Let’s take a look at the tenor ukulele, popular amongst some due to it’s size and louder tone.
Introduction to this Uke
The tenor, as you can see on the image is larger than the more common soprano and concert sizes. Many players who are keen to get into the uke, but find the smaller sizes too awkward, opt for the tenor. It is often employed by those who are doing solos or are playing with a band that as no other string instrument. Why? Because of the volume you can get out of it and the range that it allows you to play. Many of the ukuleles you see being used by contemporary musicians are tenors. Also, many pros settle with a these when they are past the beginner stage.
It is also not a bad choice to start with if you are just starting lessons or picking up the instrument. I suggest you read below for more information on the tenor sized uke..
Have a look at this Koa tenor model from Kala
Tenor Ukulele Features
The type of ukulele is not determined by the overall size of the instrument. What you need to measure is the length of the portion that creates the vibration. That is the space between the bridge and the net. This is often called the scale length. This size uke has a scale length of 40.64 centimeters (16 inches).
It has 15 frets which is more than the smaller options. Solo performers prefer it, the range is larger. They can play with it more and makes their performance more versatile.
It is also preferred by those that have bigger or fatter fingers. The space just allows them to move and change from chord to chord with a bit more freedom.
There a couple of ways to tune your tenor uke. The most common tuning is the C tuning. It is G-C-E-A, and the same as concert and soprano versions.
The popularity of this tuning may be partly due to the versatility of the chord. There are a lot of songs that you can play using this tuning. It is also to “bend” the chords. For example, you can replace the C with the G and take out the A. This tuning will allow you to do more “leads” or finger picking.
If you also play the guitar, here is one nice trick. Put a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar and you will have the exact same tuning as this baby. Some players actually do it the other way. They tune their tenor like a guitar with D-G-B-E. It became popular 60 years ago and is being revisited by many players nowadays with a bit of revision. The D should be higher than the G of soprano uke.
You can also use the G tuning. It goes E-B-G-D or the D tuning which is B-F#-D-A.
When to Use Tenor Ukuleles?
If you are looking to do more solos, you might be better off with this size. I am using the word “solo” loosely, of course. For example, if you are singing along or singing with someone and you are not using any other instrument but the uke, the tenor is recommended. You could also be a in a pop band and may have someone else be using a uke but I would still advise you to go for a tenor if there are less than three ukuleles.
However, the best way to determine which size is for you is by trying all the different kinds. Go to stores and feel each one, if this ends up feeling right for you, then go for it.
Example of this Uke
Here is a Kala Tenor being played by Alfa on our youtube video. This should give you a good idea of the size and tone of this size.