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View Full Version : Are guitars just big ukuleles with 2 extra strings?



Uke Republic
03-21-2012, 05:27 AM
For people not familiar with the ukulele we get the opposite question sometimes. Do you ever get that question?

benjoeuke
03-21-2012, 06:51 AM
A guitar is just an ukulele with a crutch...

Freeda
03-21-2012, 07:01 AM
The guitar guys who come into my office pick up a uke, think they're gonna "shred" on it, and the re-entrant tuning throws them all out of whack. It's hilarious.

So I would say "no, the tuning is jacked on guitars, too".

weerpool
03-21-2012, 07:12 AM
The guys In my band still gives me so much grieve for playing and loving the uke. I hate to say that the guitar is starting to feel weird when I play them. The uke is like the hot chick you always wanted when you're already married to an old hag forever

zac987
03-21-2012, 07:13 AM
I really disdain snobbery in either direction. Guitar snobs suck, but ukulele snobs are even worse.

Plainsong
03-21-2012, 07:18 AM
I usually just get "the smile", the "It's a toy guitar" smile. I picked up my husband's guitar for something I'm working on, and it just felt ridiculous. Seriously why does an instrument that sits in your lap need to be that big?

Oh man, I agree about uke snobs! The worst!

BlueLatitude
03-21-2012, 07:29 AM
LOL, lately when I see pictures of people with guitars my first thought is "What is WRONG with that ukulele? It's so BIG!!!"

JimmyRoberts
03-21-2012, 07:37 AM
It's hard to beat the portability of an ukulele. I love the guitar and have played for years but it feels like I'm trying to wield a boat.

Steedy
03-21-2012, 08:13 AM
Not to mention that guitars are pitched so LOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW! :)

ChrisRCovington
03-21-2012, 08:41 AM
I think a tuba is just a very big bugle with keys. :)

bazmaz
03-21-2012, 09:14 AM
Well, considering the history, the guitar is actually a pretty new instrument. Derived from the Spanish guitar, that itself was derived from a range of stringed instruments that gave rise to the uke. The uke is older, so it's about time these damn guitarists started showing some respect!!

Plainsong
03-21-2012, 09:17 AM
It's why I don't get the whole you can't play Spanish style with a uke thinking. I've seen that from guitar and uke players. The thing is from Portugal FFS, of course you can play Spanish style with it and still consider yourself a "traditionalist" - which is what the uke snobs call themselves and it's just hilarious. :)

keliiyama
03-21-2012, 09:43 AM
I live in Hawaii and everyone here respects the ukulele. It's actually funny to see guitars. But I don't get offended when people think it's a toy. It does look like a toy next to a guitar. And it is easier to play. And for the most part people just don't know anything about the ukulele. But I can see the ukulele gaining it's own respect. I play both, and I love both.

Plainsong
03-21-2012, 10:02 AM
If we're basing the validity of an instrument on size, then orchestras are full of toy instruments. But yeah, I grin and bare it like everyone else. If the person is a jerk then there's no point in being a doormat about it, but most people don't realize how offensive they're being, when they're trying to be nice. (That isn't an ukulele observation, but just something in general.)

PeteyHoudini
03-21-2012, 12:09 PM
I'd played guitar most of my life until 2006 when I discovered the uke because I was looking for an easy to carry instrument to sing with when I travelled. After that initial encounter, I completely stopped playing guitar and got a massive dose of UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome) that has not ended even to this day! I never had GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). Do any of you have GAS out there? hehe

I've nothing against the guitar. It just seems too darn heavy now and those chord stretches so wide. To compensate for this size difference, I've bought a tenor uke when I feel like going guitar! hehe

Pete

stevepetergal
03-21-2012, 12:38 PM
A guitar is no ukulele.

ksiegel
03-21-2012, 01:50 PM
Why yes... Yes they are!

And motorcycles are just bicycles with testosterone poisoning.

PeteyHoudini
03-21-2012, 01:54 PM
Interestingly enough, I've been prone to want to sing more harmony while playing the uke than I ever did with the guitar. I wonder if it's because of the re-entrant tuning? That high "G" string has always messed with my vocal lines in a good way! Woohoo!

