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Down Up Dick
08-20-2015, 10:12 AM
I am surprised that so many Ukers are former Guitar/Banjo players. If one has played Guitar for so many, many years, why would he/she switch? One can finger pick it and sing with it and, in all that time, buy a really spiffy guitar. Certainly, all those years would produce a bit of ability. So . . . Why? Just because?

I have no opinion about it, I was just curious. :old:

didgeplayer
08-20-2015, 10:19 AM
Don't know, played guitar for many years and the mandolin too. Then one day it all stopped and I lost the desire to play either of them. much later picked up the didgeridoo and I loved it, but some time after that I got my hands on a Uke and I have been enjoying it ever since. Picked up the guitar again, but put it back down not to long after that. Got the Mandolin fixed, messed with it, and set it back down, still playing the Uke and the Didge though

Wicked
08-20-2015, 10:24 AM
I never stopped playing guitar - but two reasons:

1. Children. I bought the ukulele to see if my daughter was interested. She wasn't. But, there it was, so I started playing it.

2. Travel. I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms around the world.

actadh
08-20-2015, 10:45 AM
Travel is a big reason for me as well. I played piano as a child and guitar through my teens, but when I got re-interested in a stringed instrument, the ukulele was exactly what I wanted. Small, portable, and fun.

Down Up Dick
08-20-2015, 10:50 AM
Don't know, played guitar for many years and the mandolin too. Then one day it all stopped and I lost the desire to play either of them. much later picked up the didgeridoo and I loved it, but some time after that I got my hands on a Uke and I have been enjoying it ever since. Picked up the guitar again, but put it back down not to long after that. Got the Mandolin fixed, messed with it, and set it back down, still playing the Uke and the Didge though

I see. Well, I'll have to admit that I've sorta lost interest in my other instruments too lately. It's been a chore to pick them up for the past months. I even quit for about a month and a half recently to work on Banjolele/banjo stuff. I started playing them again (and listening to music again) a couple of days ago. But today I'm already having to push myself to go play my flute.

I think maybe I like to study and learn stuff more than I like to play songs over and over. Even if one learns new ones, they too become old hat. Maybe that's why I play so many different instruments. Being a professional musician must be very boring sometimes. One has to play well whether he/she is playing well or not.

I guess everything gets old; even things that one likes to do. Ahhh, well . . . :old:

kohanmike
08-20-2015, 10:52 AM
As I've posted many times; I played guitar for almost fifty years, never got great at it, but competent. Then a little over two years ago I bought a Fender Telecaster electric, a couple weeks later was flipping though a Musicians Friend catalogue and saw a Mahalo that looked like the Telecaster for only $60, so I bought it just as a wall hanger next to the Fender.

About a week later I received my annual postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center announcing their summer play-along series, I had done it before for guitar, this time it was for ukulele. Hey, I thought, I have a ukulele now, I'll join in. Haven't touched my guitars since, and I've applied myself more to the uke than I did for the previous 20 years on guitar. The only drawback is, a few months ago I took up the bass uke and now I'm hardly playing my ukes.

Captain America
08-20-2015, 10:52 AM
I expect a lot out of my guitar playing; I don't expect so much with the uke. This, plus the fact that most uke songs are poppy fun or romantic, make it hard to resist.

Debby
08-20-2015, 11:11 AM
I am surprised that so many Ukers are former Guitar/Banjo players. If one has played Guitar for so many, many years, why would he/she switch? One can finger pick it and sing with it and, in all that time, buy a really spiffy guitar. Certainly, all those years would produce a bit of ability. So . . . Why? Just because?

I have no opinion about it, I was just curious. :old:

I do have a spiffy guitar that I had to put up in a closet when my daughter was a toddler. She was trying to put stuff in the sound holes of all our accoustic guitars. Then as she got older, I never got it back out. Then, when she was in 2nd grade, she came home and told us she joined the uke club at school, and it turned into something our whole family loves. I like the small size of the uke. It makes it way more convenient.

ksiegel
08-20-2015, 11:21 AM
I played guitar for 40+ years; then tore the tendon and ligament around the left elbow, and can maybe play for around 10 minutes without severe pain.

I can play the Uke for hours before I even get an ache.


-Kurt

Down Up Dick
08-20-2015, 11:55 AM
Hey, didgeplayer, I forgot to mention it before, but I was at a Bagpipe Convention a while back, and some guy was selling didgeridoos. I was ready to buy one, but the guy was busy demonstrating them and selling, and we had to go.

I guess one just can't have too many instruments. I have a few that I can't even play!--- someday . . . :old:

ohmless
08-20-2015, 12:07 PM
I tried guitar for a couple years and failed. I was following a method book that I in retrospect don't think was the right way for me to learn. I also have a mild muscular dystrophy that makes my wrists, hands and fingers weak making barres and reaches difficult if not impossible for me. The guitar also had a strong bottom end that wasn't so therapeutic for my depression.

MickeyD
08-20-2015, 12:27 PM
I have played electric guitar for about 20 years, and ended up getting my degree in classical guitar performance. When I bought my first uke it was a wedding present to myself since my wife and I travel a lot and I thought, "hey, a tiny guitar that I can travel with!" (ah, the arrogance of that conceit!). As time went by I really began to appreciate the ukulele for the beautiful instrument it is. Now I play my uke way more than my guitars unless I am playing out live with a band, which is not too often for me anymore. For me, I love sitting on my porch after work and enjoying playing a uke. It just feels right. When I left the band I was in for 9 years, I think I needed something to just have fun with. I didn't have to force anything with it. I still push myself to progress, but the pressure I put on myself isn't there like it was for my band. It released something pure about music that I think I had kidn of lost in the last two or so years in my old band. So, yeah. Bought one for something to strum while I travelled, and now I'm in too deep! Also I just like having different "tools". I've got a mandolin, many ukes, a couple acoustic and a electric guitars, and just ordered a Seagull Merlin. Keyboard and some percussion instruments as well. I just enjoy the variety of sound.

Booli
08-20-2015, 12:31 PM
I played guitar for almost fifty years, never got great at it, but competent....

... I've applied myself more to the uke than I did for the previous 20 years on guitar.

My experience is similar to Kohanmike's as per above but for around 37 yrs with guitar...

I am finding music more exciting to play, and to figure out arrangements on uke, whereas on guitar they were too complicated for me to play, or the time investment to master the arrangement was greater than I had available or was willing to invest at the time.

For me right now, the uke has become the primary and focal instrument for my songwriting, and has allowed me to shift my paradigm, and focus in a much more satisfying way with my songwriting.

I dont spend so much time learning other songs that have been previously written by others, since now my time is spent exploring the fretboard in mostly re-entrant tunings, on only 4 strings, which provides me with a more effective and more efficient tool set than on a 6-string guitar.

On guitar I was kind of overwhelmed and found lots of classical, jazz and flamenco playing to be overwhelming. On ukulele, I have a greater level of accomplishment with these styles, and have covered more ground, and growing my ability in 2.5 yrs than I have in all the time I played guitar. Keep in mind, that when I was in high-school, I was a total guitar geek and practiced for at least an hour, every day, and took lessons until it was apparent that my teacher was useless to me, and that I could almost play any song on the radio after hearing it maybe 2-3 times...

I definitely appreciate the time that I spent with learning and playing guitar, and feel that it helped me to approach the ukulele pretty quickly, and for a while re-entrant tuning seemed 'wrong' to my ear coming from guitar, and it felt like I had to un-learn from my 'guitar brain', but now, a linear tuning seems boring and dull to me, and less appealing than a re-entrant tuning.

Also, when writing music now, it's easier to split the musical parts up across different instruments and frequency ranges. With multi-track recording, I can write a C6 tuned part for a tenor, and a G6 tuned part for a baritone to play counterpoint, and then anchor the low end with my uke bass, ALL without any instruments stepping on the frequencies of the others.

In the past, this would have been 2 guitar parts and an electric bass, and the guitar parts would overlap or get too sonically and harmonically complex, but now I don't have this problem any more.

I also used to sing and play guitar, but due to recent breathing and other health problems this is no longer something that I strive to do (mitigating these issues requires medication that has side effects much worse than not taking the medication at all), and instead the tenor uke has become my lyrical 'voice', with the baritone being the 'accompaniment' component of the music.

In the end, I feel that I am better able to work within my own limitations, while still being challenged, and even accomplish the composition of music that is more satisfying to me overall. :)

kypfer
08-20-2015, 01:02 PM
I didn't switch ... just expanded my horizons !!

PeteyHoudini
08-20-2015, 01:05 PM
Played guitar most of my life but I did many years of classical piano. I was actually learning old pop songs on the piano for singing and I was looking for an piano/vocal arrangement of "Tiptoe thru the Tulips" but could only find the ukulele version in Beloff's book so I bought the book thinking I would make my own piano arrangement. I knew nothing about ukes except that book explained how to tune one and there were four sizes. So, I got curious and went out and bought one thinking it would be useful for travelling if I could figure out how to play it. I would have never realized by buying my first uke, I would totally abandon the guitar.

