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Ukulele vs Guitar: How They’re Different and Which One You Should Play

Ukulele vs Guitar

Deciding to play a stringed instrument is a big decision for most people. That is if you’re planning on learning and practicing the instrument well. If you’re just looking to have something next to your bed to twiddle on, the endeavor might not be as important.

Either way, playing an instrument requires a little knowledge, a little research, and a lot of effort. The first step is deciding on an instrument. Many people struggle to choose to play the ukulele vs guitar.

We’re going to talk about these two instruments in this article, giving you a better understanding of each so you can choose which one to play.

Ukulele vs Guitar: Which One Should You Play?

The first thing to consider is how seriously you want to take playing the instrument. Do you want to get lessons and dedicate yourself to regular practice? Do you want to get to a point where you can perform in front of people?

If not, you might just want to have an instrument to casually learn and play during your downtime. To get a better idea of which instrument piques your interest, browse around online and watch videos of people playing guitar or ukulele and watch some instructional videos to get a feel for what you’re into.

The most important thing is that you’re interested in the instrument you choose. At a base level, ask yourself which instrument is more enticing to you. General excitement and interest will go a long way.

Beyond that, though, we’ll explore some more specifics of each instrument and give you a better idea of what you’re looking at.

The Guitar

The guitar is an instrument that many people fall in love with at an early age. It allows the player a great deal of room to roam. By this, we mean that the guitar is an extremely versatile instrument that holds the opportunity for a lot of expression.

You’re also able to buy pedals, amplifiers, tools, and extensions that will tweak the sound the guitar produces. Even the most simple distinction between guitars– acoustic vs electric– provides the player with a clear difference in sound and leads to different styles of playing.

Things to Consider When Starting Out

At first, the quality of instrument and amplification that you buy won’t matter. The most important thing is that you find a guitar that feels right in your hands and has a lower “action”.

Action is a term that refers to the distance between the string and the fretboard.  This indicates how difficult it is to press down the strings on to the fretboard. Before your fingers get strong enough to easily press on the strings, you’ll want a guitar that has a low action.

In general, electric guitars have smaller necks and lower action.  For this reason, a lot of starters buy electric guitars. Electric guitars are also great for beginners because amplification opens up a lot of doors for different sounds and styles. The ability to explore a little may keep you interested in learning the instrument.

On the other hand, acoustic guitars can be played anywhere without amplification. While acoustics may have a higher action, initially working with a larger, harder instrument to play will, in the long run, establish good muscle memory.  Those skills can easily translate to an electric guitar.

Quality and Cost

If you plan to put a lot of effort into the instrument, you should consider spending a little more money. You can find acoustic and electric guitars for as cheap as $100 or less, sometimes coming with amplification, straps, picks, and cases.

These starter packs are great for those who are just trying to find out if they want to move forward with the instrument. You can play all of the same chords, notes, and scales on any guitar, but the quality will become more important as you move forward.

So, if you’re sure that you’re going to keep playing the guitar, you should think about investing something to the tune of $300 dollars or more on your instrument. That number can move all the way up into the thousands, but you probably don’t need anything that serious until much later on.

The Ukulele

The ukulele is an instrument that offers a lot of the same variety of the guitar, except it has a distinct character that the guitar doesn’t.

Ukuleles are, of course, a lot smaller than guitars. This makes them accessible to young people as well as those with smaller hands. Further, it allows them to be carried and played anywhere.

Their size makes them much easier to learn and play for beginners. The string arrangement is slightly different from that of the guitar, but the relative position of the notes is the same.  Therefore, many chord shapes and finger movements are the same on guitar and ukulele. For this reason, there is a lot of overlap between the skills needed to learn the guitar and ukulele.

Things to Consider When Starting Out

The ukulele is an excellent instrument for beginners to play for a few reasons. To start, it’s very forgiving.

Even when a beginner makes an error on the ukulele, it’s rare that a loud obnoxious sound will come out. In contrast to the guitar, ukulele provides a gentle ride as you start to learn.

Further, the fact that the instrument only has four strings makes learning a little simpler. It’s easy to get lost in the six strings of a guitar, stretching your fingers to reach frets that are five strings apart. The ukulele can play all of the same chords; only the voicing of those chords will be different.

All of the notes and music theory stay true between both instruments. The point is that the ukulele is a little more accessible when it comes to learning the fundamentals of playing.

Ukuleles also come in several styles, from standard to baritone, as well as electric ukes fit for pedals and amplifiers. You have a good range to choose from and you can adjust your selection to the size of your body, fingers, and more.

We want to mention that the uke isn’t just a smaller version of the guitar for beginners. The instrument provides players with the opportunity for a vast range of exploration. It’s possible to put daily work into practicing and get to a level of excellence totally distinct from the guitar.

Quality and Cost

The same general rules apply if you’re purchasing a guitar or a ukulele. You can learn all of the fundamentals on any quality of instrument.

If you’re planning to take lessons and learn a great deal about the ukulele, you should feel free to explore the more expensive options. A great ukulele can be a sturdy companion for years of your life.

You don’t want to spend a great deal of money if the uke will just sit in a closet somewhere, though. The nice thing is, there are a lot of ukuleles available for pretty cheap.  Some of the best value beginner ukulele’s are:

Mahalo MK1 TRB Soprano Ukulele

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ADM Mahogany Concert Ukulele

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Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele

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You can find a quality uke for something like $40 dollars. The price can then range all of the way up into the thousands. Cheaper models still sound good, but you can certainly tell the difference between a $40 model and a $300 dollar model.

Some of the best mid-range beginner ukuleles are:

Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele

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Luna UKE MALU Concert Ukulele

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Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

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So, Which One is Right for You?

Hopefully, some of the information above has helped you to choose the better option for you. Any person can play the guitar and any person can play the ukulele; there’s nothing that says some people can play one or the other.

It depends on the style of music you want to play, your skill level, and your budget. If you’re a true beginner, though, it may be a good idea to start with the ukulele.

You can find good quality ukuleles for cheap, and the instrument provides a great place to start for chord shapes and scales.

We can all think of a time when an unskilled guitar player just kept going without considering anyone around. It can get a little obnoxious, to say the least. On the other hand, ukuleles tend to sound more peaceful and gentle when beginners are playing.

Once you get to grips with the ukulele, you might find that you want to expand to a bigger instrument. You can move to the guitar easily, and the skills you learned on the uke can certainly translate to the guitar.

Want to Get Started?

Once you make the decision of ukulele vs guitar, it’s time to get started playing. Learning each instrument requires a little background knowledge and some guidance.

If you need a little push to move forward, explore our site for all of the information need.