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View Full Version : Fret size: soprano, concert and tenor



Vladim
08-18-2011, 05:30 AM
I've been playing for nearly two months now. I like the sound of my uke and didn't brake a bank buying it. Everything's alright except the difficulties I excperience making some chords. There's so little space between neighbouring fret bars that it's a real challenge for me to crum my fingers between them. Especially difficult for me is Dm. My middle and ring fingers just don't want to be one under another on the G- and C-strings. I managed to shape G and G7 angling my fingers but Dm is a nightmare.

I started thinking to upgrade from soprano to concert or tenor. I know the last two offer more space for fingers. But how much? I measured the size of the second fret of my uke. It's 0.7" (18 mm).

Here is my question for you, my dear forumers: could you tell me the size of the second fret (and first and third if possible) of concert and tenor ukes so that I might compare the sizes and to choose the best for me?

Lori
08-18-2011, 06:31 AM
There may be slight differences in scale length between manufacturers
Distance from fret #1 and #2
Flea Concert and Mainland Concert = 20mm
Kala and Kanile'a Tenor = 22.5 to 23mm

Distance from fret #1 and #3
Flea Concert and Mainland Concert = 40mm
Kala and Kanile'a Tenor = 44.5 to 45mm


Practice will help too. It takes time, but it should get easier. You should also look for long neck versions of the different sizes (super soprano, super concert). If you want a Tenor neck on a soprano body, for instance, Ohana makes one of those. The Flea also comes with long neck options.

Good luck!

–Lori

PoiDog
08-18-2011, 06:37 AM
What Lori said. The single biggest thing to worry about is practice. You'll be amazed at how you can squeeze your fingers into tight places you never thought was possible after spending enough time doing it again and again and again.

The extra space provided by tenor (as compared to a soprano), may seem like a lot, but in truth it's nothing compared to what practice will do.

philrab66
08-18-2011, 06:47 AM
I've been playing for nearly two months now. I like the sound of my uke and didn't brake a bank buying it. Everything's alright except the difficulties I excperience making some chords. There's so little space between neighbouring fret bars that it's a real challenge for me to crum my fingers between them. Especially difficult for me is Dm. My middle and ring fingers just don't want to be one under another on the G- and C-strings. I managed to shape G and G7 angling my fingers but Dm is a nightmare.

I started thinking to upgrade from soprano to concert or tenor. I know the last two offer more space for fingers. But how much? I measured the size of the second fret of my uke. It's 0.7" (18 mm).

Here is my question for you, my dear forumers: could you tell me the size of the second fret (and first and third if possible) of concert and tenor ukes so that I might compare the sizes and to choose the best for me?

I have the same problems with my fingers. Oscar Schmidt do a wide neck Ukulele which Ukulele Mike uses. But like the others haver said it is possible with a lot of practice.

Vladim
08-18-2011, 07:00 AM
Distance from fret #1 and #2
Flea Concert and Mainland Concert = 20mm
Kala and Kanile'a Tenor = 22.5 to 23mm


Did you provide inner or outer sizes? On my picture the inner size is 16 mm and the outer is 18 mm.
27081

I'm sure you all are right about practise works miracles and I shouldn't switch from soprano to bigger sizes. But still it's interesting to get to know the differences in scale sizes.

BTW, I didn't know about wide necks etc. Maybe I will take it on account buying my next uke.

Pukulele Pete
08-18-2011, 07:07 AM
I had a hard time with Dm . I was learning the song "Brother can you spare a Dime " , and the Dm chord was one I liked the sound of but had the hardest time getting it right. I kept practicing and practicing and now its easy to play. I tried a concert uke and it feels too much like a guitar for me. One of the challenges I like is that the soprano is small and can be a little difficult , but it can be done with practice.

