Want to play a tiny guitar?
The ukulele is strikingly similar to the guitar but with a twist. Instead of 6 strings, it only has 4. It’s much smaller than a guitar, making it easier to play for beginners.
If you’ve tried the guitar and ended up with sore fingers, soft nylon ukulele strings will feel welcoming to you. Or, you might want to pick up the ukulele if you’re a seasoned guitar player. These fun instruments are perfect for musicians looking for a travel-sized option with a bright sound.
We’re talking about the different types of ukuleles, so you can make an informed choice on which type of ukulele is best for you.
The Different Types of Ukuleles
The ukulele is a small stringed instrument that originated in Hawaii. Ukuleles are often played like guitars with fingers, but they can also be played with a pick or even strummed with one hand while being held upright on the knee. The biggest difference between kinds of ukuleles is their size, shape, and sound.
Soprano ukuleles are the smallest kind of ukulele and the most common. They are considered your “standard” ukulele. They can be tuned like guitars or banjos, but they’re usually tuned to G-C-E-A (low to high). This tuning gives you a high sound, with an emphasis on treble notes.
Soprano ukuleles are 21 inches long which means they’re easier to hold in your hands while you play. If you have small hands or enjoy the high-pitched, bright sound of the soprano, this type of ukulele is a great choice for you.
These ukes also come in different styles, typically reflecting their shape. Like all ukuleles, they come in pineapple shape, round shape, or a traditional guitar shape.
Concert ukuleles are built a little differently than sopranos, and they measure 23 inches long instead of 21 inches. The extra space provides a little more room between frets, which can be helpful if you have larger hands.
The body is also slightly larger, so they tend to be louder. For this reason, concert ukes are great for small venues or when you want your ukulele’s sound to carry in the room. They have a fuller, deeper sound than sopranos, and don’t carry the same “brightness.”
This kind of uke is best for someone who appreciates a richer sound. You can find examples of concert ukes on this ukulele site.
Finally, the largest kind of ukulele is the tenor uke. Like the concert ukulele, tenors also tend to have a full sound. These ukes have the widest range of notes.
Tenor ukes are usually 26 inches but can be found as large as 28 inches tall. The extra length in the scale offers players enough room for more fingerpicking, making this size a popular option among professional ukulele players. Tenor ukes can play deeper notes, and they have more bass to their tone.
How to Buy a Ukulele You’ll Love
Choosing the right ukulele is difficult. There are so many different types of ukuleles, and with each type comes a multitude of brands, styles, materials, designs, and shapes.
No matter what you choose, you’ll own one of the most beautiful string instruments. When picking out the perfect ukulele, consider how the size feels in your hands. Also, test out the different sounds in person before making your choice.