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Thread: Question on Soprano Ukes.

  1. #1
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    Default Question on Soprano Ukes.

    Hello all,

    I currently have a Little Gem banjo-uke. I have been thinking about trying out a soprano and was wondering what I should look for in deciding which ones in our music store are of good quality. I do play guitar and have an idea of what a good guitar should look and sound like.

    I have been watching some of the “gottauke” reviews but they seem to be on specific brands which our local music store does not carry.

    I’m a hands on guy, so I seldom buy anything over the net without actually trying it first. Any ideas and tips will be appreciated.

    Thanx. Rp

  2. #2
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    What brands are at your local shop?

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you should be able to rely on your own feelings about the available ukes.

    (I normally recommend concert scale for a beginner, & Kala or Ohana.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    What brands are at your local shop?
    EDW, while the website has a number of brands, the store where I live stocks Kala, Leho, Gretsch, Epiphone. There are a few others that mostly look like toys. Of the stocked brands they have numerous models of Kala et al.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    Sounds like you should be able to rely on your own feelings about the available ukes.

    (I normally recommend concert scale for a beginner, & Kala or Ohana.)

    Croaky Keith, what’s interesting is I’m in a uke circle and virtually everyone has a tenor.....makes me wonder if I should go that way....but I do like the portability of the soprano.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rps View Post
    Croaky Keith, what’s interesting is I’m in a uke circle and virtually everyone has a tenor.....makes me wonder if I should go that way....but I do like the portability of the soprano.
    I think that in my uke circle most people who don't play guitar use a concert or a soprano. It may be a good idea to ask the tenor players in your circle why they chose this large size. My first uke was a tenor, and this was because I started out as a guitar player and when I was in a uke store for the first time and I noodled around the owner suggested the tenor size because I'm a guy, and because it also can sound decent with low G. However, after a while hearing all the other ukes in the circle I realized that the tenor (with linear tuning) sounds more like a little guitar than a "real" uke, and I got a strong desire for a smaller size. Though I could not get comfortable with the tiny neck of a soprano, I eventually settled for a concert and then also a six-string Lili'u that I both have in re-entrant tuning which gives me a decent uke sound combined with playing comfort. A long-neck soprano may even be better.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rps View Post
    Croaky Keith, what’s interesting is I’m in a uke circle and virtually everyone has a tenor.....makes me wonder if I should go that way....but I do like the portability of the soprano.
    I love the playability of my concert
    I love the range and ‘flexibility’ of my tenor
    My soprano is too small for my fingers to easily play.



    And as my skill(sort of) has increased, I’m looking into a getting a baritone.
    But! I would NEVER suggest a newer player get a baritone- it’s too large to easily stretch the fingers and make the chords.

  8. #8
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    When I first started out, I bought a tenor (too big a stretch for my hand), then a soprano (too tight spacing), then a concert (which felt right, for me).

    But I actually spent more time learning on my 4th purchase, a Kala KA-SLNG (a long neck soprano) - nowadays my favourite size is a long neck concert.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rps View Post
    EDW, while the website has a number of brands, the store where I live stocks Kala, Leho, Gretsch, Epiphone. There are a few others that mostly look like toys. Of the stocked brands they have numerous models of Kala et al.
    What you know about selecting a good guitar is relevant to ukes. Intonation. Fit & finish. Is it comfortable to play and do you like the sound? Here on UU we love the infinite quest to find The Greatest Uke In The World but honestly, there's no need to over-think this. Go to the store, play all the ukes, and buy the one you like best.

    Of the brands you mention, I am most familiar with Kala and I can highly recommend them for a nice playable uke at a good price. You'll probably prefer solid wood over laminates.

    I happen to think soprano is the easiest size to play. This is one of those choices where everybody has an opinion but you can't take anyone else's word for it. You'll have to figure out for yourself which size is best for you. If you can play a soprano (and you'll find out at the store when you play them) then it's a pretty safe investment you will enjoy owning. Even if someday you buy a tenor, too.

    As for uke circles, what often happens is the group is loud which prompts people to bring a larger uke so they can hear themselves play... which makes the group still louder... and so it goes until everybody is playing tenors, baris, resonators and banjo ukes. Your Little Gem has that problem solved

  10. #10
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    Acmespaceship that is indeed a wise suggestion. I shall do that, realising that I must adjust to the soprano as well.

    As for my Little Gem, I tend to sit in a back corner as it seems to be the loudest there. You are right about circles...some times your playing gets lost in the sounds. One reason I’m looking to get another Uke ( UAS notwithstanding ) is that I’m also starting to sing songs while playing and I’m finding my Gem sometimes doesn’t suit the song I’m doing....often a more gentle tone would be better.

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