View Full Version : Keeping various sizes of ukes vs having one size that you play

03-14-2011, 06:20 AM
I have recently moved up from Concert to Tenor and want to know what you think about the idea of either having an instrument of every size or keeping only instruments that you will actually play.

I currently own:
Soprano - Ko’Aloha,
Concert - Kamaka,
Tenors – Lanikai CK-TEQ Tenor Curly Koa Acoustic Electric
Collins UT2 (Koa).

After deciding to move up to a tenor, I got the Collings and the Lanikai (I had the strings lowered to match the Collings, re-humidified it and put Worth Brown strings on it, sounds great!) Since getting the tenors, I have been playing them exclusively.

When I was getting the Collings, I also tried some Kamaka & Kanile’a. I loved the Kanile’a, but decided the one I liked was more than I wanted to spend and I loved the Collings. It just felt fun to play, had an incredibly resonate sound and made me smile. One of the big negatives for me with the Kamaka, was that I have started paying higher up the neck much more often and the Kamaka has very few markers on the side. I found them harder to play standing up. Also the sound of those particular Kamakas didn’t grab me.

Before the tenors arrived, I had been playing my Kamaka a lot and loved it. Since getting my Collings I am not playing any of the smaller instruments and am considering trading in my Ko’Aloha & Kamaka towards another nice Tenor (probably a Kanile’a). I originally had thought it would be nice to have one of each size, but I am having second thoughts. What do you recommend I do?

03-14-2011, 06:26 AM
keeping only instruments that you will actually play

I'm a big believer in this. If you're not playing a particular uke, there's probably someone out there who would.

(Um, did you say Kamaka concert?? I'm pretty sure there are a couple people on these forums who would buy it from you in a heartbeat!)

03-14-2011, 06:31 AM
You're missing an instrument in one size. The baritone. I admit it's nice to have a collection that has ukuleles of different sizes. I play baritone exclusively but I'm also a collector. If I were just a player, I guess that I would own the sizes that I play. At some point, though, you should get your hands on a great baritone. Nothing like it...


03-14-2011, 06:32 AM
If you're not getting any use from them, and selling would give you money to buy what you WILL use, then why not?

03-14-2011, 07:02 AM
I would say keep at least one of each size for a while, maybe even a couple of years, until you know absolutely sure you will not play anything other than tenors. After I really got into the ukulele, I decided that I was a tenor guy and for maybe a year or two played mostly tenors. I figured that being comfortable playing a tenor would mean that I can play any shorter scale length with ease.

However, in the last year or so I played concerts the most because I decided that the concert scale actually fits me the best, even though I can switch between concert and tenor without any issue unless I'm trying to play something that has 8+ fret stretches. I also keep a couple of sopranos around to play a shorter scale once in a while and in case one day I decide to become a soprano guy.

I guess what I'm saying is that the possibility always exists that you might like a different scale length after a while. If you have the means, I don't think it's such a bad idea to keep ukes of different scale lengths around.

03-14-2011, 07:11 AM
I have ukes in every size. They all sound different and have different purposes. They all get play time as well. If you find yourself never touching the others I would consider selling them.

For me, I go through phases. I'll play nothing but tenor for a few weeks, then nothing but soprano, then back to tenor. So I would not sell them.

03-14-2011, 07:35 AM
I like having a favorite of each size (although superconcert is as close as I get to tenor for now), so I agree with George... when pruning the collection, don't be too hasty! The wonderful thing about uke is that each size sounds different and has their strong points. One isn't better than the other.

03-14-2011, 07:51 AM
It's obvious what you should do. Send the Kamaka concert to me! :D I'm a concert guy, and a George Harrison fan. George had a concert Kamaka with the "sail" peghead, and I would love to have one like it some day....

03-14-2011, 08:04 AM
I recently labeled myself a "tenor guy," too, right after I ordered a concert, and then almost immediately thought about selling the concert after it arrived. I've played the concert almost exclusively lately. Different sized ukes are good for different things. For example, I love playing the concert in my house when I'm just lounging around. I like the sound of a tenor better, but the concert is compact enough where I can play it around my kids and not have to worry about them knocking into it (because the smaller uke is easier to maneuver around), or about annoying anyone (as much). Plus, you've got a Kamaka and KoAloha, too- I'd hold on to them for sure.

03-14-2011, 09:03 AM
I'm a soprano guy myself, so I try to keep it all soprano :) but I do have a concert fluke.

03-14-2011, 09:56 AM
I play one ukulele, but I have a couple of others. I guess when I change strings I have something to play whilst the strings settle. Don't laugh -- I am trying to become "one" with my ukulele. I can't do that if I play lots of different ones. But that's just me. There is no right or wrong answer. (I've heard that before!)

03-14-2011, 10:04 AM
I'm still working on getting my first Ko'Aloa, Kamaka, or Collings of any size!

03-14-2011, 04:38 PM
I feel your pain! Actually, I'm limiting mybadself to one of each: a concert and a tenor. But they're each quite nice. The Kamaka concert isn't much of a looker, but MAN can I get some sound out of him. The Kanile'a tenor is beautiful. My only problem is liking it tuned to both low and high G. Hmmmmm. Maybe a third is in order? . . .

Good luck!

03-14-2011, 05:44 PM
Well, three months ago I would have said keep one size. But I've changed my mind: I used to be all soprano, all the time. But then I played the Ohana CK25 at a local shop and liked it so much I bought it. Then I got my Kamaka pineapple so much I ordered the concert. I enjoy both sizes now.

That said, I HAVE sold off three ukes in the last week that were not getting played; but that had nothing to do with the size.

So, if you THINK you might go back to the other sizes, keep em. But it sounds to me like you've become a tenor man. So sell the others. If you change your mind there are plenty of ukes to buy! :-)

03-14-2011, 05:56 PM
Totally a matter of personal opinion. I have only tenors because I only play tenors, I run out of frets too quickly on a concert, and I´ve only played a soprano all of once in my ukulele career, and disliked it intensely. Some people do multiple things with their ukes, and therefore require multiple sizes and sounds, but I fingerpick almost exclusively, and for that, I stick to the tenor. Why don´t you take some time to decide? You may play only the tenor for a year, then find that you miss the happier, plinkier sounds of your soprano occasionally. In which case you´d be sad if you sold it!

03-14-2011, 06:50 PM
I really only keep instruments I use. . . which makes me a 3 guitar/1 ukulele guy at present.

03-15-2011, 12:02 AM
I've played Concerts and even a Tenor, but I'm totally a soprano girl, I've never brought a different size but I have tried them out, except a baritone. I prefer the sound of the soprano and while I appreciate the sentiment that it would be nice to have one in every size, I prefer to just get different sounding Sopranos. Every one I have (total 5, 6 if you involve Mei, my god-daughter's one) has a different sound and suits a different song, what sounds good on Lilo (Ohana) sounds different on Rhea (Luna Pineapple) and more different on Hoa (KPK solid body) and then even more different electrically on Hope. And some songs even sound good on Astrid, who rarely gets played but I can't bear to part with her.

Long story short...you may find your a Tenor man and that's okay, but as others have said, before you sell all the other sizes, keep going with it and see if you stay a Tenor man...

Hope that helps :D

03-16-2011, 12:55 PM
Thanks for the advice. Since I just switched to a tenor, hearing that people went back was especially helpful. I guess I will try to figure a way that I can keep them all and still get the Kanile'a. The more I hear the sound, the more I want one!!!