The Various Types of Ukuleles


As the invasion of ukulele music took over the world in the early 1900’s through the 1960’s, the ukulele has gone through some significant changes. There used to be only one type of ukulele, but now there significantly more. Some say that there really are only four types of ukuleles but most would disagree. Although there are other ukuleles that are not as popular or as widely played, there are as many as eight various types of ukulele’s that can be bought throughout the world.
It is the four classic styles that you should be familiar with when deciding what type of ukulele to play. They are the Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone. They come in different sizes and have different tunes to them.
Soprano – The soprano is the standard ukulele and what you mostly see people play. As the most easily recognizable of the ukuleles, it is the smallest at only 13 inches in scale length and 21 inches in total length. It is the easiest to learn and ideal for people who are looking for something small, portable and a lot of fun. This one is typically tuned in G, C, E and A and is perfect for children to use to get started.
Concert – Also called the alto ukulele, it is slightly larger at 15 inches in scale length and 23 inches long overall. This makes it an ideal choice for a ukulele for someone who has larger hands. The concert ukulele has a fuller tone so it sounds a little different then the soprano ukulele.
Tenor – The tenor is 17 inches in scale length and is 26 inches in total length. It can come with 4, 6 and even 8 strings depending on the sound you are looking for. It is a much warmer sounding ukulele and is tuned in E, B, G, and D rather than the typical G, C, E and A.
Baritone – The largest of the ukuleles at approximately 19 inches in scale length and 30 inches in total length. It looks similar to a mini-guitar and can even be tuned like a guitar. It has the overall deepest tone is usually the most expensive of all the ukulele models.
Ukulele’s come in a variety of different colors, styles and even shapes to reflect the personality of the person playing this beautiful instrument. Ukulele makers also may use different types of woods to give the instrument a completely different look. Each one is rather unique and depending on whether you want something standard or a bit out of the ordinary you can do many different things to change the overall look of your ukulele.
If you are looking past the 4 classic types of ukuleles and want something extra special you may want to take a look at some of the other variations of ukuleles that are sure to impress.
The Pineapple Ukulele – This one has a very different shape to it, much like the shape of a pineapple in a box like way. It was originally made by Samuel Kamaka in the 1920’s and produces a mellower sound then a standard ukulele. The pineapple ukulele can come in a variety of classic sounds like the soprano and concert.
The Fluke Ukuleles – This is a ukulele that is more triangular in shape. Each fluke ukulele has its own distinctive tone and can give different sounds to the type of music you like to play. It is typically owned by a more advanced ukulele player.
The Banjo Ukulele – This interesting type of ukulele is similar to a banjo in the way that the “skin” of the ukulele is pulled tight to resemble the way a banjo looks. They are much louder than your typical ukulele and can be heard in different octaves. George Formby, the ukulele guru in the 1940’s used to play this type of ukulele.
The Armadillo Ukulele – By far the most unique ukulele, this type is made from an actual armadillo. It can have as many as 10 strings and comes from South America typically. It is very rare and very hard to come by. Based on an instrument called the charango, you probably won’t run into one of the ukuleles in your local store but it is certainly something to aspire to find.

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