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View Full Version : Hello. Guitar to Uke(Is it an easy transition)



Leodhas
01-19-2010, 09:44 AM
Hello to everyone from Scotland, I'm new here and just need a few pointers and if anyone can help me I guess it's you people.

I am a proficient guitarist and dabble in all styles. However now I want to try my hand at the uke (I'm guessing that many people make this transition).

Firstly, how hard is it to do? Is there a certain key the uke can be tuned to in order to make the transition easier?

I'm going to buy a tenor Uke as I do not want to go too small, which leads me to my second question(which must be asked often), for a proficient guitarist, which is the best Uke to buy? Obviously I don't want anything for a beginner as I intend to take it seriously and already possess a guitarists skills however the uke will not be my main instrument as I am first and foremost a guitarist. Therefore I was thinking something in the $100-200 range. However I don't know if I can get a half descent Uke for that, this is way I need your good selves to inform me.


Thank you for any help you can offer.


Moran taing.

greg_usa
01-19-2010, 09:55 AM
I'm sure it's different for everyone - but I found it a very smooth transition from the guitar to the uke. Obviously it strung differently so all the chords are different - but you pick them up in no time... I started by memorizing the basic major chords first (as you know there's almost a limitless amount of songs that can be played with this alone - lol)... From there I pretty much started learning the rest of the chords when a song I was trying to play required them.

One thing I'll say about the uke - it's '7 chord' friendly instrument which I love. Not sure if this is why a lot of the old timey songs written specifically for uke seem to really favor them - but that would make sense to me.

Anyway - I'm sure you'll pick it up in no time. Just be careful - guitar was my main instrument for years and the first month of having my uke - I'll hardly touched any of my guitars - it's just so much fun.

BTW - I'm less familiar with uke buying advice then most other members here. I picked up a mainland concert (with very minimal research - that's what they had in the store in my range)... But my follow up research - seems that was a real good buy. So I can't speak on the others - but I got the solid mahogony concert (I think it's about $300)... Great uke - absolutely love it! Stays in tune for weeks - literally... Sounds beautiful.

Good luck and enjoy!

AverseBliss
01-19-2010, 10:31 AM
I also went from guitar to ukulele and I do think the transition is smooth, though something I would not do if starting ukulele again, is to treat it like an extension of guitar technique. Learn it from the start, although a lot of techniques are similar (and in some cases the same), and you should pick them up a lot quicker than a complete beginner, I recommend making sure you're doing the very basics on ukulele correctly, as on more advanced techniques it could effect your playing.
I play a Lanikai LU21-T tenor ukulele, which (I think) is right in your price range (about 70 GBP, so about $150 I think) and I would recommend it if you wanted a not completely beginner ukulele! It is a laminate though, but if you're going for solid wood you'd have to open your budget up a bit, especially if you've got your heart set on a tenor.

molokinirum
01-19-2010, 10:49 AM
I started on a guitar, for a short time and progress was very slow. Put the capo on the fifth fret, played the bottom four strings just like a uke. I seemed to pick this method quickly. Bought a uke, tanor, love playing it. Seems way easier than the guitar. Recently added a Concert to travel with. I think at your stage is really learning the new chord shapes. Be very careful, once you play that uke, you might never play the guitar again!!
BTW, the tenor size is, in my opinion, a better size for you...more room on the neck and that will make the chords easier. In the 100-200 range the Kala is a great start.
Good luck and happy strumming!!!! Welcome to UU

bbycrts
01-19-2010, 11:07 AM
The chord shapes themselves are the same as playing the chords on the bottom four strings of the guitar. Think of the D chord for instance - it is fingered exactly the same on the uke, but is a G chord. So you don't have to learn new shapes - you just have to shift them in your mind - A becomes D...B becomes E...C becomes F - etc. Since you're comfortable playing the guitar, your only real hurdle will be to remember to shift your fingering to the new key. Reentrant tuning is different - but the notes are still all relative, so you don't need to change your fingerings. I'd suggest playing reentrant to really capture the sound of the ukulele; play with a low G then after your comfortable to explore the instrument some more.

And welcome to Ukulele Underground!

RevWill
01-19-2010, 11:36 AM
Yes, it is an easy transition from guitar to uke. Not perfect, not seamless, but relatively easy. Far, far easier than, say, guitar to mandolin.

You can almost think of the uke as a four string guitar capoed on the 5th fret. Your shapes are the same as they would be on the high four strings of a guitar.

And again, welcome to the Underground.

NotoriousMOK
01-19-2010, 12:40 PM
I'm learning the opposite transition, so I would say your path looks easy to me :)

Leodhas
01-19-2010, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the help, In relation to buying a uke I think I would rather spend that little bit extra to get a good one than be left frustrated with an instrument that keeps falling out of tune! Can anyone recommend a good uke (tenor) to go for and what price range will I be looking at?

ukestang
01-19-2010, 12:51 PM
Yes, I have been a medicore guitarrist for many years, I became a medicore Uke player in hours. Love the Uke, don't even think about guitar anymotcre. Ever heard about the band Itchycoo Park from Glasgow?

Fitzy
01-19-2010, 12:57 PM
Yes, I have been a mediocre guitarist for many years, I became a mediocre Uke player in hours.

Great quote Ukestang!

