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View Full Version : One for the guitar players. Has the uke screwed your playing up?



Leodhas
10-31-2011, 10:14 AM
I'll explain, due to working away sporadically over the past 3 months I haven't done any gigging for that period except a couple of songs on the uke at another friends gig and tonight I got a call asking me if I would join a pal of mine to do a show this saturday. So I went and grabbed a guitar to do some rehearsal as I thought I better sharpen up for the show (just a load of old Scot/Irish folks songs that are standard fair round here) and realised that I've not played for coming on 3 months as when I've been working away I just took my uke (where I used to take a travel guitar).

For starters the bloody thing looked hugh (a guild gad 50 for the guitar players out there) and my hands felt as though they wouldn't stretch round the neck, it all felt so uncomfortable whereas once it was second nature! This has worried me so much that I've realised one CAN NOT neglect the guitar for the uke! Basically no uke for me until after the weekend.

It really has freaked me out, have any other guitar players had a similar experience?

UkePA
10-31-2011, 10:17 AM
I switch between the uke and a Taylor NS. No real problem for me. Takes about 5 minutes to get used to the change.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
10-31-2011, 10:20 AM
I've always been a mediocre guitar player, so no problems for me. :)

Leodhas
10-31-2011, 10:23 AM
I switch between the uke and a Taylor NS. No real problem for me. Takes about 5 minutes to get used to the change.

I've never not played for this period of time before, have it next to me now, even the strings feel weird. Going to give it half an hour and see how I feel. May try a different guitar as the gad is a wee bit bulky and I have a heavy gauge string on it.

harpdog cc
10-31-2011, 10:29 AM
Guess I've never laid one aside for the other...no problems here. Keep playing both!

laundromatt
10-31-2011, 11:45 AM
Getting and playing my uke affected my guitar playing in the sense that I don't play/practice the guitar as much now. Maybe it's just a phase, but I'm finding the ukulele to be more fun, and will tend to pick that up over the guitar when I have spare time.

drbekken
10-31-2011, 11:55 AM
I am not much of a guitar player, but I have played the guitar since I was a child. I love fingerstyle blues and improv stuff such as John Fahey et al. After I rediscovered the ukulele, the guitar seems like a huge monster, totally impossible to hold...well, I guess it wouldn't take too long to readjust, but I'm not sure I really want to; the uke is my long lost love, and this time, I'll keep that great feeling and let guitar be guitar.... As for the piano; no problem to switch between the two, hehe...

jackwhale
10-31-2011, 12:08 PM
I have trouble with the difference in string spacing--further apart on the ukulele than on the guitar. Takes a while to get fast chord changes until I readjust. I also tend 'read' chords from the 6th string on the guitar and it takes time to readjust to 'reading' off the 4th string on the ukulele. i.e. a G chord from the 3rd fret 6th string on the guitar switches to the 5th fret 4th string for the ukulele.

OldePhart
10-31-2011, 12:09 PM
Heh, heh. I picked up my Taylor 312 after not playing any guitar for several months. Felt like I was hugging a refrigerator.

For me, there just isn't much reason to play guitar because I really get much more enjoyment from the uke. If that weren't the case, my poor guitars would get more attention and it wouldn't be an issue.

John

Leodhas
10-31-2011, 12:43 PM
Been at it for a couple of hours now, a touch rusty but getting there. It's little things like forgetting chord changes and getting used to the strings. All very strange, can't let it happen again. I must admit the guitar does sound deep and rich after so much uke.

PhilUSAFRet
10-31-2011, 12:58 PM
how are the fingertips after that long layoff?

ghardy
10-31-2011, 02:04 PM
I always find the neck of the guitar to be really thick, but since I only got my first uke a few weeks ago, I'm still more accustomed to the body. I also find it tough to barre some chords, especially lower down the fretboard. Honestly, I get more enjoyment from the uke, but I'm pretty sure girls like a guy who plays a guitar more than one who plays an uke :P

Markr1
10-31-2011, 02:26 PM
I have the same problem as you I've been playing uke for about 4 months and haven't hardly touched my guitars since. I picked up my Gibson J-200 the other Day and man it felt weird and huge. It took a little while before I felt halfway comfortable playing it not to say even the chords were hard to play and that's after playing guitar for 26 years. I'm a little scared to pick up my Les Paul or my tele's or my strat. Haven't tried any of my electrics since taking up the ukulele.

