The Importance of Ukulele Nut Width - Beginners Tips

29 Apr 2014

The Importance of Ukulele Nut Width - Beginners Tips

Another ukulele beginners tip video and advice guide - looking at how ukulele nut widths vary, and how they affect space on the fingerboard.

ukulele nut width

I did this because I regularly see people advising beginners that they should definitely buy a concert or a tenor over a soprano as they are 'easier' to play. I personally find nut width has far more impact and this is a myth that keeps getting trotted out..

Things to bear in mind here

1. Not all ukes are equal. Most cheap tenors will have nuts that are the same width as cheap sopranos. People think they are getting more finger space because the neck is longer (true) - but they are not getting more space where it counts for large fingers - ACROSS the neck - that is governed by nut width. If anything, for a beginner a large scale length is MORE of a stretch in other ways.

2. I know many sopranos with more space than most concerts and tenors. That's a simple fact.

3. In short - if you have big hands, there is no reason whatsoever for a soprano to be considered 'too small' for you. I genuinely believe it's just a get out clause parrotted by people who are confusing the fact that they are still learning with scale size. A bad workman always blames his tools...

A WIDE nut on a ukulele is one that is about 1.5" max. Whilst you will see those on some tenors you won't see them on all of them. More importantly you will also see them on some sopranos.  Brands like Koaloha, Kiwaya, Kanile'a, Kamaka and Flea will give you large nuts on all scales. A more standard 'Chinese import' nut width will be as narrow as 1.375" - and you will find those on sopranos, concerts or tenors. In other words, the scale is irrelevant!


  1. I am a beginner uke player, and having practiced on several different instruments, I firmly believe that the nut width is the most important part when starting out. Smaller ukes are also easier to hold, which was an issue for me when changing chords.

  2. I'm not sure we are on the same page here are we? I prefer wider nuts!

  3. Also important is string separation at the bridge, for fingerpicking.

  4. Yes true - but less so for the impact that has on space on the fingerboard

  5. I find it really hard to find a Ukulele with a narrow fretboard, I do have really small fingers and have trouble stretching them as i have trouble with my wrist, i do not really understand the widths that are given to be honest? i just want someone to tell me who makes the smallest nut width instead of me taking a couple of weeks trying to look online. it can be really frustrating. I have a soprano i used at the beginning but went on to the Concert which i like. But a lot of Concerts i have tried have wider nut widths. So cannot find one at all.!

    1. I have the same problem. I have a concert with the nut size of 1 and 3/8. It's a Cynthia Lynn Ohana concert uke. It even came with brown Aquila strings. Sounds mellow. But I'm looking at the Chinese "Snail" brand. It's supposed to be narrower for smaller Asian hands.

  6. I have hands like shovels. I have nerve and tendon damage in my L hand. I took up the Uke partly as a way to improve the function in that hand. There is no doubt whatsoever about the observations Baz cites in respect of narrow nuts and scale lengths.

    I struggled for ages with a narrow nutted tenor. I bought one with a wider spacing!

    Perversely, now that I can string a few chords etc together, I choose (sometimes) to play a narrow nutted soprano to improve ability to cram fingers into limited space.

    Well, that's one of my excuses for the number of instruments owned.


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