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View Full Version : I guess I will never be a "tenor man."



OldePhart
05-26-2011, 01:24 PM
If you've read many of my posts you've heard that I'm pretty much married to ukes with soprano sized bodies and concert scale necks - i.e. "longneck soprano." Well, in preparation for my upcoming trek to UWC I figured I'd spend some time exclusively playing my tenors, as it seems most people play tenors up there and I didn't want to be drowned out on my little soprano body ukes.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Mainland mango tenor with MiSi pickup - as far as I love any tenor. But, having just finished four days of playing nothing but tenors (and having played them a lot - to the point that I took a vacation day yesterday and played almost all day long)...and having progressed to where I am actually completely comfortable with the tenor scale length...I have to consider the effort an epic failure.

The instant I strummed one of my longneck sopranos after four solid days of playing tenors exclusively it was as if I'd come home. While I'm perfectly comfortable on a tenor scale, now, nothing can substitute for the sound of a soprano body.

So, I may be the only guy at UWC playing a soprano uke, but my only regeret will be that neither of my longneck sopranos has a pickup.

John

Huna
05-26-2011, 02:12 PM
you defiinitely should get you an Ohana SK-30L. It sounds like both Bells and Banjos. its a soprano with a tenor neck as you might realize. it CRANKS but is funky with that soprano sound.

mm stan
05-26-2011, 02:13 PM
Hey John,
I'm with you on this one...while the tenors have a deep rich sound...I love my soprano traditional sound...Happy Strummings..Have fun at the UWC and take some pic's for us...MM Stan

Hippie Dribble
05-26-2011, 02:15 PM
I'm with you on this one John. I have 2 tenors and just can't get comfortable with the body size, fret spacings, and sound. I want to like them but after playing one and going back to a concert or soprano I always feel so much more comfortable, and my ears are happier too. A tenor to me is a little too guitar like in tone, and I prefer, not only the sound of a smaller bodied uke, but also the appearance. Hmmm, guess I'm just a traditionalist and getting more conservative in my old age... :o

poppy
05-26-2011, 02:20 PM
Ain't it wonderful smiles come in 4 sizes and many shapes !

Huna
05-26-2011, 02:24 PM
sorry for the comment. The vodka made me so uninhibited I said something I shouldn't have.

dnewton2
05-26-2011, 02:34 PM
I have only played a couple tenors that I thought felt right. One a Kanilea and the other a Koaloha 6 string black label. I personally prefer concert scale but like playing sopranos too. I have bought and sold a couple of tenors online and won't buy another unless I play it first.

Maiyah888
05-26-2011, 03:38 PM
yah and a buddist like me has to sing about how I love the blood of Jesus to win that mini uke john has omfg! wtf? he don't play no sopranos

A couple of my buddhist buddies just smile when this kind of stuff comes up and say "Buddhism's a lifestyle not a religion anyway -- and most people are Buddhist and just don't know it."

Hippie Dribble
05-26-2011, 03:46 PM
A couple of my buddhist buddies just smile when this kind of stuff comes up and say "Buddhism's a lifestyle not a religion anyway -- and most people are Buddhist and just don't know it."

shucks...how is it that all these threads lately end up talking about ethics and religion? I mean, we go from uke scale lengths to spiritual frustrations in one breath???

I aint no moderator, and maybe it's me, but methinks we should steer away from this topic....again....given some of the recent vitriol. Shaky ground, to be sure.

mm stan
05-26-2011, 04:02 PM
I agree eugene..how did it get here again.....sheesh...Oh my!!!!

bmoreuke
05-26-2011, 04:11 PM
I aint no moderator, and maybe it's me, but methinks we should steer away from this topic....again....given some of the recent vitriol. Shaky ground, to be sure.
i'm with eugene, best steer clear of conroversy:)

i started on a concert, then got my tenor, only to end up buying another concert after i thought i was stuck on tenors. the smaller scales just seem to draw me in more and more!

pithaya9
05-26-2011, 04:25 PM
Don't forget the :rulez:

Oldphart at least you have brushed up on your tenor size playing so thats a plus.

engravertom
05-26-2011, 04:28 PM
I started on tenor, went to baritone for a while, then went shopping for a concert about 2 months ago. I almost settled on a nice Kala concert, that at $99 sounded about 98% as good as most any other uke in that store regardless of price. I took one more look around, just in case there was a concert scale soprano. There was! An Anuenue Papa I Longneck. It was enough nicer sounding than the Kala to justify the price, and I have been enjoying it ever since.