Lori
08-18-2011, 07:20 AM
Did you provide inner or outer sizes? On my picture the inner size is 16 mm and the outer is 18 mm.
27081

I'm sure you all are right about practise works miracles and I shouldn't switch from soprano to bigger sizes. But still it's interesting to get to know the differences in scale sizes.

BTW, I didn't know about wide necks etc. Maybe I will take it on account buying my next uke.

I was measuring from peak to peak (or from center line to center line on the fret).

Also, the Kanile'a is a slightly wider neck, meaning the distance across the width of the playing surface. The long-necks are longer length wise, from nut to bridge.

–Lori

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-18-2011, 07:24 AM
It's easier to fret chords requiring one finger "on top" of another if you rotate your wrist away from your body a bit. This aligns your fingers more vertically.

Shastastan
08-18-2011, 09:16 AM
I certainly can't argue that practice can solve almost all issues. However, some of us may want to make things easier if we can. I have a tenor and don't have a problem with Dm. However, I tried a concert (Makai) and found the frets to be too small for my old hands. Since we needed a 2nd uke, I got a Mainland tenor instead. I would have given up on a concert, but then read on this forum that you can get one with a tenor neck. I have a pineapple on order now from Mainland with a tenor neck. There are some places that give you a short trial period, but you will have to pay shipping both ways. I have done some instruments this way and would rather pay a little more for shipping than get stuck with something that I don't like, FWIW

Vladim
08-21-2011, 05:19 AM
Thanks for advices and sharing your experiences!

Overall, complaints about hard chords to play shouldn't be taken on account because if a uke wasn't playable no one would play it! Practise, practise and practise and little tips from more experienced ukers.



Distance from fret #1 and #2
Flea Concert and Mainland Concert = 20mm


My first fret has the same length. I tried to put my fingers on it shaping Dm (instead of the second fret) and can't say it's much easier to press strings there. So, to my mind, I should practise more than buy a larger ukulele.

Lanark
08-21-2011, 06:09 AM
The other replies pretty much sum up everything in a nutshell, but could we all agree to make a semantic agreement not to call moving to a longer scale an "upgrade"? It implies a value decision that really doesn't exist. it's just longer. It's not better.

Ok, that's my pet peeve. thanks for listening.

Pukulele Pete
08-21-2011, 06:39 AM
The other replies pretty much sum up everything in a nutshell, but could we all agree to make a semantic agreement not to call moving to a longer scale an "upgrade"? It implies a value decision that really doesn't exist. it's just longer. It's not better.

Ok, that's my pet peeve. thanks for listening.

Yaaa , .............me too.

Vladim
08-21-2011, 07:01 AM
could we all agree to make a semantic agreement not to call moving to a longer scale an "upgrade"? It implies a value decision that really doesn't exist. it's just longer. It's not better.

I agree. I just didn't find a better word than "upgrade", writing the post.

bornagainjeeper
08-21-2011, 01:33 PM
What Lori said. The single biggest thing to worry about is practice. You'll be amazed at how you can squeeze your fingers into tight places you never thought was possible after spending enough time doing it again and again and again.

The extra space provided by tenor (as compared to a soprano), may seem like a lot, but in truth it's nothing compared to what practice will do. Couldn't agree more. Often a mistake we make in life in general is externalizing the blame to the gear. Its just a practice thing really, i've got pretty fat hands and stumpy fingers and i play ukes from bass to the kala pocket with relative ease...Pick a song you really like, and something easy...with just a C G F sorta progression. Once you can play it at the pace of the original recording without "Fret", slide in a song with your dreaded Dm....I liked Island in the sun by Harry belafonte or Elvis' Fools Rush In (can't help falling in love) both use the same progression, which move from the easy Am to the more challenging Dm, which is a fairly common, and relatively easy transition to make...But overall don't worry about learning new chords til you can play the others with your eyes closed....I'm a fairly experienced player now and i still don't know all my chords, but when one comes up its time to add it, one at a time...with repetition. GOod Luck and HAVE FUN Alex