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Author Topic: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???  (Read 2793 times)

steelmooch

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Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« on: September 28, 2016, 09:09:30 AM »
Hello, all...what a cool little section of the forum!  :) 

I was wondering about your thoughts/experiences with "travel" acoustic instruments. 

I'm a campfire strummer who sings and devises little family arrangements (a few key notes of a Buffett song on the little steel drum for our daughter, a beat on the djembe for our son, and an occasional, catchy back-beat on the claves for my wife, for example) a lot better than I actually play

We enjoy it and have fun together, though. 

My full-sized, go-to 12 string (and it's hard case) is just too large to take with us on the road, but I want something

A 3/4 size guitar would help somewhat, but not a lot.  A "backpacker" guitar like the Martin Backpacker or the Washburn Rover might be good, though a bit costly for us.  A guitalele looks small and neat, but such a high pitched instrument (supposed to be similar to a regular guitar capo'd in the 5th fret) might compromise the songs we've taken the time to arrange and write out {obvious lack of music theory at play here...please excuse}. 

Any advice?  Things you've played or heard played around the campfire?  Best recommendation for a mostly-strummer wanting to keep the family involved? 

Thanks!  :) 

SeilerBird

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 09:15:06 AM »
You need a ukulele. Very small, very inexpensive and sounds great. If you think the uke is a toy then check out Jake:

https://youtu.be/mljFr7yuYzk
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steelmooch

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 09:29:59 AM »
Thanks, Tom!  That video is awesome.  I actually heard him play on a live Buffett album before, but didn't realize "who it was", necessarily...how cool! 

Definitely a possibility...I just worry about the "vocal range" part of it...as we sing a lot better than we play, and oftentimes carry the melody of our songs with our voices because of our inability to "pick" the melodies. 

We'll keep practicing...thanks for sharing! 
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 09:31:33 AM by steelmooch »

8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 09:54:37 AM »
I've got a Baby Taylor I'd be willing to sell cheap.  It comes with a Taylor hard case.  It's not a GS Mini but it gets the job done.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 10:03:19 AM »
Definitely a possibility...I just worry about the "vocal range" part of it...as we sing a lot better than we play, and oftentimes carry the melody of our songs with our voices because of our inability to "pick" the melodies.   
The vocal range of a song is not defined by the register of the instrument, it is defined by the key it is in. If a song is too high for you to sing then you should transpose it to a lower key.
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 10:29:25 AM »
Quote
... we sing a lot better than we play, and oftentimes carry the melody of our songs with our voices because of our inability to "pick" the melodies.

Welcome to my world!

I 'discovered' the uke as an 'easy to take along' instrument just 5 years ago, but I have a baritone/bass voice. Sometimes, transposing a song doesn't work (e.g. I end up with chords that are tough for me to play); In these cases I just sing an octave lower, or I'll arrange a song so I can play it on my baritone uke.

This uke is a little larger than my other ukes, but is still quite a bit smaller than a full size or 3/4 size guitar. Also, unlike the other ukes, it's tuned like the musically-highest 4 strings on a guitar (the 4 nearest the floor), which makes it easy for a guitar player to transition. Some musicians have told me I can't do what I'm doing, but it sure allows me to sing in my register and accompany myself on a uke.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 11:07:54 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 10:40:55 AM »
Not everybody is good at transposing 'on the fly'.  In many cases I recommend a capo.  It may be counter intuitive but you can lower the vocal range by raising the key of the song.  (As Tom suggested) Capos are also quite useful when there are more than one instrument.  Guitar #1 plays D, Guitar #2 capos 2 frets and plays C, guitar #3 capos 5 and plays A.

I use 2 capos on one guitar at the same time for several arrangements.  And don't even get me started on altered tunings.   :o
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 10:53:21 AM »
I should have specified that the capos are 'partial capos'.  Only cover some of the strings.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 10:55:00 AM by 8Muddypaws »
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 11:00:04 AM »
Another alternative to the capo (for us less able players) is to use an online transposer. Several of the online sites for chords & lyrics listed/linked on this page, including Chordie, have built-in transposers. There are also stand-alone online transposers such as this.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 06:36:06 PM by Tom »
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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 11:03:18 AM »
Quote from: 8Muddypaws
I should have specified that the capos are 'partial capos'.

Aye Russ, two 'full capos' played at the same time would definitely be an oops moment  ;D   I still have several partial capos you previously suggested, and occasionally play with them.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2016, 11:48:04 AM »
I bought a capo when I first started playing guitar and hated it so I never have used one since. You have a built in capo it is called the index finger. I find it much easier and transposing on the fly is not that hard if you study music theory a lot.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 02:46:39 PM »
Some of my music associates have masters degrees in music and use capos.  It has nothing to do with capability and everything to do with the sound. 
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BinaryBob

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 03:01:39 PM »
Aye Russ, two 'full capos' played at the same time would definitely be an oops moment  ;D   I still have several partial capos you previously suggested, and occasionally play with them.

I have been following this topic with curious interest, knowing nothing about these instruments.
Of course your post above, taken out of context hit my funnybone.

"Definition: capo is a name for a captain in the mafia family, the family will consist of many captains and the boss which is a capo crimini. "
Tom... remind me to always try to stay on your good side.. By gawd.. you play with capos.  ;D
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 03:24:38 PM »
LOL Bob. A musical capo (pronounced kay-po), is essentially a clamp that's applied to the strings of an instrument (such as guitar or ukulele) to shorten their effective length, which changes their tuning. See photos. It allows the instrumentalist to change the key they're playing in without having to change the relative positions of their fingers.

