(picture courtesy of ukuleletricks.com)
Ukuleles commonly come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. A less common sized uke (but we have a couple of Wuggers with them) is the even smaller sopranissimo or ‘pocket uke’. Then of course there are hybrid ukes and oh my there are a few of those!
The soprano is the most traditional size at 51 cm, so let’s have a squizz at it.
The soprano uke is classed as the original sized ukulele. It is famous for its classical tinny or thin sound which people have come to commonly associate with ukuleles. The tone and volume of the instrument varies with size and construction.
A soprano uke generally has between 12-15 frets. The frets are closer together than in the larger sized ukuleles.
Soprano ukes tend to be a bargain price wise, with them coming in on average at $30 and going up in price dependent on the brand and the materials they are made from.
Ukuleles are generally made of wood, though some are made partially or entirely of plastic or other materials. Cheaper ukes are often made from plywood or laminate woods. More expensive ukuleles are made of solid hardwoods like mahogany. (Ooooh nice!) The traditional wood for ukuleles was Koa, the second most common tree in Hawaii.
Because the strings sometimes have less tension on a soprano uke, you might find you accidentally flip a string out of tune, but they do settle down after a while and the more you play your uke, the better behaved it tends to be.
Regardless of cost, wood type, colour or style, the soprano uke is a great little instrument. It’s adorable and it makes a great racket. What more could you want? To make it look like a piece of fruit. THAT’S what.