PDA

View Full Version : Guitalele is a Guitar and/or a Ukulele



johnnysmash
10-28-2018, 04:57 AM
What is this instrument? A little guitar? A musical instrument in it's own right? What?

Another question here on the forum. Should guitalele information be posted under/on guitar or ukulele forums? Maybe it needs a forum of it's own.

Jim Hanks
10-28-2018, 08:06 AM
Great question. I haven't made up my mind yet. It definitely plays like a little guitar, but I tend to think of it as "a uke with 2 bass strings", e.g. I try to think of the strings as ADGCEA, but old guitar memory still tries to bring up EADGBE.

As far as the forum, I dunno. Separate forum wouldn't be a bad idea.

Jim Hanks
10-28-2018, 10:19 AM
Unless you tune the guilele in reentrant tuning - then it gets a lot more uke-like

Croaky Keith
10-28-2018, 11:00 PM
It has six courses, as does a guitar, a uke has four courses, so it's a small guitar - that is what I also think. :)

However, ukes being more popular than guitars, just recently, the marketing men have come up with the name to try & increase their sales. ;)

Rakelele
10-29-2018, 12:47 AM
I play the Guilele/Guitalele/Guitarlele or Kiku like a small Guitar. As a matter of fact, I am playing the uke pretty much like a small guitar with less strings to worry about, that is more comfortable to hold and to reach because of its shorter size, and that sings at a higher, more cheerful pitch.

To me, the Guilele type of instrument isn't just a marketing scheme. I abandoned the guitar because it was way too big for me. Having an instrument that essentially works the same, but is much more comfortable at a shorter scale and overall length, is exactly what I want, no matter what it is called. I'm very glad that there is an increasing number of makers starting to build instruments to fit this segment, in different price categories, filling the gap between the very cheap stuff (Yamaha, Cordoba, Gretsch) and the expensive models from Kanilea, KoAloha, or custom builders. Also, they provide us players with more options to choose from: different scale lengths, different body shapes, different nut widths, radius fretboard, etc.

A lot of the sub-size, short scale guitars are made for children and therefore have narrow fretboards and are often made cheap. And then there are a few expensive Piccolo or Soprano Guitars that are meant to be tuned an octave up from regular guitar. To me, the pitch of the Guilele, tuned in between G-G (three steps up from a Guitar) to A-A (five steps up from a Guitar), is perfect. The specs I really like for this type of instrument are 17" to 21.5" for the scale, 46mm to 49mm for the nut width, and a radius fretboard.

A common name for this crossover between ukulele and guitar would certainly be helpful, but some of the diversity has to do with copyright protection, with one of the names being owned by Yamaha, I think.

As suggested above, I'd welcome a sub-forum for this type of instrument, as I'm never sure where to post about it: not really a ukulele, bot neither whit the implications of a full-sized guitar.

johnnysmash
10-29-2018, 12:58 AM
I just checked out these two instruments that are new to me. Requinto and Piccolo Guitars. I really like the Requinto Guitar sound.

Is there a Piccolo Guitar made for nylor strings? What is the nut width of a Requinto Guitar as compared to a Guitalele? I could not find this info in my search.

Jim Hanks
10-29-2018, 06:47 AM
I just checked out these two instruments that are new to me. Requinto and Piccolo Guitars. I really like the Requinto Guitar sound.

Is there a Piccolo Guitar made for nylor strings? What is the nut width of a Requinto Guitar as compared to a Guitalele? I could not find this info in my search.

"piccolo guitar made for nylon strings" - I'd say that *is* the guitalele.

As far as nut width, I dunno, there doesn't seem to be any real standards here. I'd say Requinto is generally in the 48-50mm range but I've seen guitalele from 44mm(1.75") up to 50mm(2")

DownUpDave
10-29-2018, 10:02 AM
I have some thoughts and ramblings about guileles now that I own one. First off Rainer (Rakelele) did a great job raking out the differences and confusion. I think there is a big "grey" area on these because they can be tenor body size with tenor scale length and tuned like a ukeule to two extra bottom strings the A, D added to GCEA. When it is a baritone size and scale we can make it a small guitar tuned like a baritone with two extra bottom string E, A added to DGBE, which is E - E that's standard guitar tuning. Then you can tune it up to F - F or G - G and I am not sure what you got, other then a six string instrument tuned higher than a guitar but lower than a ukulele.

