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Guitar Practice Tip: Learn Another Instrument?
Written by Gary Fletcher

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The guitar is usually considered a portable instrument. Compared to a piano this is true, but let's face it, that bulky dreadnought doesn't fit easily into the average pocket. This is why it can be a good idea to consider a smaller instrument when you want to practice any place you go.

There are plenty of small instruments you could try. But I'm going to tell you about one that is very useful to any guitar player.

I bought a ukulele for my son a little over a year ago. I figured rightly that its small neck and four strings would be easier for his seven year old hands to play. But I hadn't realized just how much I would come to like it myself. It's a great portable guitar practice tool.

The ukulele's neck is like a guitar neck cut at the fifth fret and with only the top four strings. The similar layout means you can easily get your bearings.


But on the ukulele's neck you'll use different chord shapes to play your familiar guitar chords. You have to think differently to play chord progressions and melodies. This is great for getting your musical brain working and for giving you some new insights into the relations between the chords and scales you already practice on your guitar.

I've become a lot more proficient with chord inversions and shapes up the neck since I started playing with the ukulele. It's also a lot of fun to play and is small enough to be carried almost anywhere. With its cheap price tag you don't have to worry too much about it being damaged.

Can't take your guitar with you to practice? Why not get yourself a ukulele. It's an inexpensive alternative you can easily carry in a shoulder bag. Studying another instrument is a great way to reinforce your musical knowledge, train your ears, and give you new perspectives on guitar playing.

Gary Fletcher is a writing guy who spends too much time not playing guitar.
 
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