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Katz-in-Boots
04-02-2014, 03:11 PM
Is it my imagination? Are tenors taking over the ukulele world? Everywhere I look online, tenor seems to be the size if you want something sumptuous in terms of wood, a slotted head, and generally really nice.

Sure the sopranos are still the 'standard', but I'm seeing a lot more nice tenors than concert size (which of course is what I play).

FrankB
04-02-2014, 03:22 PM
I haven't played my tenors since buying two concerts in the last few weeks. I love the tone, and the size.

Jake et al play tenors, so if you want to sound like a ukulele hero, it's gotta be a tenor....maybe.

Kyle23
04-02-2014, 03:31 PM
Most of the pros play a tenor, so there must be something about them!

kohanmike
04-02-2014, 03:44 PM
Look at my signature.

janeray1940
04-02-2014, 03:57 PM
Most of the pros play a tenor, so there must be something about them!

Seems to be true for the younger breed of pros. But John King (https://www.youtube.com/user/NaluMusic/videos) played sopranos and concerts, Ohta-San (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32pQP8UGQdU) usually plays a Martin concert, and tenors didn't even exist (as far as I know) when guys like Cliff Edwards and Johnny Marvin were professional ukulelists (but to confuse matters even more, the concert sized ukes they played were called tenors back then, I've been told).

I think there are two main reasons for the popularity of tenors today: guitarists who decide to pick up uke find tenors more comfortable, and the fact that people are just bigger now than during the last two waves of uke popularity, and bigger hands have an easier time on tenor necks.

I don't personally play tenors because my hands are too little, but if it was practical for me I'd have one since I play high up the neck a lot and to me, tenors sound much better than smaller ukes. When playing higher up the neck, they generally have better intonation, sustain, and tone quality than smaller sizes do - this probably accounts for why they seem to be the uke of choice for the pros today.

FrankB
04-02-2014, 04:19 PM
Here's a healthy enough looking young guy with a nice concert Kamaka: http://youtu.be/olpGrFo1zEg He seems to be plenty excited about his new uke!

soupking
04-02-2014, 04:22 PM
I'm running fast away from the tenor. I went hard on gobbling them up for the past few years, but I've been reverting back to the standard, slowly but surely. The tenors are just too unwieldy to unleash around my unruly school-aged children, haha


http://youtu.be/yI9GNnRtHrM

Hippie Dribble
04-02-2014, 04:36 PM
Are tenors taking over the ukulele world?

Not in Sandy Bay KIB! :)

FrankB
04-02-2014, 05:12 PM
Not in Sandy Bay KIB! :)
Eugene,
Your Covered Bridge YouTube videos sent me looking for a concert uke! I was looking for CB tenors, but saw your concert CB video. That's what got me interested in concerts.

Hippie Dribble
04-02-2014, 05:18 PM
Eugene,
Your Covered Bridge YouTube videos sent me looking for a concert uke! I was looking for CB tenors, but saw your concert CB video. That's what got me interested in concerts.

Awesome Frank.hope you're as please with yours as I have been. Got a CB cherry concert on the way as we speak. Will let you know what it's like brother, cheers!

Katz-in-Boots
04-02-2014, 06:37 PM
Not in Sandy Bay KIB! :)

Dude! What are you doing in Sandy Bay?! (Sorry, Off my own topic, but...) I didn't see you at the Deloraine String Fest a couple of weekends ago.

Steveperrywriter
04-02-2014, 06:59 PM
I attended a session at the uke camp I went to last week, a Q&A on uke building, given by the Canote brothers and Aaron Keim, of Mya-Moe, and I asked him about this. Most of what they make are tenors, least are sopranos. They are doing more super-sopranos these days.

NewKid
04-02-2014, 06:59 PM
Tenors have taken over for me after having one or two in each size and then getting rid of everything but the tenors. Although last month a very fine soprano made it back back into my collection.

mds725
04-02-2014, 08:10 PM
I think that slotted headstocks can be a bit heavier than the ordinary headstock; they have to be thicker to accommodate the tuning machines. I suspect that the extra weight is why you generally don't see slotted headstocks on concert or soprano ukuleles.

chuck in ny
04-03-2014, 02:48 AM
i just play around the house so any size will do. a performing musician would be attracted to the tenor with its greater projection. i assume that's a large part of things for a lot of players. it doesn't take much volume to make a musical point in my living room.

pixiepurls
04-03-2014, 02:51 AM
As a newbie I can say all the video's online I liked the tenor sound better, that was the #1 reason I started with a tenor. Now sometimes when I switch back to my daughters soprano I think hrmm I might want to get myself a soprano I like the way you can tuck it under your arm, end of the day I still like the tenor sound better but I am learning to like the classic martin string kind of ukulele sound. My fingers out of the S, T and Bari, prefer the tenor the best. Just enough room for my fingers to learn and move around on vs being cramped so I think its easier to learn chords on the tenor!

dickadcock
04-03-2014, 03:12 AM
Are tenors taking over the ukulele world? . .

