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  #1  
Old 05-30-2019, 07:32 AM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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Default Ukulele for 4 year old that will chord similar to guitar?

I did the search thing and didnít really get exactly the information I needed so...
I want a beginner guitar type instrument for a small for his size boy to learn on. I want to begin teaching cords and scales that will lead to his learning guitar.
Price point is moderate but the importance of quality and playability is most important. It needs to be easy to play and as stated to cord and scale like a guitar. I guess a small guitar would be best [emoji23]
Thank you!!!
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2019, 07:55 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJRed View Post
I did the search thing and didnít really get exactly the information I needed so...
I want a beginner guitar type instrument for a small for his size boy to learn on. I want to begin teaching cords and scales that will lead to his learning guitar.
Price point is moderate but the importance of quality and playability is most important. It needs to be easy to play and as stated to cord and scale like a guitar. I guess a small guitar would be best [emoji23]
Thank you!!!
I used to market the construction plan for a mini-guitar, but it's easy for someone handy to put together one of these. This one went to a 3 year old grandson. The three string short scale is easy for small hands and it can be tuned exactly like the first three strings of a standard guitar so anything learned is easily transferable to a larger 6 string later in life.

https://youtu.be/bjlCpOVNH7U

Forget the kid stuff, these are seriously fun to play as an adult! There's another video on my website doing "Lazy Day Blues" if you wish to hear a solo instrument played.

If you want to purchase a store-bought then do a search for Loog guitars.
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:02 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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The ukulele is a different instrument, I think with a different number of strings and thus a different tuning. If you want the kid to start learning guitar chords you should indeed find a guitar.

My adopted niece is about the same age, and small for her age too. We gave her my wife's kids' guitar, with a 48mm scale length (and the steel strings replaced with nylons). It was a bit big for her, but kids grow and are much less likely to develop the kind of problems we "seniors" are wont to get when playing the wrong instrument.

I found it online a year ago, this may be a trace of the original ad:
https://www.zikinf.com/annonces/disp...nnonce=1489700
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2019, 08:37 AM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
The ukulele is a different instrument, I think with a different number of strings and thus a different tuning. If you want the kid to start learning guitar chords you should indeed find a guitar.



My adopted niece is about the same age, and small for her age too. We gave her my wife's kids' guitar, with a 48mm scale length (and the steel strings replaced with nylons). It was a bit big for her, but kids grow and are much less likely to develop the kind of problems we "seniors" are wont to get when playing the wrong instrument.



I found it online a year ago, this may be a trace of the original ad:

https://www.zikinf.com/annonces/disp...nnonce=1489700


Great plan and I will look into something like that.
I have been reading that the baritone Ukulele
has the same tuning as guitar on the first four strings?
I have researched [emoji23] mini electric guitars as well with mixed reviews. I have read heavier gauge strings with short scale lengths
The nylon strings sound interesting. Would that require a change to the bridge and nut?
Thanks for your response.
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2019, 08:42 AM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
I used to market the construction plan for a mini-guitar, but it's easy for someone handy to put together one of these. This one went to a 3 year old grandson. The three string short scale is easy for small hands and it can be tuned exactly like the first three strings of a standard guitar so anything learned is easily transferable to a larger 6 string later in life.



https://youtu.be/bjlCpOVNH7U



Forget the kid stuff, these are seriously fun to play as an adult! There's another video on my website doing "Lazy Day Blues" if you wish to hear a solo instrument played.



If you want to purchase a store-bought then do a search for Loog guitars.


Wow!!! Nice tone and playing on that.
Iím not very handy so it seems but that would be a great plan.
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2019, 08:58 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
The ukulele is a different instrument, I think with a different number of strings and thus a different tuning.
Ukuleles have 4 strings. Tuned 'the same' as the top 4 strings of a guitar(D-G-B-E), except up 5 half steps, as if you capoed a guitar on the 5th fret: G-C-E-A. People get confused about this because the normal G string is actually an octave up, but the chord shapes are the same.

Young hands do not have the dexterity or strength to play bar chords and even getting 2 strings firmly pushed down with one finger can be difficult, that's why a uke is a great first instrument. A 'mini-guitar' (something smaller than 3/4 size) is going to get abandoned as the child grows up.
A guilele (basically a 6 string ukulele) is a good option for a child in the 7-9 year old range, once their hands have developed a little further.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2019, 09:14 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I would start a four year old on a soprano sized ukulele, tuned GCEA (more likely gCEA with a high G string). This will fit their hands better and get them going. Nylon strings are good on tender young fingers, and small bodies are easy to wrap a shorter arm around. Four strings nsd shorter scale lengths are easier on developing brains too. The Makala brightly painted ukes with a dolphin bridge are about $40 and decent enough for the purpose, plus not too precious if something happens.

Later they can switch to a baritone uke, tuned DGBE, and play the same guitar chord shapes as you without those pesky bass strings. You could just start them there too for about $85, but the baritone is a little bigger and may not fit a four year old quite as well. At least then they could follow your chord shapes (as much as possible with only four strings). Again I suggest the basic Makala baritone. Don't waste money on bling, cutaways, or electronics.

www.boiseukulelegroup.com has all the instructional material you might need. I run that club.
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Old 05-30-2019, 09:24 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Yes, restringing a guitar with nylon will typically mean you need to adapt the slots in the nut (or change the nut). I think however that most small kids guitars are meant for nylon strings. They're easier physically (less tension) and demand a more precise technique (not bad when you're learning!).