Today, I was out and about looking at Ukes in three stores. The $99 kala concert was still at that store, and still sounded better than the Anuenue concert they had. They had an Anuenue Tenor, that sounded good, but not that much better than the Kala concert. The next store had a bunch of nice Ukes. My son tried the Kala Tenor travel Uke. he plays much better than I do, and that Uke sounded great. I was pleased with the Makai concert, with spruce top for $107. High action, but really nice sound and sustain. Finally, at GC I tried the Guitalele again. I love that! If I go tenor size, that will be it. If I go concert, it will be the Makai. I'm looking for a low G Uke to go with my Longneck, which is re entrant. I love the concert scale, but want more body that the soprano body for the Low G sound. Since I mostly plan to play Classical stuff on the Low G Uke, I may just go with the Guitalele, and save the music arranging time .

Anyway, I love the concert scale, and my Anuenue sounds so good, i just might get another one, and set it to low g! But, my experience shows that I really want to play a Uke before buying it. The Kiwayas I saw today were great, but only Soprano scales in stock.

Just of the shelf, the Guitalele spoke to me. Nice sound, felt smooth to play. The Makai concert was a close second, lacking only a good setup, and new strings. The fact it sounded so good with GHS strings actually encourages me.

To conclude all this rambling, I agree with John. If I had to settle on one Uke, it would be the best Longneck Soprano I could afford. And my Anuenue Papa I longneck is enough Uke for me right now. maybe ever. It sounds great, and plays easy for me.

Once I save my pennies, I will settle on the Makai concert or the Guitalele for my second personal Uke. My wife and kids already have all the other Ukes I have purchased so far!

take care,

Tom

austin1
05-26-2011, 05:01 PM
I've got nothing against sopranos, but I mostly fingerpick, so I run out of frets on those faster than I can say "crap." So it's to the tenor aisle with me. Good thing there are multiple sizes of ukes, so everyone can find something they like!

southcoastukes
05-26-2011, 05:34 PM
John, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the merits of the long-scale soprano. So much so that it's the only soprano we build.

Just the same, you may be missing something. It's not a question of long-neck soprano or tenor. There happens to be a very nice choice in between. Ever give the long-neck concert a whirl?

ADD
05-26-2011, 06:40 PM
If you've read many of my posts you've heard that I'm pretty much married to ukes with soprano sized bodies and concert scale necks - i.e. "longneck soprano." Well, in preparation for my upcoming trek to UWC I figured I'd spend some time exclusively playing my tenors, as it seems most people play tenors up there and I didn't want to be drowned out on my little soprano body ukes.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Mainland mango tenor with MiSi pickup - as far as I love any tenor. But, having just finished four days of playing nothing but tenors (and having played them a lot - to the point that I took a vacation day yesterday and played almost all day long)...and having progressed to where I am actually completely comfortable with the tenor scale length...I have to consider the effort an epic failure.

The instant I strummed one of my longneck sopranos after four solid days of playing tenors exclusively it was as if I'd come home. While I'm perfectly comfortable on a tenor scale, now, nothing can substitute for the sound of a soprano body.

So, I may be the only guy at UWC playing a soprano uke, but my only regeret will be that neither of my longneck sopranos has a pickup.

John

John, bring your cord and amp and you can play my MM myrtle super soprano.

Bonita

sukie
05-26-2011, 06:47 PM
I know there will other sopranos at UWC.

Pippin
05-26-2011, 11:07 PM
John, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the merits of the long-scale soprano. So much so that it's the only soprano we build.

Just the same, you may be missing something. It's not a question of long-neck soprano or tenor. There happens to be a very nice choice in between. Ever give the long-neck concert a whirl?

I was waiting to see how long it would take for someone to bring this up. I have a KoAloha Super-Concert and it is aeyond a doubt a pleasure to play and sounds wonderful. Mine is tuned low-g (Worths) and I love recording it along with the Pineapple Sunday.

ukulelecowboy
05-27-2011, 12:10 AM
I sort of have the same problem, but in the other direction. I can barely play anything except a baritone. Once I get my hand around the wider neck and the generous fret spacing, I am in heaven. I think the sound is perfect for swing and jazz as is the overall playability. Half-diminished and 13 chords can be a real hassle on the smaller scales.

As a collector, I have to admit that I get a bit jealous, sometimes. The interesting selection of baritones in the world can be so limited. Probably because didn't exist before 1940.

ichadwick
05-27-2011, 12:59 AM
I have played all the scales and for several years felt tenor was best suited to my reach, style and finger size. Soprano and convcert felt too cramped. But of late I've been playing baritone more than anything else... I miss being able to reach frets that I can easily hit on the tenor, but I love the lower pitch and fuller sound.

cb56
05-27-2011, 01:54 AM
So oldephart does that mean you will be letting go of your mango tenor anytime soon? :drool:

....Oh and as far as religion and politics arguments go, I've decided to impose a "don't feed the trolls" rule on myself.