Anyway you cut it they are a lot of fun, mine is the baritone size, 20" scale length tuned E - E and I treat is as a small nylon string guitar.

Johnnysmash.....to answer your question about the Requinto, I have been looking at the Cordoba. It has a 23" scale length and a flat fret board with a nut width of 48mm which is 1-7/8". Basically a 1/2 size classical guitar, but the body is a bit bigger and that intrigues me.

If it had a radius fretboard it would be on its way to my house already.

DownUpDave
10-29-2018, 10:07 AM
A way to see where a guitarele fits in is to get a vertical picture of a piano keyboard and mark in the range of notes for the first 12 frets of guitar, guitarlele and the GCEA ukulele.
Mark in E2 to E5 for the guitar
Mark in A2 to A5 for the guitarlele
Mark in C4 to A5 for the ukulele
If we were living in 1870 before the ukulele was thought of we would be calling it a piccolo guitar, in fact, you can still buy a piccolo guitar which looks and sounds and plays exactly the same as a guitarlele. Or maybe a Requinto Guitar if we were playing in the Spanish tradition. Martin had a size 5 guitar in its catalogue from 1898 to 1989.
Daniel Ho and Koaloha developed the DVI in more recent times.
So the marketing departments have jumped on the ukulele popularity bandwagon and started to use the name guitarlele because it sells product, many ukulele players wont look at a guitar of any sort, but show them a guitarlele and they show some interest. "Oh look its like a tenor with six strings, wow its so innovative and new".
There is plenty of repertoire and material about tunings if you search for music arranged for piccolo guitar and requinto guitar. Not much if you look for guitarlele.
Also the marketing world is yet to settle on how to spell the name. Koaloha bypassed the spelling conundrum and just called it DVI.
I recommend that serious players look at the piano diagram and realise that the instrument might look like a guitar or ukulele or both, but its range of notes is what is important, it is going to play music in a different part of the sound and music spectrum to both the ukulele and guitar. If you forget about the marketing names, and concentrate on the music, you will find repertoire and alternative tunings and a history that goes back to the 19th century and earlier.

Great explanation as always Biil, very informative.

Jim Yates
10-29-2018, 11:38 AM
The playing style for a guitalele is closer to guitar than ukulele. It's similar to playing a guitar with the capo on the fifth fret. A guitar payer should be able to switch to guitalele with no effort whatsoever, using the same techniques, while a ukulele player will need to put some effort into learning to operate the bass strings.
For the purposes of Ukulele Underground, I would prefer a separate heading for guitalele.

Michael N.
10-29-2018, 12:58 PM
It's a guitar, no question about it. There's precedence. They were made in the early/middle of the 19 th century, although infrequently. May have been as a child's instrument or even as a show piece. Guitalele is just a modern marketing term for a small guitar pitched in A. Things get even more interesting when you look at the renaissance guitar - which had four courses and tuned just like a ukulele or rather the ukulele is tuned just like a renaissance guitar.

johnnysmash
11-02-2018, 03:29 AM
The new strings seemed to tight and not much sustain. After three days of playing off and on all day the strings seem to have more sustain and sort of opened up. I also, on the second day dropped the tuning to D to D. Tuned everything down two half steps. Really sounds good now. I tried DADGAD and DADF#AD but that was not improved over the D to D tuning. I may try tonight or tomorrow dropping both tunings two half steps and see what that sounds like.

Jarmo_S
11-02-2018, 08:03 AM
A guitar it is, just tuned higher. Ukulele player would be quite lost in how to play the 2 lowest strings, chords I mean.
Whereas a guitar player would need to learn just new names of the chords, most other techniques are transferable quite easy.

On the other thought guitalele is not a bad name in my opinion. An advanced uke soloist will know the fretboard of his/her 4 strings. And be in advantage over a guitar player.
Myself while not being an advanced soloist with my uke and know play the guitar too: I (almost) never read notes as transposed on either instrument. Just a thought :)

Jarmo_S
11-02-2018, 08:53 AM
Btw, many guitar players also have a somewhat hard time understanding them E and A strings. See, 4 fingers, 4 strings!

Michael N above says that guitalele is pitched to A, ... well in that sense a guitar yes would be having E as the most favorite key.