Petey

trippntx
03-21-2012, 02:00 PM
"Are guitars just big ukuleles with 2 extra strings?"

Next time you're asked this question, try replying: "Are Fiats just big Harleys with two extra wheels?"

That'll make 'em scratch their heads awhile. :)

Gwynedd
03-21-2012, 02:01 PM
I don't and didn't ever think a guitar was just a uke on steroid with an extra chromosome, I mean string or two.

They are boomier, louder, and have a different tonality due to the bass notes. When I listen to my favorite guitarists, it's a different experience. I love the guitar, but I love PLAYING the uke more (played both as a kid) and I love the uke to hold...they are like puppies or dolls. You can cuddle them! And they are too cute and pretty. This fuels UAS. Never had GAS....well, that's not true, I have that frequently, but you know what I mean.

I like listening to guitarists like Milos Karadaglic (http://amzn.to/GDJy19) --this is an impressive CD by an interesting guy, he was interviewed on Sirius XM a while back. The cd has PIANO music that he arranged for guitar but...the original piano pieces (by Spanish composers like Granados) were intended to imitate --you guessed it, GUITAR!!!

But this music could equally go over to the uke in the hands of virtuosos like Jake S. and many other extraordinary players. But you don't get the bass accompaniment you can do with a guitar.

mm stan
03-21-2012, 02:02 PM
I attibute singing to your level of playing and comfort while doing so....in geetars and ukes...he he

Steedy
03-21-2012, 03:35 PM
If we're basing the validity of an instrument on size, then orchestras are full of toy instruments. But yeah, I grin and bare it like everyone else. If the person is a jerk then there's no point in being a doormat about it, but most people don't realize how offensive they're being, when they're trying to be nice. (That isn't an ukulele observation, but just something in general.)

Please post some photos the next time you grin and "bare" it. :o

(Sometimes I can hardly bear my own sense of humor! :cool:)

haolebrownie
03-21-2012, 04:53 PM
I live in Hawaii and everyone here respects the ukulele. It's actually funny to see guitars. But I don't get offended when people think it's a toy. It does look like a toy next to a guitar. And it is easier to play. And for the most part people just don't know anything about the ukulele. But I can see the ukulele gaining it's own respect. I play both, and I love both.

Agreed. It's nice living in Hawaii. It's rare to get snobish comments. However, I have to slightly disagree about the guitar being funny to see. From one guitarist to another, slack key is just as intertwined as ukulele. :D

ricdoug
03-21-2012, 05:03 PM
Roots in Arabia http://guitar.hotmusicpoint.com/tag/saudi-arabia/

TheCraftedCow
03-21-2012, 08:56 PM
It is good to see everyone grinning as they write their comments. If anyone would like to see a guitar fretboard with all of the spaces named, and a overlay of a ukulele, we have one which I can e-mail you. It also has tab markings so one can easily convert guitar to uke tab. It's fun to be able to put fingers on some frets and see what notes are actually being played. Yep, it's a cheat sheet. We also did it for FCFA /CGCE slack key. If someone would tell me how and where to post them on this site, I would do it.

drbekken
03-21-2012, 11:39 PM
I'm not much of a guitar player, but I have a couple of guitars lying around. They always felt big and cumbersome, with too many strings, even before I got into the ukulele for real. I now feel that the baritone is the best option for me, it's got a wide fretboard, and a deep sound, while still retaining that beautiful 'uke character' - and being portable and smallish. And, four strings suit me better than six or twelve.

Plainsong
03-22-2012, 08:44 AM
Please post some photos the next time you grin and "bare" it. :o

(Sometimes I can hardly bear my own sense of humor! :cool:)

I had a fifty fifty shot. It's like desert and dessert, angels and angles, I suffer from antispellitis. :D

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 12:27 PM
Please post some photos the next time you grin and "bare" it. :o

(Sometimes I can hardly bear my own sense of humor! :cool:)

Actually, I'd rather grin and beer it... :)

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 12:29 PM
I had a fifty fifty shot. It's like desert and dessert, angels and angles, I suffer from antispellitis. :D

Don't feel bad, "bare" vs. "bear" is one of those few cases where I actually have to look it up in the dictionary every stinkin' time - so I avoid using the phrase "grin and bear it" when using the written word! LOL

Steedy
03-22-2012, 12:30 PM
Actually, I'd rather grin and beer it... :)

...which sometimes leads to baring it anyway. :D

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 12:38 PM
Funny thread. But, for a somewhat serious answer I have to say, "no, the guitar is both more and less than the ukulele."

