PDA

View Full Version : A couple of questions



Mr. Mojo
05-22-2017, 08:20 AM
Hi,

This is very sudden and before today I never gave this a thought. I like the Ukulele but never really thought about playing one. This morning someone on T.V. was playing one and suddenly a thought popped into my mind. I'll try not to make this too long but I want to provide a little background. I used to play the Harmonica and at one time dabbled in guitar for a year or two. I learned chords and could play them fair enough for a beginner and I also played a few scales as I began to try to learn to play lead (my goal). I was learning mostly blues/pentatonic scales. I didn't get too far though because it became overwhelming as far as dealing with the fretboard and lead playing/theory (for me). Briefly, my thought this morning while watching the Ukulele player was "wow! How hard could that be compared to guitar?" Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it isn't a simple instrument to play but I mean compared to guitar as far as chords are concerned vs lead/single notes.

I did pretty well playing chords on the guitar and it was only the lead guitar and figuring out single notes etc that screwed me up. But a Ukulele (at least what I've seen) focuses more on strumming/chords. That shouldn't be too difficult for me....I've been there before!. Am I completely off base here? A guitar just for rhythm playing would be easy for me but boring. Who wants to play only rhythm guitar? But a rhythm Ukulele? I can get into that!

My next question is...to try this out without running out and buying a Ukulele...could I use my old acoustic guitar temporarily? The brief research I did in the last few hours informed me that I could capo a guitar and have a, kind of sort of, Ukulele. Would this work for a period to see how this pans out before plunking money down on an instrument I decide isn't for me?

I'm retired now and have time to devote to it; but to enjoy it more it would be great if all I had to do was learn chords or maybe only remember some old ones. I found that pretty easy when I practiced guitar. Is the Ukulele much different?

P.S. I tried doing a search but was unsuccessful. My questions may have been covered but I was unable to come up with a good search question.

Thanks.

Tommy

RichM
05-22-2017, 09:15 AM
Sort of. The guitar and the ukulele share the same tuning intervals, but at different pitches. So yes, in general terms, a guitar capoed a the fifth fret approximates a ukulele. Of course, the ukulele only has four strings, so you'll have to forget about the guitar's E and A strings.

Here's where it gets different. Traditional ukulele tuning is re-entrant, which means that string closest to you is higher in pitch, rather than lower. Guitars are usually tuned in linear tuning (EADGBE), from lowest to highest pitch. Traditional ukulele tuning is gCEA, where the "g" signifies a high-g string. Many people associate this tuning with the ukulele's signature sound.

However, many do tune the ukulele in linear tuning (GCEA), so if you capo your guitar, you can get some sense of what playing a uke is like. Might be easier to go to your local music store and try some out, though-- there's more to the sound of a uke than the tuning!

Good luck!

WestyShane
05-22-2017, 09:28 AM
I was in a similar position as the OP, having tried to teach myself guitar but never getting to where it was fun. To be brief, there's no need to limit your uke playing to "just" rhythm - it's just too easy to move around the fretboard and having only 4 strings helps too.

I would suggest buying a Mahalo or Lanikai uke rather than fussing with your guitar. They cost about $40 and are plenty good enough to get you started. Bonus, you get to enjoy a true uke sound, size, and weight.

Croaky Keith
05-22-2017, 09:53 AM
A baritone has the same 4 strings (DGBE) as a guitar without the 2 bass strings, is much lighter & a whole lot easier to play than guitar, but retains a guitar'ish sound.

A tenor uke tends to be recommended to ex guitar players, which can be tuned high or low G.
I found the concert scale the best when I started learning to play uke.
Then there is the 'traditional' uke, the soprano.

Each can be used to strum chords or to play separate notes for melody.

Ukuleles are fun, guitars are work. :)

Edit: Ukulele & harmonica go together well.

josheboy
05-22-2017, 10:05 AM
If you live near a guitar center or some other major music instrument chain store, stop in and play with some of the stock there. Ask for a tuner if one isnt available, but they usually have them out. Just pick a pretty one and play around with it. Try the different sizes (mentioned above) to see which one fits you best. And if its something you think you like doing, pick one up there (the staff should be knowledgeable enough to help you pick a good starter uke), or come back here and browse the Uke Talk and Review forums before pulling the trigger on a new uke.

