The resemblance is quite logical when you consider that the ukulele is, in reality, the little brother of the guitar. However, despite their fairly similar appearance, the two instruments each have their own specificities. If you've always asked yourself the big question: what makes the guitar different from the ukulele (and vice versa)? This article should interest you.
On the form: appearance, size and strings
Guitar and ukulele look pretty much the same. However, on examining them closely, one can easily see that they are quite different when it comes to size. The ukulele is much smaller than the guitar (for reference, the scale lengths for guitars are approximately 24 to 25.5 inches while they are 13 inches for standard soprano ukuleles). As a result, it is much lighter and easier to transport. The neck of the guitar is longer and has more frets than that of a ukulele. This characteristic makes it often easier to play basic chords on the traditional Polynesian plucked string instrument than on its big sister.
As for the strings, there are usually 4 on a ukulele while there are 6 on a standard guitar (or more on other versions). As they are reduced in number on the ukulele, memorizing chord shapes is much easier. In addition, barre chords are easier to perform.
From time to time you may see 6 or 8 strings on a Tahitian ukulele. However, it is important to remember that the instrument is, in reality, equipped with 4 strings, these are doubled to have the 8 elements.
Finally, it should be noted that the two instruments differ widely in terms of the types of strings used. Guitar strings can be nylon or steel, while they are usually mostly made of nylon for the ukulele.
On the background: the chords, the tuning and the sound
Ukuleles are tuned GCEA (Sol-Do-Mi-La) while guitars are tuned in EAGDBE (Mi-La-Sol-Ré-Si-Mi). The G string should generally be tuned to the upper octave with the traditional Hawaiian plucked string instrument.
Of course, despite these differences, there is a certain relationship between ukulele chords and guitar chords. It is for this reason that some guitar chords, when played, give ukulele notes.
When it comes to tone, the guitar tends to produce a denser, louder, and brighter tone than the ukulele. On the other hand, the sound quality is much smoother, quieter and more acute in the latter.