Are you planning on learning how to play the ukulele? If yes, then you’ve chosen a worthwhile goal. Like any other musical instrument, ukulele chords can be learned if you follow the right steps.
However, the secret to mastering this stringed instrument in a short period of time is dedication and consistency. You have to have a deep love for it and practice often.
It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or a pro at playing the ukulele, the only way to make improvements is through constant practice.
Unfortunately, many people have found it quite difficult to learn to play this string musical instrument. If you are just starting to play, there are numerous ukuleles for beginners that you can buy.
Experts recommend at least 15 minutes of daily practice for a beginner. However, if you’ve got more time, you can practice for a longer time.
In addition, you need to ensure you are taking the right ukulele lessons for you to make improvements. If you’re a beginner, the purpose of this article is to tell you about the seven steps to playing the ukulele.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Choose the Right Ukulele for You
Choosing the right ukulele for yourself is a step you must not get wrong. Set some money aside and purchase the one that is right for you.
Since there are different types of ukuleles on the market today, you must do diligent research before settling on one. If you’re on a low budget, you’ll find one that suits you.
On the other hand, if your budget is on the high side, you’d also find one that suits you. On average, ukuleles for beginners are often sold for between $50 and $200.
I would not recommend you buy the type that is on the bottom edge of the scale. A ukulele that holds tuning well may be a bit expensive.
The type of wood used in making a ukulele determines its price. Those that are made with solid wood are more expensive than those made with laminate wood.
This is not surprising because the solid wood type gives a richer tone and better tuning than the one made with inferior wood.
2. Get Familiar With the Parts of a Ukulele
One of the keys to becoming a pro at playing ukulele is to know all its parts, like the back of your hand. You must know the tone each chord produces.
The guitar and ukulele share a lot in common, but they both produce different sounds. In terms of appearance, the ukulele is not as big as the guitar.
It isn’t enough for you to only be able to identify the parts; you must understand the function of every part.
All its parts can be broadly divided into three: head, neck, and body. The head features prominent materials known as tuning knobs. Meanwhile, the neck is equipped with a fretboard, fret markers, and frets. The body is made up of a saddle, a sound hole, and a bridge.
The fretboard found on the neck houses all the vertical strings. While running down, the strings then attach to the bridge and saddle of the body.
3. Learn How to Hold a Ukulele
How you hold a ukulele can tell if you are a rookie or a pro. Experienced players pluck the strings with their dominant hand.
To pluck the strings effectively, hold the instrument against your chest and place the body in your elbow groove. However, if you’re not comfortable holding the ukulele against your chest, look for a strap. It makes playing it a lot easier.
In addition, if you want to play the ukulele while sitting, it’s much easier to place the instrument on your lap.
Remember to maintain proper posture while playing to avoid back and shoulder pain. Once you know how to hold it well, you can then learn how to read ukulele chords.
4. Learn How to Tune a Ukulele
For a ukulele to sound amazing, you have to tune it. The good news is that tuning works for all kinds of ukulele, ranging from soprano to tenor.
A little alteration in tuning can make a significant difference while playing the instrument. So ensure that you regularly check that the tuning is intact every 10 to 15 minutes of playing.
Before you begin to play, it’s quite necessary to tune your ukulele to the standard reentrant tune. So that means the instrument has to be tuned to the GCEA format.
The basic rule is that the tighter the strings, the higher the pitch. The pitch decreases once you loosen the tuning knob. If you don’t understand how tuning works, seek help from an experienced player.
Another good option is to get the pocket ukulele tuner, which can get your instrument tuned in seconds. By using the app, you can tune your ukulele anywhere and anytime. Follow the instructions carefully to get it right.
5. Play Your First Ukulele Chords
Now that you’ve mastered how to tune the ukulele, it’s time to play your first ukulele chords. The goal is to move from simple chords to more complex ones.
By learning just a few ukulele chords, you’ll be able to play a variety of different songs on your own.
To start, we encourage you to start with the C major chord. Wondering how to place your fingers? Place your ring finger on the third fret, which is at the bottom of the A string.
After learning how to play the C major chord, focus on the A minor chord. You play the A minor chord by putting your middle finger on the second fret.
A good option is to download the pocket ukulele chords app to serve as a guide while learning how to play.
6. Find Songs to Play on the Ukulele
After mastering the basic chords of the ukulele, you then have to download songs you can play with it. Fortunately, there are hundreds of them, some of which are easier for beginners to learn.
Here are some popular songs you can begin to practice with:
- Whistle by Flo Rida
- Stay with me by Sam Smith
- One Love by Bob Marley
- Count on me by Bruno Mars
- I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Go on YouTube, take your time to download the above songs, and practice with your ukulele. If you’re still having a hard time playing them, ask an experienced player to play while you pay attention.
7. Practice Playing Ukulele and Have Fun
As the popular saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” the only way you can perfect your ukulele-playing skills is by playing every day. No matter how busy you are, take at least 15 to 20 minutes to practice daily.
You might get frustrated, especially if it seems like you are not making the needed progress. But do not give up, nothing good comes easy! More so, find a way to stay motivated.
Another way to have fun while learning how to play the ukulele is to join a musical group. The group would serve as a support system and provide you with the motivation you need.
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