The re-entrant tuning really confused my singing voice at first but later I started to hear a nice harmony in the uke. So, that tuning won me over first. It also generated a natural joyfulness when I would pay and sing. The guitar never did that. It also inspired me to learning new techniques: fingerpicking, clawhammer, tremolo, rasgueado, chord soloing, etc... and it was also light as a feather! hehe

Petey

CeeJay
08-20-2015, 01:23 PM
At 10 years old the Ukelele was my first instrument, at 12 I was having piano lessons at 14 I had dabbled with guitar and stopped having piano lessons at 17 tried an electric guitar but played it like an acoustic and thus it went messing with all three until about 24 .Then dropped the uke / banjo Uke and piano concentrated on the guitar but got nowhere fast ..no lessons or internet stuff....Then about 1995 bought a Yamaha keyboard and started tickling the ivories again .....and the odd visit back to the UB , guitar plodding along.....2008 bought a Variax and hooked up with a guitar buddy ...best thing you can ever do....in 7 years both our playings came on leaps and bounds ....in 2011 I bought a new cheap uke and revisited it entertained a brief flurry of UAS and I've had enough Uke now .

I want to concentrate on the Guitar , Banjo,Piano,Piano Accordion, Single Row Melodeon (Cajun Accordion to you), Hamonica,Mandolin occasionally and a bit more Balalaika......and Didge...I can get it to "boom" (?) ...but I cannot work out the circular breathing.

Trader Todd
08-20-2015, 02:03 PM
I've played guitar for about 20 years. I tend to go through stages where I get a bit burnt out on guitar, put it down and try something else. I put down the guitar and picked up amplified blues harp, picked up the guitar, got burnt out, picked up a mandolin, picked up the guitar again, got burnt out, picked up the upright bass, picked up the guitar again, got burnt out, picked up the ukulele. I've always been of fan of Polynesian Pop/Tiki culture, Aloha Spirit, Swing and Beach vibes so the uke was an obvious choice. As I slip into middle age and mellow a bit (like a fine wine) it seems to suite me better than trying to crank up a 50W tube amp and crank out the guitar riffs.

It seems like there are so many guitar players out there, I like to have an alternate instrument to play when jamming with other guitar players. Does the jam really need the voicing of 6 guitars?

I also love the size and portability. Plus, after years of trying to get my wife and kids to play something all three are 110% in. No more searching for jam partners!

Steedy
08-20-2015, 02:12 PM
Uke is less work and more fun. :cool:

tbeltrans
08-20-2015, 02:30 PM
Ukulele and guitar, not ukulele vs guitar.
the two instruments are complimentary, one leads to the other and then back again. People move between instruments because they want to make some music and not happy with what they have, they have a problem and look for a solution. If you are young and want to enjoy a musical life choose both instruments and use each as appropriate, even include a wind instrument like a whistle or recorder.

Interesting you mentioned a wind instrument such as recorder. For me, like you, it is ukulele and guitar, as well as piano and recorder. All music is good, as are the instruments on which to make that music.

Tony

Down Up Dick
08-20-2015, 03:15 PM
Well, I got in a good Classical music hour with my concert flute, and now I'm free for a while.

It seems to me that all of us Ukers aren't quitting our old instruments but only adding new weapons to our arsenals. Well, that's really good I think. Or maybe, as kypfer says, we've just expanded our horizons. We'll just have more instruments to play different sessions to keep us interested. Maybe when we become tired of our Ukes we can dig up the old stuff to play.

But those who have moved on from their old instruments maybe just needed to change and experiment. Lots of hobbies become stale and boring, and a change can keep one fresh.
:old:

Andy Chen
08-20-2015, 03:16 PM
I can strum the guitar, I sing badly. It's more fun to pick melody lines as a lead instrument on the ukulele and the tenor uke size is oh-so-comfy for me.

Booli
08-20-2015, 03:40 PM
Uke is less work and more fun. :cool:

YES!!! for me, primarily as per what ubulele said as per below:


Wider string spacing for cleaner fingerpicking...Closer fret spacing (less stretching)

Seems like there are a few replies in response to what is now a deleted post (which I still got via email), but I wont name names...


I didn't switch ... just expanded my horizons !!


Ukulele and guitar, not ukulele vs guitar.

yes, uke IN ADDITION to guitar, but UKE is my primary instrument now, and guitar is second or third...sorry I did not mention that in my previous post above...

AcousticTones
08-20-2015, 03:59 PM
-Just seems in my area that everyone either plays guitar or has plenty of guitar players available to them... The uke just adds a nice variety to everything around my area
-The shear capability of a stringed instrument with 2 less strings and a smaller overall range just fascinated me... Just hearing how full Kalei Gamiao's solo arrangements and performances where on such an instrument was both inspiring and influential
-I'm a big Beatles fan, and George Harrison loved both instruments... so that of course has had an effect on me to play both and not just one or the other
-The portability and size was an attraction indeed

SailingUke
08-20-2015, 04:10 PM
For me, I really enjoy the Uke community. I still play guitar, but the Uke gets a lot of attention.

didgeplayer
08-20-2015, 04:57 PM
Hey, didgeplayer, I forgot to mention it before, but I was at a Bagpipe Convention a while back, and some guy was selling didgeridoos. I was ready to buy one, but the guy was busy demonstrating them and selling, and we had to go.

I guess one just can't have too many instruments. I have a few that I can't even play!--- someday . . . :old:

The hardest part about the didge is the circular breathing, once you get that the res is just pure fun.

I played guitar for about 20 years, started with Rock, went to heavy metal and then total turn around to classical. and I played the mandolin for about 10 years and then 1 day about 10 years ago I just stopped. Did nothing for about 5 years and then picked up the didgeridoo and it has been great. Sad thing was I had 3 electric guitars, 1 acoustic and a classical that were just collecting dust. The electrics are gone and the acoustic and classical are in the cases waiting to see if the kids want to give them a go. And now I have a Ukulele and that is just awesome, however my next musical purchase is a didge box, it is so much more portable than my regular didgeridoo.

Strumdaddy
08-20-2015, 04:58 PM
I played classical guitar at first, then steel string guitar ('cause Neil Young covers impressed the girls more than Bach), electric guitar in lots of bands, bass, sax, keys, mandolin family (Irish/ Bluegrass phase), then uke. That profile seems to reflect my will and purpose for each phase of my life.
Uke energy is fun, inclusive and (usually) not ego-centric, yet it offers the same musical challenges and joys as any other medium.
P.S. my custom guitar and Irish bouzouki receive yearly maintenance but little playing - they seem so BIG!!!!!

Ukulele Eddie
08-20-2015, 06:22 PM
I guess everything gets old; even things that one likes to do.

Well, not quite EVERY thing. ;-)

bird's eye view of my ukelele
08-20-2015, 06:29 PM
Uke is less work and more fun. :cool:
the fun factor is the deciding thing for me

also i never wrote a single song on guitar but i write loads of songs on uke! (they may be small songs, they may be hugely uncomplex and shallow, but they are sorta songs and i have a lot of fun writing them!)

CactusWren
08-20-2015, 06:47 PM
Have played guitar for 25 years and still play every day; gig 3 or more days a week. Got a Flea for my daughter to learn on and played around with it a bit. But I was just back in Hawaii last month and I got bitten hard by the uke bug. Got a soprano and now a tenor and am enjoying trying to learn the fingerboard well. The re-entrant thing is especially captivating; I love Troy Fernandez's stuff and am obsessively learning stuff from his Hawaiian Music CD. My soprano is just really fun to play, responsive and small and cute. The tenor, with its high tension, larger scale, and the necessity of almost inventing a way to hold it with the LH for position shifts, is more along the lines of a challenge undertaken. One thing they both have in common is they give me the chance to break out from the rather strict, classically-influenced technique I use on the guitar and explore a folksy, utilitarian, idiomatic ones on the uke.

andy_mahardika
08-20-2015, 07:04 PM
I can get girls easier with ukulele rather than with my guitar... lol

ukulelekarcsi
08-20-2015, 10:03 PM
Some reasons:
- seeing the Ukulogisch Museum in 1995 - humor and musicianship, and nothing but ukuleles.
- the sound, much lighter and more uplifting than that of a guitar
- a penchant for quircky instruments

What tipped the scale:
- finding a good one in 2004 on a flea market (finding a decent one wasn't as obvious as it is now)
- loosing the tip and most of the flexibility of my left index in an accident (which meant bigger instruments requier me to lean forward-left in order to use that finger, and mandolins and ukes are much more ergonomical)

Highmiles
08-21-2015, 02:14 AM
I too, am a former guitar player of 50+ years. I was looking at parlor guitars, because, due to age and arthritis, playing was no longer as comfortable as it once was. I ended up with a Taylor Mini, and it helped, but I wasn't satisfied. Went to my local music store to look at a parlor guitar with even lower string tension and smaller size, only to discover that they had just started carrying a few Ohana ukuleles. I ended up with a concert sized 50 WG, which was the only solid top they had. That night, I caught on rather quickly, and ended up playing for about three hours straight. My wife commented on how much she enjoyed it, and that she hadn't seen me play so happy, in a long time. That pretty much decides my new direction. Some of the side benefits to me are the portability, in that you can plop in a chair anywhere and be truly comfortable and relaxed, as you play. Also, the amount of free tabs, lessons, advice, etc., is incredible. The the downside(?) is UAS. I have all ready added a tenor, and have decided what top quality instruments are now on the horizon. While the two I have are serviceable, I feel that a person who loves their music deserves to play with the best available to them. It inspires dedication to play and practice, makes you sound better as you learn, which is encouraging.

