Types of Ukuleles: Detailed Guide to 12 Different Types of Ukulele

Do you want to add a ukulele to your musical instrument collection but aren’t sure what kind of ukulele to get? You have come to the right place. Here we’ve shared different types of ukuleles available.

In this article, you will learn about the various kinds of ukuleles. This list has something for everyone, whether you want a ukulele for personal use or one for the classroom.

Most people are only familiar with one type of ukuleles: the traditional wooden ukulele. But are there any others?

The ukulele, like any other musical instrument, has evolved. Today, there are many different types and variations of ukuleles available. This makes choosing a ukulele challenging, especially if you know nothing about them.  

These ukuleles differ in design, the sound produced, size, string type, and, most importantly, how they are played. 

types of ukuleles

4 Main Types of Ukuleles

There are four main types of ukulele: soprano, concert, baritone, and tenor. Other ukulele varieties, however, have become major game changers in the music industry over the years.

Let’s dive in.

1) Soprano Ukulele

According to traditional ukulele measurements, a soprano ukulele is the standard size. Many people prefer the soprano ukulele because of its standard size. The soprano ukulele is ideal for recreating the traditional classic sound.

The soprano ukulele will be your best friend if you have small hands and fingers. It’s an excellent choice for both beginning and advanced ukulele players. Moreover, it’s also ideal for children and teenagers thanks to its small size.

The small body size of the soprano ukulele also gives it a bright and soft tone.  Unlike larger-bodied ukuleles, the soprano ukulele does not have a large projection of frequency and resonance. 

The sopranino ukulele is a smaller version of the soprano ukulele. The soprano ukulele measures 21 inches in length and has 12 frets. Consider a soprano ukulele if you want something smaller than a soprano ukulele, consider a sopranino ukulele.

Our Recommended Top 3 Soprano Ukuleles

Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

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Lohanu’s LU-S

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Lanikai LU-21 Soprano

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2) Concert Ukulele

The concert ukulele is an upgraded soprano ukulele. The concert ukulele is wider, heavier, and has an inch-long neck than the soprano ukulele. The concert ukulele measures 23 inches long and has a standard tuning of GCEA. 

Thanks to its larger body, the concert ukulele is louder than the soprano ukulele. If you want a fuller, louder sound, the concert ukulele can help you achieve that.

Many people prefer the concert ukulele because it has more frets and more space for people with larger fingers and arms. Unlike the soprano ukulele, the concert ukulele allows you to move freely on the fretboard and create advanced chords with no restrictions. If you are confused whether to go with Soprano or concert ukulele then check out Soprano vs Concert ukulele article.

Our Recommended Top 3 Concert Ukulele

Donner DUC-1

Best Beginner Ukulele

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Cordoba’s 15CM

Best Beginner Ukulele

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Kala KA-15C

Best Beginner Ukulele

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3) Tenor ukulele

The tenor ukulele uses the same standard tuning as the soprano and concert ukuleles: G-C-E-A.

It is, however, slightly larger than the soprano and concert ukuleles, measuring 26 inches. The tenor ukulele was created to complement the larger sound and volume of big band instruments.

The tenor ukulele has a deeper, warmer, fuller sound and projection compared to the traditional ukulele. 

The tenor ukulele is popular among performers because it allows them to achieve a full dynamic frequency range on stage. Furthermore, it is large and has up to 15-20 frets, giving you more room for your fingers. The tenor ukulele produces a sound similar to the guitar, hence its name.

4) Baritone ukulele

The first thing you will notice about the baritone ukulele is that it is larger than both the concert and tenor ukuleles. The baritone ukulele measures 29 inches. The strings of this baritone ukulele produce a more rich, warm, and deep sound and resonance because of its larger size. 

The baritone ukulele has a different tuning of D-G-B-E, which is lower in the frequency spectrum. If you are an experienced ukulele player, you will enjoy the baritone ukulele’s non-standard tuning.

However, if you are a beginner ukulele player, you may find the non-standard tuning confusing at first.

The larger body of the baritone ukulele allows you to play more freely around the fretboard. This readily available space makes playing the baritone ukulele more enjoyable. This is also why baritone ukuleles are also the best choice for fingerpicking.

Now that you’ve learned about the 4 main types of ukuleles, let’s look at the other special variations types of ukuleles. 

Other special types of ukuleles

Banjo Ukulele

Like the concert and tenor ukuleles, the banjo ukulele was designed to complement big band performances. The banjo ukulele, also known as the banjolele, is similar to any other standard ukulele. 

You can play the banjo ukulele by strumming and fingerpicking the strings. However, you should not confuse a banjo with a banjo ukulele because writing a song on a banjo and trying to play it on a banjo ukulele can be impossible. 

If you want a louder sound, you should add a banjo ukulele to your collection. The banjo ukulele is the most audible of all ukuleles. It’s even louder than tenor and concert ukuleles.  

The banjo ukulele produces a banjo tone sound because it was modeled after the banjo.

Acoustic-electric Ukulele

The acoustic-electric ukulele is more versatile than other types of ukuleles. The acoustic-electric ukulele has a light cherry-like tone signature. 

The acoustic-electric is modeled after the traditional ukulele, which has a hollow body and a unique shape. 

