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Ukulele sizes – A Guide To Choosing Best Uke Size For All Players

Are shapes and ukulele sizes important? Well, if you are just starting your ukulele journey or want to enhance your tonal palette then you must choose a suitable ukulele. By suitable, I mean a ukulele brand that you can play conveniently and get the best out of.

However, ukulele size and shapes are two important features of the instrument you need to pay more attention to. So, if you are having a hard time selecting a suitable ukulele size to play, then I am happy you came here.

In fact, whatever questions you have, we are going to take a look at the different ukulele sizes and playability. So, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert ukulele player, we can all look at this together.

Type

Soprano

Concert

Tenor

Baritone

Frets

12 To 14 Frets

14 To 17Frets

17 To 19 Frets

19 To 21 Frets

Scale Length 

13.5''(33 cm)

15''(37 cm)

17''(43 cm)

19''(48 cm)

Total Length

21'' (53 cm)

23'' (58 cm)

26'' ( 66 cm)

30'' (76 cm)

Standard Tuning

G4-C4-E4-A4

G4-C4-E4-A4

G4-C4-E4-A4

D3-G3-B3-E3

Alternate Tuning

A4-D4-F#4

G4-C4-E4-A4

A4-D4-F#4

C3-G3-D4-A4

G3-C4-E4-A4

D3-G3-B3-E4

G4-C4-E4-A4

Sound/Tune 

Delightful Sound

Warm & Delightful sounds

Warm & Delightful sounds

Warm & Full Rich sounds

We recommended the best ukulele list for beginners with reviews

Categorizing ukulele according to sizes

Have you come across terms like soprano ukulele, concert ukulele, tenor ukulele and baritone ukulele? If you have, then that’s okay. But my question is what is so special about these ukulele types in terms of their sizes or shapes?

So, let’s take a look at the 4 main types of ukuleles and their characteristics in terms of size.

The main types of ukuleles

In order of the ukulele sizes, we have four main types of ukulele which are soprano, concert, tenor as well as the baritone ukulele. One thing beginners should know about uke size is that it is determined or measured by the length of the vibration segment of the string. Therefore, the scale length is known as the distance between the net and the bridge.

The Soprano Ukulele Size You Should Know

Soprano Ukulele Size

Soprano Ukulele Size

The soprano ukulele is the most common and also the standard ukulele type. This ukulele is the smallest of all but it is recognized for its classic high ukulele tone. The soprano ukulele size also makes it a perfect ukulele to travel with.

Read The Ultimate Guide To Choose Best Soprano ukulele 

Who can play the soprano ukulele?

The soprano ukulele produces the most typical sound of a ukulele. In fact, these ukuleles are considered as the best ukulele sizes for beginners who are just buying their first ukulele. Apart from the unique tone, the soprano ukulele also comes with the cheapest price tag too.

The soprano ukulele’s frets are quite closer together so if you have large hands, you need to practice very hard in order to play the soprano ukulele well.

This ukulele size is very okay for beginners and people with small hand sizes too. Also, the lightweight size of this type of ukulele makes it ideal for children who have smaller hands. It is not only the best ukulele for kids.

If you also have younger students you want to teach ukulele lessons, this size of uke may be ideal for you.

On the other hand, the soprano ukulele might have up to 15 frets to start with. However, one thing you must know before buying a ukulele is that the brand of soprano ukulele you choose matters a lot. You must look for the best soprano ukulele brand to get the best sound and durability.

Soprano ukulele tone

It gives that “High classic tone” of the ukulele. In fact, this type of ukulele produces the natural ukulele tone.

The Concert Ukulele Size You Should Know

concert ukulele size

concert ukulele size

The Best concert ukulele is also called the “alto.”In terms of its size, it is a little big bigger when compared to the soprano ukulele. This ukulele has more room for players to maneuver on the fret board and it also produces a fuller sound.

With this ukulele size, thereis more tension on the strings because it is longer. However, this high tension is an advantage for someone who might mistakenly bend the strings of the ukulele out of tune when he presses his fingers on the strings against the uke frets.

Read The Ultimate Guide To Choose Best Concert Ukulele

Who can play the Concert Ukulele

The concert ukulele produces a more-fuller tone and it is more convenient for both beginners, intermediate and expert players. This ukulele has up to 20 frets. In fact, players find it very easy to navigate to notes that are higher on the fretboard.

The concert ukulele size is a little bit bigger than the soprano uke. It also has frets that are a little bit spaced. This is also one of the best beginner ukulele size especially for beginners who have a large hand size. It has a longer fretboard which makes it easier for the players to form chords.

Intermediate players and experts will also find this ukulele very easy to play and navigate. On the other hand, the quality of the sound this ukulele produces is also something one would enjoy. It is fuller and richer.

However, this is only possible when you get the best concert ukulele as not every ukulele brand will give you that perfect tone. In fact, most ukulele brands are not as good as they appear to be.

Concert Ukulele Tone

It gives a deeper mid-range tone. Its volume is also very loud. In fact, this is one of the best ukuleles for playing covers of any of your favorite rock and pop songs.

The Tenor Ukulele Size You Should Know

Tenor Ukulele Size

Tenor Ukulele Size

The tenor ukulele size is just a bit bigger than the concert ukulele. This ukulele produces a rich full sound with more volume. Also, this ukulele may be a nice option for players who already have a background with guitars because of its larger size. It also gives a rounder, warm and bass-y tone.

