The ukulele is a unique and whimsical instrument that is a delight to play. Because this instrument has a straightforward design, it is easier to play than some other types of stringed instruments, such as the lute or banjo.
Are you considering taking up this instrument? If so, it is important to learn as much as possible about the beloved ukulele and why it has made such an impact on the world.
The humble ukulele originated in Hawaii and remains an integral part of its culture. This instrument developed from a Peruvian instrument called machete de braga.
When immigrants arrived in Hawaii to help with sugar cane harvesting, they naturally brought this beloved instrument with them. Hawaiians made it their own, and the rest is history.
Many people mistakenly believe the ukulele is only a small guitar, but it is much more than that. Yes, it shares similarities with the acoustic guitar, but it uses a completely different tuning system, making it a highly unique instrument that begs to be played.
Ukulele Sizes Explained: Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone
Just like the acoustic guitar, ukuleles come in different sizes, and each one offers a unique sound. There are multiple sizes of ukuleles, but we will discuss the four most common. Each of these offers a unique sound experience. The one you choose will depend on your experience and the type of music you want to play.
Soprano ukuleles are the most common. They are also the smallest. This instrument is twenty-one inches in length, and its standard tuning is G-C-E-A. You will find this size of the ukulele to be the most plentiful.
The next size up from the soprano is the concert size of the ukulele. This instrument is twenty-three inches in length and goes up by two inches in scale. The standard tuning for a concert ukulele is G-C-E-A. With its slightly larger size, comes additional tuning options.
This size of ukulele is twenty-six inches in length. It goes up two inches in scale over a concert ukulele. The standard tuning for a tenor ukulele is G-C-E-A. As with the concert ukulele, the increased size leads to alternative tuning options.
The baritone ukulele is about thirty inches in length. This size of ukulele is slightly wider than a tenor ukulele, and it sounds much deeper. The standard tuning of a baritone ukulele is D-G-B-E.
Which Ukulele Size Is Best for a Beginner?
With so many sizes to consider, it can often be difficult to purchase a new ukulele when you are a beginner. The answer to which is the best for beginners lies in a couple of factors.
Many people first reach for the soprano ukulele. It is lightweight and compact, making it ideal for travel. Because it is so readily available, new musicians seem to naturally gravitate towards this size, and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, there is a drawback to consider. Those who are transitioning from other stringed instruments may find the smaller neck and body to be a hassle for larger hands.
There is also a problem with the strings on some sopranos. Without a hefty amount of string tension, new players are prone to accidentally bending the strings and creating sounds that seem out of tune.
If you need a larger neck but want the sounds of the soprano ukulele, consider purchasing a concert size. This size gives you a bigger neck, with the small body size and lightweight feel of the soprano ukulele.
Once musicians learn the ukulele, they often progress in size. The tenor is a favorite among professional musicians because of its warmer tones.
No matter which size of ukulele you purchase, carry out research, and learn as much as possible.
By being an informed consumer, you will not have buyer’s regret when you learn how to play your new instrument.
What Are the Best Sounding Ukuleles Size Wise?
Now that you have had a taste of some sound qualities, it is time to delve a little deeper into the topic. Every new player and old one alike wants to create the best sound possible with their instrument.
As discussed above, the sound a ukulele produces is in direct correlation with its size.
Before discussing size and sound, it is important to note that the same song can be played on each of the four ukulele sizes and it will sound different with each one. The soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone each have unique sounds.
When it comes to sound and size, the bigger the ukulele, the deeper the sound. Smaller ukuleles produce soprano sounds, which are higher and loftier. When most people think of the iconic sounds of the ukulele, the soprano is what they have in mind.
There is no best sound because each size brings its own beauty to the table. The larger the resonating space, the deeper the sound. The smaller the space, the higher.
Many professional ukers love the way the tenor ukulele sounds, but if you are expecting iconic, this instrument may not give you the same vibe as a soprano.
Do not be afraid to try different sizes and match them with the ukulele music you love.
You can create a beautiful sound with any of these sizes, but it just boils down to what you desire to play.
What Ukulele Accessories Do I Need to Get Started?
Most beginning ukers want to be sure they have all the right accessories to get started.
Thankfully, there are not a lot of extra things to purchase. With just your instrument and fingers, you can begin creating beautiful music, but some accessories will make learning to play the ukulele easier.
· A ukulele tuner is critical for keeping your instrument tuned properly. Purchase a clip-on version, and clip it on the headstock for the best results.
· A ukulele bag will help to keep your instrument beautiful and prevent it from becoming damaged. A backpack gig-style bag is perfect for transporting your ukulele.
· Although you do not need a pick to play the ukulele, you may want to try one. Felt picks are perfect for the ukulele because they help to mellow out the sound.
· When you are first starting, fret mapping stickers are lifesavers. These stickers help you ensure your fingers are in the correct positions.
· A ukulele strap will help to keep your instrument protected, so it does not fall out of your grasp while playing. If you plan to stand while playing, a strap is a sound purchase.
The above are the basics of what beginners should consider purchasing when they are first learning to play the ukulele. Do not get caught up in the fancy bells and whistles when purchasing accessories. You can always buy pricier options as you gain skill.
Personal Tutoring Vs. YouTube Videos: Which One Is Better?
Before the Internet, the only way to learn an instrument was by teacher, book, or trial and error. Today, there are multiple options for new ukers to pursue.
When it comes to deciding on YouTube videos or a local teacher, it is important to first examine your learning style.
Some new ukers feel intimidated playing in front of a teacher. They will first gain basic skills with videos and then realize the learning curve is a little too tough and opt for in-person instruction.
Both have their positives and negatives. Consider the following before deciding.
· Students can ask questions.
· They can gain personal insight.
· Students can be sure they are receiving accurate training.
· Lessons are typically short and scheduled only once a week.
· There is no way to “rewind” the lesson for better understanding.
· Lessons can be carried out anytime and anywhere.
· The lessons can be paused and resumed at any time.
· Students obviously cannot ask the video questions or receive insight.
· New ukers may not receive the right training.
No matter which option you choose, carry out research and get training from the best. Many people find it beneficial to use both training options when learning the ukulele.
All About The Ukulele – Conclusion
Now, you know all about the ukulele and what makes it such a fabulous option. The ukulele is a forgiving instrument that will bring you joy each time it is played.
By following the advice you have received, you should be able to find the perfect size and training. The ukulele is an instrument you will never want to stop playing.