Leodhas
01-19-2010, 01:05 PM
Yes, I have been a medicore guitarrist for many years, I became a medicore Uke player in hours. Love the Uke, don't even think about guitar anymotcre. Ever heard about the band Itchycoo Park from Glasgow?

Aye, maybe, off the top o ma head I think they may be one o ma pals on myspace....great line by the way! Good te hear from a weegie as long as ye don't start going on aboot one or other of the ugly sisters ! lol Taking it that you are from Glasgow lol !

Just having a listen to them now! they're good, obviously Small Faces fans!

P-co
01-19-2010, 01:07 PM
Yeah,you can be a crappy but happy uke player in no time at all. I love the way you can kick back in your favorite lounging spot and practice away the hours. Guitars are just too big to do this comfortably. Ukes put the play back in play!

RevWill
01-19-2010, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the help, In relation to buying a uke I think I would rather spend that little bit extra to get a good one than be left frustrated with an instrument that keeps falling out of tune! Can anyone recommend a good uke (tenor) to go for and what price range will I be looking at?

If you are interested in staying around $300 USD, (sorry, don't know the exchange rate for pounds or Euros) Mainland, Ohana, Kala, and tenor-necked Flukes are very nice.

SweetWaterBlue
01-19-2010, 01:33 PM
Yeah,you can be a crappy but happy uke player in no time at all. I love the way you can kick back in your favorite lounging spot and practice away the hours. Guitars are just too big to do this comfortably. Ukes put the play back in play!

That is one of the reasons I like the size of my concert Flea, and my soprano Dolphine (not that I would recoomend the latter for a serious player as his main uke) . My tenor is a nice player, but its too big to hold comfortably in my lazy boy when I am laid back watching TV and strumming.

ukestang
01-19-2010, 01:34 PM
Actually, I'm in Hamilton, Ohio, USA, got to know the Itchycoo guys at Abbey Road on the River Beatles festival in Louisville Ky. Great guys, great band. Check out abbeyroadontheriver.com. Anyway you will love the uke, ukes are like beer, all are good, some are better than others. We have some ugly girls in Hamilton too.

Dallas Pursley
01-19-2010, 02:42 PM
Thanks for the help, In relation to buying a uke I think I would rather spend that little bit extra to get a good one than be left frustrated with an instrument that keeps falling out of tune! Can anyone recommend a good uke (tenor) to go for and what price range will I be looking at?

Mainland (http://www.mainlandukes.com/). Without a doubt. All solid uke, very well made, not too expensive, and very nice looking.

Leodhas
01-20-2010, 08:28 AM
Once again, thank you to everyone for their help! Have spent most of the day ducking work looking at Uke's on the net...I think I am starting to make my mind up after reading reviews, however I feel that I should have a look at one before I buy it so I will have a look around Edinburgh tomorrow but fear I may be struggling to find a good Uke retailer so I may have to go on faith and just buy one blind.

Nevertheless, once again thankyou for the help .

homEsick
01-20-2010, 09:04 AM
I've plated guitar for a decade but ukulele for only a couple months. I read it takers people starting out with a uke a
couple weeks to memorize most of the necessary chords. I learned about 30 the first day because a lot of them have similar structures. a uke E is my guitar B, uke G=guitar D, etc.. knowing the uke is strung like the Top 4 guitar strings broke a mental barrier in my head and opened up the uke for me. now the problem is that my ukulele playing sounds too much like a guitar! using a ukulele has helped me out as a guitar player as well. I've already learned strumming patterns I never would have thought up on guitar. I'd say the two instruments are very interchangable. there's no denying uke is easier than guitar. it took me a while to get out of my head that the ukulele is indeed a
real instrument and not a toy. with the laminate nato, nylon strings, and rinky dink soprano body, it was a challenge. after some time though, I've grown to love it! I can take it everywhere, which means I play more than I ever have with guitar. i actually feel more comfortable with a uke than a guitar.

sometimes I think about if I didn't learn to play guitar when I was 12 if I would have the willpower to today at 22. my younger brother has already leaded a handful of chords the first time he picked it up, whereas before he refused to even pick up my guitar. Uke is definitely less intimidating. I often miss guita. i could never give it up, but right now, I'm more passionate about the ukulele.

grammy
01-20-2010, 12:21 PM
its very easy, you will pick up the chords in no time, the shapes if not the names. It will make you a better guitar player, and you will come to love the high g and what it can do for you. for me it has really helped my understanding of harmony and chord relationships.

Lanark
01-21-2010, 12:56 AM
I would also just like to inject into this that just because you're primarily a guitarist, it doesn't mean that you automatically have to start on a tenor. You can get a soprano or concert and adjust to the scale with a little time and effort. I played guitar for something close to three decades before picking up the ukulele and it really wasn't so much of a deal for me. If you've got some skills with a stringed instrument you're already most of the way there. You know chord shapes and it's simply a matter of getting the muscle memory of where the strings are without looking.

For myself part of the appeal of picking up the instrument was being able to get a sound that was completely different from what I'd been already playing for so long. I started on a concert scale but I go back and forth these days between that & soprano & even sopranino, no problem. Don't be intimidated by the smaller scales. You actually can find a lot more interesting stuff to play when you get out of your comfort zone a little bit.

UkuLeLesReggAe
01-21-2010, 01:16 AM
i would like to see your guitar skills