Ukulele Sizes Part 2 - The Less Common Ones
Ukulele Sizes (Part 2) - The Other Ones
Aloha! Today we will be talking about the more uncommon ukulele sizes and styles. Many of these models have become mainstays in the ukulele community but are not the traditional sizes that many associate with the ukulele, though they are undoubtedly part of the family.
The baritone ukulele is a large scale instrument when compared to the traditional ukulele, clocking in at 30 inches, with a scale length of 19 inches composed of at least 19 frets. This ukulele was one of the few styles not invented in Hawaii, but was instead invented for the radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey. The baritone deviates from the traditional g-C-E-A tuning of traditional ukulele, instead adopting the tuning of the high four strings of the guitar (or just the same tuning as the tenor guitar): D-G-B-E. This provides the instrument with an extra deep and rich sound. It can be played just like any other ukulele, though all of the chords will have different names and be in a different key.
The U-BASS is a new style of ukulele that originates from the popular ukulele company, KALA. Invented in 2009, this model is about the size of a baritone, but with thick rubber or steel wound strings. This instrument is tuned like the low four strings of a guitar but an octave lower (or the tuning of the bass guitar), so instead of playing this instrument like an ukulele, it is actually meant to be played just like a pocket bass guitar! The rubber strings provide the instrument with a rounded sound, similar to that of an upright bass, whereas the steel wound strings provide a sound much closer to the electric bass.
The pineapple ukulele is not very niche anymore, but it is not the common shape associated with the ukulele. Invented by Kamaka, this round ukulele has a deeper yet more shallow sound than the traditional figure-8 ukulele. Normally, the pineapple ukulele is associated with the soprano size, but Kanile’a changed this with the invention of the tenor ukulele. Now, pineapple’s come in all shapes and sizes and are the most popular variation on the ukulele.
The stick ukulele is a highly uncommon ukulele where there is no body and no headstock. This “neck-only” appearance is for electric and travel ukulele, making very little sound unless plugged into an amp. This condensed size helps players carry around a practice or performance ukulele when traveling, and their lack of a hollow body makes them more sturdy and reliable on the go.
There are many other variations on the ukulele such as the cigar box ukulele, tin can ukulele, banjolele, guitarlele, mandolele, etc, though the sizes listed above are some of the more common variations on the original jumping flea.