As mentioned above, as a former guitar player, I like tenor ukes best. But for just simple strummin & singing, Soprano Ukes are also a ton of fun. Try some out and see whats for you.

Uke Strumming is definitely more fun to practice than rhythm guitar, in my opinion. I played mostly rhythm guitar in my "career" and practicing it is pretty boring. But struming the uke doesnt get boring for me (of course, I am still a beginner. Maybe that will change when I am an old & jaded uke veteran! lol). Strumming the uke is just plain simple fun.

Best of luck finding the right musical outlet! Hopefully the uke bug bites you, but not too hard. Otherwise you'll end up with 20 different ukes and an empty bank account! hahahaha

Cheers!

player
05-22-2017, 10:06 AM
Think it's good to get the instrument with 4 strings, that is...an ukulele! Then you can do all the things. Rather a proper ukulele than a handicapped guitar. My uke was under $100 and sounds great!

Mr. Mojo
05-22-2017, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the replies, really helpful. I may check out a cheaper model Ukulele. I didn't realize the difference in string configuration. I'm not counting out single note playing completely, or looking to exclusively be a strummer. I'm just going with the flow at first and see where it leeds. I'm only saying that it doesn't (at his point) seem as necessary or daunting as guitar did. One step at a time though. Already, from the tuning explanation above I can see there are new things to learn and consider. Let me read thru the forum, as well as the rest of the site, hit the videos and begin my research. Next step; looking at beginner Ukulele's.

Off we go!

Thanks

Mivo
05-22-2017, 11:00 AM
Don't look at "beginner ukuleles", look for ukuleles whose sound you like. Probably mahogany (solid top), potentially a tenor size. If you are in the US, theukulelesite.com has a lot of videos and sound samples for a wide range of ukes. I'd avoid a baritone at this point as there is much more learning material available for regularly tuned ukuleles. As mentioned in your introduction thread, have a look at the YouTube channel of DaddyStovepipe. He does blues ukulele, has free lessons, and also offers some blues books that are suitable for a beginner too.

DownUpDave
05-22-2017, 11:05 AM
You will get a lot of good advice from very knowledgable people here. Best advice buy a uke and have at it.

Mr. Mojo
05-22-2017, 12:22 PM
Don't look at "beginner ukuleles", look for ukuleles whose sound you like. Probably mahogany (solid top), potentially a tenor size. If you are in the US, theukulelesite.com has a lot of videos and sound samples for a wide range of ukes. I'd avoid a baritone at this point as there is much more learning material available for regularly tuned ukuleles. As mentioned in your introduction thread, have a look at the YouTube channel of DaddyStovepipe. He does blues ukulele, has free lessons, and also offers some blues books that are suitable for a beginner too.

I've been searching and will have to investigate a bit more. I don't want to spend a lot on something I haven't tried yet but at the same time (thru experience) I don't want cheap either. I know from playing harmonica that quite often beginners buy cheap harps then give up from frustration due to difficulty they believe is their own lack of skill or grasp of technique. In reality it's the harmonica and the difficulty in playing a cheaper model. With the harp it really makes a difference and I would think the same applies here; I know my philosophy does (for me).

The sopranos seem cheaper but the slightly bigger size of the concert (thus the slightly fuller sound) make that appealing. I'm not really interested in anything else at the moment as they seem to begin to get closer to small guitars at that point, and that's not what I want. If this pans out though, at some point, obviously I would trade up. An even deeper tone might be desired at some point if I decide to go the route of a bluesy tone. Some sort of uke based bluesy upbeat blend. We'll see...no plans! :D Just to get started I've been looking at the $50 and below range but the picking seem slim and have read of some of these cheaper ukulele's not even holding tune for one song. I may just have to throw a dart!

Pueo
05-22-2017, 12:37 PM
My recommendation is to buy an Ohana or Kala or Lanikai, preferably one you have held in your hands and tried as opposed to just ordering from Amazon.
Get something decent or your initial experience may sour rapidly.
If you have no ukulele stores local, contact Mim's Ukes or TheUkuleleSite.com, tell them what you would like to spend, and they will help you.

