Common Ukulele Sizes

The `ukulele (/juːkəˈleɪliː/ yoo-kə-LAY-lee, from Hawaiian: ʻukulele [ˈʔukuˈlɛlɛ] (oo-koo-leh-leh); variant: ukelele) is a member of the lute family of instruments. It generally employs four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings. Some strings may be paired in courses, giving the instrument a total of six or eight strings.

A `Ukulele is:

  • Light Weight, Portable, and Affordable
  • Easy on the Fingers with Four Strings and Four Fingers - a perfect match
  • Less Need for Strumming Accuracy
  • There isn't a lot expected from a ukulele player
  • And, Where else can you go and jam with like minded friends, play poorly, sing poorly, and have a blast.

The music you play can be as simple or complex as you want. The Ukulele is a powerful musical instrument for communication and expression in its own right.

And, did I mention it’s a lot of fun to play and explore.

Common Sizes

Common types of ukuleles include:.

Less common are the sopranino (also called piccolo, bambino, or "pocket uke"), Bass , and contrabass ukuleles. The soprano, often called "standard" in Hawaii, is the smallest and was the original size. The concert size was developed in the 1920s as an enhanced soprano, slightly larger and louder with a deeper tone. Shortly thereafter, the tenor was created, having more volume and deeper bass tone. The baritone ( resembling a smaller tenor guitar ) was created in the 1940s, and the contrabass and bass are recent innovations (2010 and 2014, respectively).

Super Tenors, Long Neck ( insert uke size here )

There is a trend of putting the next sized uke's scale length next uke on and called it a "sup" or "long next" so and so uke.

A Super Tenor is a tenor uke with a 19in Baritone uke and using C Tuning.

Soprano

Often called "standard" in Hawaii.

Standard - this is the size that most people not already familiar with the ukulele family of instruments.

  • Typical Length: 21 in (53 cm)
  • Scale Length (range): 13-14 in (33 cm)
  • No. Frets: 10 to 12
  • Common Tunings: G4 C4 E4 A4
  • Alternate Tunings: G3 C4 E4 A4 ("Low" G), A4 D4 F♯4 B4
  • String Tension (approx.): 21 lbs

Here is a Lesson on Selecting a Soprano `Ukulele .

Concert

Super Soprano, Alto

This is the next size up from the standard soprano ukulele. The concert size was developed in the 1920s as an enhanced soprano, slightly larger and louder with a deeper tone. Actually created to be louder in un-amplified situations as was typical in the 1920s and 30s.

  • Typical Length: 23 in (58 cm)
  • Scale Length (range): 15-16 in (38 cm)
  • No. Frets: 15 to 18
  • Common Tunings: C Tuning: G4 C4 E4 A4, D Tuning: A4 D4 F♯4 B4
  • Alternate Tunings: C Tuning: G3 C4 E4 A4 ("Low" G), D Tuning: A3 D4 F♯4 B4("Low" A)
  • String Tension (approx.): 33 lbs

Here is a Lesson on Selecting a Concert `Ukulele .

Tenor

Taro patch, Liliʻu

Created shortly after the concert ukulele was introduced.

  • Typical Length: 26 in (66 cm)
  • Scale Length (range): 17-18 in (43 cm)
  • No. Frets: 17–20
  • Common Tunings: C Tuning: G4 C4 E4 A4 ("High" G), G3 C4 E4 A4 ("Low" G)
  • Alternate Tunings: D Tuning: A4 D4 F♯4 B4 ("High" A), A3 D4 F♯4 B4 ("Low" A)
  • String Tension (approx.): 40 lbs

Here is a Lesson on Selecting a Tenor `Ukulele .

Baritone

Resembling a smaller tenor guitar was created in the 1940s. Author Godfery's instrument of choice.

  • Typical Length: 29 in (74 cm)
  • Scale Length: 19-20 in (48 cm)
  • No. Frets: 18 to 22
  • Common Tunings: G Tuning: D3 G3 B3 E4
  • Alternate Tunings: C Tuning: G4 C4 E4 A4 ("High" G), G3 C4 E4 A4 ("Low" G)
  • String Tension (approx.): 52 lbs

Here is a Lesson on Selecting a Baritone `Ukulele .

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