The ukuleles are increasingly used as an accompanying instrument, which is not surprising because they are offered at a relatively affordable price. However, there is a wide variety of ukuleles. This buying guide will help you make your choice by answering the most frequently asked questions. Your question is not there? Do not hesitate to contact us for: BEST ELECTRIC GUITARS | GUITARS ONLINE
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What is a ukulele?
The ukulele is a small plucked instrument producing a relatively sharp and acute sound. In general, it is used to play chords. Because of its compact size and reduced string count, most musicians find it easier to play than a guitar. In addition, the ukulele is perfect for children who take their first steps in music, since the neck of a guitar is usually too long and too wide for small hands.
The ukulele is quite similar to an acoustic guitar. Indeed, these instruments have the same main elements. But contrary to what one might think, the ukulele is not based on the concept of the guitar. In fact, he is the descendant of several Portuguese string instruments, such as cavaquinho and Braga machete, brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century. The king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua, fell under the spell of the instrument, otherwise, the ukulele would not be what it is today. There are several hypotheses as to the origin of the word ukulele. Thus, it comes from the aggregation of two Hawaiian words meaning “jumping chip”, a reference to the gesture of the ukulele player who seems to scrape a chip.
Which size should I choose for my ukulele?
If you want to try ukulele, the first thing to consider is the size. With a length of about 50 cm, the soprano is one of the smallest ukuleles, and is sometimes called “standard size”.
Do you prefer an even smaller instrument? So, opt for a sopranino model. Those with relatively long fingers usually choose a ukulele concert or a tenor ukulele (about 65 cm long). Note that the majority of musicians start on a soprano model or a concert model.
You’re a guitarist and you want to go to ukulele, but you do not like the high-pitched sound of a standard model? In this case, a baritone ukulele is the best choice. For guitarists who want to have six strings, there are guitars. Be aware that bassists could opt for a low ukulele that produces a lower sound than a standard ukulele. See also the third question.
How to give a ukulele?
The standard and classical tuning of the ukulele is Sol-Do-Mi-La (La-Re-Fa # -Si). On most stringed instruments, such as the guitar, strings are tuned up and down. This is also the case of a standard ukulele, except for the first string, since it sounds sharper than the second string. On soprano, sopranino and concert models, Sol-Do-Mi-La tuning is generally used, as is some tenor ukuleles. On these, some musicians prefer to put the fourth string (Sol) at the lower octave.
For guitarists, it’s relatively simple to switch to a ukulele. Indeed, the Sol-Do-Mi-La tuning is quite similar to that of the four highest strings of a guitar, when you place a capo on the fifth fret and you give the first string to the upper octave. The way we plate an agreement is therefore similar on a ukulele. The difference is even smaller if you choose a baritone model. Indeed, the strings of the latter are identical to the four highest strings of a guitar (Re-Sol-Si-Mi). Note that the tuning of a guitar is identical to that of a guitar, but it produces a higher pitch. The ukulele bass for them, they are tuned in the same way as a four-string bass,
Which strings to use on a ukulele?
On a new ukulele, the strings are already mounted. To start playing, you just have to tune your instrument. However, if your ukulele starts to sound “flat”, it’s time to replace the strings, which is relatively easy. To find the strings that are best for you, we recommend trying different strings. Note that ukuleles are generally not equipped with very high-quality ropes when they leave the factory.
Like a classical guitar, ukuleles usually have nylon strings. Warning: Never change a set of nylon strings by steel strings, since pulling steel strings is much too much for a ukulele.
If you can not find an indication on a string set, this is probably a soprano ukulele game. To be certain, choose a game where the type of ropes is clearly indicated on the package.
What else do I need for a ukulele?
Like a guitar, a ukulele must be given regularly. A good tuner is therefore essential. To put your instrument safely, we advise you to use ukulele support. In addition to a set of spare strings, also purchase a case or case to carry your Ukulele safely. We recommend that you opt for a case of good quality if you own a relatively expensive ukulele. The majority of musicians hold their ukulele between the upper arm and their bodies. If you want to play standing in this same position, we advise you to use a strap to provide extra security. In general, ukuleles can be played with fingers or with a felt pick. To get a clearer sound, you can use a guitar pick. If you want to improve your game, know that we also offer several books for ukulele.
What is the best material for a ukulele?
The majority of Hawaiian ukuleles were originally made in koa, but this wood has become rare. This is why mahogany and spruce are today more and more used for the manufacture of ukuleles. Note that beginners will probably not hear the difference between these different woods. High-end models often have a solid wood table for a richer and deeper sound. To make the right choice, you must first define your criteria. So, just look at the features on the product pages to see what material a ukulele is made of. To learn more about the different materials used to make ukuleles, take a look at our blogs and buying guides on guitars.
There are also ukuleles that do not use wood as a base, such as resonator ukuleles. These are, partially or entirely, made of metal. In the entry-level, you will also find plastic models – like polycarbonate. In addition to a sound quite similar to wooden models in this range, these ukuleles are much less sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.
What is an electric-acoustic ukulele?
If you want to go on stage with your ukulele, you will probably need a little more sound power. In this case, an electro-acoustic ukulele is the best choice. This is an acoustic ukulele with a “sensor”, a 1/4 “phone jack, volume and tone settings, and sometimes a tuner. Thus, it can be connected to a mixer, using a direct box, for example. If your ukulele does not have a microphone, you can install a sensor and a 1/4 “phone jack. Know there are also microphones that you can stick on the soundbox of your ukulele.
Attention: there are also ukuleles equipped with a body solid body, like an electric guitar. If you use a ukulele of this type without an amp, you will have a very weak sound.