Should I start learning with the ukulele or guitar? This is a question some beginners wanting to learn a string instrument ask themselves. The ukulele and the guitar seemed to be similar except in size. The ukulele is smaller in size with four strings while the guitar is bigger with six strings. Beginners may have the misconception that the ukulele is the easier instrument to learn in order to master the guitar.
This is a tough question for a beginner who does not know much about either instruments. We will do our best to clear the confusion so you can start on your journey to learning a string instrument.
Differences Between The Uke and Guitar
As we had shared, the ukulele or uke in short has four strings while the guitar has six. The ukulele is made with nylon strings. While popular guitars have steel strings, except for classical guitar which also comes with nylon strings.
Both the ukulele and guitar are tuned differently. The highest four strings of the guitar are tuned D-G-B-E while on the ukulele it’s G-C-E-A. In both cases, the relationship between the strings is perfect fourth, major third, perfect fourth.
The major difference in tuning is that the fourth string on a ukulele is tuned a full octave higher in relation to the other three strings. Which means the fourth string on the uke is higher in pitch than the third string.
On a guitar, the strings are tuned in a linear relationship to each other. Each string, from the sixth to the first, is increasingly higher in pitch.
Ukuleles are smaller in size compared to guitars. Even the tenor ukulele is smaller than a three-quarter sized acoustic guitar.
Guitars cost more than ukuleles. A good beginner acoustic guitar can cost from $200 while you can get a quality soprano ukulele for $50-100.
Which Is Easier to Learn?
The ukulele has been marketed as a very easy way to learn a string instrument. Learning three to four chords allow you to play a wide variety of songs. Learn a few dozen chords and you will be able to play most music you come across.
Although it is easier to pick up the uke and play your first song, it nevertheless takes a lot of work to be a master or virtuoso of the ukulele. You may not be satisfied with learning just one or two strumming methods to play on the ukulele. After learning the initial few chords, you may want to explore different ways of mastering the small string instrument. This being said, even though it is easier to start off with playing the uke, it does take a lot of work, just like the guitar, if you want to play using different styles and impress your friends and family.
Transitioning from the Uke to Guitar
The ukulele, though a fretted string instrument, is totally different from the guitar. Besides the differences in the tuning of both instruments, the process of learning and playing the uke is different from the guitar.
Even though both instruments are different in sizes, it might be a good idea to skip the ukulele if it is the guitar you want to learn. There are options of smaller sized guitars to start with.
Whether you decide on an uke or a guitar, it is important to choose the right one for you. Getting the right sized instrument for a beginner is important to starting your music learning journey. You may want to consult an experienced music teacher before buying your instrument.
At Ritmo Music Studio Singapore, we provide various music programs from private, group lessons to corporate workshops. Get in touch with us to find out more.