John A
08-21-2015, 02:22 AM
I've been playing guitar for over 50 years and class myself as a total 'plucker'! I took up the banjo for a while too... played in a blues & folk club. I later turned to classical and started playing various recorders in a trio, then progressed to flute, then the one keyed baroque flute (traverso), slowly came back to the guitar, started playing bottleneck on a resonator, then took up the concertina, came back to the guitar... and then slowly grew a bit bored with it all... I can't remember what led me to the ukulele but I felt a strange desire to play one and so I bought a cheapo and found it really refreshing, that high G is just so appealing... I've been playing the ukulele only for about a year but I haven't once felt the desire to pick up the guitar again. I now have four ukuleles and the desire to own more has definitely taken hold... this never really happened with the guitar. Everything I played on the guitar I now play on the ukulele, only with a whole new approach and sound, it's exciting and exhilarating and there's never a dull moment... there's definitely something mysterious about a ukulele! Will I slowly become bored with it...? That I don't know but, at the moment, I can't imagine that I ever will... it's constantly opening up new, delightful, and unexpected paths to follow, my flagging enthusiasm has been well and truly rekindled, and I'm only just about scratching the surface..!

bnolsen
08-21-2015, 02:26 AM
i do have to admit the uke has become my primary instrument. I could never get into guitar. I picked up a uke, started playing through uncle rod's chord sheets and grabbed a few sheets of scorpexuke.

The uke is very portable.
The uke is very rewarding. Seems to hit a sweet spot with flexibility, complexity and utility. If you primary thing is singing I can't think of anything better for accompaniment.

Cornfield
08-21-2015, 02:54 AM
I like to sing and I have a baritone voice. The instrument I use is for accompaniment. Sometimes the instrument is just a prop. Also, as mentioned by others, the uke is more portable than a guitar, easier to take on an airplane or stuff in a full trunk.

SteveZ
08-21-2015, 02:55 AM
It's amazing how many UUers are also in the "50+ years guitaring" group.

Started on the guitar when Lyndon Johnson was President. Never progressed further than "mediocre," but enjoyed it. A few years ago (thanks to fret hand issues) tried mandolin. Never got any better than "mediocre" again, but it led me to tenor guitar and tenor banjo, which has been amazing.

Started with ukulele when I was looking for a "travel mandolin" equivalent. First ukulele was a RISA stick which I tuned GDAE. A couple other sopranos followed, also tuned GDAE, as they were the "suitcase mandolins" when on the road and could be played quietly in hotel rooms (mandos can get loud).

When I got my first tenor guitar I alternated between GDAE and CGDA tuning (eventually settling on CGDA as the standard). As I already had been using ukuleles at GDAE, the urge to also try CGDA on them got the better of me. It was easy to do (taking a standard low-G GCEA string set, inverting the C & G strings, and detuning the E to D. resulting in "reentrant C"). Meanwhile, tenor banjo joined the troupe, further reinforcing fifths tuning for me.

Since then the number of tenor guitars and tenor banjos to come along has been very limited. Ukuleles, by virtue of their much lower price points, have been many. It's fun to try all kinds of ukulele, keeping a select few and trading/selling many. It has also satisfied my tinkering urge, as ukuleles have been affordable victims for several "amateur luthier" experiments.

Now down to one tenor guitar, one tenor banjo and one mandolin - all of which are still active players that also hang from the home office wall (they are beautiful!). The ukuleles get most of playing time these days, with a new one appearing at a monthly average. Just got a new-to-me tenor which will occupy a lot of time over the next couple days - retuning, re-setup and such. These instruments can surely become addictive!

strumsilly
08-21-2015, 04:18 AM
the guitar has too many strings too close together. that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
08-21-2015, 04:22 AM
fun is fun, regardless of instrument used :)

MickeyD
08-21-2015, 04:38 AM
I love Troy Fernandez's stuff and am obsessively learning stuff from his Hawaiian Music CD.

Also, I keep learning about amazing artists by lurking around this site! Thanks for that CactusWren, I'd never heard his playing.

PS I still love all my instrumnets!

pbagley
08-21-2015, 04:55 AM
I've really enjoyed the replies to this thread, so thanks to all who have posted. Here's my humble contribution.

I started with a great desire to play guitar when I was 14, mostly because a friend had started playing and it seemed really cool to be able to play songs that you heard on the radio. The AM radio. I had no FM available at that time, just an old AM clock radio with tubes that could pick up Beaker Street on a clear night. First guitar was a lap steel with an amp that I got for $40. Poor choice. I tried making a guitar using the pickup and tuners, some left over plywood from doing the basement walls that was in the garage, and a dollar's worth of frets from the music store (rode my bicycle the 3 miles there, and 3 back). The home made guitar was a disaster - I knew nothing of structure or truss rods and there was no internet in the early '70s. A few months later I had the lap steel back in one piece and traded it in on a Kapa 12 string. Another poor choice. That cool friend showed me everything he knew on guitar, and I learned. Two years later I tried to join a band - I was a leading contender since I had a drivers license and access to a car. The found a better guitar player (easy to do) and I became a bassist. One gig later and we broke up. I remain a bassist to this day. Along about 1980 I traded a Gibson L6S that I never could play well in on a used Martin D-35. I still have the Martin. Many basses and guitar have passed through my hands, and I became a reasonably OK bassist after resuming playing in 1990 for a church Christmas musical. Since then I've played bass on and off in a number of cover bands and pretty much continually in churches. About 10 years ago another friend started a ukulele jam session. Ukuleles only. No Guitar. Sigh... Five years ago I bought a cheap Silvertone baritone uke with bad tuners. Fun and quiet little instrument. For a long time I tuned it in 5th, an octave below a mandolin. Never found the time to attend my friend's ukulele jam session. For my birthday in 2013 my wife bought me a Kala Traveler concert - the ukulele that sounds like it wants to be a mandolin. Later in the year I bought a RipTide tenor from GC (on sale!) while shopping for a U-Bass. Had fun and frustration with the re-entrant tuning, did not make much progress until this past winter. I'd finally bought a U-Bass - right after the band broke up. I decided that I wanted a decent ukulele and started shopping. My wife and I attended a ukulele jam session at a bluegrass fest and enjoyed it as total beginners. One thing led to another and I had UAS. The same guy we bought the Kala from let me try his Mele - with the crack up the back and not for sale - and I found the ukulele voice I wanted. I also got to try a few Martins and a Collings; I liked the Martins but the Mele was the sound I liked best. E-Bay to the rescue (found a used Mele that had been in WI for a few years and was not cracked). And I read about Kamaka's and ... again E-Bay. And my wife bought me a Dixie banjo uke. We started attending my friend's ukulele jam session when ever we could - which has been a whole lot of fun. The ukes go with us pretty much everywhere. Some are better travelers (I perceive them to be less fragile anyway). There seem to be a lot of ukulele players any more - a lot of places we camp (motorhome actually) have other players that find us sitting out with our ukes and jam sessions break out. This never happened when I played guitar in the camp site. I guess it's because the uke is less intimidating - definitely not because my guitar playing is intimidating.

So count me as another in the AND category. Still playing guitar and bass, enjoying ukulele playing too.

CactusWren
08-21-2015, 07:02 AM
You're welcome. There's a song by Peter Moon called "Guava Jam" which makes for a nice little solo in that style (and Troy also covered it).

70sSanO
08-21-2015, 07:05 AM
I expect a lot out of my guitar playing; I don't expect so much with the uke.

To some degree this could also be re-written... Most people expect a lot out of guitar playing; Most people don't expect so much with the uke. Jake routinely talks about the low expectations people have of ukuleles, and I think it is true.

Regardless of how proficient one becomes on the guitar, if the proficiency is not at a professional level, it will never meet expectations. Any trip to Guitar Center with the endless riffs wafting into an insurmountable roar can attest to the competitive nature that guitarist face. Everyone plays guitar and everyone who plays is compared.

After years of playing guitar well enough but not good enough to meet expectations, it is refreshing to play the ukulele. It is easier to play and most people don't realize that a lot of the fingerstyle playing is not that hard if you work within certain keys with semi-open chords. I mean let's face it, even a so-so version of Guitar Gently Weeps on the ukulele impresses people with a Tiny Tim mindset.

