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callmemario
08-01-2011, 11:00 AM
Hey everyone,

WHAT ever happened to the "original" ukulele...The soprano's ukes that crossed the sea all the way to America from Portugal?

Now we're seeing all kinds of different sizes. Aren't we getting away here from "the real thing?..." (No offense to anyone who owns anything else BUT a Soprano). I guess I'm just troubled that we are not seeing more men and women playing a Soprano ukulele anymore.

WHAT do you think? :-)

Cheers!

Mario

crowsby
08-01-2011, 11:49 AM
Tone is all about preference. For most people, the goal isn't to make a traditional ukulele sound, it's to make a sound that they enjoy. Some people enjoy the more guitar-like tone of a tenor, some prefer the plinky sound of a soprano. And a concert (my current favorite) is nice because it splits the difference.

In any case, the original ukulele is itself a non-traditional cavaquinho (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavaquinho), so change and evolution of instruments is pretty much the norm.

mm stan
08-01-2011, 11:57 AM
I guess I am a traditionalist.....I love the sound and simplicity....of the soprano.. but I am satisfied with any uke to be honest..but prefer the old style..isn't that what's it all about...for me at least
that is...Happy Strummings....

callmemario
08-01-2011, 12:05 PM
"I guess I am a traditionalist.....I love the sound and simplicity....of the soprano."


SWEET! :-)

Also eager to hear what others have to say on "delicate issue".

Mario

sukie
08-01-2011, 12:07 PM
Super-concert here. My first week was on a soprano. It seemed too small so when I bought one I got a concert. Then I upped it to a super-concert. It's all personal preference really.

guitarsnrotts
08-01-2011, 01:06 PM
I have at least one of each. As you can see from my sig I've found I prefer the soprano. Being a converted guitar player, I find myself figuring out fingerings on the tenor or concert where the spacings are a bit more comfortable then end up 'perfecting' it on the sopranos. For overall tone I found I like the soprano pineapple although I think my next uke may be a concert pineapple.

joeybug
08-01-2011, 01:09 PM
I'm a Soprano girl myself...all my Ukes are Soprano sized, concert etc feel too big for me, and I love the soprano size and the ones I have so I'm happy :D

Joey :music:

Dan Uke
08-01-2011, 01:12 PM
Agree it's preference especially dictated by what type of music you typically play. With that being said, I like the Low G string, which wouldn't be considered traditional either.

PhilUSAFRet
08-01-2011, 01:28 PM
I don't think it's a "delicate issue." As has been pointed out, the uke was developed from another instrument. It is my understanding that taropatches may have been somewhere between the cavaquinhos and the soprano uke, so why have we "reduced" the strings to 4? Why on earth would we want to limit it to one size? The Model T Ford was a relatively small vehicle, our pioneers lived in relatively small cabins, some people are big, some people are little, etc. etc.

TCK
08-01-2011, 01:43 PM
Tradition- it is what it is.
I would be interested to see just how many ukulele players play traditional Hawaiian music, and how many of the practitioners of that style actually play Soprano. Pretty sure Ohta San and Eddie Kamae have a pretty good idea of what traditional Hawaiian music ought to sound like, and most the pictures I have seen of Ohta are on tenor, Eddie on the step-child...the unwanted Ukulele, the Baritone (my favorite).
I guess the point here is that an instrument like the guitar goes back 3300 years. It has rules (though we tend to love those musicians who break them) and it has shapes that are long-standing conventions. Not that I am a fan of anything conventional- the Ukulele is only a little older than 100 years. While Soprano is the "original" shape, I think "the real thing" is still in a transit stage, waiting to be defined by great artists who play them. . Ukulele is simply not old enough to have a cut-in-stone tradition, as evidenced by all the amazing discoveries being made with new tone-woods as the price of Koa keeps going up, and good stuff becomes harder to find. I figure at 120 years- well, there is not so much tradition but excepted convention- there are people on this board who have roofs on the houses that are older than that I am sure.
Course, I love me a Soprano sometimes...but certainly no reason to shun the rest.

mm stan
08-01-2011, 01:57 PM
Hey Dave,
Actually Ohta san plays mainly sopranos...iit looks big because he's a small guy...have you ever seen a style 3 concert ot tenor..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FpLkguY_bg
As ukuleles evolve, sure people follow the trend, but a few keep the old tradition alive and going... simple cheap ukes is what they had in the past...an experienced player can make
the old sopranos sing... of course you can buy the newer ukes and it will be easier to sound good and play....

callmemario
08-01-2011, 02:48 PM
A "super concert?!..." WHAT is that?. You must mean a Tenor?

callmemario
08-01-2011, 02:49 PM
Super-concert here. My first week was on a soprano. It seemed too small so when I bought one I got a concert. Then I upped it to a super-concert. It's all personal preference really.
__________________________________________________ ________________
A "super concert?!..." WHAT is that?. You must mean a Tenor?

