Should I Buy A Ukulele?


#1

I’m self taught on the piano (as you can probably tell) and I’d like to learn the guitar and ukulele. Not sure it’s still in demand enough to justify buying a Uke so I thought I’d ask those that play. Is it a decent place to start and then transition to an acoustic gutar later? Am I wasting my time? Obviously I want to write tracks that sell here with the Uke but I fear (kinda hope) the demand for Uke tracks is over.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Paul

EDIT: I don’t think I explained it well enough. I really want to learn guitar but thought the Ukulele would be an easy start for a beginner and I can make money with it also while preparing for the upgrade.


#2

i would actually start with guitar. i don’t know about others, but i find it more difficult to play uke, but maybe cuz i have big hands. it just feels really uncomfortable to get some of those chord positions. plus, the tuning is totally different from a guitar. if you learn guitar, you could even get a “ganjo” (a banjo strung like a guitar) when that craze starts…or doesn’t, haha. i think if you ultimately want to play guitar, learn guitar. just my $.02

[edit: and this is coming from a monkey who never took a guitar lesson, only piano]


#3

I learned how to play guitar many years and still its not perfect …

I learned how to play (simple chords strumming) Uke for 2 hours (with Google and Youtube) and i recorded a song that day the post delivered the package - and the song was SOO DAMN GOOD that AJ reviewers approved it! :smiley: :smiley:

I think you cant go wrong with Guitars and also with Uke :slight_smile: CHA!

Well - with big hands its difficult to play every instrument (exept Rachmaninov of course) - guys, i have 2 meters and 135kg and my hands are really big and fat and i have no problem playing Uke or Guitars :smiley:


#4

I don’t think it’s a good idea to learn Uke as a step forward to play guitar. (says the man who started making music with an Ukulele) :smiley:

OK, I was 3 years old and after I smashed the acoustic guitar of my father at the corner of a table my parents decided to buy me an Uke. Though when you’re not 3 years old (are you?) you should start learning guitar. And if you want to play acoustic guitar you should start with acoustic guitar. And if you just want to use an Uke for AJ than buy a software.

I had a break with playing Uke for about 40 years, so I can say I couldn’t play it anymore because the tune of the strings is different to guitar. Though it was very easy for me to learn it again because I played acoustic and electric guitar during this time. For sure that wouldn’t have been possible conversely from Uke to guitar.

There’s no instrument to learn easy and fast if you want to play it seriously and make money with it.
Even though you can play some chords you first have to get the groove and feel into the right hand.
I don’t want to allure you from playing Uke. Though when will you be ready to press ‘record’ and how many Uke tracks will we have than. :smiley:

Learn playing guitar! I wish you all the best for it. And when you have any questions just write to me and I’ll see if I can help you.


#5

If you want to learn guitar, learn guitar, not uke. You don’t start with melodica if you want to play the piano. My 2 cents.


#6

Definitely guitar! Plus, once you get guitar somewhat down, you can just play high up on the fret board and it’ll kind of sound like a uke anyway.


#7

MusicBoxStudios, Ive purchased an new ukulele for about 30$. Its cheap, but I like that sound. Youre a pretty good seller on Audiojungle, so this investment will pay off very soon :) Even if now ukulele music have no such a big demand as it was before (I dont really see drop in demand, but maybe it presents) - you can just have fun with this instrument in real life, and just enjoy it`s wondrous sound. :wink: Sometimes I let myself Ukuleletherapy :smiley: Furthermore, you can record and mix it, work on sound and sell it. Generally, I would recomend you to buy an ukulele if you see any ways you can use it :slight_smile:


#8

Wow! Tons of good advice! That’s why (despite the other crap) I really appreciate the community members. I wish we had the ability to do a poll here. I’m sure that upgrade will come soon. (10 years)

So it seems the general consensus is to learn the Uke if I truly intend to play Uke because I love it. Not because I wanna play guitar right? Isn’t it a heck of a lot easier to learn Uke?

The transition sounds as if it’s not nearly as easy as I may think.


#9
MusicBoxStudios said

I wanna play guitar right? Isn’t it a heck of a lot easier to learn Uke?
The transition sounds as if it’s not nearly as easy as I may think.

