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PoiDog
07-12-2011, 05:43 AM
Hey guys -

I'm sure this topic has come up before (though I wasn't able to find a prior thread in my search), but I was wondering how difficult would it be to transition from 'ukulele to guitar.

I likely won't do it for a while, but playing the 'ukulele has got me wondering about adding another fretted instrument.

The reason I ask is I have no musical background at all. I can't read music, don't really get the theory, and am unable to play by ear, and don't understand the idea of different tuning or exactly what's the difference between a song in the key of C, D, or E. Yet, even with that handicap, I am still able to play the uke and make the songs sound more or less right.

How confusing is it to suddenly have to account for two extra strings? Is the difference in the GCEA tuning of an 'ukulele that big a deal compared to a guitar's tuning?

Color me curious and more than a little bit ignorant

ItsMrPitchy
07-12-2011, 06:04 AM
Hard to answer these questions. Ukulele will give you more help with learning guitar than say piano. But with guitar you will still have to adjust to new chord shapes and everything else like the size and 2 bass strings.

In short yes.

I would focus on just learning guitar instead of seeing how ukulele helps you with guitar try to treat them like separate instruments. I hope this answers your question.

ukulelecowboy
07-12-2011, 06:05 AM
The additional two strings is an extremely significant "handicap" in transitioning from uke to guitar. Chord shapes can differ radically and there are instances where strings are muted in order to play specific chords. Besides the fact that you are know barre-ing six steel strings across a 2" nut instead of 4 nylon across a 1.5" nut.

Why not look at the tenor guitar as an option? 4 steel strings, can be tuned DGBE and sounds alot like a guitar. I play one and it's great.

This is the link for the official Tenor Guitar Registry: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/tenorguitarregistry/

Mike

Kauai808
07-12-2011, 06:14 AM
The additional two strings is an extremely significant "handicap" in transitioning from uke to guitar. Chord shapes can differ radically and there are instances where strings are muted in order to play specific chords. Besides the fact that you are know barre-ing six steel strings across a 2" nut instead of 4 nylon across a 1.5" nut.

Why not look at the tenor guitar as an option? 4 steel strings, can be tuned DGBE and sounds alot like a guitar. I play one and it's great.

This is the link for the official Tenor Guitar Registry: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/tenorguitarregistry/

Mike

Agreed. Two extra strings doesn't seem like a lot but it is a BIG difference. However, as lovely as the uke is, a guitar does provide a nice spectrum of sounds that your ear will certainly find appealing. I love my ukes but find that i play my guitars a little more these days.

TCK
07-12-2011, 06:32 AM
I will have to agree on every point made here. Guitar is a whole different beast. I got one a few months back to figure out what is being done in certain tunes which of course use it instead of Ukulele and it can be pretty daunting. First, the strings are MUCH higher tension, second, there are six of the buggers. There is the whole muted strings thing...and strumming, which is different with the bass strings. Finger picking is a bare too because the strings are closer together.
Fortunately, I came from an instrument that is arranged in circle of fifths/fourths, so I got a healthy dose of theory whether I knew it or not and the chord shapes were easy to find and translate (that's not a c anymore, it is a g and if I throw my capo here it is a big ukulele and so on).
That said- I love the tone of the thing, but find my Baritone to be a much more favored companion. Fortunately it was cheap.

deadpool
07-12-2011, 08:13 AM
I have come from the opposite direction. I don't use standard notation for either instrument and don't feel its really necessary either. You don't need the theory to play but after a while you sort of feel like a "trained monkey" - just playing what others have done. Chord theory helps on the guitar (and the uke) so you can move up the neck and make chord adjustments and all. But do you need to know it - no you don't. I think you will advance a little faster having played the ukulele - for example your G chord positions will be your D chords on the guitar. Others will translate too. C would translate to G except that there is fretting of the 5th and 6th string that the Uke doesn't have. Same basic strum patterns and finger picking is finger picking for the most part. The only problem I am having coming the opposit direction is that sometimes when I see the D7 chord in songs I go to G7 from all the guitar years, but that's not really a big deal. Both are fun to play and after playing the ukulele, the guitar sounds really mellow! LOL! Have a blast!