Yes . . . All U Bass belong to us.

:cool:

Brian W
04-03-2014, 04:10 AM
When I travel around to local music stores here in North Carolina, I see more concerts than tenors or sopranos (by a good 3 to 1 margin). I agree that tenors are gaining popularity, however, locally concerts are still the most popular. Personally, I prefer sopranos and concert scales over tenors, but I do like a tenor for fingerstyle playing, as their tonal range is better.

Ukejungle
04-03-2014, 04:24 AM
They are all nice girls to me.

:)

actadh
04-03-2014, 05:13 AM
I don't have the fretting hand flexibility yet to easily play a soprano. For instance, I have trouble with the "D" chord (2220) on a soprano, but it is no problem on a concert - I don't even think about it during a chord change, but it stalls me when changing chords on a soprano.

Overall, a concert just seems a good fit for my small hands. I play it with the upper bout resting on my left leg - ideally with my foot on a stool. The fretboard is upraised and slightly out to the front so my body does not muffle the vibration and I can barre better with it away from me. I don't see anybody else playing like that on videos, but it works for me.

I did an impulse buy on my first tenor with the Outdoor Ukulele preorder. I am a former guitar player, so I think it will work well and I want it for outdoors and around grandkids. I think if I like it and want a "good" tenor, I would look first at the Tiny Tenor.

dirtiestkidever
04-03-2014, 06:05 AM
For casual players who strum and sing pop songs I think tenor probably give the best sound. But for old timey jazz age stuff its gotta be a soprano. Other things like Hawaiian music can probably be either.

For me, I think string tension is kind of a big deal. I like the feel of sops and concerts. My 19 bari has nice low tension too (and I even tune that down a half step a lot). The string tension on tenors seems to take away from the relaxed mellow feel of a ukulele. Perhaps I would like them better tuned down a step or two.

But I am surprised how people love the tenor. I understand that everybody has their own taste but the sopranos are so fun I would think it would at least be even between sops, concerts, and tenors.

Icelander53
04-03-2014, 06:06 AM
Is it my imagination? Are tenors taking over the ukulele world? Everywhere I look online, tenor seems to be the size if you want something sumptuous in terms of wood, a slotted head, and generally really nice.

Sure the sopranos are still the 'standard', but I'm seeing a lot more nice tenors than concert size (which of course is what I play).

It's a plot that started in the Midwest of the US due to being corn fed which resulted in big hands and fat fingers.

Cornfield
04-03-2014, 06:15 AM
I started with a concert, added tenors, baritone and soprano ukes and banjo ukes to the mix. I have now narrowed down the instrument s that feel comfortable for my hands (and voice) to tenor and baritone.

I think what the best players of today and the past have in common is that they stick to one basic size (be it soprano, concert, tenor or Baritone) rather than trying to be virtuosos on the several sizes

sirwhale
04-03-2014, 06:40 AM
I play tenor and i have a concert for travelling. I'm not a big fan of sopranos and guitars just annoy me for being too big.

JamieWG
04-03-2014, 07:29 AM
Personally, I like them all for different reasons. I can't see myself ever sticking with just one size exclusively, but you know what they say --- "Never say 'never'!" I do have some specific replies/comments to things that are posted above:


I haven't played my tenors since buying two concerts in the last few weeks. I love the tone, and the size.

I also love the 'concert' sound as a nice full sound that is more even across the note spectrum, and still so easy to play. Personally, I find a concert has a feel that is much closer to soprano, and then it's quite a leap to the feel of a tenor. I think we are all different in that regard, as I've heard others say they find concert--->tenor to feel closer than soprano--->concert.


Tenors are the logical choice for guitar players, and a lot of guitar players are finding the size and relative simplicity of a uke to their liking. Eventually some will take up the challenge of getting a tune out of a soprano, but they will take a while to master the easier tenor size first. ...
Maybe I'm the exception to this, or do others concur? I'm a guitarist, but I find the tenor way, way harder to play than soprano or concert. I mean, night and day harder. I sometimes switch to soprano or concert just to give my hands a break after a couple of hours on a tenor.


i just play around the house so any size will do. a performing musician would be attracted to the tenor with its greater projection. i assume that's a large part of things for a lot of players. it doesn't take much volume to make a musical point in my living room.
I have heard this from others too, but it baffles me a bit. My loudest uke by far is my Mainland cedar/rosewood soprano (which I adore). I won't even bring that one to uke group because it would drown out everybody in the room, and I'd rather blend in than take over!