I play both, and you can play the same chords on uke as guitar, they won’t be named the same but are still chords of similar kind (7th, 9th, minor, major whatever) . Just play uke the same as if you were playing guitar chords on the 4 high strings. You can even play leads the same, but the highest uke note will be an octive higher than it would be on guitar. They write chords for uke that are different but guitar work the same. Cheap ones sound almost the same as expensive ones, don’t waste your money.
PS I’ve played both for 50 years!


#10

yes, if u want to play uke, learn uke. if u want to play guitar, learn guitar. personally, i think the transition would be faster from guitar to uke than vice versa, but you may get more useable stuff faster from a uke? who knows…but of course i’m learning from this thread that i must have unwieldy hands, as i’m 1.8m and 80kgs…

and just my opinion, but i was in hawaii and just like guitars, there is a huge range of quality. the expensive ones are expensive for a reason – they sound amazing. i ended up getting the cheapest one that i thought still sounded decent, which was about $150. this was years before i started AJ; if i had known how much i’d be using it, i might have sprung for a better one.


#11

I’ll give you my two cents, and it may not be worth that much…

I agree, if you really want to learn guitar, and you’re learning ukulele in spite of disdain for the instrument, it’s best to just learn the guitar from the get go. The ukulele tuning is different and there are only 4 strings, so although there is some crossover (e.g. just learning to hold down strings on a fret with one hand while plucking or strumming with the other), there are also differences that you have to unlearn.

However, that said, here are all the reasons that I actually think you should get the ukulele first :slight_smile:

  1. Yes, this community has a healthy prejudice against ukuleles. To this I say an emphatic whatever. They’re beautiful instruments (if you get a real one), extremely versatile, and also so much fun to play. For that reason alone I recommend getting one. My theory is that most naysayers have never touched a good ukulele - bummer for them.

  2. To get a halfway decent guitar you’re at the very least going to drop several hundred dollars, and at least a grand for solid wood. Get a cheap guitar and you’ll be discouraged because it will be difficult to play and make sound good. On the other hand you can get a very nice laminate ukulele for around $150, and solid wood models start at around $250-300.

  3. Once you do reach your ultimate goal of learning guitar, an ukulele is a great compliment as a backing track. You can also play it with an ethnic kind of sound where you might use a mandolin or something.

  4. Some may disagree, but I think the ramp up for learning an ukulele will be a lot shorter than for learning a guitar, or at least to the point where you can play a simple song all the way through.

Regarding hand size - there are 4 different sizes of ukulele. If you have big hands, consider a tenor. If your hands are too big for a tenor, you’ll have trouble with a guitar as well.


#12

I would buy a UKE they are SO CHEAP! Really, it is extremely easy to play chords on a UKE if you know anything about music theory it will take you a few minutes to figure out the fingerings for basic chords in the key of C/G that you will need to write UKE stock music. I never really even bother remembering how it’s tuned - when I feel like I need to play it or add it to an arrangement, I look up the tuning and then have to sort of re-figure out the chords. That’s how little I play UKE and how easy it is to figure it out.

Learning to play open chords on a guitar is somewhat easy too. Guitar is not that hard to play; sure it takes years to master it, play melodically, and develop intonation, but as far as moving your fingers around and strumming, coming from a piano it should not be that difficult, and there are nice things on a guitar like barre chords that you just move around so you don’t have to learn a million different shapes or think too much about theory. Hell, you can even buy a capo and just play open chords everywhere, as coffee shops the world-over can attest. Not trying to badmouth guitar; it’s a fine instrument, was one of my first, and I still technically suck at it (overuse of the pentatonic minor scale anyone?) but compared to learning how to play a brass instrument or a fretless instrument I think it’s a walk in the park.


#13

I agree with Adam. However, I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years, so when I bought a Ukule on sale for 25$, it probably didn’t take as long for me to learn than it would for others. That being said, within a couple months I’ve already made my money back and then some on a single solo Ukulele track ~ doubt it would be accepted here though. But just the fact that I made the money back already made it seem worth to me.


#14
jhunger said

I’ll give you my two cents, and it may not be worth that much…

I agree, if you really want to learn guitar, and you’re learning ukulele in spite of disdain for the instrument, it’s best to just learn the guitar from the get go. The ukulele tuning is different and there are only 4 strings, so although there is some crossover (e.g. just learning to hold down strings on a fret with one hand while plucking or strumming with the other), there are also differences that you have to unlearn.

However, that said, here are all the reasons that I actually think you should get the ukulele first :slight_smile:

  1. Yes, this community has a healthy prejudice against ukuleles. To this I say an emphatic whatever. They’re beautiful instruments (if you get a real one), extremely versatile, and also so much fun to play. For that reason alone I recommend getting one. My theory is that most naysayers have never touched a good ukulele - bummer for them.

  2. To get a halfway decent guitar you’re at the very least going to drop several hundred dollars, and at least a grand for solid wood. Get a cheap guitar and you’ll be discouraged because it will be difficult to play and make sound good. On the other hand you can get a very nice laminate ukulele for around $150, and solid wood models start at around $250-300.

  3. Once you do reach your ultimate goal of learning guitar, an ukulele is a great compliment as a backing track. You can also play it with an ethnic kind of sound where you might use a mandolin or something.

  4. Some may disagree, but I think the ramp up for learning an ukulele will be a lot shorter than for learning a guitar, or at least to the point where you can play a simple song all the way through.

Regarding hand size - there are 4 different sizes of ukulele. If you have big hands, consider a tenor. If your hands are too big for a tenor, you’ll have trouble with a guitar as well.

Well, coming from one of the acoustic masters here at AJ this is great info! Thank you J. It all makes great sense (as does everyone else who was once enough to help me with opinions) but I have just 2 questions for you or anyone else who may want to chime in.

  1. There seems to be a wide range in Uke’s when it comes to price. Now I understand the basics of consumership and agree we get what we pay for. However, is there anything wrong with spending somewhere closer to $60-$100 for my first Uke versus the $150-$300 you and others have talked about? Is the difference in quality substantial?

Here’s a few of the inexpensive models I’ve been looking at and plan on going to see again in just about an hour. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ukuleles-Folk---Traditional-Stringed-Instruments.gc?extup=50-100&ipp=25&esid=Ukulele


#15

Ukes are delightful and I own several! With that said though, they are not nearly as wonderful as a guitar! The full rich sound you can make on a cheap guitar cannot even be approached by the best ukulele!

Someone compared solid wood guitars to laminate ukes above but you do not need to get a solid wood guitar! There are plenty of laminate guitars that will sound a lot better than pretty much any uke!!

I have been playing guitar for 30+ years and the quality, playability, etc. of the cheap guitars coming out of China is simply amazing! I recently purchased a new Ovation for my wife and they gave us a Carlo Robelli acoustic for free as part of a promo package. I assumed it would be crap but was totally blown away at how nice it sounded, how it stayed in tune, and how for several years it continues to be a great second guitar!

Don’t get me wrong…you must have a uke or two! But if you are starting out and wanna learn guitar…get a guitar!!!

One last thought…capo your guitar to the 5th fret and play only the highest 4 strings and you are playing exactly like a uke! So the same chord forms you will learn on guitar will work on a uke (just without the two lowest strings).


#16

Buy it cheap, learn it and become rich! heheehe
If you have the spare time why not, ukulele is a great seller in the JUNGLE, so it’s a win-win situation! Good luck, brother!


#17
MusicBoxStudios said

I’m self taught on the piano (as you can probably tell) and I’d like to learn the guitar and ukulele. Not sure it’s still in demand enough to justify buying a Uke so I thought I’d ask those that play. Is it a decent place to start and then transition to an acoustic gutar later? Am I wasting my time? Obviously I want to write tracks that sell here with the Uke but I fear (kinda hope) the demand for Uke tracks is over.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Paul

EDIT: I don’t think I explained it well enough. I really want to learn guitar but thought the Ukulele would be an easy start for a beginner and I can make money with it also while preparing for the upgrade.

As a guitar player I will tell you that Ukulele is much MUCH easier to play, and in a way I think it is a good instrument to start on if you are planning on playing a guitar in future. The strings do not hurt your fingers, which is a major and common complaint when playing a guitar as a beginner.
But the way you hold chords is pretty much the same. I don’t know how to explain it. The tuning is different of course, lol and the chords are gonna be different, but the finger placement on the fret board is the same. So if you put so and so fingers on so and so frets, it does not mean that a chord is gonna lets say D on a ukulele and D on a guitar, but it will make a sound and it will make a chord! lol :slight_smile: Just buy it and see for your self, uku is an ez instrument to play if you are not going to play anything, but AJ stuff on it.


#18
MusicBoxStudios said
  1. There seems to be a wide range in Uke’s when it comes to price. Now I understand the basics of consumership and agree we get what we pay for. However, is there anything wrong with spending somewhere closer to $60-$100 for my first Uke versus the $150-$300 you and others have talked about? Is the difference in quality substantial?

Here’s a few of the inexpensive models I’ve been looking at and plan on going to see again in just about an hour. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ukuleles-Folk---Traditional-Stringed-Instruments.gc?extup=50-100&ipp=25&esid=Ukulele

I was kind of pulling $150 out of the air because I was thinking about what I paid for my first ukulele, which was a Lanikai tenor. I think that’s pretty close price estimate for a decent tenor (though I’m sure you could find one for a few bucks less). The ones you linked to were concert and soprano ukuleles mainly, which are a little smaller and typically a little less expensive. I think many would work for a first ukulele for sure - I still love my Lanikai, and use it regularly. It’s one of the best uses I ever put $150 to :slight_smile: So I can vouch for the brand at least, but that said it would be best if you had a store nearby where you could strum around on a few and see what you like. Even if you don’t know how to play you’ll have some opinion of what sounds and feels better, regardless of price. I don’t think I would go much less than $60 as a general rule, since then you’d likely get into intonation and tuning problems that would plague any attempts at recording.

Definitely try playing a soprano before buying - those are very small and don’t work with my fat fingers at least. I do okay on a concert size, though.

@Leatherwing - I didn’t mean to compare a solid wood guitar with a laminate uke - of course there’s no comparison! What I was (poorly) trying to say was that as a general rule quality, playable laminate ukuleles are much cheaper than their quality, playable laminate guitar equivalents, and same with solid wood ukes vs solid wood guitars. You can get, say, a Kala all solid mahogany tenor for $260, which is an instrument that would keep you for a long long time, compared to all solid wood guitars starting at about a grand.

I definitely agree as primarily a guitar player that a guitar has greater depth, range, and can be more satisfying and versatile. However, the light, airy sound of ukuleles can border on the sublime, and I will say that there were a few “Big K” models, and even cheaper Pono models, that I’ve played in shops in Hawai’i that were just fantastic.

Oh, and I agree, the capo is your friend :slight_smile:

Also, one thing that pops into my mind is that you’d need either a pickup or a mic + interface of some sort to record any stringed instrument. MusicBox, do you have a setup for that are are you purely keys at this point? Because that opens up a whole new can of worms…


#19

yeah, I agree with jhunger, if you can go in and play them (ukulele or guitar) do so even if you are not that familiar with these instruments. even better would be to take a friend with you who already plays.

I have a couple of concert ukes and they are almost too small to play (for my hands). my tenor is a little better. I have a cuatro tuned like a uke that is between a tenor uke and small guitar and it is the perfect size for a uke for me!

I agree the Lanikai are good ukes. I own a couple of Lunas and they are OK but they tend to look very cool and not play quite as well! my tenor is a Riptide from Boulder Creek and it is a really nice uke.

now if you really wanna be confused I might suggest trying a tenor guitar! Four strings, smaller than a regular guitar, nice sound and kinda unique cause most folks do not have one! I am planning to add one to my collection this year. Prolly gonna get the Blueridge BR-40TCE which is their newest model with built in pickup.


#20
jhunger said

Also, one thing that pops into my mind is that you’d need either a pickup or a mic + interface of some sort to record any stringed instrument. MusicBox, do you have a setup for that are are you purely keys at this point? Because that opens up a whole new can of worms…

I just noticed that I never posted #2 of my questions. Hilarious!

Nonetheless, I went and looked at a few Uke’s last night and you (and others) here are right. The few that can be had for $30 - $75 are just cheap, flimsy and probably not with the trouble. The nicer more solid models start at $100 and go all the way up to $300.

I dod notice a few models that were “electric” meaning the can be plugged into my system direct which would seem to eliminate the recording challenge you spoke of in your previous post. As of now I’m all keys like you stated and have no mice. Not to say I can’t just buy one, but if I can spend a few more bucks and plug directly in with the Uke then would that be better?

There was a really cool used Eleuke for a decent price also. Think it was like $150
!https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97792296/AudioJungle/Ukulele/413ImYc63jL.jpg!

!https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97792296/AudioJungle/Ukulele/41KIiqSgZzL.jpg!

!https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97792296/AudioJungle/Ukulele/414-9BuVddL.jpg!

Would this thing be the way to go?