If you are wondering whether a ukelele is right for you or not, stop right there! It is one of the most versatile instruments you can start with your musical journey. Most importantly, playing a ukulele is affordable and exciting for any beginner, and I’m there to guide you.
Ukuleles, originating in the Hawaiian islands, are generally a four-stringed instrument that can give you pleasure just by looking at it. However, if you are still confused about what to choose and how to start, look no further! In this beginner’s Guide to Playing the Ukulele, I’ll discuss some essential tips, chords and songs to start as a beginner.
So, let’s start it.
How to Choose the Right Ukulele:
The first task in your ukulele journey is to choose the right one for you. Hence, it is very crucial to know your preferences and liking. Besides, there are different types of ukuleles, like Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Concert, to suit different people considering their hand sizes.
Choosing the best ukulele also includes considering the material of its body. Wooden ukuleles are comparatively the best to produce a richer sound. Or you can choose other materials like plastic or other type of material. Hence, check the best ukuleles before buying one.
It’s time to know your ukulele chords closely and why they are important. Chords play a vital role in shaping the tuning of any song, so it’s essential to learn the chords for any beginner. Here are the four basic chords that you need to understand.
C Chord: It is the third string which produces the lowest tune. Put your ring finger on the third fret of the A string and let the other strings remain open.
G Chord: Put your index finger on the second fret of the C string and your middle finger on the second fret of the A string. The other strings are left open.
Am Chord: Position your index finger on the first fret of the C string. The rest of the strings remain open.
F Chord: Bar the first fret with your index finger across all strings. Next, keep your ring finger on the third fret of the C string and your middle finger on the second fret of the G string.
Basic Strumming Techniques:
Now that you’ve gone through the basic chord progression and how they work, it’s time to learn some strumming techniques. The most uncomplicated strumming approach is the down strum. Hold the ukulele and let your hand gently brush across the strings downward. Keep up a steady pace and try to hit all the strings evenly.
Another popular strumming pattern is the “down-up-down-up” pattern. Start by strumming down, then immediately strum up, and repeat. This pattern creates a catchy and lively rhythm, perfect for many ukulele songs.
Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners:
You’ve come far enough to know some easy ukulele songs that will help you master your craft more precisely and beautifully. So, here are my favourite picks that you can try to keep you company.
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – This song by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is an iconic classic that every ukulele player needs to learn. It has a slow and beautiful rhythm that will soothe your mind.
- “Riptide” – Another popular song that can make your journey easier is Vance Joy’s “Riptide”. This song has a pleasant melody with fewer chords, which is perfect for you as a beginner.
- “I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz’s feel-good song is synonymous with the ukulele. Its simple chord progression and upbeat vibe make it a joy to play.
- “Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen’s timeless ballad sounds enchanting on the ukulele. Although it may have a few more chords, its soulful melody is worth the effort.
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis Presley’s romantic classic is a favourite among ukulele enthusiasts. Its slow tempo and sweet lyrics make it a delightful song to learn.
Some useful Tips:
- Start with the Basics: Start by learning the basic chords and strumming patterns. Mastering these foundational elements will give you a strong starting point to build upon.
- Practice Regularly: Consistency is key when learning any musical instrument. Hence, start practising every day or a few times a week. You can also indulge in short practice sessions to improve your learning.
- Use Online Resources: There are numerous online tutorials, chord charts, and video lessons available for free. Take advantage of these resources to learn new chords, songs, and techniques.
- Play Along with Songs: Choose your favourite songs and find ukulele tutorials or chords for them. Playing along with songs you love makes practising more enjoyable and helps you improve your timing and rhythm.
- Experiment with Strumming Patterns: Be bold and try different strumming patterns to see what fits the song or your style best. Experimenting will help you discover your unique sound.
- Practice Chord Transitions: Smooth chord transitions are essential for playing songs fluently. Work on switching between chords until the transitions become natural and effortless.
- Record Yourself: Recording yourself while playing can be an eye-opening experience. It will help you monitor yourself and make improvements if necessary.
- Set Goals: Set realistic and achievable goals for your ukulele playing. It could be mastering a particular song, learning new chords, or improving your strumming technique.
Making an effort to do your favourite thing is perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself. Not to mention, learning an instrument will keep your mind healthy and peaceful. And as you have come far enough to read this ukulele playing guide, be a little bold to start your musical journey now.
So, I hope my words have inspired you and have guided you fairly on this ride.
Well, if you’re still confused with your decision to choose between ukulele or guitar, pause for a while, take your time to think well, and then choose.
Yes! Learning the ukulele is simple, even for a beginner. It is also suitable for all ages.
A: Not necessarily. While reading music can be helpful, many ukulele players learn by following chord diagrams and tabs.
A: Yes. You can use a ukulele to play different music genres as it is a versatile instrument.
Yes. At first, you may have some problems, but eventually, you’ll learn. You can make use of online resources.