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View Full Version : Movin' on up..?



Ataraxia
08-06-2011, 07:57 AM
First, let me start out by saying how huge of a soprano fan I am :D. They're amazing little instruments. Anyway, my budget currently allows for only one ukulele, so I'll be faced with an important decision..

I'll be selling my current soprano and I can purchase one ukulele for under 380$.. (before the suggestion pops up, this one won't be a Mainland)

I'd like to use it for performing live, which means that an A/E would be a huge bonus. I also need it to be an all-solid instrument. I'm primarily a solo player, but I've managed quite well with fingerpicking and playing more complex riffs on mine.

Should I consider moving up in size? I certainly enjoy the sound of a tenor, but I really feel that sopranos are more unique in sound. I also strongly prefer ukes with geared tuners but like them to be well balanced isntruments. I know that concerts are a great compromise, but it's not that much smaller than a tenor and I like the fact that most of my favorite performers all play on tenors.

Finally, I know that this is purely a matter of opinion, but this one has been driving me crazy for weeks and I would deeply appreciate some opinions from the UU community. You guys rock! \m/ :D

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-06-2011, 08:14 AM
Sound is the most important thing. If you prefer the soprano sound lately, stick with it. (Or take the time to save up the money you need for a new ukulele, get a tenor, and keep Nani---best of both worlds.)

sbpark
08-06-2011, 08:43 AM
get a long neck sporano. i personally am going smaller. started out on a concert and picked up a tenor as a second uke, got rid of it and bought a second concert. now i want a sporano. my own opinion is anything bigger than a concert is too close to playing a guitar, and most of the guys who play tenors are playing guitar style stuff on them anyway, so you might as well just play a guitar (i am a guitar player, btw). i just prefer the sound of the sopranos and concerts. when i first started playing i almost bought a soprano but was scared off by the size and didnt think you really could do much with an instrument that small, but now i know better! the concert offers a little more 'playability', but still retains the 'smallness' and still (to me at least) retains the small look, but like i said before my next purchase (and i am in the market now actually) is going to be a soprano. obviously this is just MY opinion, which accounts for nothing, and i am not bashing anyone that plays a tenor. to each his own!

joejeweler
08-06-2011, 09:39 AM
......... I'm primarily a solo player, but I've managed quite well with fingerpicking and playing more complex riffs on mine. Should I consider moving up in size? .......

That kinda says it for me. I found that some fingerstyle pieces were super tough to get the room for clear fingerings with a soprano. I have average hands, not too big,... and certain times i wished for just a little more scale length. The concert will give you that, and sound much closer in tone to a soprano than a tenor would.

.....you can always add a 2nd uke down the line when your budget permits.
But for versatility i think the concert size is a great choice when limited to just a single instrument.

Even the concerts vary in scale,.....some around 14 3/4" to some a bit over 15". My Ron Saul concert is at the
longer end,.....at 15 5/16" scale. About perfect for fingerstyle work, as the neck tapers a bit wider to the
body, and the string spacing at the saddle is a cool 42.5 mm or about 1.67 inches! I Like! :drool:

The soprano can handle a lot of fingerstyle and has a unique voice, but there will be times it's scale will become a hindrance.

Ataraxia
08-06-2011, 10:10 AM
Thanks for all of the input so far! I'm definitely missing the feel of my guitar, but most of the music shops in this country are terrible IMO! I can't wait to visit a Guitar Center as soon as I get back to the U.S. I LOVE ukulele, and although it could never replace my guitar, it's become my favorite instrument due to portability and comfort.

Anyway, I guess the concert/tenor sizes might also work better for vocal accompaniment as well. I had to start on a tenor because I found sopranos too cramped compared to guitar. I ended up selling the tenor because I found it too large for a "perfect" travel instrument.. and I'm also in love with the look of sopranos.. I even like the sopraninos. For me, it's something about small instruments :D. I guess at the end of the day though, being comfortable playing it and being able to perform more pieces of music is what matters most. I should re-consider the concerts/tenors.

sbpark
08-06-2011, 10:50 AM
Thanks for all of the input so far! I'm definitely missing the feel of my guitar, but most of the music shops in this country are terrible IMO! I can't wait to visit a Guitar Center as soon as I get back to the U.S. I LOVE ukulele, and although it could never replace my guitar, it's become my favorite instrument due to portability and comfort.

