Oh, the soprano...

Elly

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Quote from Graham Greenbag: "The only thing that holds me back is lack of talent and lack of practice - suppose I better go and do some."
I totally second this.
 

captain-janeway

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I've found that the instrument matters a bit more with the soprano -- since all else equal, it is less resonant, especially with the higher frets. A good soprano with enough frets (in my book, say, 15) is very versatile though, and if you're adventurous you can even have it strung low G, Ohta-san style. Having a pickup (a light one, like Misi Trio pr LR Baggs 5.0) can also make more of a difference with a soprano.

Another aspect is the arrangement and style of play.... even with enough frets, it's hard to get good tone out of, say, the 14th or 15th fret finger-picked, so it's helpful to consider different techniques in those situations.
Can you recommend a low g soprano? I just have a beater soprano. Put a low g string on it and hate the sound. I play a lot of country and really like the linear tuning.
 

necessaryrooster

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Can you recommend a low g soprano? I just have a beater soprano. Put a low g string on it and hate the sound. I play a lot of country and really like the linear tuning.
Romero Creations sound pretty good with low g no matter the size. It'll sound bigger than a soprano, though, and they are thicker than a traditional soprano. I would definitely recommend to try before you buy. I have the concert size and it's definitely very playable but the thicker body has put it on the non-keeper pile for me.

HMS sound sample:
 

rafter

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I replied on the other thread, but I second the Romero recommendation for sound. And agree that I dislike the body, though for different reasons. I dislike the TT and XS shape. And I dislike the shortened headstock, which makes me feel cramped and out of space near it.

My experience is limited, but I recommended Rebel and KoAloha on the other thread.
 

captain-janeway

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Romero Creations sound pretty good with low g no matter the size. It'll sound bigger than a soprano, though, and they are thicker than a traditional soprano. I would definitely recommend to try before you buy. I have the concert size and it's definitely very playable but the thicker body has put it on the non-keeper pile for me.

HMS sound sample:
Thanks. The wide body would be off putting to me as well.
 

LaserWater

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I'd recommend considering getting a custom Soprano from Pops (founder of KoAloha). It's a really good deal for an instrument built by an amazing luthier. The ones on his website are just examples, so if you wanted a particular wood combo or shape (I'm getting a pineapple soprano) that's a possibility. https://ukesahawaii.com/product-category/ukes/

That being said, I'm not sure how they would sound with a low g.
 

rafter

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I'd recommend considering getting a custom Soprano from Pops (founder of KoAloha). It's a really good deal for an instrument built by an amazing luthier. The ones on his website are just examples, so if you wanted a particular wood combo or shape (I'm getting a pineapple soprano) that's a possibility. https://ukesahawaii.com/product-category/ukes/

That being said, I'm not sure how they would sound with a low g.

Wow, I didn't know he did pineapples. Is it like his Pineapple Sunday or a funky sloped shoulder model like the ones on his page, or is it more like a traditional or KoAloha style pineapple? That's pretty cool. Can you give more details on your build?
 

UkingViking

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I never play sopranos, except for a couple of long neck versions which technically are small body concerts.
I think that getting a bad first soprano scared me away.
After at starting out on a cheap Makala concert, I wanted to try a pineapple soprano. I ordered a Luna instrument online for the looks, but was very dissapointed by the sound. I sold it and never bought another soprano.
Once I tried a solid akacia Kala soprano in a music store, and it was quite good. Had I bought one of these in stead of the Luna, I might still play it.
 

captain-janeway

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I never play sopranos, except for a couple of long neck versions which technically are small body concerts.
I think that getting a bad first soprano scared me away.
After at starting out on a cheap Makala concert, I wanted to try a pineapple soprano. I ordered a Luna instrument online for the looks, but was very dissapointed by the sound. I sold it and never bought another soprano.
Once I tried a solid akacia Kala soprano in a music store, and it was quite good. Had I bought one of these in stead of the Luna, I might still play it.
That's how I feel about the cheap Kala. Adore my Kala cedar top concert and am looking at maybe an AveNue cedar. If I'm reading some of peoples comments right, cedar or mahogany might be better than spruce
 

chris667

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Many people find the soprano to be a "unable" instrument. What are your experiencie playing this little fella? Have you ever feel limited in any way?
The advice about sopranos is down to musicians that came from guitar. Most of them are built more like guitars than ukuleles.

You miss the point of a ukulele if you have an idea in your head that it sounds like a guitar. Ukuleles are supposed to be percussive, it's what makes them sound like a ukulele.

As to low g, if you want to you can. I suggest a vita uke, or something else with a big body.
 

Ed1

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The advice about sopranos is down to musicians that came from guitar. Most of them are built more like guitars than ukuleles.

You miss the point of a ukulele if you have an idea in your head that it sounds like a guitar. Ukuleles are supposed to be percussive, it's what makes them sound like a ukulele.

As to low g, if you want to you can. I suggest a vita uke, or something else with a big body.
Hmm, I agree that it's not a guitar and people shouldn't think of it that way. I find myself loving the soprano more all the time. However, I don't agree that the uke is supposed to be percussive (except of course for James Hill and his chopsticks) . I wonder if the first "jumping flee" fingers that came to Hawaii were just using it percussively.

