Noah Theodor

Author Archives: Noah Theodor

How to tune your ukulele

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.

How To Properly Tune Your Ukulele

1. First things first, you need to know the basic open strings tuning:

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.

2. Using an electronic tuner to tune your ukulele

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.

3. Tuning your ukulele to a piano

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.

4. Tuning your ukulele to itself, also known as, relative tuning of the ukulele

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.

  •    Play your A string (1st string) open and listen carefully.
  •    Put your fingers on the 5th (2nd string) fret of the E string, it should sound the same as the A string open.
  •    Place your finger on the 4th fret of the C string (the 3rd string) and it should sound the same as picking the E string open.

Then comes tuning the G string, now this depends on whether you are tuning a high G or a low G:

  • If you are tuning a high G string, place your finger on the 2nd fret on the G string and you should be playing an A note, in other words, it should sound like playing the A string open.
  • If you are tuning a low G note, place your finger on the 5th fret of the G string and you are now playing a C note, i.e. it should sound the same to playing the C string open.

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!

Amplify or Electrify Your Ukulele

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.

What are pickups? 

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.

Under Saddle Transducer (UST)

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.

Soundboard transducer (SBT)

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.

Microphones 

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.

Difference between active and passive pickups

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.

Active pickups

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.

Passive pickups

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.

Final thoughts on pickups 

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.

How To Play The E Chord Ukulele

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.

The first shape: 

  •    The index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  •    The middle finger on the 4th fret of the G string.
  •    Ring finger on the 4th fret of the C string.
  •    Pinky finger on the 4th fret of the E string.

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.

The second shape:

It’s called “The Double Up”

  •    Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  •    Middle finger on the 4th fret of the G and C strings.
  •    Ring finger on the 4th fret of E string.

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.

The third shape:

  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  • Ring finger on the 4th fret of the C string.
  • Little finger on the 4th fret of the E string.
  • Middle finger is muting the G string.

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:

  • Ring finger barring E, C, G strings
  • Muting the A string with any finger or maybe using the lower part of your ring finger as well.

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:

  • Index finger barre across the 4th fret of all the strings.
  • The pinky finger on the 7th fret of the A string.

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:

  • Index finger on the 1st fret of the G string.
  • Ring finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  • Middle finger muting the C string.
  • E string open.

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:

  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
  • Thumb barring E, C, and G strings on the 4th fret.

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.

Conclusion:

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!

How to take care of your ukulele

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.

Tip 1: Keep it clean

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.

Tip 2:  Avoid the effect of humidity

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.

Tip 3: Restring your uke regularly

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:

  • The increasing need to tune your instrument. Usually, if your strings are tired, they can’t hold in place as much as usual and they loosen too quickly.
  • You might be able to see a variation in the strings or even feel like the strings aren’t as smooth anymore. So, if you run your fingers across the strings and run into any grooves, it’s about time you chase a new set of strings.
  • Last but not least, if your ukulele sounds a little dull.

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.

Tip 4: Don’t go too harsh with the pick

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.

Tip 5:  Use your capo properly

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.

Tip 6: Use a case

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.

Tip 7:  Handle your uke properly while playing

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.  

How To Read Ukulele Chord Diagrams

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!

First Base

  • To start off, you need to think of the diagram as another ukulele placed right in front of you.
  • You are facing the fretboard and the strings are demonstrated as the vertical lines, and you are looking at the fretboard from the top.
  •  There’s a thick horizontal line at the top of the diagram representing the nut of the ukulele.

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.

  • The strings go (G C E A) from left to right, and accordingly, the horizontal lines represent the frets.
  •  The name of the chord is written on top of the diagram.
  • A lot of times it’s abbreviated like, Am for A minor, or Dmaj7 for D major 7 and so on ….  
  • The shape of the chord is pointed out using black dots.
  • Each of the dots on the diagram shows you where you should be placing your fingers.
  • In some diagrams, you will be able to see some numbers written next to each dot.
  • These numbers represent which finger should be placed at this exact position.
  • The numbers go 1,2,3, and 4 for your index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers respectively.
  • A circle is made opposite to the strings that should be played open i.e., no fingers are to be placed on this string.

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.

Is it possible to play a chord without strumming all strings?

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.

  • To mute a string, you should rest one or more fingers of your fretting hand on it, without actually fretting it.

An example of a chord that has a muted string is D#m9.

Bar Chords

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!

Which to learn: guitar or ukulele

Play music is something that I think everyone should try.

You might be thinking that you can only be good if you are already talented but the truth is practice makes perfect.

Yes, someone who is talented will learn faster and find it easier to level up. However, if you practice enough, you can sound a lot more professional.

If you are checking this article then you are not sure whether to start playing the guitar or the uke.

Let’s first agree that there’s no right answer to such questions because, at the end of the day, it’s a personal preference.

