Author Archives: ne2am
Author Archives: ne2am
Traveling with your ukulele may sound like a disaster. but, by following these guidelines it'll turn out to be a simple process.
To all the traveling musicians, here are some tips on the ideal way to travel with your Ukulele safely.
A hard-shell waterproof case with a strong locking latch should be your best friend.
You'll want to maintain your ukulele safe if it got dropped or banged or even got wrongly man-handed. The hardshell case is the ideal product for safety maintenance if any of this happens.
Moreover, make sure you choose the right size of the case for your ukulele to fit in If there are spaces fill them with rolling t-shirts to keep your ukulele stable and in place.
Preparing your ukulele by loosening the strings for less tension is the most common and important tip. As the strings can be affected by the exposition to heat, pressure, climate changes and humidity.
However, these factors lead to the expansion and contraction of the wood which will make the strings snap and may break the saddle or the neck of your ukulele.
Identifying your ukulele is a lifesaver tip. Luggage gets lost from time to time so you want to make sure it comes back to you if you lose it.
Put a label with your name and contact details outside and inside your ukulele's case.
And for more safety add the label "Fragile, Please keep dry and handle with care" to make sure your ukulele is carefully handed.
We never know what's going to happen through a trip. So you better take your precautions and bring extra accessories and tools you may need for your ukulele.
Such as extra packets of strings, Nail files, a tuner, Etc.
Pack them separately from your ukulele's case to avoid suspicious checks at the airport.
Taking your ukulele as a carry on luggage is the ideal decision. Most airlines allow carrying on your musical instrument on board with you.
Therefore, you can keep it underneath your seat as long as it fits or in the overhead cabin.
The last plan that you may fallback to is that you leave you ukulele as checked luggage.
It's not the ideal plan but if you had to resort to it make sure you lock out your case carefully, Stick your labels with the identification and cautious, Loosen your strings. And you ukulele is all set.
The earlier you get on board the easier your process will be. Getting on board early ensures you the priority of having the needed room for your ukulele to be safely stored in the overhead cabin through the flight.
Furthermore, protecting it from being tucked in with other passengers' luggage.
Most airlines have an option called "Priority Boarding" You may resort to this route if you can't get on board early, They'll provide your priority in being one of the first passengers to get on board.
If you're going to check your ukulele in then added insurance may be worth looking into. You can take pictures/video of your ukulele before you check it in as an insurance proof of its statue before the flight.
Right after the flight and before you leave the airport check the condition of your ukulele.
In the event that it's damaged or lost, hand your insurance proof and make a claim immediately.
If you're heading to a road trip with your ukulele then, fortunately, you have options.
You can use whether the soft gig bag or the hard-shell case according to the room your car has.
Moreover, you have to cover your ukulele's case with a colored blanket or towel (avoid using black ones) so you can keep your ukulele away from absorbing heat during exposure to sunlight.
Assuming that, you're going to step out of your car take your ukulele with you as the temperature can change fast and hit your ukulele with sudden heat leading to unnecessary damage.
If you're just starting to play the ukulele, you may be confused as to which model to buy and what your buying decision should be based on.
For a beginner, you shouldn't get something that's too pricey, but also a good beginner ukulele shouldn't be just the cheapest instrument you could find.
As the price increases, the quality of the wood gets better and consequently, the quality of the sound your ukulele is capable of producing.
On this list, I'll tell you all about the best ukuleles for beginners that you can find on the market.
25 x 10.3 x 4
Sapele and Mahogany
27.5 x 10.5 x 4
21.1 x 7 x 2.4
4.5 x 26.8 x 10.4
3.2 x 8.4 x 22.6
24 x 6.5 x 10
Rosewood and Mahogany
The Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is definitely not the cheapest choice for a beginner ukulele, it's truly one of the best.
The laminated wood feels like real wood, despite not sounding exactly like one. The Sapele/Mahogany top was a nice touch and gives it a classy look.
Moreover, the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is quite durable and will last for years. After all, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Personally, I enjoyed the value that the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele provides. It comes with a carrying case, online lessons, picks, holder straps and buttons that are already installed, great strings and an additional set of strings, as well as a tuner –although the tuner isn't the best one out there.
It enables you to easily create great sounds and enjoy the time you spend learning to play the instrument.
On top of that, the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele is pretty light as it comes with only 1.2 pounds –a lot less than the average 3 pounds.
The 30-day money-back guarantee that the Luhano Concert Size Ukulele comes with gives you more than enough time to decide whether or not it's the right one for you.
The thing is, you probably wouldn't even need it because there's little not to like about this instrument as a first ukulele.
Although the Cordoba 15TM could very well suit a beginner, more experienced players can use and enjoy it.
The Cordoba 15TM comes with a solid build and great detailing. Being a tenor-sized uke means that's it's bigger than the typical beginner-sized ones (usually being sopranos or concerts).
Moreover, it's not only the size that beats the average beginner ukuleles but the construction as well. Its body is made entirely from laminated mahogany, the fingerboard of rosewood, while the neck it sits on is mahogany and fits right in your hand.
You may think that the high price tag means a variety of accessories but unfortunately, the whole price you pay goes to the ukulele itself as it comes with no accessories.
Although this can be seen in a negative light, I think it means that the Cordoba 15TM is made of high-quality hardware, so I'm not complaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed the precise silver tuners and pearl tuning buttons.
I wouldn't say it's exactly a beginner's ukulele but rather an intermediary-level player.
The Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele is one of the more expensive options on the list, but it's almost entirely made from mahogany –which means it's very durable and produces great sound.
