An Ukulele is a small but quite a significant part of the stringed family. The following article will introduce us to the instruments and answer a question that however simple, can often be misunderstood as something that is insignificant. The strings make up an Ukulele. So here, we focus on the strings.
What is an Ukulele?
An Ukulele is an instrument of the Portuguese background. It belongs to the lute instrumental family and got it’s fame and recognition mainly from Hawaii. The sound, the quality and the application of an Ukulele is based on its size. An Ukulele comes in an array or sizes.
Sizes available in an Ukulele
- The Soprano Ukulele
As the name suggests, this Ukulele is small in size and has a comparatively softer voice compared to its other counterparts. Due to its size, this Ukulele is considered to be, the ideal choice for children and those who are just beginning out in the field of playing this instrument.
An Ukulele has the least fret space, which is evident when talking about its small size. None of these elements make it any less significant. A Soprano instrument is a great choice for beginners and experts alike, all based on their preference.
- The Concert Ukulele
The Ukulele that is a step up from the Soprano one. It has a wider base, as well as a neck. It’s an inch bigger than the Soprano. It also has a considerably fuller and smoother sound which can be called one of the perks of its size.
- The Tenor Ukulele
Again, this Ukulele is a step up from the previous one. It is about 2 inches longer. The neck and the space is wider which offers yet another array of sounds. This Ukulele is better for playing with the fingers as there is a larger fret space. The sound produced by it is fuller and louder than the former two.
- The Baritone Ukulele
A Baritone Ukulele is different than the other three. Not only is the size bigger, but also the way it is tuned is different than the rest. This Ukulele in particular, is also known to sound like an acoustic guitar linking it, closest to a guitar out of them all.
- The Bass Ukulele
A bass ukulele can be classified as more of mix between a bass guitar, and an Ukulele. Thus, the name. It is more similar to a guitar than an Ukulele in all aspects.
Parts of an Ukulele
- Nut – Where the strings rest. Located between the headstock and the feet board.
- Bridge – The part of an Ukulele where the strings are attached.
- Neck – Located behind the Fretboard, this part helps the player to hold this instrument.
- Sound hole – Its location is under the strings as a part of the body. It is hollow and thus, helps to create and resonate the sound.
- Fingerboard – The place where one holds the strings to create various notes.
- Headstock – Here, the tuners are located on an Ukulele. If your strings sound out of tune, this is the part to use.
- Fret – Frets are little upside marks on the fretboard. They help maintain the pressure on the string. They help in holding down the string and not the finger.
- Peg – A peg is the key used for tuning. Attached at the end of every string.
- Fret markers – These are the round dots on a fret board. Usually also known as fret inlays.
Strings of an Ukulele
A normal or in other words a standard Ukulele has a total of four strings, which is two less than a guitar. While they may be quite similar in certain aspects, an Ukulele and guitar are also different in many. One of those notable difference is their strings.
- Soprano Ukulele
Size – 21 inches (53 centimetres)
A Soprano Ukulele is tuned at GG-C-E-A or ‘C Tuning’.
- Concert Ukulele
Size – 23 inches (58 centimetres)
A Concert Ukulele is tuned similarly to the Soprano Ukulele.
- Tenor Ukulele
Size – 26 inches (66 inches)
A Tenor Ukulele is too shifted in the same way.
- Baritone Ukulele
Size – 29 inches (74 cms)
A Baritone Ukulele is tuned at D-G-B-E normally, quite similar to a guitar in many aspects. It has strings that are tuned low to sound high.
- Bass Ukulele
A Bass Ukulele is tuned similarly to a bass guitar, it’s tuning is, E-A-D-G.
On an Ukulele, the sequence of the strings is ranked as per the pitch. From highest to the lowest.
How to play the Ukulele?
- In order to learn to play the instrument, it is important to learn the correct way to hold it. The instrument should be held in such a way that, the neck (i.e. the long part that can be held) is facing away from you to your left side. The string placement otherwise, makes it really hard to have it the other way round.
- An Ukulele can be played both in a sitting and standing position. What is to be kept in mind is that it has to be held against the chest, with the left arm under, holding the neck, while the right arm is over in such a way that the hand comes to rest in front of the hole. This will help with the sound production.
- Set your hand comfortably against the neck of the Ukulele. If you are at ease with your hand placement, it will be easier to slide hands across the frets and take care of the note modulation. Putting pressure on the right string at the right time is the key to playing.
- To strum along the strings, bend your right hand’s first finger inwards. It should make a teardrop like shape which is ideal for protection and sound.
- Learn various chords and melodies. Start with the easier ones and move onto those that are more complex. Practice makes a man perfect. Keep practicing. A good place for beginners to start as any is starting with C and F which are the easier chords.
Some good brands to buy from
- Oscar Schmidt
Some good products available online
Kmise Soprano Ukulele
Donner Concert Ukulele
Enya Tenor Ukulele
Ukulele Baritone Size Bundle
Batking Electric Ukulele
Get more information on String instruments
While choosing an Ukulele, you must keep in mind, your needs and your preferred style of playing. To every artist there is an instrument that feels handy and what they feel at ease with.
An Ukulele offers variations in one instrument. Be it from beginner level to an advanced one, these are options and there are choices. With the right knowledge at hand, and a zeal for learning to play, an Ukulele could simply be called any musician’s best friend.