I considered suggestion a 3 or 4 string small cigarbox guitar, but didn't because I have no idea how easy or not it is to transfer things learned there to a "full" guitar (I come from classical, I can read scores but chord schemes, not so much).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
Young hands do not have the dexterity or strength to play bar chords and even getting 2 strings firmly pushed down with one finger can be difficult
True, but I started "getting" barre chords after reading a teacher's revelation about how a tiny 7yo girl student of his managed to play them (on a CG): using the strenght of both arms instead of the pinching strenght of left-hand thumb and finger.

Quote:
A 'mini-guitar' (something smaller than 3/4 size) is going to get abandoned as the child grows up.
True, it would have to be replaced. Shops here often have programmes where they buy back correctly maintained instruments when you buy a larger one; maybe that exists in your neck of the woods too. Or maybe there's a rental programme at the local music school?
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2019, 10:08 AM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
Ukuleles have 4 strings. Tuned 'the same' as the top 4 strings of a guitar(D-G-B-E), except up 5 half steps, as if you capoed a guitar on the 5th fret: G-C-E-A. People get confused about this because the normal G string is actually an octave up, but the chord shapes are the same.



Young hands do not have the dexterity or strength to play bar chords and even getting 2 strings firmly pushed down with one finger can be difficult, that's why a uke is a great first instrument. A 'mini-guitar' (something smaller than 3/4 size) is going to get abandoned as the child grows up.

A guilele (basically a 6 string ukulele) is a good option for a child in the 7-9 year old range, once their hands have developed a little further.


Great information and I think Iím way to far ahead on getting him started. I am basically just in the thinking stage. We do like to play together, him on the drums and me banging on his toy guitar.
So should I wait until he is 7-9 to begin teaching him guitar?
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Old 05-30-2019, 10:09 AM
Bunnyf Bunnyf is offline
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Iíd get a baritone uke and tune it linear dgbe. He can follow you better and he wonít have to relearn chord names when he switches over to guitar. Heíll just have to learn the rest of the chord he already knows on the uke.

Be sure to watch the nut size, ukes are already wider in their string spacing and then on top of that some have extra wide necks. This can be helpful to big hand fat fingered ukers but would not be good for a child. Look for a nice slender profile and narrower nut and put fluorocarbons on it.
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  #11  
Old 05-30-2019, 10:16 AM
AJRed AJRed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
I would start a four year old on a soprano sized ukulele, tuned GCEA (more likely gCEA with a high G string). This will fit their hands better and get them going. Nylon strings are good on tender young fingers, and small bodies are easy to wrap a shorter arm around. Four strings nsd shorter scale lengths are easier on developing brains too. The Makala brightly painted ukes with a dolphin bridge are about $40 and decent enough for the purpose, plus not too precious if something happens.

Later they can switch to a baritone uke, tuned DGBE, and play the same guitar chord shapes as you without those pesky bass strings. You could just start them there too for about $85, but the baritone is a little bigger and may not fit a four year old quite as well. At least then they could follow your chord shapes (as much as possible with only four strings). Again I suggest the basic Makala baritone. Don't waste money on bling, cutaways, or electronics.

www.boiseukulelegroup.com has all the instructional material you might need. I run that club.


Thanks I will look into this. I need to get him playing so he will let me play. I keep my Grandson 4 days a week and work 3 days a week so Iím not getting to play like I want to.

This will be a learning experience for me as well.

So the Makala ukulele are quality, playable and tunable instruments?
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:00 AM
LadysSolo LadysSolo is offline
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As he grows, if I remember correctly, Yamaha and Fender both make 1/2 size and 3/4 size classical guitars (I am sure Fender makes a 3/4 size classical because I have one for my travel classical,) the Fender cost about $125 and is a good value for the money. The neck on the Fender is not too wide, important for me because I have small hands, thus I can recommend for a smaller person.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:13 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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There are also plastic made ukes, and getting a very sturdy one should be a top priority. "Playing uke" may have a very different meaning for a four-year old than for the OP, and it might get used more like a bat or a paddle than a stringed instrument.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:18 AM
perttime perttime is offline
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There's also "guitalele" which is like ukulele but the 4th string is tuned like it would on a guitar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitalele
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:50 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
it might get used more like a bat or a paddle than a stringed instrument.
?? I know education isn't what it used to be (if the word even has meaning nowadays ) but really? It seems that if the boy likes to play together with his granddad he won't be banging the instrument.

Do I understand he already has a toy instrument (plastic or so)? If so, let that be the beater for when he's alone, and keep the better instrument for the together-sessions. He should be old enough to (start) understand(ing) that certain things need to be treated with a certain amount of delicacy.

On the other hand, if I reports are correct of my own early childhood I would most certainly have motivated much more by a small version of "the real thing" rather than by a "kid's version" with less strings. After all, if the extra 2 strings are indeed the bass E and A, you don't necessarily have to use them in the things you play together (or, you use only the low 4 strings), no?
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