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View Full Version : From ukulele to guitalele



bobcline
04-17-2015, 02:10 PM
Ive been playing ukulele for about 4 years and I'm getting really nice tunes out of it. Ive never played guitar before. Well I fiddle around with them every now and then, I know some basic chords thats about itů anyway, I like how guitars go much lower than ukes (I have a low g just so you know) but I prefer the size of ukuleles (mine is a tenor size Luna hightide).

The otherday I saw the guitalele. I want one, I think they're brilliant. And the look so good. But will it take another 4 years to become as good with it? I understand how they are tuned, pretty much its a tenor uke with two more bass strings A, D, G, C, E, A
But 2 more strings could (for all I know) take a long time to get used to.

So before I cough up $300, I want to know if I'll be able to learn it well. So what are your opinions?

Thanks a great deal ;-)

Ukejenny
04-17-2015, 02:19 PM
The two additional strings will be different, for sure, but I think it is totally doable. If you've stayed interested in the ukulele for four years and you really want to try the guitalele, chances are that you will be successful in your pursuit. If you have a good attitude and want to work at it, I bet you will do well. Maybe purchase a guitalele with a return policy, so you can send it back in a week or so if it just doesn't float your boat.

itsme
04-17-2015, 02:27 PM
Guitalele is Yamaha's brand name and it retails for $99. There are other variations by other makers that cost more with solid tops.

I have the Yamaha, and while I think it's quite well made at its price point, I find the neck too cramped and narrow to be really comfortable. My background is in classical guitar, so I prefer some separation to be able to fingerpick, not have my fingers getting in each other's way.

Have you considered a baritone uke? It is tuned like the top four strings of a guitar DGBE) so it has a lower range than a tenor uke.

Camsuke
04-17-2015, 02:38 PM
I purchased an Islander Guilele a few months back and I am very happy with it. The fingerboard is wider and provides plenty of room for comfort.


https://youtu.be/x3z6VWz5YPc

bobcline
04-17-2015, 04:14 PM
Thanks itsme. And yeah I have thoughy about it but (for what I see and pardon any ignorance) its just another ukulele tuned differently.

I was thinking of buying the islander GL6-EQ which is the same as camsuke's but with electrics ($300 off The Ukulele Site) Its apparently a cheaper model of the Kanilea gl6, which i have no problem with. Nice video by the way.

I'm really considering it now hahaha.
Thanks guys

Ukejenny
04-17-2015, 05:06 PM
Good luck with it and let us know how it goes!

Ukulele Eddie
04-17-2015, 06:17 PM
I have never played the guitalele, so can't offer any input. But, as another option, what about getting a baritone uke. That will give you the lower voicing you like, plus you can already play it. Same as playing your tenor, just in a lower octave. It might be a way to get that lower register sound you seek without having any learning curve whatsoever. Just an idea.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

kissing
04-17-2015, 09:27 PM
I went from uke to guitar. The two bass strings do not take long to get used to.

Days/weeks, not years

barefootgypsy
04-17-2015, 11:21 PM
Ive been playing ukulele for about 4 years and I'm getting really nice tunes out of it. Ive never played guitar before. Well I fiddle around with them every now and then, I know some basic chords thats about it… anyway, I like how guitars go much lower than ukes (I have a low g just so you know) but I prefer the size of ukuleles (mine is a tenor size Luna hightide).

The otherday I saw the guitalele. I want one, I think they're brilliant. And the look so good. But will it take another 4 years to become as good with it? I understand how they are tuned, pretty much its a tenor uke with two more bass strings A, D, G, C, E, A
But 2 more strings could (for all I know) take a long time to get used to.

So before I cough up $300, I want to know if I'll be able to learn it well. So what are your opinions?

Thanks a great deal ;-) My experience is exactly the same as yours. I was thinking about getting one but not sure - then I happened across one by gretsch in a shop and fell in love with it. I bought it .... still concentrating on my uke but I'm very pleased with the Gretsch. You get a lot more picking choices.... with the same keys. It'll take a while to learn the extra fingerings but he key to that is simply motivation! (tuned ADGCEA) A baritone is also a great choice. Mine is tuned DGBE with a high D, Living Water strings - fluorocarbon. Sounds beautiful - cheap Makala uke. I'd recommend the Gretsch guitarlele - mahogany, sounds good, looks good, feels good.

bobcline
04-24-2015, 01:39 AM
Thanks for all the replies :)
I've tried to play an old classical guitar with a capo on 5th fret but then I only have 7 frets before I get to the body (my ukulele has more frets than this old and thing) and it was quite difficult, and since I'm so not used to the size of the thing, I have to tell my self to pick it up and play it, which leads me to slight frustration. Where with a uke, whenever I sit down I just pick it up and play it, since I'm not telling myself to learn it, I don't really get frustrated with it one little but. Even when I'm having difficulty with a song, riff, rythm or anything.

