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View Full Version : Advice please: Ukulele or Guitalele?



Ian80
09-23-2012, 02:53 AM
Hello

I come here with absolutely no musical knowledge. I played the guitar for about a year when I was younger but I think it's safe to assume that I remember nothing from that :)

I'm currently doing a year abroad from uni and I've wanted to pick up a ukulele for a while so thought now would be a good time. I live in a flat and I'm out pretty much 8am-6pm on weekdays which means that I can't really order anything online because I won't be in to receive it, meaning I'm going to have to settle for whatever I can get in my local music store :)

So I popped in the other day to have a look around and now I need help making a decision :)

From looking at youtube videos, I like the sound of a concert ukulele and from holding one in the store I also prefer the size of it to a soprano. However, the cheapest one they had there was an Ibanez which was 100 euros. Having no musical knowledge and not being 100% that I'll actually enjoy it, I don't feel like spending that much.

So if I was to get a ukulele I would get a Stagg soprano which they have for 40 euros. However, they had the yamaha guitalele for 75 euros which really caught my eye.

I'd really love to get the guitalele, however from looking online I haven't been able to find much info about them and I'm worried that it would be too hard for me to self teach it? Would you go about learning it like you would a guitar and so use guitar websites to learn?

Maybe I should just get a ukulele for now and then maybe in the future look at getting a guitalele or a guitar.

Any input will be greatly appreciated. Looking to buy one of them early this week I think :)

Thanks,
Ian

Dwjkerr
09-23-2012, 04:33 AM
My best suggestion would be to try them out, and go with the one that makes you happiest.

http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?23226-Yamaha-GL-1-Guitalele-tuning

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?70403-I-am-buying-a-guitalele-as-a-present-for-someone-need-advice&highlight=guitalele

kvehe
09-23-2012, 04:38 AM
IMHO, you should get the ukulele. I think the guitalele is an interesting neither-fish-nor-fowl instrument, and I own one (the Yamaha), but you will find infinitely many more instructional resources for the ukulele. As always, here's the disclaimer: just my opinion! Let us know what you decide, and show us pictures (we love pictures).

Ian80
09-23-2012, 05:03 AM
My best suggestion would be to try them out, and go with the one that makes you happiest.

http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?23226-Yamaha-GL-1-Guitalele-tuning

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?70403-I-am-buying-a-guitalele-as-a-present-for-someone-need-advice&highlight=guitalele


IMHO, you should get the ukulele. I think the guitalele is an interesting neither-fish-nor-fowl instrument, and I own one (the Yamaha), but you will find infinitely many more instructional resources for the ukulele. As always, here's the disclaimer: just my opinion! Let us know what you decide, and show us pictures (we love pictures).


That's the thing, I think I prefer the guitalele but there are just so many more resources for the ukulele that I think it may be a better idea to start off with that

kvehe
09-23-2012, 05:20 AM
Hah hah, we're no help, are we? Maybe more people will chime in and tip the scale one way or the other!

we tigers
09-23-2012, 05:38 AM
I'd go for a uke. With only a year of guitar under your belt, the ukulele probably has a quicker result
For you. But don't buy a crappy 40 euro uke. Where are you based?

Lori
09-23-2012, 05:41 AM
I guess the real question is do you want to play guitar or uke. You said you played the guitar for only a year. Why did you stop?
If you are looking for a portable instrument, the concert uke is much more portable than the guitarlele.
If you choose a guitarlele, you can learn from guitar sites, but your result will be in a different key. You can get strings that do the standard guitar tuning, but that sized instrument sounds better tuned higher. Will you be playing with other people? That might be a consideration. It will be tricky to transpose to their key.
My suggestion, for a great small portable instrument, I love the uke.
If you want to go with a guitar, a parlor or small guitar might be more satisfying. A guitarlele will confuse you.

I play guitar and uke, and for the last 3 years the uke has gotten 98% of my play time. I have a guitarlele, and it doesn't get that much playing time.

Lori

Ian80
09-23-2012, 05:58 AM
I'd go for a uke. With only a year of guitar under your belt, the ukulele probably has a quicker result
For you. But don't buy a crappy 40 euro uke. Where are you based?

About 40 minutes outside of Antwerp, Belgium. The thing is, I do just want a cheap on, at least for now. Then I can upgrade later once I know I enjoy it.


I guess the real question is do you want to play guitar or uke. You said you played the guitar for only a year. Why did you stop?
If you are looking for a portable instrument, the concert uke is much more portable than the guitarlele.
If you choose a guitarlele, you can learn from guitar sites, but your result will be in a different key. You can get strings that do the standard guitar tuning, but that sized instrument sounds better tuned higher. Will you be playing with other people? That might be a consideration. It will be tricky to transpose to their key.
My suggestion, for a great small portable instrument, I love the uke.
If you want to go with a guitar, a parlor or small guitar might be more satisfying. A guitarlele will confuse you.