UkulelesRcooL
05-22-2017, 02:33 PM
I started playing a Fluke concert sized uke... Lower end cost wize but the sound is good...
I love the solid wood ukes... cant beat the sound and feel... but the flukes are a good place to start.. Magic fluke company.. in conn. Jim Beloff sells them on his site..


Ill bet you a dollar to a donut that if you purchase a uke your gonna love it...whatever you end up getting...
Good hunting!

Mr. Mojo
05-22-2017, 02:44 PM
I started playing a Fluke concert sized uke... Lower end cost wize but the sound is good...
I love the solid wood ukes... cant beat the sound and feel... but the flukes are a good place to start.. Magic fluke company.. in conn. Jim Beloff sells them on his site..


Ill bet you a dollar to a donut that if you purchase a uke your gonna love it...whatever you end up getting...
Good hunting!

It's funny, I live a few minutes from The Martin Guitar company headquarters as well as the factory. On a whim I thought I'd check out their webpage. Holy crap! The cheapest one I saw was $999.
Back to reality I've been looking at this one: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Luna-Guitars/Soprano-Vintage-Mahogany-Ukulele-Natural-1500000006984.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CN3SzZrPhNQCFZhXDQodQ3QE6g&kwid=productads-adid%5E78244844802-device%5Ec-plaid%5E140837314821-sku%5E1500000006984@ADL4GC-adType%5EPLA#reviews

Martinlover
05-22-2017, 02:56 PM
When I started playing, less than 2 years ago, I took a free lesson at guitar center and bought a ukulele there. I know, I know, but guitar center gave me 40 days to try it out or return it. I didn't feel any pressure and had a good time. If I were to do it again, I might try to connect up with a local ukulele group like the one I'm in now. We meet weekly at a library and the library has loaner ukuleles! Newbies are taught a couple chords and encouraged to strum along right away. Then you take your loaner uku home to practice.

UkulelesRcooL
05-22-2017, 03:12 PM
Back to reality I've been looking at this one: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Luna-Guitars/Soprano-Vintage-Mahogany-Ukulele-Natural-1500000006984.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CN3SzZrPhNQCFZhXDQodQ3QE6g&kwid=productads-adid%5E78244844802-device%5Ec-plaid%5E140837314821-sku%5E1500000006984@ADL4GC-adType%5EPLA#reviews

Looks nice.... Id play it first if possible... If you like it... its a good place to start... You know though... I had a friend whos son was interested in ukuleles... he asked if I had anything cheap he could buy... I had a few ukes that needed repairs I inherited from my Dad... I had glued the bridge back on to and older solid wood uke but it wasn't that great of a quality... I let him have it for 25 bucks.. the kid played the snot out of it and in 3 weeks they had bought him a 200 dollar uke at one of the local music shops...
He kept the cheapy and hung it on his wall..
Once you dip your toe you'll find that you'll gravitate to a specific brand or style of instrument..
Nothing wrong with starting low.... its pretty much a given that you'll like it though and the cheapy isn't going to be enough..
Take care and I hope you find lots O smiles...

UkulelesRcooL
05-22-2017, 03:15 PM
When I started playing, less than 2 years ago, I took a free lesson at guitar center and bought a ukulele there. I know, I know, but guitar center gave me 40 days to try it out or return it. I didn't feel any pressure and had a good time. If I were to do it again, I might try to connect up with a local ukulele group like the one I'm in now. We meet weekly at a library and the library has loaner ukuleles! Newbies are taught a couple chords and encouraged to strum along right away. Then you take your loaner uku home to practice.

the Library........... that is sooooo cool.... I was part of a group for awhile and we played outside... thats ok in the summer but the winter is a no go here...
Being able to take a loaner Uke home is fantastic too..
Very COOL!!

Mr. Mojo
05-22-2017, 03:42 PM
Once you dip your toe you'll find that you'll gravitate to a specific brand or style of instrument..
Nothing wrong with starting low.... its pretty much a given that you'll like it though and the cheapy isn't going to be enough..
Take care and I hope you find lots O smiles...

