In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
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The guitalele may be an unfamiliar instrument to many—regardless of your musical background. A guitalele is a six-string mix that is about a quarter of the size of a classical guitar. It is an effective hybrid between a guitar and a ukulele that sounds as if a capo was on the fifth fret of a guitar. This instrument makes an attractive proposition for both classical guitarists and experienced ukulele players. For guitarists, the appeal of a guitalele is its portability—and is perfect for those wanting a six-string friend to accompany their travels. For ukulele players, the guitalele offers an improved tonal range and greater room for experimentation. But which is the best guitalele to currently purchase?
This product review and buying guide aim to make you aware of a few of the best products currently available to purchase online. The product reviews include the features, description, pros and cons of six different guitaleles. The buying guide first gives some extra information about the origins of the guitalele before proceeding to outline all the different aspects you should consider such as weight, scale length, and body wood, before purchasing the best guitalele for your own musical needs.
Top 6 Guitaleles Review 2020
The guitalele has grown in prominence in recent years, no thanks to James Blunt’s use of the instrument in his song ‘You’re Beautiful’. Before you purchase the most suitable guitalele for you, make sure you take time to research and read thorough product reviews to get the best value for money. This is a new and growing market so don’t worry if you get confused—we’re here to help with our Buying Guide!
The Gretsch G9126 is constructed with mahogany wood to give a strong and potent midrange sound to the guitalele. Tuned in the familiar “A to A” style, the G9126 is ideal for ukulele players looking to branch out into more developed and varied ukulele tones. This model is also great for younger players who wish to learn the guitar.
This is a premium guitalele largely due to the complete mahogany setup which is solid wood, covers the back and sides as well as containing a one-piece mahogany neck with a bone nut. The G9126 also contains a smooth fingerboard that has 19 frets designed from ovangkol wood. The fingerboard has markers to give you easy and effective transition between notes with the good number of frets creating a great variety of chord progressions to be creative with.
The G9126 comes with a Grover® Sta-Tite™ die-cast tuner which is perfect for those who struggle with instrument tuning as it is very straightforward to use. The instrument also has a deluxe gig bag included in the price which helps with the safe transportation of the instrument. These accessories in addition to a lifetime warranty agreement ensure that as a consumer, you have the maximum customer experience and protection when purchasing this instrument.
The Oscar Schmidt OGU6E guitalele is available to purchase as part of a bundle deal with a clip on guitar tuner by Effin Guitars, a polishing cloth by Butler Music as well as a couple of felt picks. The OGU6E works with the ADGCEA ukulele tuning and contains 19 frets for players to experiment on their chord progressions.
The OGU6E is constructed with solid mahogany to give it strong tonal character. Included in the design is a UK2000 active electronics setup which allows players to connect the guitalele to an amplifier. This is a great addition for players interested in experimenting with guitalele sounds with electronic equipment or for anyone wishing to perform live on stage.
The size of the OGU6E resembles that of a tenor ukulele and is easy to pick up and play. Like all guitalele’s, the OGU6E is ideal for children starting out on guitar or for ukulele players interested in broadening their sound range and playing style.
The gloss finish on the OGU6E really makes the instrument stand out and look stylish when playing. The rosewood fingerboard with snowflake inlays also ensures that the instrument appears rustic yet contemporary.
The distinctive Enya EGL-07 guitalele is constructed with high-quality solid koa wood for the body which ensures a distinctive warm and sweet tonal sound. This sweet tone is perfect when accompanied with vocals and the sound is not overly domineering. Measuring at 28 inches in length, the EGL-07 is a suitable size for any age of player. Included in the purchasing package is a gig bag which will ensure the guitalele is adequately protected when you are traveling.
The distinctive element of the EGL-07 is the small scale length at 15″. This ensures the easier transition between chords, making it more appealing for beginner players who may struggle to flow between different chords and finger positions.
Although the EGL-07 does not contain any electric features, the Black ABS+5ply binding
with four imported Aquila strings enables a very clear sound that can be microphoned on stage or in a studio setting. The sound is also enhanced in this model by hand-inlaid abalone shells to give a strong and ornate musical feel.
