Ukulele Sizes

Ukulele Sizes

Ukuleles come in a handful of sizes, but the most common are soprano, concert, and tenor. Some first-time ukulele buyers are intimidated by the array of sizes. Don’t worry, it’s really not that complicated!

Soprano, concert, and tenor ukes are all tuned and played the same way. If you learn on a soprano, you’ll be just fine playing a concert or tenor.

So why bother with different ukulele sizes if they’re all tuned and played the same way? The answer mostly comes down to tone and playability.

As a general rule, a bigger body means a bigger tone. Concert and tenor size ukuleles tend to be warmer, richer, and more resonant than soprano ukes. The larger body sizes also produce more bass and volume.

Sopranos are typically a little quieter and “tinkly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth thinking about before you buy a ukulele.


How Ukulele Size Affects Playability

Concert and tenor ukuleles have a longer scale length than a soprano.

The scale length is the distance between the nut and the saddle. A longer scale means the frets are further apart, giving your fingers more room to manoeuvre. This means that concert and tenor ukes can be easier to play for some people because of their longer scale length.

The frets on a soprano can feel a little cramped for some players, especially those with larger hands or thick fingers.


The very first ukuleles were soprano-sized.

Concert and tenor sizes were introduced around the 1920s.


Soprano Ukulele

The soprano ukulele is the smallest in the ukulele family and has the traditional bright, sweet sound. It is the best choice for children starting to play and can be played by children as young as four years old. Having said that, many experienced adult players use sopranos, so don’t be put off trying one, it is a good ‘starter’ instrument.

The soprano ukulele is regarded as the ‘original’ ukulele and its smaller size produces that traditional ukulele sound. However, if you have long, fat or stubby fingers you may find it difficult to play because it has small frets. In this case we recommend that you choose a concert ukulele which has a longer neck and wider frets.


Concert Ukulele

The concert ukulele is an excellent choice because it has a fuller tone than the soprano ukulele but still retains the traditional ukulele sound. It also has the advantage of having wider frets which make it easier for some grown-ups to play. The concert Ukulele is tuned exactly the same as the soprano ukulele.


Tenor Ukulele

As you move up through the range of ukulele sizes to the tenor and baritone ukuleles you get a deeper, fuller tone with increased volume. The tenor ukulele is a popular choice for musicians who want to pick out fingerstyle tunes and play solos. In many cases the professional’s choice! You have a wider range of musical notes which lends itself to solo playing.


Baritone Ukulele

The baritone ukulele is the largest ukulele and can be likened to a four-string guitar as it is tuned the same as the first four strings on a guitar which are D G B E.

Most ukulele music is written for a soprano, concert, or tenor size uke. For this reason, it is usually recommended beginners stick with one of these three sizes and avoid starting out on a baritone.