Anyway, Ohta San playing Hawaii with a low g shows off the soprano non percussive and for a high g there's always John King's Bach album for great listening.
 

bunnyf

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Started on baritone, loving the guitar-like sound which suits accompanying my alto voice. Always had a little interest in the soprano for it’s size and sweet voice but use to think it too cramped. But after playing uke for awhile, I revisited the soprano and found it not so bad. Now after playing mandolin for a few years, I find the soprano neck spacious. while I still play the baritone on occasion, you will find me playing soprano uke much more. Very easy for fast melody picking.
 

Graham Greenbag

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Soprano is the scale of gentlemen.
Then, alas, I think I shall be forever banned from playing one. I must turn in my boater, flannel trousers, striped blazer and school tie and retire from the punt...
🧐

Soprano is the scale that Gentlemen prefer. As far as I’m aware the sale of Sopranos isn’t limited to Gentlemen, it’s just that playing the Soprano is something to aspire to. Some people make it and others ... well not everyone takes to the finer things in life.🧐

Hmm, I agree that it's not a guitar and people shouldn't think of it that way. I find myself loving the soprano more all the time. However, I don't agree that the uke is supposed to be percussive (except of course for James Hill and his chopsticks) . I wonder if the first "jumping flee" fingers that came to Hawaii were just using it percussively.

Anyway, Ohta San playing Hawaii with a low g shows off the soprano non percussive and for a high g there's always John King's Bach album for great listening.

Yes, I’m also of the opinion that the Soprano is far more than just a percussive instrument and like your examples. If a Soprano doesn’t have much sustain (just percussive) then, IMHO, it’s either intentionally built to be that way or overbuilt; I like and expect a Soprano to have as good a sustain as is practical for its small body size. In low G form the Soprano does, to my mind, loose the uniqueness of high g tuning and that uniqueness is a part of what sets Ukes aside from Guitars.

It’s also worth noting that the top three stings can produce chords between them and that the first string (A) is to some extent supplementary. C to E is a major third, E to g is a minor third and C to G is a perfect fifth so those strings alone can produce several major and minor chords. C6, C7 and C use the ‘A’ string to make the required difference and the ‘A’ string is typically the melody string when finger picking.
 
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VegasGeorge

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Although Concert is my favorite size, I often go to one of my Sopranos. I perhaps like it better than Tenor, simply because it's a lot easier for me to hold and play with my arthritic hands and fingers. One thing I might mention. I find a wider variance in playability and tone in Soprano than in the other sizes. I think it has to do with the shorter scale length of the Soprano. I usually have to do my own setups on the Sopranos to get the string height down to where I like it. And, many Sopranos just don't have enough sustain or resonance to sound good to my ear. I put that down to the smaller body of the Soprano. All that being said, I have a number of Sopranos that I thoroughly enjoy playing!
 

dr_mitch

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I am absolutely in love with my Cort Blackwood soprano. It is probably the ukulele I play the most, and almost always at hand.

But it does not suit me for absolutely everything. I have a really nice acacia concert which has a grander sound to it, and a tenor strung low G. And the baritone offers something interestingly different.

I have only been playing for 8 months though, and might settle down to a definite favourite scale.
 

Teddy

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Strumming around I think Sopranos sound better. Finger picking, personally I like the sounds of tenors more.

I started with cheap sopranos, not that they're bad, but I'm a bigger guy and kind of suspect the lack of room/comfort may have been more about the narrow nut width than the fretboard length.

I've definitely been curious about circling back to sopranos but I keep buying other stuff 😂
 

Voran

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Soprano is the scale that Gentlemen prefer. As far as I’m aware the sale of Sopranos isn’t limited to Gentlemen, it’s just that playing the Soprano is something to aspire to. Some people make it and others ... well not everyone takes to the finer things in life.🧐



Yes, I’m also of the opinion that the Soprano is far more than just a percussive instrument and like your examples. If a Soprano doesn’t have much sustain (just percussive) then, IMHO, it’s either intentionally built to be that way or overbuilt; I like and expect a Soprano to have as good a sustain as is practical for its small body size. In low G form the Soprano does, to my mind, loose the uniqueness of high g tuning and that uniqueness is a part of what sets Ukes aside from Guitars.

It’s also worth noting that the top three stings can produce chords between them and that the first string (A) is to some extent supplementary. C to E is a major third, E to g is a minor third and C to G is a perfect fifth so those strings alone can produce several major and minor chords. C6, C7 and C use the ‘A’ string to make the required difference and the ‘A’ string is typically the melody string when finger picking.
Agreed. My uke has quite a bit of sustain going on. Then again it's downtuned to D4-Bb3-C4-F4 rather than G4-C4-E4-A4.

I actually didn't do that on purpose. It just arrived in the post and I was so overjoyed to have one I just grabbed it and started playing. I only found out it was downtuned to a Dm7 chord because someone pointed out it was off, and when I tuned it to normal, my entire repertoire ended up being utterly unplayable.