The koa wood body is very visually appealing with a humanized touch. It certainly stands out from the crowd and the handcraft in the creation of the EGL-07 is something to really admire and respect.
The spruce wood Flight Ukulele GUT 350 is an affordable guitalele—and is a perfect baritone-sized ukulele with six nylon strings. It is perfectly suited for ukulele players looking to broaden their musical horizons.
The GUT 350 is designed with a spruce top and a Sapele body, which enables a strong, sharp and punchy sound which also performs well on high notes. The GUT 350 is a versatile guitalele that is suited for intense riffing as well as calm strumming by the campfire.
One of the best features of purchasing from Flight is the gig bag that accompanies the purchase of the GUT 350. Flight’s gig bags are legendary for ensuring high-quality protection for your instrument where ever you are traveling in the world.
The GUT 350 is really straightforward to tune as it is fitted with a well-designed headstock with geared tuners to ensure that when tuned, strings will stay in tune for as long as possible. This feature is particularly ideal for beginner players.
The variety of woods involved in this design add to the visual appeal of the GUT 350. Including a rosewood finger that provides a smooth transition between chords and an Okoume neck originates from Africa.
The Yamaha GL1 is an incredibly affordable guitalele that is perfectly suited to beginners or for those accomplished guitarists wanting a small guitar alternative to play around and experiment with when traveling.
The GL1 offers amazing value, craftsmanship and decent sound with the six nylon strings laying on nato neck. The GL1 is available at a cheaper price because of the wood quality. While it does not contain a solid wood body, the spruce laminate design with meranti back and sides ensure that the GL1 will be well protected against the elements if you wish to play the instrument outdoors.
In addition to the natural design, the GL1 is also available in a variety of different colors including black, tobacco sunburst and persimmon brown, Yamaha offers purchasers a good variety of choice of rustic design options.
The GL1 is super light due to the laminate wood design and easy to carry. It also comes with a lifetime warranty agreement, giving purchasers great flexibility and protection when purchasing this product. This is great as the GL1 will likely be a popular option among parents for their children who may or may not be overly keen on learning the guitar.
The Vorson EGL-TL Guitarlele is a unique guitalele that resembles the appearance of a mini-classic electric guitar. It has the standard ADGCEA ukulele tuning and is great for young guitarists who want to rock out. The electric features of the EGL-TL provide a vast range of tones for guitarists to experiment with. The EGL-TL differs greatly from classic guitalele and veers away from traditional folk sounds to a rock-and-roll vibe.
The EGL-TL is well-equipped for electric guitar play.
Fitted with SY-2 single coil pickup and SMD-1 Active Electronics, the electric features on the EGL-TL allow players to control their high output and tonal character. The EGL-TL also comes with a gig bag and cable which is ideal for players who are new to electric guitar playing. You will have to purchase your own amplifier (or borrow one) to get the best possible sound at out of the guitarlele.
The EGL-TL is designed with a comfortable and smooth 19 fret maple fingerboard and a classic single cutaway body, which gives the classic electric guitar appearance. If you prefer different colors, the EGL-TL is also available in Gloss Black, Metallic Burgundy, and Metallic Blue.
Unique electric guitalele
Vast sound experimentation
Gig bag and cable included
Only suitable for electric play
No amplifier included
The buying guide and FAQ section will outline all the essential information that you need to know before purchasing the best guitalele for your musical needs.
What should you know about a guitalele?
You may not be aware that a guitalele exists. It is sometimes referred to as either a guitarlele or a guitalele and is a hybrid between a guitar and a ukulele—which is a quarter of the size of a regular guitar.
The guitalele can also be described as resembling a mix of a classical style guitar and a baritone ukulele.
It maintains the classic small, portable features of a ukulele while still bringing the playing features of a guitar with six strings. For guitar players, this is ideal because the chord progressions are exactly the same finger positions as a regular guitar.
Some guitaleles will also include built-in microphones that ensure the instrument can be played both acoustically and with an amplifier. The instrument is often marketed as a travel guitar, travel ukulele or a guitar for children. It is a modern version of the Quint guitar.
