And Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends! Party on.
I received a most wonderful question from one of my readers this morning- the question being when you buy your 1st uke, should you get soprano or concert size? (or bigger? Never limit your options)
First order of business is to actually try the sizes out for yourself,because there's a couple of key things that will be important: your hand/finger size,and how well you like the volume and tone of the size uke you're trying out.
So either ask friends you know who own soprano and/or concert sized ukes if you can try it out and play each for a few moments,or go to a music shop and try these two different sizes out.
(this being the July 4th week,sales are on and it's a great time to get a uke!)
If you have small hands and slender fingers,you're more than likely to go with a soprano uke.
However,if you want more volume,a richer tone,and more frets on the fingerboard,you might be happier on the slightly larger sized concert size uke. For example: I'm petite and yes,I have small hands. My fave size uke to play is a concert,even tho I do own and play soprano sized ones.
Why? Well,soprano is the ultimate take along size if I'm doing a show in person selling off my Dad's belongings,for example. While I'm playing behind the table of model kits,etc I have for sale,it's not as tho I'm giving an actual performance,and my soprano uke does a wonderful job. It's also a good "ice breaker" and often initiates cool conversations.
That being said,my concert size uke is slightly bigger,has more frets on the fingerboard,meaning the tone doesn't get "plinky" high up the neck. The sound is richer and I have more volume. The fretboard is just as comfy as my soprano size,and my concert uke is the one I typically use for performing,recording,and teaching.
Now lets say you have big hands,and full figure fingers. More than likely the soprano will be too small and make your fingers feel cramped. Concert would be slightly better,depending on hand size,and there's a chance you might find concert size to be a wee bit too small.
In that case,I would urge you to try a tenor size uke. Bigger than a concert, the fretboard should work for most with bigger hands and full figure fingers. Remember that with size,we're mainly going for comfort.
Comfort,as DavidJi says, is Queen. Don't be afraid to be a "goldilocks" and find the size that's "just right.".
And just to toss this into the mix,I also have a tenor sized uke I play around the house and on the porch. More often than not tho,I'm typically playing my soprano or concert.
And while size matters,also be mindful of what wood the uke is made of- make sue you really like the sound of it. Mahogany is a tried and true standard wood for ukuleles. My concert is made of Zebra wood,and has a beautiful full tone about it. My tenor is Asian Koa and has a sweet,mellow,deeper voice to it.
And,one thing I learned from my Dad: if you're torn between two,and the one you're really wanting is slightly more than you planned on spending,go for the higher quality,slightly more expensive one.
Also inquire if they have any open box,or B models. Open box means somebody returned it to the store or it was the store demo,and a B model means it more than likely has a cosmetic flaw,therefore it's discounted. Personally,I usually look for these types first cause it means I get more bang for my buck.
Last but not least,be sure to get a case and/or gigbag for it.