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Types of Ukuleles

The ukulele, or Uke for short, is a four-stringed instrument that looks like a miniature classical guitar. This instrument is often used to accompaniment and solo with clear, resonant sound suitable for music with cheerful and bustling melodies. The ukulele comes in many different sizes, and the tone and volume of the ukulele vary with size and construction. In this article, we will learn about different types of ukuleles.

Four standard types of ukuleles

Ukuleles come in four main types and are distinguished by their size, namely Soprano Ukulele, Concert Ukulele, Tenor Ukulele, and Baritone Ukulele, distinguished by their size. 

Four standard types of ukuleles
Four standard types of ukuleles

Soprano Ukulele

The Soprano Ukulele is the smallest and most common ukulele, with a standard length of 21 inches and a number of frets 12 – 15. The standard tuning of a Soprano Ukulele is G-C-E-A. Most people start with this size because the small size makes it very portable and easy to work with. This type of ukulele suits those with small fingers and hands.

Concert Ukulele

The second type is the Concert Ukulele (also called Alto Ukulele). The Concert Ukulele also has a standard tuning of G-C-E-A. Compared with the Soprano Ukulele, it has a slightly larger size with a longer neck, at around 23 inches, including 15-18 frets. Its wider fret spacing makes it easier to hold and play, suitable for bigger hands. The Concert plays precisely like a Soprano, but it’s a little bit bigger and louder with a deeper tone.

Tenor Ukulele

The next size up is a Tenor Ukulele. It has a larger body – around 26 inches in length. It is still similar to the Soprano and Concert in that it is tuned the same way, but its larger size gives it a fuller, bigger sound and deeper bass tone. 

Baritone Ukulele

The Baritone Ukulele is 30 inches in length and is slightly broader than a Tenor Ukulele. It has a richer, deeper sound and is tuned to D-G-B-E.

Other types of ukuleles 

In addition to the four mentioned above, there are several less common types of ukuleles in different shapes and sizes. 

Guitalele

Guitar Ukulele/ Guitalele

A guitar ukulele, also called a guitalele, is a guitar-ukulele hybrid, that is, “a 1/4 size” guitar, a cross between a classical guitar and a tenor or baritone ukulele. This ukulele has six strings like a guitar and is tuned just like a guitar but five half steps higher in pitch, A-D-G-C-E-A, which is the same as having a capo on the 5th fret of guitar (up a 4th). It is variously marketed (and used) as a travel guitar or children’s guitar.

Bass Ukulele

A bass ukulele is basically a bass guitar with the body of a baritone ukulele. The tuning of a bass ukulele is identical to a standard bass: E-A-D-G. It has a warm and rich tone like the sound of an upright bass, which is why it is increasingly popular among bassists. 

Bass ukulele
Banjolele

Banjo Ukulele/ Banjolele

A banjo ukulele, also known as a banjolele, is a cross between a banjo and a ukulele. It has the body and sound of a banjo, but the size of a traditional ukulele. It is commonly tuned to G-C-E-A like a standard ukulele and is typically strung with four nylon strings.

Electric Ukulele

Electric ukulele
Electric ukulele can be electronically amplified

Like an electric guitar, an electric ukulele can be electronically amplified. The electric ukulele can come in 2 forms: a full electric ukulele and an acoustic-electric ukulele. The full (solid body) electric ukulele is the same as an electric guitar in its non-resonant body (not having a soundhole) and uses a pick-up to send the vibration signals to an amplifier. The acoustic-electric (semi-acoustic) ukulele combines the body of a standard ukulele with a pickup to collect the string vibrations and then send them via a jack output to an amp.

Sopranino Ukulele

Sopranino ukulele
Sopranino ukulele is a tiny soprano

A tiny ukulele that is smaller than a soprano ukulele. The sopranino ukulele has ten frets and is 12 inches in length. It is generally tuned the same way as a soprano, G-C-E-A. 

Pineapple ukulele

Pineapple Ukulele

The pineapple ukulele is shaped differently than a standard ukulele. Instead of the classical figure-eight shape that most ukuleles have, the pineapple ukulele has a rounder shape that resembles the shape of a pineapple. This shape gives the instrument a louder sound and a sweeter tone. 

Above are all common types of ukuleles. Pick a ukulele you like and then start your musical journey.

Guitar Tunio is an incredibly accurate ukulele tuner allowing you to get your uke tuned with ease. Besides, the app features a rich chord library with over 1000 guitar and ukulele chords so that you can learn, practice, and play any song. A virtual metronome is also found in this app that helps you practice your timing and rhythm. Guitar Tunio is now available on the App Store and Google Play, download and try it out!

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