A guitalele or guitarlele
The strings on a guitalele are transposed up to an “A”, which is the equivalent of playing a classical guitar with the capo on the fifth fret—which gives a tuning of ADGCEA.
The top four strings of this tuning resemble the four strings of a low G ukulele, as well as the requinto guitar. The requinto guitar is typically larger than a guitalele.
Many of the well-known guitar and ukulele manufacturers also produce guitaleles of the following models: Yamaha Corporation’s GL-1 Guitalele, Cordoba’s Guilele and Mini, Koaloha’s D-VI 6-string tenor ukulele.
Among the manufacturers, the guitalele will come under a variety of different names such as a “6-string ukulele” which can lead to some confusion among purchasers.
There is an important distinction that needs to be made between ukuleles with six strings and guitalele’s:
The six-string guitalele is usually constructed with a single G string, two C strings an octave apart, a single E string and two A strings. This is a different tuning from the guitalele tuning previously discussed.
If you are a guitar player wanting a small guitar to play that has familiar tuning, a guitalele is perfect for you. If you are an accomplished ukulele player and want to venture to 6-strings, a 6-string ukulele may be your preferred choice.
The term guitalele is essentially a new name for an old musical phenomenon that is grounded in the Anglo-Saxon tradition.
There are many instruments in this tradition that have the same tuning, size, and shape as the guitalele. For example, the guitarrico aragonés, which originates from Spain, as well as the requinto carranguero from Columbia both are similar to the guitalele.
These instruments are commonly associated with regional folk music.
Due to these origins, some keen guitalele players like to refer to the instrument as a type of requinto instead of a guitalele.
There is a feeling that the name guitalele is only a modern invention to better serve marketing purposes in order to attract guitar players to the instrument. Despite naming disputes, the guitalele serves as a functional and portable means to play classic guitar chords and riffs.
Why should you buy a guitalele?
It is quite simple. A guitalele has 6 strings—a ukulele has four strings.
Ukuleles are specifically tuned to give a lighter, folkier sound compared to the more rounded tones created by six guitar strings. This is why guitaleles are best in the hands of traditional guitar players as opposed to proficient ukulele players.
While the size and shape resemble a ukulele, the most important aspect—namely the strings—are the same as a guitar.
The guitalele can also serve a variety of other groups well. Some guitarists simply prefer a smaller instrument. For these musicians, the guitalele is perfect for serving these needs.
If you have children who want to learn to play the guitar, the guitalele is perfectly suited for their smaller fingers.
Often classic or acoustic guitars can be too large for children who may well lose confidence when they find themselves unable to transition between chords. The guitalele removes any of these problems through having nicely placed frets that are easy to transition between.
Guitalele playing tips
It can be a confusing transition when learning to play the guitalele if you are more familiar with classic guitar or ukulele.
This video below by Terry Carter provides some great tips for players who are new to the guitalele.
In the video, Terry takes you through the C, F and G chords for guitalele and shows how they differ compared to the ukulele and guitar. It provides a great starting point for those wanting some tips on how to play the guitalele.
Features to consider while buying the best guitalele
Below are some specific factors that you should consider before purchasing a guitalele.
Guitalele weight and size
You are buying a guitalele in part for its small size. You will not be surprised to learn that there is not a huge variety in guitalele size, with the majority ranging between 27 to 28 inches in length.
This resembles the same size as a large ukulele and is the perfect size for travelers. So in other words—size is certainly not an issue!
There are a variety of different wood types that guitaleles are constructed with. Each type of wood has specific sound qualities.
A medium to heavy density of wood that provides a soft and warm tonal balance to the guitalele sound. The midrange is particularly strong on guitaleles made from this wood.
Cedar ensures a warm and controlled volume to the guitalele sound is potent with darker tones. Although the wood gives less crisp sound compared to spruce, cedar guitalele’s are ideal for finger stylists.
Rosewood guitalele’s produce a very bright tonal quality with well-balanced notes with accentuated high and low sounds. Rosewood is very common and one of the instantly recognizable guitalele woods.
