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Wondering what the different types of ukuleles are? Thinking about buying a new ukulele?
If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of ukuleles, you may not realize that there are many types of ukuleles that you can choose from. While many of them sound similar and are played in very similar ways, they do all have differences. One of the main differences is size but there are other types of differences as well that you can expect.
However, if you would like to learn about the different types of ukuleles first, then keep reading. Below we’ll give you our guide to the different ukulele types so you can make an informed buying decision.
Standard Ukulele Types
With these types of ukuleles, the main difference you can expect is the size of the instrument. The ukuleles above are listed from small to large
The soprano ukulele is the most common size of the ukulele and is also the smallest. It’s tuned to GCEA and is 20 inches long. It’s a great choice for beginners who are ready to get started with the instrument.
The concert ukulele is the next size up from the soprano ukulele. Like the soprano ukulele, the concert ukulele is tuned to GCEA. Concert ukuleles are 23 inches in size.
The tenor ukulele is a bit bigger than the concert ukulele, which makes it a great choice for players who have bigger hands. Like the soprano and concert ukuleles, the tenor ukulele is also tuned to GCEA. The tenor ukulele is 26 inches.
By the way, you can click here to see our list of the best tenor ukuleles now.
The baritone ukulele is the biggest of the standard ukulele types and is a great choice for players who are used to playing the guitar or who have big hands.
Unlike the ukuleles listed above, the baritone ukulele is tuned to DGBE, which makes it the same as the bottom 4 strings of a guitar. The baritone ukulele is 30 inches long.
Special Types of Ukuleles
In addition to the more standard types of ukuleles, there are some other types of ukuleles that are a bit more unique and unusual. Here are a few of the top choices available if you want a ukulele that is a bit less traditional.
The banjolele is one of the most interesting types of ukuleles around. These banjoleles can be a great choice if you love the sound of the banjo but want it in a small package.
These ukes are usually similar in size to soprano or concert ukuleles. They’re used just like a standard ukulele, are usually tuned to GCEA, and sound very similar to a real banjo.
We’ve made a list of the best banjo ukuleles in the past, so if you want one you may want to see that list now.
A similar concept to the banjolele, the guitalele has 6 strings and is played just like a guitar. The Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele, for example, is tuned up 4 steps from a guitar to ADGCEA.
The guitalele can be a great choice if you’re already a guitar player but want to get an interesting new tone. It’s also great for travelers.
Bass ukuleles such as the Kala U•BASS are also a good choice for anyone who is interested in playing the ukulele. Most bass ukuleles are tuned exactly like a bass guitar to EADG.
Bass ukuleles can be a great choice for bass players who are looking for a more portable and interesting instrument to play. Be sure to learn more about the bass ukulele at Kala’s website.
The sopranino ukulele is also a good choice for players, especially for anyone who wants a uke in an extremely small package. These ukuleles are even smaller than the soprano ukulele, although quite a bit less common.
These can be tuned to GCEA like the soprano ukulele. However, it’s also common to tune these ukuleles to ADF#B as well.
Acoustic-Electric and Electric Ukuleles
While this type of ukulele can income in any shape or style, it’s worth noting that any of the ukulele types listed above can be found with electric pickups built in.
These ukes can be a great choice for any players who are interested in plugging into an amp and using a few effects pedals with it or playing live. Acoustic-electric ukuleles can be extremely useful for anyone who plans on playing on-stage or who simply wants a little bit of extra volume.
Understanding the Main Types of Ukuleles
While there are many types of ukuleles out there, the one you choose really just depends on personal preference alone. Depending on your needs as far as portability, playability, and tone, any of the instruments above could make a great choice.
If you’re interested in getting started with the ukulele, the soprano ukulele is usually a great starting point. Check out our list of the best ukuleles now.
Hi, I’m Harrison! I created this website to help musicians navigate the ins and outs of their craft and to help them choose new instruments and gear to add to their collection. I have 15 years of experience as a guitarist and singer and have also played many other instruments throughout the years including the bass guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.