John

spongeuke
08-21-2015, 07:25 AM
A common thread is that playing Ukuleles makes you feel better, takes you to a happy place, is easier to handle and the like. While a guitar is more serious, somber, or self involved. Then there is the blues "feeling good was easy Lord, when he sang the blues". I do play the blues on a ukulele, a Baritone is preferred then. I consider the Baritone an almost guitar it's missing the 2 low end strings, however it does make you feel better or is a part of the process.
The ukulele or what ever is a window into the wonderful world of music that stimulates the intellectual and emotional at the same time.

WestyShane
08-21-2015, 08:50 AM
I sucked so bad at guitar that I never practiced enough - a horrible feedback loop. I figured I could either grow a sixth and seventh finger on my left hand or get into the uke. I didn't want to modify half of my gloves so...

CeeJay
08-21-2015, 08:51 AM
To some degree this could also be re-written... Most people expect a lot out of guitar playing; Most people don't expect so much with the uke. Jake routinely talks about the low expectations people have of ukuleles, and I think it is true.

Regardless of how proficient one becomes on the guitar, if the proficiency is not at a professional level, it will never meet expectations. Any trip to Guitar Center with the endless riffs wafting into an insurmountable roar can attest to the competitive nature that guitarist face. Everyone plays guitar and everyone who plays is compared.

After years of playing guitar well enough but not good enough to meet expectations, it is refreshing to play the ukulele. It is easier to play and most people don't realize that a lot of the fingerstyle playing is not that hard if you work within certain keys with semi-open chords. I mean let's face it, even a so-so version of Guitar Gently Weeps on the ukulele impresses people with a Tiny Tim mindset.

John

Please NOTE : The underwritten MAY read as a bit Snarky ....If It does it is not meant to.......'Kay.

And that's right were I part company with the "Little guitar" players who pooh pooh the likes of TT , Formby and Smeck. :biglaugh:
The beauty of the Uke is that it can clearly be played in a number of ways...just like a guitar ....it also can be played in a number of ways ...unlike a guitar ...you could, probably never recreate the triples , fans rolls etc etc on a guitar that you can on a Soprano Uke or a Uke Banjo a la Smeck , Formby etc.....I have no problem with the so called moving on and development of the Uke as it is somehow described....but very often I have a little bet with myself that those who ridicule the playing styles of those mentioned do so because they cannot do them, and possibly don't appreciate the difficulties and complexities inherent.

Pooh Poohing them is a little like a psychiatrist saying that Jung or Freud had no relevance on the development of Trick Cycling.

Don't forget this is coming from the UK where, certainly in my experience, we seem to have a slightly different view of the Uke and it's playing styles . As commented on a couple of times by UU memebers.

Jake Shimabukuro is making his first tour here only this year . I don't think that he is yet a "household" name among the players in UK .

Certainly the ones that I talk with look blank when you mention The Ohta Sans and Shimabukuros (unless they are UU members)

As to Uke vs Guitar :

Guitar , I don't think it is any harder than the uke . You can easily set your own parameters and limitations and excel within them ..(if you want to "excel")

Guitar's just a bit bigger ...the uke is two strings less and starts at the fifth fret of a guitar .

You can boom chikka three chord songs like a Sing and Strum group, finger pick like Jake and crew (In fact I yell at the screen "get a guitar" LOL)
or play classical ...like Kingy and our own Ukeval......

It should not be Versus ....it should ,as has previously been mentioned, as well as ..

The Ukelele..and it's players (me in particular)..in my book (and your views may vary) is/are the most simple, complex, contradictory,paradoxical, mind bogglingly pleasurable, infuriating object in the world. Just like any other instrument . The only difference is that the everybody on here has one and only some have other instruments.

Guess what, they all think the same thing about their weapons of choice . :smileybounce:

Steedy
08-21-2015, 09:08 AM
I played guitar in my youth, but stopped playing music for many years after college, until I discovered ukulele four years ago. Lately, I've started playing guitar again, but guitars are so big and so much work compared to ukes, that it's been challenging to play both. I think I'm moving towards playing Tenor ukes and smaller guitars like the Cordoba C9 Parlor nylon-string guitar, so they can sort of "meet in the middle", metaphorically speaking. :)

Booli
08-21-2015, 09:54 AM
I played guitar in my youth, but stopped playing music for many years after college, until I discovered ukulele four years ago. Lately, I've started playing guitar again, but guitars are so big and so much work compared to ukes, that it's been challenging to play both. I think I'm moving towards playing Tenor ukes and smaller guitars like the Cordoba C9 Parlor nylon-string guitar, so they can sort of "meet in the middle", metaphorically speaking. :)

Somewhat similar experience to yours...

...before I bought my first uke, I had purchased the Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele, but the fretboard was too cramped for me to play 6-string chords on a 1.75' nut, and still played my full-sized classical from time to time. Then I saw a used Art & Lutherie Ami nylon parlor guitar with a solid cedar top and cherrywood back and sides, and bought that back in Jan'15 at a great price. I love the sound, but it still feels HUGE compared to my ukes. So now I am considering selling it and taking a try at the Cordoba Mini, which is a baritone scale, 6-string guilele, with a full 2" nut width, and it's rumored that you can get a set of strings for standard EADGBE tuning instead of the G-tuning of a Terz guitar or the typical A-tuning of a guitalele.

Not sure yet, because every time I pick up the Ami, and play, the sound and the feel is just off-the-chart amazing to me. I cant fathom how they can make such an amazing instrument for ~$299...

Nickie
08-21-2015, 04:26 PM
Try as I may, I could never learn the guitar. It's just too big, too heavy, and too far between frets. I love watching a good guitar player, though.
My friend Jay Nunes played guitar until a work accident resulted in a broken hand. The Doc told him he'd never play again. It broke his heart. One day he and his lovely wife Kelly were messing around in Sam Ash Music, she picked up a uke and handed to him. He liked it, and she bought it for him. Soon, the uke was re-habing his hand. The hand totally healed and now not only is he very proficient with the uke (and has UAS), he can play the guitar again, as well as the Ubass I gave him.

CactusWren
08-21-2015, 04:39 PM
I think the reason the ukulele is fun is that it is easy. You can learn three chords in ten minutes, perhaps, and thereby have the ability to accompany the voice with dozens of songs. I know of no other instrument with less barriers to entry. Guitars hurt to play. Accompanying a singer on a piano is complex. Maybe harmonica, but that does require a good ear. My six year old daughter has a repertoire of a handful or two of songs and she sings happy birthday to her classmates. I can play my soprano standing, sitting, or lying down. Even at the intermediate level, strumming and chunking on the uke sounds so good without requiring immense skill. You can put together chord melody arrangements and don't have to even worry about the bass note, the thing that really restricts you on the guitar. It really is a great instrument. And you have the Ohta-sans and the James Hills out there for inspiration and to show just how far it can be taken. Finally, the guitar's territory has been well-staked out. There are already a hundred virtuosos in about any niche you can think of. The ukulele field has a bit more space for you to find your own place.

Highmiles
08-21-2015, 05:09 PM
I can't make a fair comparison. I played guitar since 1961. A lot of it was hard work, and a lot of it was fun. The Uke has been nothing but fun, but I owe it to the guitar playing background. I' m glad I've had both, but medical issues dictate Uke only for the future. I'm happy with that.
I don't really know how to quantify it, but I feel like the Uke is a "happier" instrument.

bvh
08-22-2015, 02:06 AM
I am 73, and got to the point, where I couldn't hold my right hand, in the "claw" position to play clawhammer banjo, without a lot of pain. I also build open back banjos, and have sold on all coasts, of the US and in-between. I've taken all my info, off of the Banjohangout, so I don't get anymore orders. I can hold a pick, to play the uke, without pain, although I don't play oldtime music, anymore. I play classic rock, and some country, but not in public. I don't want anyone to hear me sing,and I really don't play very well. I've only been at it about six months.

bvh

Rllink
08-22-2015, 06:07 AM
When I retired, and thought that it would be fun to be able to play music and sing, it literally turned into the guitar vs the ukulele, and the ukulele won.

hollisdwyer
08-22-2015, 06:32 AM
The Uke is easier for me to play with a bad left wrist. I still have one guitar, a nice Lariivee parlour, which I play occasionally and an Appalachian Dulcimer, which is sort of my meditation instrument, but playing Ukes has opened up a new and valued world of new friends that I have never had with other instruments.

Tootler
08-22-2015, 11:47 AM
I think the reason the ukulele is fun is that it is easy. You can learn three chords in ten minutes, perhaps, and thereby have the ability to accompany the voice with dozens of songs. I know of no other instrument with less barriers to entry...

Maybe harmonica, but that does require a good ear.

