What's your favorite ukulele body size? why?

Favorite body size


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I have a favorite ukulele body size: soprano.

I started out thinking that I like concert sized ukuleles best (probably because my first was a concert and I just didn't know any better); but as I played more, I realized that the thin bodies of sopranos are much more comfortable for me to hold.

Each time I feel like playing the ukulele, I reach for my soprano or long neck soprano. I own more concerts than sopranos, but I don't play them. Even the new concert ukulele that's only 2 weeks old isn't getting played (well, except for its first day to mainly test it).

I find the concert body a bit too thick to hold as comfortably as a soprano. I might give Kala's travel /thinline ukuleles a try.

Interestingly, this is the only reason.

In terms of sound, I find things to like with both concerts and sopranos.. and the different woods and brands. So... it comes down to ergonomics.

I'd like to hear about your likes/dislikes? How long have you been playing? Does your favorite size change frequently?
 

Kenn2018

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I play tenors exclusively. The size is perfect for me. I like the 17" scale, but enjoy an 18" from time to time. My hands get jammed up on a concert or soprano size. But I play them with a strap.

I prefer the sounds of tenors. They have a deeper tone. A more balanced sound than the smaller bodies. Which appeals to me.

They better suit my singing as well.
 

mikhou

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After 3 years of playing, I'm still trying to figure this out. I always thought it would be tenor as I came from a guitar background, but I find myself reaching for my concert more often lately (and I voted concert).
 

ripock

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Tenor. Sopranos don't have enough notes for me. My favorite place to play is the 11th fret. With a soprano, my back would be up again the wall, but with a tenor and 19 frets, the 11th fret is relatively close to the middle--giving me the ability to move up or down the neck.
 

KohanMike

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In June 2013 I was leafing through a Musicians Friend catalogue and came across a Mahalo uke that looked like the Fender Telecaster electric guitar I bought a short time before. The uke was only $60 so I bought it just to hang next to the guitar. A couple of weeks later I received a postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center announcing their annual Play-Along summer series of 3 Saturday all day seminars, for which I participated with my guitar a couple times before, but this time it was for ukulele. Hey, I thought, I have a ukulele, I'll do it.

They required us to know 3 chords, so I got online and to see the chord diagrams, which I picked up readily because I played guitar for almost 50 years. But I found that I was having a problem forming the chords, fingers all jumbled on top of each other. I got online and learned about the sizes, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. My Mahalo turned out to be a soprano, so I drove over to Sam Ash and tried a couple of concerts, but when I tried a tenor cutaway, I knew that it was "just right" for me. In my first year I accumulated 16 low priced tenors, including a few midrange cutaways, but within a year I ended up culling them down to 4 of my favorites. Since then I slowly accumulated 5 more, for a total of 9, all tenor cutaway.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 
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BigJackBrass

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The reason I started playing the ukulele was because I loved the sound of it; and there's nothing more characteristically "uke" than a soprano. The further instruments move away from that, and particularly the larger sizes and tunings which try to sound more guitar-like, the less appealing they are to me.

I also find tenors extremely difficult to play, despite having quite large hands, as I cannot stretch my fingers sufficiently. Recently I've been enjoying an excellent Kiwaya concert size I bought, but I suspect that the soprano will always remain my true ukulele love.
 

Ms Bean

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Tenors!
I mainly play sitting in a chair, on a sofa, or cross-legged on the floor. Tenors are best-suited for my body. Both of my tenors and my only baritone have a 38 mm nut. String spacing is nearly identical, but there are differences in string tension and action on the different instruments. (The action on the baritone is a bit too high, but the intonation is quite good. I'm not in a hurry to adjust anything just now.)
Sometimes I'll have a go on a soprano, but I don't enjoy the experience quite as much. I'm sure that I would adapt and learn to like them better if I had a comfy one with wider string spacing.
 

LukuleleStrings

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The only one I really don’t like is baritone. All of the others have different uses and places in my heart. I love the soprano for its traditional size and (usual) lack of frets. Andrew Kitakis told me there’s nothing like strumming a soprano and he’s right. It’s not that you CAN’T get crazy in a soprano, but it’s just so cumbersome to get flashy on that there’s not really a point to it when bigger sizes are more accommodating. Instead, I usually just end up in a chair on the porch watching the bushes blow in the wind and strum songs to myself. I’m not practicing at that point - not trying to get better - just trying to have fun.

The concert does great for recording, specifically. And for getting into the uke because it’s got enough of a soprano-like tone to scratch that itch and not make you think you’re playing a “little guitar,” and you can decide if you want to go bigger or smaller (where with a soprano you can only go bigger in traditional sizes and you don’t know how much bigger you want to go and vice versa for tenors). But the slightly deeper tone and easier maneuverability makes for a good recording tone and easy playability.

Tenors are the easiest for me to arrange on and, perhaps because they’re the ones I play most often, they feel most at home in my hands. I really like them.
 

Croaky Keith

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I have so many different sizes & shapes of ukes that it is a bit hard to say. ;)

Most of my 'regular' acoustic ukes have concert sized bodies, & I guess most of my ukes are concert scale, so I'll say 'concert'. :)
 

UkingViking

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It depends on the music.
For some music the staccato sound of a soprano uke body is perfect, especially for strumming. I like to use my long neck soprano for that.
For fingerpicking I like the bell like sound of a concert body.
Not sure I have played enough tenor ukes to be sure. But my favorite tenor is my Fluke. The normal Fluke is a concert scale. I dont know if that makes it a concert body, or just a fluke body, but the notes have a bell like attack. I love the sound of my Anuenue AMM3 tenor, but sometimes the big body sounds a bit guitarlike for some music.

