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View Full Version : Do any of you other guitar players feel the same way?



theboss
01-15-2016, 06:06 PM
After being a guitar player player for several years, about 5 years ago I took up the uke. Time and time again I found people suggesting the tenor or even baritone uke for guitar converts. Plus, it seems like all the big names play tenors. After buying and selling several tenors, I've come to the conclusion I prefer the soprano (sometimes concert). It has a sound that is totally different from guitar. Where is the tenor seems to give me too much of a guitar vibe. Has anyone had the same experience?

spongeuke
01-15-2016, 07:00 PM
I feel the same way but coming form the other direction. I started out as a Soprano strummer, I've tried to bond with various tenors. They just seem to be more guitar like. always returned to sopranos and my Martin Concert. Now when going that direction (The Dark Side) I pick up a Baritone.

KaraUkey
01-15-2016, 07:35 PM
I played guitar for over 40 years before discovering the Uke. The Uke I play every day is a soprano. The Uke I work with when writing songs or laying down new backing tracks is also the soprano. The Uke I use to do my gigs is a Tenor with a pickup. I have a couple of those but I have a definite favorite. The Tenor has that little more room and longer neck for bar chords.

Rakelele
01-15-2016, 08:05 PM
For Guitar players who want a completely different sound, more of that occasional exotic jingle jangle, the Soprano is the way to go. However, to me, it was the opposite: I really like Guitars, but never got beyond strumming the basic chords. With less strings to worry about, and a shorter size and scale, the Ukulele has been much easier for me to learn and play complex music that I would never have been able to figure out on a Guitar. So a Tenor or Baritone offers me the deep, full, "Guitar-like" sound I'm looking for. To me, that's best of both worlds.

kohanmike
01-15-2016, 08:14 PM
I played guitar for almost 50 years when I took up the uke in mid 2013 before I knew about sizes, a soprano that I just couldn't get used to. When I learned about sizes, I went to Sam Ash in Hollywood and felt out a concert and tenor, for sure tenor for me. I think tenor does have a more ukulele sound than a guitar. After going through 16 tenor cutaways with electronics over the next year or so, I now have settled on 4 and haven't touched my guitars, plus I've taken up bass uke as well.

Astein2006
01-15-2016, 08:19 PM
I've played acoustic guitar for over 35 years. I recently bought a soprano. My first ukulele. When I play it I'm in a different world. I wanted to be somewhere else. I don't play ukulele because i want it to be guitar-like. I want it to be a different instrument. With a different feel, sound and personality. The sound that comes out of a soprano is that for me. I want to be challenged to learn a new instrument and not rely on it being an easy transition from guitar. Such a sweet beautiful intimate sound. I may venture into concert land someday but that's as far as I go. Soprano will always be where it's at for me.

Croaky Keith
01-15-2016, 11:49 PM
My route was tenor to soprano to concert.

I like the concert scale, but I like the soprano size, tried a long neck soprano & it is (almost?) perfect.

I have just purchased an electro accoustic soprano, to get more volume. I believe I may have a mild case of U.A.S.

I'm finding concert scale the easiest for melody playing, (so far).

bonesigh
01-16-2016, 05:47 AM
My guitar experience is very limited. Just in my young Jr. High years. I don't remember much of it. The uke pulled me in about 6 year ago and I can't stop. I think the perfect size for me would be inbetween a tenor and concert. I love them both but on the tenor I have a hard time stretching out my pinky to some of the notes I need for melody. I can't say as I agree with the end all beat all enthusiast getting to the soprano is the highest level of enthusiasm. I only play soprano when I want that classic sound for oldies or Hawaiian songs.

rappsy
01-16-2016, 06:12 AM
I am opposite to most people. I started with Uke in the last year and had no real musical experience before, except as a child when the parents made you play an instrument.

I went through many sizes and then realized I needed the tenor scale neck, but didn't want the guitar sound. I now play almost exclusively concert scale bodies with tenor necks. This gives me the best of both worlds. The Uke sound with the room I need at the top.

kypfer
01-16-2016, 06:38 AM
Another long-time guitar player here ... started with Mr. Tambourine Man before The Byrds recorded it !!

For me, all four sizes of ukulele have a place in my life, soprano (wood and banjolele) for the traditional feel, concert and tenor for more "serious" stuff, where I need a bit of space further up the neck, my baritone is tuned in fifths and serves as a surrogate tenor banjo.