I would modify that first statement. The ukulele is relatively easy to get started on. There's more to it than just chords. You need to co-ordinate both hands and to be able to play rhythmically. That doesn't always come easy and takes practice.

Harmonica is also relatively easy to get started. I don't think it requires an especially good ear. You need do to be able to hold a tune and almost everyone can do that if they put their mind to it.

quiltingshirley
08-22-2015, 12:01 PM
I started playing the uke about 3 years ago and find playing it and interacting with the other players is really fun I picked up a guitar for the 1st time about a year ago. I don't find it any harder to play than the uke but I find I have more fun playing with other ukers.

UkeH
08-22-2015, 02:00 PM
I have been playing uke for about two years and recently bought a Cordoba Mini, a baritone ukulele sized guitarlele. This is the first time trying the six-strings. I think having the uke background really helps to learn this more guitar-like instrument, especially since it is tuned in A to A. I really enjoy the deeper fuller sound with bass strings compared to my soprano uke. I'm spending time mostly trying to learn the new instrument but occasionally keeping up with my uke and find it still very pleasant. I do play piano as well and all my instruments sound beautiful in its own unique voice. Maybe after a couple of years playing this mini guitar, I might want to buy a nicer ukulele or I might be interested in a real guitar, I don't know:)

Down Up Dick
08-23-2015, 07:52 AM
When I first started playing ukulele, I figured that someday when I learned enough, I'd switch off and play guitar. So, to aid me in that dream, I bought a baritone Uke and figured (again) that, when I learned to play it, I'd be two thirds on the way to a guitar.

However, since that time, I've been telling myself and others how much I liked banjos. I even bought a coupla Banjoleles. And now I have a mini banjo, and, if and when I learn to play it, I'm gonna get a really one.

Sometimes I wonder how good I'd have been if I'da stuck to the trumpet--too late now I guess. :old:

Fleacia
08-23-2015, 11:46 AM
I'm a long time uke player and just started guitar last year (after a failed attempt as a kid). It came along at the right time. I don't know how else to put it. I don't play or write the same way on either, and I'm ok with that. As long as I treat them as uke and guitar, 2 instruments that are different, not better or worse, all goes well. I do think all the uke playing helped me pick up guitar, but only in that I already knew strumming patterns, could strum and sing at the same time, etc. It didn't help much with learning chords - I had to start at the beginning with that so I wouldn't try to compare/relate them. I like both.

Walker78
08-23-2015, 11:56 AM
I played guitar for around 15 years. Got my first uke and kept my guitar for a while until it just wasn't played any more. It felt kinda wrong at first when I sold my guitar and only had a uke, as a lot of the music I like is guitar based. That soon changed and I'm perfectly happy with the ukulele as my only instrument now. The few times I have picked up or even looked at a guitar they just seem so massive now, don't think I'll ever go back! I must admit I do think my wife would rather I still play guitar, I reckon she thought I was way cooler with the longer hair and acoustic guitar!

Uk3player78
08-23-2015, 05:39 PM
I have played guitar since my teens. Now i'm mid way through my 30's. I have taught, played in small time bands, went through an electric phase then full time acoustic settling with one decent acoustic and a Strat that hardly sees daylight.

4 years ago i tried something different... ukulele! I picked it up pretty quick although (still) lacking a ukulele specific repertoire of songs i have enjoyed it immensely. That said i quit for a year only coming back 9 months ago for keeps this time. I sold all my decent ukuleles to invest in a one off acoustic guitar which i still have.

Whatever instrument you play, you know that rare time when you really get lost in what your playing? Completely carried away? This was rare with guitar, i had to be really nailing a complicated piece. On ukulele i'm just enjoying the sound and well... my most complicated ukulele piece is the magic ukulele waltz but... i get that lost in what i'm playing carried away thing with some basic tunes. I just love the sound. Its not even a K brand sound... its humble M brands. :D

Case in point. This weekend my wife, 2 young daughters and i visited the ruins of an Abbey. A beautiful historical place. I, brought my Makala MK C concert... and sat playing there. Some ukulele type zen right there. My fussy all solid guitar never leaves the house. I play at service station car parks when we are travelling, out and about locally... pretty much anywhere. Its such a fun instrument. Not an all serious guitar. :D

CactusWren
08-24-2015, 05:10 AM
The nice thing about the uke is it's teaching me to _not_ take my guitar so seriously. Thanks, ukulele!

WaylonUkulele
08-24-2015, 06:54 AM
The nice thing about the uke is it's teaching me to _not_ take my guitar so seriously. Thanks, ukulele!

This is a big thing for me too. I've played guitars for years, and now I have a uke. But it doesn't have to be either or. I use guitars in my rock band, but I also use ukulele in that same band when it works. The ukulele has made me relax a bit on guitar, and stop trying to be the next *insert your fav guitar player*, and made me realize, it's ok to just toggle from A to D sometimes with a shuffle strum and be merry.

SoloRule
08-24-2015, 07:06 AM
Took classical guitar lessons during my high school and college years. No matter how hard I practise I was never good at it , some chords are simply too much for my fingers. I then developed pain in the wrist so I totally gave up.
Always knew Ukulele is an affordable alternative but never thought it can play like a classical guitar until I saw the demo on HMS site.
It's light weight, easy to transport , great sounding and most importantly every song is possible as long as you practise.
Of course meeting some really nice people in this forum who encourage me to buy buy buy buy buy........is also very satisfying.

k0k0peli
08-24-2015, 10:41 PM
Started on dulcimer at 14, guitar at 15, harmonica at 16, and I'm 65 now. Inherited grandpa's WWI-vintage banjo-mandolin about 30 years ago. Only started 'uke a couple years ago because I played a bright cheap Kohala soprano in a shop and my wife insisted on buying it for me. A few months ago she bought me a Kala 6-string tenor and that's when I went wild and started accumulating 'ukes and mandos. I haven't quit playing guitar, banjo, dobro, Cümbüş now but I play the smaller instruments more.

Why my current focus on 'ukes and mandos? Maybe because I spend my days in a recliner (I have medical reasons to keep my feet elevated) with a ThinkPad in my lap, and it's easy to grab one of those small lutes and play. ;) Also, I'll admit to being just a bit bored with guitar. Other instruments and stringings mean new challenges.

But travel has become more complicated. Throwing the Backpacker guitar in the car was easy; now I must decide how many instruments to haul along. Our recent week-long trip required her tenor 'uke and my concert, a mandolin, and a dulcimer (which I should have left home). That's why I'm scheming to build a three-neck 'uke strung gCEa, GceA, and GDae (5ths). Those would comprise a re-entrant 'uke, a mini-cuatro, and a wide-neck mando. Perfect!

turtledrum
08-25-2015, 01:33 AM
I've played guitar for over 50 years and the uke for just over 1 year. Honestly, the uke is better suited to the size of my hands and skill level. As a result, I've sold a few guitars and purchased two guitaleles, which I just love. I don't envision playing much steel-stringed anything in the future.

yourethatukeguy
08-25-2015, 08:23 AM
I've played guitar for over 20 years. I bought my uke on a whim one time I went to hawaii. I wanted to get a cool souvenir and so i brought one home with me.
I unfortunately played it like a guitar for the first year or so then it sat around collecting dust...

THEN my first son was born, I started playing to him. Not having an acoustic around the uke was the next best thing. I played it to him on his changing table, in his crib, etc. As I played it more and more, I started singing with it too. Nursery rhymes, ABC's, etc. As my son grew older I played the uke for him as part of his night time getting ready for bed routine. We usually sing 2 or 3 songs on the uke. Now my son who is 3 plays it and sings while I beam with pride.

It really has bonded us together in a way that would not be possible.

Now I play almost exclusively on the uke and the guitars are collecting dust. I also love how the uke is super portable and I can carry it outside with me or take it to the park. Imagine that's pretty much impossible with an electric guitar and a twin reverb in tow.

Down Up Dick
08-25-2015, 08:31 AM
What a great post. One of the nicest that I've read on the UU. My Dad was like a statue; we didn't sing or even talk much. :old:

Big B
08-25-2015, 11:10 AM
Three shoulder surgeries in 4 years (plus one separated shoulder mixed in) and I found that I just quit playing guitar & bass. The pain of playing outweighed the joy. However, I missed making some kind of music, so I picked up a uke and here I am.

70sSanO
08-26-2015, 04:15 AM
Three shoulder surgeries in 4 years (plus one separated shoulder mixed in) and I found that I just quit playing guitar & bass. The pain of playing outweighed the joy. However, I missed making some kind of music, so I picked up a uke and here I am.

Excellent post... "making some kind of music" pretty much cuts through whatever instrument a person plays.

