Soprano and concert are two of the four different types of ukulele, soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. These ukuleles differ mostly in their size and hence other elements associated with the size, such as the frets (metal strips visible along with the metal board of a ukulele), tunes, and sound quality.
- Soprano ukuleles are the smallest and most traditional, producing a classic, bright sound.
- Concert ukuleles are slightly larger, offering more frets and a deeper, fuller sound.
- Both types suit beginners, but concert ukuleles may be more comfortable for those with larger hands.
Soprano vs. Concert Ukulele
The soprano ukulele is the smallest type, with a standard size of about 21 inches, having a bright and cheerful sound. The concert ukulele is slightly larger, with a standard size of around 23 inches, having a deeper and richer sound than the soprano while still retaining the classic ukulele sound.
This is ideal for younger players, such as kids with smaller hands and fingers, owing to the size of the instrument. Even though it is called the beginner ukulele, it can be used by players of all skill levels and ages.
The concert ukulele, though at first sight might not hold much difference from the soprano, the size factor plays a major role. Being bigger, the neck of the concert ukulele is wider and the scale length greater, thus making it a bit heavier than the soprano.
This size is more comfortable for players with bit larger hands and fingers.
|Parameters of Comparison||Soprano Ukulele||Concert Ukulele|
|Tuning||GCEA, ADF#B||GCEA (re-entrant), GCEA (linear)|
|Number of Frets||12-15||15-20|
|Tension on Strings||Lesser||More|
|Sound||Shallow, plinky tone.||A tonal character between shallow and deep, fuller sound.|
What is Soprano Ukulele?
The soprano ukulele is the most commonly purchased type of ukulele. The major reason why it is the most common is its size. The small size makes it useful and travel-friendly. These are also the cheapest available ukuleles.
The soprano ukulele has the smallest scale and the least number of frets, giving it tight fret spacing and urging it to be used by users with smaller fingers.
Owing to its smaller size, the soprano ukulele has a brighter and softer tone while having lesser projection and resonance in comparison to the other larger ukuleles.
The soprano ukulele is better used for strumming than it is suited for fingerpicking, as the fretboard size is very small when compared to other ukuleles.
Due to the lack of a large resonating surface, the soprano ukulele will not have the volume or depth of tone that is common in other larger instruments.
As the strings in a soprano ukulele have less tension, the user might find it too easy to even accidentally bend a string out of tune, creating a missing chord in the chord sequence of the music being played.
Learning to play a soprano ukulele is easy, making it one of the really popular instrument choices for people worldwide. The learning curve of a soprano is short, allowing even a beginner to play chords perfectly for the first time.
What is Concert Ukulele?
The concert ukulele is bigger than the soprano and has a longer scale length. This extra length provides more spacing for the frets, also allowing it to have a greater number of frets with wide spacing between them.
Owing to the larger size of the concert ukulele, it has a fuller sound with a warmer tone that is more mid-range than the soprano. The concert ukulele also projects better than the soprano, making the eventual chord sounds and the volume a bit louder.
The tune commonly used in the concert ukulele is standard like the sopranos, GCEA. But some people prefer their concerts to be tuned in such a way that their G-strings are turned down an octave to lower the G tuning, called linear tuning.
In concert ukulele, since the tension on the strings is more. This is more beneficial when a user finds themselves bending strings out of tune as they press their fingers down.
As a concert ukulele has a greater number of frets, this helps players to navigate the tunes to higher notes. Even though it isn’t beneficial in strumming, this helps greatly with finger styles. A concert ukulele is also called an alto.
Main Differences Between Soprano and Concert Ukulele
- By even a small difference in size, the concert ukulele possesses a greater number of frets, helping gather more tunes, unlike in the soprano, where a lower fret number limits the tunes produced.
- Due to a low resonating surface, the sound produced by a soprano comes out shallow and plinky while in the concert soprano, there is a larger resonating surface resulting in fuller and deeper tunes being produced.
- While considering the physical appearance, the soprano has a more linear and less wide look, appearing stunt, while the concert ukulele is longer with a wide fretboard, making it appear linear.
- Musicians with smaller hands and fingers might prefer a soprano ukulele, while someone with slightly bigger hands would prefer a concert.
- The concert ukulele has a longer scale with a long and wider neck, while the soprano has a shorter neck.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.