Anyway, I guess the concert/tenor sizes might also work better for vocal accompaniment as well. I had to start on a tenor because I found sopranos too cramped compared to guitar. I ended up selling the tenor because I found it too large for a "perfect" travel instrument.. and I'm also in love with the look of sopranos.. I even like the sopraninos. For me, it's something about small instruments :D. I guess at the end of the day though, being comfortable playing it and being able to perform more pieces of music is what matters most. I should re-consider the concerts/tenors.

i absolutely agree with really liking the look of the sporanos over larger sizes. I'm more impressed watching someone rip on a sporano than watching someone do intricate beatles renditions on a tenor (you might as well get a guitar!), but everyone has they're own preference, which is one of the beauties of the ukulele; all different sizes, shapes and sounds to fit the player and their particular style. personally i never buy anything from Guitar Center unless i have to.their employess are morons and they have a pretty crummy selection of decent ukes. You're better off ordering from a more reputable online dealer like Elderly or bettwer yet Ukerepublic.

hungry4adobo
08-06-2011, 10:57 AM
http://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulelemarket/limited-run-kala-solid-cedar-top-travel-slim-tenor-wpickup

how about a Kala Solid Cedar Top, travel tenor with a passive pick up? less than 380. :D

Ataraxia
08-06-2011, 11:03 AM
@ sbpark: I absolutely agree, I would be going to buy a new guitar there, for ukes I always shop with Mike at UkeRepublic! He's the best!

@ hungry4adobo: I noticed that, it's a pretty great deal, but I think anything larger than the soprano looks really dumb in the travel series. Since the soprano is such a small instrument, I feel like it gets away with having a shallow body design. The travel tenor models also lack depth and resonance to my ears, but everyone has different needs and preferences. Thanks for the suggestion!

PhilUSAFRet
08-06-2011, 12:09 PM
[QUOTE=sbpark;741285]get a long neck sporano. i personally am going smaller. started out on a concert and picked up a tenor as a second uke, got rid of it and bought a second concert. now i want a sporano. my own opinion is anything bigger than a concert is too close to playing a guitar, and most of the guys who play tenors are playing guitar style stuff on them anyway, so you might as well just play a guitar (i am a guitar player, btw). i just prefer the sound of the sopranos and concerts. when i first started playing i almost bought a soprano but was scared off by the size and didnt think you really could do much with an instrument that small, but now i know better! the concert offers a little more 'playability', but still retains the 'smallness' and still (to me at least) retains the small look, but like i said before my next purchase (and i am in the market now actually) is going to be a soprano. obviously this is just MY opinion, which accounts for nothing, and i am not bashing anyone that plays a tenor. to each his own![/QUOTe

:agree:

ksiegel
08-06-2011, 02:22 PM
To be honest, I don't like the answer choices. "It's what the pros use?" What kind of rationale is that?

I answered "Tenor" because:
a) it fits my hands..
b) it sounds right to me, and
c) The Fluke hard shell case fits in the overhead compartment of even a commuter flight.

I'd play a soprano more often if my hands didn't cramp up while playing, and I haven't really played a concert size too often - that choice recuses itself.

.....-Kurt

Ataraxia
08-06-2011, 09:46 PM
Well, the rationale behind it is this...

I don't really have a chance to sit down with other sizes for any length of time to try them out for myself, although I have briefly played both concerts and tenors. I was mostly trying to make the choices a bit more "fun", but.. I figure that since most professional performers arrange their music on tenor ukes, having the longer scale with more notes available would lend itself to playing more pieces of music the way they're meant to be played.

I also occasionally trip over my own fingers when playing more complex pieces around the 12th fret. I would love to own more than one size, but I'm trying to make it easier to travel since I'll be moving about through different countries for the next few years. I do agree that the tenor isn't that much bigger and would still be easy enough to travel with. I originally came here from the U.S. with my acoustic guitar, so of course anything is possible.. it just had to be checked.

I appreciate your insight, your advice was very helpful. Thanks! :D