.........
For me, I think string tension is kind of a big deal. ........ The string tension on tenors seems to take away from the relaxed mellow feel of a ukulele............
Bingo. This is what makes a tenor so much harder to play. It's an issue not only for the left hand fretting, barring, and stretching, but also for the right hand pressure, speed, and nails (if you use nails). It takes much more sheer strength and force to produce a sound with the tenor's higher tension. And it does a number on my fingernails. That doesn't mean I don't love tenors! But I also relish the far easier playability of the other sizes.


.........
I think what the best players of today and the past have in common is that they stick to one basic size (be it soprano, concert, tenor or Baritone) rather than trying to be virtuosos on the several sizes
Jake Shimabukuro is playing a baritone now, in addition to his tenors! I find I adjust for the size within a few minutes. What I do find makes a bigger difference though is whether the fingerboard joins the body at the 12th fret or the 14th. Since I'm going way up and down a lot, I guess I rely on that spot to judge my shifts. When I go from a uke that joins at the 14th fret to one that joins at the 12th, that's when I tend to make more mistakes!

Jamie

JeremyR
04-03-2014, 07:36 AM
Interesting thread. As a guitarist/banjoist adding uke to the repertoire, I assumed tenor would be the logical choice, and that is all I have played so far. I do find the size nice and playable, but it does also hurt my hands some. Based on the posts above, I should maybe try out some other sizes. I am an instrumental-only player, though, favoring more complex arrangements of things, so I'll have to see if I can make an even smaller fretboard work for that.

Yukon Cornelius
04-03-2014, 07:43 AM
I really don't think that the tenor is taking over. When I first started playing and moved to tenor size with my second uke I thought the same thing. But that was because I was more aware of the tenor size b/c of my interest in that size. Then I'd go to a uke jam with the SEUkers and the ukes were evenly distributed across the big three sizes. No baritones at that time.

I own multiple ukes of each size and I mainly play concert unless I am strumming the 8 stringer.

UkerDanno
04-03-2014, 07:45 AM
Is it my imagination? Are tenors taking over the ukulele world?

seems to me that they are, and probably for some of the reasons mentioned above, i.e., guitar players switching over, also liking low G better. To me tenors, or anything with low G sounds boomy and guitar like. I started out with a cheapie soprano and upgraded to concert when I felt I would stick with playing. Can't really imagine owning a tenor, unless it would be an IZ tribute Martin. Going from soprano to concert and back and forth is confusing enough to my fingers. Reaching some chords is a lot easier for me on a soprano and I don't think I have small hands at all.

Icelander53
04-03-2014, 08:18 AM
I agree but I'm guessing. I think the sound one likes and the type of music one wants to play will be the major factor in the choice of ukulele size. I think most people can adjust to playing any size uke.

JamieWG
04-03-2014, 08:50 AM
Interesting thread. As a guitarist/banjoist adding uke to the repertoire, I assumed tenor would be the logical choice, and that is all I have played so far. I do find the size nice and playable, but it does also hurt my hands some. Based on the posts above, I should maybe try out some other sizes. I am an instrumental-only player, though, favoring more complex arrangements of things, so I'll have to see if I can make an even smaller fretboard work for that.

I am also only really interested in instrumental music arrangements (as opposed to strumming the basic chords), so I can appreciate what you're saying. Coming from our guitar backgrounds, we expected to be playing similar music with similar chord formations on a smaller instrument, right? So we expected it to be easier to make those stretches, and to also have less hand pressure due to the reduction of the number of strings and shorter string length (less tension), right? However, for instrumental players not really interested in strumming the basic chord shapes, we find it doesn't work out that way at all. String tension is quite high on a tenor. Also, we end up trying to play chord-melody stuff with an 8-10-fret finger span on ukulele, instead of what might be reasonable on guitar. Why? Because we can! LOL.... Many of the things I play on uke I'd never be able to reach on a guitar fingerboard. And what was barely reachable on a tenor becomes easy on a soprano with lower tension and shorter scale.

