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Down Up Dick
08-22-2018, 07:07 AM
It seems like most of the ukers posting on this forum either played some kinda pop guitar or bass or concert guitar for many years or a long time ago. I guess someone playing some instrument for a long, long time must be pretty good at it.

Why then would one quit it and start playing ukuleles? Why not just sing with or fingerpick whatever you already know?

Just wondering . . . :old:

Snargle
08-22-2018, 07:13 AM
I got tired of the struggle with guitar over the years. I never was satisfied with what I could do or play on the guitar, so I sold off my guitar and gear ten years ago and did nothing with stringed instruments until a couple of years ago when a friend suggested ukulele. I'm very, very happy with my decision and I finally feel like I'm actually making music.

hollisdwyer
08-22-2018, 08:21 AM
I blame too much earth gravity for my switch to the ukulele. The bones in my wrist are grinding together because I’ve worn away most of the cartilage. It became very painful to play guitar with its wider fretboard and longer scale length. I wear a brace on my wrist now whenever I’m going to play for any more than a few minutes.
Little did I know that besides finding an instrument that I could play will less pain I also got the added benefit of a community of wonderful people.

mikelz777
08-22-2018, 08:22 AM
If I'm honest with myself, I prefer the fuller, richer sound of a guitar and I'd much rather listen to a guitar player than I would a ukulele player. As for me and my playing, I grew tired and very discouraged with my struggle on the guitar. I knew I was never going to get anywhere near where I'd like to be on it so I lost interest and quit playing. Years later I still had that burning coal of desire to play a stringed instrument so I gave the ukulele a try. I loved it and found it much easier to play. I'm not fooling myself into thinking that I'm going to be some kind of pro or anywhere near that on the ukulele but I'm able to play along with my singing and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I picked up the guitar after a couple of years just to strum some chords and it felt like this huge, cumbersome beast in comparison to the ukulele. I'm not sorry I gave up on the guitar. The uke is such a different animal and I think the mindset of playing one is different too. I gave up on the guitar but I'll stick with the ukulele.

bratsche
08-22-2018, 08:49 AM
Not a guitar player here, but when I add an instrument, I don't subtract any of the others (unless I have an excess of said others). ;)

The appeal of the ukulele to me was first its sound, and then (as I got used to playing with my fingers) the ability to play different lines on different (even non-adjacent) strings simultaneously. It opened up new arranging capabilities not possible on bowed or plectrum instruments.

bratsche

lfoo6952
08-22-2018, 09:03 AM
I agree with what everyone has said about playing the ukulele (ease of playability, a different sound that appeals to me). I haven't quit the guitar, but have added the ukulele to my repertoire of various instruments that I play.

merlin666
08-22-2018, 12:09 PM
I played guitar (mainly 12 string) for many years before I discovered the uke. Now the uke is not a replacement but I like to use it for many songs that have chords that would be beyond my skill level on a guitar. So I have songs where I prefer a 6 string guitar, 12 string guitar, low-G tenor uke, or re-entrant concert uke. I just like changing the character of songs by the instrument I use to play it.

peanuts56
08-22-2018, 12:20 PM
I'm asked if I was a guitarist from time to time. I was a music ed major on trumpet. The only experience I had with guitar was guitar class. I had two students on guitar in my 34 years teaching public school.
I have spent quite a lot of time in Hawaii over the last 30 years. My bride is from Honolulu and we visit most every year. I got interested in the ukulele through my visits to the islands.
I like the fact that I can practice or play any time of the day. That doesn't work very well for trumpet, I rarely play any more, too much like work. I also play djembe reasonably well. I can only practice when my wife is out. Luckily for me she has a busy schedule in retirement.
Anyone else come to the uke from a non string instrument?

ripock
08-22-2018, 12:22 PM
I moved from a lifetime of woodwinds to a stringed instrument because of chords. I had always been a solo note player and I wanted to explore instruments that played chords. I chose the ukulele over other stringed choices because I saw a video of a gorgeous girl playing a Cordoba ukulele at a music store in Rochester (yeah--i know--superficial, but true). Despite my sketchy reason for getting into the ukulele, the main reason I stick with it is this: I really like the fact that the ukulele is an incomplete folk instrument. It has limitations and you have to figure out workarounds for things that an 88-key piano can just take for granted.