But that isn't so really. Yes the E&A keys are quite popular in some music/playing styles that use E and A as base notes and need them as open.

More I say guitar favors the key of G almost as well as ukulele favors the C. And their minor variants.

Jim Hanks
11-02-2018, 10:36 AM
The new strings seemed to tight and not much sustain. After three days of playing off and on all day the strings seem to have more sustain and sort of opened up. I also, on the second day dropped the tuning to D to D. Tuned everything down two half steps. Really sounds good now. I tried DADGAD and DADF#AD but that was not improved over the D to D tuning. I may try tonight or tomorrow dropping both tunings two half steps and see what that sounds like.
This was on another thread wasn't it? I'm having trouble locating it now. Which strings were this? The standard E to E on 17" scale? And they work turned down to D? I'd love to hear that.

johnnysmash
11-03-2018, 05:23 AM
This was on another thread wasn't it? I'm having trouble locating it now. Which strings were this? The standard E to E on 17" scale? And they work turned down to D? I'd love to hear that.

Hi Jim. Yes, I probably said something or a lot of someting about Drop tuning. I am a super big fan of Drop 3 Tuning - dropping all strings 3 1/2 tones and capoing on the second or third fret. Easier on voice and fingers. Sometimes I play 3 half tones down and no capo. Warmer, richer tones and more sustain. I learned this system long ago when my hand first stated hurting and have used it ever since. I have no instruments in standad e-E. Only my wife's guitar and my classcal that I gave to her because I can n longer play it.

As long as you get no string buzz, try it on any stringed instrument. It is nice and you can always capo back up. However on Guitalele, 17 inch scale I do not use a capo.

Order a set of those E strings. I only paid $10.19 shipping an all half way around the world. You can always give them to me if you do not like them -lol.

breearbor
11-11-2018, 01:25 PM
i had a young student (5 years old) come in with a guitalele tuned to standard guitar tuning and for the first several months of teaching him i assumed it was just a very small scale guitar lol.

i would consider it a guitar that sounds and plays a bit like a ukulele. but really it's all semantics, you can look at it either way

mgsondance
11-17-2018, 05:26 PM
After 20 years of not playing my guitar, it felt huge to me- so I bought a ukulele and now have several. But I still miss the fuller sound of 6 strings, being able to have the tonic note at the base of the chord (rather than an inversion), as well as the lower range. The mini guitars (baby Taylor, little Martin) feel too big. The guitaleles are a nice size at the body, but they all seem to be very wide at the nut. As if they cut off the 5 frets closest to the nut, when what I want is for that much length to be cut off where it attaches to the body. Does such an instrument exist?? I would prefer it to be strung E to E, although would accept A to A or G to G. (Nylon strings)

Jim Hanks
11-17-2018, 06:08 PM
What is "very wide" to you? The Cordoba C1m comes with a 1.75" nut which is about 44.5mm. It's a 19" scale and a bit larger than baritone uke body. The Cordoba guilele is 17" scale with 46mm nut with a smaller tenor body. I have the C1m and it actually came with E to E strings though I put G to G on it. There are also several examples at 48mm.

mgsondance
11-17-2018, 07:45 PM
Hi Jim- I'd prefer the nut width to be the same as my guitar, which is 42.5mm. I have heard the Cordoba's are smaller than most but haven't been able to find one to try yet. The length of my guitar neck is 18", and I'd prefer it to be shorter as I don't have the reach/flexibility that I use to- maybe 16"? I'd also prefer the body to be no bigger than the size of my baritone, which is a Mainland. All of that probably doesn't exist, lol. Yet I'm curious as to why not, because I think there are women out there who would prefer a much smaller guitar without it being some really cheap like a child's model.

Rakelele
11-17-2018, 09:47 PM
Mgsondance, I assume what you have is a steel string guitar, whereas most guileles are built similar to classical or hybrid guitars with nylon strings and therefore have wider fretboards. Moreover, stringed instruments are usually measured by scale length (i.e. length of the resonating strings from nut to saddle), not by how long the neck is from the body. A tenor ukulele has a 17" scale, a baritone has a 19" to 21" scale.