Scott S.
10-31-2011, 02:50 PM
I hear you Leodhas! Holding your guitar after extended periods of playing the uke is like going dancing with your girlfriend after she's quickly put on 50 lbs. You're not quite sure if your hands are in the right spot, and she just doesn't seem as nimble as before. But as the night wears on you realize she's still got it, and then some. Last Saturday, after a full day of playing uke I pulled out my Breedlove acoustic bass. For a few minutes it was like wrestling with Andre the Giant. But then things began to fall in place, and I realized its just a matter of reacquainting yourself with an old friend.

Jake Wildwood
10-31-2011, 03:21 PM
Well, this just means you have to switch off once in a while. :D

If I don't switch around my fingers just aren't happy -- they'll keep going back to the same stuff over'n'over.

Markr1
10-31-2011, 03:23 PM
I hear you Leodhas! Holding your guitar after extended periods of playing the uke is like going dancing with your girlfriend after she's quickly put on 50 lbs. You're not quite sure if your hands are in the right spot, and she just doesn't seem as nimble as before. But as the night wears on you realize she's still got it, and then some. Last Saturday, after a full day of playing uke I pulled out my Breedlove acoustic bass. For a few minutes it was like wrestling with Andre the Giant. But then things began to fall in place, and I realized its just a matter of reacquainting yourself with an old friend.Perfectly said.

Big_e
10-31-2011, 03:33 PM
What little guitar knowledge I had I basically forgot. I'm sure someone with good music knowledge would be able to meld the two together but I've been self taught.

I now have really 2 nice Dean acoustics and 3 Fender basses in my closet that haven't been touched in 3 years. The uke's took over! Ontop of that, an inexpensive dulcimer followed me home the other day.
Ernest

PS: I am polishing up my basses at this time to practice my slapping.

bynapkinart
10-31-2011, 05:00 PM
It takes me about 5 or 10 minutes of doing pentatonic blues stuff to get my chops back, but no biggie. Last week I played guitar right up to my slot on the sheet, then played uke for 3 songs and guitar for 2.

When I go out to play jazz leads I practice for about an hour beforehand. Beyond that no issue with the change.

OldePhart
10-31-2011, 05:16 PM
how are the fingertips after that long layoff?
In my case no problem at all. Years of playing guitar has killed all the nerves in my fingertips, I guess. Even with no callouses playing a steel string isn't uncomfortable even after laying off for months.

I did have to pick up six string for a while a couple of months ago while we were looking for a new worship leader. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I'd been afraid it might be as far as remembering basic rhythm stuff. It took a few minutes to get used to the extra strings but I guess the fret spacing didn't mess me up much because I still play bass so I'm switching between bass and uke all the time anyway. I did use my Casino instead of my Taylor, though, because I leveled the frets and did an action job on the Casino just before I discovered uke - the action on it is much sweeter than on the Taylor acoustic, now.

I haven't played any lead guitar in a long time though because I switched to bass about 4 years ago. Not that I was ever much as a lead player, anyway.

John

nix
10-31-2011, 05:33 PM
Honestly, I get more enjoyment from the uke, but I'm pretty sure girls like a guy who plays a guitar more than one who plays an uke :P

No, no, no! Girls like guys who play ukes better. Your biceps look manly and strong next to that tiny uke and us girls know you don't take yourself too seriously. Moody guy = trouble down the road. Humorous guy = happiness down the road :-)

