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View Full Version : Anyone with big hands/fingers play tenor?



cb56
08-07-2010, 04:06 PM
Update: I went ahead and bought the tenor! Thanks for the help everybody. :cool:
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I know it's impossible for you all to tell me what is best for me but... I've been a bass player for 30 years and play Ubass in our family uke group. I've been wanting to get a uke to play chords and maybe some finger picking after I get up to speed. I tried out some ukes at a local store (not much selection) Just to see how they felt and sounded.
I liked the sound of the tenor over the baritones but the fretboard of the tenor felt small, while the baritone felt more comfortable. I know you can set up the bari with special strings to tune like a tenor but I'd rather not do that unless as a last resort.

So I guess my question is, if I go ahead and get the tenor and just keep working at it will I eventually get used to the smaller feel of the instrument or should I go with the more comfortable (now) baritone.
I really want a tenor but don't want to buy something I'll be unhappy with.

SweetWaterBlue
08-07-2010, 04:35 PM
My philosophy is not to spend a lot of money, when you are unsure what size and type uke you want. Since you apparently don't live where you can try em out all the time, you might consider just getting a Makala tenor. They get good reviews, play well, and they are cheap. Here is one for $64 with free shipping. Try it out for a few months. If you don't like it, sell it for $50 and move up or down.

http://www.amazon.com/Kala-MK-T-Makala-Tenor-Ukulele/dp/B001731R6A

Aquilas make most any cheap uke sound better, so you might also consider UkeRepublic or MGM if you want one all set up with Aquilas. A little bit more but less work if you end up having to tweak the action a bit.

I spent a bit more at first, but you don't need to. My first ukulele was a $100 Kala laiminate KA-TG. It was a great little uke. It had a great sound, played easily and looked nice. I traded it for an antique baritone, but I kind of miss it now. At some point I will probably get another tenor, but the next one will have a solid spruce top.

Makala also makes a good baritone that you can usually pick up for about $70.

cletus
08-07-2010, 05:02 PM
I've only been playing my baritone since Thursday, but I am really loving the tuning. I wanted a change from my tenor with high G tuning, and I most definitely got it.

salukulady
08-07-2010, 07:48 PM
The size of your fingers should not limit the size of uke you play. Iz had very short fat fingers and played a soprano.

Manalishi
08-08-2010, 12:20 AM
I am a big chap,with big hands;I play both Tenor and Soprano,with
no problems at all.Concert size is a strange one for me,being neither
one or the other,if you follow! I got my Makala 'Dolphin' Soprano a
few weeks back,and have hardly been able to put it down since!
If you love the instrument you are playing,you will become more and
more comfortable with it,as you play it.

cb56
08-08-2010, 01:40 AM
yeah, I think I'm going to go with the tenor. If I practice for a solid year and then it still doesn't seem comfortable, I'll consider switching to baritone.
I've been watching some of MGM's videos and he seems like he's about my size and has no problem playing all his ukes.

luvdat
08-08-2010, 01:50 AM
yeah, I think I'm going to go with the tenor. If I practice for a solid year and then it still doesn't seem comfortable, I'll consider switching to baritone.
I've been watching some of MGM's videos and he seems like he's about my size and has no problem playing all his ukes.

I PM'd you and see now you're looking for a tenor. Kala?

UkuleleJarr
08-08-2010, 03:23 AM
i have fairly large, fairly long fingers and a tenor is easier, but i started on the sop. i then tried to play guitar and it was like i had been shrunk. if you started on a bass then tenor is probably best. or a baritone restringed for the gCEA tuning.

Harold O.
08-08-2010, 05:22 AM
The tenor works well for me and my five fat friends. Though I also have good fun with my soprano.

I say go tenor to start. My thought here is that the tenor will have more of the classic ukulele sound and that is, afterall, what the game is about.

MarySue
08-08-2010, 01:53 PM
I went from double bass to tenor uke. It did take a little while to get used to the tiny little thing, but eventually I got used to it. Then I went down to soprano. The adjustment period was much shorter.

I should mention my longest finger is 2 5/8ths inches long and is a size 11 ring. Short and fat-- that's me all over. :D

cb56
08-08-2010, 02:34 PM
actually my fingers are kinda long and skinny it's just my hands are over all big. Not NBA center big but somewhat big

byzkarl
08-09-2010, 08:21 AM
I have largish hands (can palm a basketball--can't play basketball, though) and the tenor feels fine. The soprano is fine for strumming, a bit cramped for playing melodies higher than about the 5th fret. Guitars feel huge now, since I've fallen for the ukulele.

Ukulele JJ
08-09-2010, 05:05 PM
I'd imagine that the frets on a tenor aren't that much closer together than the frets on a bass higher on up the neck. If you can play up there, then you'll be fine.

JJ

cb56
08-10-2010, 01:41 AM
Yeah, I think I'm convinced. I'll be going with the tenor! I'll be pulling the trigger on one in about two weeks! can't wait.
Until then I'm practicing my strumming techniques on my wife's bari. I've got alot of practicing to do.

TCK
08-10-2010, 07:46 PM
I have had the same experience as Mary Sue. My wife plays soprano and I got a tenor to help her along (coming from accordion, and this is a week of experience with a stringed instrument talking). I have found once I can play a tune/progression easily on the tenor, the soprano takes me seconds to get comfortable. The learning is the part where I get stuck.
My fingers are the best of both worlds for strings, short and fat...shoulda played pedal steel I guess

dave alexander
08-12-2010, 03:31 PM
And also remember that within 6 months you'll have at least a soprano, concert, tenor and a few extra of each -- just for sharing.
(After 2 years loving the uke we have 3 baritones, three sopranos, one concert and a tenor. Oh, two strumsticks, two busted banjoleles and some dusty guitars.)