So please don’t expect me to give you a solid answer to this question.

Anyways, I can still help you answer this question yourself because I can guide you through the differences between these two instruments to help you make up your mind.

I‘ll also mention some of the challenges that you will be facing when you try any of these instruments, in addition to some tips and tricks to make them easier for you.

Hope that by the end of this article you will be able to see things clearly and make up your mind.

So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

First off, the size and shape

It’s crystal clear that guitars are much bigger than ukes.

Moreover, a standard guitar has 6 strings, on the other side, a ukulele has only 4.

If you take a closer look at the build of both, you will be able to see that ukes have a thinner fretboard.

This is specifically an advantage over guitars because one of the very common challenges when starting to learn how to play the guitar is stretching your fingers.

Even though this is can be applied in most cases, yet, if you have big hands then you don’t need much stretching.

On the contrary, playing the uke when you have big hands is not a piece of cake.

Secondly, the riffs and chords

No one can deny that when it comes to riffs, guitars are the best.

Not only do they have more strings so technically, they can produce a larger range of tunes, but also they have an acoustic or sometimes electric charm.  

Ukes on the other side are louder and tunes sound more cheerful.

You will be able to find a variety between ukes themselves because some ukes are larger than others.

What about the chords?

Well, chords are a lot easier to play on ukuleles.

A lot of these chords require using only one finger, unlike guitars.

The fretboard on uke is smaller than that of the guitar so the distances between each fret and the neighboring one are smaller.

This makes it easier to play ukes because as I mentioned above, you do not need much stretching.

Something that you need to ask yourself is, why do you want to play this instrument?

For some of you checking this right now, they simply want to play an instrument to be able to sing along to.

And that can turn the table all around, the reason being, you will need to figure out what sounds best with your tone of voice.

For example, if you have a low vocal range of voice then ukulele is not the way to go simply because the tunes are too bright.   

Furthermore, some of you want to play some melodic acoustic tones and in this case, a guitar is a way to go.

But if you’re on a different page and you want to play something that will sound simpler and more appealing then, I recommend you play the uke. Add to this the Hawaiian touch the ukulele gives your song.

Consider the techniques 

When it comes to strumming, these two sound a lot different because the number of strings is more on a guitar.

This makes guitars sound a lot fuller and louder; yet strumming a guitar needs much more precision than that needed when playing a uke.

You will need to give it some practice and be a little patient.

Which is easier and faster to learn?

There are a lot of angles to look at in order to be able to answer this question.

It is a non-ending debate, a lot of people will say that it’s much easier to play the uke but in so many scenarios this is not necessarily true.

Anyhow, it’s in not arguable that the learning curve for ukes is easier.

So if you are a beginner and you want to be able to play music faster without the need of much practice, pick the uke.

Most ukes are much smaller, easier to control, they have fewer strings, and you will learn to play a new song in a matter of days.

Personally, even though I play both instruments, some guitar pieces are just engraved in my heart.

When it comes to guitars, it’s a little bit more complicated.

At first, you might feel like you are making slow progress and that’s why some people just give up.

However, if you give it some time for the callus to form on the tips of your finger, I guarantee you; you will master a lot, and the more you learn, the easier it is to learn even more with guitars.

Which is more affordable? 

Money is probably one of the things you are thinking about right now.

No one wants to waste their money on something that they won’t keep around and not sure if they will keep using and that’s only normal.

The obvious choice, if you are looking for something that won’t cost much, is to buy a ukulele, not a guitar.

Guitars are much more expensive than ukes. Actually, even a secondhand guitar will cost more than a good quality brand new uke.

Conclusion

By now you should be able to at least decide which you are leaning towards more.

Let me tell you this from my own experience, whether it’s easy or hard to play an instrument, pick the one that goes with your personal favorite music style.

If you pick a ukulele because it’s easier and you don’t like its sound then there’s no point.

And if you decide to go with the guitar just because you want to look more professional or because it’s mainstream at school or college, you will eventually give it up.

Whatever you pick, be patient, allow yourself to understand the positions of your fingers and how to move between the frets.  

Stay motivated and get creative with your music.

And most importantly, ENJOY!!

 

Play music is something that I think everyone should try.

 

You might be thinking that you can only be good if you are already talented but the truth is practice makes perfect.

 

Yes, someone who is talented will learn faster and find it easier to level up. However, if you practice enough, you can sound a lot more professional.

 

If you are checking this article then you are not sure whether to start playing the guitar or the uke.

 

Let’s first agree that there’s no right answer to such questions because, at the end of the day, it’s a personal preference.

 

So please don’t expect me to give you a solid answer to this question.

 

Anyways, I can still help you answer this question yourself because I can guide you through the differences between these two instruments to help you make up your mind.

