Soprano Guitar and Ukelele

What is a ukelele?  What is a soprano guitar?

A ukekele is like a very small guitar, usually about 17" long, which is very light, inexpensive, and easy to play.   Ukeleles vary in size from soprano, concert, tenor and baritone models.  The ukelele has only four, nylon  strings.   A soprano guitar is simply a ukelele that has the same top four strings as a regular guitar, but they are tuned higher.

Here are the advantages of a ukelele or soprano guitar:

  • because of their small body size, they are easy to hold 
  • their nylon strings are easy to press down, and they don't hurt the fingers to play either 
  • the chords are easy to play, even if you have small fingers
  • even small children as young as 6 or 7 years of age can play simple songs easily on both instruments in a very short period of time
  • high playable and attractive beginners models range from only $30 to $130 which includes a case 

For this reason, both instruments are great for young children, adults who want to learn to play a guitar-like instrument quickly and easily, or guitar players who want a portable instrument.

What's the Difference between a Soprano Guitar and a Ukelele? 

Normally, you buy a ukelele and then either play it "as is" or put soprano guitar strings on it to make it a soprano guitar.   Although both instruments share the same ukelele body and neck, they have a few differences:

Soprano Guitar

Ukelele


Tuned D-G-B-E


Tuned G-C-E-A


Same highest four strings as a guitar, but pitched higher


Different strings than a guitar

Uses same chords as a guitar

Uses similar, but slightly different chords than a guitar

More songbooks available

Fewer songbooks available

You have to buy a new set of strings
(Cost $10-$20 with shipping)

No new strings necessary; comes with ukelele strings

Everything you learn on a soprano guitar can be used on a regular guitar

You have to learn some new concepts to transition from a ukelele to a regular guitar

Note reading learned on a
ukelele isn't applicable to a guitar, so you have to start over again to learn notes on a guitar

 

Which do you recommend?  Soprano Guitar or Ukelele?

For children, I recommend the soprano guitar.   This is due to the greater availability of instruction books for children.  The books are colorful, fun, and gradual, and VERY suitable for children.  Such books aren't as readily available for the ukelele.  Also, most children may well want to learn guitar as they grow and their fingers gain strength; starting children on the soprano guitar makes a seamless transition to a full, 6 string guitar eventually.

For adults, I recommend the ukelele.   This is because adults are able to pick up the instrument very quickly.  They are usually highly motivated, and therefore, don't need the gradual and fun books that are written for children.  Also, adults are able to make the switch to guitar very easily.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.  Listen to sound samples and hear the difference between the two instruments! (COMING SOON)!!!

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