Ukuleles frets size (tenor, concert)

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Ksamphos
KVRist
85 posts since 8 Feb, 2019

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:49 am

Hi,
Im looking if someone knows how much is the lenght of a Tenor and Concert Ukuleles from the start of the scale till the end of the 5th fret.

Im in doubt If I buy a tenor or concert to use alternate fingerings like dgbe or gdae.

My mandolin is 3,5 inches, 9 cm till the end of the 5th fret, a great size for me cause I can reach easily the frets necessary to go up an octave at the start of the scale in gdae. Easily I mean without having to change the hand position.

My acoustic guitar is 6,2 inches, 16cm, what makes it more difficult to solo even in dgbe, and quite difficult to get to the A note at the 5th fret of E chord.
Last edited by Ksamphos on Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Better than this only the silence. Better than the silence only John.

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offthewall
KVRian
916 posts since 20 Mar, 2005 from Newcastle, UK

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:35 am

My standard 'concert' uke is 9.4 cm to 5th fret.
My baritone uke is 12.7 cm to 5th fret.
I don't have a tenor but would bet it is half way between these two.
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Ksamphos
KVRist
85 posts since 8 Feb, 2019

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:30 am

Thank you! So the concert 5th fret distance is very near the same of a Mandolin... Hummm.

My interest is to have an instrument that is:
- smallest
- Nice sound played quietly
- ample range
- priority to e4 region than e5
- can be played softly with fingers (nylon)

The Baritone tuning is dgbe, i see many people tune the Tenor this way, so I suppose it can get a nice tone at this tuning ( I dont aim at recording or playing to others, but just playing to myself)

The dgbe makes it possible to go up the octave using fewer frets, but a 5ths tuning gives an ample range... I Wonder If a Tenor could sound Nice (for quiet playing, not recording) with an octave mandolin tune, for example. But even if it could, it would use till 5th or 6th fret to go up an octave, so it needs to be small...
Not excluding the possibility of tuning a concert like a Mandola or even an octave Mandolin... I just didnt find examples. Though usually people are only satisfied with the sound when they can play loud, while im looking for just a nice tone, doesnt matter If quiet.
Better than this only the silence. Better than the silence only John.

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offthewall
KVRian
916 posts since 20 Mar, 2005 from Newcastle, UK

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:56 pm

If you want to get the same sort of octave range, within 5 frets, as a mandolin you might consider, or look out for, a tenor guitar. https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_tenor ... andard.htm
I have one and the 5th fret is at 14.4 cms but the tuning (from low to high) is CGDA giving you the same fingering as the mandolin family but at a different pitch. Very satisfying to play.
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Ksamphos
KVRist
85 posts since 8 Feb, 2019

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 2:19 pm

The tenor guitar is a beautiful instrument, indeed.
The sound is probably quite in depth with this tuning and the size, though im looking for something smaller, for that I didnt consider the Baritone uke either.
Better than this only the silence. Better than the silence only John.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
12168 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:42 pm

If you ask what's the size of the frets (as per the title of this thread) I'm thinking of their height or diameter. Probably others will have the same line of thought.

As it turns out you want to know the distance from the start of the scale (supposedly you mean the top nut, not the bridge) to the 5th fret. That distance is always one quarter of the full scale size.

The full scale size (length of the vibrating part of the string, distance from bridge to top nut) will be commonly known. The distance to the 5th fret (a quarter of it) is not a common measure, but can be calculated.

So look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukulele#Types_and_sizes
* Soprano ukelele = 33cm
* Concert ukelele = 38cm
* Tenor ukelele = 43cm
* Baritone ukelele = 48cm

You might also look into:
* Cavaquinho which has a scale of around 35cm but different tuning.
* Cuatro which has a scale of around 50cm.
* 3/4 guitar made for children: 3/4 of 64cm = 48cm
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BertKoor
KVRAF
12168 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:16 am

Experiment for free: put a capo on the 5th fret of your regular guitar and see what that does to your sound, technique, etc.
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Ksamphos
KVRist
85 posts since 8 Feb, 2019

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:04 pm

Thanks,
If I understood it right, If I put a capo at the 7th fret of the guitar I get the frets similar to a tenor ukulele, If I put the capo at the 9th, i get frets similar to a concert ukulele. Interesting, unfortunately I cant test the sound lol
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BertKoor
KVRAF
12168 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:29 pm

Ksamphos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:04 pm
If I understood it right, If I put a capo at the 7th fret of the guitar I get the frets similar to a tenor ukulele, If I put the capo at the 9th, i get frets similar to a concert ukulele.
Let's calculate... Regular guitar scale is 65cm.
The tenor ukelele is 43cm which is about 2/3rd of 65. Yes, that's the 7th fret!

Thing is though, a capo further than say the 7th fret on an acoustical guitar will limit the movement of your left hand since the body gets in the way.

If you want something with higher pitch than a standard guitar, lower than regular ukelele and easier for smaller hands, just get a 3/4 guitar. They are easy to obtain and rather cheap. Put on regular guitar strings and tune in ADGCEA.
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Ksamphos
KVRist
85 posts since 8 Feb, 2019

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:42 pm

I bought a tenor, and liked it so much. Its extremely soft, the playing sensation is very different from a guitar, its much easier and comfortable to play, in such a way that the frets distance arent so important as I first thought.
It sounds beautiful, and I liked so much the typical Ukulele tuning that I might buy another one to try different tunings and keep this with the original tuning 😊
Its a tuning that I find as adequate mostly to joyful charming music, and it does sound very well when playing with no nails, what surprised me positively.
Better than this only the silence. Better than the silence only John.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
12168 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:42 pm

:tu:
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offthewall
KVRian
916 posts since 20 Mar, 2005 from Newcastle, UK

Post Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:08 am

Ksamphos wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:42 pm
I bought a tenor, and liked it so much.
Well done.
It is one of those instruments that, as soon as you try one, it has you hooked.
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