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Thread: Small to big

  1. #1
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    Default Small to big

    When I wanted to explore a steel string instrument I started with a tenor guitar. I figured the smaller size and 4 strings would help the transition from uke. It did but it still felt uncomfortable and a stretch, pun intended. I persisted through some hand pain and even back pain but I loved the sound so it was worth it.

    Eventually I moved up to a Taylor GS mini, which is a six string. This was another jump that took time to get accustomed to. Then I started exploring larger guitars and after a couple years I am now comfortable playing large bodied full size dreadnaughts.

    The point of this post is persistence pays off and this goes for ukulele players in particular. I have read so many times people play a concert size but won’t try tenor because it is too big and difficult. Give it a serious go, heck give baritone a go, it’s worth it if you want that sound. Sure it will be awkward at first. You sucked the first time you tried to form a C chord.........at least I did.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 09-29-2020 at 12:58 PM.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  2. #2
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    That is interesting. I recently handled a guitar, which I would love to be able to play, and holy cow fretting seemed impossible.

    Based on your experience, and knowing what you know now, do you think that your stepwise progression going up in size was the way to do it or if starting to transition to guitar now would you just go with a full size (knowing that it eventually will work)?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    That is interesting. I recently handled a guitar, which I would love to be able to play, and holy cow fretting seemed impossible.

    Based on your experience, and knowing what you know now, do you think that your stepwise progression going up in size was the way to do it or if starting to transition to guitar now would you just go with a full size (knowing that it eventually will work)?
    I had a degenerative left hand issue which made fretting, even a ukulele difficult. I had an operation in April 2019 (entailed 60 stitches) and 4 months of rehab had me starting on a ukulele then a month later to guitar.

    I only say this because I had special circumstances that made a small guitar necessary/helpful. Many people start out on a big guitar but those people aren’t coming from ukulele. Because we are accustomed to a small instrument the full size guitar can seem daunting. I think a parlour size six string or Taylor GS mini size is a great starting point. One can always move up to a bigger size if they want a bigger more resonant sound.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  4. #4
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    In 1968 I bought a uke and after about 12-18 months was "reasonably" competent, but since ukes weren't cool in '68, (had to wait another 40-50 years for that) I hankered after a guitar.
    I came across a Classical guitar kit which suited my cash flow. As far as I recall, the parts had been taken from the production lines of a Japanese manufacturer and assembled into a package with fret wire, tuners, cellulose finish etc. My father helped build it and it turned out to be a reasonable instrument which I still have.
    My knowledge of uke chords gave me a good start when learning guitar, but for 6-12 months played only on the first four strings, gradually forcing myself to use the bass strings. The rest, as they say, is history

    Vintage
    Last edited by VintageGibson; 10-01-2020 at 05:58 AM. Reason: Spelling

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintageGibson View Post
    In 1968 I bought a uke and after about 12-18 months was "reasonably" competent, but since ukes weren't cool in '68, (had to wait another 40-50 years for that) I hankered after a guitar.
    I came across a Classical guitar kit which suited my cash flow. As far as I recall, the parts had been taken from the production lines of a Japanese manufacturer and assembled into a package with fret wire, tuners, cellulose finish etc. My father helped build it and it turned out to be a reasonable instrument which I still have.
    My knowledge of uke chords gave me a good start when learning guitar, but for 6-12 months played only on the first four strings, gradually forcing myself to use the bass strings. The rest, as they say, is history

    Vintage
    Very cool story, thanks for sharing. George Harrison hadn’t made the uke cool yet back then. Lots of people started on classical or “nylon” string guitars in the 60’s and 70’s. The folk music scene had a big influence and nylon was a little more gentle on the fingers then steel
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    I think a parlour size six string or Taylor GS mini size is a great starting point. One can always move up to a bigger size if they want a bigger more resonant sound.
    Thank you! One more question -- would you view a baritone uke as a stepping stone to guitar?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    Thank you! One more question -- would you view a baritone uke as a stepping stone to guitar?

    Absolutely, some famous Canadian musicians started on a baritone ukulele. Neil Young and Joannie Mitchel to name two.

    The baritone is DGBE so tuned the same as a guitar without the 5th and 6th string. That was my progression, from tenor ukulele to baritone ukulele to tenor steel string guitar.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  8. #8
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    I don't think that ukulele players should be intimidated by guitars. If you want to learn to play guitar go ahead and learn to play guitar. Also I think that ukulele players should realize that they don't have to give up the ukulele for guitar, one can play both.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  9. #9
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    Like Dave, I think that the Taylor GS Mini is an excellent choice of a guitar to step up to from ukulele.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #10
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    I also started on baritone uke and then went on to guitar (GS mini also). I now play primarily mandolin but still mix it up with soprano uke, tenor guitar and have played various larger guitars. I like the scale of the GS mini and I think it is a good size to start on, if you are interested in adding guitar to your skill set. With regard to size, I think it’s a little like making the generalized recommendation of a concert size uke to beginners. It’s the smallest stretch without being too cramped up. The shorter scale of smaller “parlor” guitars can make it easier going in the beginning. But, long term, you will adjust to whatever size you like (barring physical limitations) if you persist.

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