70sSanO
08-01-2011, 02:50 PM
WHAT ever happened to the "original" ukulele...

I dunno, but here is an early (original?) six string guitar...

26370

I doubt if there are many guitarists that would embrace this model. What would music be like if only original type guitars were used and Leo Fender never made his Broadcaster?

John

joejeweler
08-01-2011, 03:30 PM
Why limit yourself to just one size? My Moore Better soprano is my best sounding ukulele, and my only one having a
soundport so i get to enjoy that tone all the "moore"! hehe The uke has gotten even better sounding the more i work
with it,....something to be said for the opening up process. Didn't take long,....about 200 hours play time perhaps.
The newer Aquila's (smoother finish) helped a bit too i suppose.

It's also the one that while my fingertips were firming up i went to the most. The shorter scale means less string tension (Aquila regular C set), so i could still practice while i was still a bit sore. It's also the most comfortable size to play sitting in my reclining chair, especially having a comfortable armrest. Still not willing to use it standing as it's
tough to play fingerstlyle solos and keep a firm grasp on the tiny "mermaid". (when i get a uke-leash that may change)

The one downside is that in the fingerstyle pieces i'm currently working on ("Crazy Ukulele Waltz" & "Angels We Have Heard On High"), have a few sections where the bars and fingerings are a bit tight. My fingers are thinner than what
appeared to be stubby little buggers on John King,....still amazed at some of his work on his usual soprano choice. (RIP John)

My Bluegrass Ukuleles all curly koa tenor (by Tom Guy), is the easiest to work tough fingerings with, sounds great and
has been mellowed out a bit by my addition of a ebony saddle to match the ebony nut the uke came with. I set
it up to my preferences of a bit more saddle height also, to extract the most volumn and remain buzz free with hard
strumming. Still super easy to play, but i'm really liking the "woody-ness" imparted by the ebony saddle.

The pieces are a little easier to finger on my Cordoba 25CK Concert, although not as tonally satisfying.
Anyway, i was looking for a tone upgrade on a concert sized ukeulele until a Moore Betta becomes available, so last
night i bought a Ron Saul koa/spruce Concert that had an exceptionally long 15-5/16 " scale. I should have it in 2 days,
and the scale is about 3/8 inch longer than my Cordoba 25CK uke that i already noticed an easier playability with.
(The Cordoba 25CK has a 14 7/8" scale) This is the longest "Concert" scale uke i have found, not counting the concert
sized bodies with a tenor neck.

Recently i decided to purchase a Ron Saul koa/spruce concert that has a 15 1/4 inch scale, which is about 3/8 inch
longer than the Cordoba 25CK model's 14 7/8 inch scale. This is about the longest concert scale i have seen used,
not counting a concert body with a tenor neck i've seen. One builder did have a 16" scale concert for sale awhile back,
but that is enough of an increase over the usual concert scale that i'd call it a short tenor really.

Not sure how long the link will last, but here's what's coming in 2 days: http://elderly.com//vintage/items/180U-1010.htm

All in all a lot of reasons to have more than one choice available,.....

TCK
08-01-2011, 03:48 PM
I stand corrected- looking at all these pictures, you are right- he is either holding a Soprano or Concert in most. Watched that video a thousand times and had a style three sitting right here and never put that together...he is a very small person for sure.
Oh well- point remains. 120 years, no solid rules other than having a good time doing what your doing, and spreading a little Aloha if ya can.


Hey Dave,
Actually Ohta san plays mainly sopranos...iit looks big because he's a small guy...have you ever seen a style 3 concert ot tenor..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FpLkguY_bg
As ukuleles evolve, sure people follow the trend, but a few keep the old tradition alive and going... simple cheap ukes is what they had in the past...an experienced player can make
the old sopranos sing... of course you can buy the newer ukes and it will be easier to sound good and play....

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-01-2011, 04:00 PM
I've been a soprano guy so far. First, second, third, ... , seventh ukes all sopranos. Love the size, the sound, the history, love sopranos!