The Kala KA-15S is a pretty great soprano ukulele for beginners. It comes at a little more than 50 bucks, and you can't really find anything worth the money at less than that.
Generally, Kala produces some of the best affordable ukuleles on the market.
There's indeed nothing exclusive to its design, but it's very evident that its build quality is top-notch.
The whole non-cutaway body is made from mahogany with a natural satin finish and the neck is also made from mahogany with 12 silver nickel frets on either a rosewood or a walnut fretboard.
Furthermore, there's a GraphTech NuBone saddle positioned on the bridge which helps produce a consistent sound and is a great alternative to the cheap plastic.
The only drawback I found to the Kala KA-15S was its incapability of holding tunings. This is because the open-gear tuners aren't very effective, but they can be changed.
While the Kala KA-15S doesn't hit the tones perfectly, it's still pretty amazing in terms of performance and build quality for such an affordable price.
The Donner DUC-1 is an ideal concert ukulele for beginners as it's designed with a larger fingerboard that makes it easy to handle and play.
Its sound production is also quite impressive as it's full and loud –unlike what you'd expect from an entry-level one.
Moreover, it's quite durable as it comes with a mahogany body and neck with rosewood bridge and fingerboard.
And while the soft carbon nylon strings facilitate strumming, I think having the Aquila Nyglut strings would have given it more value.
One thing that makes it stand out from other medium-priced ukuleles is that it's equipped with geared tuners that help you practice regularly.
The Donner DUC-1 comes with a strap, case, clip-on tuner, and extra strings.
However, it's a little heavier than other ukuleles on the list as it weighs around 3 pounds.
The Donner DUC-1 is a medium-priced ukulele that's perfect for entry-level players. If you're looking to make quick progress with an affordable tool, it's the one for you.
The Kala Kit is an incredible all-around ukulele starter kit that would serve anyone that's just starting out.
It makes it easy for you to increase the rate of your learning curve as it comes with a detailed guide that can help you familiarize with all the basics.
A unique aspect of the Kala Kit is that it comes with a tuning app, which makes it quite convenient as you don't have to carry around an electronic tuner.
On top of that, it comes with a helpful gig bag that facilitates carrying the instrument around. So, the Kala Kit would also be quite great for a student ukulele.
The Kala Kit is an integrated method for you to hone your ukulele skills. It has more or less everything you might need and it comes at a very reasonable price.
Being a concert ukulele, the Cordoba 15CM has a fuller tone than a soprano, so it can be used both by beginners and more experienced players alike.
It has a long neck to put more tension on the strings, so no matter the fret, the Cordoba 15CM won't fall out of tune and you'll be getting full notes from the strings.
High-quality tuning pegs mean that you wouldn't have to tune your instrument time and again. Apart from being easy to tune, they also maintain their tunes for weeks or even months on end.
The Cordoba 15CM has a pretty solid build, so it's a good investment for a first-time ukulele player. On top of that, it has a satin finish that gives it an attractive look.
However, this ukulele doesn't hit the low tones quite right and may lean toward the brighter side of the spectrum.
The Cordoba 15CM may not be the cheapest option for a beginner's ukulele you can find but it surely is a long-term investment.
If you want to take your time learning with an entry-level instrument, you should go for this one.
A beginner's ukulele usually comes at less than 100 bucks.
This is because it's made from a combination of mahogany, Sapele, and rosewood –which aren't as durable as maple.
Moreover, they don't hit all the tones as accurately as a more expensive maple instrument would.
They're usually aimed at allowing the user to practice and make progress at their own pace.
There are 4 ukulele sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
The soprano is the most popular and common one as it's compact and aimed at beginners or people getting familiar with the instrument.
The concert and tenor ones are a little bigger, with the tenor tending to sound like a deep tone classical guitar.
Finally, the baritone is the longest and usually is used by more experienced and passionate uke players.
Ukuleles can be made from various types of wood such as mahogany, koa, rosewood, Sapele, and more.
Usually, beginner ukuleles would be made mainly from mahogany and sometimes combining other woods for the bridge or other parts –and that's why they're not very pricey.
Try to find a ukulele with mostly mahogany parts as it's your best bet when it comes to combining affordability and sound quality.
Also, steer away from laminated ones as they usually produce an inferior sound quality compared to other pure wooden ones.
The better the quality of your strings, the better the sound output of your uke.
While you can't expect much from a low-budget or an entry-level ukulele, you should go at least for the Aquila Nyglut strings instead of the carbon nylon ones.
While all the options mentioned in the list are great choices, I have to admit that Kala produces the best ukuleles for beginners.
Not only is the Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele is the most affordable option but it's also lightweight and the most compact.
On the other hand, Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit is an integrated kit that comes at an affordable price and gives you a great bang for your buck. It's also the lightest of the bunch.
If you're looking for a great investment, I'd recommend the durable Cordoba 15TM Tenor Ukulele. It'll last a long time and give you amazing sound output along the way.
Concert ukuleles are the second smallest in size after sopranos. And although they’re not the most common, they do a great job at providing you with a rich and well-balanced tone.
But finding a reliable concert ukulele can be a little confusing, especially if you're a beginner.
That’s why I created this list of the best concert ukuleles on the market to help you make a decision more easily.
24 x 6.5 x 10
24.25 x 8.25 x 2.79
25 x 10.9 x 4.1
24 x 9 x 3
26.5 x 13 x 4.5
24.25 x 8.25 x 3.38
The Cordoba 15CM lives up to Cordoba's high standards for musical instruments.