For a narrower nut width, look at the Piccolo Guitar from Ibanez, that one has steel strings, a tenor sized body and a nut width of about 43mm. That's the only model to come to my mind with a nut width of less than 44mm. Again, this one has steel strings, hardly possible to tune to E-E. It's nut width is much too narrow for me at such a short scale with limited horizontal room on the fretboard. At the scale length of 17" to 21", I much prefer a nut width of 46mm to 48mm, and Jim has mentioned some of the great options. I'll add the new Romero Creations Guilele models with a nut width of about a 48mm and a radius fretboard. To me this is the perfect middle ground for this type of instrument.

Jim Hanks
11-18-2018, 02:57 AM
That is really narrow for a nylon string instrument. You best option is probably to find one you like in terms of scale length and body size and have a custom nut cut for it. That should not be a huge job. If you got from somewhere like HMS or Elderly you could probably arrange for them to do it before sending to you - for a reasonable additional fee.

Or you can go full custom. there aren't many folks building custom guileles but I can give you a few names if you're interested

mgsondance
11-20-2018, 01:46 PM
Mgsondance, I assume what you have is a steel string guitar, whereas most guileles are built similar to classical or hybrid guitars with nylon strings and therefore have wider fretboards. Moreover, stringed instruments are usually measured by scale length (i.e. length of the resonating strings from nut to saddle), not by how long the neck is from the body. A tenor ukulele has a 17" scale, a baritone has a 19" to 21" scale.

For a narrower nut width, look at the Piccolo Guitar from Ibanez, that one has steel strings, a tenor sized body and a nut width of about 43mm. That's the only model to come to my mind with a nut width of less than 44mm. Again, this one has steel strings, hardly possible to tune to E-E. It's nut width is much too narrow for me at such a short scale with limited horizontal room on the fretboard. At the scale length of 17" to 21", I much prefer a nut width of 46mm to 48mm, and Jim has mentioned some of the great options. I'll add the new Romero Creations Guilele models with a nut width of about a 48mm and a radius fretboard. To me this is the perfect middle ground for this type of instrument.

Yes- mine is a steel string guitar. Length of the strings from the nut to the string pins is 26.5". I never thought about the classical neck needing to be wider because of the nylon string width, but I guess that makes sense. I owned a classical guitar at one point but it was way too wide in the neck to allow me to play chords due to my small hands. So I'd be ok with steel strings.
The size of that Ibanez is interesting- I'll have to see if I can find one to try. I'm not impressed with the sound, but wouldn't expect to be for that price.

So if I were to use nylon strings rather than steel, how wide do you think I'd need to make it at the nut?
It's also tuned A to A which I guess would be "ok", but I'd prefer E to E. I'm guessing I wouldn't be able to do E to E without a longer scale length?

mgsondance
11-20-2018, 01:49 PM
That is really narrow for a nylon string instrument. You best option is probably to find one you like in terms of scale length and body size and have a custom nut cut for it. That should not be a huge job. If you got from somewhere like HMS or Elderly you could probably arrange for them to do it before sending to you - for a reasonable additional fee.

Or you can go full custom. there aren't many folks building custom guileles but I can give you a few names if you're interested

I actually was messaging Gary Creed last night and he's willing to make something, but hasn't done anything 6-string before. I'll ask you the same question- how narrow do you think I could go (nut measurement) with nylon strings? I'd be using it primarily for strumming and singing.
Does the bracing need to be different for steel strings, than nylon string?

Jim Hanks
11-20-2018, 03:47 PM
how narrow do you think I could go (nut measurement) with nylon strings? I'd be using it primarily for strumming and singing.
Does the bracing need to be different for steel strings, than nylon string?
Well, you can certainly go down to 1.5" or 38mm: https://www.guitarworksinc.com/products/copy-of-guitar-works-inc-used-gwc-1-2-size-right-handed-nylon-string-guitar-with-padded-bag-case

Bracing is definitely different for steel strings as they are under a lot more tension.

mgsondance
11-20-2018, 04:08 PM
Well, you can certainly go down to 1.5" or 38mm: https://www.guitarworksinc.com/products/copy-of-guitar-works-inc-used-gwc-1-2-size-right-handed-nylon-string-guitar-with-padded-bag-case

Bracing is definitely different for steel strings as they are under a lot more tension.

Interesting. Sure looks wider than 1.5 in the picture. But I like that it says itís tuned in E, so that must be possible. Itís an inch shorter than my baritone with the same nut width. But I think in a custom Iíd widen the nut to at least 42 mm just to be on the safe side. Thanks!