John

Down Up Dick
08-26-2015, 04:44 AM
Yeah, Big B, way ta go! Just keep on keepin' on. :old:

Rllink
08-26-2015, 06:01 AM
Wow, this thread is still going. I find the responses interesting. I've seen a lot of ukulele players around, who seem have an inferiority complex when it comes to guitars. I personally do not think of the ukulele as being a less virtuous instrument, nor do I think that it is easier to play just because it has two less strings. In fact, I'm surrounded by many more guitar players than ukulele players, and I see the ukulele as something much more interesting and challenging than a guitar. It takes a lot or work to get the same thing out of those four strings, with their illogical tuning. It is a challenge in itself. I'm not a guitar player, but I can still play a C, an F, and a G on the guitar, and it ain't any harder on a guitar than it is on a ukulele. And I could play a lot of songs with those three chords. In fact, even though I don't play the guitar, I recognize a lot of chords on the guitar when other people are playing them. A little trick that I find handy when jamming with guitar players. But the ukulele is unique, especially when played with the standard re-entrant tuning. I mean, how could it be so much harder to play some huge instrument with linear tuning? To me, the challenge of playing ukulele with the limited range and the re-entrant tuning is something that is lacking in the guitar experience. I feel sorry for guitar players who do not play the ukulele. How boring, going up and down the scale with nothing in the way.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
08-26-2015, 06:46 AM
Excellent post... "making some kind of music" pretty much cuts through whatever instrument a person plays.

John

yer- a small parlour guitar is the biggest instrument i can play semi comfortably these days

Down Up Dick
08-26-2015, 07:05 AM
yer- a small parlour guitar is the biggest instrument i can play semi comfortably these days

Yeah, music is sometimes difficult for us old timers. When my Ukes are in playing position I can't see which strings my fingers are fretting anymore, and my hearing is weird too. I can't tell where noise is coming from; my direction finding ability is gone.

I'm glad I've had many good years of music. I guess I can't expect it to last forever, but yesterday I had a good time playing my tuba for an hour.

I guess we should just enjoy the good days, and struggle through the bad ones. :old:

70sSanO
08-26-2015, 09:07 AM
...yesterday I had a good time playing my tuba for an hour.

I hope this doesn't spawn a Ukes vs. Tubas thread... lol.

John

LifesShort
08-26-2015, 09:50 AM
Wow, this thread is still going. I find the responses interesting. I've seen a lot of ukulele players around, who seem have an inferiority complex when it comes to guitars. I personally do not think of the ukulele as being a less virtuous instrument, nor do I think that it is easier to play just because it has two less strings. In fact, I'm surrounded by many more guitar players than ukulele players, and I see the ukulele as something much more interesting and challenging than a guitar. It takes a lot or work to get the same thing out of those four strings, with their illogical tuning. It is a challenge in itself. I'm not a guitar player, but I can still play a C, an F, and a G on the guitar, and it ain't any harder on a guitar than it is on a ukulele. And I could play a lot of songs with those three chords. In fact, even though I don't play the guitar, I recognize a lot of chords on the guitar when other people are playing them. A little trick that I find handy when jamming with guitar players. But the ukulele is unique, especially when played with the standard re-entrant tuning. I mean, how could it be so much harder to play some huge instrument with linear tuning? To me, the challenge of playing ukulele with the limited range and the re-entrant tuning is something that is lacking in the guitar experience. I feel sorry for guitar players who do not play the ukulele. How boring, going up and down the scale with nothing in the way.

Very well said. I have played guitar for 40 years and ukulele for 4. If all you are going to do is strum chords, then I would agree that the uke is generally easier to play than a guitar. This is simply because chords that may require 3 or 4 fingers on a guitar only require 1 or 2 on the uke (usually). However, once you start playing fingerstyle and you have the limited range and reentrant tuning of the ukulele, I think it becomes much more difficult than a guitar.

Pueo
08-26-2015, 11:11 AM
I have posted this information in another thread but I'll share my story again.
I started taking guitar lessons in 4th grade, and played regularly through high school. I could read music passably and even managed to play a few challenging pieces like Mood For a Day by Steve Howe. By the mid 80s (end of high school for me) I was getting more into synth-type music and it was becoming more difficult to play my favorite music on guitar. I actually looked into getting a midi interface so I could play synth with my guitar but that was way too expensive. I all but stopped playing for several years, but always hung on to my guitars which were basically gathering dust in the closet. Then a friend took me to see the Grateful Dead. I had a great time and really enjoyed the music, the free-form jamming, etc. This same friend played guitar and I "suddenly" remembered that I played too! I started to play more again and really enjoyed it.
Meanwhile...
My mom bought a condo on Maui and we started to spend lots of time in Hawaii. When we were there we listened to a lot of Hawaiian music. I really liked it. My mom even recently showed me a picture (I have no recollection of it) of me playing an ukulele at our condo when I was about 17 - how funny! Anyhow that apparently planted a seed that grew years later.
Although I was happy that I was playing guitar again, I realized what I really needed to do was practice more, and in order to do that, I had to take my guitar around everywhere, which was kind of a pain.
Around this time I met the woman who would become my wife, and she is Hawaiian. We were both living in Southern California at the time. When I would go to her dad's house, her younger two sisters who danced hula would often be there practicing, and there were Hawaiian musicians there - I said to myself, "Hey, I know this music, and I can play along" so I started doing just that. Then it dawned on my that if I were to get an ukulele, it would be much easier to carry around with me.

BOOM!

I started playing ukulele and pretty much never looked back. I pick up a bass and my guitar every now and then, but it is pretty much ukulele exclusive now.

k0k0peli
08-26-2015, 12:00 PM
I feel sorry for guitar players who do not play the ukulele. How boring, going up and down the scale with nothing in the way. And when they come to 'ukes they get a bari or go lo-G. [yawn]

Tootler
08-27-2015, 12:32 AM
Find tunes that need all the notes on your uke from C to a.


There are plenty of those. Just look into the instrumental folk repertoire - Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes etc. The range is actually D to b rather than C to a so you can either transpose down a tone (G or D to F or C) or go with a uke tuned ADF#B and you have literally thousands of tunes available. I suggest tuning to ADF#B is the better option though with a concert or tenor the extra frets would let you cover the full range while staying in C tuning.

The standard keys for folk music of the British Isles and its relatives elsewhere are G, D and A.

Another challenge is to accompany these tunes by ear in a session, something I've tried but am not good at though I can pick up the tunes by ear with a harmonica which is what I usually play in sessions, together with a low D whistle.

kissing
08-27-2015, 04:31 AM
I'm guilty of going the other way around.

I started off with ukulele, because I found guitar a bit unmanageable at first.
Next I learned to play the baritone ukulele, because it had that deeper tone that was useful in accompaniment.
Next came bass guitar, which I picked up really quickly.

Then the next progression was learning actual 6-string guitar.
I think I play 6-string guitars (classical, acoustic, electric) more often than I do ukuleles.
I enjoy both now - they have their pros and cons and unique appeal.

Down Up Dick
08-27-2015, 06:26 AM
Wow, when did we start talking about making music more challenging? If one wants to be challenged, he/she should just play more difficult pieces. Making music more challenging is like going swimming while wrapped in chains, or playing tennis wth a stringless racquet. If ukuleles are too easy, maybe one should go back to playing guitar or banjo (the subject of this thread) for a good workout.

Well, I think music should be fun or interesting or at least a good time passer. :old:

CactusWren
08-27-2015, 07:46 AM
Well, I think music should be fun or interesting or at least a good time passer.

The challenge can be part of the interest or the fun. Your Mileage May Vary. :nana:

I play tennis and when I mentioned to my father-in-law that my legs were sore from a good workout, he said I should find a different sport then.

Tootler
08-27-2015, 07:49 AM
The idea for a technically difficult recreational session is to do something challenging on a "normal" uke, that is play a reel or jig or scottishe or Varsiviana that has a B part high up the neck on a C tuned uke. Tuning up to D would be seen as cheating to a proper technically challenging recreational player.


Of course, the simple way to switch to D tuning is to capo at the 2nd fret. Who (but a snoot) cares if it's "cheating"?

The "easy" keys in D tuning are G, D, A, E and B (and their relative minors, Dorians, Mixolydians and Lydians). These are played like the C tuning keys of F, C, G, D and A respectively. Of course, playing melody isn't a particular challenge in any tuning, unless you want to maximally exploit open strings (as in campanella style). But if primarily melodic playing is your goal, I'd suggest using linear stringing (low-G or low-A), so you have the widest range of pitches available in each playing position, minimizing the position changes required and making big leaps less difficult—if not downright easy.

Focus your "technically challenging" effort on the music you play, not on artificial barriers to playing well.

First, I don't see how tuning up to D or retuning to any other tuning is cheating. D tuning is an alternative standard for a soprano ukulele. There is also a technical consideration; quite simply you cannot get a top B with a standard 12 fret soprano tuned GCEA. You have to tune up to D to cover the range.

I agree with ubulele about melody playing at one level. It is no more difficult to learn to play melodies than to learn to play chords. However, to play melody well is a different matter altogether. Ask any player of a melody instrument. There is more to good melody playing than hitting the right notes.

