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View Full Version : if you put a capo on the 5th fret of a guitar, you basically have a ukulele...



htb723
04-23-2010, 05:25 PM
My mind is BLOWN

GVlog
04-23-2010, 06:05 PM
Well, ...

Sustain will be much, much longer.
Tone will be deeper and un-ukulele-like.
If it's a steel-string guitar, the tone will be far too bright.
It would be best to remove the 5th and 6th strings if you plan to strum it.
You'd need to change the 4th string if you prefer re-entrant tuning.
If it's joined at the neck at the 12th fret, then access beyond the 12th fret (7th fret if you count from the capo) will be challenging unless you're trained accordingly.
It's not as portable.

There are reasons why both instruments exist. :)

(Which is why you should get both.)

ToanIsAnIdiot
04-23-2010, 06:13 PM
I was curious about this... If i removed the fifth and sixth string from my cheap guitar, it would be a large Low G uke right? just wondering if my guitar neck would be able to handle the lack of tension though...

ceviche
04-23-2010, 06:28 PM
Well, ...

Sustain will be much, much longer.
Tone will be deeper and un-ukulele-like.
If it's a steel-string guitar, the tone will be far too bright.
It would be best to remove the 5th and 6th strings if you plan to strum it.
You'd need to change the 4th string if you prefer re-entrant tuning.
If it's joined at the neck at the 12th fret, then access beyond the 12th fret (7th fret if you count from the capo) will be challenging unless you're trained accordingly.
It's not as portable.

There are reasons why both instruments exist. :)

(Which is why you should get both.)


This is a nice way of saying: NO! They are not the same thing.

--Dave

Dane
04-23-2010, 07:05 PM
The first 4 strings are tuned in the same octave interval as a uke, so if you capo the 5th, they will be the same notes, but as soon as you start playing some things you will notice it doesnt sound anywhere close. Some things might sound better, but for me, almost everything sounds worse, and some notes just don't go together as well on my guitars as they do on my uke.

clayton56
04-23-2010, 08:06 PM
Instruments are made to sound best in a given range, when you go too high it's strained and sound isn't as good. Intonation suffers, tone suffers. Piano might be the only exception. That's why they have those smaller saxophones, you can play the same notes on a bigger one but it's pushing it tonally and more difficult to play (of course sometimes that's desired by the composer and it's written accordingly)

htb723
04-23-2010, 11:05 PM
Haha I had just never noticed that the notes lined up like that before. Thanks for the thorough responses :)

Dane
04-23-2010, 11:10 PM
Yeah I didn't know about it for a good year or so after I started playing

kissing
04-23-2010, 11:26 PM
I've done this on many occasions. Like when there's a guitar lying around, but no uke, it's always "better than nothing" to pick it up and play.
I am quite used to playing "Baritone Ukulele" chords, which is the guitar chords with the DGBE strings (same as guitar tuning), so I don't need to capo to play a guitar along with others.

In fact, you can just play a guitar completely like a uke, and the chords will still sound right - though in a different key.
For instance, if you play a Uke C chord on a guitar, you have a G (guitar). If you play a Uke F, you have a C (guitar).

But it is not the most comfortable to play a guitar like a uke. You have to try not to hit the E and A bass strings. And the spaces between the strings is rather narrow compared to a uke.
A guitar is not a uke afterall.

Ukuleleblues
04-24-2010, 01:39 AM
Make that "if you put a capo on the 5th fret of a guitar, you basically have a GIANT ukulele..."

Dane
04-24-2010, 06:10 AM
You can always mute the top 2 strings, I can strum the high 4 without a mute though, just takes practice. Sure sometimes I might only hit the high 3 but it still sounds good.

KevinV
04-24-2010, 07:11 AM
Thanks for pointing that out...I play guitar but didn't even make the connection. It actually makes the uke seem a little less daunting now. I was looking at it as a completely foreign fretboard but it actually isn't. Very cool. :cool:

jungleturtle
04-24-2010, 11:32 AM
Yeah, after I ordered my 1st uke, while I was waiting for it to be delivered, I capoed my guitar on the 5th fret & practiced, avoiding the 5th & 6th strings. It was probably somewhat helpful, although when my uke finally came, I discovered the feel was quite different due to the nylon strings, narrower frets, & wider spaces between the strings. My 1st guitar was a classical style, so I'd played on nylon strings before, but not in a long time. The high g took a little getting used to, as well

kissing
04-24-2010, 10:04 PM
The high-G string seems to come across as rocket science to many non-uke guitarists LOL.
It's basically the same tuned note, just an octave high. It seems to boggle them beyond imagination that the G string is thinner than the C string, but the chord shapes remain the same >_<

70sSanO
04-25-2010, 10:16 AM
Before I actually bought a uke, I took out an old classical guitar I had and did the 5th fret capo thing. It really sounded like a classical guitar capoed on the 5th fret. I decided to remove the 5th and 6th and restring the 4th with another 1st and get re-entrant and that helped me get a little feel for playing a ukulele... well a giant ukulele at that and with a guitar tone. No matter what you do it will always sound like a guitar.

A guitar can't replace a ukulele, but it is a great place to experiment before laying out the cash for a "real" ukulele.

John

pulelehua
04-26-2010, 03:21 AM
Slightly OT, but the one that boggled my mind was that a violin is a like an upside down guitar:

Lowest 4 guitar strings E - A - D - G
Violin strings G - D - A - E

So you can actually play guitar chords on a violin if you do them upside down. And of course there's no frets, so intonation is tricky.

SailingUke
04-26-2010, 06:03 AM
Slightly OT, but the one that boggled my mind was that a violin is a like an upside down guitar:

Lowest 4 guitar strings E - A - D - G
Violin strings G - D - A - E

So you can actually play guitar chords on a violin if you do them upside down. And of course there's no frets, so intonation is tricky.

Mandolin is the same tuning, violin or upside down guitar.

haole
04-26-2010, 06:45 AM
It's a simple way of putting it, but it works! This is usually how I explain the uke to guitar players. "just capo it here and ignore these two strings."

Dane
04-26-2010, 07:35 AM
Yep same here, my guitar friend, who is really my source of music inspiration, has been playing guitar his whole life, and he's pretty awesome. He knows so much for how young he is, it's amazing. And he always laughs at me when I talk about or bring out my ukulele, of course he is just joking around and said that he loves my playing, but it seemed so foreign to him. When he picked up my uke one day, I said "you know if you capo your guitar at the 5th fret you have all the notes of an ukulele, just stay on 1-4, you should be used to that with all your jazz stuff" Then his eyes got all bright and he tried to mess around on it, he wasn't used to the spacing of the strings but he did a few little cool licks haha.

uke5417
04-26-2010, 01:53 PM
I had never gotten much beyond the cowboy end of the guitar until a couple of weeks ago when I finally wrapped my mind around the concept being discussed here. In a matter of an hour the number of guitar chords I knew went from about a dozen to over a hundred. I just transferred the second-, third- and fourth-position uke chords I know onto the guitar. Everything's down five steps, but that's no big deal. In fact, I find myself bopping around the guitar fretboard now sometimes without even thinking about keys and chords, instead just relying on the interrelationship between the chord forms.