A Moore Bettah tenor did stay at my house for a weekend recently; that's got me thinking about a tenor of my own someday. Maybe as a reward for getting to Hawaii for a visit?

southcoastukes
08-01-2011, 04:05 PM
Hey everyone,
WHAT ever happened to the "original" ukulele...The soprano's ukes that crossed the sea all the way to America from Portugal?
Aren't we getting away here from "the real thing?..." I guess I'm just troubled that we are not seeing more men and women playing a Soprano ukulele anymore...

That "original" ukulele was also called the "standard ukulele". I"ll have to agree with what a number of others have said - there's not much concern these days for the old standard.

Even Soprano players have largely dropped the original "standard tuning" for concert tuning. Once you do that, you're not too "original" anymore.

delray48209
08-01-2011, 04:07 PM
I'm rather new to the ukulele. I have a Kala and Fluke concert, and a Ohana Soprano. I prefer the soprano over the concerts. However, all sound great. There's just something about the sound that comes out of my Ohana that puts a smile on my face.

Maxjunk
08-01-2011, 05:06 PM
Soprano ukes are just too small for my massive hands. My concert is just the right mix between cutesy and playable. Although, I would love to try out some tenors as soon as possible.

hmgberg
08-01-2011, 06:06 PM
Hey Dave,
Actually Ohta san plays mainly sopranos...iit looks big because he's a small guy...have you ever seen a style 3 concert ot tenor..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FpLkguY_bg
As ukuleles evolve, sure people follow the trend, but a few keep the old tradition alive and going... simple cheap ukes is what they had in the past...an experienced player can make
the old sopranos sing... of course you can buy the newer ukes and it will be easier to sound good and play....

Yes, Ohta-san typically plays a Martin Style 3 soprano. And yes, I have seen pictures of Style 3 Concert! In fact, Sean from Ukulele Friend had one:

http://web.me.com/syacavone/Site/C.F._Martin_Ukulele_%28マーチン・ウクレレ・3%29.html

I can only wonder about how much that sold for.

As for me, I like sopranos, and of course, my Kamaka concert. But, I like to listen to people playing any kind of ukulele that makes them happy.

hottoddy
08-01-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm a relative uke newbie, but that's why I also decided on a soprano (KoAloha). Traditional tone, small, sweet and jangly. Early in my search, I was focusing on a larger size but ultimately kept coming back to the soprano.

As a long time guitar player, I'm definitely not immune to GAS and can see getting a larger size (eg., super concert) down the road for fun and to experiment with low G. However, the larger sizes to me are more like uke-hybrids. If there's a market, it will be built. Plus, most of today's virtuosic players (Jake, etc) play hybrids.

ksiegel
08-01-2011, 06:37 PM
My left hand tends to cramp up when I play a soprano, so I can't play it for too long. I find the Tenor size very comfortable,, and can play for hours without cramping.

That being said, I played a 1920s era Martin Soprano last February at the Dance Flurry Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY, and... Wow! I don' t know what it was about that instrument, (maybe the neck is wider than average?) but my hand did not cramp up at all. So I have to think about it....

And having played a national in concert size, I've had no issues there. So I'll be putting more time in on the Republic and the Epiphones, until I'm sure of the concert size, one way or the other.


-Kurt

hungry4adobo
08-01-2011, 06:51 PM
How about getting a concert, the best of both worlds. It's in between a soprano and a tenor. Trying the different sizes and listening for the tone you want to hear is the best way to choose. I like all three. i have one soprano and one concert. Saving up for the tenor. Anyways Braddah Iz had a Martin Tenor, Ohta San uses a soprano, and Jake Shimabukro uses a tenor also. An ukulele size is subjective to every person. :D

Hippie Dribble
08-01-2011, 08:01 PM
My preference is always contingent on the kind of song and style of playing required to bring it to life. In that scenario, there is room on the couch for everyone!

zac987
08-01-2011, 09:04 PM
I enjoy the Tenor sound the most with regular ukuleles. I prefer the richer, more complex sound and larger size.

Kazzthemurse
08-01-2011, 09:13 PM
I'm thinking about getting a soprano as my first uke for tradition sake, but I love the sound of the tenor 'ukes.

Leodhas
08-02-2011, 06:13 AM
Hey everyone,

WHAT ever happened to the "original" ukulele...The soprano's ukes that crossed the sea all the way to America from Portugal?

Now we're seeing all kinds of different sizes. Aren't we getting away here from "the real thing?..." (No offense to anyone who owns anything else BUT a Soprano). I guess I'm just troubled that we are not seeing more men and women playing a Soprano ukulele anymore.

WHAT do you think? :-)

Cheers!