I play guitar and uke, and for the last 3 years the uke has gotten 98% of my play time. I have a guitarlele, and it doesn't get that much playing time.

Lori

I was learning back in school, so when I went to high school I just didn't carry on really.
I'm not looking for an ultra portable instrument, just portable enough to fit in the car when I go home at the end of the year :p
I don't have any plans to be playing with people I don't think.

Your post has made me learn more towards a uke now. Now if only there was a cheaper concert I could get then my decision would be made :p

katysax
09-23-2012, 06:10 AM
I play both guitar and uke. I don't have a guitalele, but I have a Tacoma Papoose which is similar to the Guitalele but with steel strings.

From what you describe you really should just get a uke. There must be a better source than your local music store. I don't think either the Stagg soprano or Ibanez concert is a good choice. Almost anything from Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, or Cordoba would be much better as it would be a "real" uke and at least have decent intonation.

As others have said the Guitalele instruments are neither fish nor fowl. They can be fun, but there are limited instructional resources, they require that you have some musical knowledge to be able to transpose in many cases. They are also harder to play. One of the things that is fun about the ukulele is that it is pretty easy to master technically. With only four strings and only four fingers there is less to work with but less to get in the way. You can concentrate on the music rather than the technicalities of the instrument. You'll make faster progress which is more encouraging.

Ian80
09-23-2012, 06:33 AM
I play both guitar and uke. I don't have a guitalele, but I have a Tacoma Papoose which is similar to the Guitalele but with steel strings.

From what you describe you really should just get a uke. There must be a better source than your local music store. I don't think either the Stagg soprano or Ibanez concert is a good choice. Almost anything from Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, or Cordoba would be much better as it would be a "real" uke and at least have decent intonation.

As others have said the Guitalele instruments are neither fish nor fowl. They can be fun, but there are limited instructional resources, they require that you have some musical knowledge to be able to transpose in many cases. They are also harder to play. One of the things that is fun about the ukulele is that it is pretty easy to master technically. With only four strings and only four fingers there is less to work with but less to get in the way. You can concentrate on the music rather than the technicalities of the instrument. You'll make faster progress which is more encouraging.

Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm swayed to the ukulele now :)

There was another local music shop that had less ukuleles but I do remember they had one by Ohana that was 50 euros. Do you think that would be a better choice then?

The only other option would be to go into antwerp to look around, but I wouldn't be able to go for 2 weeks and I'm too impatient :p

kvehe
09-23-2012, 06:42 AM
I'm not familiar with Stagg (other than knowing that it exists - is it something commonly found much more in the EU than in the USA?), but you can seldom go wrong with an Ohana. They're great.

Dwjkerr
09-23-2012, 06:44 AM
That's the thing, I think I prefer the guitalele but there are just so many more resources for the ukulele that I think it may be a better idea to start off with that

Well the consensus seems to be to go with the Uke. The Stagg may not be a "real" Uke, but from the reviews I've read, it would make a good beginner ukulele.

http://ukulelehunt.com/buyaukulele/misc/stagg

Guitalele resources may be few now but whoo is to say that won't change.

Good luck with your decision.

kvehe
09-23-2012, 06:55 AM
Well the consensus seems to be to go with the Uke. The Stagg may not be a "real" Uke, but from the reviews I've read, it would make a good beginner ukulele.

http://ukulelehunt.com/buyaukulele/misc/stagg

Guitalele resources may be few now but whoo is to say that won't change.

Good luck with your decision.

...on the other hand, there is certainly a noble tradition of asking for everyone's advice and then doing what you wanted to do in the first place! (But I am still voting for the uke, and would not dismiss the Stagg after reading the review, although I love Ohanas.)

Ian80
09-23-2012, 07:11 AM
Well the consensus seems to be to go with the Uke. The Stagg may not be a "real" Uke, but from the reviews I've read, it would make a good beginner ukulele.

http://ukulelehunt.com/buyaukulele/misc/stagg

Guitalele resources may be few now but whoo is to say that won't change.

Good luck with your decision.


...on the other hand, there is certainly a noble tradition of asking for everyone's advice and then doing what you wanted to do in the first place! (But I am still voting for the uke, and would not dismiss the Stagg after reading the review, although I love Ohanas.)