PhilUSAFRet
05-27-2011, 03:13 AM
I'm still at the point where I play equally badly regardless of which size I play, LOL!

Gmoney
05-27-2011, 03:22 AM
I'm still at the point where I play equally badly regardless of which size I play, LOL!

Here! Here! That's me exactly! But, w/ukes I still smile a lot!!! :)

Susie A
05-27-2011, 03:38 AM
I'm still at the point where I play equally badly regardless of which size I play, LOL!

You and me both! I will say .. I am getting better. I think :)

Doctroid
05-27-2011, 05:40 AM
I saw the subject line and... well...


Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to?
Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to?
Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to?
All on that day

Run to soprano, soprano feels so tiny
Run to soprano, soprano feels so tiny
Run to soprano, soprano feels so tiny
All on that day

Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to? ...

Run to the concert, concert fish nor fowl...

Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to? ...

Run to the bari, bari's just a guitar...

Oh tenor man, where you gonna run to? ...



Disclaimer: I have three sopranos and, as of only two days ago, one tenor.

countrybumpkin
05-27-2011, 05:42 AM
I occasionally pick up the soprano find its energetic tone refreshing and uplifting. I can see how someone would choose mostly to play soprano. Still, I personally prefer tenor day to day and am being drawn to the baritone more and more.

RyanMFT
05-27-2011, 05:57 AM
Does seem like the uke world has decided that Tenor is the size of choice now. I too am a soprano guy. To me, anything bigger starts to sound and feel more "guitarish" and I like the difference from guitar, and the soprano just sounds right to my ear.

Plus, if one has Vintage UAS, he or she'd better learn to love soprano because the abundance of vintage concerts, tenors, and baritones is extremely limited compared to soprano!

icuker
05-27-2011, 07:32 AM
My first uke was a Lanakai Tenor. I enjoyed the size but the Sopranos seemed so cool and handy I went bought two over time (a cheap bad intonation Lanakai and a Martin SO I got on sale). I did like the Martin but did end up feeling cramped on it. So, I got a concert thinking I'd get the best of both worlds. Played that for a long time. While having a Concert was great when I was on the couch, it was harder to play standing up at a gig. Certain chords gave me problems, plus it would tend to slip away on me. ( I don't use a strap because I am changing from instrument to another about every song - I'm not a great player, I just make up for it with lots of instruments :) )

So, finally I bought a new custom tenor (I had sold the lanakai a few years back - a decent Uke it was too). And now I am happiest. It's the easiest for me to play, and it sounds great too. Plus it has a little more volume when I lead our Uke group, I use a pick and really hammer on the thing to be heard over 18 other ukesters.

Dan Uke
05-27-2011, 08:01 AM
I think tenor has become popular because many guitarists have converted or has tried the ukulele. My wife (being from Hawaii) has been pushing me to play ukulele since I've met her but resisted since I didn't like those high pitched songs and told her I am not into Pearly Shells and Tiny Bubbles. Then like a lot of people, got on Youtube and heard Jake and others play songs with an instrument sounding like a hybrid guitar. That is when I got hooked...I think many guitarist feel comfortable with the size of tenor. What's great about the tenor uke is that it gives you ample finger space and use nylon strings which are much easier on your fingers than the acoustic steel strings of guitars.

I think the ukulele world needs to thank Jake and others on Youtube because it has brought a lot of exposure. The one negative thing for me at least is that I am learning all these "complicated" songs on Youtube because there are so many tutorials but the sad thing is that I haven't memorized more than 10 chords. I've probably played many chords but I just memorize the finger positions they use in the videos. (This is another thread topic)

OldePhart
05-27-2011, 08:09 AM
John, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the merits of the long-scale soprano. So much so that it's the only soprano we build.

Just the same, you may be missing something. It's not a question of long-neck soprano or tenor. There happens to be a very nice choice in between. Ever give the long-neck concert a whirl?

I've considered it but I kind of have the same issue with a concert body as I do the tenor - it just ain't a soprano. :) I've got a KoAloha concert and it's a wonderful uke but I am considering selling it because now that I have the longneck soprano I just don't play it often. It deserves better.

John

OldePhart
05-27-2011, 08:10 AM
John, bring your cord and amp and you can play my MM myrtle super soprano.