Koa wood ensures a warm sound that although less potent is very sweet sounding. The grain patterns on koa guitalele’s are very distinctive and they have a strong midrange sound quality.
Spruce wood guitalele’s are known for the crisp note articulation. For those who like to experiment with bass notes, spruce wood is perfect for enabling a rich and aggressive low note sound quality.
Ovangkol contains many similarities to rosewood such as a pronounced midrange sound quality. This wood is ideal for players of any standard and style.
In addition to understanding the differences between woods, it is also important to know whether the instrument is constructed with solid wood pieces or wood laminate. Laminate is produced by layering thin pieces of wood that are pieced together and is associated with beginner level ukuleles.
Solid wood instruments, such as the Gretsch G9126, will generally fetch higher prices. They are solid for a reason, built to last as well as give a stronger and more potent sound that will resonate throughout the room where the instrument is being played.
The downside is that solid wood instruments are more susceptible to changes in weather and environment, making them not ideal to be played outdoors.
Do you wonder whether it is possible to put guitar strings onto a guitalele on your own? Absolutely, you can.
The only thing is that the strings have been nylon as the guitalele is only built for gentler ‘guitar’ experiences. You should view the guitalele as a friendlier version of the guitar.
While you can also put steel strings onto a guitalele, it takes the instrument away from being a mini classical guitar to a mini acoustic guitar. The construction of guitaleles is best suited to nylon strings to produce the best quality sound.
Good quality nylon strings are generally not hard to come by. Either search online or your local music shop to find the range of products to choose from.
Fretboard and frets
The fretboard is a long wooden strip that is attached to the neck and lays behind the strings. The number of frets on the fretboard will depend on the length of the guitalele. Guitaleles with more frets give more potential notes to play with.
That said, the number of frets available between different guitalele models should not be so vast.
Some guitalele’s will come with an electric tuner built into it. This would be a great add-on which can speed up the tuning process.
Other accessories that may be on offer include a case or gig bag that you can transport the instrument in as seen in the review of the GUT 350. This may be important for those interested in regular travel and gigging.
Some guitalele’s will also come with a port that can be connected to an amplifier. If you want to experiment with electric sounds, consider a model with this feature.
Guitaleles are generally an affordable instrument. Most that are currently available to purchase online vary between $75-$300. They are good if you want to play around with a smaller instrument or if you want to encourage your child into learning the guitar.
There are a variety of warranty offers for guitalele’s ranging from one-year to lifetime agreements such as the one available with the Yamaha GL1. This could be an important factor and gives you good protection as a purchaser if products have lengthy warranty agreements.
Whether you are about to make the purchase or are still pondering whether a guitalele is the right instrument for you, here are a few of our most frequently asked questions—answered:
You tune the guitalele strings to the following notes:
You can also use a guitar tuner to tune the instrument like a standard guitar.
This short video below is a quick guitalele tuning video that plays the sound of each note in order from top to bottom. If you do not have a tuner, this video will help you tune your guitalele in under one minute.
The key difference is that a guitarlele is tuned a 4th tone higher than a standard guitar which is the equivalent of putting a capo on the fifth fret. You can, therefore, maintain classic guitar finger positions but remember that the chords are a 4th tone higher.
If you are interested in play more varied types of music, the guitalele offers a broader tonal range and character that will allow you to experiment. The ukulele gives you a more authentic folk sound. It is down to your personal musical preferences as to which one you choose.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better grasp on all the essential information that you need to know before purchasing a guitalele that is suited to your musical needs and interests.
The Gretsch G9126 is our winner as top choice because of the premium mahogany wood which ensures a fantastically rich sound quality.
The Oscar Schmidt OGU6E comes in second place for a great wood quality as well as the electric features that allow the sound to be amplified.
The Enya EGL-07 ranks in third place for its usability for beginners because of the small scale length.
Choosing the best guitalele can be a confusing and difficult process.
When you start looking, take your time to research a variety of products and try to have an insight into the musical interests of the person receiving the guitalele, in order to maximize the playing experience.