Is a Soprano Ukulele Good for Beginners

Is a Soprano Ukulele Good for Beginners

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Is a Soprano Ukulele Good for Beginners

In general, yes, a soprano ukulele is good for beginners. However, like many things there are circumstances that could change that answer. One needs to also consider the size of the player’s hands, previous experience with stringed instruments, goals and access to the instrument.

What is a Soprano Ukulele

There are four sizes of ukuleles, starting with the smallest, the soprano. Then there is the concert, tenor and finally the baritone. The size differences are in the neck length and body size. All are tuned the same, except the baritone ukulele. The baritone ukulele is tuned DGBE, just like the highest four strings of the guitart. The other ukulele sizes are tuned GCEA.

The soprano ukulele is the original ukulele size and also the most popular. Since it is the smallest, it is generally also the most affordable. Unfortunately, many of the soprano ukuleles on the market are closer to a toy than a real instrument. 

Man Hands (Deliberate Seinfeld Reference)

The size of one’s hands may impact your decision on preferred ukulele size. The soprano neck is the smallest, therefore frets and the strings are closer to each other. A concert ukulele may feel a little more comfortable for a person with larger hands. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. There are plenty of players with large hands who have no problem playing a soprano. 

The size of hands will probably have a bigger impact on whether or not the player has experience with other string instruments. An electric bass player or guitarist, who has years of experience on their instrument, will probably find the small soprano fretboard a challenge. A person who never played a string instrument will have no point of comparison.

Tone of a Ukulele

Generally, this is true of most stringed instruments, the bigger the body, the warmer the tone. So a soprano ukulele has a less warm sound than a concert. This is not necessarily a bad thing, your goal is to sound like a ukulele. In fact, among ukulele aficionados there is sometimes a dismissive attitude towards any size other than the soprano.

Is a Soprano Ukulele Good for Beginners

How Much Should You Pay For A Ukulele

As mentioned before, some of the soprano ukuleles available for purchase are actually toys and should be avoided. These instruments will sound terrible, never stay in tune and will definitely be discouraging for the new uke player. 

While a vintage Martin ukulele could easily cost over $1000, for a decent beginner ukulele, expect to spend between $50 and $150. Below is a list of good ukuleles for a beginner and for an experienced player.

Kala KA-15S

This model is often used in schools when teaching ukulele. High quality and an affordable price.

Fender Venice

Not your traditional looking ukulele but still good quality and sound. Fender has been making excellent guitars and basses since the 50s.

Kala MK-SS

Kala puts out instruments in all price ranges but they are known for their quality. They are one of the largest brands in the ukulele market. The MK-SS is popular among younger players because of the low price and variety of colors available.

Tips for a New Ukulele Player

There is plenty of great advice for new ukulele players on this website, other websites and of course YouTube. Here are some basic tips to get you started:

  • You don’t use a pick! Ukuleles have nylon strings and should only be played with your fingers.
  • Get a tuner. You want to always play and practice on a properly tuned ukulele. There are plenty of inexpensive tuners available today.
  • Don’t give up. Instruments are difficult to learn at first but it will get easier. Just keep playing and practicing.
  • Have fun! The ukulele is a cute little instrument. Have fun with it…whip it out when you sing Happy Birthday or to play a Christmas Carol. Even if you don’t like singing, just do it and people will sing along.