There are quite a few of these “Top 7 Tips” out there on the internet. I’ll try to add something to that with my own personal Top 7 Tips for beginning ukulele players. When I bought my first ukulele I was completely unprepared, but I had the advantage of having some guitar background though. I’ll try to give you some really useful tips that will give you a jump start when you begin playing the ukulele.
1. Get a decent ukulele.
This is the most important one of all when you are serious about wanting to learn how to play the ukulele. There are a few good ukuleles in the $100 range, but you can almost be sure that an ukulele under $50 is not that good.
2. Learn how to hold your ukulele.
When you are sitting, you can let the body of the ukulele rest on one of your legs and rest your strumming arm on the top of the ukulele. That way the ukulele neck should “float” in the air. All this may take some practice but it will pay of in the end because that way you will be able to pick up your ukulele and play, without messing around first. I had some trouble at the beginning, but nowadays I’m walking around the house, in the garden,… with my ukulele. Small note: don’t hold it too tight! The sound still needs to vibrate properly through the body.
3. Have fun!
The ukulele is a fun instrument. Some may call the ukulele a toy, so what, toys are fun to play with! But it really isn’t a toy at all, it’s a true instrument and you can do wonderful things with it. Also don’t make the mistake by thinking that it is an easy instrument, you will need to practice a lot to master it, but even when you only know the basics it is already so much fun! A great website to learn how to play it really well is Musician Authority. Enjoy playing it and without knowing, you will improve each and every single day.
4. First things first, the basics.
When looking on YouTube and other websites you will quickly learn that amazing things can be done with the ukulele, but like every skill in life you’ll need to learn the basics first. Don’t try to play some big fancy tab when you are just starting out, learn your basic chords instead. Start with the majors, minors and then go on with other chords. You will notice that once you know your chords you will be playing tons of songs without even thinking twice on how to play them.
5. Decent strumming makes all the difference.
At the start you’ll probably only be doing simple up and down, up and down, up and down. But after a while you can try to add some slapping and palm muting to really get that chunky, funky and groovy feeling. It will really help a lot if you try to figure out the strumming yourself. You will learn playing the ukulele a lot quicker and after a while you’ll come up with your own strumming patterns! Carefully listen to some ukulele songs and “feel” the rhythm. I know that this isn’t easy, but once you get the basics, it’ll go real
6. Play along and listen to ukulele players.
Already in a band? Perfect! Bring along your ukulele and jam along with your friends. Not in a band yet? No problem either, convince your friends to start playing the ukulele! And if that doesn’t work, boot your computer, go online and watch ukulele videos where you can play along. Or marvel at the true ukulele guru’s out there! All of this will help you to feel the ukulele “groove” and feel. Listen and watch carefully for tempo’s and rhythm and without knowing, you’ll be learning how to play the ukulele!
7. Fingering exercises!
This might seem a lot. Besides learning chord shapes, learning how to strum, learn how to quickly change chords, etc… you’ll also need to do some fingering exercises.
You need to play at least 10-15 min every day to build up those calluses. So even if you only have time to run through those exercises a few times, do it! Your fingers will thank you later on.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this guide. If this guide helps, share it with your friends! We’d also love to hear how this learning process has helped you in the comment section below.