Tenor Ukuleles May Be Best For Beginners

Ukulele players fall into two categories: those who have been playing a guitar and those who haven't. For both groups, but especially for the guitar players, the fact that the tenor ukulele is tuned in G instead of C makes it easy to use the guitar chord diagrams found on most recent sheet music. The solution here is to get a tenor ukulele and tune the fourth string an octave lower than the usual tuning. (A special set of strings with a metal-wound fourth will be required for this.) The tenor ukulele, when set up this way, will be tuned exactly like four highest-pitched notes of a guitar. Voila! Now you can use the guitar chord diagrams to sing with and you still have the crisp ukulele sound. The baritone ukulele, which is tuned the same as a tenor ukulele set up this way, sounds much more like a guitar. When you use the diagrams for guitar chords ( found on lots of sheet music)- - just ignore the finger spots on the fifth and sixth strings. The minus side of buying a tenor ukulele is that this us usually the most expensive model and is not usually available in used condition. The concert-sized uke is almost as large as the tenor uke and can be tuned like a tenor uke if you use tenor-uke strings. Concert ukes are cheaper and more often available used than are the tenor models. The Fluke ukuleles are a good value and come in both tenor and concert models. If your local dealers are sold out, try fleamarketmusic.com. As I explain in my book, a lot of the best music was written in the key of Eb and pitched for female voice. To enable me to sing these songs I have found that if I play the chords for soprano ukulele on the tenor ukulele, which transposes the key from Eb to Bb, I am able to hit the high notes in. "After You've Gone" is written in the key of C but will be transposed to the key of G if you play the soprano chord diagrams on a tenor ukulele. I used this technique to make the recording of "After You've Gone" which I have put on this site. ( I will try to record this again later without the sour notes.) If you already have a soprano uke and are too broke from buying sheet music, then you can replace the fourth string with a "low G" string and at least have some notes below middle C. The tenor ukulele strings will also work on some of the larger soprano models which will not then be as loud as with regular strings.

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