Russ (8muddypaws) uses several different styles of capo (partial capos) that only shorten the length of some strings. Using combinations of different partial capos at the same time, he's able to create some interesting sounds on his guitar.

Instead of using a capo, some musicians "transpose" the key on the fly (in their head), and use different relative finger positions to play the different chords in the new key.

But this is all way too clever for me  :-[
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 08:22:14 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 03:25:02 PM »
Some of my music associates have masters degrees in music and use capos.  It has nothing to do with capability and everything to do with the sound.
I did not say anything about capability at all. How did you arrive at that silly conclusion? I said I did not prefer to use them. To each his own.
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 06:47:21 PM »
Bob, just an FYI ...

Imagine two "full" capos, meaning that they both depress all strings, having them "clamped" at different locations on the fretboard. The one that's closest to the body/sound box of the instrument would be the one that dictates the length of the strings. The other capo would be ineffective. Thus the reason for Russ' clarification about "partial capos".
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:11:36 AM by Tom »
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BinaryBob

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 07:23:38 PM »
Ahhh... that makes sense.
Thanks for the explanation Tom.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 07:47:02 PM »
If I remember the correct term from my classical guitar days the actual name of the device is capotasto or something like that.  Nothing to do with mafia capos.  Yup, even classical guitarists have been known to use them.  But only when playing mafia gigs.
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 07:49:07 PM »
Quote
the actual name of the device is capotasto

Quite right Russ, but I had to look it up  ;D
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 08:50:55 PM »
I had to look up the spelling.  But as many have seen here my spelling is not always so good.
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steelmooch

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2016, 07:41:30 AM »
It was fun reading everyone's contributions...you can always count on "music" people...good stuff.  :) 

Tom Seiler: Awesome comment about "key" vs "register of the instrument" in regard to one's ability to sing the notes of a song.  That was spot-on and gave this novice something to think about and to get right in my head.  Thanks. 

Tom: Shared territory with "making it work", even if it breaks convention or the formal "rules".  Great comment about the transposer.  I've found an online one (smartphone) that I love...it's Ultimate Guitar...an inexpensive app that has tens of thousands of songs...with lyrics, chords, and chord-forms...they can be transposed quickly as long as you have a phone signal...great for around the campfire for those of us who rely on such things.  The icon looks like a yellow, capital "G" if you're interested. 

8Muddypaws:  I'd be interested in your Baby Taylor if you think it would be a good fit for me, and if I could give you what you need for it.  Thanks...let me know. 

Have a nice weekend, all! 

Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2016, 10:23:53 AM »
Thanks for the heads up on the app. A phone would be too small for me to read & play from, but my tablet would work. Wish I'd thought of using it when we were recently struggling to play with failing light.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2016, 10:49:02 AM »
Or one of these:  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/mighty-bright-encore-led-music-light-with-case?rNtt=music%20stand%20lights&index=3

I'd be surprised if nobody published a program that does all that without a network connection.  As Tom can attest I have a goodly number of fake sheets.  I've probably got 200 in my computer and 2,000 on paper only.  I know which ones I like and carry them with me.  Most of the stuff I've written uses chords & voicings that aren't easily transposable.  I might be playing notes on the 12'th fret, open, and second fret at the same time.  It could be done, theoretically, but it would make for some really ugly fingerings.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:02:37 AM by 8Muddypaws »
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Tom

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2016, 11:05:04 AM »
Thanks Russ. I have a couple of music stand lights, not quite as fancy as that one. But I didn't have the lights with me in the RV park in Wyoming  :(   I could/should have brought out a bright floor lamp from the coach - like this.
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UTTransplant

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2016, 12:07:18 PM »
Regarding a Ultimate Guitar, I would like to hear more to determine if it is worth the $40-$50 cost. Yes, the app is free, but it seems like you need a $6/month fee or the larger "lifetime" cost. That's a chunk of change for an unknown application. With a book, I can scan it first, but an app doesn't let me do that. I played guitar in high school/college 40 years ago, and I just started trying to pick it up again.
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steelmooch

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2016, 07:25:45 PM »
That Ultimate Guitar app (the logo in the app store looks like a capital "G" with little horns on it) was either a $1.99 or a $4.99 one-time download. 

I've not paid anything since...had it for a couple of years now.  It asked numerous times if I wanted to upgrade...or to buy more...but as a basic "strummer", it's all that I need.  Thousands and thousands of songs...quick transposition from one key to another...lyrics right there...works for me. 

I actually write the songs out, then, in a tab notebook so that they're large enough to see and to use - especially at low light by the campfire. 

Something to consider, but I'm sure that some of the online "freebies" probably do some of the same things.  This one seems to have a large and active enough community that it has some neat, off-beat, and newer stuff that I've been interested in...so I like it. 

Happy playing!  :)

8Muddypaws

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2016, 10:52:06 AM »
I haven't tried it but this PC app looks interesting.  Transposes, does capos, and can produce a printable PDF (Adobe doc).  And it's free.  MajorGeeks is one of the only places I completely trust for downloads.  Speaking of which, I've found that many of the 'Free songs' sites on the net are full of spam and malicious code, i.e. addbots.  So be careful out there.

http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/openchords.html
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SeilerBird

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Re: Travel Guitar vs Guitalele vs ???
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2016, 11:45:17 AM »
Here is a website I found that does just about everything for the uke and it is free:

https://ukuchords.com/
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