The ukulele is often seen as a miniature version of the guitar, which might make you think it’s an easy transition to switch from guitar to ukulele. While there are some differences between the two, the good news is that you can apply your existing guitar knowledge to the ukulele with just a few adjustments.
To understand the difference, simply place a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar and remove the lowest two strings. Voila, you now have a ukulele! The open notes are the same: A-E-C-G. The only variation is that the fourth string on the ukulele is tuned one octave higher than the fourth string on the guitar.
Since the relationship between the strings on a ukulele is similar to the first four strings on a guitar, all the chord shapes you’ve learned on the guitar can be used on the ukulele. However, keep in mind that the same chord shape produces a different chord sound. When playing a guitar chord shape on the ukulele, the resulting chord sound is a fourth higher. For example, a D chord shape on the guitar produces a G chord sound on the ukulele, while an E chord shape on the guitar creates an A chord sound on the ukulele.
Transitioning from guitar to ukulele may take some mental adjustment, but with practice, it can be a smooth process. If you want to learn more about playing the ukulele, check out this link for a complete list of songs and lessons. And if you’re not already a student of Bristol Music Lessons, book a free trial here.
Some Ukulele Facts
The ukulele originated in Hawaii in the 19th century.
The name “ukulele” means “jumping flea” in Hawaiian.
The four main types of ukuleles are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
The ukulele was popularized outside of Hawaii in the early 20th century by performers such as Roy Smeck and Cliff Edwards, also known as “Ukulele Ike”.
The Beatles’ George Harrison was a big fan of the ukulele and often played it in his music.
Ukulele Related Links
- “The Ultimate Guide to Ukulele Strings” by Ukulele Tricks: https://ukuleletricks.com/guide-to-ukulele-strings/
- “10 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners” by TakeLessons: https://takelessons.com/blog/easy-ukulele-songs-for-beginners-z10
- “5 Tips for Playing Ukulele Chords” by Fender Play: https://www.fender.com/articles/play/5-tips-for-playing-ukulele-chords
- “Guitar to Ukulele: Tips for a Smooth Transition” by Guitar World: https://www.guitarworld.com/lessons/guitar-to-ukulele-tips-for-a-smooth-transition
- “Ukulele vs Guitar: What’s the Difference?” by LiveAbout: https://www.liveabout.com/ukulele-vs-guitar-whats-the-difference-1712880