Common Questions About Ukuleles

February 24, 2021

Common Questions About Ukuleles

Answers to the most common questions about the ukulele

We’re back to answer more of your questions about the ukulele! If we missed something, let us know and it just might become its own article!

Is The Ukulele A Serious Instrument?

The ukulele is a real, tangible, legitimate instrument. Just like guitars, basses, pianos, and so on. A lot of people see the size and assume it’s a toy or child’s instrument. But that’s simply not true.

The ukulele is a lot of fun to play and is no more or less a "real” instrument than any other instrument. If you play the ukulele, you’re a musician. You’ll often find bands composed of just ukulele players.

Ukuleles are actually descendants of traditional Portuguese instruments called machete de braga. Check out this article for a fun look at the history of the ukulele.

Why Is Ukulele So Popular?

Because it’s awesome! Just like most instruments, the ukulele has had its peaks and valleys in popularity. And I'd say right now we’re in one of the peaks, and have been for some time.

The ukulele is often thought of as a happy instrument. It makes you think about Summer, beaches, and good times. When you hear someone play the ukulele it brings a certain joy only the ukulele can.

It’s also really approachable to learn! You can learn 4 easy chords and play hundreds, if not thousands of songs. You can go really far with developing your playing of course. But even a basic understanding will give you a fun hobby.

Is Ukulele Harder Than Guitar?

I suppose that depends. If you were to start learning both at the same time, you might struggle a little more with the guitar. There are more strings and they're rougher on your fingers. But your fingers have more room to fret the notes.

A ukulele is much smaller (#captainobvious) which requires a different kind of dexterity. But they’re also played differently. Just like a banjo is played differently and just like a mandolin is played differently. There are similarities between all fretted instruments, but there are vast differences too.

Instead of looking for the easier instrument to learn, go for the one that inspires you the most!

Do All Ukuleles Sound The Same?

All ukuleles sound like ukuleles, but not all ukuleles sound the same.

Many things go into what a ukulele sounds like, generally speaking. The biggest factors are going to be the ukulele size, and the wood it’s made of.

There are 4 sizes of ukuleles:

  • Soprano
  • Concert
  • Tenor
  • Baritone

That’s in order of smallest to largest. Soprano and Concert ukuleles are on the smaller side. This naturally gives them a brighter, more twangy tone.

Tenor and Baritone are larger in size which naturally gives them a warmer tone with more bass. It also gives them increased projection.

Every ukulele also has a specific and intentional wood choice. These woods are called tone woods. Which just means instrument grade wood. These woods have a large impact on the tone when comparing apples to apples. No matter what wood configurations you choose, a Baritone ukulele will not sound like a Soprano ukulele.

However, a Tenor ukulele made out of Koa will sound much different than a Tenor ukulele made out of Spalted Maple. It often takes experience to really pick up on the differences. But if you ran an A/B test you’d more than likely notice that they’re at least different, even if you’re not sure how.

Did we miss any questions? Leave a comment and it just might become an entire article!

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