I voted concert.
 

Counter

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I had a concert once briefly but it was too small, I certainly wouldn't want anything smaller. The Tenor size is perfect for me. I now have a new Baritone which also feels very natural but it's a Pono so has a narrow nut for a Baritone and it's easier to play than I thought it would be.
 
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The reason I started playing the ukulele was because I loved the sound of it; and there's nothing more characteristically "uke" than a soprano. The further instruments move away from that, and particularly the larger sizes and tunings which try to sound more guitar-like, the less appealing they are to me.

I also find tenors extremely difficult to play, despite having quite large hands, as I cannot stretch my fingers sufficiently. Recently I've been enjoying an excellent Kiwaya concert size I bought, but I suspect that the soprano will always remain my true ukulele love.

I totally agree with this post. I'm 6" tall and 53 years old so most would advise a concert/tenor size uke, but I find my tenor to be a bit of a stretch for my hands.
My favourite uke is an old Rubin soprano uke. It only cost me
 

kkimura

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I like the sound of tenors the best and the portability of sopranos the most. That said, when I'm at home and want to play ukulele I almost always reach for the concert. The concert scale seems to fit my hand the best.
 

UkerDanno

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I don't consider body size as much as scale length. I like Concert the best, but I play my old Martin soprano a lot, it might be the most fun to play. I also have a tenor for Low G and like it for that fuller, deeper character. I don't consider a baritone an ukulele.
 

RafterGirl

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Over the past three years I've tried them all, except baritone. I like the sound differences in all of them, but the concert just fits my hands better. I have relatively big hands for a gal, but my fingers are more on the short & chubby side, and not super flexible. Sopranos seemed cramped, and tenors too much stretch. Concerts feel "just right." That being said, my favorite uke to play for the last several months is my Cocobolo concert which has a 16 inch scale as opposed to the standard 15 inch concert scale. I'm stretching a little bit more, but it feels very comfortable.
 

CPG

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Soprano for me.

I've slowly but surely been gravitating towards soprano after starting off with tenors. If you had told me this would happen a few years ago I would have laughed. I remember thinking early on "why would anyone play soprano?" Then I went to uke club for the first time and I saw my uke club leader/teacher play their 1920's Martin and I suddenly wanted a nice soprano. I've owned a few half decent tenors and 2 very nice concerts. Over time when I picked up my tenors I started feeling like I'd rather pick up my guitar. I have sold evey uke except my 100 year old Weymann soprano. When I play uke, a retentrant tuned soprano just hits the spot. For me, the retantrant tuning in particular is what makes the uke a particularly harmonically unique instrument (though of course this isn't relegated to soprano). It's the only string instrument I'm aware of that give's you those perfectly stacked chords, that you could otherwise only voice on a keyboard instrument.

Currently, I'm trying to decide on a 2nd nice soprano (prooving to be diffcult), and then I hope to be done buying and selling for a while.

(To be clear, I am NOT saying that I think a larger and/or linear tuned uke is the same as a guitar nor am I saying they are any less of an instrument. People do amazing and unique things on them and I do love the sound of tenors and bari. I am simply stating how my preferences around what I want to play came into being.)
 
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Uncle Rod Higuchi

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As a singer/strummer I prefer a concert-scale, soprano body ukulele.
The concert-scale feels a bit more comfortable to me (just one more fret,
but it seems to make a difference).

I have a 'Franken-Martin' created by Kerry Bannister (Lynnwood, WA) with
a new koa soprano body and a recycled Martin soprano neck and fretboard.
It's comfortable to play, but I wish it were a concert-scale uke :)

keep uke'in',
 

Larry Usselman

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I'm back and forth between tenor and concert. As far as ease of playing goes, I find the concert size to be most accomdating to my hands, but I do love the sound of a tenor for certain songs and styles. Recently, I've been playing the hell out of a mahogany Romero Tiny Tenor with Low G strings, but I'll soon be getting a custom-built concert, so I suspect that's going to get a lot of playing time. It's nice to have choices! :cool:
 

the.waz

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I like variety (a "right tool for the right job" kind of thing), but if I had to stick to one, I vote concert. My justification is admittedly a little funny: it's not so much about what I prefer but rather what seems right.

Guitar is my primary instrument, so my fingers are happy with a larger instrument. Additional frets make an instrument more versatile to me. And if I A/B ukuleles just on sound, bigger always sounds more guitar-like, fuller, and "better" to my ear. Better resonance and sustain make picking sound better to me. So why concert? Well, I don't want my uke to feel or sound like a guitar. I already have guitars for that. I want my uke to be compact, like I'm playing a toy but taking it very seriously as an instrument. And I want it to sound bright and percussive, what I imagine as characteristically "uke-y" (for the same reason, the strings I use are not the strings that I think sound best). All these reasons point to soprano, but a cutaway concert represents (for me) a nice compromise: still small enough to be cute and islandy, but with a little more sustain and versatility than a soprano.

Hopefully this is not digressing from topic too much, but I really like how in threads like this there is a diversity of opinions without snobbery. That's a real strength of the UU community!