View Full Version : Soprano Ukuleles

08-19-2012, 01:40 PM
Just curious, am I only one of the few who favors the Soprano ukulele over the concert and tenor sizes? I would enjoy reading your comments regarding this topic.

St Louis, MO

08-19-2012, 01:46 PM
I have to say I think it really depends on the song. I love playing my soprano but there are some songs that lend themselves to a larger uke. Just wondering, what types of songs do you mostly play?

Yestyn The Great
08-19-2012, 01:49 PM
I do not like sopranos. The range of music is limmeted. And they do not sound as nice as tenors.

08-19-2012, 01:56 PM
I like sopranos for that classic stuff like 'aint't she sweet', '5 foot 2' etc. Tenor works better on other tunes and I find it easier to hold/play. For me though, the soprano sound is the quintesential ukulele sound.

08-19-2012, 01:59 PM
I prefer sopranos. They are easier for me to play. I like the classic uke sound. I have one concert with low g but other than that I am a soprano gal.

08-19-2012, 02:00 PM
I favor the soprano over all other sizes. I have owned several concert and tenor (even a baritone) uke's and sold them off through the years. The soprano just sounds like I think the uke should...:) I even like D tuning when I am muttling my way through songs from the 30's/40's.

08-19-2012, 02:01 PM
I like concerts better than tenors, and soprano is my favourite size. It's cute, it sounds nice and it's easier to play if you have small hands.
My guess is that most people play sopranos, most likely colourful and inexpensive factory-made laminates (because they're fun!), and they only own one uke, not 12. The UU forum is not really representative of the whole ukulele community, we're just the nerdy ones who like to spend time talking about ukes ;-)

08-19-2012, 02:12 PM
I don't play "traditional ukulele" music, whatever that may be. I play songs that I like which is from the genres of folk, C&W, classic rock, 50s rock, etc. and I play it on soprano, concert, or tenor, whichever is out at the time. I love them all. When I'm on the truck, it's my Dolphin though as that is my "truck uke".

08-19-2012, 02:13 PM
I have to say I think it really depends on the song. I love playing my soprano but there are some songs that lend themselves to a larger uke. Just wondering, what types of songs do you mostly play?

I like the classic stuff as mentioned above.

Jim T.
08-19-2012, 02:14 PM
Just curious, am I only one of the few who favors the Soprano ukulele over the concert and tenor sizes? I would enjoy reading your comments regarding this topic.

I prefer a soprano -- the 'ukulele in its original form. Perhaps not as easy to play as a concert or tenor, but I enjoy the challenge, and the idea that I'm playing the same instrument earlier generations played.

08-19-2012, 02:14 PM
I like ukes in all sizes, especially concerts and sopranos. I favor concerts and sopranos fairly equal. I've never had 2 ukes sound exactly the same, even repeats of the same brand, model and size. So, to say a certain size sounds better than another is very subjective. It seems to me that it is tougher for a luthier to make a great soprano, than a great tenor? Some sopranos can sound tinny or boxy. A good one will not. So maybe the random tenor uke will sound better than the random soprano, because great sopranos are fewer in numbers?

My CR tenor has some nice guitarishness to it, where none of my concerts and sopranos do, even in low G. So, if guitar-like the tonal quality is what you want, you probably wont find it in a soprano.

Hippie Dribble
08-19-2012, 02:17 PM
I agree with Dean, Lalou and mango, as different sizes suit different styles and songs better. I love my sopranos, but I also enjoy concerts too for a slightly fuller, more rounded tone, and they're easier to fingerpick on. For some reason I've never been able to acclimatise to the tenor scale, but in the past few months my eyes have opened to the wonders of the beautiful baritone and that's opened a whole new chapter of fun and discovery!

08-19-2012, 02:32 PM

The king of the soprano ukulele: the late, great John King.


08-19-2012, 03:43 PM
I'm a soprano man. I have owned or played a few concerts and I'm not into them. I've never played a tenor I've really liked enough to buy either. I am interested in baritones but haven't bought one yet. I think it is a personal thing though. I don't have as much range of motion in my fingers as a lot of other people so the larger fret scales aren't as fun to play for me. That is one of the reasons I never got far with guitars.

08-19-2012, 03:50 PM
I must be the only person who doesn't have any uke size preference at all.

08-19-2012, 03:53 PM
I love sopranos. I like concerts, too, but I always end up with a soprano in my hands. Like Jon, I just haven't gotten interested in tenors myself, while I enjoy listening to others play them.

By the way, here's John King playing an Earnest Stradelele. It's a concert. John was a big guy I guess:


He was the King of sopranos and concerts!

08-19-2012, 04:30 PM
Ugh, Frank, you've hit a nerve with this one.

