Old Postcard


The ukulele comes in four sizes: soprano (also called standard), concert, tenor and baritone. The following table partially excerpted from "Martin Guitars - A History" by Mike Longworth (1988) gives a very general sense of the dimensions in inches of this family of instruments.

Attribute Soprano Concert Tenor Baritone
Total Length 21 23 1/4 26 1/4 30 11/16
Body Length 9 7/16 11 12 1/6 14
Lower Body Width 6 3/8 7 5/8 8 15/16 10
Lower Body Depth 2 5/16 2 3/4 2 7/8 3 3/8
Soundhole Diameter 1 3/4 2 1/16 2 5/8 2 13/16
Scale Length 13 5/8 14 3/4 17 20 1/8

It should logically follow that progressively larger instruments should have lower and lower air resonances associated with them. The next table shows calculated air resonances using formulae in Allen, American Lutherie, Vols 1 & 13 for the four ukulele sizes and an average sized classical guitar.

Calculated Air Resonances
Soprano Concert Tenor Baritone Classical Guitar
  ~260 ~225 ~195 ~155 ~98
Nearest Note mid C mid A low G low D# lower G

Thus it is surely no accident that the various tunings of the four ukulele courses as well as the six classical guitar courses often have a lower bound near the air resonance in order to access that range of notes directly. Note that as normally strung, the concert size has no near low note

Course# Soprano Concert Tenor Baritone Classical Guitar
First Course A (440) A (440) A (440) E (329.6) E (329.6)
Second Course E (329.6) E (329.6) E (329.6) B (246.9) B (246.9)
Third Course C (261.6) C (261.6) C (261.6) G (196) G (196)
Fourth Course G (392) G (392) G (196) D (146.8) D (146.8)
(Fifth Course)         A (110)
(Sixth Course)         E (82.4)

A useful thing to remember is that the soprano, concert and tenor are tuned five semitones higher than the baritone, but the relative tuning of the strings remains the same.  That is, if you put a clamp on the fifth fret of the baritone, the tuning would be GCEA.  Here's a table to help you remember how to change chord positions:

Soprano A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
Baritone E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

So if you fingered what would be a soprano F chord on a baritone, it would in fact be a C chord.

If you enjoy the technical side of things, please consider buying my book "Left-brain Lutherie" . Although no longer sold by StewMac, you can buy from LMII, MIMF or directly from me.

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