It comes with a mahogany top, back, and sides as well as a silk finish to make its construction solid as well as enhance its sound.
On top of that, the Cordoba 15CM comes with premium Aquila Nyglut strings that add to the richness of its sound.
Moreover, it has geared tuners that make it stand out when compared to other ukuleles on the market. The digital chromatic clip-on tuner helps you maintain a tuned ukulele.
Its 4-pound weight might be the only thing that would make me hesitant about dubbing it the best concert ukulele on the list.
The fact that it’s a fully integrated package and that it’s very easy to handle and play makes it a good concert ukulele for beginners and professionals alike.
The Cordoba 15CM is a full package of everything you'll need in a ukulele. It combines affordability, playability, and sound quality.
And the fact that it’s a whole bundle spares you the need to buy any extras.
The Kala KA-C isn’t the most affordable uke on the list but it’s one that will last with you for longer than just a beginner’s phase.
Not only does the mahogany construction make it durable but it also gives it a rich sound and an elegant look –especially with the minimalistic design.
I’ve noticed that some of this model’s items come with fret edges that are not well polished.
So before you decide to take one home, make sure you double-check it. Otherwise, you'll have to pay more money for maintenance.
What makes it possible for such a ukulele to come at less than 200 bucks is the fact that it doesn’t use any unnecessary hardware.
So what you get is the basic yet functional parts: stable die-cast tuners, a walnut bridge, NuBone nut and saddle, and premium Aquila Nyglut strings.
If you’re looking for a reliable concert ukulele under 200 bucks, you can’t go wrong with the Kala KA-C.
Although it may require tuning from time to time, it’s very easy to play and quite affordable.
Resembling the feel of a traditional acoustic guitar and having the same smooth and glossy finish of one, the Mitchell MU70 is the perfect ukulele to get if you’re transitioning from a guitar.
Unlike a lot of the recommendations on the list, this ukulele’s body is made from rosewood and its top from spruce.
This gives it the durability of mahogany but with a more comfortable feeling.
And although the volume is loud and resonating, the sound isn’t as balanced.
On the positive side, the wide neck, deep soundbox, and spruce top allow you to hit all the high and low notes quite well.
On top of that, the Mitchell MU70 comes with premium-quality nylon Aquila nyglut strings that stretch well and maintain their tune perfectly.
While the Mitchell MU70 doesn’t come with a gig back, it’s durable enough to take on gigs without worrying about any damage being inflicted on it.
With a well-constructed body and an awesome headstock, the Mitchell MU70 is a pretty solid and durable concert ukulele that gives you great value for the price.
The design, swirling waves, and shark-tooth inspired soundhole rosette are where the Luna Tattoo gets its name from.
It’s a great choice for both entry-level players and more experienced ones.
With a body made entirely of satin-finished laminated mahogany, a solid C-shaped mahogany neck, a rosewood fretboard, and 18 frets, it's as good to play as it looks.
However, it may need a good set-up out of the box to reach the best playability options. Other than that, it’s very comfortable to play.
Moreover, the Luna Tattoo comes with a set of open-gear tuners and Pearloid buttons.
The padded gig bag is a nice touch and a great way to extend the durability of your instrument.
For a medium-budget ukulele, this one is a bang for your buck.
For a concert ukulele under 100 bucks, the Luna Tattoo performs and looks quite wonderful.
While Luna doesn't usually combine well between affordability and play-ability, they did very well on this model.
At the price of a standalone ukulele, the Lanikai LU-21C bundle gives you a whole set.
It comes with a tuner, a gig bag, a manual DVD, a polishing cloth, and it’s still extremely affordable which makes it a great ukulele for beginners.
Unlike the popular Koa and mahogany, the Lanikai LU-21C uses Nato for the top, back, and sides and rosewood for the fretboard.
I know this may raise some concerns for the sound, it also did for me.
However, when I played it, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed.
Make sure to file the frets before you get down to playing as they're pretty sharp –as is the case with most budget models.
Another pleasant surprise is that the strings are Aquila Nygult, which isn’t something I expected on such an affordable uke.
On top of that, you get a quality gig back that keeps your uke safe when you’re not using it.
With a striking redwood finish and white binding, the Lanikai LU-21C looks as good as it performs.
It’s a real bargain when you consider the fact that it comes with all the extras that you’ll need as well as a solid construction and high-quality strings.
This kit comes with everything you need to get your ukulele-playing journey started.
Apart from the Ranch UK-23 Concert ukulele with the Aquila strings you also get a gig bag, a digital tuner with batteries, an extra set of Aquila strings, a strap, a polishing cloth, and on top of it all, 30-day money-back guarantee.
Although the Sapele top, back, and sides aren't the usual mahogany found on most ukes, it's still capable of producing a warm and dark tone.
The Ranch UK-23 provides you with the highest affordability and a professional sound. And you’ve got more than enough time to make sure of it.
A bundle that gives you everything you need to play, a sweet-sounding ukulele, and a very low-budget price tag? Only the Ranch UK-23 makes that kind of combination possible.
It’s simply the best ukulele you can get for under 100 bucks.
Some types of wood are more popular with certain ukuleles over others. For example, the best concert ukuleles will usually be made from Hawaiian koa, Sitka spruce, and mahogany.
They’re all high-quality woods that affect the sound production of the instrument.
Moreover, the type of wood used in the construction of the ukulele affects not just the sound but also the durability and the price of ukulele.
Steer away from low-quality wood, plastic, and laminate as they’d probably have problems with stability, tone, and pitch.
