The Guitalele (sometimes incorrectly spelled “Guitarlele”) may be new to you now but you’re sure to hear much more about this unique instrument in the months to come. The Guitalele (GL-1) was originally introduced by the Yamaha Corporation in 1997. But only now, in 2011 given the huge popularity of the Ukulele around the world has it been made available in the US. Many musicians refer to the Guitalele as half guitar and half ukulele. In truth it’s much more than that. This unique mini six string instrument is the size of a baritone ukulele (17″ inch scale) or you could say like the size of a small guitar. It has nylon strings similar to the classical guitar but it’s tuned more like a Ukulele. The Guitalele’s tuning is pitched up to (A – or up a 4th) at (ADGCEA). Think of a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. The Guitalele’s top four strings (GCEA) are the same as the Ukulele. The bottom two strings (AD) add a bit of bass.
Though the Guitalele can be tuned by ear you may find it easier to tune the Guitalele with a clip on chromatic tuner. Popular stringed instrument tuner brands include the Snark SN-2 and the Korg CA-1 or CA-30. Many of the chord shapes that are played on the Guitalele are the same shapes that are played on the guitar. However a D-chord played on the guitar becomes a G-chord when the same shape is played on the Guitalele. An E-chord shape played on the guitar becomes an A-chord when the same shape is played on the Guitalele, and so forth. For those of you that would prefer not to transpose chords up or down in your head as you play your Guitalele you might find it easier to have a chord chart specifically for the Guitalele.
One thing for sure about Yamaha’s Guitalele (GL-1) is that it’s both fun and easy to play for all ages. You also appreciate the small travel size of the Guitalele that makes it easy to take anywhere; when hiking, to the beach, mountains, to school, or just jamming with friends, you name it. But don’t be fooled by its small size. The tone is rich and mellow and it’s amazingly loud too.
The GL-1 Guitalele from Yamaha isn’t a toy but instead a fine musical instrument that’s built with the same top quality that Yamaha builds into its acoustic guitars. For those of you that are experienced players you’ll love the unique tone that the Guitalele will add to your music.