Nix

ricdoug
10-31-2011, 06:03 PM
Owning 15 ukuleles and 62 guitars, I have no issues going back and forth. My ear is trained to pick up quickly on the key and progression. Once I find the root, the chord shapes and scales are irrelevent to the key being played. Ric

coriandre
10-31-2011, 06:20 PM
I play ukulele, guitar, mandolin and banjo. The guitar is the hardest to get back to after playing the ukulele for a while. Musical memory is not a problem even if the chords are fingered differently with these instruments. But man, playing my 12 string after playing a lot of ukulele is like holding a log in my hands. For me, its the neck size that makes the whole difference.

webby
10-31-2011, 08:25 PM
I must admit I got a bit obsessed with the uke for a few months there, but i think that was just because I have spent 40 years mastering the guitar and take the playing of any instrument seriously, If I am going to play the guitar, piano, sax, uke whatever then I want it to sound pleasing and accurate to the ear, even if i'm the only one listening so I really wanted to learn some nice clean technical uke pieces.

So I put the guitar down for about 3 months and concentrated soley on the uke, but once I had convinced myself that yes I could play the uke reasonably well and would be able to grab one and bang out a half decent tune occaisionally then I went back to the guitar as my main instrument.

It took about 20 minutes to re adjust, and about 20 hours of total immersion to get confortable across the whole spectrum of guitar playing styles again.

Funny thing is, I picked up the uke again the other day and now that the novelty factor has gone the uke was pretty lame and unsatisfactory as an instrument.

In fact it sounded very plinky plonk compared to the full richness of the steel string accoustic guitar, even the eleuke all amped up with chorus and reverb still sounded weak, tinny, and, well plinky plonk is the best description I have available.

This did surprise me as I was totally enthralled with my ukes there for a while, I decided I'd better go to youtube and listen to a few classic uke tracks by people like jake and the like, hmmmmmmmm, stilll plinky plonk, compared to the guitar.

I will still continue to encourage kids to play ukes and definately think all schools should have a few good ukes (dolphins at least) in the music cupboard next to the recorders, but for me the enchantment I first felt with them has definately waned.

Tor
10-31-2011, 11:18 PM
I don't notice any particular problems switching back to guitar, but I haven't been "off" the guitar for anything like 6 months while only playing ukulele. I've been away from the guitar for a time span like that in the past (while traveling), but not after I started playing the ukulele. At home I don't keep away from the guitars, some time may pass but I always go to the guitar now and then - it has a fullness and range that is not possible with ukulele. I need variation. I enjoy switching back to the other instrument if there's been a while.

Different necks haven't been a problem since I, after too many years playing a very narrow guitar neck finally took two full days off to learn to handle a classical guitar neck. Since then switching between different sizes has not been a problem anymore. I play 2", 1 7/8", 1 3/4", 1 11/16" width guitar necks. And thin ones and chubby ones. And ukulele of course.

I play none of the instruments particularly well, musically speaking, though.

-Tor

iDavid
11-01-2011, 12:56 AM
I had not played guitar in a year or more. I picked up my dred and loved the sound, but it was HUGE! I sold it and picked up a Taylor GS mini and I am loving it. I am going back and forth between my ukes and guitar. Funny thing, my tenor ukes doen't sound quite right at the moment. The concert seems like a uke and the tenor, kind of in between and the soprano.... is a soprano...lol

Ambient Doughnut
11-01-2011, 01:08 AM
Yeah, I've pretty much neglected the guitar for the last couple of years since picking up a uke. But in the last few days I've felt the urge to give it another go. Although it did feel ridiculously cumbersome at first I soon adjusted and I think my playing has benefitted from all the time spent on the uke.

I have also just aquired a breedlove travel guitar and the shorter scale and uke friendly ADGCEA tuning make it feel like a much easier transition.

harpdog cc
11-01-2011, 02:58 AM
I picked up my dred and loved the sound, but it was HUGE! I sold it and picked up a Taylor GS mini and I am loving it.

I mainly play dreadnaughts, classical guitars second, ukulele third...but when I tried a Taylor GS Mini, I had to have it. Great guitar.

I have no problem switching instruments, but I never laid off any of them.