Concert ukuleles are distinctly made, so you should always try yours out before you make a purchase.
Strum some strings at the store to get comfortable with the instrument. This helps you tune it more easily later on as well.
You can’t expect to buy a cheap concert ukulele and have it produce the best sound. However, it doesn’t mean it has to cost an arm and a leg.
A laminated top may suit you well and comes at an affordable price.
Moreover, if you’re going to perform solo or just jam with friends, there’s no need to get a high-end, expensive uke.
Concert ukuleles come second in the hierarchy of size after sopranos.
They typically have 15 to 20 frets and a larger body, enabling you to play a larger range of notes with a fuller sound.
Like the tenor ukuleles, concert ones are usually tuned to the standard GCEA tuning.
Ukuleles come in 4 sizes: Soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
Soprano ukuleles are the most popular ones as they’re small and easy to play.
They usually have 12 to 15 frets and are tuned to the standard GCEA tuning.
Concerts and tenors are bigger, with 15 to 20 frets. They're also fuller, and louder as they have more resonating space.
Finally, baritone ukuleles are the largest of the bunch. They have the fullest and richest sound.
Typically, baritones are tuned like a guitar (DGBE).
Reaching a final decision as to which of these options is the best concert ukulele was a little hard, but there are some that are superior to others in certain aspects.
The Kala Satin Mahogany Concert Ukulele with White Binding (KA-C) is an elegant-looking choice that is very portable and lightweight.
It's not the cheapest, but it's definitely one of the best-sounding ukuleles you can get for less than 200 bucks.
If you’re open to trying out unconventional innovations, the Lanikai LU-21C Concert Ukulele is made from Nato as opposed to the popular mahogany.
Another good choice for the same medium-price range is the Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele.
Finally, the Concert Ukulele Ranch 23 inch Professional Wooden ukulele Instrument Kit is an amazing value bundle that I think would serve as the best option for a beginner.
So you decide to buy a new ukulele. How exciting!
Is it your first time buying an instrument?
Whether you go to your local music shop or try to look at different ukuleles online, you will find a lot to choose from.
It’s something that every musician goes through at the beginning of their musical journey.
Yes, you might find this a little confusing, but you can’t see what you don’t know, right? If you know what to look for and what to consider before buying your ukulele then how hard can it be to make up your mind?
“Which ukulele should I get?” “Why do they look different?” “How much money should I be spending on this?”
These are the questions that go through your head, right? Well, lucky for you, you stumbled upon this article because we are going to help you know what parameters to bear in mind to make the right choice.
So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Ukuleles come in variable sizes. From soprano, being the smallest, to concert ukuleles, then come tenors followed by baritones.
And if you wonder if this difference in size affects the sound of the ukulele, the answer is “yes, of course it does”, actually the size of your ukulele affects more than just how it sounds which is the reason why deciding what size to get should be on the very top of your list.
It’s not much of a surprise that the scenario in which you decide to get a new ukulele will point you to what size it should be.
For incidence, and in my humble opinion, a soprano ukulele suits most beginners. It has the smallest size of all ukuleles and this is an advantage because not only does it allow more control especially, if you will play it while standing, but also, it doesn’t require much stretching so you will be able to play your first song sooner.
And even though this is the general rule, but in a different scenario, if your hands are larger than average then maybe it’s a better idea to consider a bigger ukulele, like concert ukuleles.
One mistake that a lot of folks who play the guitar and want to try the ukulele make is getting a baritone. I know it seems like the right option because baritones have the biggest size of all ukuleles and offer the largest scale.
However, the way I see it, these exact same reasons are why a guitar player won’t be too impressed with a baritone ukulele.
Baritone shares a lot with guitars; they almost sound the same which means it lacks that classic ukulele sound that gives the ukulele its uniqueness.
A better option would be buying a tenor ukulele; you will be able to get that rich tone and that admirable bright sound without compromising the size or the scale of your instrument.
A bigger ukulele has a richer tone and produces more resonance. In other words, Sopranos are quieter than other ukuleles, so if you have been playing the ukulele for a while and looking to upgrade your current instrument to perform for a crowd I would recommend you go for a concert or a tenor ukulele.
Here comes one more thing to contemplate when picking the size of your ukulele. Bigger ukuleles have a longer scale, and if you are new to this, then I know you are not really sure what that means so let me break it down for you.
The scale of the ukulele extends all through its fretboard down to the saddle.
This is the space available for you to use your fingers, so a longer scale allows more distance between the frets and hence more playability. The opposite is true for smaller ukuleles.
There is no solid answer when it comes to how much you should be spending on your ukulele, the call is yours at the end of the days but, there are a couple of things you need to go through.
First, while there’s a possibility that the expensive ukulele you will get won’t be as good as you expect it to be, there’s no chance whatsoever that a cheap ukulele will meet your expectations.
Even if it is tempting to go ahead and buy that - not too pricey - ukulele that looks pretty much the same as that much more expensive ukulele lying right next to it, chances are, the cheaper one doesn’t sound as good if it sounds good at all.
You are more likely to find yourself facing issues with it from the construction to the tones and tuning your ukulele and at no point will this be a good experience, especially if you are a beginner.
Secondly, soprano ukuleles are generally pocket-friendly; they are the least costly so investing in getting a soprano will most probably pay off. This is another reason why they are loved by beginners.
I’m not saying go ahead and buy the most expensive soprano you can find out there, but if anything, it’s adding value for money.
