Did you know that there are different types of ukuleles to choose from? You can find a uke in a cute pineapple shape and even a ukulele that looks like a guitar! If you are curious about which to get, you should stick around because we’ll go through different types of ukuleles.
Four Main Types of Ukuleles
Soprano, concerto, tenor, and baritone are the four main types of ukes. They’re readily available in most online or retail music stores. Here’s a closer look at each one.
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1. Soprano Ukulele
A soprano uke has a bright sound that naturally creates a more upbeat feel. Its body is relatively small, making it an excellent instrument for children or adults with small hands. Despite its small size, a soprano uke manages to be one of the better-sounding small ukes.
Best for: Playing chords of fun simple songs.
- Mastering the soprano uke is simple and beginner-friendly.
- It’s easy to learn a few nice-sounding chords and strumming patterns.
- As a small and lightweight instrument, it’s easy to carry and transport.
- Its small size and minimal frets reduce the range of tones.
- Small size means it difficult to play for people with large hands.
- Intonation isn’t always reliable as notes can sound out of tune up the neck.
2. Concert Ukulele
A concert ukulele’s bigger body and longer neck mean a deeper tone with more bass and mid-range. Plus, you can experiment with more notes on the fingerboard. The concert has better intonation, meaning the notes stay in tune as you move higher up the neck.
Best for: Mixing chords with notes.
- Warmer and fuller sound compared with the Soprano.
- Excellent tool for learning melodies.
- It projects more volume than a soprano ukulele.
- It’s not as bright sounding as people may expect.
- Not really the best choice for kids to play
- Its wider neck makes chord fingering a bit more challenging.
3. Tenor Ukulele
The tenor uke has a longer scale length that gives you more room to create elaborate arrangements. Its deeper and broader sound is appropriate for rhythmic strumming and note mixing.
Best for: Fingerpicking
- Comfortable instrument for players with large hands.
- A tenor ukulele delivers a more diverse, louder, and more resonant sound
- Less convenient for transport.
- Wider frets make it harder for kids with small fingers to play.
- Deeper tones may not be what fans of brightness expect.
4. Baritone Ukulele
A baritone uke’s strings mirror the four highest strings on a guitar: D-G-B-A. Don’t worry! It still sounds like a uke, but with deeper tones mixed in!
Best for: Playing songs written for guitar.
- The baritone provides a fuller spectrum of sound.
- The tuning is similar to a guitar, making the Baritone uke easy for guitarists.
- The larger body of the Baritone gives the instrument deeper and louder tones.
- Approaching the size of a guitar, the baritone is not as conveniently portable.
- The different tuning scheme doesn’t match typical uke notation of GCEA.
- It’s more difficult to find notation of songs suitable for a baritone uke.
Other Ukulele Types and Sizes
If you’re looking for a unique ukulele to add to your collection, you can check out the following types of ukes. But, word of caution though – these are harder to find and most likely unavailable in your local music shops.
5. Guitar Ukulele
One of the unique ukelele types is the guitar ukulele or guitalele. From its name, you’ve probably guessed that it’s a hybrid of uke and a guitar. And, you are right! It has a slightly smaller guitar body but still sounds like a uke!
6. Bass Ukulele
Just as the name implies, the Bass ukulele has four strings and emphasizes the low end. It’s the largest of the uke family with the most booming tones.
7. Banjo Ukulele
As bluegrass music emerged in the 1920s, the Banjo ukulele gained prominence. Manufacturers installed a uke neck on a banjo body, which allows for a blend of uke and banjo effects.
8. Electric Ukulele
Anyone who thinks you can’t rock out on a uke needs to learn about the emerging Electric uke. The U.S. patent was awarded to Edmund Rafalko, Jr. in 2012. Curious what an electric ukulele sounds? Don’t be! It still sounds fine as an acoustic instrument. Once you plug it into an amplifier, you’ll get more sonic power.
9. Pineapple Ukulele
A lesser-known model in the uke family is the pineapple uke. It’s typically shaped like the fruit or sometimes other unconventional shapes. It spans the different types of ukes, from soprano to tenor.
10. Sopranino Ukulele
If you want a smaller version of the soprano uke, a sopranino may be the one you’re looking for. It is slightly smaller and has a shorter scale length.
11. Sopranissimo Ukulele
Looking for the smallest uke that you can take anywhere? The sopranissimo uke is what you should be on the lookout for! It’s the world’s smallest uke.
The ukulele is widely loved by fans for its bright, optimistic sound, making it a mass appeal instrument growing in popularity. Learning to play is relatively easy, as the nylon strings are soft on the fingers. Understanding the different types of ukulele models will help you choose the right one for your musical endeavors.