Rakelele
11-20-2018, 08:44 PM
I'd recommend a nut width of 46 to 48 mm, or since you like it slimmer, perhaps 44 to 46 mm, but no less than that.

Yes, nylon strings require a totally different construction than steel strings.

mgsondance
11-20-2018, 08:55 PM
I'd recommend a nut width of 46 to 48 mm, or since you like it slimmer, perhaps 44 to 46 mm, but no less than that.

Yes, nylon strings require a totally different construction than steel strings.

So you think it would feel to crowded if I went less than 44? Even for very small hands?

DownUpDave
11-21-2018, 12:16 AM
So you think it would feel to crowded if I went less than 44? Even for very small hands?

There are two considerations for nut width, room for your fingers and room for the oscillating strings. Most people don't consider the second but it is critical. If the strings touch your fingers when they oscillate you get a nasty buzzy noise. Nylon strings move side to side much more then steel strings and need the extra room between them. If you are strumming they will move even more.

mgsondance
11-21-2018, 08:19 AM
There are two considerations for nut width, room for your fingers and room for the oscillating strings. Most people don't consider the second but it is critical. If the strings touch your fingers when they oscillate you get a nasty buzzy noise. Nylon strings move side to side much more then steel strings and need the extra room between them. If you are strumming they will move even more.

thank you! :)

zztush
01-06-2019, 09:41 PM
The guitaleles are a nice size at the body, but they all seem to be very wide at the nut. As if they cut off the 5 frets closest to the nut, when what I want is for that much length to be cut off where it attaches to the body. Does such an instrument exist?? I would prefer it to be strung E to E, although would accept A to A or G to G. (Nylon strings)

Hi, mgsondance!

You may like my guitaleles.
A: I made this guitalele form concert ukulele with 38mm nut. I filled 4 holes in head stock and drilled 6 holes instead. I've installed Gotoh UPT tuners. I made tail piece by myself and setup nut and saddle. I had to shave bridge in order to lower the saddle. I strung all of these guitaleles with steal strings as EADGBE. It was concert ukulele and was strung with nylon strings. But the tension is low and we can string it with steal strings. Has no trouble with sound board. It has 38mm nut. When I check the nut width I check B7 chord. 38 mm nut is ok to me. Old Gibson J45 ('58) has 39mm nut, and I still have seen Gibson's latest model with 39mm nut in local shop. Many electric guitars have 40mm nut width. 38mm nut is not too small for me.
B: This one is a souvenir guitar in Cebu Island Philippines. I change bridge and made nut. I've installed Gotoh UPTL tuners. It is concert size too and soprano size. It has 39mm nut (1.5 inch, same as old Gibson J45).
C: Ibaneze EWP-15. This one is very nice guitalele. I've installed Gotoh UPTL tuners. It has 42mm nut. I've strung it Martin medium stirngs as EADGBE, although it came with extra light strings as A to A.

I think they are all belong to ukulele. Because people think them ukulele at first sight, even they were guitarists around me. No one do not care about strings they just care about size and I love ukulele size.

https://i.ibb.co/nRtLnb7/upload.png (https://ibb.co/mSgcXG9)

mgsondance
01-06-2019, 09:48 PM
Hi, mgsondance!

You may like my guitaleles.
A: I made this guitalele form concert ukulele with 38mm nut. I filled 4 holes in head stock and drilled 6 holes instead. I've installed Gotoh UPT tuners. I made tail piece by myself and setup nut and saddle. I had to shave bridge in order to lower the saddle. I strung all of these guitaleles with steal strings as EADGBE. It was concert ukulele and was strung with nylon strings. But the tension is low and we can string it with steal strings. Has no trouble with sound board. It has 38mm nut. When I check the nut width I check B7 chord. 38 mm nut is ok to me. Old Gibson J45 ('58) has 39mm nut, and I still have seen Gibson's latest model with 39mm nut in local shop. Many electric guitars have 40mm nut width. 38mm nut is not too small for me.
B: This one is a souvenir guitar in Cebu Island Philippines. I change bridge and made nut. I've installed Gotoh UPTL tuners. It is in-between concert and soprano size. It has 39mm nut (1.5 inch, same as old Gibson J45).
C: Ibaneze EWP-15. This one is very nice guitalele. I've installed Gotoh UPTL tuners. It has 42mm nut. I've strung it Martin medium stirngs as EADGBE, although it came with extra light strings as A to A.