Bonita

Ooooh, yer on! I've been wanting to try an MM anyway. Of course, this could be an expensive trial. LOL

sukie
05-27-2011, 08:12 AM
I've considered it but I kind of have the same issue with a concert body as I do the tenor - it just ain't a soprano. :) I've got a KoAloha concert and it's a wonderful uke but I am considering selling it because now that I have the longneck soprano I just don't play it often. It deserves better.

John
This makes perfect sense to me. :-)

OldePhart
05-27-2011, 08:15 AM
So oldephart does that mean you will be letting go of your mango tenor anytime soon? :drool:

Ummm...no. There are times when I need the extra range of a tenor - I don't do much picking 'cause I'm just not good at it but there are a few tunes (mostly Christmas carols) where I do pick and need the extra range. So, that one you'll have to pry out of my cold dead fingers. :)

70sSanO
05-27-2011, 09:18 AM
I'm just the opposite. Started with a soprano. It was a KoAloha so it is sounded great. After I got a tenor I tried to play the soprano again, but everytime, it would be back in the case in no time at all.

I think the perfect mix is a long neck concert, because the body size keeps it fairly bright and reduces the low end boom of an open C string.

John

CTurner
05-27-2011, 10:16 AM
Well, over time I've acquired five ukes: one soprano bought without trying first through MGM (Koaloha Pikake); two concerts (Kanile'a, my first uke, and a just purchased I'iwi when we were in Hawaii); a Kanile'a tenor (which I may be selling shortly); and a Lichty tenor which I love.

I've discovered that cycling through the ukes over a span of a week gives me lots of variety and joy. The soprano has been most difficult for me to play (long fingers), but I think it's a matter of using the right uke (tool) to do the job (style of music). Soprano to me means Roy Smeck style strummin' and just a bit of pickin' with a lot of punch, plus sing-along. Concerts can do strumming and picking, veering often into some jazz. The tenor for me is perfect for low g (high g tenors sound a little strange to me now!) and are so nice for jazz/standards.

As far as my wife is concerned, her husband plays the ukulele, but is an equal opportunity listener and thinks I'm a great player on all of them!!:)

cb56
05-27-2011, 11:51 AM
Ummm...no. There are times when I need the extra range of a tenor - I don't do much picking 'cause I'm just not good at it but there are a few tunes (mostly Christmas carols) where I do pick and need the extra range. So, that one you'll have to pry out of my cold dead fingers. :)

Well you can't blame/fault a fellow for askin' :o

drbekken
05-27-2011, 12:03 PM
Ok....I'm definitely a soprano guy...for some reason, bigger ukes don't feel quite right in my hands, and I am over six feet tall, and a big guy, really. The sound of the little ones just can't be beat. Strange.

Huna
05-27-2011, 02:37 PM
I have a soprano and a concert in the Hamano line and in the Luna tattoo line and in both, I like the sopranos better than the concerts. Not for playability as much as tone.

Loupin' Flech
05-27-2011, 03:34 PM
For me,now,it depends on my mood and the kind of music I want to play.Got a soprano first but struggled with some chords(blue collar fingers),so I got a tenor and that improved things greatly.So now I use the soprano for cheery songs and a bit of fun,but mostly play the tenor.And now I've an 8 string and that's opened up a whole new world...

allanr
05-27-2011, 04:06 PM
My sopranos always sound bright and happy, and that's how I feel when I play them - especially my "new" 1939 Martin S1. But the tenors sound deeper and richer, while still being fun to play. I keep my tenors strung with low Gs and my acoustic sopranos strung with high Gs.

I guess it works out that I play the tenors when I wanna sing the blues, and the soprano when I wanna chase my blues away.

Ukuleleblues
06-01-2011, 10:39 AM
It's funny but the more you play the smaller ukes the easier it gets. 5 years ago I could not play a soprano, I bought a baritone....ended up on concert. Last month I learned four new songs on an old harmony soprano, now I'm getting around real good on it even most second position chords. I sure like the sound of a soprano.

KC8AFW
06-01-2011, 03:20 PM
I had a hankerin' for a baritone. I almost pulled the trigger on ordering one just this week, but in my searches I found that my local GC had a Cordoba 20BM baritone in stock. I went there and tried it out (BTW...very nice uke for the money), but I just really didn't adapt well to the larger scale. The soprano scale is just really comfortable to me. I do okay with my concert, but the soprano just feel right. Maybe I'll go the opposite direction...those sopraninos are really cute.

luvdat
06-07-2011, 12:17 AM
I play guitar (exclusively nylon string these days) and soprano uke. Went through sops, tenors and a baritone (never could warm up to concerts) and yes, sopranos are it for me when it comes to ukes.