One thing that makes the acoustic-electric ukulele stand out is that it comes with a pickup. Thanks to the pickup, you can connect the acoustic-electric ukulele to an amplifier for live performance and direct recording during music production.

If you’re tired of having to play your ukulele in front of a microphone every time you perform live, an acoustic-electric ukulele is precisely the type of ukulele you need.  

Pineapple Ukulele

The pineapple ukulele is unlike any other standard ukulele. As the name implies, the pineapple ukulele is shaped like a pineapple rather than the standard figure 8 shape found in most ukulele types.

As compared to other ukuleles, Pineapple ukuleles are generally smaller, with a mellow sound. Pineapple ukes also originated in Hawaii, and they are named after the state’s most iconic fruit.

The first pineapple ukulele was created in the early 1900s by Samuel Kamaka, one of the most important figures in Hawaiian music history. Kamaka was inspired by the traditional Hawaiian instrument, the ipu, which is a type of gourd drum.

The pineapple ukulele has a more defined tone and is stronger and more likely to last longer than other ukuleles due to its pineapple shape.

Guitar Ukulele a.ka. Guitalele

Types of Ukuleles

The guitar ukulele, also known as the Guitalele, is a powerful ukulele that combines the awesomeness of the classical guitar and the tenor ukulele.

Unlike a standard ukulele, which has four strings, the Guitalele has six strings, which enables you to play more advanced chord progressions.

You can create any genre of music with the Guitalele. The tuning on the Guiatalele is ADGCEA, which distinguishes it from standard ukuleles with standard tuning.

Playing the guitar ukulele is similar to playing the guitar. The only difference is the pitch, which is 5 times higher than the guitar due to its unique tuning.

Bass Ukulele

Types of Ukuleles

The bass ukulele is the new kid on the block and has only grown in popularity in recent years compared to other ukuleles.

Simply put, a bass ukulele is a bass guitar that has been converted into a ukulele. The bass ukulele uses the same basic tuning as the bass guitar, EADG. The body of a bass ukulele is similar to that of a baritone ukulele.

The bass ukulele’s strings are thick and floppy polyurethane strings, allowing it to produce low bass frequencies like an upright guitar.

Harp ukulele

Types of Ukuleles

The harp ukulele is a type of ukulele that combines the ukulele and the harp into one instrument. The harp ukulele is nearly the same size as the tenor and concert ukuleles. When it comes to shape, the harp ukulele is similar to the harp guitar.  

One feature that distinguishes the harp ukulele from other ukuleles is its extending harp-like arm that has 4 to 5 unfretted strings. This extension is hollow; thus, it gives the harp ukulele its high volume sound compared to other ukuleles. 

Despite being a distinct type of ukulele, the harp ukulele is not as popular as the guitalele, banjolele, or other types of ukulele, for that matter.

Electric Ukulele

Electric ukuleles are getting very trendy these days, electric ukes are nothing just the traditional ukulele equipped with some extra electronics. Electric ukes use electromagnetic pickup to amplify the sound of the strings.

I personally believe that electric ukuleles have a number of advantages over acoustic ukuleles. You can play electric ukuleles at higher volumes without having to worry about feedback from the amplifier, and that’s why people find electric ukuleles much easier to amplify than acoustic ukuleles.

And since electric ukuleles have more strings than acoustic ukuleles, they produce richer and fuller sounds than acoustic ukuleles.

Electric ukuleles have a number of advantages over acoustic ukuleles. First, they are much easier to amplify than acoustic ukuleles. This means that you can play them at higher volumes without having to worry about feedback from the amplifier. Second, electric ukuleles are not as affected by external noise as acoustic ukuleles.

Types of ukulele FAQs

Which is the best type of ukulele for beginners?

Soprano and concert ukuleles are ideal for young kids learning to play the ukulele for the first time. On the same note, concert and tenor ukuleles are perfect for beginner teens and adults.

Which type of ukulele is most popular?

The most popular ukuleles are the tenor, baritone, concert, and soprano ukuleles. These are also the main types of ukuleles.

What type of ukulele is standard?

The soprano ukulele is the most common and widely used type of ukulele hence the standard ukulele type.

How do I choose my first ukulele?

There are numerous factors that influence which ukulele you choose. Tone, body type, size, aesthetic appeal, and, most importantly, your budget are some of these factors.

What kind of ukulele has the best sound?

The best-sounding ukulele depends on what sound you are trying to achieve. A guitalele is ideal for producing a guitar sound, whereas a soprano ukulele is great for producing a traditional classic sound. On the same note, if you desire a banjo sound, you can create it using the banjolele. Lastly, if you seek a harp sound, the harp ukulele is excellent for that.

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That’s all there is to it. You now understand the different types of ukuleles.  Now you have an idea of what type of ukulele is right for you or your kid.  

We first discussed the main types of ukuleles which are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone ukuleles.

Second, we mentioned that there are special types of ukuleles that are modeled after the main ukulele types and other musical instruments. These unique ukuleles include the banjo, pineapple, acoustic-electric, guitar, bass, and harp ukulele.

Finally, we answered some frequently asked questions about the various types of ukuleles. I hope you found this article informative. Let us know in the comment section below. 

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