It goes without saying that the more features your ukulele has, the more expensive you should expect it to be, so the fancier you want your ukulele to be, the more money you should be spending on it.
It is not much different from what you should do before buying anything else, search for the best brands.
Under no circumstances is it a smart idea to just go out on the market and buy the ukulele that seems more appealing.
Maybe you can google the best ukuleles available on the market and read some reviews about them.
Go to YouTube and check out some of the reviews on different ukuleles. There’s a lot that you can actually get out of this especially if you have done your research and narrowed it down to two brands that you need to compare between.
A lot of players share their experience and you can hear how the ukulele sounds even before trying it out.
All in all, and with all that being said, I believe you are now ready to find the perfect ukulele. Happy jamming!
You know how they say “Share our similarities, celebrate our differences “? This is what comes to my mind whenever I think about how guitars and ukuleles are so much alike yet so distinct. Each has its own taste yet they smell the same!
If anything, each of these two has a spell on me, and I am pretty sure you can find a lot of musicians who enjoy them each at a time because each of them would uniquely and irreplaceably decorate your song.
At first glance, you can tell these two instruments meet on more than one common ground, from the same fret system to the same mechanism they produce sound, it may seem like they can’t possibly be THAT different, but this is not necessarily true.
So let’s browse a little deeper through the ways these two instruments differ from each other.
Believe it or not, these two instruments didn’t appear around the same time and don’t have a common origin!
The origin of the guitar goes back over 4000 years ago and even though the guitar has no clear backgrounds whatsoever, it is believed that it first appeared in Spain and the word “guitar” was derived from the Spanish word “quitarra”.
On the other hand, ukuleles originated in Hawaii, nevertheless, some say that they were brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants.
It is crystal clear most ukuleles are much smaller than guitars and thus the frets of the ukulele are much closer to each other.
This makes playing the ukulele much easier because it requires less stretching, it’s lighter and is easier to carry around so taking a cab, or traveling in an airplane won’t be much of a hassle.
This difference in size is one of the main reasons why they don't sound the same.
From the number of strings to the material it’s made of, it's all distinguishable.
Most guitars have 6 strings, which are mostly made of steel; they need high tension and sound louder than those of the ukulele.
On the opposite side, ukuleles have 4 strings which are mostly made of nylon and thus they happen to be much more flexible and don’t actually require much tension. The strings of the ukulele give a warmer tone compared to that of the guitar.
The extra strings on the guitar give space for more chords and scales, while the soft and delicate sound of the ukulele is very capturing.
It might not come as a surprise that guitars and ukuleles are tuned too differently.
In standard tuning, a guitar is tuned E2-A2- G2-D2-B2-E2 whereas a ukulele is tuned G4-C4-E4-A4 except for Baritone which is tuned D3-G3-B3-E3
Notice how similar baritone ukuleles sound to guitars in standard tuning? The strings are tuned to give the sound of the upper four strings of the guitar!
Because of the way baritones are tuned, in addition to their size, it's hard to distinguish their sound from that of the guitar, to most guitarists who try them, the experience isn't exactly what they would call "new" and they're not really impressed.
Another difference is that the strings of the guitar are arranged from low to high which is not true when it comes to ukuleles.
This is particularly a reason why it can be a little confusing for guitarists to try to play ukuleles at first; however, it won’t be long before they get the hang of it.
Tip: In standard tuning, if you have your capo on the fifth fret and you only play on the top four strings, you are technically playing the ukulele.
When it comes to riffs, no one can deny that guitars have the upper hand; this is because a guitar has more strings and the range of tones you can get out of it is more than that of a uke.
But this is not really the same case when it comes to chords.
Actually, ukuleles do a much better job with chords due to the fact that you can find chords that require using only one finger and like mentioned above, the distances between the frets are smaller so you don’t really need to stretch your fingers much.
It’s perfect for beginners, and even though the chords look different when played on each instrument, they sound too close.
This is a major difference for anyone who’s willing to master both instruments.
First, let’s take a look at strumming a guitar in comparison to strumming a ukulele
For starters, strumming ukes is much easier and doesn’t require much precision. If you are a beginner, it won’t take you that long to get it right, on the contrary, learning to strum a guitar takes a while because you need to develop some skills.
Strumming sounds different with both instruments because of the fact guitars have more strings, not to mention how different the resonance of sound is in a bigger instrument. This ultimately makes strumming sound brighter and louder in guitars.
If you just started playing any of these instruments before trying the other then you should be focusing on getting it right, you will be experiencing the strings for the first time, and you haven’t developed a style yet but going from guitar fingerpicking to ukulele fingerpicking or the opposite is a bit challenging.
And lastly, using picks
It’s no brainer that a plastic pick would produce a different sound when hitting nylon than that when hitting steel strings, however, the style of picking differs as well.
The rule is, ukuleles cost much less compared to guitars. An average beginner guitar can cost about 3 times the price of a good quality ukulele, so if you are on a budget and not sure which of these to try first then this should make it an easy choice.
I am a big believer in “Different strokes for different folks”. People don’t share the same likes and that’s okay.
There is no wrong or right when it comes to this despite the fact that a vast majority would recommend getting a ukulele first because of its small size and lightweight, in addition to its flexible strings and simpler tones, it stands out for a start. You will be able to comprehend all the basics and it will teach you how the fretboard works at the same time it’s not too complicated so it’s never really frustrating.
There’s no doubt that tuning the ukulele would make the world of difference if you are a beginner.