I guess it verifies something that we all know as musicians, which is that no matter what instrument one plays, we will somehow find and challenge its limitations. Just as not everything that can be played on a guitar is playable on ukulele due to range, some things that are playable on a uke cannot be done on a guitar because of string length. A tenor uke, because it is so much longer than soprano, has its own limitations in terms of hand stretch, and stress from the greater string tension. Since ukulele only has three strings of "range" (in standard high G tuning), we have to get note range by reaching up the fingerboard. The shorter the scale, the farther we can reach.

wayfarer75
04-03-2014, 10:09 AM
I don't really mind that the factory-made sopranos don't get all the upgrades that the tenors do. It makes them even less expensive, and I'm not a bling person anyway. And if I were, there are ways to achieve bling on a soprano.

I plan on acquiring two more ukes, a tenor and a soprano, and I intend to spend more money on the soprano.

clayton56
04-03-2014, 10:45 AM
tenors are practically guitars, in sound and feel, and everybody likes guitars! I view the sopranos as little violins and get out of guitar mindset completely.

Steedy
04-03-2014, 12:12 PM
Concerts are a happy medium between soprano and tenor.

Brian W
04-03-2014, 12:52 PM
For casual players who strum and sing pop songs I think tenor probably give the best sound. But for old timey jazz age stuff its gotta be a soprano. Other things like Hawaiian music can probably be either.

For me, I think string tension is kind of a big deal. I like the feel of sops and concerts. My 19 bari has nice low tension too (and I even tune that down a half step a lot). The string tension on tenors seems to take away from the relaxed mellow feel of a ukulele. Perhaps I would like them better tuned down a step or two.

But I am surprised how people love the tenor. I understand that everybody has their own taste but the sopranos are so fun I would think it would at least be even between sops, concerts, and tenors.


Coming from the guitar, I thought a tenor size would be the logical choice, but after playing sopranos, concerts, and tenors, I like sopranos and concerts the best. I also agree with you about the string tension on tenors; in fact they feel a little unnatural to me. I dig the relaxed tension and more percussive attack of a soprano the best and have had little trouble adjusting to their shorter scale--just takes a little practice. Plus they are incredibly fun to play. The concert is a good happy medium between the tenor and soprano. Here is another reason why I like playing the ukulele so much: you have 4 different sizes to choose from, with custom long-neck versions in-between. So enjoy yourself and play what you like most.

hucklelele
04-03-2014, 01:21 PM
As I sit here messing with my ukadelic tenor, and reading the posts above- I have to relate what I've been thinking of doing. This uke has a really nice set of Aquila nylgut strings- very lively and I've always thought that the real "uke sound" carries through to this size nicely. I tuned a baritone up to C tuning and it sounded a bit duller, albeit a cheap baritone, so I tuned it back down, and I play baritone in stadard tuning with a low D, almost to the detriment of the uke chords I have to reaquaint myself with, and I find myslf more playing shapes than paying as much attention to the actual chord I'm in-
I come from guitar as well

So I've thought the tenor woulds be a nice "crossover' instrument perhaps with a low G that is popular, but researching it appears to end up on muddy ground- I'd hope to stay unwound, and because the Ukadelic is set up so nicely anyway, I've been hestitant to change the strings around. A low G would separate the sound a bit from my concert size and move it closer to guitar in feel then-

Anyway- I think I'm eventually going to just rearrange the strings- put the high G up as the A, and move all the others down one- so that my c string would become my low G-

Perhaps that would remedy the feeling that there is too much tension on the strings- though they don't bother me personally now- I've been more concerned that it would relieve them too much- but doubt it would.

It's been done before I'm sure. Anyone done that here to comment?
I would not mind less than standard uke tension, if the strings don't flop and buzz.

I think tenors are easier to hold than concerts and sopranos, so that may be why they are popular,

yet another factor may be that the lower entry level tenors are usually the more expensive of all kinds.

Katz-in-Boots
04-03-2014, 04:21 PM
Yes . . . All U Bass belong to us.

:cool:

Um, yeah, I also have a UBass, it is too cool for words! Now I just have to learn to play it.

I started on tenor but quickly switched to concert for the smaller fretting. It just seems the blingiest, nicest looking ukes are tenors. Maybe I should be grateful - less temptation for my UAS :rolleyes:

edit: Rats! I was just looking for a concert size 5 string but can only find tenors...

itsme
04-03-2014, 05:20 PM
...they will take a while to master the easier tenor size first. Others will be happy with the tenor size for ever.
I also disagree that the tenor is "easier". Don't know where you ever got that idea. :rolleyes:


Anyway- I think I'm eventually going to just rearrange the strings- put the high G up as the A, and move all the others down one- so that my c string would become my low G-

Perhaps that would remedy the feeling that there is too much tension on the strings- though they don't bother me personally now- I've been more concerned that it would relieve them too much- but doubt it would.
Go for it and let us know how it turns out. I'm guessing the C turned down to G might be a bit floppy. But G to A shouldn't be a problem since they are nearly identical in diameter.

