What is the Standard Size of a Ukulele? All You Need to Know

by Madonna

Ukuleles have charmed their way into the hearts of music lovers worldwide with their distinctive sound and compact size. However, understanding the different sizes of ukuleles is essential for both novice and seasoned players. This article delves into the various sizes of ukuleles, their characteristics, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Introduction to Ukulele Sizes

The ukulele, a four-stringed instrument, originated from Hawaii and has since become a staple in many genres of music, from folk and pop to jazz and classical. Its portability, relatively easy learning curve, and cheerful tone make it a popular choice for musicians of all ages.


The size of a ukulele significantly impacts its sound, playability, and suitability for different types of music. Whether you’re buying your first ukulele or adding to your collection, knowing the differences between sizes will help you make an informed decision.


The Four Main Ukulele Sizes

Ukuleles come in four primary sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Each has unique dimensions, sound qualities, and uses.


1. Soprano

Description and Dimensions: The soprano ukulele is the smallest and most traditional size. It typically measures about 21 inches in length, with a scale length (the distance between the nut and the bridge) of approximately 13 inches. The body width is around 6.5 inches, and the depth is about 2 inches.

Sound Characteristics: The soprano ukulele produces the classic, bright, and cheerful tone that most people associate with the instrument. Its sound is light and crisp, making it perfect for traditional Hawaiian music.

Typical Use: Soprano ukuleles are ideal for beginners, children, and players who prefer a light, portable instrument. They are also favored by traditionalists and those looking for an authentic ukulele sound.

2. Concert

Description and Dimensions: The concert ukulele is slightly larger than the soprano, typically measuring about 23 inches in length with a scale length of around 15 inches. The body width is approximately 7.5 inches, and the depth is about 2.5 inches.

Sound Characteristics: Concert ukuleles offer a fuller, richer sound than sopranos due to their larger size. They maintain the bright tone of a soprano but with added volume and depth.

Typical Use: Concert ukuleles are a great choice for players who want a bit more room on the fretboard and a louder sound. They are versatile and suitable for a wide range of musical styles.

3. Tenor

Description and Dimensions: The tenor ukulele is larger still, measuring about 26 inches in length with a scale length of approximately 17 inches. The body width is around 8.5 inches, and the depth is about 3 inches.

Sound Characteristics: Tenor ukuleles produce a deeper, more resonant sound compared to sopranos and concerts. They have a rich, warm tone with greater projection and sustain.

Typical Use: Tenor ukuleles are popular among professional musicians and those who perform on stage. They are well-suited for fingerpicking and complex musical arrangements due to their larger fretboard.

4. Baritone

Description and Dimensions: The baritone ukulele is the largest of the four, typically measuring about 30 inches in length with a scale length of around 19 inches. The body width is approximately 10 inches, and the depth is about 3.5 inches.

Sound Characteristics: Baritone ukuleles have a deep, rich, and mellow sound similar to a classical guitar. They are tuned differently (DGBE) than the other ukulele sizes, which are usually tuned to GCEA.

Typical Use: Baritone ukuleles are favored by guitarists transitioning to the ukulele and players who want a lower, more guitar-like sound. They are excellent for jazz, blues, and classical music.

SEE ALSO: Which Size Ukulele Is Most Popular?

Detailed Size Comparison

Understanding the specific measurements and how they influence the sound and playability of each ukulele size is crucial.

1. Soprano

Length: 21 inches

Scale Length: 13 inches

Body Width: 6.5 inches

Depth: 2 inches

2. Concert

Length: 23 inches

Scale Length: 15 inches

Body Width: 7.5 inches

Depth: 2.5 inches

3. Tenor

Length: 26 inches

Scale Length: 17 inches

Body Width: 8.5 inches

Depth: 3 inches

4. Baritone

Length: 30 inches

Scale Length: 19 inches

Body Width: 10 inches

Depth: 3.5 inches

Sound Differences

The size of a ukulele affects its tone and volume. Smaller ukuleles, like the soprano and concert, produce a brighter, more traditional ukulele sound with less volume and sustain. Larger ukuleles, like the tenor and baritone, offer deeper, richer tones with greater projection and sustain.


The playability of a ukulele can vary significantly with size:

Soprano: Best for small hands and children due to its compact size. However, the smaller fretboard can be challenging for players with larger hands.

Concert: Offers more room on the fretboard than the soprano, making it easier to play for those with larger hands or longer fingers.Tenor: Provides ample space on the fretboard, suitable for intricate fingerpicking and advanced techniques.

Baritone: Feels more like a small guitar, making it comfortable for guitarists and players who prefer a larger instrument.

Choosing the Right Size

Selecting the right ukulele size depends on several factors, including skill level, music style, and physical comfort.

1. Skill Level


Soprano or Concert: These sizes are easier to manage for new players, offering a balance between playability and traditional sound.


Concert or Tenor: Intermediate players might appreciate the larger fretboard and richer sound of the concert or tenor ukulele.


Tenor or Baritone: Advanced players often prefer the tenor or baritone for their deeper tones and greater versatility.

2. Music Style

Traditional Hawaiian Music: Soprano or concert ukuleles are ideal.

Folk and Pop: Concert and tenor ukuleles offer the best balance.

Jazz, Blues, and Classical: Tenor and baritone ukuleles provide the depth and richness needed.

3. Physical Comfort

Hand size and comfort are crucial when choosing a ukulele:

Small Hands: Soprano or concert ukulele.

Large Hands: Tenor or baritone ukulele.

Common Questions and Misconceptions

“Bigger is Always Better”: While larger ukuleles have a richer sound, they are not necessarily better for everyone. The best size depends on the player’s needs and preferences.

“All Ukuleles Sound the Same”: Each size has a distinct sound, from the bright soprano to the deep baritone.

FAQs About Ukulele Sizes

Q1: Can children play baritone ukuleles?

A: Baritone ukuleles may be too large for young children. Soprano or concert sizes are usually more suitable.

Q2: Is it hard to transition from guitar to ukulele?

A: Guitarists often find it easier to transition to a baritone ukulele due to its similar tuning and size.

Q3: Do I need different strings for each ukulele size?

A: Yes, each ukulele size requires strings designed for its scale length and tuning.

Q4: Can a beginner start with a tenor or baritone ukulele?

A: While beginners can start with any size, sopranos and concerts are generally more manageable for newcomers due to their smaller size.


Understanding the different sizes of ukuleles is essential for selecting the right instrument to match your needs and preferences. Each size, from the bright and portable soprano to the rich and resonant baritone, offers unique characteristics that cater to various playing styles, skill levels, and physical comforts. When choosing a ukulele, consider your musical goals, hand size, and the type of music you wish to play. Trying out different sizes, if possible, will help you find the perfect fit. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, there’s a ukulele size that will enhance your playing experience and bring joy to your musical journey.


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