I don't think any sane person will argue with me when I say that the ukulele is far easier to learn to play to reach the level of being able to accompany a singer, for example. I think this is probably the biggest single factor making the ukulele so popular right now. One can literally be making music within a couple of hours.

On the other hand, when one considers instrumental music and considers "proficiency" to be the point at which an audience is likely to be enthralled by a solo performance at least well enough to not mind the passing of time - reaching that level on ukulele is far more difficult than on guitar. The ukulele, even if strung linear, "suffers" from a much smaller range of notes, generally a much narrower dynamic range, and generally poorer sustain than even a classical guitar.

I am, in general, a mediocre (at best) musician. On a guitar I can play an interesting solo or improvisation because I have a larger pallette to work with. On ukulele I am still basically a "strum and sing" kind of guy and my attempts to progress to the same level of "soloability" that I have on guitar have been quite dismal.

However, when it comes to fun factor the uke wins hands down which is why I have hardly touched my guitars in going on two years. :)

John

Gwynedd
03-22-2012, 01:04 PM
A piano is an accordion that gets respect.

Uke Republic
03-22-2012, 04:15 PM
I just found out a kazoo is nothing more than a small saxaphone:) Fun thread!

peterp
03-22-2012, 04:27 PM
For people not familiar with the ukulele we get the opposite question sometimes. Do you ever get that question? yes. if you tune a uke like a guitar.

Nickie
03-22-2012, 04:27 PM
Yeah, this is fun.
I DON'T want GAS. That comes from eating bad food.
I love to watch guitar players, but I won't let my uke go near one.
I've only had one person, a dementia patient, called my uke a guitar. Anybody else that does it gets called a smartass.
I do get "Isn't that cute" a lot when I un-case it. I just smile.

weerpool
03-22-2012, 06:18 PM
playing the uke is like playing the guitar on easy mode.and everyone likes easy hence the rising popularity. i wouldnt say the same as far as being taken seriously ( by uke snobs)

Plainsong
03-22-2012, 10:40 PM
I just found out a kazoo is nothing more than a small saxaphone:) Fun thread!

It's funny cuz it's true! :D

mr roper
03-23-2012, 01:48 AM
For a serious comment I think a guitar is the same as a uke. Its just that so many people are stuck in "standard tuning". Slack key was mentioned earlier and open G, D, etc. put the guitar in the same sound pallet as the uke. My learning curve on uke was very short because I've always enjoyed alternate tunings. If you are a guitar player try it.

OldePhart
03-23-2012, 06:18 AM
...
I love to watch guitar players, but I won't let my uke go near one.
...

Heh, heh. You'd be surprised how easy guitarists are to convert to the one true way... I have a friend who is a great blues and jazz guitarist. Last time I visited him (after UWC last year) I had my ukes and UBASS along. He fell in love with the UBASS and was thereafter afraid to even touch any of the other ukes for fear he'd end up liking them... LOL

John

the.ronin
03-23-2012, 06:23 AM
As an aside, I will say that when I first got into classical guitar, my first impression was, wow this is like a humungous ukulele. I’m glad I got some exposure to nylon strings through the uke before getting into classical though – it helped me to understand why the strings were making the sounds they were making. I’d think going from steel to classical without that background, I might’ve freaked out and ditched classical altogether.

mr roper
03-23-2012, 06:48 AM
This is a great thread. John, your friend is smart to stay away from ukes if he's worried about his guitars. This thread got me thinking about my guitars so I picked up my Larivee Parlour which is a small guitar (24" scale) and everything about it felt huge.

OldePhart
03-23-2012, 06:59 AM
This is a great thread. John, your friend is smart to stay away from ukes if he's worried about his guitars. This thread got me thinking about my guitars so I picked up my Larivee Parlour which is a small guitar (24" scale) and everything about it felt huge.

Yeah, a few months ago I picked up my Taylor 314ce and it felt like I was hugging a refrigerator... LOL