If I was going to concentrate on melody playing, I would seriously consider tuning in fifths.

Nickie
08-27-2015, 08:42 AM
If I was going to concentrate on melody playing, I would seriously consider tuning in fifths.

What is the advantage of this?

k0k0peli
08-27-2015, 09:30 AM
If I was going to concentrate on melody playing, I would seriously consider tuning in fifths.

What is the advantage of this? Greater tonal range. A 19-fret 'uke tuned low-G has a range from G3 to E6. That same 'uke strung with Aquila Fifths ranges from G3 to B6, a 5th higher. Generally, tuning in smaller intervals like 3rds and 4ths gives more ways to build chords but less tonal range, whilst tuning in 5ths give more range but fewer chord constructions. Some jazz guitarists tune in straight 3rds for the harmonic opportunities.

Tootler
08-27-2015, 11:53 AM
If I was going to concentrate on melody playing, I would seriously consider tuning in fifths.

What is the advantage of this?

You can pretty much cover the range of most tunes I'm first position. I've watched a lot of fiddlers and for playing these tunes, they rarely move up the neck. Mandolins and tenor banjos are usually tuned GDAE like a fiddle and mostly play in first position.

Using standard ukulele tuning you will end up playing up the neck a lot and tone suffers as a consequence.

Of course, it's each to their own but I find above E on the A string does not sound good

Bumgardner
08-27-2015, 04:25 PM
Music is my main hobby. I play piano, saxophone, guitar and ukulele. I can play most wind instruments with a decent level of proficiency. I still love playing all of my other instruments and plan on learning some more stringed instruments.

I picked up ukulele about three years ago to see if my daughter would be interested in playing. I wanted to get her started in music early, and the ukulele is a relatively easy instrument for little hands to play. My daughter is only moderately interested in ukulele (she just turned 4). After purchasing my first ukulele a Dolphin I became obsessed with them.

I love the size, tone and relative affordability of the ukulele. The small size of the ukulele makes it really comfortable to play. The ukulele is my go to instrument for sitting on the couch or front porch. The sound of the ukulele is also very happy to me. It is hard to be anxious or stressed when playing the ukulele. You can purchase an incredible handmade ukulele for under $2,000 try finding an amazing or even decent piano for that price.

k0k0peli
08-27-2015, 06:56 PM
Fifths tuning works great on a short-scale instrument like a violin, but I tried it recently on a tenor uke and found it unmanageable <...> Fifths tuning might be manageable at concert or soprano scale, considering a full-size fiddle has about a 13" scale like a soprano and the viola scale is about 15" like a concert. Finding a compatible "nylon" string set would be the challenge...
My sopranos (including those strung in 5ths) are 13" and 13.5"; my mandolins are 13.5" and 14". Close enough. My concert 'uke is 15" and the Aquila Concert Fifths 31U set is made for it. Haven't tried that yet though. My tenor 'ukes are all 17". None of mine are strung in 5ths but I know at least one member here who does so routinely. My baritone 'uke (now tuned CGBD like a plectrum banjo) and mandola (tuned CGDA 5ths) are both 19". And I've a fretted Cümbüş of 21" scale that I've strung in 5ths.

Yes, in 5ths, the mandola is a stretch, and the Cümbüş (which I now call a banjo-cittern) is almost unmanageable for me. But some folks manage to play long-scale octave mandolins, mando-cellos, bouzoukis, and tenor guitars and banjos. I like sopranos in 5ths -- the fretboard is about 20% wider than most of mandolins, very comfortable for chording. I'll have no qualms about stringing a future concert in 5ths. I'll try a tenor in 5ths too but that's probably my limit.

I'm thinking of an 8-string concert or tenor in 5ths, double courses, for a real mandolele experience. Maybe I'll get another 8-string tenor or restring my Oscar Schmidt with two Aquila 31U sets. (Concert strings should do OK on a tenor.) Or maybe I'll get another 4-string concert 'uke and follow these Indestructibles.Com plans (http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-an-8-String-Ukulele-From-your-Normal-Ukulele/) to convert it to an 8-string. If I don't like it in 5ths I can always restring it as a taropatch.

EDIT: It occurs to me that a concert or tenor banjo-uke loaded with a 31U set would be a mini-tenor banjo. But slightly quieter.

CactusWren
08-28-2015, 06:02 AM
For melody, better than fifths might be just fourths. Get rid of the weirdness between the 2nd and 3rd string. Go linear to pick up the extra range. David Reed (who has a product called Improvise For Real that I use) tunes his guitar in straight fourths.

k0k0peli
08-28-2015, 07:13 AM
For melody, better than fifths might be just fourths. Get rid of the weirdness between the 2nd and 3rd string. Go linear to pick up the extra range. David Reed (who has a product called Improvise For Real that I use) tunes his guitar in straight fourths. I have a 5-double-course Puerto Rican cuatro tuned in straight 4ths, BEADG. It's fun but not quite as amenable to chording as a 4ths-and-a-3rd EADGBE setup which evolved as a workable compromise. The "extra range" of a straight-4ths guitar in EADGC#F# or BEADGC# is trivial, only one whole tone.

Any straight-intervals tuning has pros and cons. Pro: fretting patterns are simpler and totally movable. Con: many chords are not as convenient to form. Straight 3rds allow many chord formations but limited tonal range. Straight 5ths offer great melodic range but boy howdy, some of those chords are tough! My own compromise there is to mainly tune 5ths-and-a-4th GDAD. I lose a whole tone of range but the chords I play are easier and my guitar instincts are satisfied.

Down Up Dick
08-28-2015, 07:36 AM
Experimentation is interesting I guess, but, it seems to me, that you people are playing baseball with tennis raquets. They may work some, but the game just won't be the same.

Whatever happened to Guitars vs. Ukuleles? I feel deeply high jacked . . . :old:

CactusWren
08-28-2015, 08:13 AM
I hear you; the thing with the fourths is just to keep it consistent so you can orient yourself anywhere without getting tripped up.

Down Up Dick, are you implying that this here thread is your lawn and we shouldn't be on it? :) Changing the tuning of a ukulele really doesn't change the name of the instrument. And a charango is as much a uke as a baritone or a six string uke, etc.

Tootler
08-28-2015, 08:27 AM
Experimentation is interesting I guess, but, it seems to me, that you people are playing baseball with tennis raquets. They may work some, but the game just won't be the same.

Whatever happened to Guitars vs. Ukuleles? I feel deeply high jacked . . . :old:

Two things:

The original theme of a thread will eventually run its course and it either dies or moves off in a new direction.

You start a thread but once started, it acquires a life of its own and there's nothing the OP or anyone else can do about it but simply make the most of it.

The thread has gone off in a new direction, accept it and either leave it or join in.

gyosh
08-28-2015, 08:42 AM
Uke vs. Guitar?


My uke was the gateway to a guitar (two actually :) )

k0k0peli
08-28-2015, 09:38 AM
Changing the tuning of a ukulele really doesn't change the name of the instrument. And a charango is as much a uke as a baritone or a six string uke, etc. Ah, but changing the *stringing* effectively makes it a new axe. Even something as simple as going from an 'uke's gCEa to a cuatro's GceA has great consequence, moreso by taking it to a mando's GDae.

As 'uke-like as a charango is, it has a rather distinct heritage. Think of it as parallel (or interrupted?) evolution. Yes, history would be different if there were armadillos in Hawai'i. ;) And IMHO the baritone isn't *really* an 'uke but the boundaries are porous and ill-defined. (Take a guitelele. Please.)

Slap the appropriate neck and strings onto a tambourine and it's a banjolin or banjolele or plectrum or tenor or 5-string or Cumbus or whatever. Slightly modify a small guitar and it's an octave mandolin or bouzouki or bass 'uke. Slap pickups on a slab of wood and, depending on what else you do to it, it's a a solid-body guitar or mando or 'uke or lap steel or 'stick' or tar or shamisen or whatever. And there's no difference between the 'air' versions of any of these, right?

Some folks at Indestructables.Com have odd ideas of what constitutes an 'uke. The Javalele (http://www.instructables.com/id/Javalele/) is made from an espresso machine filter. The Rotating Variable-Pitch 'Uke (http://www.instructables.com/id/ROTATING-VARI-PITCH-UKULELE-RVP/) has no neck, only a dial. The Poket-Uku (http://www.instructables.com/id/POCKET-UKULELE-poket-uku/) is indeed quite pocketable. The Two-Minute 'Uke (http://www.instructables.com/id/Two-minute-ukelele/) is made from a plastic bottle and two rubber bands -- two minutes is how long it takes to make, and how long a two-year-old may stay interested in it. I thought I saw a one-string 'uke in the Indestructibles 'Ukulele section (http://www.instructables.com/howto/ukulele/) but I can't find it now. So improvise.

Is an 'ukulele as small guitar? Somewhat, unless it's a banjo. Or neckless. Or... :confused:

Down Up Dick
08-28-2015, 10:41 AM
Wow, you people are really serious about this chord and string stuff. My last post was tongue in cheek and meant to be light hearted. I should have known that anything involving changing keys and strings would be of major importance--sorry.