I like sopranos best, both in terms of sound and feel, and yet I'm somehow still a sucker. I have a good concert (Pono) and a great tenor (Loprinzi) and, combined, they don't see half the playing time of my Timms or Bruko sopranos. They're solid instruements (pun!), but neither are for me.

To make matters worse, neither are the first concert or tenor I've owned. When will I learn?

Each will make its journey to the marketplace eventually.

08-19-2012, 04:49 PM
I have one soprano just to try and see if I might like it. As much as I've tried I just don't. I don't like the size and the difficulty of playing with frets that small. That's just my preference. I tried concert and don't like the fretboard on it. I like the body size of the concerts. I have one Kanilea super concert which I like very much and my pineapple Sunday which I think is a concert body with a tenor neck that I also like a lot. There's just a feel with the tenor neck that I like. That may change over time if I were to give the other necks a chance but I guess that won't happen since I will probably not own any other sizes and I want to sell the soprano. I know a lot of you love them but their just not for me.

08-19-2012, 05:34 PM
I prefer the sound of the soprano over other sizes. I'm even coming to grips with the scale length though it stills seems a bit crowded but not like two years ago. I'm not really certain if I've come to favor soprano over longneck (concert scale) soprano, but it's a much closer race than it once was.


08-20-2012, 04:43 AM
I'm a Soprano guy. I've got pretty small hands.

08-20-2012, 05:20 AM
I like my Kala "tweener" best... concert neck, soprano body.

Uke Whisperer
08-20-2012, 05:36 AM
I love the Soprano sound but prefer the Concert scale, so as many do, I mostly play my Sopranos with the Concert necks. They seem to sound slightly different than a true Soprano but not much. May just be the different woods I have...

08-20-2012, 06:10 AM
I have always been a tenor guy. I find the soprano a bit small for my hands and prefer the fuller sound of a tenor. Still enjoy playing my sopranos and concerts though.

08-20-2012, 06:41 AM
I think that it's common knowledge that a soprano is less forgiving for set up errors and such, and many have state that, while one can get away with a laminate/inadequately set-up/poorly intoned baritone, tenor or convert, the soprano is less forgiving that way. If soprano is your game, always go with a quality soprano. That's the general mantra.

08-20-2012, 07:04 AM
Im new to uke, but so far loving my soprano, i tried a concert, tenor, and baritone, but i just like the classic sound of the soprano

The Orange Mage
08-20-2012, 07:07 AM
In my limited experience I find the Soprano's fretboard a little cramped, but the sound is wonderful! Then again, my soprano experience is with a vintage Gibson, so I'm probably spoiled a bit compared to my tenor. I'm thinking I'd love a concert fretboard since I feel like I have plenty of room on my tenor. Maybe a Concert or Super Soprano is in my future?

08-20-2012, 07:10 AM
Soprano all the way here! I own and play a tenor and
a concert scale, but the soprano scale is the one for
me every time.Why? Just something about it!

08-20-2012, 07:23 AM
Soprano or baritone for me; nothing in between.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-20-2012, 08:47 AM
I learned on a $7 soprano from Japan that my Gma bought for me from Long's Drugs back in 1960.

I had a Kamaka soprano in college (Bible School) in Chicago.

Then I heard and met Gordon Mark before I went off to Grad School (Seminary). Gordon was (still does)
playing both a Martin Tenor and a Kamaka Baritone, so I copied him by trading my Martin Tenor from Chicago
for a Kamaka Tenor and a Kamaka Baritone. That lasted for a few decades.

Then I reacquainted myself with my unused Kamaka soprano (somehow I thought it was too nice to play, go figure).
That was about 2003 when I began attending SUPA (April). [SUPA began in Jan of 2003] Since then it's been
SOPRANO almost exclusively. I typically play my Kala Soprano Travel uke... because I take it just about everywhere
with me! I have a peanut from Mim that I may consider having surgically attached to my body!! :)

I must admit that I do like the extra fret or 2 on the concert scale, but I need to have a soprano body. Somehow
even a concert-size body feels too big to me. But that's just me. No offense to anyone out there :)

Whatever you play, keep uke'in',

08-20-2012, 08:51 AM
I only just got a concert size. I love soprano.

The Big Kahuna
08-20-2012, 09:02 AM
I'm starting to think that Soprano is less to do with hand/finger size, and everything to do with being able to rotate your wrist quickly enough for some chord shapes. Some of the chords that I don't have to think twice about on Tenor or Guitar, I have to rotate by hand until my wrist is pointing at the headstock and my fingers are pointing directly down the neck.

08-20-2012, 09:07 AM
I love soprano ukuleles! Number one uke scale for me, for sure.