I think with the familiar size of the guitalele I won't need to tell myself to play it I'll just pick it up and play. Thats my theory anyway. Seem reasonable? Also I'll have more like 16 frets rather than 7.

For posts about baritone read my second post in the thread about my opinion of them, I'm just looking to expand from uke, and the guitalele looks and sounds so nice.

Some things are going on right now for me. Im not sure I'll buy one just yet but I'm really liking it.

Thanks all :)

CeeJay
05-03-2015, 06:11 AM
Sorry to revive this and for being a bit late to the party. I also just thought about getting a guitalele ...to practice this I capo'd a steel string Adam Black acoustic guitar at the 5th fret . Narrower neck than a classical guitar and ten frets to the body , then the cutaway allows access to a further four frets.....I already can play the guitar in full mode so understand the relationship between the uke chords and guitar chords . Guitar chords being a two string extension of the uke chord shape blah blah .

So as Kissing says it would probably not actually take you that long to get used to the "Full Fat " 6 string chord shapes .

The question I raise is this . Are there any Steel Strung guitaleles ,guileles ...what is the difference between Guitalele and a Guilele and a travel guitar.

I ask this because I quite enjoyed playing the acoustic capod at the 5th (and I loath playing with a capo normally they do my brain in).

But it was one of those epiphanny moments ....I actually find that I prefer...or rather play better the shorter scale instruments, the uke ,banjo uke and mando I seem to have a better control of the short scale ....will however the tension on a short scale instrument be different to the capod version ...


Sorry,that's a number of questions buried in the text so ,to clarify:

a) what is the differnces between : guitalele,guilele, and a travel guitar (they are tuned A to A as well) ?

b) can you get steel strung guit/guil eles?

c) is the string tension equivalent to a 5th fret capod full sized guitar ?

Cheers

k0k0peli
05-03-2015, 06:50 AM
My background is guitar following a stretched-trapezoid steel-string 'mountain' dulcimer that I tried to play like a rock guitar. Right. Anyway, both dulcimers and guitars made me stretch my hands (as did my earlier clarinet classes). They stretch even more when I play guitarron, long-necked banjo, electric bass, various lutes, etc. It's no big thang. Squeezing down to mandolins and soprano 'ukes was no biggy either, except playing those at the first fret, squeezing fingers into a too-small space. IMHO it's mostly a matter of finding positions where the instrument feels comfortable. Can I hold it? Can I finger it? Okay then!

I can help a little with your questions.


a) what is the differnces between : guitalele,guilele, and a travel guitar (they are tuned A to A as well) ? I'm not sure about those, but one of my axes is a Martin Backpacker, and it's tuned the standard EADGBE unless I lower it for slack-key or slide playing. We'll find 3/4-size guitars tuned the same. And we can select strings for higher or lower tunings.


b) can you get steel strung guit/guil eles?
If tension is a concern, use silk-n-steel strings. Much easier on fingers than straight metal. We can also buy light-gage metal strings that require less tension and inflict less pain on tender fingers. Personally, if I haven't played for awhile, wide nylon strings on classical guitars hurt my fingers more than thinner metal strings. But playing develops callouses and the pain goes away.


c) is the string tension equivalent to a 5th fret capod full sized guitar ? Sorry, I haven't tested that. But putting a capo on a neck only changes a string's tension slightly; that's what tuning pegs are for. So however the strings are tightened, the tension remains the same when we press at any fret with capo or finger or slide or whatever. And we can choose strings to suit our needs.

We can explore the relationships between string length, tension, and note. I ran this search: https://www.google.com/search?q=calculating+string+gauges+and+tensions and got these hits:

String Tension Calculator: http://chordgen.rattree.co.uk/tensiontool.php
Acoustic Guitar String Size Calculator: https://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_guitar_string.htm
Universal String Tension Calculator: http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html
D'Addario String Tension 101: http://www.daddario.com/DAstringtensionguide.Page

CeeJay
05-03-2015, 12:52 PM
Thanks kOkOpeli

I'll have a look at the links and do some more poking around .

