Soprano Ukulele

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The soprano ukulele is a string instrument that belongs to the ukulele family of instruments. The soprano is the most well-known type of ukulele worldwide and is typically 21 inches long with strings tuned in GCEA, though there are lots of other common tunings. The soprano ukulele has a bright sound when strummed and its size makes it ideal as a beginner instrument for string instrument players.
History of the Soprano Ukulele
The history of the soprano 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 soprano ukulele has remained the most popular ukulele and became the standard tuning and size for ukulele players. American musician made his name in the 1960s playing songs on a soprano ukulele, including ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’ and artists such as Jason Mraz and Train have helped to popularise the soprano ukulele as a common component in pop music recording.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£25 - £90

Hear the Soprano Ukulele

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How to Play

The smallest and most common type of ukulele, played by strumming or plucking the strings.

In Popular Music

The soprano ukulele has been played on many popular music recordings but is often simply credited as a ukulele. The soprano ukule is likely played on 'Hey Soul Sister' by Train and perhaps on 'I'm Yours' by Jason Mraz

Famous Players

Bill Tapia, Ohta-San, Tiny Tim

Close Relations

Concert Ukulele, Tenor Ukulele
Video Credit: Austin Bazaar
Understanding the Soprano Ukulele




20th century






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