None of these replace my guitars ... electric, acoustic, six or twelve-string, metal or nylon strings, they've all got an identity ... I just don't have enough hours in a day to get to know them all well enough ;)

bazmaz
01-17-2016, 05:44 AM
I think everyone is different. Either way I am never a fan of anyone who says 'you must get this scale' or 'You must get that scale'. It's too personal

I am a guitar player and played guitar for 20 years before ukulele - I mainly play sopranos or tenors.

Not sure there is a pattern.

tbeltrans
01-17-2016, 06:19 AM
No, as a long time guitar player, I do not feel that the soprano is "ukulele" and other sizes are less so. However, that said, I admit to having my own biases. To me, "ukulele" is all koa wood and a simple design. I have one each of soprano, concert, and tenor. These are all koa and simple designations (no bling), but all have beautifully figured wood, with the most plain being the Kamaka concert. I am seeing in these forums, ukuleles that seem to imitate a hollow body jazz guitar (archtop), and many that seem more guitar-like than ukulele with their spruce tops and rosewood back and sides.

My point is simply that we all have our own biases, and none of these dictates any sort of standard for anybody else. All these biases mean is that we each acknowledge them in ourselves, respect them in others, and make our personal choices accordingly.

Tony

Sanfe
01-17-2016, 06:41 AM
To me, the soprano is different enough in size compared to your dreadnought-styled acoustic guitars to warrant it being a different instrument, and I approach it that way. Though I transfer a lot of my knowledge and skills in guitar to my soprano, the soprano opened new doors for me especially in right-hand strumming technique.

Owing to the very short scale of the soprano, I can do stretches on 'em that I can't do on tenors.

I like sopranos mainly for their size, portability, and when it's a good one, their tone. When I play a tenor, I think to myself that I might as well have the extended range and possibility of a small guitar, and for this I do own a Yamaha Guitalele (bleh).

I live under a rock enough that I didn't know that people who make money playing and/or building ukuleles play/build tenors. Why? What's the difference? They're the same to me except for the size.

Rllink
01-17-2016, 08:30 AM
Over probably five decades, I made a few stabs at playing the guitar. None of them lasted more than a month at the most. Why I finally landed on the ukulele, and stayed there long enough to actually learn to play more than three chords, well, I haven't really sat back and analyzed it. When I found the ukulele, I was already thinking of hauling the old guitar up from the basement and give it another try. But one reoccurring theme that I see, is people telling other people that it is "easier" to go from guitar to whatever, if they make the move to this scale, or that tuning. Interesting, in that I wonder why it is, that the easy course is the best course? Is easy what we are always looking for? And it isn't just going for guitar to ukulele, or ukulele to guitar, it just seems to be a common theme in all aspects of the ukulele. Is that really what we are all trying to experience? To my way of thinking, a guitar is a guitar, and a ukulele is a ukulele. They are two different instruments.

Pukulele Pete
01-17-2016, 08:56 AM
Anything larger than a soprano is cheating.

theboss
01-17-2016, 09:15 AM
Thanks the insight everyone.

tbeltrans
01-17-2016, 10:00 AM
Over probably five decades, I made a few stabs at playing the guitar. None of them lasted more than a month at the most. Why I finally landed on the ukulele, and stayed there long enough to actually learn to play more than three chords, well, I haven't really sat back and analyzed it. When I found the ukulele, I was already thinking of hauling the old guitar up from the basement and give it another try. But one reoccurring theme that I see, is people telling other people that it is "easier" to go from guitar to whatever, if they make the move to this scale, or that tuning. Interesting, in that I wonder why it is, that the easy course is the best course? Is easy what we are always looking for? And it isn't just going for guitar to ukulele, or ukulele to guitar, it just seems to be a common theme in all aspects of the ukulele. Is that really what we are all trying to experience? To my way of thinking, a guitar is a guitar, and a ukulele is a ukulele. They are two different instruments.

I have read and heard similar sentiments/opinions about the ukulele. However, after playing guitar for many years (some professionally), and learning now both piano and ukulele, my opinion does not seem to reflect this belief. What I am observing is that all three of the instruments I am playing seem to have a means of approaching them very simply. You can learn a couple of chords and endlessly bang these out, and then the instrument seems "easy" to play. I can see how the ukulele used this way would seem easier than guitar because of the fewer strings and shorter scale yielding lower tension.

