl: if you were to come up with different names for the bigger ukes, would you feel better about them then? concert seems like a perfect name for the concert. we could call tenor a "concert xl" or a "really big soprano that doesn't sound like a soprano".

as for trends for creating different instruments, that's gona happen. if it didn't, we'd still be beating on our skulls or rocks for music. so someone 50 years ago wanted an 'ukulele that sounded a little different from a soprano and made a tenor. it's all about timbre.

luvdat
04-23-2010, 11:35 AM
This thread is making a me a tenor player.

arashi_nero
04-24-2010, 10:05 AM
wow, i totally didn't intend to kill this thread. and i didn't intend to "convert" any soprano players to anything else. we're all 'ukulele players here. i love both my ukes and i will probably have multiple of each size (except i'll probably only have one baritone). i definitely play my soprano and concert xl about the same. it just depends what songs i want to practice. some songs sound better on the soprano. others sound better on my concert xl. if someone wants to play sopranos only, that's fine with me. but please do not tell people who play the other sizes that their ukes are not "real" ukes.

luvdat
04-24-2010, 10:54 AM
No worries. Just opening up to new tonal options and maybe a playing preference for the longhaul. Not the same as any kind of pursim.

I think it's great when soprano players say soprano player all the way and esp. when they make worthwhile contributions to the forum with helping other soprano lovers and maybe just owners rediscover D tuning for example. pdxuke did that in a great thread. I don't consider that purism...

All I can say for myself is that I sat this morning on a parkbench in NJ with my wife and played a cheapo Kala KA-T that I could kick butt on and chill with more than just a few people stopping to enjoy and ask like one of them did, "Is that a cuatro?" I said it's a tenor ukulele, but I should have said it's just real chill...

In the end though the real longhaul for me? Soprano.