Why can't there be a one right choice and one wrong choice, would make everything so much easier :p

I will go with the uke just because I think it'll be easier to learn, I can then look at getting a guitalele/guitar later when I know a bit more :)

Yeah that review is good. but they only paid 14 for it whilst I'm paying 40 euros. Not sure whether it may be better to just spend an extra tenner and get the ohana?

I'll have to do some searching and read about the ohana to see if that would be better :)

itsme
09-23-2012, 08:05 AM
I play guitar and uke, and for the last 3 years the uke has gotten 98% of my play time. I have a guitarlele, and it doesn't get that much playing time.
That's pretty much me as well. :)

In another recent guitalele thread, I made a comparison to one of my tenors. The guitalele squeezes five strings into the width of the tenor's four. The neck feels rather cramped.

Recently I felt like Goldilocks... played my guitar for a few minutes and (in terms of left hand fretting) thought "This thing is so huge!" Played my guitalele for a few minutes and thought "This thing is so tiny!" Then I played a tenor and thought "Ah, this thing is just right!" :)

we tigers
09-23-2012, 08:19 AM
I live about 40 minutes from Antwerp as well... (To the North; Breda).
Try and get an Ohana with a solid top at least. I really like my Ohana.

cantcook1
09-23-2012, 08:27 AM
The Stagg was my first ukulele bought, it has been good for me as a starter uke. Some good reviews on some uke sites also.

Ian80
09-23-2012, 08:33 AM
I live about 40 minutes from Antwerp as well... (To the North; Breda).
Try and get an Ohana with a solid top at least. I really like my Ohana.

Oh cool, I'm to the East (Turnhout)

I think I'll go to the store tomorrow and try out the Ohana. From looking online I think it's the SK-10 and the price in store (50 euros) seem closer to the prices I've found online. Whereas the Stagg in the other store seems much more expensive than the online prices.

we tigers
09-23-2012, 08:52 AM
I would choose the Ohana over a Stagg. Turnhout! That's close by, 30km.
Somehow I would try and order a uke online if I were you. There are several online stores in Europe that stock excellent ukes...

Edit:
In the Netherlands, if you're not at home when they deliver, they return in the evening, or you can pick it up at the post office the next day. Or at a friendly neighbour.

Ian80
09-23-2012, 09:04 AM
I would choose the Ohana over a Stagg. Turnhout! That's close by, 30km.
Somehow I would try and order a uke online if I were you. There are several online stores in Europe that stock excellent ukes...

Edit:
In the Netherlands, if you're not at home when they deliver, they return in the evening, or you can pick it up at the post office the next day. Or at a friendly neighbour.

Ah if it went to the post office that would be great seeing as it's only 5 minutes away. Although I read online somewhere that often expats (which effectively is what I am) will need to pay a fee or tax (sometimes as much as the value and/or initial postage cost) to receive packages over $50 arriving from outside Belgium.

Do you have any suggests of online sites based in belgium? I did find thomann.de which is based in Germany, but they use DHL so the package won't be delivered to the post office.

we tigers
09-23-2012, 10:03 AM
Not sure about anything in Belgium. There are two small stores in Rotterdam (one of them: www.ukulele.nl/paradijs)
Good stores in Germany: www.ukulele.de
Manuakeaukulele.nl

France: musique83.fr Exquisite.fr

Can't you have things delivered at work?

Ian80
09-23-2012, 10:37 AM
Not sure about anything in Belgium. There are two small stores in Rotterdam (one of them: www.ukulele.nl/paradijs)
Good stores in Germany: www.ukulele.de
Manuakeaukulele.nl

France: musique83.fr Exquisite.fr

Can't you have things delivered at work?

Thank you for those websites.

I really can't decide what to do now. I don't think I'll order online because I haven't been able to find out whether I'd have to pay extra to receive the item and I don't want to turn up at the post office and have to pay loads.

But on the other hand the Makala concert uke on the german site is tempting me...

Think I may just have to go with the Ohana and then get a better one at the end of the year.

EDIT: Oh and I don't think I'd be able to get it sent to work. Not sure how I'd even go about it. It's a big company, can't imagine they'd appreciated everyone getting parcels sent there. But I'll ask around in work tomorrow and see.

addicted2myuke
09-23-2012, 11:37 AM
You will love the ukulele. It's fun and fanciful. Buy the best one you can afford. If you buy a cheapie, you will quickly want to upgrade. Why waste your money? Have fun.

MisterRios
09-24-2012, 03:34 AM
Not sure about anything in Belgium. There are two small stores in Rotterdam (one of them: www.ukulele.nl/paradijs)
Good stores in Germany: www.ukulele.de
Manuakeaukulele.nl

France: musique83.fr Exquisite.fr

Can't you have things delivered at work?

