If you’re interested in learning to play an instrument, it can be tempting to go with the instrument that seems the most difficult at first glance. However, if you want to learn fast and start playing music right away, a ukulele might be the better choice!
Is ukulele easier than guitar? Yes, the ukulele is easier to master than the guitar. It has fewer strings, which makes it easier to press down. You don’t have to stretch your hand as far between chords because the frets are closer together. Finally, it’s way more portable than a guitar since it’s tiny.
Why Ukulele Is Easier Than Guitar
Why does the ukulele have a reputation for being more accessible than the guitar? Let’s find out why!
Ukuleles are more portable and lightweight.
When picking up a ukulele, the first thing you notice is its size, which is much smaller than a guitar. The weight of a ukulele is also very manageable—something that can make learning more comfortable.
You can carry your ukulele around in a backpack, and it doesn’t need a case as a guitar does. You can easily bring your ukulele to parties and casual get-togethers or sing at the park.
Ukuleles are easier to play.
From a beginner’s perspective, ukuleles are easier to play than guitars because they have fewer strings. When learning how to play the guitar, you must master different chords for each string—it can be overwhelming for beginners.
By contrast, you can learn chords that work with just four strings on a ukulele. Moreover, it’s easier to play the ukulele because it requires less finger dexterity and fewer notes to be played. It takes little practice to learn the basics, and there’s little to no need for specialized training.
Ukuleles don’t require as much maintenance.
Compared to other stringed instruments, ukuleles don’t require much maintenance. They aren’t delicate and don’t need to be constantly tuned or restrung. All you need to do is wipe it down with a dry cloth every so often. As long as your strings aren’t damaged or frayed, you won’t have any issues playing your ukulele.
Unlike a guitar, where if one string breaks, then all of them will immediately sound horrible. While guitars are great for professionals who perform live regularly, they’re not practical for someone just learning to play their first instrument.
Ukuleles are cheaper.
Besides being easy to learn, ukuleles are also cheap—much cheaper than guitars. You could spend as little as $30 on an entry-level model (compared with about $300 for an acoustic guitar), and you’ll be able to make music with it right away.
Since they cost so little, you can pick up several different kinds of ukuleles and try a variety of sizes, types (acoustic or electric), tunings, etc.
Ukuleles require less equipment.
All you need to start playing the ukulele are your hands and a ukulele. Easy! While many people look down on ukuleles, calling them cheap or inexpensive, many musicians find that they offer more versatility than one might expect.
Ukulele is effortless to play if you already know guitar.
If you have a background in guitar or another instrument, it will be much easier for you to learn the ukulele than someone who has never played any instrument before.
There are only four strings, and three of them are tuned exactly like a guitar (one octave lower). This means that if you already know how to play the guitar, all you have to do is tune down your strings and start strumming. If you don’t know how to play the guitar, you can use our guide for learning. And if all else fails, there are millions of YouTube videos that can help you out!
Tips for Learning the Ukulele
What do I need to start playing the ukulele?
To start playing either ukulele, you need a few things:
- The ukulele, which can cost between $30 and $2,000 (though most are in-between $100 and $300).
- Lessons ($15/hour+), which can add up to thousands of dollars.
The fastest way to learn? Take private ukulele or guitar lessons from a professional who will show you how it’s done.
If money’s an issue, though, your best bet might be spending hours at home practicing on your own—or finding someone more affordable to give you some pointers. With ukulele specifically, head over to YouTube and search for tutorials on ukulele tabs. There are hundreds of free videos that can teach you all about music theory basics—and even play through some classic tunes for practice!
What ukulele songs can I play right away?
First of all, you might be surprised at how many songs you can play on the ukulele from day one. If you know how to play two chords—and probably only two—you’re only a few hours away from being able to play countless songs!
Most beginners learn classic folk songs like “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze” and “Kumbaya”. With only four strings, it takes less time for a beginner to play simple songs. Check out our list of easy ukulele songs for beginners so you can find out interesting songs you might want to learn.
How long does it take to become good at the ukulele?
Once you’ve learned your first few chords, you’ll have a good idea of how quickly it will take you to become good. The answer here is subjective and depends on how dedicated you are, but as a general rule: if someone can play their favorite song in a week, they are doing really well. If it takes them more than three months, they aren’t dedicating enough time or effort to it.
Remember that these numbers vary from person to person—don’t worry about comparing yourself against others. Just think about what seems realistic for you. Start there and adjust accordingly.
Most people find that playing the ukulele is easier than playing the guitar. As a beginner, you’ll need to practice and be patient, but if you’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar, a ukulele will give you a good place to start.
You don’t need a whole lot of equipment to play, and the average ukulele is less expensive than a guitar. It’s a fun, easy way to start learning to play music, and you can build on your skills by buying a more complicated, high-quality model later on.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.