Ukulele Vs. Guitar: What’s The Difference?

There are many instruments that you can choose to learn to play. However, if you want to know the difference between a ukulele and a guitar, then this article is for you. There are several similarities between the two. Yet, each instrument is unique within its own classifications.

Instrument Sizes

For the most part, it is easy to see that the ukulele is smaller than a standard guitar. However, how smaller is the ukulele compared to its counterpart? On average, standard acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars are between 30% to 50% bigger than the ukulele.

Still, did you know that there are different ukulele sizes as well? The most common size is the soprano, and within this category, there are more sizes to discover. Standard soprano ukuleles are the biggest in this class measuring about 20”. The sopranino is the second-largest measuring about 18” long. The 3rd smallest in the soprano class of ukuleles has a size of around 14” in length.

It is common for pineapple uke sizes to vary as well, ranging traditionally from about 20” and smaller. There are more sizes to explore to make sure you find the perfect uke. In order from smallest to largest, they include the concert, tenor, baritone, and uniquely bass ukulele.

String Comparison

Most standard guitars have a set of six strings ranging from low to high on the musical scale. Ukuleles on the other hand have a set of four strings most of the time.

Since there are fewer strings on the ukulele, many enthusiasts and new instrumentalists perceive learning the ukulele as easier than studying the guitar. Since there are only four strings, this means that the cord differences may be simpler to learn.

A quick note, both instruments can have more strings from time to time. There are guitars with a set of 12 strings. Also, some ukuleles can have an amazing number of 8 strings on some models. As aforementioned, the configuration is set at standard for a set of 6 strings for a guitar and four for a ukulele.  

When you look at a guitar, you may notice that the strings can be either harder nylon, nickel, steel, or other metal. These material types produce a different range of brasher and bright tones. As for ukulele strings, they are usually made with flexible nylon, synthetic, or other similar material.

Unlike the higher string tensions of a guitar, the tension of the strings for a ukulele is lower. The softer materials used for the ukulele strings and lower tension produce a tone that is warmer and gentler. At times, ukuleles may have a single metal string for “Low-G”.

When learning how to play the guitar, your fingers must build a resistance to the materials of the strings, so it will not be as uncomfortable to play for the longer term. Uke strings feel softer and have more stretch. This makes the initial learning experience or longer play more comfortable.

Tuning Your Uke

The guitar and ukulele can both have notes that can be tuned with an electric tuner or tuner app. The difference is the arrangement of the notes. For this illustration, the standard acoustic guitar will be compared to the standard soprano uke.  

The sequence of notes of a guitar is usually in b-flat on the scale, which follows the pattern of E-A-G-D-B-E. The uke is tuned at a sequence of 4 notes, G-C-E-A.

One wonderful aspect of this is that you can use a capo of use your finger as a bar to create a higher pitch on the guitar to match most notes of the uke. It can be said that the 1st four strings of the guitar are like the uke but tuned up ¼.

Learning Guitar Vs Ukulele

Have you decided on which instrument to learn, the guitar or ukulele? If you have never played either instrument for an extended period, the uke may be more comfortable to learn. When deciding to learn to play the guitar, there are many styles to consider. Styles include blues, jazz, standards, worship guitar, and music theory to consider as well to improve.

 Learning the uke can be simpler and quicker. You can learn to play the uke by using Tablature or TABS like the guitar as well. It is possible to play the latest songs and some classics as well on the ukulele.

The pros of playing the uke that it is easier on the fingers because of the lower tensioned strings. There are many notes and cords to learn on the uke, but there are only a set of four strings. This makes the learning curve much faster for many individuals. The size of the ukulele is less intimidating and can be played by adults and children alike.  

Buying a Ukulele

When starting with any uke, it is important to mix quality with a good price. The good news is, there are many soprano varieties or traditional ukuleles for beginners available with higher quality within the $55 to $120 range. Unlike buying a guitar at this price, a ukulele can be purchased at a lower price at the start, so you can get to know the instrument and learn a few songs before investing more funds. When thinking about buying a starter guitar, you will have to invest more into the product to get the quality you need to be off to a good start.

Similar Posts