View Full Version : Ukulele size question

05-22-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm going to purchase my first ukulele soon, and I've been researching the various sizes and types of ukuleles. I'm trying to figure out what type of ukulele Taylor Swift is playing in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23uDIO9IEgM
She's playing chords that make it seem like its a baritone, but it sounds higher than that to me. If you could take a look for me I'd really appreciate it, speaking as a long time guitarist who doesn't know a lot about ukuleles:)

05-22-2011, 05:10 PM
Thats a tenor.

mr moonlight
05-22-2011, 05:43 PM
I've played guitar most of my life and when I first got an ukulele, I went for the Tenor size. I looked at youtube and saw that most players who were playing the style I wanted to emulate played the Tenor size. Then I called up Music Guy Mike and talked to him for awhile and he convinced me that the Tenor was the right size I was looking for. As a guitar player I've found the Tenor to be very comfortable to play. I also have a soprano and concert now. The soprano is a bit small especially toward the top of the neck. The concert size also feels pretty comfortable, but slightly on the smallish side. I really don't play the soprano, prefer the Tenor, and use the concert for travel or when my Tenor is on a different floor. I figured that the Baritone wasn't quite ukulele enough for my first uke if that makes sense. Especially since it's tuned so similar to a guitar.

05-22-2011, 06:22 PM
Ukes superconcert size is a good idea for who prefer the big scale and still love a brightness concert sound

mm stan
05-22-2011, 06:48 PM
Aloha Jazz754,
I'd go to the music store and try all the sizes out...everyone is different..personal preference..whether it is in sound, comfort, playability...or looks...Good Luck..MM Stan

05-23-2011, 03:03 AM
Unless you plan on having only one ukulele, which as far as I know is impossible, I'd start with a soprano. There are advantages to all sizes and eventually you might develop a preference, but I think that you can only get the full-on ukulele experience from a soprano. Ukes are supposed to be little :-)

For the record the ukes that I reach for most often are my Martin Style 1 soprano and my Regal Wendell Hall tenor

05-23-2011, 03:09 AM
People always tell you size doesn't matter.

It does...

Play a baritone!

05-23-2011, 03:21 AM
Many people will choose a tenor if they had previously played guitar. A less drastic change in fretboard size. That being said, I have 3 sizes: soprano, concert and tenor. I prefer the sound of a soprano, having more of the traditional ukulele sound. Being a fingerstyle guitar player I do find myself working out the fingering and picking on one of the larger sizes then scaling it down to the soprano. It does come down to personal preference, so as previously stated tray and play each size to see haw comfortable each feels. If you're unable to try before you buy, I might opt for the concert size for your first the concert being the middle size. As time goes on, though I do find the concert getting less play as I gain proficiency on my sopranos and use the tenor to work things out.

05-23-2011, 03:31 AM
My first great uke was a concert. I have gotten third fantastic tenors, but I play the concert the most.

05-23-2011, 03:45 AM
An additional recommendation. If your budget falls between $200 and $300, seriously consider Mainland Ukuleles. They are good quality Asian-made instruments that come nicely setup when purchased from Mike at Mainland Ukulele or Mike at Uke Republic.

05-23-2011, 04:55 AM
Ukes superconcert size is a good idea for who prefer the big scale and still love a brightness concert sound

Savage Henry just got a Mainland long neck concert...it's amazing in every way!!!!

05-23-2011, 05:46 AM
I think what makes so nice to play uke is that is so small you can take it everywhere with you. I preffer the sopranos and concert sizes.
I dislike seing somebody playing an uke like a guitar. Not to mention playing with a pick!!!!

05-23-2011, 06:20 AM
Hi Jazz almost certainly a tenor and sounds like low g tuned. looks like shes picking it also. As an ol bass player I have a couple of tenors the low g one is acoustic/electric and I do use the offencive pick ,I can' t stand nails and if I don't keep them cut super short I'll bite em ugh ,hence the pick.

