Published on 18/07/2012
You've chosen to take up the ukulele and join in the ukulele craze? It's fun, it's cool, and once you have a few basics under your belt who knows where it might lead?
One of the great things about learning to play the ukulele is that you don't need to be able to read music. This doesn't mean that it isn't good to learn music theory. It's a great thing to learn the principals of music - we have many great theory books in store to help you with this - but you can start learning the ukulele without that knowledge.
A Tuner -It's a good idea to get yourself a tuner. Your playing won't sound crash hot if the ukulele is not in tune, no matter how good you are! Ideal tuners for the uke are the clip on ones, easy to fit on the end of the instrument, simple to use and not too expensive.
Strings - Strings are an essential part of your kit. It is probably a good idea to carry a spare set in case one breaks while you are playing. As us about Aquila strings, which make even a modest instrument sound good. Put these on the instrument and notice the difference!
Ukulele Chord Dictionary - In a chord book you will find all of the most frequently used chords. Don't worry, you won't need to learn them all overnight. You will find after learning 3 or 4 chords that you will be up and running, strumming along to to your favourite songs.
MAKING A START
Holding - When learning any new instrument it is important to hold it correctly or you will end up stiff and sore. You can play the ukulele standing or sitting. When sitting, always sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor. Standing can be a bit harder at first - you have to get used to tucking the ukulele into your side, just above your hip. There is at trick of using your right forearm to keep the ukulele nestled into your side whilst keeping relaxed.
Tuning - The most common tuning for the ukulele is G,C,E and A. Or remember it as George Clooney Eats Avocados. With the G being above middle C. So the C sting is actually the lowest note.
Strumming - How do you actually strum correctly? The most important and basic strum is the down stroke - keep your hand nice and relaxed. Then strike the strings using the nail of your forefinger in a downwards motion. The up stroke is done with the fleshy tip of the finger and not the nail, starting at the 1st string and strumming back to the top.
Give it a go - and make sure you have fun. Remember, you don't have to be a professional overnight!