Even if you are making a big progress with the techniques and you are putting a lot of effort into learning your chords, if you don’t keep in mind tuning your ukulele your songs won’t sound good, and if your ukulele is way out of tune the songs might not make sense at all, to begin with.
There are a lot of different ways to tune your ukulele. We will be covering them in this article so without further ado, let’s just jump into it.
A quick way to sum it up would be G - C – E - A
From low to high; the 4th string is tuned G, the 3rd is tuned C, the 2nd is tuned E and the 1st is tuned A.
However, tuning a ukulele depends on its size. There are 4 different sizes of ukuleles; soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone.
The first 3 ukuleles are usually tuned as mentioned above but the baritone is tuned D - G - B – E.
If you have your ukulele tuned as mentioned above, it is in standard tuning and this is the tuning you need to play most of the songs.
Something that is popular among a lot of guitarists and ukulele players, is that in standard tuning, a ukulele is tuned to sound the same as the top 4 strings of the guitar. This is essentially true if you have a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar.
This is the simplest and easiest way to tune your ukulele.
I have been playing the ukulele for 8 years, and in my humble opinion, it’s perfect for beginners because simply, there’s no way that this could be wrong in addition to being accurate.
The first way to use an electronic tuner is to get an application on your smartphone.
This might be a little difficult if you are tuning your ukulele in a noisy place but that’s hardly the case and personally, I find it pretty convenient.
Another thing that you can try is clip-on tuner clamps.
These clips work a little differently from the applications because instead of detecting the pitch through the microphone, these clips detect the vibrations when you clamp them onto the headstock of the ukulele.
These clip-on tuners have the advantage of not being affected by the noise you have around you while tuning your ukulele and you can definitely use them in a roomful of noise without any trouble whatsoever, which is the reason why this is the most popular and practical method used by ukulele players every day.
The last and most professional way to tune your ukulele using an electronic tuner would be plugging it into a pedal tuner.
Another simple way to tune your ukulele is to depend on your ears and tune it to a piano.
It is really easy once you get used to it because, for some people, it can take a little while to get used to it especially if they have never played the guitar or the piano before so they have no experience whatsoever how the notes sound like.
G C E A corresponds to sol do mi la. If you are tuning this to a piano, go to the middle C and it should sound the same as the C on your ukulele, skip one key and the key after is E, then skip another key and the one after is G and the one right next to it is A.
This is the least accurate method to tune your ukulele, however, it can come on handy if you are practicing by yourself or you want to play your ukulele and you don’t have a tuner nearby.
In this method, you will compare similar tunes on different strings and frets to each other; this is why this method is not really accurate.
Try the following steps in order.
Then comes tuning the G string, now this depends on whether you are tuning a high G or a low G:
Now, this method could be a little confusing at first I know, but the way I see it, even if you do have other methods for tuning your ukulele, practice this method because you never know when it might come in handy.
Another tip is, if you are going to be jamming along with your friends and you don’t have a tuner on you, try to tune any of the strings on your ukulele to sound the same as your friend’s and take it from there.
Also, and this is something that will help you sound a little less out of tune but not necessarily precise, try to tune your strings relative to your C string because it happens to hold its tuning the longest.
Once you master tuning your ukulele, you will notice how different your music sounds and you will fall in love with this instrument even more, and so will your crowd. Enjoy your tuning ride!
Something that every professional ukulele player will need to experience at some point is amplifying the ukuleles sound.
Who wouldn’t like to have a louder, richer sound to their music? Isn’t this the way every good performance should be?
If you think about it, amplifiers and pickups are so interesting. Aren’t you excited to get your first pickup device?
Even if you already have an amplifier, the excitement to get a new one is never less than the first time because different pickups types don’t sound the same.
I have been playing the ukulele for over ten years, and today I am willing to take you through everything you need to know concerning amplifying your instrument.
What are pickups? How do they work? What are the different types of pickups you can use for your ukulele? These are the main questions I am going to be answering in this article so, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
A pickup device is a transducing device that receives (picks up) the vibrations or sound produced by the Strings of your ukulele and then converts these vibrations into electrical signals.
These signals then go through an amplifier that makes them louder through a loudspeaker in a sealed speaker setup.
This, without a doubt, allows you to play for a large crowd, not to mention that in a way, it gives you the ability to add some sound effects to your song and make it sound better,
What are the different types of pickups you can use?
Every day, something new comes up, there’s always a big variety, a lot to choose from, something that almost always confuses us.
So let’s discuss the different types of pickups you could go chasing
First, you need to understand that a pickup device could be an under saddle transducer (UST), soundboard transducer (SBT), or an internal microphone. Each of these comes in its active or passive forms.
The first step to decide which pickup device to get is to make up your mind whether you need an active or a passive transducer.
I will be explaining to you the difference between these two and which is more suitable for what purposes. But, before I do that, let me talk to you about UST, SBT, and internal mics a little bit.
As the name implies, this type of pickup is added under the base of the saddle slot.
Usually, a UST is permanently installed into your instrument with an endpin jack.
This is because it requires holes to be drilled into the ukulele for the wiring which makes installing them more difficult than installing other types of pickups.
The major advantage of using this type of pickups is that there’s a lesser chance of
Picking surrounding noise so it generally sounds much clearer than other pickups.
This is only because of the direct transfer of vibrations from the strings to the UST.
This is a small transducer that has a disk at its end. This disk sits on the soundboard of the ukulele from the inside.
The SBT has a jack that is installed in the end block to pick up the electric signals.
Occasionally, you can find external SBTs, however, these are not permanent and SBT are usually installed internally.
