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View Full Version : Anyone play both the uke and guitar?



Little Yoshi
04-29-2014, 04:11 AM
I have 2 quitars that were gifted to me that have been calling my name for over 3 years. Unfortunately for them, I found the ukulele... I now have the desire to learn the guitar since the wife got me a subscription to JamPlay. (Can you guess who got me one of those? :) )

Other than splitting your time between the two, are there any cons with learning both at the same time? Maybe a few pros?

RichM
04-29-2014, 04:21 AM
There are quite a few people here who play both guitar and uke! I played guitar for nearly 30 years before I picked up the uke. I find there to be a lot of synergy between the two instruments, since the tuning intervals are the same, many of the chords shapes and licks will translate between the two instruments. Of course, if you're struggling with remembering the "G" shape on the uke, it may bend your mind to remember that it's a "D" on the guitar!

I would say the biggest "con" to learning both at the same time is that splitting your time between two instruments is likely to slow you down on both of them. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.

SailingUke
04-29-2014, 04:53 AM
I also have played guitar for 40+ years.
I started on ukulele as a kid, but quit after getting my first guitar in high school.
About 10 years ago I started messing around again with the ukulele.
I still play guitar, but because of the fun and portability I play more uke.
The uke has made me a better guitar player and the guitar has made me a better uke player.
My suggestion is too learn shapes and sounds instead of chord names, you will be able to move between the ukulele and guitar easier and you will be a better musician.

bobinde
04-29-2014, 05:12 AM
I've been playing guitar since 1963, discovered Ukes about 2 years ago. Recently, I've been grabbing a Uke more than the guitar. Arthritis in my fingers is my excuse . . .

In reality, they are just plain more fun. But playing Uke has also helped my guitar playing, too, more willing to experiment.

bobinde

Wicked
04-29-2014, 06:11 AM
Other than splitting your time between the two, are there any cons with learning both at the same time? Maybe a few pros?

It all depends on your style of learning. If you are an analytical person, learning them simultaneously is probably beneficial. If you are a hands on kind of guy, you are probably better off focusing on one at a time.

OldePhart
04-29-2014, 06:16 AM
I've played guitar for 20+ years but I rarely touch them since I've started playing the uke.

I do play the bass every week, though.

John

janeray1940
04-29-2014, 06:23 AM
I started on uke as a kid, gave it up for guitar, piano, and bass and failed miserably at all three of those. In my mid-40s I picked up uke again, took it seriously and learned really fast, and at some point the relationship between chord shapes on uke and guitar made sense and I started messing around with guitar as well. I don't play it a lot because it just feels kind of awkward and big (I'm small, with really little hands) but I do mess around with it from time to time because I find I can hear chord progressions a lot better on guitar than on uke. If you're already familiar with ukulele, I'd say it wouldn't hurt to try to take those concepts you already know and apply them to guitar as well.

Little Yoshi
04-29-2014, 06:40 AM
...My suggestion is too learn shapes and sounds instead of chord names, you will be able to move between the ukulele and guitar easier and you will be a better musician.

As somewhat of a noob, not quite sure what this means. Can you elaborate?

JeremyR
04-29-2014, 06:58 AM
I play both and, like others, find them to be fairly complementary. The right and left hand techniques are going to be fairly similar if not the same (depending in part on what type of music you play), so that is a bonus. Other than adjusting to the different scale length, I find that skills I learn on one instrument translate to the other pretty well.

wodan22
04-29-2014, 07:16 AM
I played guitar and bass in my younger days. Pretty much gave up guitar when I discovered uke. Set my uke aside for a couple of years to learn banjo and fiddle. Picked my uke back up last year when a friend requested I play a uke song for his upcoming wedding.

There was definitely a lot of transfer between guitar and uke (ukulele is basically a small Portuguese guitar). There's even some transfer between banjo/fiddle and uke. Any instrument you learn is going to increase your musical tool box and teach you new techniques and skills that you an use on other instruments. The main thing is that if you are going to do both, make sure you have time to devote to both or your abilities on one may suffer.

