You really like that warm and tinkly ukulele sound. You’ve seen tons of ukulele players covering your favorite songs or coming up with some great originals. Your friends have started picking up the instrument and taking it everywhere with them. You want to try playing the ukulele too, but where to start?
Whether it’s your first time playing an instrument or you’ve had years of guitar-playing experience under your belt, you’ve come to the right place to seek out ukulele wisdom for beginners. Here are our top tips for beginning ukulele players!
Get a good ukulele.
If you’re serious about learning how to play the ukulele, then you should seriously get a decent one from the get-go. A ukulele of poor quality–something that breaks easily or won’t stay in tune even after giving the strings time to settle in–will only give you headaches and even cause you to lose the motivation to play.
You don’t have to break the bank to buy a good ukulele for beginners either. There are plenty of beginner kits that offer great value for the money. These ukuleles often come with an electronic tuner, an instructional manual, a carry case or gig bag and even a polishing cloth to help you keep your ukulele clean.
Hold your ukulele properly.
The ukulele is a small instrument and it may take you a bit of maneuvering to finally find a position you’re comfortable with while maintaining a good posture. When you’re seated, make sure to sit upright with your back straight. Hold the uke a little below your chest, lightly pinning it there with the forearm of your strumming arm. Remember not to hug the ukulele too tight against you so the sound can project properly.
Always tune your ukulele before playing.
New ukulele strings are like new shoes–you need to break them in first. The first few days of ukulele-playing will require you to tune the ukulele constantly until the strings settle and hold their tune longer. You still need to develop the habit of tuning the ukulele each time you play to make sure the notes you strum always come out right.
It’s helpful for beginners to have an electronic tuner on hand or use an online ukulele tuner. Top tip: train yourself not to rely on a tuner and learn to tune by ear so that you can play without the help of any device.
Start with the basics.
Learning how to play the ukulele is like learning how to write a sentence correctly. With writing, you need to learn the alphabet and how words are spelled. With the ukulele, you need to learn the basic chords. Beginner-friendly songs usually have these five chords: C, G, F, D, A.
We recommend starting with the major chords, followed by the minor chords and other chords. You can study chord charts and watch videos online to see how these chords are played. Take your time learning the chords and how to strum. It takes a while to get your hand and finger muscles to get used to the movements, but practice as often as you can and soon muscle memory will take over.
Once you know your chords by heart, you’ll be able to play plenty of songs and even compose your own!