It's maunakeaukulele.de DE! I ordered my pineapple from Jan there, and he was awesome. He even called immediately because I put in the wrong zip code!

A fellow Member in the Berlin Uke Group has also opened an online-only store. ukumele.de
And Leleland (Berlin's Local Ukulele shop) now has a (limited) online presence: http://leleland.com/online-shop

If it is sent within the EU, then you don't have to pay customs fees, by the way, only if you order from the US, which would explain the high fees that expats get when they show up at the post office. Or, even worse, they have to go down to the local postal customs office and get in line there.

Ian80
09-24-2012, 03:57 AM
If it is sent within the EU, then you don't have to pay customs fees, by the way, only if you order from the US, which would explain the high fees that expats get when they show up at the post office. Or, even worse, they have to go down to the local postal customs office and get in line there.

Oh okay, that makes more sense :)

I think I may just go ahead and get the Ohana SK-10S from my local store. Seems a hell of a lot easier and I've been reading around and it seems like a pretty decent uke for a beginner. And the price also seems to be near enough the same that I would pay for it online so that's good too :D

Lalz
09-24-2012, 03:57 AM
What everyone said :agree:

Except I'd get the cheapo at first to see if you like it, then once you know more about ukuleles only then upgrade to a Ohana or similar brand. Ohanas are great and they're definitely one of the brands you should look into later. But what if you decide you prefer tenors or baritones, after playing a concert for a few months, and you've already bought your good uke? Then you'd need to get another uke and it quickly gets expensive. Take your time to choose carefully, there are so many different ukes which fit people in different ways. Meanwhile start learning on a cheap Stagg, which you can always keep around later as a beater or give away to a friend. I'd say it minimizes your investments in the long run. Just make sure to have it set-up so it's easier to play it.

Another thing about guitaleles: the Yamahas are ok but not amazing, and when you'll want to upgrade there's not as many options available as for ukuleles. Ukes are way more varied. And versatile!

Ian80
09-24-2012, 04:03 AM
What everyone said :agree:

Except I'd get the cheapo at first to see if you like it, then once you know more about ukuleles only then upgrade to a Ohana or similar brand. Ohanas are great and they're definitely one of the brands you should look into later. But what if you decide you prefer tenors or baritones, after playing a concert for a few months, and you've already bought your good uke? Then you'd need to get another uke and it quickly gets expensive. Take your time to choose carefully, there are so many different ukes which fit people in different ways. Meanwhile start learning on a cheap Stagg, which you can always keep around later as a beater or give away to a friend. I'd say it minimizes your investments in the long run. Just make sure to have it set-up so it's easier to play it.

Another thing about guitaleles: the Yamahas are ok but not amazing, and when you'll want to upgrade there's not as many options available as for ukuleles. Ukes are way more varied. And versatile!

Thanks for your advice :) The thing is the Ohana is only 10 euros more than the Stagg here so thought it would be worth going for the Ohana? :)

we tigers
09-24-2012, 04:36 AM
No to the Stagg, yes to the Ohana. But play them both and decide for yourself which one you like best.

Lalz
09-24-2012, 07:53 AM
Thanks for your advice :) The thing is the Ohana is only 10 euros more than the Stagg here so thought it would be worth going for the Ohana? :)

Oh yes! Defo! Haha :-) I missed that part where the Ohana was so cheap!

Ian80
09-24-2012, 08:18 AM
Okay, so the guy last time told me the wrong price :rolleyes:

The Ohana was actually 67 euros.But I couldn't stop myself from getting it anyway :p

So currently attempting to learn ukulele...
It's not going very well but I love it :)
My fingers don't seem to enjoy it as much as I do though...

Dwjkerr
09-24-2012, 09:08 AM
Good luck and enjoy your uke. our fingers will eventually come to like it too.

kvehe
09-24-2012, 09:46 AM
Excellent choice. I like Ohanas very much. Have fun!

Lalz
09-25-2012, 04:41 AM
Okay, so the guy last time told me the wrong price :rolleyes:

The Ohana was actually 67 euros.But I couldn't stop myself from getting it anyway :p

So currently attempting to learn ukulele...
It's not going very well but I love it :)
My fingers don't seem to enjoy it as much as I do though...

Congrats! Did the guy set the uke up before selling it to you? If your fingers hurt, the action might be too high and need to get lowered

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
09-25-2012, 05:27 AM
Just read your thread---great choice! Have fun with your uke!

Tootler
09-25-2012, 12:56 PM
I have an Ohana SK 10. Don't play it much but it's a perfectly good uke. An excellent starter uke.

It cost me 50GB so 67 Euros is about the right price.

Enjoy it.