Down Up Dick
08-22-2018, 12:36 PM
Yeah, peanuts56, I’ve played lots of different wind instruments all my life. But I had an old pineapple ukulele that my Hawaiian Godmother gave to me and decided that I wanted to sing with it. When I found out that it didn’t sound very good, I bought a soprano and then a concert.

The concert was it, and I played it and others for quite a while. :old:

kohanmike
08-22-2018, 01:49 PM
I played guitar for almost 50 years, being a baby boomer, was inspired by the Beatles and British invasion in the mid-60s. I had no specific intention of switching to the uke, it happened when I bought a uke that looked like my Fender Telecaster guitar to just be a wall hanger, and shortly after received a post card from the Los Angeles Music Center for their annual summer play-along, which I attended in the past for guitar, but this time it was for the ukulele. Since I had one, I decided to try it.

I learned the three chords they required, found out mine was a soprano, which was very difficult for me to form chords, so I bought a tenor, got there that Saturday, along with about 300 others, and by the end of the 4 hour day attending 3 seminars, I was hooked. That was 5 years ago and now I have 8 ukes and 18 bass ukes (I started playing bass with my uke group 4 years ago). I'm more satisfied playing the uke than I was playing guitar, especially adding bass, and haven't touched my guitars since.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

S11LKO
08-22-2018, 01:53 PM
I started playing rythmn guitar and piano when I was 14. I'm now 61.

Despite all those years passing my guitar and keyboard playing are not brilliant as life, family and career got in the way and I picked up my guitar and sat at the piano for the odd half hour here and there with nowhere near the practice time I should've had.

Since retiring three years ago I've probably played and practiced more guitar than during all those years before. I love my guitars and will never give them up unless health and/or circumstances dictate.

But something recently drew me inexplicitly to the uke, so I bought one (now three lol). I'd always liked the early Formby stuff, and still do, but have since discovered there is far more to the uke than just what he did with it; I just have to look at some of the great players on this site to prove this! And of course some of the techniques I learned for guitar are transferrable.

If I have to try and pinpoint why I like the uke so much, I think it has to be the 'intimacy' of such a small instrument being hugged close and just becoming an 'extension' of the player's body. You can just sit quietly and comfortably and express your feelings through it with relative ease, and I think that's why it works for me.

Jarmo_S
08-23-2018, 01:36 AM
I played classical guitar from age 16 being quite serious too about it. Then I sort of quit at age 20 after having realized that my motory skills were not up to or that my fingers were too short for a piece like Tarrega's Recuerdos dela Alhambra.

On and off I still played guitar, also electric and acoustic. Last autumn at age 59 I was singing along with my guitar strumming when I found an inspiration to learn something new and bought my uke. I was not much fingerpicking the guitar and found the low register of it bothering with my low voice.

I like the relative simplicity of uke and able to always strum all 4 strings refreshing. I can hear it and my voice same time much better too.

SteveZ
08-23-2018, 02:27 AM
Started on the guitar in the md '60s when in the Army. Thre was a guy in the barracks who was a C&W whiz and he gave me a couple lessons which hooked me. Was mainly rhythm, but enjoyed it.

A few years ago I gave mandolin a try. Found the 4-sting concept and me jelled well together. The narrow neck and shorter reach was a boon for older aching fingers. At a suggestion, got a soprano uke and restrung it to GDAE so it could act as a "suitcase mandolin" for quiet play in hotel rooms (mandolins are rather loud). A couple of mandolin trades (one for a Loprinzi uke and another for a Bluerridge tenor guitar) expanded the effort into further 4-string stuff.

