How Can Ukulele Players Play Guitar?

People looking to start playing an instrument often start off by starting with a ukulele. It is an affordable instrument with easy learning curve and progression potential.

Beginners often assume their ukulele skills will automatically transfer over to playing guitar without much additional work; unfortunately, this is not always the case.


The ukulele is smaller than a guitar, which makes it easier for beginners to pick up and play. Furthermore, its size means it fits inside most guitar cases when traveling with it – another bonus feature!

Keep in mind that your success with the ukulele depends directly on how hard and consistently you practice. No matter if your aim is to become a professional musician or simply play for fun at campfire gatherings, committing to your practice sessions is crucial for reaching success at playing this instrument.

Beginners should start off by practicing on a soprano ukulele to gain an understanding of this instrument. With four strings made from wood and designed for easy finger-strumming without injuring yourself, its four strings allow beginners to strum easily without hurting themselves. As soon as you feel ready to upgrade to larger instrument sizes like concert and tenor models (both larger in length and width than their soprano counterparts), consider them. Tenor models offer even larger hands or those interested in finger-picking songs!

While ukuleles can make great starting instruments, when starting out it is always wiser to select high-quality instruments to maximize performance and enjoyment. When looking for your first instrument, select an instrument made from quality wood such as koa or mahogany to maximize both performance and pleasure.

Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of playing ukulele, transitioning to guitar may seem natural. But keep in mind that chord shapes won’t necessarily correspond – ukulele strings are tuned D-G-B-E while guitar ones use G-C-A-D tunings – although it may take time and practice before adapting fully.


Strings are an integral component of the guitar as they influence its tone, flexibility, tension and ease of playing chords and melody lines. There are various brands, types, gauges of strings available on the market – each offering their own distinct sound and feel – so when experimenting it is wise to keep track of which sets you try as well as their sounds/feels for easier future reference.

The most widely-used guitar string style is roundwound; however, flatwound strings offer a mellower sound and may be better suited to jazz playing. Furthermore, strings with different windings provide additional or reduced grip during bending action and you may even come across ones covered in modern space age materials for durability and smoothness.

Guitar players must remember that the size and gauge of strings needed will depend upon the size and shape of their hands. A guitarist with small hands may require heavier strings than someone with larger ones; too light a string could make playing difficult while producing an unpleasant sharp sound when being played.

Guitarists must consider both size and musical genre/style when choosing their strings. For instance, when performing rock music in a band setting, pure nickel strings will offer optimal bite and volume levels; on the other hand, classical musicians might find nylon string sets more suitable.


Scales are series of notes arranged in a specific pattern of whole and half steps that provide melodies and harmonies in music. There are many types of scales; major, minor, pentatonic and blue are among the most widely known ones. You may have noticed some sharing similar shapes due to having similar root notes and finger numbers.

Transferring scale shapes between keys is easy; simply locate their root note on the fretboard. From there, simply move that same finger number up or down a string to change keys of that scale shape.

Once you have your scales under your fingers, you can start applying them over a chord progression and exploring your musical ideas – this is when ukulele scales become your creative medium!

As there are plenty of chords to choose from, you should easily be able to find one that complements your scale’s sound. Furthermore, try shifting up or down one fret for a different sound – this practice is known as “playing outside the key”, and can add lots of character and flair to your music!

There are musicians of all generations who don’t use any scales at all; yet their creativity doesn’t seem limited by this fact. Some of the greatest and most original music uses multiple scales – so don’t hesitate to explore and experiment with all kinds of musical genres as you learn guitar; you never know what surprises await!


Fingerboards are flat pieces of wood attached to string instruments. It contains raised strips of hard material known as frets that the musician presses against to stop particular pitches or intervals on their strings, called frets. Frets may be fixed (on guitar and mandolin for instance) or moveable as in a lute; with fretted strings sounding sharper and more precise due to damping vibrations more effectively than fingers alone can.

As opposed to keyboards, which feature flat fingerboards, many plucked instruments such as guitars, ukuleles and bowed strings have curved fingerboards which make it easier for their players to navigate by feel alone. Furthermore, their radius impacts intonation as it affects distance between string and fret wire; therefore maintaining their condition is paramount to musical success.

As part of your service, ensure the fingerboard is composed of ebony to achieve optimal tone quality. In addition, remove all dirt, dust and grime accumulated on it by regularly dusting. Check and repair any cracks as necessary and check that all strings are secure with their strings being tightly strung before attempting any adjustments or tunings.

Re-glueing your fingerboard to its neck using hide glue – a water-soluble type used by luthiers for repair or maintenance purposes – may also help. Applying small drops to any cracks will prevent further worsening and make re-gluing much simpler. Practicing scales at all fretboard locations will allow you to become familiar with different timing variations between fingers and strings as well as between strings and fretwires and get familiar with potential intone issues.


Many ukulele players find taking guitar lessons beneficial in helping to hone their skills. This is especially beneficial to beginners as it allows them to build on their technique and chord knowledge while learning another instrument altogether. It is important to keep in mind, however, that playing the ukulele differs significantly from playing guitar with regards to chord shape compatibility as well as some other factors to keep in mind when switching instruments.

Ukuleles, due to being smaller instruments with four strings instead of six, make it easier to play some songs that may otherwise be difficult on full-sized guitars. Ukuleles can also serve as an effective means of teaching scales, chord shapes and other aspects of music that will benefit guitarists as they continue their musical education journey.

Jake Shimabukuro is an internationally renowned ukulele player known for his distinct style that spans multiple genres, from blues, rock, funk, jazz, classical, flamenco and more. With multiple albums released to sold-out audiences around the globe.

Ukuleles are great instruments to play and their distinctive sound will bring joy and laughter to all those around you. Additionally, their straightforward learning process makes ukuleles an excellent choice for beginners as well as children looking to start music but afraid of taking on stringed instruments like guitar.

If you have been playing guitar for an extended period of time, incorporating ukulele into your performances can bring new depth. Not only can the instrument add distinct timbre and voice qualities that cannot be found with solo guitar playing alone; but it can also serve as an invaluable asset to band or group performances.