Unlike UST, this type of pickups can be affected by the surrounding noise. More often than not, they can pick up the sound of your hand movements on the instrument. However, if you make sure to position them correctly, you will get a fuller and more natural tone than that of UST.
This is my least favorite pickup because it is extremely sensitive to all the sounds around it, using it on stage is not that easy.
Yet, a lot of players like to use microphones while performing, especially big condenser mics.
Generally, pickups consist of copper wires that coil around a magnet. When the pickup is placed on your element, the vibrations produced by the strings disturb the magnetic field of the pickup causing an electric current to pass through its wires indication the pattern of the song you are playing.
This electric current is then amplified and changed into a sound that you can hear through the speakers.
An active pickup has an internal active preamp which is powered using batteries. This is why they have a higher output than that of passive pickups
Batteries used with active pickups can be: 3V watch batteries, 9V batteries, 2 AA batteries (18V) and a supercapacitor depending on your pickup.
Another difference between active and passive pickups is that an active pickup has fewer coils than a passive one.
This makes them less receptive to background noise.
The only advantage of this type of pickups is that it has a wide dynamic range.
Not only do they allow you to go from very soft and calming music to very loud strong beats, but also, they allow you to enhance the frequency of your music.
The downside when using passive pickups is as mentioned before, they have a lot of coils, which makes them susceptible to humming and background noise making them sensitive to feedback. In addition, they need an external preamp so they can’t be directly plugged into your speaker.
Whatever the type of pickup you decide that it suits you best is, in my humble opinion, it’s always a smart idea to look over the internet first for different brands and reviews.
You can even check on YouTube and learn about the experience of other ukulele players using pickups and you will also get to hear how they sound like before buying them or trying them out yourself.
With all that being said, I hope you have made up your mind about which pickup type you should be chasing down and that you found this article helpful.
Most of the chords that are played on the ukulele are really simple especially if you compare them to guitar chords.
When someone starts learning how to play the ukulele, they usually start with easy chords.
In my humble idea, this is actually a smart plan for practicing.
Not only do you get to learn a lot of songs faster this way, but also it allows you to build calluses in your fingertips.
While I admit this way is more efficient, you can’t just learn a couple of chords and keep playing them forever.
Instead, it’s better if you work on building your steady base of ukulele chords.
A lot of times I come across people who have been playing the uke quite sometime now, yet whenever they figure out a song that has an E chord in it, they just skip it.
If you are a professional ukulele player or you ought to be one, you will have to learn to play the E chord sooner or later.
So in this article, we will go through what ways you can make that happens so please stay around and without further ado, let’s just jump right into it.
If you look up the E chord, this is the way that is going to pop up on your screen most of the times.
It’s the classic way and considered to be the standard E chord shape.
The disadvantage of playing this chord in this way is that a lot of fingers are fitting into such a small space.
Same frets, different fingers:
Another way to play the same shape is to put your finger on the 2nd fret of the A string as mentioned above, however, you will barre the other 3 strings with one finger.
This is known as “The Treble up”.
This is very difficult to play especially if you are a beginner but, if you will practice enough you can surely get the hang of it.
It’s called “The Double Up”
This way is much simpler than the way mentioned above.
You use the middle finger on two frets which is why it’s called the double up.
It might take you some time to learn how to place your fingers in this matter through the song without muting any chords or causing any buzzing.
Yet, mastering this is easier than learning to barre 3 strings for some people.
Muting the G string is the challenging part when it comes to this shape.
Some people play this shape without muting the G string, which makes it an E5 shape.
Whereas this might go unnoticed in some songs, it won’t fit in others so maybe you should try and see how it sounds if you want to play it this way.
Now these are the most common ways to play the E chord on the uke, however, some unpopular ways to play it are:
So basically it’s the treble up method we talked about it earlier but blocking the A string.
Also, you can play something like this:
Again, the barre will take some practice, but this is a lot like the C chord moved up one string, which might make it a little easier.
If none of the above worked, try this:
If you are already familiar with the E7 chord, this will be a piece of cake because this is the same way it is played except that you mute the C string rather than fretting it.
And lastly you can try to play:
It’s my least favorite way to play the E chord.
It’s hard to change from other chords to playing the E chord in this manner and the other way around, especially if you need to make this change fast.
Even though playing the E chord is a challenge for every ukulele beginner! It’s totally worth learning.
You can add a lot of songs to your playing collection if you learn it.
Add to this, for a lot of people, including myself, it is only fun when it’s challenging. This is the part that makes me feel satisfied and making progress.
My advice to you if you are trying to play this chord is to practice every day. You don’t have to play a song right away, just play the shape of the chord, get used to it.
Make sure you can play a barre correctly, and when you feel like you are now familiar with it to a good extent, try to integrate it into a song.
Don’t try to go fast in your first trials, instead, take as much time as you need and focus in getting it right at first, then you can speed it up.
And last but not least, ENJOY!
No matter how much of a good quality your ukulele has, like all instruments, you need to care for it.
You might be thinking you don’t really expose your uke to any haphazard, but the truth is, just playing it and allowing all the oils from your fingers to get in contact with your instrument, is a factor along with many others why you need to spoil your uke and give it the necessary attention.
In this article, we will be going through the most important tips to take good care of your ukulele.
It goes without saying that you should clean your instrument every once in a while.
The sweat and grease from your hands are trapping dust on the surface of the uke which deteriorates the condition of the wood.
You can use lemon oil and a microfiber cleaning cloth to get rid of all the dust and stickiness.