I think they are all belong to ukulele. Because people think them ukulele at first sight, even they were guitarists around me. No one do not care about strings they just care about size and I love ukulele size.

https://i.ibb.co/nRtLnb7/upload.png (https://ibb.co/mSgcXG9)

Cool! I read something interesting about the Opio guitalele today; Though the nut width is wider to accommodate the extra strings, they actually shaved down the depth of the neck to make it a bit easier to reach. There are also 3 new guileles coming out from Romero Creations. One uses the tiny tenor shape, which is very comfortable for me.

DownUpDave
01-07-2019, 01:48 AM
After 20 years of not playing my guitar, it felt huge to me- so I bought a ukulele and now have several. But I still miss the fuller sound of 6 strings, being able to have the tonic note at the base of the chord (rather than an inversion), as well as the lower range. The mini guitars (baby Taylor, little Martin) feel too big. The guitaleles are a nice size at the body, but they all seem to be very wide at the nut. As if they cut off the 5 frets closest to the nut, when what I want is for that much length to be cut off where it attaches to the body. Does such an instrument exist?? I would prefer it to be strung E to E, although would accept A to A or G to G. (Nylon strings)

I think the reason it looks "weird" is because the neck is short in length making the nut width look wide in comparision. When you consider most classical guitars have a nut width or 50-52 mm (2") with a scale length of 650mm (25.5"). In comparision a guilele nut width is 48-50mm (1-7/8") but with a very short 508" (20"). This makes it look all out of proportion, which it is kinda. But with nylon strings you need this width for proper string spacing to play it cleanly. There is a very good reason why classical guitars have a wide nut width, it is for proper function with nylon strings.

bunnyf
01-07-2019, 01:58 AM
I have a ďCreedyĒ baritone and it has pretty wide neck, 40mm nut (my Taylor guitar looks to be only about 43, my Pono tenor guitar is 34). It doesnít seem like it would be tight neck if it was just cut for 6 slots, especially if braced for steel. But then, I play some mandolin, so Iím kinda use to small spacing.

zztush
01-07-2019, 09:03 PM
I think the reason it looks "weird" is because the neck is short in length making the nut width look wide in comparision. When you consider most classical guitars have a nut width or 50-52 mm (2") with a scale length of 650mm (25.5"). In comparision a guilele nut width is 48-50mm (1-7/8") but with a very short 508" (20"). This makes it look all out of proportion, which it is kinda. But with nylon strings you need this width for proper string spacing to play it cleanly. There is a very good reason why classical guitars have a wide nut width, it is for proper function with nylon strings.

https://i.ibb.co/C8GMZvy/100-2653.jpg (https://ibb.co/GpStLkD)

Hi, Dave!
This guitar may look good proportion, because it has only a neck. :-) I carry it in my golf bag and bring it everywhere.

Michael N.
01-13-2019, 02:08 AM
I think the reason it looks "weird" is because the neck is short in length making the nut width look wide in comparision. When you consider most classical guitars have a nut width or 50-52 mm (2") with a scale length of 650mm (25.5"). In comparision a guilele nut width is 48-50mm (1-7/8") but with a very short 508" (20"). This makes it look all out of proportion, which it is kinda. But with nylon strings you need this width for proper string spacing to play it cleanly. There is a very good reason why classical guitars have a wide nut width, it is for proper function with nylon strings.


It's not just the scale length but the fretboard width in relation to the body size (notably the upper bout width). When I was designing my version of a 'guitalele' it gave enormous problems in terms of getting the look right. In fact it's not possible, you are always going to end up with an instrument where the fretboard looks too wide for the size of body. It even messes up the way the sides approach the neck button. Not a lot that can be done, it just becomes an exercise in compromise. I tend to do the nut width at 48 mm's which was very common on romantic gut string guitars. The vast majority of nylon string players are fine with a 48 mm nut width. 46 mm and you are really starting to squeeze their fingers into a tight space. A lot depends on fingers of course, some players have very slender fingers, others like myself have rather chunky fingers. I can play on a 48 mm though.