If you’re a guitar player you might also be interested in an electric concert ukulele, as it resembles an electro-acoustic guitar a lot. But can guitarists play uke with ease? Those with big hands and fingers might have a hard time playing a ukulele, but then again, beginners and people with smaller hands will enjoy more success.
Which is easier?
Generally, it is considered that the ukulele is the easier instrument to play, and that is particularly true for beginners, as it can be easier to learn. However, you could say that is not always the case, although the learning curve of the uke is an easier one. After some days of practice, the uke can allow you to play some pieces of music.
Furthermore, there are fewer strings that you need to play, as the uke only has 4, compared to the 6 strings of the guitar. That means you will have an easier time picking each of them and placing your finger well on them. The fact that the tension in the strings is a lot lower also helps greatly.
So if you’re a beginner in the world of music, the uke would be the recommended choice. But that advice can apply to someone who’s a guitarist too, if he or she wishes to gain more knowledge about music, or if the need for resting your fingers appears.
The knowledge that you can pass from the guitar to the ukulele is somewhat limited though, and that’s because the configuration of the strings are different and the chords form in a different way. But there are some common things that will help you greatly – the fact that they both have frets on their fingerboard and they work in the same way.
Transitioning from a guitar to a ukulele is a difficult task for those with big hands or fingers because the distance between the frets of the uke is a lot smaller compared to the guitar. So if you have big fingers you will have a hard time trying to fit them perfectly and getting the best sound. Thus, although in theory, the ukulele might be easy to play for you, it all depends on your hands and how you’re used to playing with them.
Another obstacle when switching from guitar to ukulele is the fact that you don’t find too many lessons on the latter instrument. That’s mainly because it is not as popular as the guitar, and the internet folks haven’t put too much time in offering their advice to others.
However, you can always find a good teacher either in person or online, and if you really want to make the transition, you will find it easier if you’re helped by an expert ukulele player.
The price matters
There are many reasons why you would want to switch from playing guitar to playing the uke. One of those reasons can be the fact that you want to expand your music knowledge, but another one can be that you don’t want to invest too much in a quality instrument because you don’t want to risk.
Guitars are way more expensive than ukuleles, especially the ones that could be used by professionals, so if you’re on a tight budget, or if you just want to play an instrument for fun without investing too much in it, the uke is the choice. You can find a low-quality one for $20 or so, but you don’t want something that cheap.
It would be advisable if you bought something better, and even a great uke shouldn’t cost you more than $80. On the other hand, a decent guitar costs you $200, so there’s a big price gap between the two.
What makes them different?
So what’s different about them, besides the price? One main thing that you notice when you look at a guitar and then at a ukulele, is how they look. The obvious is that the guitar is bigger than its counterpart. Furthermore, the uke has 4 strings, while the guitar has 6.
There are more details that are not so easy to spot if you’re an inexperienced musician. One of these is the fact that the fretboard of the uke is way thinner than the one of the guitar, and it’s also shorter. That’s often an issue for those with bigger hands, and that’s why you usually see ukuleles as instruments for kids or even toys.
Fortunately, there are different sizes when it comes to ukuleles, and the biggest of them, the baritone ukulele, is almost as big as an acoustic guitar, although it still has 4 strings. The fact that the ukes are smaller helps those guitarists that have smaller fingers. Guitars often require you to stretch your fingers a lot to form some chords, but on the other hand, the ukes will be easier to play due to their small fretboards.
There is also a difference in music styles when comparing the 2 instruments. First of all, the guitar comes in various forms, most often classical, acoustic, and electric.
Those 3 kinds of guitars play different styles of their own, with the classical guitar being used, of course, for classical music, the acoustic for folk sounds (or when you gather with your friends around the fire), and the electric guitar is used for live shows, and styles of music that require some effects and amplifying.
Ukuleles don’t really provide that many options, and that’s because they were mainly made to play the songs that come from the Hawaiian culture. However, you can find some modified models, either in terms of looks, or in terms of sound, that will allow you to play the uke in the style that you want.
But the appearance is not the only thing setting the 2 instruments apart. As you might expect, they also sound a lot different. With the ukulele, you get a very cheerful, maybe mellow sound. While you can get that with a classical guitar too, it doesn’t give you the feeling of happiness that the uke can.
If you want the high-volume acoustic sound, the acoustic guitar is what you should choose, as the uke isn’t capable of giving out too much volume. Furthermore, the range and tone of the guitar are 2 aspects that are more diverse when comparing to the uke. With the guitar, you have the possibility to reach lower and higher-pitched notes, due to the longer fretboard and the number of strings.
You can, however, get a wider variety of tones with the ukulele, but that requires you to purchase more of them, of different sizes. On the other hand, the uke is great if you want an instrument that can be carried with you anywhere. So if you’re a guitar player and you don’t want to risk taking your expensive guitar with you, just get a small uke and you’re ready to go.
The uke is great for a guitar player if you want to have some fun, and if you wish to improvise. It’s always fun when somebody gets their uke out and they start playing some music that you wouldn’t imagine being played on such an instrument.
The uke can make you a better guitarist
Now that we know that ukuleles are somewhat easy for guitarists, we want to say that they can also help guitar players to become better musicians. That is mainly because ukes are a lot more restrictive, and that requires musicians to become more creative to overcome those restrictions.
Musicians that play both the guitar and the ukulele see that they acquire more advanced music knowledge because of this. When you play both of them you have many different things coming together, but the same music theory, so improvising and finding out new ways of producing new sounds is required.
Furthermore, when you play the uke you can learn more chords and chord patterns, meaning that you expand the range of sounds that you know work well together. And if you’re the composer type, that will help you greatly.