The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument similar to a guitar which originated in Hawaii and was often thought of as an instrument to be played just for fun, but not anymore. These days, many musicians are turning to ukuleles for performing their music, not only in Hawaii but all over the world as well. Are you a music lover on an expedition to find out which ukulele to buy?
As there are many different types of ukuleles, choosing the one that is right for you can prove to be a difficult task. Also, there are many different types of wood they are made from, and a whole range of brands.
But worry not, as I am going to lead you through the advantages and disadvantages of each, and help you in deciding which one to select.
The 4 Different Types of Ukuleles
According to size, there are four main types of ukuleles, which include:
1.- Soprano Ukulele
- Length: 21″
Tuning: GCEA, ADF#B
Number of frets: 12-15
Because the frets on this ukulele are closer to each other, people with small hands find it easy to play and choose this type to start practicing on. The soprano ukulele is the most commonly used type and is a great selection for beginners. Its thin sound is the one that people generally relate with a ukulele. Since it has a short profile, it is the perfect ukulele to get if you travel a lot, since that makes it easy to carry.
The strings on the soprano have less tension than the concert, and due to this reason, you may frequently twist a string or two. However, this is a small setback, and its pros still outweigh its cons. Among the many types of ukeleles, this one is the least costly and will stay with you for the longest period of time.
Want to know which is the best soprano ukulele? The top three choices include Kala KA-15S, Donner DUS-1 21, and Lanikai LU-21.
2.- Concert Ukelele
- Length: 23″
- Tuning: GCEA (re-entrant), GCEA (linear)
- Number of frets: 15-20
Many professionals choose this type since it is easy to play and gives a great sound. However, the concert ukulele is a great option for beginners, children, and for those people who want to switch the guitar for the ukulele. Slightly bigger than the soprano, it is excellent for people with big hands since the frets are spaced a bit wider on it. The concert ukulele has more tension in its strings and tends to give a fuller resonance. Due to the fact that it has 20 or more frets, the musicians can touch higher notes.
The concert ukulele is also referred to as the alto and is usually tuned like a standard soprano. If you want to get the best concert ukulele, the Lanikai LU21-C, Cordoba 15CM, and Kala KA-C are the top three choices amongst the professionals.
3.- Tenor Ukelele
- Length: 26″
- Tuning: GCEA (re-entrant), GCEA (linear)
- Number of frets: 15+
The sound on it is richer than others, and many professional artists favour it to play their music on. The tenor ukulele is a tad bit larger than the concert one. If we talk about its timbre, it is fuller than the other, smaller ukuleles. Because it has a lot more frets, you can easily play higher notes.
Tenor ukuleles are adjusted in the linear or re-entrant tuning, which is the standard. However, many musicians tune it like a baritone, having low notes. The top three picks for the best tenor ukulele are Kala KA-KTG, Fender Nohea Koa, and Cordoba 20TM.
4.- Baritone Ukulele
- Length: 30″+
- Tuning: DGBE
- Number of frets: 19+
Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the baritone will not let you down. It is the biggest ukulele among its counterparts. Its tone is generally lower, like the last few strings of a guitar. It produces a fuller and much deeper sound, ideal for specifically composing blues. Fingerpickers also find it a great ukulele to play on. It may not have the crisp, rich tone of the soprano, but the baritone is best for producing deep notes.
To make it easier for you to get the best baritone ukulele, I have selected the top three choices: Cordoba 24B, Kala KA-B, and Sawtooth ST-UKE-MB.
Last Thoughts About the Types of Ukuleles
Whether you are a professional musician who has been performing for years or you are just a beginner, this guide will help you select the ukulele which suits you best. As there are many different types of ukuleles, choosing one can be a hard task. However, since I have listed the features of all, you are sure to pick one that will create the type of music you want to.
While some of the ukuleles can be a bit costly, just remember to choose quality over everything else. This way, you will get yourself a ukulele that stays with you for a long time, and on which you can play beautiful music for years to come. So head out there and get the ukulele that you need, and produce some great music!