Ukulele Sizes: How to Choose

Something that can be confusing when you’re buying a beginner ukulele is the fact that there are four ukulele sizes. In this article, I’ll provide a comparison of the different sizes and explain the different sizes and which ones I think are best for beginners.

The Four Ukulele Sizes

From left to right, the sizes are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.

Ukulele sizes comparison

This table shows the measurements of each size.  These measurements may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

SizeScale LengthTotal Length
Soprano13"21"
Concert15"23"
Tenor17"26"
Baritone19"30"

The scale length is the distance from the nut to the saddle. Basically, this is the segment of the strings you interact with when you play the uke.

Soprano Ukuleles

The soprano is the original ukulele size, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the “standard size.”

Soprano ukes are tiny, so players with large hands (like me) may have a difficult time maneuvering around the fretboard. Sopranos are quieter and generally have a thinner, less powerful sound than their larger counterparts. I don’t recommend soprano ukes for most beginning players.

Concert and Tenor Ukuleles

These larger body sizes were introduced in the 20′s to meet players’ demands for bigger, fuller-sounding ukes.

Concerts and tenors are the ukulele sizes I recommend to most beginners. They’re big enough to be comfortable, and their larger size means they produce a warm, well rounded tone that makes them ideal for soloing,  accompanying vocals, or playing in a band.

Choosing between a concert and tenor mostly comes down to personal preference.  A concert uke is smaller, which will make some chords a little easier to form for beginners. A tenor uke is going to have a slightly bigger sound, but not much. There’s really not a drastic difference between the two sizes, so I’d just recommend just strumming a little on each size and going with whatever feels best.

If price is a factor, then it’s worth noting that concert ukuleles are generally cheaper than tenors.

Baritone Ukuleles

Due to their size, baritone ukeleles produce a big, rich sound. However, baritone ukes are tuned differently than the other sizes, which means you can’t use them with traditional ukulele chord sheets and song books.

Since baritone ukuleles are tuned the same as the top four strings of a guitar (DGBE), they’re popular with guitarists looking for a smaller instrument.

If you want to learn more about buying your first uke, check out my articles on buying a beginner ukulele and the best beginner ukes.