Guitarlele

As the name suggests, the guitarlele is a cross between a classical guitar and a ukulele. It is tuned like a guitar capoed at the fifth fret (ADGCEA). This gives the top four strings the same tuning as a low G ukulele. The guitarlele sounds closer to a classical guitar than it does a ukulele.

There aren't a great number of guitarleles around. The most common is the Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele. The only other guitarlele that I'm familiar with is RISA's solid guitarlele (you can see WS64 demonstrating one here). More recently have brought out a guitarlele which they call a u-tar.

They've had a bit of exposure in the UK recently as they've been used by Jake Penate and The Maccabees (you can watch The Maccabees' Orlando Weeks playing First Love on his Guitarlele here).

On Video


Wilfried Welti plays Triumphmarsch on his Yamaha guitarlele.

On eBay

17 Comments

  1. Kat February 27th, 2011 8:18 pm

    check out kanilea’s guitarlele…the one I tried sounds like the sound file on the site and 100% money back satisfaction guaranteed…and you don’t have to learn uke chords

    http://kanileaukulele.com/custom_guitarele.php?osCsid=4453c88a8732a7b844b06712f8bbc407

  2. Keithmj March 25th, 2011 2:56 pm

    Does the Guitalele use regular guitar chords? Or do you have to change them? Since it is tuned different than a regular guitar?

  3. Alan Vanderhoff May 31st, 2011 6:05 pm

    Just got mine put aquila low g nylgut for trebles.A&D from a aguila nomal classical normal tension. Totally awesome sound.

  4. Alex Thomas June 3rd, 2011 2:08 am

    I just came across a website that has a free pdf download for a guitalele chord chart. Haven’t been able to find one before… and I guess this site might be the only one that has one.

    http://www.paradiseukes.com/pages/Guitalele-Chord-Chart.html

  5. Keena June 7th, 2011 5:46 pm

    Keith – Yes, I use regular guitar chords for my guitalele. I have a higher voice than what fits a typical guitar so using guitar chords works perfectly.

    On a different note, what strings do you use for your guitalele? I own a GL – 1 from Yamaha. Right now it has nylon strings, but I’m not sure where to find more. The instrument was a gift, so I can’t go back to the shop it came from.

    Thanks,
    Keena

  6. willem July 30th, 2011 8:13 pm

    Tried a Yamaha GL-1 today at my local shop. I was disappointed; no volume, and the sound has no character whatsoever. Must have something to do with the plywood top. Also the strings are very close to each other, even for my thin fingers.
    My Kala concert uke sounds like a stradivarius compared to this Yamaha, and plays a lot easier.

  7. jamie November 16th, 2011 5:28 pm

    I have a Yamaha GLX-1. I’m guessing it’s the same as the GL1 just with the addition of a built in pick-up. This allows for a bit of eq to make it ring. Unfortunately the frets become too close together as you get higher up the neck for me to make use of those notes. Tho limited it’s a good addition to a sound palette. .

  8. Stijn June 5th, 2012 6:56 pm

    Here is a complete chord chart:
    http://i.imgur.com/HwFsN.jpg?1

  9. Ken August 30th, 2012 4:55 am

    I took my daughter’s toy guitar, put classical strings on it,and tuned it to ADGCEA. Poof…guitalele for $20 bucks. Sounds great!

  10. Faith October 20th, 2012 6:02 pm

    Just bought a Epiphone guitarlele/guitalele. It’s about 2 frets shorter (in size, it has 19 frets) than a normal guitar. However, due to it’s rarity, the strings are also a problem for me as I have no idea what kind of strings are suitable, of for this matter, available. I’m hoping for some advices?

  11. Haiku Gato November 2nd, 2012 12:00 am

    Aquila 96c guitarlele strings work great. I got them at Stringsbymail.com for 12.95.

  12. jorge November 19th, 2012 10:25 am

    Hi all. Hope I can help you a bit. Aquila Corda make guitalele strings. So you can search for them. They´re ok; and I think (not sure) they´re the strings that come with your guitalele (Yamaha) when you buy it. You can also use classical guitar strings. If you do; you will notice an improvement on the instrument´s sound. Peace.

  13. Bill December 28th, 2012 6:26 pm

    I bought a Yamaha Guitarlele not realizing how the space is between strings. It’s impossible to play if you have big fingers. My solution was to convert it to a five string instrument by re-drilling the bridge and re-slotting the nut. I am not overjoyed with the wimpy, low volume sound, but since I am using it to experiment with perfect 5th tuning it’s usable.

  14. Moses February 5th, 2014 4:59 am

    I buy a guitalele Yamaha GL-1, there no special things I get. And it’s hard to play at A tuning. I prefer G tuning or E tuning like guitar. Hmm, any idea??

  15. Joy Burger April 11th, 2014 4:59 am

    Thanx for each post. For me as a “semi”professional GL1 player this is a very interesting thread!
    Has anybody an idea how to amplify a GL1 on stage?

  16. Tina April 21st, 2014 4:52 pm

    I highly recommend Cordoba’s guitarlele called a “guilele”. Cordoba makes wonderful nylon string instruments. Whether it is their $100 laminate top version sold at most Best Buy stores or the more expensive solid top models you will not be disappointed. I have both the GL100 ($100 laminate) and their top-of-the-line solid top cutaway with electronic pickups (CE model-$250 new but I got a refurb for $150 off eBay). Aquila nylgut strings. Play either like a standard guitar or a uke. I even have mine tuned to the equivalent of DADGAD (which is GDGCDG). I didn’t like the neck on the Yamaha- it felt thick and unwieldy. Cordoba makes a great slim neck on their instruments at all price points. Pickups with basic preamp are great too on the CE! Sounds fantastic through my amp! The guilele/guitarlele is my choice for a travel guitar too- great guitar-like handling and the perfect size to travel. I have not liked any of the travel guitars I have come across including the Martin Backpacker so I went this route instead. I have small hands so this instrument is good for me.

  17. SuperBB June 7th, 2014 11:41 pm

    I am a very beginner of guitar/ ukulele/ guitarlele. I never played three of them before but now I wanna have one and learn them. I was choosing guitar or ukulele, but then i realised theres such thing called guitarlele. and I’m interested in it. thinking about for a beginner, is a guitalele good for new players? is it possible to tune the chords from ADGCEA to EADGBE? Thank you!

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