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  #16  
Old 05-30-2019, 11:27 AM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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The skills your 4 year old will learn on ukulele are easily transferable to guitar when and if the time comes. Many chord shapes are very similar, though they don't play the same chords. But mostly the child will develop some of the motor skills needed to form chords with one hand while strumming or picking with the other with an instrument that for many beginners is far less intimidating than a guitar can be.
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  #17  
Old 05-30-2019, 12:28 PM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
Many chord shapes are very similar, though they don't play the same chords.
I don't see how that can not be confusing! I know melodic sense (or was is the sense for intonation) is supposed to develop only later, but it sounds like the child would have to unlearn the association between fingering patterns on the one hand and chord name and sound on the other hand.

Compare with languages: truly multilingual people have grown up in a multilingual environment, not in an environment where they were exposed to different languages in subsequent periods. I grew up more or less the latter way and while I am almost trilingual switching remains something that takes a conscious effort.

All that said, I'm not a guitar teacher nor have I ever taught kids under 17 so I won't claim anything against starting with a different instrument (I just won't believe readily that it's a *bad* idea to start directly with a guitar of appropriate size O:-)).
Heck, I started on the soprano recorder myself...
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  #18  
Old 05-30-2019, 12:44 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is online now
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Get him a Fluke Uke. Priced around $209 (& up), they were designed by Jim Beloff, who is, basically, THE person responsible for the ukulele revival. Here's one source (they are widely available):

https://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Flea-St...ateway&sr=8-18

Just a few points: These are concert size, a bit bigger than standard (a/k/a soprano) size but fine for a four-year-old. They are real instruments, not toys. The chord shapes are directly transferable to guitar as he grows up. Lots of musicians started on ukulele - Charlie Christian for just one example.

The uke equivalent of AGF is ukuleleunderground.com Lots of (mostly) good advice there.

And no, do not get a baritone uke or a half size guitar or a guitalele for a four-year-old. Keep it easy and simple.

PS- playing a concert ukulele in standard tuning is the same as playing on the top four strings of a guitar capoed at the fifth fret (yes, the g string is an octave high but that has no effect on the chord shape). There is nothing to unlearn when the youngster moves on to guitar, any more than you have to unlearn anything when you use a capo.
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Last edited by frankmcr; 05-30-2019 at 12:55 PM.
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  #19  
Old 05-30-2019, 01:19 PM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
There is nothing to unlearn when the youngster moves on to guitar, any more than you have to unlearn anything when you use a capo.
That's not how using a capo feels to me, and I've been avoiding to use one because I get confused by the shorter scale length and scores that no longer sound like they're written (or if they are not 'adapted', but having different open strings). That'll have to change at some point, and I hope it will...
Either way, adding a capo to a guitar is modifying an instrument you already know. Moving to an instrument and then just playing it as if you removed something you may not even be familiar with strikes me as having a quite steeper learning curve.

In fact, I seriously considered getting myself a diddley bow first as apparently a lot of the musicians I appreciate learned on that.

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do not get a baritone uke or a half size guitar or a guitalele for a four-year-old. Keep it easy and simple.
Just curious, what do you suggest a four-year old start on instead of a piano
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  #20  
Old 05-31-2019, 06:33 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
Many chord shapes are very similar, though they don't play the same chords.
The chord shapes are identical to those on the top 4 strings of a guitar, the notes are just up 5 half steps as if capoed on 5. That's why its easy for a guitar player to play a uke as compared to adapting to an instrument with different tuning like a mandolin.
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  #21  
Old 06-01-2019, 04:14 PM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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I just want to give a big thank you to all who have taken the time to respond to this post.
I haven’t decided exactly what I will do yet but all the information provided will be considered.
My Grandson is a smart kid and I just wanted to get him started early in hopes he will be interested in playing music. Maybe maybe not... I have another one to that is 2 and already showing interest in drums and guitar.
We’ll see..,
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  #22  
Old 06-01-2019, 04:36 PM
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fazool fazool is offline
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just get a guitalele - google how to tune it like a guitar with custom strings
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  #23  
Old 06-02-2019, 02:15 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJRed View Post
get him started early in hopes he will be interested in playing music.
You mean he hasn't exactly expressed a pronounced interest in that, or in a specific instrument?

I know the guitar is a very versatile instrument and learning to play one almost a rite of passage (that I wish I had had myself!), but is it really the most appropriate instrument to begin with?
Wouldn't a keyboard instrument, or something tuned in fifths (a small mandolin?) be a better introduction if solfège and music theory are ahead down the path?

Heh, I did play around with my mom's old mandolin as a youngster, after discovering it was tuned the same as my violin. Sadly there was no one around to show me what to use it for other than the few mouldy old bundles with silly, simple (and frankly quite slimy) catholic songs I couldn't stand even back then
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  #24  
Old 06-02-2019, 03:31 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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So the Makala ukulele are quality, playable and tunable instruments?
Makala are serviceable entry level ukes and are widely available. Don't try to go any cheaper, because that will get you unplayable USO's - ukulele shaped objects. They are not pro-grade stage instruments, but that is not what you want right now.

Also consider the all-plastic Waterman ukulele at $55. I have a clear one that is unique looking, even though it does not see much play time. A friend wants me to suspend a plastic goldfish from a wire inside to look like an aquarium.
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  #25  
Old 06-17-2019, 07:58 AM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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you can get strings for a guitalele that will put it in the EADGBE tuning range -
making it small and comparable to a guitar.
you will sacrafice volume and some playability -
which might be fine for a newby player with small hands !
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  #26  
Old 06-17-2019, 01:09 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is online now
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Four strings is plenty for a four-year-old to deal with.
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  #27  
Old 06-24-2019, 09:27 PM
CaptRedbeard CaptRedbeard is offline
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If you are looking for a small 6 string guitar, then a parlor size is a choice as others have said. In the ukulele world a baritone size, which is the largest, uses the same tuning as strings 1 thru 4 of a guitar and the chording a very similar to a guitar. Hope you find the solution.
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