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4-String Ukulele Vs. Guitalele: What Are the Differences?

What is a 4-string ukulele, and how does it differ from a Guitalele?

The guitar is an all-time favorite instrument for many. But when talking about distinguishing between the two smaller members of the guitar family, things get a bit confusing. Ukulele and guitalele are both guitar-like instruments with similar features and attributes. Although the identical characteristics of the two instruments outweigh the differences, you should still have a fair idea of how to choose one over the other.

We will clear your doubts about these instruments, pointing out the similarities and differences in this guitalele vs. ukulele guide.

4-String Ukulele & 6-String Guitalele: What Are They?

  • Ukulele

The 4-string ukulele belongs to the lute family of music. The people of Hawaii adopted this guitar-like instrument in the late 19th century from the Portuguese Machate. This classical instrument is made of nylon string which makes it travel-friendly. 

Currently, the 4-string ukulele comes in four sizes and has different tunings, including Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone. The peculiar sound produced by the ukulele is due to the fourth string tuning that has a higher octave.

  • Guitalele 

Guitalele is a hybrid musical instrument. Yamaha designed it in 1997 by fusing the standard guitar and ukulele. Guitalele, more commonly known as guitalele, is famous for being travel friendly. 

Instead of having a standard guitar-like tuning, the guitalele can be tuned as a tenor ukulele. It means if you put a capo on the fifth fret of the standard guitar, it will sound like a guitalele. Guitalele is considered a mini guitar suitable to be carried around for travel purposes.

Similarities between Ukulele and Guitalele

  • Small Size

The ukulele and guitalele both are small in size. They are about ¼ the size of a standard guitar. To be more precise, the guitalele is slightly bigger and heavier than the 4-string ukulele.  The small stature of both these instruments makes them easy to carry anywhere. 

  • Low Action

Since both the instruments are smaller in size, they are perfect playing companions due to their ease of use. Whether you are on an excursion in the countryside or are traveling around the world, both these instruments are perfect for playing lively music. Although they won’t project sound like a full-size guitar, they are still an excellent choice for low-action activities.

  • Small-Hands Friendly

They have similar fretboards, and the strings are compactly arranged according to the ratio of the guitar. The close arrangement of the fretboard and strings make it comfortable for people having smaller hands and shorter fingers.

  • Material

The strings on both instruments are made of nylon. Compared to steel strings, nylon strings are loosely attached. The special nylon strings are rust-free and can be easily pressed down by a beginner.

  • Fret Numbers

Both these instruments have similar fretboards having about 12-15 frets on them. The length and width of the strings are also identical. Moreover, the first four strings have similar tuning, making the two instruments even more identical.  

Differences between Ukulele and Guitalele

  • Strings Number

The key difference between the two instruments is the number of strings on their fretboard. Where the ukulele has four strings (hence the name, 4-string ukulele), the guitalele has six strings tuned in the same interval as a guitar. The fifth string tuning is D, and the sixth one is in the lower octave of A. These two base strings give you more flexibility and freedom while playing music. 

  • Sound

The difference in the number of strings causes variation in the tunes produced by the two instruments. The guitalele with its two heavier extra brass strings produces a guitar-like sound. It also gives you a choice to add two extra strings while strumming a chord. 

However, the 4-string ukulele has four strings on the fretboard. Its distinguishing feature is its high G string which produces a unique lighter sound. But you can also achieve the same tune on the guitalele. You just have to replace the fourth string of the guitalele with a four-string ukulele.

  • Covering Octaves

The music you can compose with a guitalele is livelier than the 4-string ukulele. Guitalele covers more than three octaves, whereas the ukulele only covers two octaves. Also, the 4-string ukulele can organize only the higher notes, but with the guitalele, you can add base notes as well. This makes it easier to play more musical notes more comfortably.

  • Ease of Learning

Ukulele has four strings, and you can manage the chords with four fingers making learning and playing way easier. However, playing a guitalele is similar to a guitar. There are more strings on the guitalele, making it complicated to play and manage chords. You need more strength to play the chords, especially the barre chord.

Benefits of Alice Ukulele String AU048J and Alice Guitalele String ACU135

Alice is known around the world for delivering high-quality music accessories. Every product manufactured and delivered by the brand is a result of extensive technological research. Alice brings you the golden strings series for your 4-string ukulele and plain strings for your guitalele. Both these strings are of high quality and can help you play lively music.

  • The ACU135 Guitalele Strings are modified nylon plain strings that are silver plated with copper winding. Their Anti-Rust Coating provides excellent durability. These guitalele strings are designed for advanced concert performance, featuring a rich, warm, and bright timbre that allows reaching stable tuning speedily.

  • The AU048J Ukulele String Set or the golden carbon plain string set allows for a more bright and elegant tone. They provide a distinctive bouncing granule-like feel and are highly suitable for tenor (26″) ukuleles, thanks to their GCEA tuning. In short, Alice Golden strings facilitate a unique playing style and experience.

Conclusion 

Alice® is an internationally leading brand known for its high-quality professional music products created using high-tech materials. When it comes to guitar strings, the brand is relied upon by artists and guitar enthusiasts worldwide. So, if you wish to buy the best guitar strings for guitalele or 4-string ukulele for the finest tunes and notes, check the products on Alice’s online web store! 

 

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