Mario


Does it matter if you play a soprano, concert or tenor? They all give joy! As you referred to in the opening post, the uke evolved from a portuguese instrument which no doubt itself evolved from another instrument (most likely from arabia) everything evolves and all is good!

There will always be Hawaiian soprano players as the Instrument is so anchored down to the culture of that Island.

sukie
08-02-2011, 09:28 AM
Super-concert is a concert ukulele with a tenor neck on it.

Shastastan
08-02-2011, 11:15 AM
Very well said. I enjoy listening to "purists" sometimes (i.e. traditional baroque instruments). However, I play the uke for fun. Personally, I like my tenor over the other sizes. I do remember when everyone thought of the uke as being Hawaiian for Hawaiain music. I remember hearing Authur Godfrey on the radio.



Tone is all about preference. For most people, the goal isn't to make a traditional ukulele sound, it's to make a sound that they enjoy. Some people enjoy the more guitar-like tone of a tenor, some prefer the plinky sound of a soprano. And a concert (my current favorite) is nice because i"purt splits the difference.

In any case, the original ukulele is itself a non-traditional cavaquinho (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavaquinho), so change and evolution of instruments is pretty much the norm.

callmemario
08-02-2011, 04:40 PM
Super-concert is a concert ukulele with a tenor neck on it.

Thanks for the info, I did not know this.

callmemario
08-15-2011, 05:38 AM
YOU got me! ;-) I finally made the leap and fell in love with a concert uke!. Just tried one, and I was hooked. In fact I don't even think I'll be playing my soprano much anymore. I'll leave that one for my guests! ;-) You were abolutely right, it's easier to hold and play plus it's the best of both worlds as you say. Thanks again!. This goes to show that with any good arguments...one can change his/her mind! ;-)

dawhealer
08-15-2011, 08:20 AM
Only been playing a few months. Already have three ukes, a soprano and two concerts. The soprano was inherited and what I started on, then I started looking for a tenor, found a concert I liked and bought it. Then got another concert.

I've been playing guitar for a long time and have always gravitated toward dreadnaughts. I have some 000-bodied guitars, but they just don't seem to fit me as well. You'd think it'd be the other way around since I'm not a very big guy. I also prefer wider necks on my guitars.

My inherited soprano is all solid mahogany. It was a budget uke when it was new, but it is a sweet sounding little instrument. Both my concerts are laminates and sound good, but they'll never touch the soprano. Still, I like a little variety and just as I don't play the same guitars all the time, so it is with my ukes.

Still looking for a tenor and I'll probably end up with a baritone, too.

I like the way the ukulele sounds and I LOVE its portability. I've also found that songs that are very difficult on guitar are usually relatively easy on uke. I only play one Hawaiian tune on uke and have never even been to Hawaii (though I'd like to go at least once before I check out), so I can't lay claim to being a traditionalist. I bought an old LP of "traditional" Hawaiian music a couple of weeks ago and it was mostly lap steel music. It sounded so much like the country music I grew up with that I was starting to wonder if it was mislabeled. I expected to hear Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys break into San Antonio Rose at any moment. Guess I'm still very much in the learning phase.

I MIGHT, however, be a closet Hawaii-phile. I have over 60 aloha shirts (mostly all I wear). I buy them at a local thrift shop for a couple bucks each (seriously, I never have paid more than $3 for any of them except one) and ONLY buy the ones that are actually made IN Hawaii and in excellent condition. Go figure. But I digress and that's completely off topic.

Uk3player78
08-15-2011, 03:33 PM
The soprano is my current favorite size. I have a concert as well but it's not played too often. Great size to take when i walk my dog, there is a bench i sit at and play my soprano. I do a 2 mile walk every day and i sometimes take my uke its so light i hardly notice i'm carrying it (case, strap over shoulder).

Noobulele
08-15-2011, 04:11 PM
I'm currently learning on the Soprano. After I get a handle on it, I will get myself a Concert and use it as an accompaniment (not a replacement). :P

callmemario
08-15-2011, 05:24 PM
Great size to take when i walk my dog, there is a bench i sit at and play my soprano. I do a 2 mile walk every day and i sometimes take my uke its so light i hardly notice i'm carrying it (case, strap over shoulder).[/QUOTE]

That's cool! :-)

edo
08-15-2011, 11:19 PM
IMHO I don't like ukes that look or sound like a guitar, that is why I prefer soprano, one thing I despise also is a uke with a "classical guitar bridge" which I find really ugly on a uke. A uke that sound like a guitar is never going to work for me.
Most people try to get bigger and louder sound, a little bit like having the most bling car or whatever. The ukulele and the soprano are like a baby guitar, with a light voice, and should make children and all ages smile when they hear it, IMHO that's the most attractive point in the uke, make people smile. To me that's why the soprano is the king of ukes!