FiL
04-04-2014, 04:59 AM
For me, tenors are tops for two reasons: 1) It's just about the only way to get an 8-string uke, and 2) I prefer the higher tension of tenor strings. Overall I'd probably be more comfortable with the scale length of a concert (some chords are just too big of a stretch for me on the tenor), but I'm too in love the 8-string sound, and I find the lower-tension ukes just don't sound or feel good to me. (I have a baritone, and I've tried three different sets of strings on it so far, and don't like any of them--they just all seem too floppy.)

I love the tension and sound on my tenor banjo-uke, too. It is starting to get as many compliments and my 8-string uke does.

I play with lots of guitarists, and I have a theory that due to their larger size, less plinky sound, and general better intonation, tenor ukes get a little more respect than sopranos. But maybe that's just me justifying my tenor love.

- FiL

SeattleSean
04-04-2014, 07:06 AM
Interesting discussion! I love it.

I got a tenor back in September that I string at low-G, and it has quickly become my go-to. At first, I didn't love it. The low string sounded a little 'weird' to my brain. Once I got used to it, though, I really like the size and I really really love having a low G for some jazz & blues stuff I've been working on, plus, it gives a bit wider range for finger style stuff, which is another thing I've been working on.

Interestingly, the same way that a low-G sounded weird at first, it can also sound weird sometimes when I pick up my soprano. It sounds plunky or something and some of the richness seems missing. But then a couple of songs in, my brain starts processing it and that weirdness goes away. I guess that's a good reminder to play all of your ukes regularly so you don't get locked into one way of playing.

I love how certain chords sound horrible on a high G but sound awesome on a low G, and vice-versa. I am pretty weak on music theory, but I get really jazzed up on how this stuff works.

Mattyukaholic
04-04-2014, 08:19 AM
I'm happy to be a soprano man. I'm especially into old time music and those triplets and fan strokes sound so much better on a soprano IMHO especially when played really fast.

I've also found that to sticking to one size and just a few ukes my playing has improved massively of late. My fingers just naturally find their place on the fingerboard so I don't have to look and can concentrate on singing.

That's just me though. And I love that other people enjoy other sizes. In fact, I really like playing along in groups when people play all sizes because you get a lovely textured sound.

itsme
04-04-2014, 10:51 AM
(I have a baritone, and I've tried three different sets of strings on it so far, and don't like any of them--they just all seem too floppy.)
I tried different all-plain sets on my bari and didn't like any of them for the same reason. I found that a two-wound, two-plain set works well for me. I'm not a fan of single wounds in a set, the single wound just seems to stick out like a sore thumb, but with 2/2 the sound is much more balanced (like 3/3 on a classical guitar).

Kimosabe
04-04-2014, 11:16 AM
Play the sizes that please you and do the best you can. Hallelujah we're not all the same.

TG&Y
04-04-2014, 12:52 PM
Yup. I've been especially fond of concerts for the longest time, but at the moment I'm loving soprano. The tenor finds its way into my hands often enough too. They're all great. I do think about whether I'd do better sticking to one scale (and I think I probably would) but mixing up soprano, concert and tenor presents a challenge (f's with my head and fingers) in a way that I think eventually will be beneficial - in a don't-get-too-comfortable sort of way. Seems to me I'm fabulously rich to be able to pick up three types of ukulele at my whim.

I've never laid an eye on baritone. That's probably for the best. Busy enough already.


Play the sizes that please you and do the best you can. Hallelujah we're not all the same.

Bumgardner
04-04-2014, 04:44 PM
I have a soprano and a tenor. Both sizes have their merits. I honestly think that the tenor was the sweet spot for me though. It is small enough to play while sitting down on the couch, but not so small that it is uncomfortable to play or hold. Tenor is the Goldilocks of instrument sizes for me.

Teek
04-04-2014, 05:11 PM
yes . . . All u bass belong to us.

:cool:

rotflmao!!





For the non gamers who didn't get it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_your_base_are_belong_to_us)

pdxuke
04-04-2014, 06:38 PM
Is it my imagination? Are tenors taking over the ukulele world? Everywhere I look online, tenor seems to be the size if you want something sumptuous in terms of wood, a slotted head, and generally really nice.

Sure the sopranos are still the 'standard', but I'm seeing a lot more nice tenors than concert size (which of course is what I play).

Not in MY uke world :-)