RichM
07-12-2011, 09:10 AM
I play four fretted instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele). While each of them is unique, the more fretted instrument technique you learn, the easier it is to switch instruments. If you feel comfortable on the uke, you have a good base for starting guitar. However, as many have pointed out, a guitar is not a big uke-- it has a wider tonal range, a very different dynamic capability, and, of course, more strings. But your uke knowledge will serve you well on guitar, as you should at least understand the tuning intervals (which are the same on the top 4 strings), and many of the chord shapes transfer over.

However: while you don't need to be a genius musician to play the guitar, having a basic musical knowledge will help you a great deal when switching instruments. If you're moving from a GCEA ukulele to a EADGBE guitar, you will need to understand that the notes and chord shapes in the same positions are different. If you want to play uke tunes on the guitar, you'll need to understand how to transpose. And of course, you'll need to understand some guitar technique.

If you really want to play guitar, go for it. However, if you're still struggling with your first instrument, you may find it daunting to add a second instrument so soon. Consider achieving a degree of proficiency on one instrument before moving to a second. And without going too geeky on you, understanding some very basic music theory (keys, note names, chord structure) will make transitioning from one instrument to another infinitely easier, because you can focus completely on technique; theory is the same regardless of what you're playing.

patico
07-15-2011, 08:17 AM
guitar n ukes are the same (for me)
if you capo the guitar n play the first 4 strings, you'll be playing exaxctly the same as the ukulele.

i play guitar, bass, charango, ukulele n ukelele.... have had no problem for adjusting to any of them.

the difficult part of all this is "learning music". that's what took me years of hard practice n study. (still studying everyday)
the fretting n struming n fingerpicking is very similar to all this instruments, of course with subtle variations.

23skidoo
07-15-2011, 09:56 AM
guitar n ukes are the same (for me)
if you capo the guitar n play the first 4 strings, you'll be playing exaxctly the same as the ukulele.



I find this easier than transposing - I recently started playing uke after being pretty comfortable with the guitar. If you pick up a guitar, just start with the top four strings above the fifth fret and treat it like a uke until you get used to it. I think the two instruments compliment each other nicely.... as a guitarist, I'm often frustrated by the inability (or difficulty, anyway) of getting a full, rooted sound out of the ukulele. Having those two big fat strings to really fill out a chord and give it some bottom end is nice - and, like the others said, a completely different beast from the little uke.

One other thing you might consider is trying a classical guitar. The strings are lower tension and very similar feel to a uke. It might make the transition a little easier.

If you do get a guitar, you should check out this site:

http://justinguitar.com/index.php

If you click the lesson index in the left column, you'll see a nice progression from the most basic elements of guitar and theory up to some pretty advanced stuff. This guy has a great teaching style and the videos that go along with each lesson are great. Can't recommend this site enough.....

Good luck....

zac987
07-15-2011, 10:10 AM
I would consider getting a Requinto. It would make your transition much easier, as its size and soft nylon strings will be far more familiar to you.

MisoHappy
07-15-2011, 10:24 AM
Hm... tough question. I have quite a bit of musical background. I started playing ukulele when I was 7 years old, and I started playing guitar sometime last year (I'm 14). The transition wasn't all that difficult, because for the most part, I had all the skills from playing ukulele. Strumming, picking, it's all (mostly) the same.

Some chords on the ukulele are just the bottom part of the same chord on a guitar, but usually the chord shapes are completely different (although they sound the same). For the most part you'll just have to learn both sets of chords, for ukulele and guitar. It seems a bit daunting, but don't worry :)

I can't read music well at all either. I know the basics, but I can't read it fluently AT ALL. But I can read tabs. I don't know much theory either :/ And although I can play by ear, that's just a skill you pick up as you practice (Although maybe it is something you just have to have a knack for...I'm not sure. practice practice pracice!)

Whn you want to make the transition, the best thing to do is pick a song you like. Maybe even a song you already know on ukulele, so you know the chord names already. Then google what the chord is on guitar, and then try it out! :)

Uk3player78
07-15-2011, 10:34 AM
I'm going the opposite way and finding it a blast! I'm picking it up quick due to my years of practice on guitar. My guitars are resting, my Uke comes everywhere..almost. :D

lindydanny
07-15-2011, 10:52 AM
I think transition may be the wrong word here... Think of it more as learning another instrument. There are similarities to how some chords are constructed, but it is much easier to notice those similarities yourself after you have learned the shapes rather than use the similarities to learn to play guitar.

