Concert VS Tenor Ukulele: What’s The Difference?

Concert VS Tenor Ukulele: The ukulele is easily one of the most heartwarming musical instruments out there. Fill your hearts with the melodic strums of the strings and let your mind at ease! The instrument has been a topic of rising interest for the past few years for a multitude of reasons. Yet, the question of “Which ukulele should I buy?” remains a matter of great debate.

In a market filled with different kinds of ukulele and offerings from endless brands, feeling confused in totally normally. For this piece, we will be focusing only on concert and tenor ukuleles and discussing their primary differences. Apart from concert vs tenor ukulele, we will also be highlighting some things to keep in mind while uke shopping.

What’s Similar Between Concert and Tenor Ukuleles?

Before we get into the differences, let us just mention the similarities between the two. They play the same way and are tuned to the same exact notes.

Both concert and tenor ukuleles use the standard ukulele tuning which is G-C-E-A. The chords, scales, and notes are identical. This basically means that if you can play a tenor ukulele, you can also play a concert.

Soprano ukuleles are played and tuned like a tenor or concert too.

Also Read: Best 5 Tenor Ukuleles Under 300

Concert vs Tenor Ukulele: Which is the Best?

We can’t say for certain that there is a “best” ukulele size. Tenors and concerts each have a set of characteristics that will make one player prefer one over the other, but this doesn’t provide a basis on which we can declare a “winner.”

The differences between the ukulele sizes in question aren’t as extreme as you might have heard or read someplace. As long as you’re satisfied with the ukulele, it’s the “right” one for you.

Concert vs Tenor Ukulele: The Differences

It’s time to dive deeper into what differentiates a concert ukulele from a tenor one.

1. Size

Size is the most obvious difference between a tenor and concert uke. Take a look at some basic stats:

  • Concert ukes are smaller than tenor ukes.
  • Out of the three most common ukulele sizes, tenors are the largest. The order goes: soprano, concert, and tenor.
  • Concerts are typically about 23” long.
  • Tenors are approximately 26” long.

The exact measurements will vary based on brand and manufacturer, but expect them to be pretty close to the values mentioned above.

In contrast to what many people might think, the difference in body size between a tenor and concert ukulele isn’t that big. For the most part, the actual body of a concert is about 10% smaller than a tenor.

2. Tone

Generally, increasing an acoustic instrument’s body size results in more bass, volume, and warmth. Due to this, tenor ukuleles usually produce a richer and fuller sound than their concert counterparts.

With that said, some people prefer a brighter and more sparkly tone produced by a concert. Preference is what matters.

Remember that body size isn’t the only determinant of tone. Design, materials, and build quality shape the ukulele’s voice just as much. For instance, a solid wood, high-quality concert uke will probably sound better than a poorly-built tenor ukulele.

Tenor ukuleles feature a higher string tension, resulting in more projection and volume. 

Also Read: Best Beginner Tenor Ukulele

3. Scale Length

Concert ukes generally have a 15” scale while tenor ukuleles come with 17” scales. The distance between the nut and the bridge is the scale length. The white piece situated at the top of the saddle and neck is the nut.

For good measure, the scale length is the measurement of a segment of strings that vibrates when you play it. Scale length decided the fret spacing in the ukuleles. The frets are a bit spread out on a tenor and they are slightly closer on a concert.

When playability is concerned, a concert ukulele can be easier to play for people with smaller hands. On the other hand, a tenor ukulele may be more comfortable to play for folks with larger hands.

Although the difference in fret spacing is definitely something to keep in mind while choosing the ukulele size for you, we think the variation is quite subtle and nothing to obsess over. Many practitioners own both sizes and can switch between both seamlessly.

A longer scale length comes with higher string tension.

Also Read: 5 Best Concert Ukulele Under $200

4. String Tension

Concert ukes have lower string tension than tenor ukuleles, making the tenor’s strings feel a bit tighter.

Generally, tenor ukes contain about 35%-50% more string tension than their comparison for today. While this may sound like a lot, the difference isn’t that visible when you play on both of them. As mentioned before, the increased string tension the tenor offers allows players to strum the instrument harder which in return generates more volume. The difference is still subtle, but it gets more noticeable in a few tenor ukes.

5. Fretboard Length

For most concert ukuleles, the fretboard connects with the body near the 12th fret. In contrast, it’s the 14th fret for most tenor ukes. In other words, the difference between the necks of a concert and tenor ukulele is two frets, roughly an inch.

The additional clearance offered on a tenor makes it easier to reach the higher frets.

Many professional players may like having the extra room on a tenor when playing in a higher register. However, that won’t be that big of a deal for most people.

6. Price

A concert ukulele is typically cheaper than an equivalent tenor ukulele.

In most cases, the variation in price can be around 5% to 15%, but it’s not impossible to find tenors about 25% more expensive than concerts.

This price difference can be a few dollars with beginner ukuleles, but it builds up fast and accumulates to hundreds of dollars for high-end brands.

Also Read: Soprano vs Concert Ukulele: What to Choose?

Bottom Line

This was everything on concert vs tenor ukulele. Did you find the information you needed to choose the perfect uke for yourself? Remember, whatever you choose, it’s the perfect one for you.

1 thought on “Concert VS Tenor Ukulele: What’s The Difference?”

Leave a Comment