However, to REALLY play any of these instruments really takes sustained effort over long periods of time. A person does not pick up the ukulele and suddenly play like one of the masters. It just doesn't happen, no matter how loud and convincing opinions to the contrary might be. If anything, those who do learn to really appreciate what these instruments (any instrument, really) can do, will also appreciate the effort that goes into getting the most from the instrument and have much more appreciation for the results when seen in a performance.

Tony

CdnSouthpaw
01-17-2016, 01:36 PM
All of my guitars are steel string so any size ukulele is fine as a tonal change up. Feel wise, I like concerts the best but almost always prefer the tone of a tenor.

vanflynn
01-17-2016, 05:48 PM
I pull my guitar out from time to time to give it some love and have determined:
I like non- steel strings better
I like high G tuning
I like the spacing between the strings and the size of a concert uke best.

To each their own and viva le difference !

ukulelekarcsi
01-17-2016, 09:51 PM
Comparing this forum to the ukulelecosmos, and the Stringletter Ukulele Magazine (US) to the UKE magazine (UK), US players seem to prefer larger models while European players have a bias towards sopranos.

It's a general preference, judging by ukuleles discussed and depicted, and certainly not exclusive but with lots of exceptions on both sides of the ocean. And both sides have arguments that aren't very convincing to me (more space for your fingers; a more authentic sound; can't take a real ukulele tuning (D6); sounds louder and fuller, or projects better). To me, it's a matter of fashion and personal preference rather than an absolute advice (eg 'converted guitarists must play bigger sizes').

gregc
01-24-2016, 03:46 AM
After 40 years of guitar, I got hooked by the uke. I bought a tenor, and then a concert. Eventually, I purchased a soprano just to see..... every day I play the soprano. It's a Mexi-Martin that I leave hanging on my living room wall. They are much cooler than I expected. I'm not parting with my others though. There's a place for all.

ukinator
01-25-2016, 02:01 AM
I played guitar and bass first and find that I gravitate toward the soprano because it's the most "different". More importantly though, I like the soprano size because it causes the most surprise wow-effect when people see the little tiny instrument and can't believe how much cool sound can come out of it.

Brian W
01-26-2016, 08:02 PM
I have been playing the ukulele steady for about 3 years now and absolutely love the instrument! I am a long-time guitar player, about 34 years, and was fully indoctrinated after purchasing a ukulele for my daughter. She got tired of me playing hers so much that I had to buy one for myself. I bounced between a tenor and concert size for a brief period before landing permanently on a soprano. I just think they play the part of an ukulele better than the larger scaled versions. This is just my opinion, however, so to each is own :) Haven't had any real problems adjusting to the smaller scale, except when playing some barre-style chords above the 7th fret. My advice is to ALWAYS play what you love, and you can never go wrong.

seattle
01-26-2016, 09:38 PM
I prefer the tenor but I have a soprano as well and like both. I'm a guitar player as well.

SteveZ
01-27-2016, 02:19 AM
Fifty years of 6-string acoustic guitar was fun, but the hands found it more difficult than enjoyable after a while. That led me to mandolin, tenor guitar and tenor banjo and then uke. Right now have a mixed bag of ukes (sizes and types).

Soundwise, they are all different even though the entire stable is tuned CGDA. Can't really say I prefer any particular sound over another. What I do notice is that, uke-wise, my one-two when just reaching without serious thought about it have been my six-string tenor and baritone.

One thing's for certain, soprano ukes are my last pick. It's probably due to just feeling a little more comfortable with instruments a bit larger. I notice the same wIth the mandolin, as it's getting no more playing time than the sopranos. However, the 8-string tenor, tuned like a mandola, gets its fair share of playing time.

One thing is for certain - the ukes have added quite a bit to musical enjoyment.

70sSanO
01-27-2016, 04:22 AM
A lot of years playing the guitar and some playing the bass. I prefer a tenor because, for me, it is more versatile. Having the ability to play melodies up the neck over playing chords at the nut is the main reason. It can be done with a concert and for those with enough ability a soprano, but it is a lot easier with a tenor.

I also play re-entrant. I have one tenor tuned linear (low-G) but I just have not been able to really embrace it. I pick it up from time to time and it just happens to excel with that tuning, but it is too guitar-like but without the extra bass strings.

John