October 8

How to Play the Ukulele – Ultimate Beginners Guide

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How to Play the Ukulele – Ultimate Beginners Guide

How to play ukulele? If you have more than a passing admiration for Tiny Tim, you’ll maybe also have an interest in learning how to play the ukulele! Like any instrument, it takes practice and time, but so longs you have your ukulele already, you’ll be able to strum out a few notes in no time with our beginner's guide.

OK, so are you ready to start sounding like the Eternal Troubadour?

What is a Ukulele?

If you have gotten this far, we really should assume that you already know this, but just in case you do not, we will give a beginner's guide to the ukulele. Firstly a ukulele is not a “small guitar”.

The ukulele is a small four-stringed wood instrument that resembles a small guitar (emphasis on resembles), but creates a unique sound. There are similarities in how the two instruments are played, but also subtle differences.

The ukulele was introduced to Hawaii and the Pacific islands in the early 20th century, from where its popularity spread to the United States and thus the world!

Who Plays the Ukulele - Aside From Tiny Tim

You will notice people with ukuleles all around if you look hard enough, from backpackers to globe-trotting musicians to genuine ukulele experts and just lovers of this fine instrument.

One of the main things you will notice when you first pick up the ukulele usually is that those around you are very encouraging and helpful; at least that is our perception of the ukulele “scene”.

How to Play Ukulele a Beginners Guide: How to Hold a Ukulele?

Start your ukulele journey perfectly by learning how to hold the ukulele or uke. Don’t worry; this is not like a violin where you have to hold it EXACTLY right because there is room for maneuver and for what is comfortable.

If you have a strap, adjust it to be comfortable and essentially positioned so that you can easily play it. Suppose you have no strap cradle it almost like a baby, again in a way that will allow you to hit the right chords. Feel free to get advice from regular players, thing of this are like a pool cue than auditioning for instrumental at the Royal Opera House.

How to Play the Ukulele - Hitting the Right Chord

Hitting the right chord might be the wrong heading for this and you will need to hit your first ever chord, and first chords are rarely the right ones.

As a four-stringed instrument, the strings are numbered 4-3-2-1, nice and easy so far, right? Strumming is fine as soon as you’re ready, but at first, simply play the notes 4 through one while humming, or better still singing in the pitches G,C,E, and A - if you need to look them up then you really are a beginner! A classic song to use for this would be the eternal ukulele tune “My Dog Has Fleas”.

How to Play the Ukulele - Expanding Your Repertoire!

Now strum all four strings together while you count a rhythm from one through four singing a nice simple tune like “row your boat”, or the like. Any simple song that you might use on a regular guitar works in the early days of your ukulele training!

The Chording Hand and the Elusive C7 Chord

And lastly, on our how-to-play ukulele, beginners guide the chording hand and hitting the C7 chord.

This is what we call the sock puppet method! You basically pretend you have a sock puppet on your hand and that you are going to make it talk! This means your wrist is straight and that your fingers are all perfectly in line! Tapping on your thumb makes the puppet look at you. This is how your left hand should be positioned when learning to play the ukulele.

Next step: bring your hand under the headstock and put the neck if your instrument into the puppet's mouth (thats your hand not an actual puppet remember).

Put the tips of your fingers in the frets, your index finger being on get 1, middle on2, ring on 3 and pinkie on 4. Remove all your fingers bar your index which is on stret 1 (still following), now with the fingers gently curved, thumb touching index finger, wrist still straight you strum the strings! Hurrah you are forming the C& chord.

If that is too hard to follow then there check out the following YouTube video we have embedded

And that is who to play ukulele, or at least a very limited beginners guide on how to play this magical instrument!

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About the Author

Glen Campbell

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