Learn The Similarities And Differences – Concert Vs Tenor Ukulele!
The Ukulele is one of the most heartwarming musical instruments that is going to fill your ears, especially because it has very melodic strums.
Musicians’ and ordinary people’s interest in this instrument has been raising over the past years for a lot of different reasons.
However, the dilemma about buying a new ukulele still remains and the availability of different ukulele types can make your choice even harder.
This will be done in order to help you choose between these two, but also to learn and get more information about the differences between concert and tenor ukes.
About Concert Ukulele
A Concert ukulele is bigger than a soprano and smaller than a tenor. The concert ukulele is usually about 23 inches from end to end with a 15-inch scale length. Being slightly longer than the standard soprano offers additional room between frets, which many rookies find comfier to deal with.
The bigger body creates a much bigger sound chamber, so they’re louder and fuller sounding than the soprano ukuleles.
Usually, we automatically connect sopranos with the traditional ukulele sound. The concert uke may have a bigger body and long neck, however, it still manages to maintain that recognizable uke sound.
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About Tenor Ukulele
The Tenor uke has grown to be extremely popular lately. Many professional and skilled players express a desire for a tenor-sized instrument.
Tenor uke is roughly 26 inches long, with a 17-inch scale. Since tenor instruments are a bit bigger than a concert, there’s much more space for the fingers to move.
Just as the concert ukes have a fuller and louder sound in comparison with the soprano, the tenor, with its bigger dimension has a fuller and louder sound than the concert. However, some have stated that the sound begins to introduce some classical guitar overtones, which might not be perfect for your necessities.
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Similarities Between Concert And Tenor Ukuleles
Before we start writing what separates concert and tenor ukuleles, let’s see what they’ve in common.
It’s simple to switch between concert and tenor ukulele because they’re usually tuned to the same notes (standard ukulele tuning) and played in the same method. They both use the G-C-E-A standard tuning (although tenors additionally have a standard Low-G alternative tuning possibility).
While a tenor has extra spacing between the frets, this isn’t significant enough to stop a decent player from switching between the 2 sizes easily.
When using the same standard tuning, the chords shapes, and scale patterns are similar between concert and tenor ukulele. In other words: For those who can play a tenor, they can play a concert and vice versa.
Usually, concert and tenor uke will have an identical number of frets (often 18, this will depend on the manufacturer). However, higher up the neck, the tenor frets are easier to access because the neck joins the body on the 14th fret, instead of the 12th fret.
To an untrained ear, tenor and concert ukes can sound very similar.
Size Of The Instruments
The primary difference between the concert and tenor is their respective sizes. Tenors with an average dimension of 26 inches are roughly three inches (which is 13%) longer than concert ukes.
These sizes are indicative; as there aren’t any standard ukulele sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, an instrument could also be off by an inch in both directions.
As a point of reference, soprano ukes normally measure about 21 inches, and baritones usually around 29 inches. As we already mentioned, the bodies of the 2 types vary, with the bigger tenor body offering a fuller sound.
Sound And Tone
Concert and tenor ukuleles produce little different sounds. For many, this can be a subtle difference that they would have to closely pay attention to, in order to hear.
A larger acoustic instrument’s body size leads to a warmer sound with extra bass. This is down to the science of sound waves and vibrations. Due to this fact, tenor ukuleles almost always sound fuller and more vibrant.
Tenor strings have more tension, leading to enhanced projection, which is helpful in live scenarios. Ukuleles aren’t the loudest of instruments, so the ability to project sound can make an instrument appear louder.
A ukulele’s tone, however, isn’t solely dependent on the size. Craftsmanship, quality, and materials all make a big difference in sound. For instance, an instrument crafted of solid wood will sound better, louder, and have more projection than a less expensive laminated model.
Fingerboard (Fretboard) Length
What can affect the sound and impact of playing style, is the size of a ukulele’s fretboard. The Fretboard on a normal concert ukulele connects to the body at the 12th fret.
On tenor ukuleles, the fingerboard usually joins at the 14th fret. Some people may find accessing the higher frets easier because the tenor ukulele neck sticks out a bit further than concert ukuleles and also can feature more frets or additional fret spacing.
The distance between the bridge saddle (where the strings begin) and the nut (at the end of the fretboard) of an acoustic instrument is called a scale length.
Scale length impacts string vibration. Moreover, scale length additionally determines the distance between frets. They are a bit further apart on tenors than concerts, which is why they’ve become the preference of many professionals.
Players with smaller hands generally prefer a tenor instrument, however, the difference is so subtle that it often doesn’t make a huge difference.
Tenor ukuleles are usually more expensive than equivalent Concert ukuleles, and one of the reasons is that tenor ukes are bigger.
As the price is going up and when you are looking for more expensive ukuleles the gap in price between these two will become even bigger.
Which one is better, what should I buy?
After you consider everything you might be thinking they are so similar and you can have a hard time deciding which one is better.
Well, some players prefer tenors and others prefer concert ukuleles and in the end, it all comes to a personal preference.
If you would like a recommendation, we will say that Tenor Ukulele made out of solid wood (good build quality) can be a perfect option.
Tenor and Concert ukuleles share a lot of characteristics that make them so similar, especially for beginners.
As we already said at the end it comes to personal preference, more advanced players are usually enjoying tenor ukes and extra features that come with a bigger size. However, if you are a beginner we would like to suggest you get a concert ukulele first and enjoy the traditional bright sound.