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Rating and Reviews: Yamaha GL1 Guitalele

Play a truly unique instrument. The Yamaha GL1 Guitalele combines a ukulele with the full 6-strings of a standard guitar.

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"Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele" submitted September 19, 2013

By tom samarati in santa rosa, CA
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Guiat player since 1960
Music Style: Jazz, Americana, Blues, rock
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Overall: The Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele is a delightful little 6 string instrument if you do not expect too much for your $99. It's somewhat better made than a toy guitar which it resembles. The 17" string scale makes for a small instrument with frets that are just about too close together for a guitar player. This string scale is 2" shorter than a baritone ukulele. Basically this is a guitar with a capo at the fifth fret. As shipped from the factory my guitalele was barely playable. The action was ridiculously high, almost 3/8" at the 12th fret. I sanded down the bridge so that the action was decent. Had to change out the strings for a good brand. The fit and finish of the wood components is barely competent. Mine has obvious glue overrun on the neck joint at the top of the body, & the binding on the back has a 1/4" void. The tuners are decent, but the guitalele goes out of tune pretty quickly - Not from tuner slippage but string stretch. With such a short scale the classical guitar nylon strings go out of tune even with minimal stretch and vigorous strumming exacerbates the problem. Tone wise the guitalele is not an award winner. I'd compare the tone to many of the other nylon string ukuleles available at about this price point. The Yamaha sounds like a 6 string Kala tenor uke. My Raymond Rapozo koa ukulele blows the Yamaha away tonaly, but the Rapozo is a $800 instrument. The Guitalele intonation is okay. With my clip on Snark tuner the 12th fret harmonic comes within 5 cents at all 6 strings. The saddle is compensated at the 2nd & 3rd strings. I bought the Yamaha Guitalele for airplane travel trips. It's small enough to slip under a coach airplane seat. I will not check any of my guitars into baggage and airlines won't let me put a standard size guitar into the overhead bins anymore - So to keep my guitar chops while away from home, the guitalele was a compromise. If mine got broken or stolen would I purchase another? Maybe... I'd probably bite the purchase price bullet and purchase a Taylor Baby instead.
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