And Tootler, your last sentence certainly wasn't an example of the Aloha Spirit--tsk tsk . . . :old:

bunnyf
08-28-2015, 11:20 AM
Experimentation is interesting I guess, but, it seems to me, that you people are playing baseball with tennis raquets. They may work some, but the game just won't be the same.

Whatever happened to Guitars vs. Ukuleles? I feel deeply high jacked . . . :old:
True. I read the new posts and I wonder if I clicked on the wrong thing. I also was wondering what brought guitarists to the uke other than what I guessed would be medical issues or portability. BTW I just got a guitar and now I appreciate my uke even more.

Down Up Dick
08-28-2015, 11:37 AM
Hi, bunnyf, yeah, I was planning on buying a guitar after I familiarized myself with a stringed instrument, but since then I've taken to the banjo. So I bought one, and I'm struggling with it. Learning new stuff is difficult for us oldies.

And that's what made me wonder why someone who already knew how to play a guitar or banjo would take up the ukulele. There were lots of different and interesting reasons, but I guess it's just that everything gets old after a while. Maybe that's why I play so many instruments,

Perhaps it's just a case of variety being the spice of life. Learning stuff is a big deal to me. :old:

bunnyf
08-28-2015, 12:39 PM
I'm digging my Taylor GSmini but even that little one seems big and HEAVY. I play my ukes a lot so I have good calluses but the steel strings are certainly not comfortable for long practice sessions and hand strength is an issue for me on bar chords. I tend to play open chords on the guitar. I know that this will improve with more guitar-time under my belt. BUT, I can see that with age (I'm already in my early 60s), it may eventually become more difficult to stick with the guitar. Uke is still my first and forever love. I can see how one could carry on playing this long after the guitar is no longer physically feasible. For now, I'm having fun. The more ways to make music, the better.

Down Up Dick
08-28-2015, 12:55 PM
Well, I've never played guitar, but I like the steel strings on my banjo. I thought they would be a bother, but they aren't. The finger picks are another story, I'm still kinda clumsy with them, and I can't always tell which string I'm apluckin'. I think I prefer Clawhammer.

It must be very difficult to play a guitar or banjo, especially one with steel strings, for 40 or 50 years and then change to ukulele's nylon strings and small fretting distances.

I think it's the larnin' and agrowin' that some of us like and not just the variety. :old:

Tootler
08-28-2015, 11:00 PM
Wow, you people are really serious about this chord and string stuff. My last post was tongue in cheek and meant to be light hearted. I should have known that anything involving changing keys and strings would be of major importance--sorry.

And Tootler, your last sentence certainly wasn't an example of the Aloha Spirit--tsk tsk . . . :old:

I do apologise but your last sentence - in spite of the :old: came over as a little snarky.

Tootler
08-28-2015, 11:24 PM
Hi, bunnyf, yeah, I was planning on buying a guitar after I familiarized myself with a stringed instrument, but since then I've taken to the banjo. So I bought one, and I'm struggling with it. Learning new stuff is difficult for us oldies.

And that's what made me wonder why someone who already knew how to play a guitar or banjo would take up the ukulele. There were lots of different and interesting reasons, but I guess it's just that everything gets old after a while. Maybe that's why I play so many instruments,

Perhaps it's just a case of variety being the spice of life. Learning stuff is a big deal to me. :old:

I guess I was partly responsible for the thread drift with my remark about tuning in fifths.

I took up the uke because, I wanted to accompany my singing and I had two failed attempts to play guitar behind me. I'm basically a wind player and it's difficult to accompany your own singing while blowing into something.

The uke worked for me and a consequence of UAS was a banjo uke which I got at the stall of a well known (in the UK) dealer in folk instruments at a folk festival. It has a full size banjo body and a concert ukulele neck and it's LOUD. It occured to me that if I string it in fifths I could use it instead of a tenor banjo to play fiddle tunes - which is what I do on flute, whistle and harmonica. So the discussion on tunings and the pros and cons of different tunings was of interest for that reason. I've found that to play these tunes on a uke in the normal fourths tuning means going way up the neck for the high notes and it doesn't sound good to my ears. Too quiet and too plinky.

As was said the uke is particularly strong for strummed chords and for simple song accompaniment which is all you really need for trad folk songs that's ideal. I've also found that finger picked arppegios work well for accompanying slower songs, especially with dGBE tuning.

I find that strummed guitar accompaniments often overpower the singer though most folk guitarists use finger picked accompaniments often in alternative tunings.

The Big Kahuna
08-28-2015, 11:26 PM
Hi, bunnyf, yeah, I was planning on buying a guitar after I familiarized myself with a stringed instrument, but since then I've taken to the banjo. So I bought one, and I'm struggling with it. Learning new stuff is difficult for us oldies.

And that's what made me wonder why someone who already knew how to play a guitar or banjo would take up the ukulele. There were lots of different and interesting reasons, but I guess it's just that everything gets old after a while. Maybe that's why I play so many instruments,

Perhaps it's just a case of variety being the spice of life. Learning stuff is a big deal to me. :old:

Have you considered a "guitarlele"? ( someone has probably already mentioned this, but I'm waaaay too lazy to go looking ;) ). Tuned to the same intervals as a guitar, so it's a uke with 2 extra bass strings. Despite having played guitar for nearly 40 years, and uke for a few, I still don't know how to categorise my guitarlele. I tend to play guitar pieces on it, as you'd expect, but some things just don't sound right. Still a great little instrument despite that, and available with a baritone string length (my Islander GL-6, for example, which is probably more suitable for guitarists), and tenor-ish scale lengths, better for exclusively uke players and those with smaller hands or joint problems (although, having arthritis myself, I find that playing uke/guitar/etc and challenging myself with big stretches tends to help my overall mobility...that could just be me though, so if in doubt, ask your doctor if your fretboard acrobatics could potentially damage your hands/wrists).

k0k0peli
08-29-2015, 01:17 AM
And that's what made me wonder why someone who already knew how to play a guitar or banjo would take up the ukulele. There were lots of different and interesting reasons, but I guess it's just that everything gets old after a while. Maybe that's why I play so many instruments,

Perhaps it's just a case of variety being the spice of life. Learning stuff is a big deal to me. :old:
I'm in 'ukes because my wife bought me a couple. ;) And also because they're a cheap way to play with many stringings, tunings, fingerings. I like economy.

Any instrument becomes a new axe when it is restrung / retuned. Concert vs open or modal or drone tunings, linear vs high or low re-entrant, reversed -- any of our little lutes tuned differently will play differently. Guitars tuned in straight 3rds or 4ths are NOT the same as those in concert tuning.

And seemingly varied instruments tuned similarly will play similarly, so I can use the same open tuning on dobro, 5-string banjo, baritone 'uke, 4-triple-course cuatro-menor, Backpacker guitar, and fretless Cumbus, and they're all familiar. I re-string 'ukes in 5ths and they play like mandos but with different voicings. That's the key for me -- making different sounds in familiar ways.

Most of my 'uke-like-objects (including actual 'ukes, tiple, cuatro-menor, and banjo-'uke) are now tuned in some variant of GCEA but with different octaves and courses. The same chord forms work for all; the same fingerings do not. This teaches / forces me to be nimble, to think of new ways to achieve what I want. I just put a low-G on my 6-string tenor so it has low-G on bottom and low-A on top like a Venezuelan cuatro. Now it plays more guitar-like but still with a re-entrant 'uke sound, a new voice.

No, it's not just the boredom of old age. I've retuned guitars for decades but 'ukes are easier. Now I can diddle around all I want!

Down Up Dick
08-29-2015, 04:13 AM
Have you considered a "guitarlele"? ( someone has probably already mentioned this, but I'm waaaay too lazy to go looking ;) ). Tuned to the same intervals as a guitar, so it's a uke with 2 extra bass strings. Despite having played guitar for nearly 40 years, and uke for a few, I still don't know how to categorise my guitarlele. I tend to play guitar pieces on it, as you'd expect, but some things just don't sound right. Still a great little instrument despite that, and available with a baritone string length (my Islander GL-6, for example, which is probably more suitable for guitarists), and tenor-ish scale lengths, better for exclusively uke players and those with smaller hands or joint problems (although, having arthritis myself, I find that playing uke/guitar/etc and challenging myself with big stretches tends to help my overall mobility...that could just be me though, so if in doubt, ask your doctor if your fretboard acrobatics could potentially damage your hands/wrists).

Well, I sorta had a plan to take up the guitar after I found my way around the uke, and that's partly why I bought the baritone. However, I've really liked the banjo sound for a long time, and so, once I saw that I could play a stringed instrument, I opted for a banjo. It's coming along, but it's an uphill journey.

I'm glad I bought the banjo, but it's very frustrating when I do badly. :old: