Did you know that nearly 72 million people have decided to pick up the guitar in their life?
Practice makes perfect, but did you know that there are some shortcuts to learning the guitar? If you know a similar instrument like the ukulele well enough, it could give you advantages as you switch over to the guitar.
Learning the ukulele can be a great stepping stone on the way to mastery of not just one, but two new instruments. Use this guide to discover the ways in which the ukulele can and can’t help with guitar.
When you play the guitar or play the ukulele, you utilize chords. A chord refers to a set of notes played at the same time. On the guitar or ukulele, and other string instruments, this is represented by using one hand to hold strings down and the other to strum and produce sound.
The similar mechanism in both instruments means that learning acoustic guitar chords will be much easier for someone who already knows the ukulele.
The strumming and plucking mechanisms are similar in both the guitar and ukulele, with one major difference. That major difference lies in the construction of the strings and the size of the frets.
On a ukulele, you have small frets and lighter strings that are often made out of nylon polymers. View this collection for high-quality examples of ukuleles.
On a guitar, the frets are larger, due to the instrument being larger. The strings, rather than being composed of a light material like nylon, are composed of metals. Steel, nickel, brass, and bronze are commonly used, and you may occasionally find nylon as well.
While the dexterity gained by strumming and plucking will certainly carry over, the differences in string types and fret sizes will require some adjustment when switching from ukulele to guitar.
When you learn any instrument that requires dexterity, you are improving your fine motor skills in a way that will carry over to similar instruments. The ukulele requires finger plucking, picking, strumming, and fast movements which will certainly give you an advantage when learning guitar.
Guitar music can be notated in a way referred to as tabs. Ukulele can be notated in the same way.
Learning how to read ukulele music will not necessarily translate directly, as there are fewer strings, different finger arrangements for chords, and more. In many ways though, learning how to read ukulele tabs can be beneficial for when you need to read guitar tabs in the future.
Learn ukulele before guitar for a unique journey to proficiency and mastery. There are significant similarities between these two instruments that make them great practice for each other. Learning the ukulele could be the best decision you’ve made.
Visit the rest of our music blog for more informative articles on music in general as well as Asheville’s unique sound.
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.
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