When beginners decide to learn a string instrument, they often get confused between guitar and ukulele. Guitars are comparatively more popular than ukuleles and even in 2023, people are not really much aware of ukuleles.
So, I decided to create this ukulele vs guitar comprehensive guide where I will be telling you, what are real-life differences between ukulele and guitar.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Ukulele Vs Guitar: What are the differences between both of them
There is no doubt that guitars are way more popular and widely used musical instruments, whereas, ukuleles are a little underrated. But in recent few years, we have seen a spike in interest of people regarding ukuleles, this little instrument from Hawaii is getting all the attention and popularity it deserves.
Look wise both these instruments are the same and have some major similarities, don’t worry I will also explain the similarities between these two later in this article.
Both ukuleles and guitars belong to the same string instrument family, and both of them are used to create music. It’s been a decade since guitars are discovered whereas, ukuleles are newer as compared to guitars.
Those who just want to begin their musical journey, often ask me whether to start with ukuleles or guitars, by the end of this article, you will know all the possible differences between these two.
So, now without wasting any more time, let’s get started with our ukulele vs guitar guide.
Ukulele vs Guitar: Size Difference
Coming to the major difference that you will notice between these two instruments is the size. The size of the ukulele is very small compared to guitars.
Basically, ukuleles come in different sizes, 1) Soprano, 2) Concert, 3) Tenor, and 4) Baritone.
The soprano ukulele is the smallest one and whereas the baritone is the biggest one. However, the most commonly used size of ukulele is soprano and concert.
The first ever ukulele was of soprano size and if we compare it with guitars then you will notice it is almost like a baby. Guitars are way bigger and heavier than ukuleles.
However, the size difference matters a lot, it directly affects the tone and playability. Compared to guitars, ukuleles are quieter and produce more melodious sounds.
Also, the size difference between ukuleles and guitars matters in terms of portability and traveling. You can easily travel from one place to another with the ukulele without any problem. However, guitars are big and heavier, thus making them a little difficult to carry along with you.
Also, if a kid wants to learn an instrument then ukuleles are more comfortable for them because their small hands can easily hold the ukulele and they can play it with ease.
Another big difference between a ukulele and a guitar is tuning. Both instruments are tuned in a different ways, the standard ukulele tuning is G-C-E-A whereas the guitar’s standard tuning is E-A-D-G-B-E.
However, there are somewhat related to each other, for example, to get the notes of the ukulele from the guitar, you need to hold the E-A-D-G strings. Basically, holding the top 4 strings of the guitar will produce the same note as the ukulele.
And this difference in tuning results in producing a brighter sound in the ukulele as compared to the guitar.
Ukulele vs Guitar: Number of strings
Another major difference between these two instruments is the number of strings. There is a total 6 number of strings in the guitar while there are only four strings in the ukulele.
The difference in the number of strings matters a lot while chord formation. Where the chord formation is a little difficult in the guitar because of extra strings, the ukulele has little advantage here because of only 4 strings. Some chords on the ukulele can easily be formed with just one finger.
That’s one of the reasons why some people consider the ukulele more easier to learn than the guitar.
Type of Strings: Material used
Those who have played guitar will agree with me on this point, the strings of the guitar are very hard on our fingers, and that’s because the strings of guitars are made of steel and nickel. They both are very hard materials, and sometimes they cause pain in our fingers while playing the guitar for a longer time.
Compared to guitars, the strings of ukuleles are very soft to the touch because of the nylon and rubber strings that are mostly used in ukuleles.
Because of the string material difference between these two instruments, the guitar produces more of a brighter sound whereas the ukulele produces more of a warmer sound.
It is also one of the factors why people consider the ukulele the best musical instrument for kids. Kids can comfortably hold and play with strings without feeling any fatigue in their fingers.
Sound Difference Between Ukulele and Guitar
Another very important question that I often get is what are the differences in tone or sound between ukuleles and guitars? So, there are major differences in the sound, I have noticed the sound of the ukulele is on the warmer side with more treble focus.
Whereas the sound of guitars is loud and bassy. Ukulele is played with a very soft touch which produces a very delicate sound, however, guitars are played with more force which results in a powerful and robust sound.
The difference in sound between these two is mainly because of the size difference, and the number of strings. Since the ukulele is small in size as compared to guitars, the sound is very warm and bright whereas the guitars are very big and heavy in size they produce loud and robust sounds.
Another deciding factor is the quality of the wood used, it can directly affect the tone of the instrument.
Ukulele vs Guitar: Chord Formation
Chord formation in the guitar and ukulele is very different from each other and that is mainly because of the difference between the number of strings and tuning patterns.
It is considered that chord formation on the guitar is more difficult to learn than that of the ukulele. There are many chords on the ukulele that can be formed with just one or two fingers. However, a chord like ‘G’ requires 3 fingers to form in a ukulele but there are so many major chords that can be formed with just 1 or 2 fingers.
However, there are some chords on the guitar and ukulele that overlaps with each other. For example, if you hold the ‘G’ chord of the ukulele on the guitar it will become the ‘D’ chord in the guitar.
The price difference between Ukulele and Guitar
Another difference is the price. Ukuleles are very cheap in price as compared to guitars, the entry-level ukulele will easily cost you only $50. Whereas guitars are very expensive, an entry-level guitar will easily cost you $150.
And that’s the reason why I consider the ukulele a very fun instrument for those who just want to try their hands on string instruments. If you made up your mind to learn a musical instrument but aren’t sure whether you gonna like it or not then my advice to you would be to buy a ukulele first and try your hands on it.
After spending a few weeks with the ukulele, it’s up to you whether you like to continue with the ukulele or just want to upgrade to a guitar. I personally believe ukuleles are very good instruments to develop interest without breaking the bank.
Ukulele vs Guitar: What are some similarities?
So, below I have made some points that describe the similarities between the two.
- They both are string instruments.
- Strumming and plucking the strings are almost similar in ukuleles and guitars.
- Both are used to play wide genres of music such as rock, pop, jazz, etc.
- In terms of accessories, both instruments use strings, tuners, capo, etc.
- Both are made up of similar material, i.e wood.
- Look wise both are the same with neck and body, however, the size is a major difference here.
Is Ukulele Easier to Learn than the guitar?
Well yes, I personally believe ukuleles are easier to play than guitars because of the smaller size of ukuleles, it really helps in holding the ukulele, even a kid can comfortably hold the ukulele.
Another reason is chord formation, as I already it is very easy to form chords on ukuleles than on guitar. With the help of just one or two fingers, you can form many chords.
Ukuleles have soft strings that are made of nylon and rubber, and they are very soft to the touch and very helpful for beginners.
If you already know guitar then it will be a plus point for you to learn ukulele as the tuning pattern is not that much different. Within a span of a few weeks, you can easily learn the ukulele.
Every instrument demands commitment and discipline, if you are disciplined enough then no instrument is difficult to learn.
Our article Ukulele vs Guitar has come to an end now. I hope all the points that I made in this article helped you in clearing your doubts regarding the difference between the ukulele and the guitar.
In the end, it’s up to your what’s your choice and what you think is suitable for you. If you think the ukulele is the one for you then goahead and grab one, it won’t cost you that much. If you think the guitar is the one then goahead and grab it.
If you wanna ask me some musical-related questions then do comment down below and I will answer your all questions.