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Thread: Big Boy Factor

  1. #1
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Big Boy Factor

    For decades, when you said "ukulele," you were talking about a soprano. All sorts of people played this little instrument, although the concert and tenor sizes were available. Now, the soprano is the third most popular size, after the concert and tenor, which is the most popular size.

    Although many people say their hands and fingers are too large to play a soprano, I wonder if "the big boy factor" is at work here. If you want to start a six-year old on the uke, you're not going to give him a baritone or a U-bass. You'll give the little kid a little uke - the soprano. Since you're a fully grown adult, maybe you don't want to be seen playing a child's instrument.

    I know there are legitimate reasons why people choose the tenor, the sound, for example, but couldn't the big boy factor enter into it?

    I have equal numbers of sopranos and tenors, with concerts close behind. I have a sopranino, as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    1,198

    Default

    big boy factor had 0 influence on my decision to play tenor.

    No matter what size uke you play, to a non-uke player its going to be a toy guitar. Really for someone that isn't familiar with a uke, they don't see the couple inch scale difference.

    I picked tenor because of the bigger sound. Not the bigger size.

    I dont know that I buy the hand size thing. Children playing full size classical or electric guitars really fly in the face of the idea that tenor is too big for a kid. Most commonly, kids get soprano's because they are cheaper.

    And as for space... I play up at the joint alot, and thats smaller than open on a soprano, so I don't think soprano is too small.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Todays well known players are usually seen playing tenor, & that is why newbies think it's the one for them.

    I like the baritone sound, but todays baritones have a 20" scale, not the 19" which is much more comfortable to me, but you can't really spread out in a comfy arm chair with it - but you can with a tenor.

    I like the tenor scale, but not so much the body size, so my main ukes are tenor scale & concert body, perfect for me.

    When learning, & when I occasionally strum, the concert scale is good, & I do like the soprano sound also, so I have long necks (tenor & concert) in my collection, but I realised that I just didn't get on with a regular soprano scale.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I think that may have been something I thought about a bit, but not a specific size of ukulele, just ukuleles in general. Mostly I wanted to mess with my classical guitar playing buddy and his friends who were trying to get me to play classical guitar. I knew nothing about ukuleles at the time and had all kinds of reasons that I should get one size over the other, but I wasn't able to decide, so I just went for the middle one. Recently I bought a soprano, and I don't feel like it is a kid's instrument.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  5. #5
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    Sep 2013
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    Default

    Most of my ukulele acquisitions have been tenors. I think the “Big Boy Factor” may have had something to do with that choice in the beginning. I also watched some videos of ukulele players and most played tenor. The last year I have switched mostly to Baritone. I have two. I retuned one of my tenors to re-entrant Baritone tuning and hardly play the other remaining tenor. I have been thinking of reforming that tenor and picking up a decent Soprano. So I guess I am mostly over worrying about being a Big Boy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    119

    Default

    Not for me.. my fav uke at the moment is a super soprano and I use a flea concert on trips. Tenors are for a bigger sound.. size is just the outcome of the desired sound.. if anything sopranos are great for frequent playing to practice and tenors are better for an audience.

  7. #7
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    I played guitar for almost 50 years. I bought a uke on a whim and tried playing it, but it was too cramped for me. Turns out it was a soprano, I didn't know about sizes at the time. I went to Sam Ash and tried a few and found that tenor was most comfortable for me.


    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

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    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-08-2018 at 07:22 AM.

  8. #8
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    I came to uke from guitar. I own all sizes, but by far the most are sopranos, which are also my favourite to play. For me it’s the original and I like the heritage and percussive sound.

    I don’t give a damn about image.
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  9. #9
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    As a person plays up the neck the real estate and even the sound tends to diminish, the great John King notwithstanding, with a soprano or even a concert.

    In a sense, all scales are the same mathematically, it just depends on where you put the nut.

    John

  10. #10
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    Feb 2018
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    I’m new to the Uke, so I haven’t formed an opinion as to which size works best for me. That being said, my first Uke I purchased was the Romero XS Soprano, so even though I’m coming from a guitar background, no ‘big boy’ image problems here!

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