Ukulele for Beginners: How to Play the Ukulele on Your Own

At first glance, ukulele may seem like an odd member of a guitar family.

Despite its miniature frame, a ukulele isn’t a toy. It’s a proper instrument oozing a unique feel and groove. In order to produce pleasant music, you have to overcome the learning curve.

And the truth is this tends to be overwhelming for beginners. Confusing chord diagrams and painful fingers are just some of the hurdles along the way. That being said, you can go DIY even if you lack any guitar background.

Here are some tips that should help you learn how to play the ukulele.

Finding the Right Piece

The first thing to do is to buy a decent ukulele.

That shouldn’t be too hard. Originating from the island paradise of Hawaii, the ukulele has spread across the globe. The product range includes both traditional and innovative electric ukuleles.

Regardless of where you are, you can get a proper one for around $100. We wouldn’t advise going too much lower than that. Skimping could reflect on your learning efforts poorly.

Staying in tune, for instance, is much harder with a shabby ukulele.

This is to say you need to stick to trusted brands and find the best ukulele for beginners. Apart from shopping online, you can visit local music shops. Take your time to cherry-pick your companion on the music journey.

Getting a Hold of It

The next step in learning how to play ukulele is holding your instrument.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but trust us, it isn’t. First off, there are two basic positions.

The sitting one lets you put the ukulele on one leg. Your strumming arm goes over the ukulele. This position should leave the neck of the instrument floating in the air.

One mistake to avoid is squeezing the poor thing too tight.

On the other hand, the standing position requires you to hold the instrument against the chest. You use strumming arm as a support to stabilize the ukulele. A strap is unnecessary because the instrument is quite light.

Of course, you can try out both sitting and standing positions. It does take some practice to get things right. At one point though, you should be able to change the approach on the fly or even move around.


The Art of Playing

Once that is sorted out, you have to tune your ukulele.

The process is rather straightforward — it revolves around the standard re-entrant tuning. In other words, tune the strings to G-C-E-A from top to bottom. Check out this video tutorial to get a clearer idea.

Moving on, we have to stress the importance of learning the basic chords.

Namely, start with the seven majors and a handful of minors (Am, Dm, and Em in particular). Then, gradually introduce new chords. You can rely on online chord charts and diagrams that cover all the basics.

At first, you won’t be doing much more than the constant up-and-down movement. That is fine because strumming is the bread and butter of playing the ukulele. Watch YouTube videos to unleash that musician within.

Alas, the tricky part is you cannot easily find strumming patterns.

MPA copyright prevents people from sharing them. Therefore, you have to listen to the songs and find the rhythm and tempo on your own.

Learning How to Play the Ukulele: The Fun Part

It’s a good idea to take it slow in the beginning.

Being accurate is much more important than being quick. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, try out slapping and palm muting. Also, start altering chords.

Soon enough, you will hear a cleaner sound coming out of the ukulele. Practice until you manage to get rid of all the buzzing and muting. Work with easier songs for the time being.

Your fingers will eventually become stronger and accustomed to string action. The annoying pain will fade away.

This is where the real fun stage begins. You will spontaneously play without having to think twice about it. The endeavor, however, doesn’t end here.

You have hours and hours of mastering the instrument ahead of you. Find friends to jam along with and get the groovy feeling on.

Play Your Heart Out

Compared to most interments, it’s relatively easy to learn how to play the ukulele.

It is one of the main reasons for the recent boom in the instrument’s popularity. But, there are still dozens of different chords and a myriad of ways to play them.

The best way to proceed is to take baby steps before any leaps and bounds. Tackle songs with easy chords and fewer chord changes first. Bit by bit, speed things up and take on bigger challenges.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see other musicians doing their magic. It’s time to fill the air with sounds of joy and good vibrations!


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About the Author: Hello. Welcome to! My name is Louis, but in name of good fun & entertainment - I call myself The Tone King. This website was born back in 2008, to compliment the videos I started uploading to YouTube on guitar & related gear (guitar, amps, pedals, etc.). It has since grown, thanks to the thousands that tune in, making it what it is. If you subscribe to, you can expect lots of Guitar, Amp, Pedal Reviews & Shoot-Out videos. I also have monthly Live Webcasts, perform Artist Interviews, and try to get all the juicy coverage Backstage and at trade-shows like NAMM. The cherry on top is that there are no shortage of How-To Videos & TTK Killer Deal Alerts getting you the most knowledge & gear into your hands & mind! Thanks for stopping by to check out my website! Rock ON!

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