When it comes to unique tips to play ukulele, there are quite a few of those called “top tips” out there on the internet. However, they might be not suitable for you, as a newbie to ukulele who does not have any prior knowledge or experience on this kind of instrument. If you have never played an instrument and nobody in your family plays an instrument, then you might think it is really hard to do, right? But it is not. To be good enough to have fun is easy. Follow 13 tips to learn to play the ukulele in this article to jump start your ukulele playing performance now.
13 Hot Tips From Ukulele Stars – Learn To Play The Ukulele Like A Pro
1. Choose A Decent Ukulele
This is considered as the most important tips when you are serious and learn to play the ukulele. There are 4 different sizes of ukulele which are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Also, there are tons of different woods used for ukuleles such as mahogany, monkey pod, mango, koa, rosewood, and acacia.
An inexpensive instrument that can stay in tune will cost about $30 for a soprano, and $50 for a baritone. However, if you want to have a ukulele with medium quality material, you can spend about $100-$200 for Lanikai, or Fluke, or Applause. As a beginner, I recommend you should steer away from the baritone because they are harder to find tabs, tutorials, etc.
Different sizes of ukulele lead to different tones. Small ones will have a higher tone than large ones. The comfort when playing ukulele depends on its size; and comfort comes from how easy it is to cram your fingers onto the fret board for a chord. Thus, you should choose one that you feel comfortable and enjoyable when playing.
2. Hold The Ukulele
This seems strange but it can help you a lot in the future. Spend a few minutes on trying some position either standing or sitting. When sitting, you can let the ukulele rest on one leg and place your strumming arm on the top of the ukulele. When standing, hold it against your chest and keep it with your strumming arm. It may take from you a little bit of practice, but after doing this, you will be able to pick up the ukulele and play it without messing.
Remember that you should not hold ukulele too tightly because this instrument is small; thus, it is very easy to smother the sound out of it. This also makes you lose some of the volume and tone. Watch some professionals like Jake Shimabukuro to learn how to hole the uke properly.
3. Practice Slowly And Have Fun
Ukulele is a fun instrument that some people call it as a toy, so what, toys are fun to play with. Yet, in fact, it is not a toy at all. It is a true instrument that people can do wonderful thing with it.
Get started to learn to play the ukulele slowly in order to avoid making mistakes. Once you make mistake, it is incredibly hard to get rid of it. Get tune under your fingers and steadily speed up.
4. Learn The Basics
When looking on websites and Youtube, you might quickly learn that amazing things can be done with ukulele. But, like every skill in the life, you need to learn the basics first. When starting out, you should not try to play a big fancy tab first, instead of the chords. Begin with minors majors, and then go with other chords.
5. Learn How To Read Ukulele Tab And Different Chords
There are a lot of people who can play the ukulele without no knowledge about reading tab. Yet, there is so much ukulele tab around on the net that can enhance the speed for you to pick up new tunes.
As a beginning uke player, it can be overwhelming to think that there are hundreds of chords over such a small instrument like this. So, which one you need to know. In general, if you know some chords such as C major, G major, F major, D major, A minor, and D minor, you will be play uke rather well.
6. Use Ukutabs.Com To Learn Songs
This might sound silly but it is a good way for beginners to learn new songs. This website has the chord diagrams for each chord in the song included. By this way, it is not necessary for you to look up chord diagrams. Also, if you hove over a chord in the song itself, the chord diagram is going to pop up.
7. Listen To A Lot Of Uke Players
If you are already in a band, it is perfect. You can enjoy fun with your friends. But, if you are not in a band yet, there is no problem either. You can watch the ukulele videos or marvel at the true ukulele guru’s out there. The more you listen, the more you can get familiarize with a uke and get a feel for it as well as the way it sounds. Just listen carefully for the tempo’s and rhythm. By this way, you can improve your playing subconscious.
8. Tune Up Appropriately
To learn to play the ukulele, you cannot skip learning to tune up it properly. Although this instrument looks small but it is not the easiest one to get in tune and keep in tune. In order to tune the ukulele exactly, you need to memorize the string pitches. When tuning any instrument, it is recommended that people should tune from below the note, up. This will help you to systematize the process of tuning, so you will finally be more familiar with the sound of a perfectly in-tune string. The ukuleles can be tuned with different methods such as using a tuner, a piano, pitch pipes, or tuning the ukulele to itself.
The most common ukuleles which are soprano and tenor ukuleles, have 4 strings tuned GCEA. This is correct standard tuning for a tenor ukulele. In detail, the G below the middle C (low G), middle C, E, and A. Each string is loosened and tensed with a tuning knob at the top of the fret board. If you have a baritone one, the correct standard will be DGBE.
After tuning, play chords to test your tune. It is easier to test your tune to a simple chord rather than to simply play notes and try hearing if they are in tune. You should strum a C or other major chords and then listen to the tuning.
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9. Record Yourself
Obviously, it is hard to play and listen to your playing at the same time. Then, you can record your playing to listen what your pros and cons are. Your recording does not have to be great quality, just good enough that you can listen to yourself. Via recording, you can:
- Keep track of your own progress
- Hear where you can improve. Are you speeding up? Are you creating buzzes by misfretting? Or are the notes you want to emphasize standing out?
10. Beware When To Stop Practicing
You might be tempted to push through the pain in your hands. Yet, if your pain is internal such as cramps and sore muscles, you are causing permanent damage. If your hand is feeling sore, take a rest instantly to help you have more stamina and strength the next time you play. For example, in order to relax, you can stop playing and hang your arms down from your shoulders, then shake your hands forth and back while relaxing entirely. For stretching, interlace the finders and stretch the wrists into “L” shapes when stretching the wrist each way.
11. Play By Ear
If you come across a certain song, you really love and want to play it, then do not instantly go to the internet and try to find tabs for it. Try to have a go at working out that song yourself first.
12. Finger Exercising
Once starting to play ukulele, your body, in general, and your fingers of the fretting hand, in particular, will not be used to create the chord shapes that you are trying to get them into. What you need to achieve is a muscle memory in your fingers, so the shapes are trying to perform come easily and naturally. Similarly to tennis players, you need to train your fingers, muscles as well as tendons to begin forming common shapes and reaching in ways your hand has never needed to before.
13. Enjoy Yourself
The big appeal of this instrument is that it is the most fun instrument. Every one tries to denigrate the ukuleles as toys. I think calling the ukulele a toy is a great compliment. Toys are interesting and fun to play with and so is the ukulele. And that is true for the ukulele which is more than most instruments.
Lean to play the ukulele now to experience how fun it is. It might be not easy to be a professional instantly. Yet, if you invest time as well as effort in practicing, I bet that you will be proficient sooner or later. I hope that the tips to learn to play the ukulele introduced in this article will be helpful to you.
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