Bob Bledsoe
04-29-2014, 07:52 AM
I learned ukulele first. Then picked up mandolin. Learning mandolin helped my ukulele playing and overall understanding of theory and such. I'm now learning guitar. Picked it up very quickly as my hands are already used to making shapes and I understand the concept of movable bar chords and such. Guitar isn't my focus but I can say I play it since I can play all the main open and bar chord shapes for major, minor, 7th and minor 7th chords... I find it a huge benefit to play multiple instruments - it bolsters my ability and understanding of music... To me, some songs sound great on one instrument and not so much on others. It gives me more options of music to play.

The Big Kahuna
04-29-2014, 08:20 AM
Started playing guitar about 37 years ago, stopped playing seriously about 9 years ago, for no reason that I can remember. Started playing ukulele about 2 years ago. Just started playing guitar again, and realised that I'm a guitarist who owns some ukes.

I still love the uke, and pick one of mine up at least once a day, but I think it was getting my Islander guitarlele from HMS that made me realise how much I missed the extended range and increased creative possibilities of the guitar*















*Yes, I know Jake, James Hill etc are plenty creative with their ukes, and I'll never be able to rival them. But there are things that I can do on guitar that simply aren't possible on a uke.

Uncle Leroy
04-29-2014, 10:50 AM
I play guitar and uke onstage every Saturday. I am a lucky guy.

Wicked
04-29-2014, 11:20 AM
Yes, I know Jake, James Hill etc are plenty creative with their ukes, and I'll never be able to rival them. But there are things that I can do on guitar that simply aren't possible on a uke.

I saw part of that Jake documentary a while back. Unless I am mistaken, he stated (more than once) that he writes tunes on the piano and guitar then reworks them for ukulele. Interesting.

For me, the guitar and the ukulele are very much the same beast. Number of strings and range are inconsequential. I apply all the same techniques to both instruments. (Sometimes to the consternation of others on this forum.)

Rllink
04-29-2014, 11:44 AM
I've owned a guitar for forty years and never learned to play much more than a few basic chords on it. I've owned a ukulele for a month, and I can actually play the darned thing a little. If you tell me that a particular guitar player has been playing a guitar since he was four years old, I think, "wow, he's been doing that all his life, no wonder he is so darned good." If you tell me that a ukulele player has been playing the ukulele since he was four years old, I think, "wow, even a four year old can play the ukulele, I can do this." For me that is a huge thing. I just don't feel like there is a lot of expectations or pressure with the ukulele. Heck, if I strum a couple of chords on a ukulele, people think I'm great. I have no desire to play that old guitar.

Sammu
04-29-2014, 12:52 PM
Play the ukulele and when you're not playing the ukulele play the guitar :) I'm a professional classical guitarist and have only been playing uke for a few months but I love it and really feel it has made me a better guitarist. I find the uke easier and more fun to play - you can take it in the car and bash out a few songs while waiting for the traffic lights to change (not when driving of course!) I also like playing Bach on the uke. It's a versatile little instrument. Is the uke limited because of its range? Well, is a sonnet limited because it is only 14 lines? So, my answer is no! The uke is unique because of its range and the possibilities of playing chords, arpeggios and campanella style. So, yeah, play both (not at the same time :)

jonyoon
04-29-2014, 02:56 PM
I play a few instruments. Started with the piano as a kid (I think I was 8), guitar at 14, and a bunch of other individual instruments (flute, violin, cello, bass, recorder, mandolin, banjo, etc) thanks to paying attention in music theory class and figuring out how to play certain instruments (technique was another story). Definitely learn whatever you can. Either you can play just one instrument and dedicate yourself to it to the point of mastery, or you can play as many things as possible and be decent at them all. Neither one is wrong to be honest. Just love whatever you're playing! :)

Charley
04-29-2014, 03:14 PM
I've played piano for over 40 years, and primarily make my living doing that. I've played guitar for 20 years or so, and just picked up ukulele 2 years ago.

I think it's like adding more children - they all find a way to get the attention they need.

gregc
04-29-2014, 06:07 PM
40 years of classic Rock guitar before recently picking up the uke. Lots of things are transferring over.

ichadwick
04-30-2014, 03:32 AM
I played six-string guitar for >40 years, but quit when I started playing the ukulele. I picked up a couple of tenor guitars in the past two years because I found I love the sound, and like playing with four (metal) strings. Keep my callouses in shape.

