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Wingnutz
07-24-2013, 08:02 AM
Hi,
I have only ever owned a soprano. I have played a few tenors but frankly, I couldn't hear a lot of difference in the sound (I thought it would be way louder and bassier). I guess the longer scale is a factor though. I would like to hear from people who preferred one over the other, or can tell me about the relative differences.
Thanks in advance!

rubyrain
07-24-2013, 08:34 AM
Take this input with a grain of salt because I am a total newbie to ukes....
But when I went to try out a bunch of ukes over the course of a few visits a big difference in the sizes was the comfort factor of the size re: holding it and how it feels in your arms and neck size/length and room for finger movement. As I talked with a few other players on a group play night, one said he chose the tenor just because of the size and finger space (he was a big guy) but he felt the sound was similar.
The sound was not AS different as I expected, however, different strings do make a big difference with this too.
I do hear a mellower tone with the tenor, but it's not marked like with a baritone.

If you listen to different sizes on youtube, you can hear the differences more obviously if they use higher quality strings. I listened to a bunch of of these and could definitely hear differences in the higher quality instruments.

That my measly .02 worth but I hope someone with a lot more experience will chime in here.

coolkayaker1
07-24-2013, 08:48 AM
Sopranos are short sustain, percussive instruments.

Tenors are resonant instruments that allow improved picking and soloing.

They sound completely different, and your ear will detect that difference with a little more time, OP.

Olarte
07-24-2013, 09:11 AM
Yep, In addition to that, sopranos are usually tuned with high g, and tenors either high for low G. Which adds to the differences. That's how I tune all my sopranos (high g) and tenors (Low G)


Sopranos are short sustain, percussive instruments.

Tenors are resonant instruments that allow improved picking and soloing.

They sound completely different, and your ear will detect that difference with a little more time, OP.

PhilUSAFRet
07-24-2013, 09:50 AM
Sopranos are short sustain, percussive instruments.

Tenors are resonant instruments that allow improved picking and soloing.

They sound completely different, and your ear will detect that difference with a little more time, OP.

A slight overgeneralization, but your ear will be able to detect subtle differences in time. Don't try and tell my pre-war Martin O that it's a "short sustain, percussive" instrument. Many high quality sopranos don't fit into that category. Also, after you try a uke, it might be helpful to have someone else play it so you can hear what the world hears when you play it. That's why personal sound holes were developed, so the person playing can hear their instrument better. You will also learn how strings can make a huge difference. Good luck.

BIGDB
07-24-2013, 09:58 AM
I was in the same situation as you a couple months ago. I had a soprano and played a few tenors and didn't hear a difference but once I bought a tenor and brought it home and played it for a little while it was a big difference in sound and playability. Once you get a good amount of playing time in a tenor you'll hear a difference

OldePhart
07-24-2013, 11:55 AM
The difference between a soprano and tenor of similar build style and quality will be that the tenor will have a little longer sustain, more volume, and more bottom end - a slightly more full sound, if you will.

The problem, of course, is that many people compare apples to oranges when comparing instruments. My KoAloha longneck soprano will slay many "factory" (Ohana, Mainland, Kala, etc.) tenors - even their solid-wood models. That's not criticism, and shouldn't be surprising considering the relative prices, but it does mean that if one is going to talk about comparisons between sopranos and tenors they need to be from the same branch on the quality tree, so to speak.

John

Bao
07-24-2013, 04:33 PM
Maybe it could be the strings. My tenor sounded really trebly, a lot like my cheap soprano, but once I changed the strings, it really helped to establish a difference.

connor013
07-24-2013, 04:34 PM
Wing,

What you're looking for -- louder, bassier -- exists (cue dramatic music): check out a baritone.

Wingnutz
07-24-2013, 07:56 PM
Wing,

What you're looking for -- louder, bassier -- exists (cue dramatic music): check out a baritone.

I think I want it all - that's the trouble! lol! I love how portable the soprano is, but I think I am going to need the extended range of the tenor. I want to play fiddle tunes, jazz solos, chord melody - whatever!

mandrew
07-24-2013, 09:33 PM
This is why I like concert sizes! The character of a soprano, bigger voice and sustain, closer to a tenor.

mm stan
07-24-2013, 10:03 PM
I would tell you go to a uke store and play all the sizes...they all have their own distinctive voice, tone, volume, punch, substain etc and each uke can be used for different purposes..
each has their own voice and tone, much like people... another factor to consider is playability and comfort for you with the scale and neck configurations... also solid or laminates and
type of woods ... if budget is a factor, lamiates are great starter ukes and they hold up better in severe weather conditions....of course you get what you pay for...I like any uke...in fact my
cheap rogue and Oscar schmidt ukes I still play daily and my cherished customs as well too... couple main things is to try before you buy and buy from a reputable dealer that offers set-ups...
Good luck on your ukulele shopping quest.... as for your choice between soprano or tenor....always best to start with a soprano to me and gradually move up in sizes...it's more comfortable
to play as the strings have less tension to the shorter scale....

Wingnutz
07-25-2013, 01:03 AM
Great advice on this forum!
Thanks Stan, almost sounds like I need one of each. My wife will be thrilled...
My current uke, a Kala soprano does not fret true up the neck so at least I can justify a replacement of better quality.

PhilUSAFRet
07-25-2013, 01:34 AM
Great advice on this forum!
Thanks Stan, almost sounds like I need one of each. My wife will be thrilled...
My current uke, a Kala soprano does not fret true up the neck so at least I can justify a replacement of better quality.

When you get your new uke, you can use that Kala to learn how to do a proper setup! Good luck

Hammond
07-25-2013, 01:47 AM
With my respect, as Phil said in above post. We must hear at an audience position to judge how it sounds, this is totally different and is the sound it truly sings to the world, not to the player.:)

Before any judgement of its sound, find someone to play the uke in front of us.

strumsilly
07-25-2013, 03:18 AM
Great advice on this forum!
Thanks Stan, almost sounds like I need one of each. My wife will be thrilled...
My current uke, a Kala soprano does not fret true up the neck so at least I can justify a replacement of better quality.
and don;t forget an banjo uke, and a resonator, and a solid body electric, and a ...

Wingnutz
07-25-2013, 07:29 PM
I would tell you go to a uke store and play all the sizes...they all have their own distinctive voice, tone, volume, punch, substain etc and each uke can be used for different purposes..
each has their own voice and tone, much like people... another factor to consider is playability and comfort for you with the scale and neck configurations... also solid or laminates and
type of woods ... if budget is a factor, lamiates are great starter ukes and they hold up better in severe weather conditions....of course you get what you pay for...I like any uke...in fact my
cheap rogue and Oscar schmidt ukes I still play daily and my cherished customs as well too... couple main things is to try before you buy and buy from a reputable dealer that offers set-ups...
Good luck on your ukulele shopping quest.... as for your choice between soprano or tenor....always best to start with a soprano to me and gradually move up in sizes...it's more comfortable
to play as the strings have less tension to the shorter scale....

Yeah, this was great advice. I found a koa Martin concert that I really liked. No substitute for actually playing the instrument, and comparing different ones. This time I could tune in my ears to the differences in sound and feel.