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Selecting a Ukulele

This series explores the options for seleting your first ukulele or your next ukulele.

There are lots of choices, selecting the right size, wood, type, tuning, etc...

PUBLISHED: Jan 1, 2003 UPDATED: Jan 1, 2003 • VIEWS: 0 • SERIES CODE: UL128

11 Lessons in the “Selecting a Ukulele” Series

Selecting a `Ukulele • Updated: Dec 3, 2017

A Ukulele is: Light Weight, Affordable and Portable | Four Strings and Four Fingers | Less Need for Strumming Accuracy | There isn' a lot expected from a ukulele player.

The 'Ukulele (pronounced oo-koo-lele) comes in four standard sizes: Soprano (sometimes called Standard), Concert, Tenor and Baritone. The Baritone is tuned just like the four thin strings of a standard tuned guitar and called "G" tuning (D G B E). The Soprano, Concert and Tenor is typically tuning in a "C" Tuning (G C E A) or "D" tuning (A D F# B). The Tenor can also be tuned like the Baritone ukulele with a high or low string four.

Soprano `Ukuleles • Updated: Oct 18, 2014

The Soprano ukulele is the smallest ukulele. This is the size ukulele that most people associate as being a ukulele. It is the size that most people will remember Tiny Tim playing. A soprano ukulele typically has 12 to 14 frets.

Concert `Ukulele • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

The Concert ukulele sized in between the smaller Soprano ukulele and the tenor ukulele.

A concert ukulele typically has 14 to 17 frets.

The tuning for the Concert is most commonly G C E A, or “C” Tuning. The same as the Soprano and Tenor ukulele.

Tenor `Ukuleles • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

Next size up from the Concert ukulele is the Tenor ukulele.

A tenor ukulele typically has 17 to 19 frets.

The most common tuning for a tent ukulele is G C E A, or 'C' Tuning. The same as the Soprano and Concert ukulele.

Baritone `Ukuleles • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

The Baritone ukulele is the largest of the standard, most common sized ukuleles. It is tuned just like the thin, higher four strings of a standard tuned guitar (D G B A). This makes it a great starting instrument for little tikes wanting to play guitar but can't handle the steel strings and larger body size of the most acoustic guitars.

Solidbody Electric `Ukuleles • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

Most acoustic ukuleles can be plugged in with the addition of a internal pickup or stick-on pickup. This page focuses on purely Electric Ukuleles. These are typically solid body instruments with pickups. Either magnetic pickups in the same vein as solid body guitar electric pickups or a piezo under the saddle pickups.

Banjo `Ukuleles • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

The banjolele (brand name; sometimes banjo ukulele or banjo uke) is a four-stringed musical instrument with a small banjo-type body and a fretted ukulele neck. 'Banjolele', sometimes also spelled 'banjelele' or 'banjulele' is a generic nickname given to the instrument, which was derived from the 'banjulele-banjo' introduced by Alvin D. Keech in 1917.

Resonator `Ukuleles • Updated: Oct 19, 2014

A resonator ukulele or resophonic ukulele is a ukulele whose sound is produced by one or more spun aluminum cones (resonators) instead of the wooden soundboard (ukulele top/face). These instruments are sometimes referred to as Dobro ukuleles, however the term Dobro is currently trademarked by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.

Here is a page of manufactures and builders for resonator ukuleles.

The resonator ukulele is a descendant of the resonator guitar. The resonator guitar was originally designed to be louder than conventional acoustic guitars, which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. A resonator ukulele is generally somewhat louder than a standard wooden ukulele, and has a different tone quality and distinctive appearance.

Though resonator guitars are often played flat in the lap steel guitar style, resonator ukuleles are almost exclusively played in the conventional manner.

Guitar `Ukuleles (Guitarele, Guilele) • Updated: Apr 12, 2019

The **guitarele, **guilele is a tenor body sized ukulele with additional stow strings, five and size. Tuned A D G C E A. This is the same tuning as the top four strings of C tuning with a low G with an added A and D.. Also the same tuning as a standard tuned guitar an a capo at the fifth fret (A D G C E A).

Bass `Ukuleles • Updated: Jan 4, 2016

Four sizes of ukuleles are common: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. There's also the less common sopranino and the bass ukulele at the extreme ends of the size spectrum.

Novelty `Ukuleles • Updated: Oct 19, 2014

Ukuleles can come all manner of shapes and sizes. From smaller than soprano ukuleles, triangle shaped, plastic, etc. They will most likely be a standard sized soprano, concert, tenor or baritone ukulele - just a crazy shape.

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