Concert Ukulele

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The concert ukulele is a string instrument that belongs to the ukulele family of instruments. It is typically an inch longer and has a richer or fuller sound than the most common ukulele which is named the soprano. The concert ukulele is sometimes called the alto ukulele and usually follows a typical ukulele string tuning of GCEA.
History of the Concert Ukulele
The history of the concert ukulele dates back to its Portuguese origins. Its likely ancestors are small string instruments known as a machete or cavaquinho, thought to have developed in the Madeira region. These instruments made their way to the islands of Hawaii with migrants in the 1800s and soon there were new Hawaiian influenced designs produced. Migrants such as Jose do Espirito Santo, Augusto Dias and Manual Nunes are widely regarded as the first luthiers to create the recognisable ukulele design. By the 1890s, the first instruments being sold as “ukuleles” were becoming popular. Since the creation of the ukulele in Hawaii, many varieties have evolved including the banjolele, concert ukulele and baritone ukulele. The concert ukulele was a model first issued by the American manufacturer C.F. Martin & Company. After the success of their soprano ukuleles, Martin initially released a larger ukulele known as a taropatch with eight strings. The paired strings on this instrument were unpopular with players who wanted something easier to play and thus the 4-string concert ukulele was devised and produced. The concert ukulele is still strongly associated with Hawaiian traditional music but became very popular in the 20th century as more musicians in popular music wanted a ukulele with a larger fretboard for fingering.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£30 - £100

Hear the Concert Ukulele

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How to Play

A small guitar-like instrument from Hawaii, played by strumming or plucking the strings.

In Popular Music

The concert ukulele has been played on many popular music recordings but is often simply credited as a ukulele. The concert ukule is likely played on 'Hey Soul Sister' by Train and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Jake Shimabukuro (Queen cover)

Famous Players

Jake Shimabukuro, Roy Smeck, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Close Relations

Soprano Ukulele, Tenor Ukulele
Video Credit: Hamza Tazi / TED
Understanding the Concert Ukulele




20th century






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