05-23-2011, 07:06 AM
I'm finding that concert sizes are a happy medium - they're certainly the size I will use from now on for gigs, with the tenor standing by for anything that needs to be picked. The Soprano is fantastic for busking, because you're not doing much intricate play, the size is perfect for travelling and it's also instantly recognisable and pulls in some extra cash.

mm stan
05-23-2011, 07:52 AM
Ukes are like underwear...it's gotta fit you..ha ha

05-23-2011, 09:11 AM
If the ukulele in the video I posted is a tenor, is it possible to tune it like a baritone? Because knowing the chords to that song when it's played on guitar, she would have to have it tuned like a baritone, but I'm not completely sure....

05-23-2011, 09:39 AM
Is worth remembering that even choosing the tenor size, there are still many details beyong the sound:

I have a tenor MDT Pono and a KPK tenor, and the width of the resonance body between the two is so different that the two do not seem to be the same size.

Gloss finish makes the uke slip more into your arms when you try to hold to play upright as well.

05-23-2011, 10:32 AM
On advice on a trip to Hawaii, my first uke was a concert. It was the right decision for someone with no experience and strong preferences. I would not have been happy with either a tenor or a soprano.

Now three years later I understand more and have become a much better player. My next purchase is a soprano and then a tenor after that. If i only had to keep one, it would be a concert. I think it's the best compromise, if you can't own the three sizes.

05-23-2011, 01:46 PM
I'm gonna go with a tenor. I don't have a huge budget, but I would still like to purchase one that is set up well. I'm pretty sure Im gonna go with the Kala satin mahogany Tenor Ukulele.

05-23-2011, 01:58 PM
I have a tenor Makala MK-T and love it! Right now it has a low G on it but I tuned it five half steps lower so its tuned like a baritone and it is no more sloppy than a Makala MK-B as far as clunkiness and sloppiness goes so you can actually play around with it and do what you want. GCEA or detune it to DGBE. I don't have a Lanikai. I think the MK-T is a very good instrument.

05-23-2011, 04:56 PM
Here's what I call the "Guitar Players Dilemma". Should they choose easy, or choose different? Easy is to treat the ukulele like a little guitar - get a baritone or a tenor tuned dgbe. But... if you are getting into the uke because it is different, then why not start with the classic ukulele size and sound, a soprano tuned gCEA?

Whatever choice you make though, I'm sure that you will be happy that you've become uker. It's imposible to feel anything but happy with a ukulele in your hands :D

05-23-2011, 08:37 PM
Ukes are like underwear...it's gotta fit you..ha ha

I really hope that's the only way in which ukes are like underwear!

05-23-2011, 10:29 PM
I'm finding that concert sizes are a happy medium

that's actually exactly what I regret with my concert... not quite a soprano, not really a tenor... a bit of the advantages/drawbacks of both... it does not have a real ''identity''

If I was a beginner (but actually did so, years ago) i'd go for a soprano for different reasons (i'm not a ukulele gCEA/soprano/no pick fondamentalist, though):

1/ it has a ''typical sound'' that is nice to feel for the first approach
2/ it has the ''carry out everywhere'' thing that make one can practice almost anywhere, anytime
3/ it's easier to hold for a beginner
4/ you can get a better soprano quality for a given price
5/ as a beginner you will most probably start strumming 2-3 chords songs and basic picking for a loooong while, soprano size is far enough for this.

the bigger size, low G, softer sound, larger fret number issues would arrive in a second time according to specific needs (jazzy choruses, low end fingerboard chords).

but it's a very personnal view.

05-26-2011, 07:40 PM
I started out with a concert with low-G, then changed it to high-G. Then added a soprano, sold it because I thought it is too small. Then I got a tenor and string it in low-G. Like it for the deeper sound, but for certain songs, I wanted something a lot more barky. I just bought a soprano again and to my surprise, I am now quite comfortable with the size and can reach lower frets faster, so I prefer it for faster songs.

I think for many people, no matter what they start out with, and no matter how much they've thought it through, their preference may still change later, or just want to add a different size/ uke for different sound anyway...

05-26-2011, 08:22 PM
I personally play a tenor.. nothing else. I really don't care for the sound of sopranos. Concerts are actually the most comfortable for me to play but the sound of a tenor is what I truly like the most. I think the tenor is a great size for you!

05-26-2011, 09:25 PM
KoAloha concert, you will not regret it.