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.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: January 15, 2021
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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.
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 Kmise Guitalele is a complete ukulele learning kit for beginners that comes with a variety of accessories. The kit includes a Soprano Ukulele made of natural Mahogany wood with worked finishes, which gives it an excellent quality sound. It offers a very fluid finger glide on the frets, which makes it easier to learn new chords. The set contains, in addition to the Ukulele, a carrying case, a tuner, a strap, a set of strings, and online ukulele lessons for beginners. So once received, it is ready to be played.
The fact that it is made of mahogany allows it to be among the most elegant and beautiful ukuleles of this year. Then, its rosette strings makes it even more beautiful. This model also has a nut, for the quality of the sound and an advanced aestheticism. The fingerboard and bridge are made of rosewood, which further adds value to the ruggedness of the baritone ukulele.
If you are used to playing guitar, you will feel at home with this one right away. Also, this Kmise model seems a bit bigger than other models within its range. It is perfect for beginners.
The soprano ukulele features a standard nylon spring type. The item tips the scale a little bit, weighing 2.4kg. On the aesthetic side of this ukulele, it is very beautiful despite its low price. Perfect for guitarists, the arrangement of the strings resembles that of the guitar. This makes it an ideal model for those who are used to playing this instrument.
More features: electric model, 1x extra set strings, gig bag (12mm padded, made of 300D 6CD polyester yarn), 3x guitar picks,1x cleaning cloth ,1x wall hanger,1x strap(with pegs), 2x bridge pins ,1x metal nail drawer,1x EQ cable,1x instructions included, built-in microphone, adjustable Truss Rod
This model is one of the best-looking guitaleles of its generation. The premium musical instrument has a complete kit and is easy to use. Ergonomic, its design is elegant and suitable for professionals as well as beginners. It is equipped with a microphone which allows using it while you connect it to a nearby amplifier or just as an acoustic guutar. This also facilitate learning for beginners. As for its material, the solid mahogany it is made of is beautiful. The 6-string guitalele produces a fuller and deeper sound, much better than a 4-string ukulele.
This beginner ukulele comes from Caramel, a renowned guitar making brand. The guitar is made of a smooth and high-quality mahogany material, with a rosewood fretboard and bridge. Its included guitar bag gives it extra protection and a convenient way to transport it. By choosing this product, you have a satisfaction guarantee with a 30-day grace for refunds, as well as warranty and support.
It is equipped with very soft nylon strings which are great for beginners as they are easier to play. It is a real musical instrument that allows fast learning. Its size is also optimal, especially for transportation purposes, as you can easily put it in your trunk or on your car seats. You can take it everywhere, during your concerts, on stage or during a group learning. The package includes the electric guitalele, an extra set string, a 12mm padded gig bag, three guitar picks, one cleaning cloth, one wall hanger, one strap including pegs, two bridge pins, one EQ cable, a built-in microphone, among others.
The Ortega RGL5EB is a short-scale guitalele. The timber series model is made out of fine tonewoods. Exceptionally crafted, the guitalele has unique visual and tonal properties which you can find in good species of wood for ukuleles.
It is a hybrid organ, that is, it is a blend of guitar and ukulele. It is a nylon 6-string model with the body of the tenor ukulele.
This product is perfect if you need a travel guitar that is very fun and easy to use for all types of users. It has a rich ebony color and a very clear dark tonality. These all accentuate the frequencies of the bass.
The guitalele is made by Ortega, one of the best makers of guitaleles around the world. The brand makes a wide range of ukebasses and guitaleles.
This Ortega guitar has the tune of A-D-G-C-E-A and has a right-hand orientation.
The acoustic-electric guitar has GLNY-6 strings and a built-in tuner made by Ortega itself. The neck consists of mahogany wood while the fretboard and bridge are made of walnut.
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.
What we liked:
Unique electric guitalele
Vast sound experimentation
Gig bag and cable included
What could be better:
Only suitable for electric play
No amplifier included
Things to Consider
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 Caramel CB402G, 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 Kmise Guitalele is our winner as top choice because of the premium mahogany wood which ensures a fantastically rich sound quality.
The Caramel CB402G comes in second place for a great wood quality as well as the electric features that allow the sound to be amplified.
The Ortega RGL5EB 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.