So you’ve just bought your ukulele. The main thing to keep in mind is that the ukulele is NOT a small guitar and it’s NOT A cavaquinho. The ukulele is an instrument in its own right, whose peculiarities deserve their own consideration. And you’re probably wondering: how to play the ukulele? Or how to get started as you are very beginner?
Today I’m going to make it easy for you to get start with your ukulele
All you need here is carve out a few minutes of your day and follow 3 basic steps below:
How To Play The Ukulele For Beginners – 3 Basic Steps For Beginners
Step 1: Tuning
Ukuleles usually have four strings, normally in t he setup known as “High G”. I say “usually” because there are some special cases of ukuleles with more strings, such as ukuleles with 6-8 strings and guitaleles (guitar/ ukulele hybrid).
In “High G” setup, the strings are tuned in the following sequence: G, C, E, A, counting from the string closest to your face as you look down. It may seem a little strange to the uninitiated, but the G string (which “should” be the lowest) is high, being in fact one octave higher than it “should be.”
The easiest way to tune the ukulele is to use a digital tuner. I use a Giannini GTU-2 Digital Chromatic Tuner, a contact tuner that has a “clip” that you attach to the headboard, and which recognises the notes from their vibration (it works particularly well in noisy environments). Almost any chromatic tuner can be used however.
If you (still) don’t own a digital tuner, you can compare the note of the strings with this Youtube video:
You can also download this AP Tuner software.
At first it may be necessary to tune the ukulele various times. MANY times. The strings may take a while to settle. Once it’s tuned, we can proceed to the next step.
- Read more: How To Tune A Ukulele
Step 2: How to hold the ukulele
Ukuleles (especially sopranos) are small instruments, and therefore don’t require any straps. The “correct” way to handle it is using your right arm as a “craddle”, holding it against your body to give the necessary support. If you are holding it correctly, you should be able to take either hand away and the uke stays put.
This position also helps your hand to reach the ukulele’s “sweet spot”, the place where it should be strummed, located between the spot where the arm meets the body and the 12th fret. Guitarists tend to strum at height of the sound hole, which I do not recommend.
To achieve better sound performance, the ukulele should be plucked with the fingers. Picks generate a less beautiful sound and limit some right-hand patterns specific to the ukulele. The most recommended method is to use your index finger, with the nails facing the ground, so that when you strum down, your nails will hit the strings and up, the flesh from the back of the finger.
With a correctly held and tuned ukulele, we can move on to the next step.
Step 3: First chords
These are the three chords I recommend you learn first.Knowing these 3, and having a certain “flow” in the change of chords, you can play a lot of national and international pop music.
Each horizontal line represents a fret and each vertical line, a string. From left to right are strings GAEC. The black dot represents the location where the finger should be positioned.
After placing your fingers as per the drawings, strum all of the strings and the sound should come out clean.If any of the strings is buzzing or the sound is muffled, try to position your finger in a better way on the frets. It might also be that part of your hand is dampening the other strings. It is extremely important to keep your instrument well-tuned, with fingers positioned in the correct way. Try playing the song below.
It is important that ALL strings sound when the chords are played. It is not a matter of strength, but the positioning of the fingers.