Types of Ukuleles: A Complete Guide to the Ukulele Family

different-types-of-ukulelesThe ukulele, with its charming sound and portable size, has captivated musicians and audiences around the world. Originating from Hawaii, this instrument has evolved into various types, each offering unique sounds and sizes to suit different players and musical styles.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to the 11 different types of ukuleles, helping you navigate through the options to find the one that best suits your musical journey.

Standard Types of Ukuleles

Soprano Ukulele

The soprano ukulele is the smallest and most traditional type, known for its bright, classic ukulele sound. Typically about 21 inches long, it’s ideal for beginners due to its lightweight and manageable size. Its cheerful tone is perfect for strumming simple chords and playing traditional Hawaiian music.

Concert Ukulele

Slightly larger, the concert ukulele measures around 23 inches and offers a fuller sound and more comfortable fret spacing than the soprano. Its increased size allows for a richer tone and volume, making it a favorite among players looking for a bit more depth without compromising the classic ukulele sound.

Tenor Ukulele

The tenor ukulele, around 26 inches in length, offers a deeper, more resonant sound thanks to its larger body. It’s popular with professional musicians for its versatile tone that works well both for strumming and fingerpicking, offering a wider range and more comfortable playability for larger hands.

Baritone Ukulele

At approximately 30 inches, the baritone ukulele is the largest in the family, tuned differently (DGBE) to produce a deeper, guitar-like tone. Its size and tuning appeal to guitar players transitioning to the ukulele, offering a familiar feel and a rich, warm sound.

Bass Ukulele

The bass ukulele is a relatively new addition, designed to mimic the sound of a bass guitar. It uses special polyurethane strings and is tuned to standard bass tuning (EADG), providing a deep, percussive sound that complements other ukulele types in ensemble settings.

Sopranino/Piccolo Ukulele

Even smaller than the soprano, the sopranino, or piccolo, ukulele is known for its tiny size and high pitch. Ideal for travelers or as a novelty instrument, it challenges players with its compact fretboard but delights with its lively, whimsical sound.

Special Ukulele Varieties

Pineapple Ukulele

Characterized by its oval, pineapple-shaped body, this type of soprano ukulele offers a unique design without the traditional figure-eight shape. The pineapple ukulele produces a slightly fuller and warmer tone than its standard soprano counterpart, with a distinct look that stands out.


A hybrid between a banjo and a ukulele, the banjolele combines the ukulele’s size and tuning with the banjo’s resonant drum-like body. It produces a loud and twangy sound, perfect for cutting through the mix in band settings or for players seeking a distinct, vintage tone.


The guitarlele is a fusion of a guitar and a ukulele, offering six strings tuned A to A, higher than a standard guitar. It’s an excellent choice for guitarists wanting the portability of a ukulele with a familiar six-string setup, producing a sound that’s a blend of both worlds.

Electric Ukulele

Designed for amplification, electric ukuleles come in various forms, from solid body models that resemble electric guitars to acoustic-electric hybrids. They’re perfect for performers looking to plug in and play loud, with effects and amplification opening up a new range of sonic possibilities.

Resonator Ukulele

Resonator ukuleles feature a metal resonator cone instead of the traditional wooden soundboard, producing a loud, bright sound reminiscent of blues music. Their distinctive tone and volume make them ideal for projection in acoustic blues or country settings.

Commonly Ukulele Sizes

Here is a chart that shows the sizes and lengths of each popular ukulele type.

Ukulele TypeSize & Legnth
Soprano UkuleleApproximately 21 inches (53 cm) in length
Concert UkuleleRoughly 23 inches (58 cm) in length
Tenor UkuleleAround 26 inches (66 cm) in length
Baritone UkuleleTypically 30 inches (76 cm) in length
Bass UkuleleGenerally around 30 inches (76 cm)
Sopranino/Piccolo Ukulele20 inches (50 cm) or less in length
Pineapple UkuleleAbout 21 inches or 53 cm, but with a wider, oval-shaped body
Banjolele (Banjo Ukulele)Varies, but often similar to soprano or concert ukuleles in scale length
Guitarlele (Guilele)28 inches (71 cm) in length, bridging the size gap between tenor ukuleles and guitars
Electric UkuleleVary widely depending on design, from soprano to baritone sizes
Resonator UkuleleSimilar to concert or tenor ukuleles in terms of scale length, but with a larger body to accommodate the resonator cone


From the traditional sounds of the soprano ukulele to the deep grooves of the bass ukulele, this versatile instrument caters to a wide array of musical tastes and styles.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, understanding the different types of ukuleles can help you choose the perfect instrument to express your musical voice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best ukulele size for beginners?

For beginners, the soprano ukulele is often recommended due to its small size and lightweight, making it easier to handle and learn the basics of ukulele playing. Its classic sound and portability offer a great starting point for newcomers to the instrument.

Which ukulele size produces the deepest tone?

The baritone ukulele produces the deepest tone among the ukulele family, thanks to its larger body and longer scale length. Tuned similarly to the four highest strings of a guitar (DGBE), it offers a rich, warm sound that resonates with depth.

Can children comfortably play a tenor ukulele?

While children can play a tenor ukulele, its larger size might be more challenging for younger players with smaller hands. A soprano or concert ukulele might be more comfortable, allowing easier access to frets and a more manageable hold for smaller stature.

Is there a ukulele size that works well for both strumming and fingerpicking styles?

The tenor ukulele is a versatile choice that accommodates both strumming and fingerpicking styles effectively. Its larger size offers more space between frets for intricate fingerpicking, while still maintaining a bright tone that’s great for strumming.

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