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If we learn and master the ukulele first, will the knowledge help in learning the guitar easier in the future?

marked as duplicate by David Bowling, Richard, Dom Oct 22 '18 at 20:34

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  • Learning any musical instrument will help when you learn the next one, but learning ukulele before guitar won't be particularly more helpful than learning any other instrument first. Similarly, you could learn guitar before ukulele; it does not really matter. – David Bowling Oct 18 '18 at 16:56
  • DEFINITELY a duplicate. – user45266 Oct 18 '18 at 18:51

Due to the difference in tuning, the chord shapes aren't going to correspond. 4 strings against 6 and the size differences won't be a lot of help either. It's hardly like the uke is the nursery slope compared to the black run of a guitar.

However, you'll also be learning about music - how it works, which chords work with which others, scales, etc. That'll stand you in good stead. So, yes. it'll help, but only as much as doing vice versa.

I see no reason why the two shouldn't be learned in tandem - providing there's room in your time for both.

  • that is not entirely true. the shapes for many chords are the same but produce a chord up a forth or down a fifth. for example the D major triad shape for the guitar if played on the uke will be a G major triad. if you take any other partial chord that can be played on the top 4 strings on the guitar you can take that shape and play it on the uke, figure out the transposition and play it. movable 3 and 4 string shapes work particularly well. if you take a barre chord with a 5th string root and play just the top 4 you can use that on the uke for example. – b3ko Oct 18 '18 at 18:33
  • @b3ko - you are correct. For open chords. Once the other two strings come into play, fingerings may need changing, which can be counter-productive. – Tim Oct 18 '18 at 19:10
  • if you take a major triad bar chord on the guitar, root 5th string, and just play the top 4 string, you can take that shape, and move it to the uke and get a major triad. i am not sure what you mean. for example c major (3, 5, 5, 5) on the guitar (c, e, c, g,) is F on Uke (3, 5, 5, 5 ) (C, F, A, C) – b3ko Oct 18 '18 at 19:15

Personally I learned guitar as a kid (but I'm very mediocre) and a few years ago I got a ukelele and learned a few basic chords. I also own and occasionally play around with mandolin and banjo. So I have some basic skill with changing fingerings for different tunings.

The ukelele compared to guitar has different tuning, much shorter scale, and much lighter action. So for the hand on the fret board that's a big difference. One will need to make many adjustments for that hand switching from ukelele to guitar.

On the other hand. Learning to coordinate two hands, one to finger the fretboard and the other to strum/pluck will apply to both instruments.

So, ukelele may be a bit easier for the fretboard hand, because of the light action, and could be a gentler introduction for coordinating the two hands. But after gaining that initial coordination one would probably need to switch over to guitar soon to learn the different tuning, scale and action.


Yes it will for several reasons:

  1. You will be learning to get your fingers into seemingly awkward positions that will help you learn the guitar later.

  2. Coordination of strumming and fretting hands will be used on both instruments

  3. music theory is the same on both instruments. A major chord is a major chord on any instrument and they are spelled (i.e the notes that make the chord) the same on any instrument so learning that from playing will just help you become a good musician. Same can be said for common chord progressions.

  4. Guitarists tend to think in shapes as it is an instrument that lends itself nicely to that. Shapes on the top (thinnest, highest pitched) strings on the guitar (e, b, g, d) will be the same on the Uke (a, e, c, g). for example if you play a D major triad on the guitar and take that same shape and move it to the Uke you will be playing a G major triad. so even though the notes have changed the relationship of the notes and therefore the shape of the fingers will be the same. this will be helpful when learning the second instrument.

  5. although the Uke will be easier physically on the fretting fingers it will get your fingers tips in shape for playing the guitar (i.e. you will start to form some calluses)

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