Sharing an Ukelele with my kid

Hi there,

I was in the guitar store the other day to get a few sets of strings. My kid (7 years old) was with me. He was fascinated by the guitar wall (who wouldn’t be) and asked me to get him a guitar. It wasn’t the first time he asks for one, but it was the first time they I felt like he meant it. He picks one of my guitars sometimes when I am playing but he never showed real interest in playing honestly.

Anyway I thought about it for a bit, and it has been a while that I’m thinking to get an Ukelele. So one Idea would be to get one that also he can play and maybe I can teach him simple things and see if it really interests him. But I don’t want to buy a kid-specific Ukelele because I want to play it as well.

Looking around I see the soprano size is the most recommended for kids. Is it playable by an adult? Not too small? Does anyone have an experience with this? or a recommendation? Will a concert size be too big for my kid?

Thanks

Hello Nadim,

I found this:

FAQs about buying Ukuleles

What size ukulele should I get?

The right size of the ukulele depends on personal preference and playing style. Knowing how the size of a ukulele affects playability, comfort, and tone can be a useful way to narrow down your choice. Ukuleles come in four main sizes:

  • Soprano ukuleles are the smallest and have bright, cheerful sounds.
  • Concert ukuleles are slightly larger and have a fuller sound.
  • Tenor ukuleles are the largest and have the richest sound.
  • Baritone ukuleles are the largest and have a deeper, guitar-like sound.

on Córdoba’s site under ukuleles. I think the size might depend on both how big you & your kid are… any of the sizes are “playable” by adults, although if you have large hands you’d probably find the Tenor or Baritone the most comfy. My wife (at 5’0" she’s a petite female) has a Concert uke & I (5’11" average size male) can comfortably play with it!
So, I don’t think you can go too wrong whichever size you choose.

Tod

P.S. Córdoba has some getting started videos for how to tune, early chords, etc for the uke. Justin also has some Moms & Dads Beginner uke courses for playing with your kid + songs on his website!

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Hey Nadim

I love ukulele! For me as well as guitar, not instead of. My kids are adult now but I think it’s a great way to start young children in music and playing :smiley:

I don’t think any of the sizes would be too small or big for a child or adults, although a challenge for me when I started was how to hold them, being a lot smaller than a guitar, but it’s just different and something to get used to I guess.

I prefer my tenor and play it most often. It has a warmer sound and also that little bit bigger.

The baritone size is tuned differently to the smaller sizes, DGBE like the top 4 strings of the guitar, which could be an advantage for transitioning to guitar but a disadvantage to follow Justin’s beginner uke courses. The other sizes are usually tuned with reentrant tuning GCEA.

If it were me I wouldn’t go for ‘toy’ or kid-specific either and get something a bit nicer to play with a richer sound in the size that you prefer. They’re all great for adults or kids I think but I’d personally go for concert or tenor, especially if you’re both going to be playing it. :smiling_face: :sunflower:

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Great idea. I was playing a gig at an outdoor country market and a family walked in with a 3 year old boy carrying a blue ukulele. The kid was fixated on my guitar playing. Afterwards I sat down with them and let him strum my “big” guitar.

Soprano is what I’d go for in this case. 2nd hand market is good for this, the super cheap ones you get at music stores are pretty poor quality.

Depending on size of your hands, it might be small for you.

Never to small :sunglasses:

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Hi Nadim. I started off on a soprano and didn’t particularly find it too small to play but found holding it steady a real challenge due to its size and extremely light weight. After a few months I purchased an Alvarez Tenor ukulele and found it a lot more comfortable to hold and play. I also fitted a strap pin and put on a headstock strap, and after a little experimentation with strap length it’s really comfortable to play both sitting and standing. I’m not particularly big, 5ft 8” with small hands. The Tenor also has a lot more pleasing/fuller sound than the soprano to my ears. I also changed the strings to a fluorocarbon low g set which enhanced the sound further for me. I did post an AVOYP on here a short while ago if you would like to hear how it sounds. Just my experience so far. It would be good if both of you could try out the different sizes and see how they feel and sound. Hope that helps :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes. Definitely not going for a ‘toy’. The “cheap” ones over here in Spain cost around 40€. These are sold in proper guitar stores but honestly I have no idea about their quality and I might not be able to judge while holding them.

You confirm what I was thinking about the cheap ukuleles found in stores. Buying 2nd hand is a great option indeed.

These are great advices. Thank you all.

I think I will find a free day and go to the city to try a few ukes. Not sure if I will take the kid with me because he’ll definitely want the one with the most shiny color, regardless of how it plays :thinking: :joy: .

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Well, now, do remember, we adults often with 2 choices of the same type of guitar go with the most shiny one, too. :rofl:

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Hi Nadim,

I started on a ukulele and played it pretty consistently for a few months before I switched over to guitar.

I would say your child would probably be fine with any of the sizes since they are all pretty small relative to the guitar. I remember my first guitar felt massive to me when I held it in comparison to the ukulele :laughing: Although, as @Avalon426 pointed out, the baritone is tuned differently, so you may want to start with one of the other sizes.

I have a concert size and I personally prefer it to the others. For me, the soprano size felt a little too small to hold comfortably and the concert one was just big enough. I also liked the sound better. My daughter also has a concert size and although she is older than your child (13) she has no problem with the size.

Although sound should of course be a top priority, most people are going to be a lot more motivated to practice if they like the way it looks :wink:

I should go tune my ukulele. I haven’t played it for a while and I’m sure it’s massively out of tune at this point :laughing: Ukuleles really are super fun to play and a good stepping stone to the guitar if your child ultimately goes that route.

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Couldn’t agree more :smiley: !

I’d be happy if he finds interest in playing any musical instrument. I need someone to jam with at home :smiley: .

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