How to play the ukulele for beginners?
“An adorable instrument that is easy and fun to play with.” – here is something you are supposed to hear about ukulele all the time.
Sure! And amazingly, it has sizes that suit most of the people from kids to adult.
However, if you are an absolute ukulele beginner, there are tips that you would wish to know from the very start.
Below are 10 things that may help to learn to play ukulele easier than ever.
1# Buying A Beautiful and Good Sounding Ukulele
Choosing a ukulele that matches these both two requirements: good looking and good sounding is very important for beginners. Why?
I know that a lot of people believe that beginners just need to buy a cheap ukulele. Then they could change to another better ukulele later as they can play the ukulele better. (Maybe it’s to avoid wasting your money when your interest for ukulele doesn’t last long).
It sounds reasonable, huh? But I have to say that is definitely an inefficient advice.
Buying a cheap ukulele usually means you spend your money on a low-quality ukulele. As a result, it might be harder to play and enjoy, and you might end up disappointed with your suck instrument.
As a good rule of thumb, the nicer your ukulele looks, the more beloved it is.
Moreover, with a good ukulele resonance, the more encouraged and inspired you might feel when it comes to practicing ukulele.
So why not take any chance you have to let ukulele time is as relaxed and happy as it can be!?
Of course, not every cheap ukulele is sucked but it’s supposed to be $50-$100 to have a decent beginner ukulele. Most of the ukes under $50 doesn’t match good quality and durability.
There are several sizes of ukulele such as Soprano Uke, Concert Uke, Tenor Uke and Baritone Uke. So which is the BEST ukulele for beginners and kids?
In my experience, Soprano ukulele is the smallest and the best for kids. Concert and Tenor ukulele is suitable for everyone while Baritone is not very popular.
You can check out guides to choose the best ukulele for beginners here.
In short, buying an appealing and good sounding ukulele are the very first thing you should do for learning to play ukulele efficiently.
2# Learn How to Keep Your Ukulele IN TUNE
After you picked your desired ukulele, the next step is learning how to keep your ukulele in tune by tuning ukulele strings.
The soprano, concert, and tenor are very popular. They have standard tuning to G4, C4, E4, A4, as shown in the picture below:
So, how do I tune my ukulele?
This task can be easier than ever with a Ukulele Tuner. The Snark SN6 Clip-On Ukulele Tuner is one of the best ukulele tuners on the budget for you.
Here is the video show you how to tune ukulele strings with Snark Tuner:
Or you can search on Google store for “ best ukulele tuner app”. There is a ton of uke tuner apps for iPhone and Android cellphones out there.
3# Learn How to Change your Ukulele Strings
You need to change ukulele strings after a period of playing.
So, when should you change your strings?
It depends on how much you play, but as a beginner,I highly recommend you change your ukulele strings every five or six months for the first year. Why?
Because that way you can ensure the strings still qualified for playing and this process also helps in training your ears.
After the first year of playing, now just listen ukulele sound, your ears will know exactly when the sound becomes dull, out of tune. That is the time to restrings.
Note: Do not just replace only one string. You have to replace all strings everytime restring your ukulele.
The video below shows details how to change strings on your ukulele:
4# Learn the FIRST Three to Five Easy-Popular-Ukulele-Chords
Here are four popular chords you should learn first: C-Am-F-G7. With these super simple chords, you can play lots of songs.
In this video, Kim Trang (fromdefynityOrg) will show how to use these chords and basic strum pattern as well.
And here is the list of songs that apply C-Am-F-G7 (G) chords.
5# Learn Ukulele Strumming Patterns
When you learn C-Am-F-G7 chords, you should practice them with strumming patterns.
The strumming patterns are quite flexible. When you do master rhythm and beat, you can create your own strumming patterns easily.
At the first stage of learning ukulele, you should pick out an easy strumming pattern on the internet, and practice with these C-Am-F-G7 chords.
This video from the defynityOrg channel will show you some easy strumming patterns
Here are 20 most useful strumming patterns from ukulele-tabs.com for your reference.
Or you can visit 15 EASY-LEARN STRUMMING PATTERNS from The Ukulele Teacher on Youtube:
6# Pick out a SONG you like BEST, then Practice it with your Ukulele
The most effective way to learn to play ukulele is practicing it with songs.
This 10 songs all using C-Am-F-G7 (G) chords:
#7 Subscribe GREAT Ukulele channels on YouTube
YouTube is the great free sources for learning ukulele. So, what are some good channels for a complete ukulele newbie, and for intermediate level?
I think you would check out several ukulele channels, and finding the channel you are most comfortable with, base on features such as the feeling, voice, and useful instruction.
Here are four ukulele channels that are useful for learning ukulele:
1/ defynityOrg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP6m_AkrCR8
If you are a complete beginner, the lessons on this channel are best for you in the first stage.
2/ Cynthia Lin Music https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD2q6i-C0ZLJUK-VCp49TJA
Cynthia is a talented teacher who can perform fascinating jazz songs right on a uke. She also shows you how to play those songs as well. Her tutorials are excellent, easy to understand and follow.
3/ The Ukulele Teacher https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1HlihY-iNtOemAlYQq3GXQ
This channel is very popular for helping beginners with understandable ukulele lessons. It has so many things such as reviews, tips, performances, and more.
8# Buying a Ukulele Beginner Course, and/or a Ukulele Book for Beginners
I’m sure you can learn to play this instrument pretty well just via online ukulele lessons on YouTube. So in case you don’t intend to be a master of uke, YouTube is the right place for you.
However, if you want to improve your own ukulele skills, you have to learn from basic music theory to advanced skills of ukulele.
You can learn them by yourself via searching on Google. But it might take a lot of time because knowledge on the internet isn’t always provided systematically.
Learning uke with Online courses is an alternative option.
Here are links to some good quality online ukulele lessons for your reference. These courses might be expensive, but they’re worth the money.
This ukulele course suits from absolute beginners to intermediate players. The videos in every lesson are visual and easy to follow.
This is the most expensive online ukulele course on the list. But let see what you will get:
- Over 100s of ukulele lessons
- Apply all levels and styles of playing
- Slow motion videos looping that are extremely easy to follow.
- And more…
This ukulele course from JP Allen – He has been teaching and performing music professionally for over two decades.
And here is one of the reviews from his student:
“I used to thought that I wouldn’t be able to learn the ukulele from a video, but I was wrong, my results are great! The lessons were the perfect place to easily learn to play along with and learn songs! I am so thrilled!”
This is an online uke course on a budget for beginners. It is actually an ebook combined with videos on its website. These lessons and videos help you learn ukulele from the scratch.
9# Keep Practicing Your Ukulele Consistently
As you may know, consistent practicing is very important when you learn any instrument. And consistency is also the key to success when it comes to practicing ukulele.
So how much time do you need to practice playing ukulele each day?
Personally, I highly recommend you practice at least 30 minutes each day. Because you might get bored easily if you practice longer than 30 minutes.
In addition, you have to make this process become a habit because 30 minutes practicing every day is always better than two hours a week.
10# Create Your Own YouTube Channel
This step is optional, but whether you play ukulele well or not, you should create your own YouTube channel and upload your videos of ukulele stuff on it.
There is a lot of benefits when doing this way. You might:
- Connect to other ukulele players and people, that will encourage you a lot
- Receive personal feedback and improve your skills
- Build your personal branding
- Might have your own business when your channel has a large number of subscribers.
The last words
Ukulele is so cute and easy to learn to play. So if you love this lovely instrument, don’t hesitate, buy one and learn to play it.
Normally, you just need one or two weeks to be able to play your very first favorite songs well.
Have exciting strumming!