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Which Ukulele is Best for a beginner, soprano, concert, tenor or baritone? Why?

Updated on June 15, 2019

Soprano? Concert? Tenor? Baritone? If you are a beginner to ukulele, perhaps you can’t really distinguish those 4 types of the instrument.

Maybe you wonder which one is the best to buy?

Let’s go through them one by one and find out the answer.


Soprano Ukulele:

First of all, this is the key to the question “Which ukulele is the best for beginners?”. Soprano is the most common and standard type of ukuleles. It has the smallest size among the 4 types, just about 21 inches (53 cm) in length, including about 12 to 15 frets.

This one is perfect for travelling. You can take it to anywhere you want to practice. An important reason that makes it the most recommended ukulele for beginners is that you can actually possess a Soprano with the cheapest price.

Because of the small size, Soprano ukulele can produce very lively and jangly sound, creating a fresh feeling for the song. Every part is designed in a traditional way, the strings are made very soft so it would be easier to play (even for children).

Soprano just has a few downsides. Perhaps people with large fingers or hands shouldn’t choose this size because it would be difficult for them to play when the frets are too close. Besides, the strings of this ukulele usually have less tension, so you may easily bend a string out of tune if you’re not careful.

Concert Ukulele:

For those who have large fingers or hands, a Concert ukulele would be more perfect. It is a bit bigger than the Soprano size, with 23 inches (58 cm) in length and about 15-20 frets.

Beside the name “concert”, this ukulele is also known as “alto”. Since it is bigger with longer neck and more space between the frets, many people may feel that it is easier for them to handle. The number of frets are also more, supporting players to reach higher notes on the fretboard.

Like Soprano, a Concert ukulele also has the same typical and classic ukulele sound, but sometimes the sound is considered a bit louder and fuller. Due to being longer than Soprano, the strings in Concert ukuleles also have more tension. You will be able to control the sound flexibly when playing and reduce the risk of bending a string out of tune accidentally.

Concert ukuleles can produce a wide range of tones, from lower notes to higher notes. It is really a good choice for camping trips or outdoor activities.

The price of a Concert ukulele is a little higher than Soprano, but still affordable and suitable for

Tenor Ukulele:

Both Tenor and Concert ukuleles were introduced in 1920. In fact, there is not much difference between these two instruments, but Tenor ukulele is usually chosen by professional and well-known players for stage performance.

The Tenor size is a little bigger than the Concert type. It’s 26 inches (66 cm) in length with more than 15 frets, so the space between frets are also larger, making it more comfortable for the artists to play.

The overall sound and tone of a Tenor ukulele is also fuller and deeper than it’s smaller models (Soprano and Concert). You will also be able to reach higher notes on the fretboard because of its length.

Due to stronger bass tone, resonance and sound maintenance, players will be more inspired while listening to colorful melodies. Of course, this does not mean that Soprano and Concert ukuleles cannot produce good sounds, but all the sounds will be softer because of their small sizes.

So, Tenor is a good option if you are orienting to a professional ukulele career. You just need to keep in mind that each Tenor ukulele is usually 10-15 % more expensive than a similar Concert type.

Baritone Ukulele:

This is the biggest size out of 4 abovementioned ukuleles. It is about 30 inches (76 cm) and sometimes even bigger. The number of frets is 19+.

As you may realized through the previous 3 types description, the larger the ukulele is, the deeper sound it can produce. With that regulation, Baritone absolutely has the deepest tone and even sounds like a classical nylon stringed guitar

Source

In fact, the tuning of this ukulele is quite different from the other 3 types. It’s tuned out lower to DGBE, similar to the tuning of the bottom four strings on a guitar. Perhaps that’s the reason why Baritone is the least popular instrument of the ukulele family.

Normally, people only want to buy a ukulele for its size, portability, and typical ukulele sound. Baritone creates kinda a guitar sound, quite different from the funny, fresh atmosphere got from a normal ukulele performance.

However, Baritone ukulele is still a perfect choice for players of the blues fingerpickers, or those who prefer deeper and fuller sound.

So, although the most suitable ukuleles for beginners should be Soprano or Concert size, you still need to think about your real interest. Since each person has their own hobbies, not every beginner are the same. Just consider carefully every aspect, including your budget to find out the best for you!

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