The ukulele is a Hawaiian musical instrument with a light and cheerful sound. Due to its compact size, the ukulele is easy to handle and can be mastered by a musician of any age. Start learning to play the ukulele with these easy tips and one day you will be a virtuoso!
Method 1 of 3: The Basics
Step 1. Select a ukulele
There are several different sizes and, accordingly, the types of sound of the ukulele - it is important to choose the one that suits you best. As a beginner, you are more likely to choose the cheaper option than invest in an expensive tool; maybe otherwise. There are four types of ukulele.
- The soprano ukulele is the most common type. This is the smallest ukulele, the sound of which is considered a classic. This type of ukulele is also cheaper than the others, and therefore the soprano is the most popular choice for beginners. The average length of such a ukulele is 53 cm, the number of frets is 12-14.
- The alto ukulele (or concert ukulele) is the next largest after the soprano. The length is about 58 cm, the number of frets is 15–20. Since the alto ukulele is larger, people with larger hands prefer this variation to the soprano ukulele. Ukuleles of this type also have a deeper sound than soprano ukuleles.
- The next type is the tenor ukulele, which is about 66 cm long; 15 or more frets. It sounds even deeper than a concert ukulele, and it allows you to produce even more sounds through an even longer neck.
- The largest ukulele is a baritone ukulele, which is 76 cm long and has 19 frets or more on the neck. The baritone ukulele tunes in the same way as a guitar on the lower four strings, which makes the two instruments very similar. Due to their large size, this type of instrument no longer has the classic sound of a ukulele, but the baritone ukulele will suit you if you want a truly deep and rich sound.
Step 2. Familiarize yourself with how the ukulele works
The structure of a ukulele is somewhat different from that of a guitar or other stringed musical instrument. Before you start playing, make sure you understand how the instrument works.
- The body of the ukulele is hollow inside and is made of wood, like most other musical instruments. There is a small hole under the strings in the body - a socket.
- The ukulele neck is an elongated piece of wood on which strings are stretched. The top flat surface of the neck is called the fingerboard.
- Frets are sections of the fretboard separated by metal saddles. Each fret has a different note for each string.
- The headstock is the part at the end of the neck where the tuning pegs are located.
- The ukulele has four strings, although the strings vary depending on the type of ukulele. The thickest and lowest sounding string is the first; the highest and thinnest string is the fourth.
Step 3. Tune the ukulele
Be sure to tune the instrument before each play. To tune the ukulele, tuning pegs are used, located on the headstock, which can be rotated to increase or decrease the tension on the strings.
- Over time, the strings stretch, and the tuning of the instrument gets lost. This means that you will have to tighten them more often.
- Take the ukulele in front of you. The upper left peg is connected to the C (C) string, the lower left is connected to the G (G) string, the upper right is connected to the E (E) string, and the lower right is connected to the A (A) string. Accordingly, to change the tension or sound of any string, you need to use the appropriate tuning peg.
- You will need an electronic or online tuner in order to have a sound sample for each string. Once you have a sample, you can adjust the tuning peg of one string or another until the string sounds in unison with the sample.
- If you have a piano or synthesizer, you can try playing the note that matches the string you are tuning and compare the sound of the desired note with the sound of the string.
Step 4. Get into a position that is appropriate for the game
Holding the ukulele incorrectly while playing can negatively affect not only the sound, but also, over time, your wrists. Every time before playing the ukulele, pay special attention to the correct posture and posture.
- Whether you are sitting or standing, the ukulele is always held the same in your hands.
- Press the ukulele to your chest with your right forearm, while resting the body of the instrument against the crook of the elbow. If you hold the ukulele correctly, you can remove your left hand and it will remain in the same position.
- The ukulele neck should be held between the thumb and the rest of the fingers with the left hand so that all four fingers, except the thumb, can be used when playing.
- When striking, use your right fingernails as you slide down the strings and your fingertips as you slide up.
- Hit the strings at body level, just above the socket.
- Keep your back and shoulders straight and do not lean over the ukulele. This will not only improve the way you look when playing, but it will also help to avoid tension and back pain.
Method 2 of 3: Chords
Step 1. Learn some basic chords
A chord is a harmonic consonance of two or more simultaneously played notes. To play a chord, you need to hold the strings on different frets at the same time. Learning most of the chords is quite simple: for this you will be given the string number, fret number and which finger is most convenient for holding the desired string.
