What are the Different Types of Ukuleles?

Looking for a ukulele but not sure where to start? There’s much to learn about the ukulele (or Hawaii’s “jumping flea”) and we’ve got you covered. The little uke is a mighty instrument, descended from a range of Portuguese 4 and 5 string instruments and has gained worldwide popularity since its debut in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1880s. Pictured above is an Ohana SK-28 which is reissue of a now classic Portuguese-style Nunes Dias soprano ukulele. With the ever growing variety in different types of ukes, we’re here to make sure the right one goes home with you!  

Soprano Ukulele

The original ukes were what we call the soprano size! Typically ~21” in full length, soprano ukuleles are infectiously bright and fun instruments. Wondering what’s smaller than a soprano uke? Give a Sopranino or Sopranissimo a try! 

Concert Ukulele and Tenor Ukulele

Next in ascending size, we have the concert and tenor ukuleles. Introduced in the early 1920s, Concert Ukuleles are typically ~23” long and Tenor Ukes are ~26”. You can expect these ukes to be fuller sounding than their smaller counterparts. The larger body sizes tend to produce more volume as well.  

How are Ukuleles tuned?

Soprano, Concert, and Tenor Ukuleles are most commonly tuned G-C-E-A.  C is the lowest note, E is next highest, the G is next highest, with A as the very highest string.  

Some people like to switch out the G string for a lower G note.  This is called low G tuning and it makes thinking about the tuning easier because then G-C-E-A is the order of strings from low to high. 

If you’re a guitar player, note that low G ukulele tuning is 2-½ steps up from your guitar tuning, so it will be like playing the top four strings of a 6-string guitar with a capo on the fifth fret. 

Baritone Ukulele

Sometime in the late ‘40s or early ‘50s came the creation of the largest of today’s standard ukuleles, the Baritone Ukulele. Standard tuning for baritone ukes is (low to high) D-G-B-E, and for you guitar players, playing in this tuning would be exactly like playing the top 4 strings of a standard 6-string acoustic guitar.

We take pride in our ukulele collection. We stock many popular brands, including Kamaka, Fender, Ohana, Kala and many others. You’ll find soprano, concert, tenor, baritone and even banjo ukuleles all at Elderly Instruments. We carry all the finest ukulele accessories like cases, straps, strings, and everything in-between that will help you get the most enjoyment from your new ukulele hobby. 

Looking to get started on the Ukulele?

The Elderly Lessons Network is a great choice if you wish to take lessons from an experienced player/teacher. There are also many other choices available on the internet.

You can also study on your own. We have a large number of instructional books and videos available.

Learn More

If you’d like assistance finding the perfect ukulele for you or if you have more questions, please Contact Us, we’re happy to help!

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