Strings are an issue, but there are no more of an issue than if you didn't play anything and took up guitar. As I see it, you are ahead of the game because you have already worked up some amount of dexterity. your biggest hurdle will be developing those calluses on your fingers. That could easily take months (but even the nylon strings you are already fretting are helping there too). Take it a little at a time and whatever you do, DON'T HURT YOURSELF. You'll just make yourself less likely to pick it up and play the next day.

And don't get overwhelmed at the differences in chords. There are quite frankly thousands of different chords on a guitar (and on ukulele for that manner). In the beginning your really only need to know three or four basic shapes to get started. If you continue on, you will pick up more. Just take your time and learn the basics first.

~DB

garywj
07-15-2011, 11:02 AM
I've found that it is best to have another finger on each hand when going from 4 strings to 6. About 4 months ago I came from guitar to uke and am able to manage 4 strings better than 6. I find that, overall, uke players take themselves less seriously than guitar players do - that's not a criticism, just an observation. After playing a uke for a while, the sound of a guitar can really be appreciated for the deep basses and sustain. I like both instruments.

70sSanO
07-15-2011, 11:47 AM
I am like so many others in that I went from a guitar to a ukulele. It you can play a lot of different chords on a ukulele, especially bar chords, you shouldn't have that much problem.

The chord shapes are basically the same, have to add a note here or there, but there are some positives. You will have more room to roam with a guitar and you generally won't run out of bottom end fingering like a ukulele.

Start out with a ukulele G chord, then play a ukulele Dm chord and move it over one string lower (in tone). It is not differnet that uke, basic easy stuff until you get used to it.

John

scottie
07-16-2011, 04:07 PM
I like both instruments and don't plan to stop playing either one. . . but my main instrument is the guitar.

fabioponta
07-16-2011, 04:57 PM
Interesting:
It looks an year 60's question...
When ukers learn about Beatles.

Now its apears again:
you have your new Beatles?

Pippin
07-16-2011, 11:39 PM
I have played ukulele and guitar for over forty years. I played the uke first. Transitioning is easy. I don't consider them that different. MANY chord shapes are the SAME.

Learning the guitar is easy if you play the ukulele first. Basics of strumming and chord fingering are already there. You can learn the new chord shapes easily enough.

I will clarify a few points, though. "Flat-picking" and "Travis Picking" consist of playing the six-string guitar with whole strums and "picking" the "bass strings" on the downbeat. There are times when a good flat-picker will "walk between chords" and I do that same thing on a ukulele to add color to the music. Finger-picking is easier on some guitar neck widths than others. Most guitar necks are 1-11/16 or 1-3/4 (the latter being easier to play "finger-style"). Most guitarists play basic strumming and that can be done on a fairly narrow necked guitar.

Martin Guitar Company invented the 1-11/16 inch neck for flat-picking early in the twentieth century when guitars started using steel strings. Before that, guitar playing meant typically finger-picking and often classical music. So, if you want to play mostly the songs you play on a uke with basic strums, most quality guitars will do. If you want to finger-pick, I'd look at "auditorium-bodied" guitars because more of them are made for finger-picking and have more space between the strings.

I hope this gives you a little more information to help in your decision-making process.

Raygf
07-17-2011, 01:20 AM
Hey guys -
I'm sure this topic has come up before (though I wasn't able to find a prior thread in my search), but I was wondering how difficult would it be to transition from 'ukulele to guitar.
I likely won't do it for a while, but playing the 'ukulele has got me wondering about adding another fretted instrument.
The reason I ask is I have no musical background at all. I can't read music, don't really get the theory, and am unable to play by ear, and don't understand the idea of different tuning or exactly what's the difference between a song in the key of C, D, or E. Yet, even with that handicap, I am still able to play the uke and make the songs sound more or less right.
How confusing is it to suddenly have to account for two extra strings? Is the difference in the GCEA tuning of an 'ukulele that big a deal compared to a guitar's tuning?
Color me curious and more than a little bit ignorant
Don't let what you don't know stop you from trying another fretted instrument. I have not seen anyone mention a guitalele (tuned ADGCEA) yet. The first 4 strings are tuned the same as a low G ukulele. You would not have to learn new chord names. Just a thought.

