What is Ukifi?
Ukifi is a mute for the E and A strings on a guitar -- with these strings muted, the other four strings (DGBE) can be played using ukulele chords. It is designed to both give a guitar player a new sound, and also to help students in their transition from ukulele to guitar.
But it won't sound like a ukulele!
No, it will be more similar to a baritone ukulele, but the important thing is normal ukulele chords will sound fine, albeit in a different key.
To get technical, you could use a capo on the 5th fret which will get you the right key, but note that the ukified guitar will be linear-tuned no matter what you do, so you'll lose the re-entrant sound... perhaps it is best to not try to get a ukulele sound, but rather to see a Ukified guitar as a whole new type of musical expression, without the effort of learning to play again!
How do you pronounce ukifi?
What sorts of guitars can I use Ukifi on?
Ukifi will work well on all guitars with normal (AEDGBE) tuning. The standard ukulele will work best on normal acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, while the lower action of most electric guitars will suit Ukifi-Low best. Ukifi will work with nylon or steel strung guitars.
Ukifi vs Ukifi-Low / What's all this about action?
Action is the distance between the strings and fret-board. It is usually measured at the 12th fret, but here we'll be measuring action at the point where Ukifi will be used -- the gap between the frets closest to the end of the fretboard (closest to the sound-hole). The standard Ukifi is designed for a gap of about 5-8mm while Ukifi-Low should be used where the gap is smaller than 5mm. You could measure the gap using a ruler, but as a rough guide, if you can only just slide a £1 coin between the frets and the A string (the thickest one at the top), or if it you can't slide it under without starting to bend the strings, then you need Ukifi-Low, while if there's plenty of space, perhaps enough to slide a 10p coin as well, they you should use standard Ukifi. As an even rougher guide -- a full size acoustic (nylon or steel string) will be standard Ukifi and a normal electric will be Ukifi-Low. It'll definitely be worth checking the action for 3/4 or 1/2 scale guitars, or standard acoustic/electro-acoustic known to have a particularly low action. If in doubt use the standard Ukifi -- it'll work well enough even with a lower action.
I've got an electric guitar -- will it work?
Electric guitars sound great with Ukifi. You can get away with using the Ukifi Standard, but we've developed the Ukifi-Low specifically for the lower action typically found on electric guitars.
What sort of playing styles can I use?
Ukifi is compatible with most playing styles. It works great with basic strumming, and avoids the occasional (but very audible) sound of hitting a deep string by mistake when fingerpicking.
Unfortunately Ukifi won't work well with clawhammer-- we'd recommend sticking with 6-string if that's your style.
Will it hurt/detune my guitar?
Ukifi is manufactured using an inert, acid-free plastic which won't impact on your fret-board, frets or strings (whether nylon or steel). When in position it imparts little additional tension on the A & E strings, and can be left in place without any impact. This said, we do recommend that Ukifi is removed if the instrument is going to be left for a while -- but this is to stop the Ukifi deforming due to the permanent pressure from the strings.
Why are there two in a pack?
Ukifi are small and lightweight - we include a spare by default. Feel free to share one with a friend!
How do I look after my Ukifi?
Ukifi can be safely stored on your guitar for short periods, but we recommend removing from the guitar if you're not going to be using it for a while, as this stops the Ukifi deforming under the string tension.
Ukifi can be cleaned using a water and a little mild detergent. Don't expose it to heat to dry it - it'll dry quickly enough if just left in the open for a few hours.
Arggh! My child/dog/cow has just swallowed my Ukifi!
Ukifi is made of completely inert materials and is biologically safe. While we strongly advise you to avoid ingesting your Ukifi, if it is swallowed just let it be and it'll work its own way out. I suppose you could use it afterwards after giving it a careful wash, but frankly it might be best to dispose of it and use the spare / get a new one (that's what we'd do!)
Ukifi for Students
How does Ukifi help?
Ukifi gives three immediate aids to the student learning the guitar from the ukulele:
- They'll get immediate results. There is nothing more satisfying (and encouraging) than picking up your brand new instrument and getting a decent sound straight away.
- It's a great aid in getting the student's hands used to the wider fret-board and fret-spacing.
- It helps the student become attuned to the linear tuning and deeper sound of the guitar.
Will the Ukifi hinder actually learning to play the guitar?
In our experience, Ukifi actually helps in those crucial early months on transition to the guitar -- it keeps interest levels up rather than have the student give up because it is too difficult to get a decent sound. We find that once the student gets used to the richer guitar tone they'll have sufficient motivation to push on with developing the full six-string skill-set.
Ukifi for Ukulele players
I play the ukulele but don't want to play the guitar. Why would I get the Ukifi?
Ukifi is a great way to expand your playing options and the sound that you get, with minimal outlay. For example, use it with a borrowed guitar to try out the baritone sound, or swap instruments on a gig to get a whole new musical expression. Ukifi works great on electric guitars -- it is quite an expressive sound, and unlike the sound that you'd get from an electric uke.
Ukifi for Guitar Players
I play the guitar and don't want to play the ukulele. Why would I get the Ukifi?
The Ukified guitar can sound quite expressive, and the muting of the two lower strings can really work with some musical combinations. In addition, there is a slight percussive tone that comes from the two muted strings (particularly on an amplified guitar) that can be used to great effect.