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Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: What’s the Difference? [2021 Guide]

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a guitalele vs baritone ukulele, you’ve come to the right post!

I’ve played the guitar since 2003 and the ukulele since 2011.

And in 2019, I started playing the guitalele too.

In short, I’m familiar with these instruments, and I hope this post helps you think through their differences and which instrument is right for you.

(If you’re curious about how the guitalele compares to soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles, check out this post. But in this post, I’ll be focusing on the baritone guitalele.)

So what’s the difference between a guitalele and baritone ukulele?

A guitalele has six strings tuned in the same intervals as a guitar but pitched up a fourth as if you were to capo the guitar on the fifth fret: ADGCEA. On the other hand, the baritone ukulele has four strings tuned like the top four strings on a guitar: DGBE.

I’ll discuss more of these instruments’ similarities and differences in the sections below.

Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: Size

The guitalele and the baritone uke are usually quite similar in size.

Of course, there is no precise standard size for either instrument.

However, nearly all guitaleles’ and baritone ukuleles’ sizes fall within a narrow range.

You can see this in the table below where I’ve indicated the dimensions of two highly-rated baritones and guitaleles on Amazon.

Instrument
Length (Inches)
Width (Inches)
Depth (Inches)
30.56
10.31
3.2
29.92
10
3.15
29.92
10
3.15
28.5
9.38
2.5

As you can see, baritone ukes and guitaleles tend to be very similar in size.

In fact, I actually recommend baritone ukulele cases for guitalele players thanks to their similar size because there aren’t many cases made specifically for the guitalele.

Tuning

Like I mentioned in the introduction, baritone ukes and guitaleles have different tunings.

This is in part due to the fact that they have different numbers of strings.

The guitalele has six strings like a guitar.

And the baritone ukulele has four strings like most instruments in the ukulele family.

Although the baritone ukulele’s and guitalele’s standard tuning might not seem to have much in common at face value, they are actually closely related.

In the introduction, I mentioned that the guitalele has a standard tuning like a guitar except pitched up a fourth as if you were to capo the guitar on the fifth fret.

Similarly, the baritone ukulele has the same tuning as the top four strings of the guitar.

So if you capoed the baritone ukulele on the fifth fret, its four strings would match the tuning of the top four strings of the guitalele.

Furthermore, capoing the baritone ukulele on the fifth fret results in the same tuning as the standard tuning for the tenor, concert, and soprano ukulele.

Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: Strings

Both guitaleles and baritone ukes use nylon strings.

However, because the guitalele’s standard tuning is higher than the baritone uke’s, guitalele strings need to withstand higher tension.

Check out my complete guide to guitalele strings for more information about strings for the guitalele.

And if you’re looking for baritone uke strings, these are quite popular on Amazon.

Sound Comparison

You can get a sense for the baritone uke’s sound in this video.

The baritone ukulele is going to sound very similar to a classical guitar.

Why?

It’s got the same tuning as the top four strings on a guitar and nylon strings like a classical guitar.

However, the baritone ukulele probably won’t sound as loud or full as a classical guitar because of its smaller body and fewer strings.

The guitalele will also sound like a classical guitar because of its similar tuning (just like a guitar capoed on the fifth fret) and nylon strings.

However, the guitalele’s sound is in a more similar tonal range to the ukulele.

On the other hand, the baritone uke is in a more similar tonal range to the guitar.

Lastly, the guitalele might sound more full than the baritone uke thanks to its two extra strings.

That said, it likely won’t be as loud as the classical guitar because of its smaller body.

In short, if you want to play the ukulele in the tonal range of the guitar, get a baritone ukulele.

And if you want to play the guitar in the tonal range of the ukulele, check out the guitalele.

Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: Learning Materials

I’ve mentioned in other posts how there just aren’t many learning materials available for the guitalele.

Why is this?

The guitalele is somewhat of a novelty instrument that isn’t nearly as popular as either the guitar or the ukulele.

As a result of its lack of popularity, you won’t find many dedicated learning resources for the guitalele.

And although you could adapt guitar learning materials to the guitalele because of their similar tuning, it’s challenging.

On the other hand, there are abundant learning resources available for the baritone ukulele.

Price

Entry-level baritone ukes and guitaleles are often similarly priced.

In fact, some manufacturers make both baritone ukuleles and guitaleles like Caramel that are equally (or almost equally) priced.

(I own a Caramel guitalele that is a great entry-level instrument!)

In short, the price probably won’t make a big difference regardless of the instrument you choose.

Which instrument should you pursue?

Check out the table below to get a sense of which instrument you should choose to learn.

You might pursue the guitalele if…
You might pursue the baritone uke if…
You already play the guitar and don’t want to learn a new instrument.
You already play the ukulele and don’t want to learn a new instrument.
You want to play the guitar in the tonal range of the ukulele.
You want to play the ukulele in the tonal range of the guitar.
You are OK learning on your own with few dedicated learning materials.
You want to have plenty of dedicated learning materials to help you learn this instrument.

Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you think through which instrument is best for you and your situation.

If you have questions or comments about the guitalele vs baritone ukulele dilemma, let me know in the comments!

2 replies on “Guitalele Vs Baritone Ukulele: What’s the Difference? [2021 Guide]”

Very informative. Youve answered all my questions and beyond. Thanks 👍

Hi Mary,

Thanks for saying that! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions about these instruments.

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