Ukulele Tips for Beginners
By Larry Santos (Ukulele Project Hawaii Chm.) | Aug. 16 2020
Choosing the right size ukulele is kind of like choosing the right car. It needs to fit your "style". Choosing one that is too big or too small may hinder you in the performance of your playing. The drawback can be that your ukulele does not portray the right sound and doesn't tell the story of your song.
The ukulele must fit comfortably in your hands. Having a strap or play in a seated position will really help to see if that ukulele best fits you. All Enya straps are adjustable to fit you. For the younger ukulele players, a standard or "soprano" size would be the right fit for you. It's the smallest of the ukulele ohana (family). The Enya sopranos come in different shapes. Through standards, Enya soprano ukuleles have a full length of 21 inches, a scale length of 13 inches, and between 12 to 15 frets. It usually fits perfectly in a keiki (child's) hands. If you are seeking that traditional sound of a ukulele, then the soprano could also be a perfect fit for you and your style. When sound is your number 1 factor in choosing the right size, and you want to keep its most traditional sound, then a soprano size ukulele will absolutely be the right fit for any size, age, or skill leveled ukulele player. Of course the material of a ukulele helps a lot with the sound. Enya has high-pressure laminate and also laminate Koa soprano ukuleles.
Are you a beginner ukulele player, possibly an older teen, or female adult? If so, the concert size ukulele would fit best and take care of your ukulele needs. The size of an Enya concert ukulele is at a full overall length of 23 inches. It's equipped with 15 to 20 frets, and a scale length of 15 inches. Concert size ukuleles have a bigger body resulting in a warmer sound, and enough space in there to have a great resonation of your strings' sound. Depending on which Enya concert you choose, the size of the body changes. The concert size is definitely the most popular of the ukuleles, because it is easy to hold, play, and travel with. With the scale length longer than the soprano, it could even allow for a "low G" tuning, but that is a completely separate subject. Concert ukuleles are usually the ukulele size that is played the longest in your ukulele playing life. If you are transitioning from a soprano, or to a tenor, the middle-classed concert is that happy medium for you.
A tenor ukulele? No, that's too big for me. Or is it? A tenor ukulele is only 2 inches longer in scale length than a concert, and has an overall length of 26 inches. Getting into these bigger size ukuleles really means you want your ukulele to be heard. A tenor size ukulele is the usual choice for instructors and performers. Its larger body and all around bigger size makes for the sound that is most heard in Hawaiian music. The tenor has enough scale space that you are allowed to put not only 4, but 5, 6, and even 8 strings as well. Given the bigger body size of a tenor, it sure has the space for those strings to really cook up a warm and beautiful sound. Again, wood or material of the tenor plays a huge factor in the ukulele’s overall sound. Enya has tenors made from high-pressure laminate all the way to solid wood ukuleles.
The best way to find which size ukulele is for you is to grab each size and line them up. Think to yourself, “Am I a child just starting? Am I an older teen or female adult? Would I like to instruct or perform?”. And then, you will know the right one for you. It will be, not too big, not too small, but just right. Go try ‘um, GO!
Published Aug 27, 2020