The ukes have been a joy for convenience and still get a lot of playing time. The tenor ukes (to me, anyway) are the most versatile and have the richest nylon string sound - great for picking out new stuff and general fun time. For an old guitarist the tenor guitars can't be beat for their sound (steel strings are sweet!) and they can really rock. Because of the ukes and tenor guitars my old 6-string acoustic guitars have found new homes.

bariukish
08-23-2018, 04:05 AM
If I'm honest with myself, I prefer the fuller, richer sound of a guitar and I'd much rather listen to a guitar player than I would a ukulele player. As for me and my playing, I grew tired and very discouraged with my struggle on the guitar. I knew I was never going to get anywhere near where I'd like to be on it so I lost interest and quit playing. Years later I still had that burning coal of desire to play a stringed instrument so I gave the ukulele a try. I loved it and found it much easier to play. I'm not fooling myself into thinking that I'm going to be some kind of pro or anywhere near that on the ukulele but I'm able to play along with my singing and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I picked up the guitar after a couple of years just to strum some chords and it felt like this huge, cumbersome beast in comparison to the ukulele. I'm not sorry I gave up on the guitar. The uke is such a different animal and I think the mindset of playing one is different too. I gave up on the guitar but I'll stick with the ukulele.

Exactly the same journey my wife and I have taken in our "Golden" years. The ukulele has brought us many hours of musical happiness that 50+ years of chasing 6 strings never could.

EddiePlaysBass
08-23-2018, 04:30 AM
As my name suggests, I am a bass player. I started out on guitar in my teens, but never liked it much. Took up bass and found out I have an affinity with the instrument. I am by no means a virtuoso, but I am above average / quite competent. Years later I bought an electric upright bass, and again found that the transition from bass to upright bass to be very natural and easy. Don't be fooled, they are two different instruments.

Some years ago my friends gave me a soprano ukulele, as sort of a "joke" gift. I strummed it a few times and put it away. Forgot all about it, really. About two years ago a colleague started playing blues harp and joked about me learning the banjo so we could start a band. Told him I had a ukulele lying around, so I'd play that instead.

Somehow, that got the ball rolling. I realized there is a depth and musicality to the instrument that is often overlooked. The whole chord inversion thing intrigued me. I suddenly saw that learning to play this instrument, and I mean really dig into the ins and outs would open up a whole world of theory to me. On bass, I learned most things by ear and by trial and error. On the uke, I want to adopt a more scholarly approach. And I want to have fun and play the Super Mario Bros theme :)

So for me, not a change, but rather an addi(c)tion :)

ricdoug
08-23-2018, 06:05 AM
I still play many stringed instruments. As a senior citizen, the 'ukulele is easier on the joints and muscles and the locals see the 'ukulele as my shtick. My main instrument has always been my voice, so the 'ukulele is a natural accompaniment instrument. Ric

Down Up Dick
08-23-2018, 06:58 AM
Yeah, I know some UUers use it for singing accompaniment, and that’s why I took it up too but why couldn’t they sing with their guitars or basses? The old time cowboys certainly did it in every movie.

Maybe there’s just something fun and easy goin’ about a ukulele that other strings just don’t have—I dunno. :old:

