Published by admin on 02 Dec 2012 at 06:00 pm
A while back I first ran into the Yamaha Guitalele. It’s the size of a large ukulele – a baritone – but has 6 strings and plays like a guitar tuned up a bit – they suggest you tune the low string to A instead of E, but I also experimented with tuning it to G. The cool thing about the Guitalele is that with a 19″ scale and small body, you can carry it just about everywhere. It’s small enough to play in the car while sitting in the driver’s seat or in other fairly tight quarters or almost anywhere your arms have some freedom of movement – which means anywhere I go.
What does it sound like? Sort of like a classical guitar capoed at the fifth fret or like Nashville tuning without the low strings. I played a song I play all the time, and my husband didn’t recognize the tune, but he thought it sounded pretty. I’ll admit that to my ear, it doesn’t sound quite as good as the Cordoba Guilele, but considering that the Guilele has a solid top and the Guitalele is all laminate, it comes pretty close. That makes sense, since when it comes to all-laminate guitars, Yamaha has some of the best-sounding models around.
Here’s a video I found on Youtube of a couple players really doing it justice in a couple radically different musical styles. The first one is upbeat and professionally recorded, and when I first heard it, it blew me away. The second is a pretty fingerstyle piece and almost sounds like a lap harp.
For me, the bottom line is that the Yamaha Guitalele is a fun little instrument, and it’s surprisingly well made. The nut is wide enough for me to enjoy, and that’s important because the neck isn’t long enough to have the strings spread out much for the string spacing. And yes, part of me wishes they made a steel string version with the same nut width. But overall it keeps me playing, where ever I go, and it’s just (dare i say it?) so darned cute! And while it’s one small guitar, it plays like a real instrument, not a toy. And playing it is just so much fun!