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Thread: Buying my first uke - tenor or soprano? Advice please!

  1. #1
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    Default Buying my first uke - tenor or soprano? Advice please!

    I've been playing guitar since I was nine, but I've always wanted to get a ukulele, and now I'm finally buying one! I don't actually know anyone who plays a uke, so I'm completely clueless about this, and any help is extremely appreciated.

    I've heard that Lanikai makes some really great ukuleles for a good price, and I'm thinking of getting a Lanikai LU-21. Mostly because I'm told that Zach Condon from Beirut plays one, so it must be good (: riiiiiight?

    Not looking to spend over $150, around $100 is perfect.

    The thing is, I'm not sure if I want a tenor or a standard/soprano uke. I'm looking for something with a very warm and harmonious sound, more for chording/strumming than for plucking, and I want to be able to play a LOT of songs without any weird tuning. I totally dig the small super-ultra-portable size of the soprano ukuleles, and I know I don't dig the whole low-G thing that most tenor ukes are supposed to be strung in, but I love how full they sound.

    Maybe I should go with a concert uke? I'm definitely leaning in that direction right now. What's your opinion on them?

  2. #2
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    lanikai is a good choice for a first uke. as for tenor or concert, it's just a matter of personal preference. if u can, try to get to a music store and try em both. if not maybe listen to some covers on the youtube with people playing both tenors and concerts. i play both. depends on how i feel. my lanikai is a 4 string concert and my tenor is a 6 string kala. both sound completely different. goodluck and i hope u enjoy playing the ukulele.

  3. #3
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    unless u can play an ukulele before u buy it, i would say go for the tenor. Lanikai and kala's are good starters.
    although lanikai's should be a better option

  4. #4
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    I like the feel of a concert personally. Then again I have a super concert with the tenor neck......Go tenor I think. The extra space will help u.
    Haha. No, your mother plays a "mini guitar". This is an ooo kooo le le. Can u say that with me?.....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nico View Post
    I've been playing guitar since I was nine, but I've always wanted to get a ukulele, and now I'm finally buying one! I don't actually know anyone who plays a uke, so I'm completely clueless about this, and any help is extremely appreciated.

    I've heard that Lanikai makes some really great ukuleles for a good price, and I'm thinking of getting a Lanikai LU-21. Mostly because I'm told that Zach Condon from Beirut plays one, so it must be good (: riiiiiight?

    Not looking to spend over $150, around $100 is perfect.

    The thing is, I'm not sure if I want a tenor or a standard/soprano uke. I'm looking for something with a very warm and harmonious sound, more for chording/strumming than for plucking, and I want to be able to play a LOT of songs without any weird tuning. I totally dig the small super-ultra-portable size of the soprano ukuleles, and I know I don't dig the whole low-G thing that most tenor ukes are supposed to be strung in, but I love how full they sound.

    Maybe I should go with a concert uke? I'm definitely leaning in that direction right now. What's your opinion on them?
    I think for your first uke you should stick with the concert size, they are easier to hold than the soprano yet not too big to begin with. I have 2 Lanikais, an LU-21 concert and a LK-C curly koa concert, they both sound really nice and have a warm Hawaiian sound. Definitely recommended.

  6. #6
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    It's been previously mentioned in other threads similar to this - personal preference. Your best bet is to really try em (soprano, concert, tenor), if possible. You'll get a lot of pros as to which one but the main thing to remember is it's gotta be comfortable for you because you'll be playing it.

    Nana ka maka; ho`olohe ka pepeiao;
    pa`a ka waha.

    Observe with the eyes; listen with the ears; shut the mouth.
    Thus one learns.


  7. #7
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    You can string a Tenor Low g, High G, with or with out a wound string.
    I guess you could even string one Baritone if you wanted to.

    I know some folks string their Soprano's Low g.

    It won't matter which size you start with, you'll get more.....
    Ukulele, the most fun I've had being bad at something!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanaka916 View Post
    It's been previously mentioned in other threads similar to this - personal preference. Your best bet is to really try em (soprano, concert, tenor), if possible. You'll get a lot of pros as to which one but the main thing to remember is it's gotta be comfortable for you because you'll be playing it.
    This is really good, it'll give you the best feel. As a guitar player you may feel more at home with a tenor or maybe a baritone. Do you have a friend who plays who can show you one of a certain size?

    I love my concert size ukes. Having said that I'm going for a tenor as my next uke mainly for added volume and a larger fret board.

    John

  9. #9
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    I would have to suggest a tenor because you are moving from the guitar. See, I went the other way: from uke to guitar. And I had only been playing a soprano uke, where the first 5 frets could fit comfortably inside the first 3 frets of my guitar. Since I wasn't use to the size, the guitar felt enormous and extremely uncomfortable to play. But now that I play primarily on tenor ukes, it's not that bad to pick up my guitar once in a while because the transition is smoother.

    Although it is larger, I don't reccomend a baritone because those are just too similar to guitars and you can't play a lot of the fun hawaiian uke songs on a baritone since they are tuned differently. Go with the tenor.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for your input, everyone! I have made my decision~*


    Now I have to wait 2-5 business days until it gets here . . . . ughhhhh

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