Step 2. Learn the basic major chords
Major chords are made up of three or four notes played simultaneously, with the difference between these notes totaling an even number of frets, or an integer number of tones. A major sound means a cheerful and joyful sound.
- To play a major C (C) chord, hold down the fourth string at the third fret with your ring finger.
- To play a major F (F) chord, hold the second string at the first fret with your index finger and the first string at the second fret with your ring finger.
- To play a major G (G) chord, hold the third string at the second fret with your index finger, the fourth string at the second fret with your middle finger, and the second string at the third fret with your ring finger.
- To play a major A (A) chord, press the third string at the first fret with your index finger and the first string at the second fret with your middle finger.
- To play a major D (D) chord, hold the first string at the second fret with your middle finger, the second string at the second fret with your ring finger, and the third string at the second fret with your pinky finger.
- To play a major E (E) chord, hold the fourth string at the first fret with your index finger, the first string at the second fret with your middle finger, and the third string at the fourth fret with your little finger.
Step 3. Learn the major minor chords
A minor chord is three or more notes played simultaneously, two of which differ by one and a half tones (three frets). A minor sound, in contrast to a major one, means a sad, melancholic sound.
- To play a minor Am (A-minor) chord, hold down the first string at the second fret with your middle finger.
- To play a minor Em (E minor) chord, hold down the fourth string at the second fret with your index finger and the third string at the fourth fret with your ring finger.
- To play a Dm (D minor) minor chord, hold the 2nd string at the 1st fret with your index finger, the 1st string at the 2nd fret with your middle finger, and the 3rd string at the 2nd fret with your ring finger.
- To play an F # m (F sharp minor) minor chord, hold down the third string at the first fret with your index finger, the first string at the second fret with your middle finger, and the second string at the second fret with your ring finger.
- To play a minor Bm (B-Minor) chord, hold down the second, third, and fourth strings on the second fret with your index finger, and press the first string on the fourth fret with your ring finger. finger.
Method 3 of 3: Playing the ukulele
Step 1. Work on the tempo
Now that you've learned a few initial chords, playing several consecutive chords directly may become difficult for you; it means that you lack a sense of rhythm. For your playing to be melodic and coherent, you need to develop a sense of rhythm.
- Keeping the rhythm in line with the fighting style at first, while you are still learning to quickly move the fingers of your left hand from one position to another, will be difficult. As your skills begin to improve, try to stop interrupting the fight in between when changing two chords.
- Try counting to four to help keep the rhythm in your fighting.
- If you still have problems with rhythm, try using a metronome. This device emits a rhythmic ticking that allows the musician to relate his playing to it. The tick speed is adjustable
- Do not try to start playing very quickly right away, because as the speed of the game increases, the likelihood of error increases. Start with a slow rhythm and speed up as you master it.
Step 2. Learn whole songs
Now that you have learned all the major major and minor chords, you can play many songs in their entirety. In no time, you can learn a few songs and play with fight and brute force.
- Many ukulele self-help books feature some popular songs that a beginner can easily learn. Pick one at your local music store and start playing!
- If you want to learn any of the songs that you like, search the internet for tabs of this ukulele song. Tablature is a fairly straightforward diagram that tells you which strings and where to clamp to play a song.
Step 3. Practice daily
The most important thing you can do to improve your overall playing skill is to start practicing regularly. In order to become a virtuoso of playing the ukulele, it is not necessary to have an innate talent - perseverance and diligence are enough. Spend at least 20-30 minutes a day for training, which will allow you to become a real master!
- New, unstretched strings to the optimum position tend to quickly lose tuning. To avoid this, try leaving the ukulele overnight with the strings taut to stretch them out to their optimum shape.
- Be patient! With time and practice, you will learn to play the chords properly.
- It is easier to learn to play the ukulele while sitting. Once you get into practice, stand in front of the audience and sing the songs.
- If you study from written or video tutorials and do not seek the advice of an experienced ukulele player, you may end up with incorrect playing technique that will be difficult to rebuild later. While no loss in learning speed can be completely dispensed with without full-fledged lessons, valuable guidance from an experienced musician can be useful in correcting any technical inaccuracies.
- If you're looking for the best songbooks or a teacher, check with your local music store for advice.
- It is not recommended to play the ukulele with a regular pick, as the strings wear out so quickly. Use your fingers or a special felt pick instead of your regular pick.
- Be careful not to drop the ukulele, it is fragile! Use a case to transport the instrument.