A Comparison of Different Ukuleles and A Guide To Choosing The Right One For You
Are you interested in playing or buying a ukulele but not sure where to start? There are several different types available, and choosing one might seem overwhelming if you are a beginner or not familiar with ukuleles. This Ukulele Comparison article, a guide to choosing the right ukulele, will give you a brief history of the ukulele and explain the features of each different kind so you can decide which ukulele is right for you.
Ukuleles were developed in the 1880s, after Portuguese immigrants brought small, guitar-shaped instruments to the Hawaiian Islands. Ukulele music became a part of Hawaiian music and culture, and was introduced to the US mainland in the early 1900s.
The instrument was very popular during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, in part because it was small, portable, and inexpensive. Since many people could afford it, the ukulele became a favorite of amateur musicians across the United States and also around the world.
The 4 Types of Ukulele
There are four types of ukuleles: soprano, concert (sometimes called alto), tenor, and baritone. The soprano is the smallest of the four, usually around 19 inches in length, and generally has 4 strings. The sound of the soprano is the “tinniest” and is the sound most people associate with a ukulele.
Because of the small size, soprano ukuleles are easily portable. However, they may be a little more difficult for someone with larger hands to play. They are also more limited in the range of tones they can produce, because their scale size is smaller at about 13 inches. The scale size is the “playable” section of the strings, where you form the chords with your fingers.
Taking Cost into Account
On the other hand, soprano ukuleles are generally less expensive than other kinds and are a good choice if you are a beginner or not sure how serious you want to get with your ukulele playing.
The concert ukulele is slightly larger than the soprano, usually measuring around 15 inches in scale size and about 23 inches overall. Concerts have a deeper, less “tinny” sound and may have either 4 or 6 strings. The larger size of the concert can make it more comfortable for someone with larger hands.
While it is usually more expensive than the soprano, the concert ukulele is still moderately priced. It is a good choice if you prefer a deeper tone or don’t care for the “tinny” sound of the soprano. You might also consider the concert if you know you would prefer a longer scale.
The tenor ukulele is another step up in size. It has a scale of about 17 inches, and is around 23 inches in total length. The tenor can have up to 8 strings and can be tuned to different scales, thus accommodating a wider range of tones.
Although tenor ukuleles are more expensive than their soprano and concert counterparts, it provides a deeper, fuller sound that professionals often prefer.
Finally, the baritone ukulele is the largest of the four, measuring in at 19 inches in scale length and 30 inches overall. The baritone is the most expensive type of ukulele, but it also produces the deepest, richest sound.
If you already play the guitar, you might consider the baritone ukulele. It can be tuned to resemble a guitar, and this, combined with its size, means you can get comfortable with a new instrument more quickly.
The Cost of a Ukulele
Because of its higher cost, the baritone may not be a good choice if you are unsure how much you plan to play, but if you don’t mind investing in an instrument, it is still a good option even for a beginner.
In summary, you are the only one who can decide which instrument you prefer. There is no right or wrong choice, but before you make a decision, consider the following:
Musical ability: if you are a beginner, you may want to start with a less expensive instrument and upgrade once you know whether you like it or not.
What size is Best?
Size: if size is a concern, visit a music store and test instruments of several different sizes. You need to be comfortable with whatever you choose or you probably won’t play it much.
Sound: make sure the sound of the instrument is something you would enjoy listening to. Visit a music store and try out the instrument you are considering. If you are a beginner, ask if there is someone at the store to demonstrate it for you.
Once you make your decision, enjoy playing your new instrument, and take pride in your musical accomplishments!
Hopefully now you will be a little more knowledgeable when it comes to Ukulele Comparison.