View Full Version : Duets with guitars

08-10-2009, 04:30 PM
Hey all, I've had my shiny new Makala dolphin uke for about a week now and I'm loving the little guy. I've had a bit of experience with the ol' guitar so I've got enough of the basics down now that I can play most of the basic chords and strums well enough.

Anyways, I have a friend who plays guitar, and we've wanted to do duet style things together. Neither of us are really singers, so we were hoping to get most of the melody bits through the instruments. Problem is, we've kind of had a rocky start so far to try to get the uke and guitar to sync up. For example, when I play a C chord and my friend does, they don't sound well together. Is it just that one of us is out of tune (I tried my best to tune right), or are there deeper problems at play (we're both uncapo'd too, so if we both start with C we should be in the same key, right?)?

So basically my question is, do you guys have any specific tips for guitar/uke duets? Like who should be playing melody most of the time, any songs that are good for this type of duet, whether we should change the keys of any songs or use capos or anything like that?

Thanks a bunch, I'm happy to join the community

08-10-2009, 04:41 PM
I can't help you at all. I just want to encourage you to get Aldrine's and Rayan's new CD. Rayan plays guitar and Aldrine plays ukulele. You'll hear how well guitars and ukuleles work together. It's a terrific CD by the way.

08-10-2009, 04:58 PM
I would first make sure that they are in tune with each other. Normally, I use an electronic tuner and the same tuner for both instruments. Just to eliminate the possibility of 2 tuners reading differently.

I usually have the uke playing the lead and the guitar playing back-up.

Also, the guitar is going to be louder than the uke, so keep it further away from the audience, or microphone...

Hope that helps.


08-10-2009, 05:08 PM
Hey Deg, a question -- do the 2 instruments play in the same key? Just curious.

08-10-2009, 05:31 PM
Hey Deg, a question -- do the 2 instruments play in the same key? Just curious.
Guitars are tuned EADGBE, typically ukes are tuned gCEA.

But... a D chord is still a D chord regardless of the tuning of the instrument.

What you'd finger on the top strings of a guitar as a D chord is a G chord (with the same fingering) on the uke.

The two players just need to be in synch. :)

08-10-2009, 09:03 PM
tuning is everything, if your guitar playing buddy has a guitar tuner that only reads the guitar string pitches you can use that tuner too by playing the respective note on your uke by fretting it.

08-10-2009, 09:13 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about that. I know they exist, but I haven't seen a 6 note tuner in years. Chromatics have pretty much made them obsolete.

Anyway, once the guitar is tuned, just match your Uke to the four high strings at the fifth fret (except for the high octave one, if you can't "hear" the octave to get it in tune, just tune it relative to one of your strings like you usually do). A little "tweaking" by ear can be done if necessary to make them sound good togethe.

08-11-2009, 03:37 AM
I play with a guitar player all the time and we both tune with the same tuner and I play a tenor or concert so I get a little more volume. We play the same song and he strums while I strum and finger pick. Whenever he capos I just play the new chords. Sorry this post isn't technical but i don't know all the musical terms.

08-12-2009, 11:44 AM
There really shouldn't be a problem if both instruments are tuned to their correct, or should I say, usual tunings. I know I have tried to jam with my guitar before and forgotten I had it tuned down half a step, which is something many guitarists do.

08-12-2009, 12:14 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about that. I know they exist, but I haven't seen a 6 note tuner in years. Chromatics have pretty much made them obsolete.
I just got a clip-on tuner (like the one in the UU Store (http://ukeunderground.bigcartel.com/product/et-3000-clip-on-tuner)) and it does chromatic, guitar, bass and violin. Very handy! :)

08-12-2009, 01:30 PM
i think uke and guitar go perfectly together. a friend of mine plays guitar and we jam all the time. i usually play the chords and sing, he plays the solos and the chords when hes not soloing... most of the time. we just do it that way because those are our strengths. as for the tuning, everyone else pretty much said it. we just tune normally.
i've got sime vids of us on youtube if you want to see. here's one.

Harold O.
08-13-2009, 04:38 AM
Here's yet another link with ukulele and guitar. This is probably beyond where you guys are at this point, but it shows how well the two can complement each other. The uke sets the tone and fills in. The guitar handles details and highlights. Roles could be reversed, depending on skills and song.