Playing in a uke band is another matter, and baritone and tenor are the perfect companion of course. But playing alone on stage, it's soprano anyday!

Let's remember that around 1905 Martin first began making ukes like little guitars, and they didn't sell nor didn't sound good taking console of the current Martin CEO. Ukes are not guitar and should be build as close as possible to the uke of origin coming from Hawaï.

callmemario
08-16-2011, 01:53 PM
Agree!, if I want a guitar...I'll get a guitar.

My take on the "classical guitar style bridges" on Ukes is that there is a bigger surface on the guitar top to better spread the vibrations uniformely for a better sounding instrument. I personally think it's a good engineering technique. The more surface it covers, the better the overall sound (highs, midrange and lows). Sometimes we gotta go for what seems "ugly" to compensate for the size of the instrument for more output. :-)


[QUOTE=edo;747010]IMHO I don't like ukes that look or sound like a guitar, that is why I prefer soprano, one thing I despise also is a uke with a "classical guitar bridge" which I find really ugly on a uke. A uke that sound like a guitar is never going to work for me.

sbpark
08-16-2011, 01:59 PM
i started out as a concert guy, and now own 2 concerts. had a tenor for a while and just thought it felt too big for a ukulele (i am a guitar player, btw). i love my concerts but now i also want a sporano. i just like the small-ness of the ukulele. just my own opinion, and they make them in all different sizes to please everyone!

callmemario
08-16-2011, 05:14 PM
[QUOTE=sbpark;747498]".... and they make them in all different sizes to please everyone!"
__________________________________________________ _________________________

Good point!. I guess in the end what really matters the most is for us to have fun and love the feel & sound of our Ukes. No matter the size! ;-)
You see, in my case I started off this thread as a die hard SOPRANO lover...I read what everyone else had to say about Uke sizes...got tempted and tried a CONCERT and I fell in love with it. Not too big, not too small. For me, it felt perfect, like right at home! :-)

ricdoug
08-16-2011, 07:59 PM
As the owner of 62 guitars, most of my ukuleles are soprano. I own one concert (Kala Travel Uke) and one Tenor (Fender Koa Nohea) uke. That being said, I don't knock those that use other sizes. Women have to deal with their frontal anatomy when finding a ukulele that's "comfortable" to play. I do consider baritone ukuleles as tenor guitars, though. It's all good. Ric


IMHO I don't like ukes that look or sound like a guitar, that is why I prefer soprano, one thing I despise also is a uke with a "classical guitar bridge" which I find really ugly on a uke. A uke that sound like a guitar is never going to work for me.
Most people try to get bigger and louder sound, a little bit like having the most bling car or whatever. The ukulele and the soprano are like a baby guitar, with a light voice, and should make children and all ages smile when they hear it, IMHO that's the most attractive point in the uke, make people smile. To me that's why the soprano is the king of ukes!

Playing in a uke band is another matter, and baritone and tenor are the perfect companion of course. But playing alone on stage, it's soprano anyday!

Let's remember that around 1905 Martin first began making ukes like little guitars, and they didn't sell nor didn't sound good taking console of the current Martin CEO. Ukes are not guitar and should be build as close as possible to the uke of origin coming from Hawaï.

callmemario
08-25-2011, 06:43 AM
I agree with you that one has to find the proper Ukulele size that gives you thrills when playing! Expressing oneself and having FUN is what it's all about! :-)
__________________________________________________ ______


As the owner of 62 guitars, most of my ukuleles are soprano. I own one concert (Kala Travel Uke) and one Tenor (Fender Koa Nohea) uke. That being said, I don't knock those that use other sizes. Women have to deal with their frontal anatomy when finding a ukulele that's "comfortable" to play. I do consider baritone ukuleles as tenor guitars, though. It's all good. Ric

drbekken
08-25-2011, 06:51 AM
I guess I will always be a hardcore soprano player. The concert feels too big, and I haven't even tried a tenor or a baritone. What I love about the soprano is the way it almost disappears in my hands, and the way it enables me to sing without feeling that I compete with the instrument. As a piano player & singer, I sometimes feel that the piano gets in the way....never so with a soprano uke!!!

callmemario
08-25-2011, 07:08 AM
I agree with uke! ;-) The soprano does have this particular ring to it and does sound awesome...especially when played well like uke do! :-)
Great job! Nice video! :-)