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Thread: When does it stop being a ukulele?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Marin County, CA
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    Default When does it stop being a ukulele?

    I am extremely curious to hear the very varied opinions here on the concept of what makes a ukulele a ukulele.

    Specifically, at what point—keeping the design as close to a “classic” Martin or Nunez double-bout shape as possible—does the ukulele’s size change it into something else, if at all?

    If a sopranissimo and a baritone are the “standard” range of sizes, why not make them even larger? Do they essentially become 4-string guitars, even if the traditional shape and design remains true to the smaller sizes?

    I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other, and actually want to see something like a dreadnought-size uke, just to know what it would sound and look like! Kind of like the idea of “contrabass” versions of things like the flute, bassoon, or saxophone.

    I know you’ll likely loose any semblance of that bright ukulele sound as you get bigger in size, but...does that truly matter?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

  2. #2
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    Default

    Do you THINK of it as an 'ukulele? That's good enough for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bordessa View Post
    Do you THINK of it as an 'ukulele? That's good enough for me.
    Ditto. And I did find this illuminating and related thread in my search:
    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...t=Largest+size

    OP there expresses a similar opinion that there is room for any size ukulele and tuning/setup configuration.
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Ames, Iowa
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    Default

    I've asked many times what defines a ukulele and I have yet to have anyone give me that definitive answer. So good luck. I look forward to the comments. There is always a lot of "opinions" on it.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    West Midlands GB
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    Default

    For me, 'ukulele' means soprano ukulele, but I accept that others use the word to cover a wider range of instruments.

    John Colter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    NorCal
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    Default

    ...anything that someone with UAS has an urge to buy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Blaine, Washington
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    Default

    I recently had a custom Jumbo Baritone made. I call it a Contra baritone. The luthier named it Kaona, meaning hidden meaning in poems and songs. or something like that).Is the size of a tenor guitar w 22.8" scale.

    We're calling Kaona a baritone because it's with nylon strings and not a tenor guitar because a TG uses steel strings.

    Photo comparing size with my Chennel archtop baritone and kaona.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Honolulu
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    Default

    Basically the 'ukulele is a member of the guitar family and that family exists as continuum of instruments with really fuzzy borders between members. The Renaissance guitar was tuned G C E A and had a scale length somewhere between the modern tenor and baritone ukulele. And it was called a guitar albeit more like a modern 'ukulele than a guitar. Even came in low G and reentrant tunings! This is a 4-course Renaissance guitar (all strings doubled save for the first string):



    By today's terminology we should call the above a 7-string long neck tenor 'ukulele! It's almost as if the 'ukulele is the direct descendant of Renaissance guitar. I'm sure the scale and tuning is more than a coincidence.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Default

    I have a Pono Baritone Nui/tenor guitar steel string and can’t really say what it is. After having a standard tenor guitar, it sure doesn't feel like that. While I know it’s pretty big to be called an ukulele, it feels more ukey to me than guitar.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gochugogi View Post
    Basically the 'ukulele is a member of the guitar family and that family exists as continuum of instruments with really fuzzy borders between members. The Renaissance guitar was tuned G C E A and had a scale length somewhere between the modern tenor and baritone ukulele. And it was called a guitar albeit more like a modern 'ukulele than a guitar. Even came in low G and reentrant tunings! This is a 4-course Renaissance guitar (all strings doubled save for the first string):



    By today's terminology we should call the above a 7-string long neck tenor 'ukulele! It's almost as if the 'ukulele is the direct descendant of Renaissance guitar. I'm sure the scale and tuning is more than a coincidence.
    Steel or nylon string? Like it.

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