The typical ukulele has four strings (G-C-E-A). I started on this instrument at the beginning. However, as I learned more about the 6-String ukulele, the guitarlele, I started to explore the rich tones of this instrument while simultaneously growing as a ukulele player.
Whether you learn them simultaneously or not, it is good to know the differences between a 4-string and 6-string ukulele, so that you can branch out as you develop as a musician. This article demystifies the guitarlele and gives you information about two guitarleles that can be purchased on store.ukelikethepros.com.
What is a 6-String Guitarlele?
Is a guitarlele a mini guitar? Is it the same as an ukulele? Is it a hybrid of the two? These questions may strike you as confusing as you learn more about this versatile instrument. I play both, and I enjoy both equally. To answer the first question, I give you a resounding “no”: the guitarlele is not a mini guitar. Although it has 6 strings like a guitar, it is tuned differently.
In fact, the last four strings of the guitarlele (top to bottom) are the same as an ukulele (G-C-E-A,) which means you can play ukulele songs on the guitarlele if you ignore the first two strings which are A-D. If you can only bring one instrument to a destination, you could grab and go with your guitarlele and have two instruments in one quite easily.
More about the Guitarlele
The size of a guitarlele is like a tenor-size ukulele, which makes it easier for transport. The nut width is larger than most ukuleles to accommodate the six strings. Generally, jazz and normal songs sound bigger because of the added two strings. I find my chord shapes richer when I use all six strings on my guitarlele. The guitarlele allows you to play “thicker” chords with low tones that deepen the complexity of sounds from the guitarlele. Guitarleles are easy to travel with, can be stored at your hotel without fuss, and accommodate songwriting with its range and possibilities. For more on the guitarlele, check out the following video by Terry Carter! Here, he’ll answer a lot of your questions.
Why the 6-String Guitarlele Versus the 4-String Ukulele?
The guitarlele is an amazing instrument in itself. I still bring one ukulele with me when I travel locally, but I oftentimes bring my guitarlele as well. The main reason for this is because I just picked up the guitarlele not too long ago, and I have not mastered the ukulele yet. However, if you build your abilities on both instruments, you will likely grab the guitarlele… so why the 6-String guitarlele?
Read more: Are Ukulele And Guitar The Same?
This is one of Terry Carter’s favorite instruments, and part of the reason why I bought a guitarlele from store.ukelikethepros.com was because of the support available on Uke Like the Pros (ULTP). There are guitarlele courses that I can access as a premium member, and there are live Q & A sessions devoted to the guitarlele! This is a diverse instrument with more range than an ukulele, and it’s smaller than a guitar. As a person with small hands and fingers, I appreciate the ease of the guitarlele even though I still find it challenging. In this video, Guitarlele Possibilities, Terry Carter discusses the possibilities of the guitarlele.
You can watch about ULTP Nation in this video, Is Guitarlele Stupid? There is so much content from ULTP on this instrument, so you will be supported every step of the way!
Guitarleles Available at the Terry Carter Music Store
I selected two instruments, both guitarleles, to talk about because I have one of them and because I want the other one. This section goes through the specs, and reviews the positives of each instrument. I personally have the Ohana TKGL-20:
Ohana TKGL-20 Guitarlele
I purchased this instrument knowing that I would buy another one once I outgrew the Ohana. For the price point, this is a great entry-level instrument for a beginning guitarlele player. Had I played the guitarlele longer, I might have bought a KoAloha, but at the time, I wanted to explore the guitarlele without spending a lot to start. This is definitely a quality instrument, and you can view this video, Ohana TKGL-20, by Terry Carter to get full specs on it.
The highlight of this instrument is the solid mahogany top which gives this guitarlele nice resonance and warm overtones. It also has a comfortable nut width at almost 2 inches. The neck is thicker than a KoAloha and thinner than a Romero’s Creations. For the price point, this guitarlele is a beautiful instrument. I enjoy mine as I explore the Ohana TKGL-20.
KoAloha KTO-G6 Guitarlele
This is the instrument that I want, and Terry Carter oftentimes uses this very model to play progressions or to instruct fellow players. Full specs and playing can be viewed on this video, KoAloha KTO-G6. It is solid acacia wood (part of the Koa family), and it is easy to hold at a tenor size.
There is a clear spectrum of tones with a solid, satin finish, mahogany neck, open gear tuners, and new bone tusk nut and saddle. It is a typical tenor scale at 17 inches. The feature of this beautiful instrument is the 2-inch wide neck (one of the widest) for easier play, a hard wood fretboard, and maple fretboard markers, giving it a richer sound. If you purchase this fine instrument from store.ukelikethepros.com, you will receive a free guitarlele course, a lifetime warranty, a padded gig bag, and KoAloha’s trademark setup with a low action.
Whether you are an accomplished ukulele player, or you are just intrigued, the guitarlele has many things to offer a musician. I keep learning more and more, but I am very much looking forward to songwriting with my guitarlele one day. Explore and enjoy this diverse instrument regardless of your current skill level, and do it with ULTP!