Steel strings are no problem as I play guitar and mando and banjer almost as much as the uke so I got some nice finger end callouses.
(charming)I actually prefer steel strings , but I do like the shorter scale , I don't like baritone ukes .they sound a bit thuddy to me and anyway .... if you have aguitar I don't see the need ...George Harrison obviously disagreed , but who was he, eh ? lol

Right ,Thanks again off to use those links.

CeeJay

SoloRule
05-03-2015, 02:24 PM
Can you use guitar tabs to play ?

itsme
05-03-2015, 03:59 PM
Can you use guitar tabs to play ?
You certainly can, but if a Gitalele is tuned ADGCEA instead of regular guitar tuning of EADGBE then you will not be playing the same notes. No biggie for solo fingerpicking, but it could be problematic in ensemble playing.

Tootler
05-03-2015, 10:40 PM
<snip...> but it could be problematic in ensemble playing.

Not really. You need to take the trouble to learn the association between the chord shapes and the chord names in the different tunings and don't just give the same shape the same name regardless of tuning. It doesn't take that long to do. I made the decision to do that when I retuned my tenor dGBE and it really didn't take all that long.

drbekken
05-04-2015, 01:23 AM
Don't forget the Southcoast 'Eddie Freeman Special Guilele String Set', which allows you to tune the guitalele/guilele E to E like a guitar. The difference is that the bottom strings (EAD) are one octave up; creating a re-entrant feel to it all. Regular guitar chord shapes work wonderfully, and the sound is beautiful and different. Some folks compare this with 'Nashville tuning', and that's not a bad comparison.

spookelele
05-04-2015, 02:15 AM
guitalele or.... mini guitar?


https://vimeo.com/126760601

itsme
05-04-2015, 09:31 AM
Not really. You need to take the trouble to learn the association between the chord shapes and the chord names in the different tunings and don't just give the same shape the same name regardless of tuning. It doesn't take that long to do. I made the decision to do that when I retuned my tenor dGBE and it really didn't take all that long.
I was referring to tablature, not song sheets with chords. I agree that with chords one should learn the correct names even if the shape is different.

But when guitar tablature says to play the first string open (which would be an E), you're not going to mentally transpose every note to a different fret/string. That's just not how tablature works. If you try to transpose it so you are playing an actual E (and not the guitalele's A), the range of the guitalele will not match the range of a guitar and you can run into some brick walls.

UkeTX
05-15-2015, 10:44 AM
Hi bobcline. I have played ukulele for several years and I recently bought an Islander by Kanile'a GL6-SA-EQ 6 guitarlele and what a sweet little instrument it is. Only problem is - I also bought a kala ubass that I am fascinated with and am going to spend my time learning how to play it. So I think I will sell my guitarlele. if you are interested in my Islander, give me a shout. I bought it from Penny Lane for $388 and of course would negotiate the price! It has not been played yet.

kissing
05-15-2015, 05:44 PM
The question I raise is this . Are there any Steel Strung guitaleles ,guileles ...what is the difference between Guitalele and a Guilele and a travel guitar.

I am on vacation in South Korea at the moment. I did come across a steel strung guitalele tuned ADGCEA. It is pretty much a short guitar.

I think it takes normal guitar strings.

If you want to get an instrument like that in USA, check out the Cupit travel guitar. The manufactuer recommends guitalele tuning on it.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of guitalele tuning on a steel string guitar. I find regular guitar tuning more versatile if it has to be 6 strings and steel.

The Big Kahuna
05-15-2015, 08:49 PM
If you want a steel string guitarlele, just buy a Washburn Rover travel guitar and a capo. That way, once you have learned the chord shapes, and your fingers are stronger & fingertips have hardened, you can take the capo off and play guitar. Very distinctive sound, and one of the secret bargains of the instrument market. 2 (or more) instruments in one. Washburn should have called it the "Swiss Army Knife" model.

http://www.amazon.com/Washburn-RO10-String-Travel-Acoustic/dp/B00064TZYW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431758754&sr=8-1&keywords=washburn+rover

Forgot to mention:

With a capo on the 5th fret, you'll be looking at about a 19" scale length, so pretty much guitarlele territory. And there's nothing stopping you putting a set of nylon strings on it as well.