It’s a smart idea to clean your uke after each time you use it, or at least try to pick up this habit.
To be honest with you, cleaning the body of my ukulele was never an issue. However, the tricky part is cleaning the fretboard. I usually clean it after I remove the old strings when I am restringing my instrument, which is almost every 3 months.
Yet, every couple of weeks I try to slip a clean rag underneath the strings to clean the board.
It’s a well-known fact that humidity affects wood.
You should worry more if your uke is made of solid wood because laminated wood is much more tolerant of humidity.
What happens is, the wood absorbs the water vapor from the air and as a result, it swells. You might observe that your neck is bent or that you have a heightened fret action.
Moreover, low humidity can harm your instrument as well because it dries the wood.
If this happens, you will notice some shrinkage in your ukulele, in addition to loosening of the braces which causes buzzing because of the lowered fret action.
Add to this, the fact that wood cracks and breaks when it is deprived of moisture.
What you need to do is know where and how to store your uke.
In my humble opinion, getting a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level is the ideal way to make sure you are not messing up your wood.
What you want to do is keep your uke stored in about 50% relative humidity. A little more or a little less won’t be too bad but make sure it’s not more than 10% above or below 50.
The easiest way to control the weather surrounding your uke is, of course, using your AC. Nevertheless, you can use case humidifiers, or portable room humidifiers to control humidity as well.
Although this will differ from one player to the other, you need to consider how frequently you play your ukulele and based on that change your strings.
One thing that you shouldn’t do is waiting till a string breaks and then only replace that string.
Not only are you settling for worn out strings because if one is damaged then chances are, the rest are broken as well, but also, if you think about it, the rest of the strings will sound dead in comparison to the new string.
There are some few signs you need to change your strings:
New strings have a bright loud tune that’s ever so capturing.
You will need to keep tuning them for a couple of times because they are still stretching, but they will make your song sound a lot better.
Personally, I don’t like using picks at all, yet, if you do, make sure you don’t go ahead and scratch your instrument all over.
What you want to do is, learn how to strum without letting the pick touch the body of your uke.
Believe it or not, it’s quite easy to damage your instrument by improper replacement or removal of your capo.
A lot of times players break their strings or cause neck dents just because they’re not being careful.
Make sure that your clamp is wide enough while placing it to avoid rough friction with your neck and similarly, make sure to unclamp it then remove it not just pull it off.
From my personal perspective, this is necessary if you want to avoid damaging your uke.
A lot of people may tell you that it’s not a smart idea to get a case, when you only play at home and your uke is not really that expensive, nonetheless, the way I see it, what if the only time you decide to take it to your friend’s house to jam along, you drop it and it breaks?
If you are a professional and you play outside, then there’s no doubt getting a case for your instrument is a must.
What I mean by this is, not to recklessly hold your uke.
For me, I am the kind of person who’s always goofing around their friends, and just like having fun.
But whenever I’m playing my uke or my guitar, I pay attention not to drop my instrument.
You can cause a lot of damage to your uke if you just keep dropping it every now and then, from simple scratches to serious breaking, you won’t like any of it so let’s make sure we don’t go down this road and focus on spoiling little your buddy.
I think that’s it for this list, hope you guys find it helpful.
As a beginner, it might be a little confusing when you first check out different chords and try to understand how to read the diagram.
For a majority of diagrams, it is not really hard to get the diagram.
However, some symbols won’t be intuitively understood especially if you are a self-learner.
The good news is, the minute you start grasping how these diagrams work.
You will be able to learn a lot of chords in no time ergo; it won’t be long before you find yourself playing new songs.
So stick around till the end of this article and hopefully comprehending ukulele chords will become a lot easier!
N.B: Some chords don’t start at the nut. In this case, you won’t find a thick black line at the top of the diagram. Instead, there’s a horizontal line with a number on the top right or the top left.
This number corresponds to the number of the fret acting as if it’s the nut.
For example, if you check the G major chord, you should place your index finger on the second fret of the c string.
The middle finger should be placed on the second fret of the A string, and lastly, you need to place your ring finger on the third fret of the E string.
Because you will find an open circle opposite to the top string, you should conclude that you will be hitting this string as well while playing the G major chord.
YES, it’s actually something that a lot of beginners skip, especially if they don’t take any lessons.
Somehow, there’s a common faulty idea that the strumming hand is always to be hitting all the strings.
However, some chords have “muted strings “.
When a string is muted, it should not be played at all.
You will find an “X” mark on top of the diagram opposite to this string.
An example of a chord that has a muted string is D#m9.
If you have a bar chord, it means you should be pressing down multiple strings at the same time.
A lot of times you will need to bar all the strings, using them as a capo.
Usually, you only need to use your index finger to get it done. Yet, rarely, you can use other fingers to bar a chord as well.
Lastly, there’s another – less professional – way to understand how a chord works.
You won’t find it in most music studying books, but you will find it a lot if you are trying to learn a song over the internet or watching a YouTube tutorial.
This is what they call “Text Chords”.
It’s simply a way to simplify a diagram.
Numbers are used in order to indicate where each finger should be.
Each number represents the fret number on the specific string.
The order used for the strings being GCEA.
If there’s an open string to be played, it will be represented by the number “0”. And if there’s a muted string, it will still be represented by the symbol “x”.
So if you look at the examples mentioned above, if you want to use numbers to demonstrate a G chord it will be “0232”.
And the D#m9 will be demonstrated as “35x6”.
So this is basically everything you need to know to be able to read any ukulele chord diagram you want to learn. Happy Strumming folks!