No real problems switching between the two unless I'm playing with someone else who calls for chord change.. They say a C chord and I make a uke C... which is their G... or vice versa... but you pick it up pretty quickly.

Kyle95
04-30-2014, 10:52 AM
I have played guitar for a few years but became frustrated with it so I recently just bought my first ukulele and so far I haven't put it down. :)

Dulcilo
04-30-2014, 11:27 AM
I hate to hear that Kyle95, as I have gone in the opposite direction. I have been teaching myself ukulele and enjoying it so much that I recently picked up a guitar. And it is indeed very frustrating, as opposed to practicing ukulele, which is very fun. I was hoping the guitar frustration, which has much to do for me with the number of strings (my right hand can't seem to find the right strings to pluck) would get better with time.

The Big Kahuna
04-30-2014, 11:35 AM
Guitar ability doesn't develop gradually. You'll go to bed one night, being totally unable to play something, then pick it up the next morning, and find you can play like Jeff Beck.

Dulcilo
04-30-2014, 03:19 PM
Can one learn both instruments simultaneously? Or is it better to concentrate on one alone until some proficiency is gained before moving on to another? It is a bit like learning German and French at the same time, can get the brain scrambled.

OldePhart
04-30-2014, 04:40 PM
Guitar ability doesn't develop gradually. You'll go to bed one night, being totally unable to play something, then pick it up the next morning, and find you can play like Jeff Beck.

Hmmm, I've been waiting for that to happen for 25-30 years now. I must not be drinking (smoking? shooting?) the right stuff before I go to bed... LOL

John

dickadcock
05-01-2014, 03:23 AM
Guitar ability doesn't develop gradually. You'll go to bed one night, being totally unable to play something, then pick it up the next morning, and find you can play like Jeff Beck.
Yeah, I know. And brain surgery is the same way ... :)

RAB11
05-01-2014, 05:07 AM
I got my first guitar 6/7 years ago and tried to teach myself. Cut a lot of corners and as a result I'm very limited in what I can do with it. Mainly punk and a little bit of blues and that's it, but it's good fun to jam with the sole intention of making a lot of noise every now and then.

Around June last year I picked up the Dolphin on a whim, I had more cash in my wallet than usual so went to the music shop on the way home. Decided I'd learn it properly so I got a book to give me the basics, and fell in love with it straight away. I originally thought it'd just be something to take with me to Reading Festival to play at the campsite between bands as an ice-breaker to strangers (I went by myself). It worked but more than that I found I was having a lot more fun just picking up the uke and having a mess about on it while watching TV. Way more convenient, especially in my thin-walled bedsit, than plugging my electric guitar in, hooking up the pedals, and making an almighty racket for my neighbours to complain about.

I then started taking the Dolphin to the open mic nights I'd previously been playing guitar at and got way more positive comments than I ever did playing my hamfisted rawk. As a result I haven't picked my guitars up in months, meanwhile I'm getting better and better at the uke, and tackling things I wouldn't have dreamed of on guitar. My theory's slowly getting better too.

Fulfillingsoul
05-06-2014, 02:38 AM
I have been playing the guitar for years.

When I tried to play the ukulele, it feels like an "incomplete guitar" at first, due to the lack of bass strings.

It took a while for me to appreciate the instrument.

Mivo
05-06-2014, 03:08 AM
I had a guitar as a kid, and an electronic organ, but I never really got into either. The only instruments I play now are the ukulele and a whole family of kalimbas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg24k7tzIc0) (these are highly collectible, even worse than ukes!). I like small, portable instruments with great sound, and guitars are a little unwieldy.

Appalachian picker
05-07-2014, 12:02 PM
I hate to hear that Kyle95, as I have gone in the opposite direction. I have been teaching myself ukulele and enjoying it so much that I recently picked up a guitar. And it is indeed very frustrating, as opposed to practicing ukulele, which is very fun. I was hoping the guitar frustration, which has much to do for me with the number of strings (my right hand can't seem to find the right strings to pluck) would get better with time.

I'm a newbie with both, but found I enjoy the range of the guitar more to my taste. I also enjoy listening, and learning from, guitar music more than uke music. I still pick up my "barry tone" but probably less than 1/2 as much as the guitar.