I started with baritone, but have really fallen in love with the sound of the tenor. I bought the correct strings to turn one of my baritones into a CGEA standard tuning uke. Large fretboard, bright sound...and just a step bigger than the tenor. Realistically, your fingers would have to be huge to NEED that much space, but it is an option (and I keep seeing lots of Baritones on Craigslist for 50 bucks or so.)

cletus
08-12-2010, 04:11 PM
Count me in as a fan of the baritone tuned gCEA. The low G is a different world for me. If you could get a good baritone for cheap, it's worth a try. It's a big fretboard, compared to tenor.
Good luck!

SweetWaterBlue
08-12-2010, 04:56 PM
Count me in as a fan of the baritone tuned gCEA. The low G is a different world for me. If you could get a good baritone for cheap, it's worth a try. It's a big fretboard, compared to tenor.
Good luck!

The great thing about baritones, besides sounding better with some types of music, is that almost anyone can try one out for pretty much cheaper than even a el cheapo soprano. Just find yourself and old kid's guitar (usually 1/4 scale) at a thrift shop, in the attack, or in the trash. I paid $10 for mine. Cut a few new slots in the nut, and modify the bridge if you want (optional) and Wa La - a baritone. It won't sound quite as good as a Martin, but I have tried several now, and they all sounded pretty good.

Uke Republic
08-12-2010, 05:03 PM
I know it's impossible for you all to tell me what is best for me but... I've been a bass player for 30 years and play Ubass in our family uke group. I've been wanting to get a uke to play chords and maybe some finger picking after I get up to speed. I tried out some ukes at a local store (not much selection) Just to see how they felt and sounded.
I liked the sound of the tenor over the baritones but the fretboard of the tenor felt small, while the baritone felt more comfortable. I know you can set up the bari with special strings to tune like a tenor but I'd rather not do that unless as a last resort.

So I guess my question is, if I go ahead and get the tenor and just keep working at it will I eventually get used to the smaller feel of the instrument or should I go with the more comfortable (now) baritone.
I really want a tenor but don't want to buy something I'll be unhappy with.

We recently got in Vineyards newest contribution to tenors and I must say the neck is thick almost Baritone like. Great playing uke and priced cheap as nails. Got a demo on Youtube down there.

SweetWaterBlue
08-12-2010, 05:08 PM
We recently got in Vineyards newest contribution to tenors and I must say the neck is thick almost Baritone like. Great playing uke and priced cheap as nails. Got a demo on Youtube down there.

I can vouch for that Vineyard neck being wider than most tenors I have played. Having played the heck out of both my homemade and my vintage baritones for the last few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised by the spacious neck on that UkeRepublic Vineyard zebrawood tenor neck Mike brought to the last Java Jam. I also loved the fact that the fretboard was bound and very well built.

luvdat
08-12-2010, 10:55 PM
I'd imagine that the frets on a tenor aren't that much closer together than the frets on a bass higher on up the neck. If you can play up there, then you'll be fine.

JJ

And the soprano? Like playing higher up the neck on a Strat....

lozarkman
08-17-2010, 07:44 AM
Oscar Schmidt makes a special wide tenor fretboard that should work well for those of you with larger hands. I have medium sized hands (can reach only a ninth on the piano) and have had no trouble with regular fretboards, but I can see for some people the wider fret board might be a help. Lozark

wearymicrobe
08-17-2010, 11:31 AM
Some uke builders have a bit wider fingerboard to give you extra room.

I personally have big hands, with long fingers, and about a 22/23 key stretch on a piano. I can play a sopranino just fine. Though I am much more comfortable with normal strumming on a tenor.

DogBisquit
08-17-2010, 06:59 PM
I'd imagine that the frets on a tenor aren't that much closer together than the frets on a bass higher on up the neck. If you can play up there, then you'll be fine.

JJ

There is a difference between the sizes. Regardless of the neck width, the frets are closer together. Heck, there's even a difference between brands of the same size.

Took me a while to get my fingers to do what I was telling them. I started on a baritone, but I'm stuck on the soprano and concerts. Maybe it's a high G thang.

alohaolamele
08-22-2010, 06:06 PM
I have big hands and fat fingers, and I have no problem playing on a tenor ukulele. I think maybe if you are patient and stick with it, you'll eventually find it's comfortable.

cb56
08-23-2010, 01:24 AM
I ordered my tenor yesterday

cletus
08-23-2010, 03:30 AM
And the waiting begins...

ichadwick
08-24-2010, 06:51 AM
My philosophy is not to spend a lot of money, when you are unsure what size and type uke you want...
Hmmm. I should look into that. My philosophy is to order whatever strikes my fancy and later on figure out if I like it or will sell it...

BadLands Bart
08-24-2010, 07:43 AM
I ordered my tenor yesterday

Tick tock tick tock

Oh the agony!!!!!

mm stan
08-24-2010, 08:57 AM
Wait was that the mailman,,aw shucks...he doesn't have it today..
Wonder if I should call package tracking...HMM nah! wait another day...he he
No worries it's gonna be here.....ARH!!But when......

cb56
08-24-2010, 12:28 PM
I'll just stand out in front of my house with this sign until the brown truck comes.
:iwant:

Just got notification, it's on it's way 2nd day air!
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Just to finish up this thread, I got the tenor a couple days ago and love it. I'm very happy with my choice!
Thanks for the help everyone.