5 Tips for Making Your Guitar Sound Like a Ukelele

The ukelele has made a bit of a resurgence the past few years in popular music. And why not? I mean, it's fun, quirky, and let's face it...cute.

And like all other instruments, the ukelele has it's own voice. It adds it's own "thing" to a song.

While you won't ever truly get the sound of a ukelele without getting a ukelele, you can get in the ballpark by applying these 5 tips to your guitar playing.

  • 1. Use a Capo - A soprano ukelele uses a G C E A tuning...the same as the top 4 strings of a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. Usually the G is tuned up an octave. A capo on the 5th fret is a great starting point for getting the ukelele sound on guitar.
  • 2. Only play on the top 4 strings - Ukeleles have 4 strings. Enough said.
  • 3. Use 6th chords - Ukeleles are tuned to an open C6 chord (5th, root, 3rd, 6th), and uke players often rely on 6th chords in their playing. Try subbing 6th chords in place of major chords.
  • 4. Use chord inversions - As a guitarist, it's easy to get stuck on root position chord voicings. Most guitarists have no problem finding chords with root notes on the low E and A strings, but it gets trickier when those strings are off limits. To get a more authentic uke sound, you'll want to get comfortable playing inversions of chords where the 3rd, 5th, 6th or 7th is the lowest note in the voicing.
  • 5. Use a nylon string guitar - Ukeleles are nylon or gut string instruments. You'll get a more authentic sound from your nylon string guitar than from a steel string.

    There you have it! Give these 5 tips a go and see how closely you can mimic the sound and character of a ukelele with your guitar. Let me know how it goes for you!


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