The Soprano uke is probably the third most popular size of uke. It's the shortest of the four common sizes, which most people associate with ukes. Concert uke drums have a deeper body and 15 frets, giving you richer, fuller sound and more scale potential than the soprano. Concert (and Tenor) uke drums are typically tuned to the GCEA tuned standard. Soprano ukes are available in the common sizes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
The beginner's need to first become familiar with this instrument before going out and buying one for themselves. You can find a lot of information about it online or by simply asking your friendly local music store owner. If you are looking at purchasing a cheaper beginner soprano, a good idea would be to take a look at the Yamaha models. The Yamaha models have a similar body design as the original but are made of a much thinner grade of steel, and lack the deep-woodson the lower model. As a beginner, you don't need a very large instrument and as a matter of fact, you should stick with the smaller instruments until you're ready for the more powerful soprano versions.
When shopping for a Soprano Ukulele, keep in mind that most music stores will have a few of each of the common sizes of the instrument on hand. Once you know the size that you are looking for, you are ready to go home and shop around. Most of the time, you will find the best prices on the bigger brands such as Yamaha, Taylor, or even the ever-popular Mahalo. The main difference between the sizes of the instrument is in the sizes of the nuts and the slings. For example, ten-inch slings on a ten-inch hole (on a Soprano) would give you ten inches of string height, which would be perfect for a novice.
However, with the smaller and cheaper brands, you can get close to the same amount of pitch (the thickness of the strings) without having to pay the same price. Therefore, it is still advisable to buy your soprano ukulele from the larger brands, because they are generally more durable, make the better tone, and will generally be less expensive than their lesser counterparts. The less expensive brands will usually lack the durability and quality of the bigger brands and while they might be cheaper, they will not last nearly as long as the larger brands do. As such, while they might be more convenient, they are generally less expensive.
When it comes to tuning, both baritone and Soprano uke require the use of a tuning fork. This tuning fork is used to change the pitch of a single string. For example, if you are playing a bass line using a G, then you would strike your tuning fork on the second string followed by the first string to tune the bass line to a G-sharp. If you are playing a treble clef line using a C, then you would strike your tuning fork on the second string followed by the first string to tune the treble clef to a C-sharp.
Baritone ukes also have a standard tuning device called a snare drum. The snare drum is a standard size and shape, and it is made to fit over the head of the average size soprano ukulele (which fits snugly inside the bassinet). The snare usually features three cylindrical blocks which are connected by a series of hoops. These blocks are hit with the fingers to produce the sound of the drum.
Because both soprano ukulele and concert ukules are tuned in similar ways, both instruments can be tuned by almost anyone who has an ordinary set of keys. However, it is recommended that tuning tools such as tuning forks and snare drums be used for soprano ukulele and concert ukules that are made from plastic, rather than wood. Plastic materials are less likely to split, which makes it much easier to adjust the length of a tuning fork over time. Also, it's much easier to make adjustments to a plastic tuning tool than it is to make adjustments to a wooden one. Of course, wood tuning tools tend to cost more than plastic ones.
As you'll notice, the differences between the soprano ukulele and the first ukulle are very slight. The major differences are found in the sizes of the bowls. The first ukulle is found to be smaller than the other two because it is made of a single piece of wood, whereas the other two are made of multiple pieces of wood stacked on top of one another. The conical shape of the bowl on the first ukulle is what contributes to its unique appearance. Even the smallest of first ukulle sizes has a conical shape, and while this type of instrument is not commonly found in common households, it is a very valuable musical instrument.