I hear ya :) My first guitar was a used piece of junk acoustic I got for $25 just to start learning. It eventually fell apart. Then I moved to a cheap Electric and from there a $1200 strat (this was the early 90's thus the cheaper price). Harmonicas? My house is full of them from cheap to custom. But now I throw a couple of cheap ones in the car just for messin' around if I hear a good tune on the radio. I know how these things go once we start :D Add to that the "gotta have it syndrome" and then we have trouble. I'm 60 years old and have too much experience to let myself get caught up again (ha Ha...cough, cough...good luck with that right?)

bird's eye view of my ukelele
05-22-2017, 06:09 PM
when i was impatiently waiting for my baritone ukulele to arrive, i loosely tied some material around the lowest sounding 2 strings on my classical guitar, and hey presto 4 strings, dgbe, to muck about with until the real 4-stringer arrived! you could pop a capo on the 5th fret to give you gcea, like a soprano/concert/tenor uke with low g. you can try out chord shapes, have a listen, the main thing you will miss out is the amazing and fun super-smallness of a uke, even a baritone uke is a good deal smaller, and lighter, than a guitar

my first uke was a soprano uke, a little painted korala, very cheap, i absolutely fell in love with it and still adore how it sounds! i think cheap ukes are very underrated

UkulelesRcooL
05-22-2017, 06:53 PM
I'm 60 years old and have too much experience to let myself get caught up again (ha Ha...cough, cough...good luck with that right?)


Way too funny.......:rofl:........I know all about the 60 yrs old business and.....................................it doesnt change.......I dont think it will no matter how old we get...

UkulelesRcooL
05-22-2017, 06:55 PM
the main thing you will miss out is the amazing and fun super-smallness of a uke, even a baritone uke is a good deal smaller, and lighter, than a guitar

my first uke was a soprano uke, a little painted korala, very cheap, i absolutely fell in love with it and still adore how it sounds! i think cheap ukes are very underrated

I agree.................They are soo easy to pick up... so easy to hold.........take em anywhere... just like Mr Mojo's harmonicas....

Louis0815
05-22-2017, 10:53 PM
Don't you have a chance to join a ukulele meeting somewhere near you?
This is usually a good occasion to see (and touch) many different ukuleles without having to buy any - this might help to get a better idea about the sizes and brands.

One point to consider for budget: there is a market for second hand ukuleles (even here on UU (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?7-Ukulele-Marketplace)). Either try to get a better one for small money - or buy a better one first and sell it later (in case you don't like it) to minimize your financial loss.

Mr. Mojo
05-23-2017, 01:01 AM
Thanks for all the good/helpful suggestions. :)

Mivo
05-23-2017, 02:21 AM
Like guitars, many ukuleles need a setup (maybe more so due to their short scale), so buying them from a place that includes setup is a good idea. GC and similar chains are fine if you can fix action, intonation, etc yourself, but if not, TheUkukeleSite, Mim's Ukes, etc are very recommended. :) (Or in Europe: Southern Ukuleke Store, World of Ukuleles).

player
05-23-2017, 04:06 AM
My recommendation is to buy an Ohana or Kala or Lanikai, preferably one you have held in your hands and tried as opposed to just ordering from Amazon.
Get something decent or your initial experience may sour rapidly.
If you have no ukulele stores local, contact Mim's Ukes or TheUkuleleSite.com, tell them what you would like to spend, and they will help you.


It's funny, I live a few minutes from The Martin Guitar company headquarters as well as the factory. On a whim I thought I'd check out their webpage. Holy crap! The cheapest one I saw was $999.
Back to reality I've been looking at this one: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Luna-Guitars/Soprano-Vintage-Mahogany-Ukulele-Natural-1500000006984.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CN3SzZrPhNQCFZhXDQodQ3QE6g&kwid=productads-adid%5E78244844802-device%5Ec-plaid%5E140837314821-sku%5E1500000006984@ADL4GC-adType%5EPLA#reviewsI second these. Try it out for feeling if that particular uke is good. Then spend below $100, if possible. The standard (soprano) is a good alternative.