You’ve got a song in your heart, and your fingers are ready to strum.
You’ve narrowed your instrument of choice to two contenders. But you’re asking, “Should I learn ukulele or guitar?”
Learning to play a new instrument is an investment — in both time and money — so it’s wise to pause and consider which may be best for you or your child.
With just a few differences, pros, and cons to explore, you’ll be strumming a tune in no time on the right instrument. And we’re here to help.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose Whether to Learn Ukulele or Guitar
- What Is Easier to Learn — Ukulele or Guitar?
- Pros and Cons of Learning to Play Ukulele vs. Guitar
- If You Plan to Play Both Instruments, Should You Learn Guitar or Ukulele First?
- Northwest School of Music Can Help You Decide Whether Learning Guitar or Ukulele Is Best for You
How to Choose Whether to Learn Ukulele or Guitar
Whether you choose to learn ukulele or guitar, you’ve made a great choice. Both are wonderful and fun instruments.
But depending on your …
- Age; and
… one might be a better fit for you over the other.
It’s important to learn the main differences first — and then compare them to what you want in an instrument.
Whichever instrument is best for you or your child, at Northwest School of Music you can learn guitar or ukulele with an experienced, passionate instructor.
First — Understand the 4 Main Differences Between the Two Instruments
You’ve probably seen both instruments being played, and musicians can make each one seem fun and exciting to learn. But it’s still important to consider and ask, “How is ukulele different from guitar?”
There are four main differences:
- Sound; and
While there are multiple sizes of both ukuleles and guitars, even the smallest guitar is still going to be larger than the biggest ukulele. For reference, a 3/4-sized acoustic guitar is still larger than a tenor ukulele.
The fretboard (also called fingerboard) of the ukulele is thinner than the guitar’s. It is also much shorter.
Some guitars have nylon strings, such as classical-style instruments, but the most popular guitar models have steel strings. Ukuleles have nylon strings.
The number of strings on each instrument is also different:
- The standard guitar has six strings.
- The ukulele has four strings.
Depending on the model (acoustic or electric), a guitar can give you a variety of unique and beautiful sounds. Whether you’re wanting soft, lively, or window-shattering sounds, you may find a guitar to be more versatile.
However, a ukulele has a distinct sound that instantly transports your mind to paradise.
Guitars are generally more expensive than ukuleles. A good beginner guitar can run around $200, while a quality ukulele may be between $50-$100.
At Northwest School of Music, whether you want to learn guitar or ukulele, the price is the same.
We offer guitar and ukulele lessons for all …
- Levels; and
… in a fun, upbeat, and encouraging environment.
Second — Consider Your Musical Preferences
There are important questions to answer when you’re trying to choose between instruments:
- What experience are you hoping for when you learn guitar or ukulele?
- Where do you want to play?
- What kinds of songs do you want to play?
- Do you want to sing while you play?
If you love hard rock, you may not get the sound you love out of a ukulele. If you plan to sing while playing your instrument, consider which instrument fits into your most comfortable vocal range.
Musical Range Differences Between the Guitar and Ukulele
Since its fretboard is longer, a guitar can reach much lower tones than the ukulele can.
While its range is smaller, you can still play a variety of music on a ukulele. And depending on what size ukulele you purchase, different tones are available.
What Is Easier to Learn — Ukulele or Guitar?
If you’re a beginner, the most important question to be answered is probably, “Is it easier to learn guitar or ukulele?” Many people will tell you the ukulele is easier to learn, but that’s not always the case.
For most, the learning curve for the ukulele is much easier than that of the guitar. With effective lessons and practice, you can begin making music and playing songs within a few days. Beginners will find the fewer number of strings, combined with their lower tension, to be easier to play.
However, a guitar may be easier for you to learn if you have larger hands. Ukulele frets are quite small and can be more difficult to play chords on for some.
Pros and Cons of Learning to Play Ukulele vs. Guitar
Pros of Learning the Ukulele
The ukulele is:
- Faster to learn for most beginners.
- Cheaper to purchase new.
- Small and more portable.
- Great for kids to learn on.
- Fun to play with higher, cheerful tones.
Cons of Learning the Ukulele
Some students may find the ukulele to:
- Be harder to play with larger hands.
- Have a smaller range of tone for their preferences.
- Have fewer options for lessons.
Pros of Learning the Guitar
Choosing to play the guitar can give students:
- A wider variety of music styles.
- A wider range of tones.
- A better option if they have larger hands.
- More options for lessons.
Cons of Learning the Guitar
However, the guitar can be:
- Significantly more expensive.
- Not as portable.
- More difficult to learn for beginners.
If You Plan to Play Both Instruments, Should You Learn Guitar or Ukulele First?
If the pros of both instruments make you want to learn both instruments, you may still be asking, “Should I learn guitar or ukulele first?”
If you want to learn both guitar and ukulele, you may find it better to begin with the ukulele. The ukulele is a great starter instrument before the guitar, especially for children — learning to play the ukulele can help with muscle memory for learning chords.
However, the right instrument to begin with is the one that gets you the most excited.
Also, remember that no matter which instrument you choose to begin with, it can serve as the gateway for your musical journey.
Northwest School of Music Can Help You Decide Whether Learning Guitar or Ukulele Is Best for You
Ready to learn guitar or ukulele? Or maybe a different instrument is best for you.
Whether it’s …
- Cello; or
… another passion in the arts, like singing or dance — we can help.
Northwest School of Music teaches these and more (over 15 different instruments) under one roof with qualified, educated, and experienced instructors.
We make it easy to find the right fit for your musical and creative goals.
We’re Oregon’s #1 choice for music lessons for a reason.
Reach out today to take the first step toward finding your new musical passion.