johnnysmash
08-23-2018, 07:31 AM
I have played a varity of instruments over the years from 10 years of age to now 80. Clarinet, Sax, Accordion, Guitar, Piano. Almost good on clarinet and sax. Failure on accordion. Almost pro level on piano. In my sixties and again in my seventies I tried to play guitar, which I really love, even more than piano. I was past 60y.o. when I first tried to play guitar and piano. Piano for some reason came easy, not classcal. Guitar, I was always to stiff. Short fingers. My whole body has always been sort of stiff and over 60 it was not getting better. Last year 2017 was the third time I tried guitar and actually had tears falling from pain when I tried to play guitar again. I was even having some pain playing piano. I have osteoporosis in my legs and parts of my lower body. 2017 the doctor found C2, C3, C4, C5, and I think C6 are cracked/broken. Sometimes I have serious pain. About August/September I was on AccousticGuitarForum. I found out about what I thought were toys - ukuleles. Ha, nice toys for old kids. I started with Baritone in September and Tenor this last May. I love both of them and with weekly therapy I am able to play almost painlessly. I play both every day. Last month I purchased Guitalele GL1. It is a little cramped but playable. I am now looking at a half size Yamaha Classical Guitar which I tried in the store and to my surprise I can play it with no problems. I really love guitar, however, I also love the ukuleles and they stay. I am getting more lazy every day about piano.

Note: I ignored the doctor last year who said I must have surgery or never again play a stringed instrument again. I started going to a private physical theropist for weekly treatment in January and today I play almost pain free. I go weekly now and may go forever. I am more limber at 80 then when I was 40. The theropist and I both agree that the injury to my left hand was a seriously strained or torn muscle that was never treated and got worse over the years. I still have other problem, however, I am playing ukuleles and small guitars and smiling all the way.

Bill Sheehan
08-23-2018, 05:00 PM
Inspiring personal story, Johnny! Play on, and may you be as limber, or more so, at age 90 !!

ksiegel
08-23-2018, 06:01 PM
I played guitar (I was mediocre at best) for more than 40 years, but enjoyed it. Then I tore the tendon and ligament in my left elbow, and was in intense pain after more than 10 minutes of playing. I couldn't even play a G chord on a classical neck without severe pain. So I stopped playing.

My wife told my father-in-law that I was getting depressed because I couldn't make music anymore, and he dug an old Harmony uke out of the closet and gave it to me. I tuned it up, played a couple of chords, and it sounded OK. So I kept playing. After more than an hour, it still didn't hurt! I bought a Snark tuner the next day, found out I was less than a half-step off when I tuned by ear (which I couldn't come close to on a guitar), and I was hooked.

I've got a lot of ukes now, they all sound different, and I play them all.


-Kurt

70sSanO
08-24-2018, 07:54 AM
My Mom made us play piano when we were around 8 yeas old. When I was 12 or so I wanted to try something different. My Dad brought home an accordion one night and I just shook my head. So I started playing guitar at 13, I'm 66. The guitar was the accompaniment instrument for me for singing and it was a very important instrument over the years. Carried me through some tough times. CSN, John Denver, James Taylor were the styles I liked. But I also played rhythm guitar. My younger brother was great at lead guitar which I always envied.

A little more than 10 years ago ia started playing the ukulele. But a I couldn't sing along with it. Maybe years with that full sound and those bass notes just kept me from embracing that high re-enterant as an accompaniment. Then I discovered fingerstyle instrumentals and I never looked back. Because of my years of fingerpicking patterns playing guitar, this was perfect for me. I have occasionally picked up a guitar, but even though I love the sound it is just too confining. I mean there are no 3rd fret - 7th fret stretches (for example) and that freedom of playing all over the neck without having to cover or mute extra strings.

But for pure strumming, a guitar is so nice to play.

John

rubykey
08-24-2018, 09:54 AM
If I have to try and pinpoint why I like the uke so much, I think it has to be the 'intimacy' of such a small instrument being hugged close and just becoming an 'extension' of the player's body. You can just sit quietly and comfortably and express your feelings through it with relative ease, and I think that's why it works for me.

Well put! My main instrument is my voice, and the ukulele supports my voice wonderfully with all of the above. The guitar always seemed unsatisfying and unwielding for me. I had an accordion, which I love the sound of and the fact that you can hug the instrument to create beautiful sound. But 21 lbs? I finally sold it last year. I still have my lightweight button box Accordion which I only used for playing Tunes. I will probably eventually pass that one on because the ukulele has caught my full musical attention. It's the one instrument I've stuck with and keep developing my skills with.