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Thread: Why choose a Tenor Ukulele question

  1. #1
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    Default Why choose a Tenor Ukulele question

    Hello everyone, I am considering a solid body tenor. I have a Kala laminate concert which I love. I was initially considering a tenor thinking it had more frets but I find only a few like Pono, LoPrinzi, and KoAloha have a few more frets than my concert. What is the major sound difference? Thanks for any info...

  2. #2
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    In my experience, and to generalize - tenors tend to be louder and have more sustain, especially when playing higher up the neck, than concerts. And tenors often have a 14-fret join rather than the standard 12-fret join most ukes have, which probably really only matters if you play high up the neck a lot.

  3. #3
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    I would add to janeray's description that smaller body sizes tend to emphasize treble tones, while larger body sizes tend to emphasize bass tones. The results is that smaller bodies like sopranos often have a tone that's described as "percussive" or "cutting", and larger bodies like tenors often have a tone that describes as "full" or "mellow." Every instrument is different, and the nature of the build and bracing will influence the tone every bit as much as the size, so your mileage may vary. But those are some good guidelines.



  4. #4
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    I agree with everything above. It sounds silly. But because the tenor physically has a bigger body, the voice of the uke also has a bigger body to it.

    We could talk about things like how mass, string gauge and scale length affect sound. but sometimes it's good enough to know that bigger is bigger
    Scott Wilder
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  5. #5
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    Default Not sound but important.

    One thing to consider on a tenor is neck feel and size. While important on all Ukuleke sizes, smaller ukes have, by definition, smaller necks, so thickness, width of neck (nut width) and flat versus radiused fretboards have less bearing.

    As you get into larger ukes, like a tenor, these factors come to bear (e.g. Pono that you mention has a noticibly thicker neck, and some are fretboard radiused; KoAloha is a thinner neck, no radiused fretboard).

    How to tell what's best for you? A trip to Hawaii to try them out! Or your local uke shop or group gig (not as romantic a notion, but, admittedly, equally as successful for your goal).

  6. #6
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    This is probably a bit off the OP's topic, but I am curious. The OP mentioned a SOLID BODY tenor. Is that like a solid body electric guitar, except that it is a ukulele? It seems to me ther is far more for me to learn about this world of ukuleles than I realized.

    As for the OP's question, a tenor ukulele is bigger and as has been said, generally has a bigger sound, longer scale length, etc. However, I have two ukuleles, one a tenor and the other a long neck concert. The concert has a tenor neck. Kamaka offers this as a custom upcharge and I believe other makers do too. This particular concert ukulele is supposed to actually have a body size somewhere between a concert and a tenor. It is said by Kamaka on their site to be "bell shaped". It is sort of like a dreadnaught guitar in that it has a waist, but not as deep as my tenor does. Fortunately, it still works with my Mobius strap though.

    So it seems there are all manner of flavors of ukuleles that maybe blur the lines a bit between tenor, concert, and soprano. I don't mean to contradict anything that has been said in this thread, but instead throw in some other possibilities and combinations that various makers seem to offer that cross the lines between the various generally accepted sizes.

    ...and now I find out that there is a whole other version of ukulele that is solid body.

    Tony

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    This is probably a bit off the OP's topic, but I am curious. The OP mentioned a SOLID BODY tenor. Is that like a solid body electric guitar, except that it is a ukulele? It seems to me ther is far more for me to learn about this world of ukuleles than I realized.

    As for the OP's question, a tenor ukulele is bigger and as has been said, generally has a bigger sound, longer scale length, etc. However, I have two ukuleles, one a tenor and the other a long neck concert. The concert has a tenor neck. Kamaka offers this as a custom upcharge and I believe other makers do too. This particular concert ukulele is supposed to actually have a body size somewhere between a concert and a tenor. It is said by Kamaka on their site to be "bell shaped". It is sort of like a dreadnaught guitar in that it has a waist, but not as deep as my tenor does. Fortunately, it still works with my Mobius strap though.

    So it seems there are all manner of flavors of ukuleles that maybe blur the lines a bit between tenor, concert, and soprano. I don't mean to contradict anything that has been said in this thread, but instead throw in some other possibilities and combinations that various makers seem to offer that cross the lines between the various generally accepted sizes.

    ...and now I find out that there is a whole other version of ukulele that is solid body.

    Tony
    There are solid body electric ukuleles. I was assuming the OP meant "solid wood" (vs. laminate) but I may have been wrong.

    And it sounds like you have a Kamaka Ohta-San - great choice! I have one too. They actually have a scale length all their own, right in between a concert and tenor scale. To me it's the best of all possible worlds.

  8. #8
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    Just a side thought. You mention the number of frets. If you really make use of the highest frets on your concert, the tenor will probably make you happy. I play only concerts and the high frets are like my friend coolkayaker1 says like freting the tines of a comb.
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    This is probably a bit off the OP's topic, but I am curious. The OP mentioned a SOLID BODY tenor. Is that like a solid body electric guitar, except that it is a ukulele? It seems to me ther is far more for me to learn about this world of ukuleles than I realized.

    As for the OP's question, a tenor ukulele is bigger and as has been said, generally has a bigger sound, longer scale length, etc. However, I have two ukuleles, one a tenor and the other a long neck concert. The concert has a tenor neck. Kamaka offers this as a custom upcharge and I believe other makers do too. This particular concert ukulele is supposed to actually have a body size somewhere between a concert and a tenor. It is said by Kamaka on their site to be "bell shaped". It is sort of like a dreadnaught guitar in that it has a waist, but not as deep as my tenor does. Fortunately, it still works with my Mobius strap though.

    So it seems there are all manner of flavors of ukuleles that maybe blur the lines a bit between tenor, concert, and soprano. I don't mean to contradict anything that has been said in this thread, but instead throw in some other possibilities and combinations that various makers seem to offer that cross the lines between the various generally accepted sizes.

    ...and now I find out that there is a whole other version of ukulele that is solid body.

    Tony
    Tony

    I also got confused about this ...but I believe that what is meant by "solid " in this case is that the wood used is a single piece and not laminated or ply.Not solid as in electric guitar....although there are such ukuleles as well ....just to throw more mayhem into the mix ....like Risa and eleuke (yuk) and the sort of Bari that you will see in Iamesperambients signature picture........but generally the term Solid is more aimed ...I believe and will stand having the floor removed from beneath me as a correction if my belief is erroneous....at a ukulele built from one slice of the same wood....like my humbule Ohana Mahogany thingy......Concert CK10 I think....

    And as to size definitions ...it gets stranger ...I know of a Brtish Uke-Luthier-lele builder who makes a soprano with a concert neck !! Liam Kirby........there are lots of little boutique builders that are worthy of sourcing out ..........check out Sammu on this site she plays one ....will be right up your alley ...beautiful fingerpicking and classical style playing.....

    Jarvo.


    Not such a rotten sod .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepetergal View Post
    Just a side thought. You mention the number of frets. If you really make use of the highest frets on your concert, the tenor will probably make you happy. I play only concerts and the high frets are like my friend coolkayaker1 says like freting the tines of a comb.
    Definitely a your-mileage-may-vary thing - I play high up the neck a lot, and I'm pleased with the sound all the way up the neck on my Kamaka concert uke and Ohta-San (especially the Ohta-San!). My soprano, on the other hand... not so much

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