If you want to enjoy this ukulele, it is very important to go for the best tenor ukulele. The market is filled with a lot of tenor ukulele brands that are not up to standard. You can read any beginners guideline on how to select the best ukulele brands.

The Ultimate Guide To Choose The  Best Tenor Ukulele

Who can play the Tenor ukulele size?

The tenor ukulele is also suitable for a beginner to play. It is also the most common type of ukulele for professional uke players. The tenor ukulele is also great for performers because the sound is rich and full. This ukulele also has more frets (15+), so one would be able to get to higher notes on the ukulele fretboards easily.

The tenor ukulele is a wise choice for musicians and beginners who have large hand size. And also, the bigger size of this ukulele comes with more volume and a deeper tone.

One striking feature of the tenor ukulele is that it tends to move a little bit further from the classic ukulele sound because of its size. However, ukuleles are recognized by their unique original tone, which the tenor ukulele might not really produce.

Tenor Ukulele Tone

It produces a warm, round and bass-y tone plus more volume. This ukulele is also perfect for solos.

The Baritone Ukulele Size You Should Know

Baritone ukulele size

Baritone ukulele size

The Baritone ukulele is bigger than the rest 3 ukuleles (soprano, concert, and tenor). In fact, it is regarded as a “small guitar.”This ukulele is not too convenient for beginners to start their ukulele journey with because of its size. Its tuning is also different from the other three ukuleles.

However, chords that one plays on a concert ukulele do not transfer directly over a baritone uke. In fact, the baritone has similar tuning as a guitar and it is ukulele small guitar. This ukulele produces deep sound and it can also be strummed like other types of ukulele. This ukulele does not also produce that crisp sound that one can get from a soprano ukulele.

The Ultimate Guide To Choose the Best Baritone Ukulele

Who can play the Baritone ukulele size?

The Baritone ukulele is a great type of uke for finger pickers and blues players. Because of its size, it is also preferred by people who like fuller and deeper sound.

This type of ukulele is also fit for professional uke players but not too suitable for beginners because it has different tuning from other types of ukulele. Also, it is harder to find tutorials and tabs generally

Baritone Ukulele Tone

The baritone ukulele produces a deep sound. So, if you are looking for that crisp ukulele sound produced by the soprano uke, you might not get it with this ukulele. Baritone ukulele is also for adults who want to switch from guitar to ukulele. This ukulele has up to 19+ frets.

Ukulele sizes and scale lengths

The top of the ukulele head to the farthest part of its body is the size of the instrument. On the other hand, the scale is the part of the strings that is playable. It determines the ukulele type and it is measured from the nut to the bridge. The body size of the instrument will differ with manufacturer. However, the variation that is seen in scale length is usually minimal.

Ukulele measurements

Size

Lenght

Scale

Soprano

21

13'' (33.02cm)

Concert

23

15" (38.1cm)

Tenor

26

17" (43.18cm)

Baritone

30

19" (48.26cm)

Tall heads and long bodies can give some additional inches to the uke’s total length. However, the scales shown in this guide are standard and they are also open to any interpretation. Some companies are even building ukulele with longer scale (i.e. a 20" scaled tenor uke).

Some also construct ukes with longer scale such as 17.5" for a tenor. These ukuleles with longer scale have the same GCEA tuning common with the other main types of ukulele but they tend to have more tension on the strings thus making it very difficult for one to tune to the ADF#B tuning.

Does size determine the ukulele sound?

Before you buy your first ukulele, know that sound is one feature that makes the different ukulele sizes unique. However, if you have a professional play the same song using 4 different tenor ukuleles that has similar quality, you will notice the difference but it won’t be that pronounced. However, when you play that exact song using a soprano, concert, tenor, as well as baritone uke, you will discover a much bigger range of sound.

However, the resonating space each of these ukuleles has is the cause of this. In fact, the smaller the surface or space the higher the uke’s sound. The bigger the surface or space of the ukulele, the lower the sound would be.

Ukulele shapes

Well, as you begin to hunt for a suitable ukulele, you will discover that all ukuleles are not the same in terms of their shapes. Apart from the popular traditional shaped ukulele, you will also come across some oddities.

The different ukulele shape makes the instrument looks appealing. Also, the different bodies produce some variance in the ukulele tone. However, some of the ukulele body shapes are:

  • Standard
  • Pineapple shapes
  • Boat paddle shapes
  • Vita shape

In terms of shapes, choosing any ukulele shape depends on individual choices. However, most players like the standard shape because it stays firmly when compared to other ukulele shapes.

In Summary

Ukulele is a very nice instrument to play. In fact, as a beginner you will enjoy this instrument and even more when you get the right size or shape. Even with the different ukulele brands out there, the first decision you need to make is the size and shape of the ukulele you will be comfortable playing. So, as you plan to continue your ukulele journey, I am very happy that this guide will be of help to you.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Ava Sharp - December 7, 2016

Just love them. It’s an amazing ukulele guide site to choose the best ukulele for every level players.
Thanks a lot ukulele buzz.

Reply
Paul James - December 15, 2016

Great post and very useful article for beginners. Thanks

Reply
Chloe Tucker - December 26, 2016

Really A complete ukulele size guide for all players and i think this post will be helpful for beginners . Thanks a lot ukulelebuzz .

Reply
frank - February 24, 2017

Pics here show scale length from TAILPIECE EDGE to NUT.
Scale length is from BRIDGE to NUT (the exact resting points of the strings, and total vibratory length).

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