My other suggestion is find a good teacher. Talk to people in your area and get suggestions. Sometimes it takes trying a few different teachers to find one that works for you. Not every teacher is for every student and not every teacher is a good teacher. Take a few lessons to get you started on the right foot. Beginners' guitar classes are less expensive than private lessons and you get to meet other people trying to learn. I still enjoy going to workshops and I've been playing and teaching for a long time. Good luck and enjoy the experience.

grumbo
03-02-2019, 10:36 AM
I have played ukulele and guitar for over forty years. I played the uke first. Transitioning is easy. I don't consider them that different. MANY chord shapes are the SAME.

Learning the guitar is easy if you play the ukulele first. Basics of strumming and chord fingering are already there. You can learn the new chord shapes easily enough.

I will clarify a few points, though. "Flat-picking" and "Travis Picking" consist of playing the six-string guitar with whole strums and "picking" the "bass strings" on the downbeat. There are times when a good flat-picker will "walk between chords" and I do that same thing on a ukulele to add color to the music. Finger-picking is easier on some guitar neck widths than others. Most guitar necks are 1-11/16 or 1-3/4 (the latter being easier to play "finger-style"). Most guitarists play basic strumming and that can be done on a fairly narrow necked guitar.

Martin Guitar Company invented the 1-11/16 inch neck for flat-picking early in the twentieth century when guitars started using steel strings. Before that, guitar playing meant typically finger-picking and often classical music. So, if you want to play mostly the songs you play on a uke with basic strums, most quality guitars will do. If you want to finger-pick, I'd look at "auditorium-bodied" guitars because more of them are made for finger-picking and have more space between the strings.

I hope this gives you a little more information to help in your decision-making process.

While the shapes are technically the same, the voicings are really different. I first learned how to play the ukulele, then when I played on my auntie's ukulele that had a low G string, I loved the tonal range that added and got one for mine right away. I really got familiar with the instrument learning with the low G string as The Bottom in my voicings. On a guitar, the shapes you would use to play the same scale degrees in the bass are different! That is the biggest obstacle I am facing, and I would imagine that would be even worse had I stuck with reentrant tuning.

tl;dr, biggest obstacle will be with the voicings

dcuttler
03-02-2019, 12:14 PM
The one thing you haven't mentioned is what kind of music you want to play. Your answer may dictate if you want to play a ukulele, or go straight to a guitar. In my case I used to play classical guitar, but having developed arthritis in both hands I migrated to ukuleles, which while easier to play will never sound as rich and full as a guitar.

A few days ago I received a new 3/4 scale classical guitar, and it is so much easier for me to play than my full size guitar, I will probably not be playing my ukuleles much accept in my car or when traveling.

You can spend a lot of money purchasing a ukulele that will never sound as good as a modest price guitar. It's all about the size and physics.

My new guitar is a Kremona S58C 3/4 sized classical guitar with a solid cedar top that cost me $229.00. You could spend a fortune on a ukulele that will never sound as good.

I guess what I am trying to say is if in the end you are interested in playing guitar, just get a guitar.

bellgamin
03-02-2019, 04:27 PM
The uke uses nylon strings so... it makes sense to buy a guitar that uses nylon strings. But do NOT buy a classical guitar -- the nut on a classical is freaking WIDE. Instead buy a fusion-type nylon string guitar. Fusions have a much narrower nut than a classical.

By the way, "fusion" is an instrument type, not a brand name. Another name for fusion type is "crossover" type. As mentioned previously, the fusion type guitar has a narrower nut than a classical guitar. Fusion guitars also have radiused fretboards whereas classical fretboards are flat. Result: a fusion type, nylon-stringed guitar is easier to learn on than a steel string -- even barre chords are a piece of cake.

My own fusion is Cordoba Fusion 12 Orchestra CE CD/IN Acoustic/Electric Nylon String that I bought in primo used condition for $558 fob Hawaii. Cordoba makes so-so ukes but they are very highly regarded for producing excellent mid-price guitars. Check me out on this by doing a search at Acoustic Guitar Forum (http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/index.php).

I wish you good luck in transitioning to guitar.

dcuttler
03-02-2019, 04:51 PM
I just realized that this thread was started in 2011, so maybe it's not relivent anymore.

bellgamin
03-02-2019, 05:02 PM
I just realized that this thread was started in 2011, so maybe it's not relivent anymore.Sheeesh, never noticed the date. :p

gochugogi
03-03-2019, 08:46 AM
Wisdom is timeless!