For years, I didn't even play any of the longer scale ukes at music shops. Recently, though, I've learned to love the baritone ukulele. Most concert and tenor ukes don't do it for me, but I won't certainly won't complain if you put a Collings concert or tenor in my hand.

08-20-2012, 11:20 AM
Sopranos all the way for me, and I've tried baritone to sopranino. Confession, actually - my current baby is a super soprano...but it has a small Kumalae-style body!

To me a soprano sounds like what I want to hear most in a ukulele, so that's what I play.

Though...I do plan to get an 8 string tenor built for me some day, too...

I guess I'm fickle...

Pukulele Pete
08-20-2012, 11:27 AM
Sopranos only for me. Anything larger is cheating . And please ,.........no geared tuners .

08-20-2012, 12:55 PM
I am primarily a soprano player. I guess in my mind soprano is the "true religion". It is the reentrant soprano that has the most authentic ukulele sound. I do have two concerts, a tenor, and a baritone, but the sopranos get the most play. That may change as I start to play my newly acquired Epiphone Les Paul uke (concert), but the soprano is still my "go to" instrument. I have three sopranos, a Marca Aquila, a Favilla Teardrop, and an Aloha (old Aloha from the '40s - not the modern brand). The Aloha is my practice uke and it gets played almost daily. The Favilla Teardrop is my favorite acoustic performance uke, and I think it has the best sound of any of my acoustic ukes. The Marca Aquila is my "old man" since it was made before 1910. I keep it cased most of the time, but I play it occasionally and it has a beautiful soft voice - and perfect intonation on every fret. Light as a feather too. My hands are pretty small and that may account for my soprano leanings.

I sympathize with Pukulele Pete although he is a little more radical than me. I guess I would ask, if you don't like soprano, do you really like the ukulele?

G Hill
08-20-2012, 01:05 PM
I love my soprano tuned to D. But I also love my bari tuned to G. The bari is tuned linear and the sop with a high A. Different tools for different song choices.

08-20-2012, 01:59 PM
My Lanikai is a tenor, my Martin a soprano. I play the Lanikai. I feel exactly like Benny Chong, who customarily plays a reentrant-tuned baritone.


08-20-2012, 04:40 PM
Thanks for sharing the video of Benny Chong! He's Truly inspiring.

08-20-2012, 04:45 PM
I prefer sopranos, it's easier for me to play them and I like the sound over concert and tenors...some of it is because of tradition and others it's just that I find I can play better on a soprano :D

mm stan
08-20-2012, 04:55 PM
The longer you play you will have the urges to try all the sizes and experience that you may like them all not for their sizes but for each of their individual unique voices and tones....
Comfort and playabilty are different factors..

08-20-2012, 05:15 PM
Thanks for sharing the video of Benny Chong! He's Truly inspiring. Agreed. AGREED.

ukuLily Mars
08-21-2012, 10:59 AM
I love the soprano sound, and the scale feels great to me. I grew up playing the violin, so this is comfortable. I don't know if it's an issue of hand size, because although I do have small hands, Itzhak Perlman does not, and he and I play the same size violin (with dramatically different results).

I would happily try a concert or tenor, and I won't say I will never buy one, but right now I'm looking only at soprano 'ukes. Well, also considering a sopranino. I play a lot of songs my mom thinks are wicked old :rolleyes: , and the soprano is great for those 20s & 30s standards, especially with my little voice. But even with more recent material, I still love it. It's fun and cute, and to me it's the most 'ukey.

Besides, if it's good enough for Uncle Rod, it's good enough for me.

08-22-2012, 12:26 PM
Tenor and baritone for me. I tried the other sizes, but preferred both the size and richer sound of a tenor. Then I discovered baritones and lately tenor guitars...

08-22-2012, 06:12 PM
I like soprano best, but concert comes in at a close second. For my next uke, I'd like to get a super soprano.

08-22-2012, 06:55 PM
I love sopranos. When I fell in love with the ukulele it was the sopranos size and sound that did it for me. Currently my collection has only sopranos and super sopranos although i have considered adding a concert at some point.

08-23-2012, 06:08 AM
Am anxiously awaiting delivery of my soprano uke.

I'm a novice (...ahem... please excuse) guitar player who grew up in Hawaii. I wanted a reminder of home, plus something completely different from what I'm playing now.

Small fingers, but I've gotten used to big fretboards. Can't wait to see how this goes ...

08-23-2012, 08:42 AM
Soprano for me.

My first "decent" uke was a concert because I wanted a little more room on the fretboard but I soon gravitated back to soprano. I like the way you can tuck it into the crook of your arm and play nice and comfortably. I find the concert doesn't seem to tuck in quite as well. I've tried a couple of other people's tenors but though I liked the more mellow sound, I didn't find it as comfortable to play.