November 4

What is a Tenor Ukulele?


What is a Tenor Ukulele?

What is a tenor ukulele? We have previously written about how to play a ukulele (link), but one common question is what a tenor ukulele is?

Essentially the ukulele actually comes in several sizes and cannot simply be given the blanket term a “small guitar” - oh no, there is so much more to the ukulele world than this.

Ukulele Sizes Explained!

OK, so from biggest to smallest the ukulele can be split into the following instruments:

Soprano Ukulele

This is what most people picture when they think of a ukulele; this is the one most people use and why it is considered the classical sound. The smallest and lights of all available.

Concert Ukulele

Size-wise this is the next step up. The concert ukulele scale is about an inch longer, with the neck being a bit wider. Of course, this means it is heavier. This is great for experts or beginners, but this might be the ukulele for you if you have large hands and fingers.

Tenor Ukulele

The next one is up from a concert in size. It is generally two inches longer with a wider neck and is of course, a heavier instrument. The extra length between the frets makes the tenor easier for finger-picking and thus gives it a wider range, perhaps more like a guitar for newbies to the ukulele.

The tenor ukulele is the most popular instrument among professionals but can be used by people of any experience level. Again the larger size makes it easier to play for people with big hands and fingers. From an audio point of view also projects much better than other smaller ukulele’s. The standard ukulele tuning of G/C/E/A applies to the tenor size.

What is a tenor ukulele XL?

So you got really big hands? One of the newer ukulele styles, this has grown in popularity greatly over the last few years. It is a few inches larger than the tenor ukulele, making it great for people with big hands, particularly those transitioning from a classical guitar. The longer neck has a 19” scale length and better fits this ukulele size's wider lower bout/longer body.

From an audio point of view, the XL tenor ukulele has a much deeper sound. Another plus for this instrument is the pacing allows for much more projection than with a classic tenor ukulele 

Is there bigger than a tenor Ukulele XL?

The biggest of the Ukulele bunch is the baritone, which has the longest scale and is a full 3 inches longer than a tenor ukulele. This gives it a wider lower range than the tenor ukulele e and tenor ukulele XL.

And that is the long and short of the tenor ukulele and friends, no pun intended. Whether you opt for a tenor ukulele or another size will depend on many factors, not just the size of your hands!

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About the Author

Glen Campbell

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