Leodhas
11-01-2011, 03:55 AM
Well I spent the best part of last night at it and slowly but surely it began to come back, mostly I was surprised how soft my finger tips have become whilst playing the uke, they feel that wee bit more tough this morning! I have always played a heavy gauge string so perhaps that added to the sensation?

Anyway, it's just past dinner the now here in Edinburgh (that's lunch for our american and southern english friends) and I'm at work but will be back on the rehearsal again tonight and tomorrow night when my pal is coming round to give things a once through for saturday.

One thing I did find strange was readjusting my song/chord memory back to the guitar as I had spent most of the past few months figuring out the standards (mostly Scots/Irish fair round these parts) on the uke whilst stuck in hotel rooms (in my initial post I mention how I have been working away for the past 3 months).

Nevertheless, I do have to admit how good the guitar sounds now, like coming back to a new deep and rich sound after playing so much uke. I partook in some medicine tobacco last night (just a wee spot and I haven't had any for nearly a year) and lay back on the sofa, simply strumming away on basic chords and it sounded very nice indeed. I feel as though I have left my new girlfriend to return to the arms of my dear auld loving wife. I'm still going to keep the girlfriend on the side though!

Leodhas
11-01-2011, 04:07 AM
Moody guy = trouble down the road. Humorous guy = happiness down the road :-)

Nix

Flamboyant guy = Not on the road but up a back alley?

basecase
11-01-2011, 05:10 AM
The ukulele has no effect on guitar & bass playing for me. I think the length of time (3 months) you didn’t play guitar is the main culprit here regardless of how much you played the ukulele. Mix it up more in the future and I bet you’ll be good to go!

haolejohn
11-01-2011, 08:46 AM
I'll explain, due to working away sporadically over the past 3 months I haven't done any gigging for that period except a couple of songs on the uke at another friends gig and tonight I got a call asking me if I would join a pal of mine to do a show this saturday. So I went and grabbed a guitar to do some rehearsal as I thought I better sharpen up for the show (just a load of old Scot/Irish folks songs that are standard fair round here) and realised that I've not played for coming on 3 months as when I've been working away I just took my uke (where I used to take a travel guitar).

For starters the bloody thing looked hugh (a guild gad 50 for the guitar players out there) and my hands felt as though they wouldn't stretch round the neck, it all felt so uncomfortable whereas once it was second nature! This has worried me so much that I've realised one CAN NOT neglect the uke for the guitar! Basically no uke for me until after the weekend.

It really has freaked me out, have any other guitar players had a similar experience?
Fixed it for you:)

joejeweler
11-01-2011, 09:14 AM
I'll explain, due to working away sporadically over the past 3 months I haven't done any gigging for that period except a couple of songs on the uke at another friends gig and tonight I got a call asking me if I would join a pal of mine to do a show this saturday. So I went and grabbed a guitar to do some rehearsal as I thought I better sharpen up for the show (just a load of old Scot/Irish folks songs that are standard fair round here) and realised that I've not played for coming on 3 months as when I've been working away I just took my uke (where I used to take a travel guitar).

For starters the bloody thing looked hugh (a guild gad 50 for the guitar players out there) and my hands felt as though they wouldn't stretch round the neck, it all felt so uncomfortable whereas once it was second nature! This has worried me so much that I've realised one CAN NOT neglect the guitar for the uke! Basically no uke for me until after the weekend.

It really has freaked me out, have any other guitar players had a similar experience?

Sad to say it's even worse when dealing with a classical guitar neck, and some of my fingerstyle friendly 1 7/8" nut width steel string guitars. The fact that i haven't touched them in 5 months or so didn't help, of course. It's also bad that i played fingerstyle solo arrangements rather than strumming chords. The fingerings get forgotten without regular practice.....

.....but you're right, it's REALLY freaky when you've been neglecting the guitar for the ukulele for awhile. In a music store last week the acoustics all seemed so huge! I felt like a joke trying to remember and play some of what had been second nature 6 months ago! ....geeze

One bright spot is that i know from previous experience it is much easier re-learning an old piece than learning a new one from scratch!