 

I ‘ll also mention some of the challenges that you will be facing when you try any of these instruments, in addition to some tips and tricks to make them easier for you.

 

Hope that by the end of this article you will be able to see things clearly and make up your mind.

 

So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

 

First off, the size and shape

 

It’s crystal clear that guitars are much bigger than ukes.

Moreover, a standard guitar has 6 strings, on the other side, a ukulele has only 4.

 

If you take a closer look at the build of both, you will be able to see that ukes have a thinner fretboard.

 

This is specifically an advantage over guitars because one of the very common challenges when starting to learn how to play the guitar is stretching your fingers.

 

Even though this is can be applied in most cases, yet, if you have big hands then you don’t need much stretching.

 

On the contrary, playing the uke when you have big hands is not a piece of cake.

 

Secondly, the riffs and chords

 

No one can deny that when it comes to riffs, guitars are the best.

 

Not only do they have more strings so technically, they can produce a larger range of tunes, but also they have an acoustic or sometimes electric charm.  

Ukes on the other side are louder and tunes sound more cheerful.

 

You will be able to find a variety between ukes themselves because some ukes are larger than others.

 

What about the chords?

 

Well, chords are a lot easier to play on ukuleles.

 

A lot of these chords require using only one finger, unlike guitars.

 

The fretboard on uke is smaller than that of the guitar so the distances between each fret and the neighboring one are smaller.

 

This makes it easier to play ukes because as I mentioned above, you do not need much stretching.

 

Something that you need to ask yourself is, why do you want to play this instrument?

 

For some of you checking this right now, they simply want to play an instrument to be able to sing along to.

 

And that can turn the table all around, the reason being, you will need to figure out what sounds best with your tone of voice.

 

For example, if you have a low vocal range of voice then ukulele is not the way to go simply because the tunes are too bright.   

 

Furthermore, some of you want to play some melodic acoustic tones and in this case, a guitar is a way to go.

 

But if you’re on a different page and you want to play something that will sound simpler and more appealing then, I recommend you play the uke. Add to this the Hawaiian touch the ukulele gives your song.

 

Consider the techniques

 

When it comes to strumming, these two sound a lot different because the number of strings is more on a guitar.

 

This makes guitars sound a lot fuller and louder; yet strumming a guitar needs much more precision than that needed when playing a uke.

 

You will need to give it some practice and be a little patient.

 

Which is easier and faster to learn?

 

There are a lot of angles to look at in order to be able to answer this question.

 

It is a non-ending debate, a lot of people will say that it’s much easier to play the uke but in so many scenarios this is not necessarily true.

Anyhow, it’s in not arguable that the learning curve for ukes is easier.

 

So if you are a beginner and you want to be able to play music faster without the need of much practice, pick the uke.

 

Most ukes are much smaller, easier to control, they have fewer strings, and you will learn to play a new song in a matter of days.

 

Personally, even though I play both instruments, some guitar pieces are just engraved in my heart.

 

When it comes to guitars, it’s a little bit more complicated.

 

At first, you might feel like you are making slow progress and that’s why some people just give up.

 

However, if you give it some time for the callus to form on the tips of your finger, I guarantee you; you will master a lot, and the more you learn, the easier it is to learn even more with guitars.

 

Which is more affordable?

 

Money is probably one of the things you are thinking about right now.

 

No one wants to waste their money on something that they won’t keep around and not sure if they will keep using and that’s only normal.

 

The obvious choice, if you are looking for something that won’t cost much, is to buy a ukulele, not a guitar.

 

Guitars are much more expensive than ukes. Actually, even a secondhand guitar will cost more than a good quality brand new uke.

 

Conclusion

 

By now you should be able to at least decide which you are leaning towards more.

 

Let me tell you this from my own experience, whether it’s easy or hard to play an instrument, pick the one that goes with your personal favorite music style.

 

If you pick a ukulele because it’s easier and you don’t like its sound then there’s no point.

And if you decide to go with the guitar just because you want to look more professional or because it’s mainstream at school or college, you will eventually give it up.

 

Whatever you pick, be patient, allow yourself to understand the positions of your fingers and how to move between the frets.  

 

Stay motivated and get creative with your music.

 

And most importantly, ENJOY!!

How to find a good budget ukulele

There’s no doubt that it’s a little irresistible to consider buying a cheap uke.

But how do you know if it will do a good job? I mean, how far can you expect the cheapest ukuleles out there to give?

Whether it’s your first instrument to buy or you already have past experience with buying a uke, in this article we are going to take you through everything you need to consider before chasing down your uke so that you know what to expect for your budget.

So let’s just get right into it!

First things first, the construction of the instrument

The way I see it, this is one of the things that should be on the very top of your list.

If you already play the uke, or even if you are a guitarist, strum the instrument and check if it’s buzzing.

On the other hand, if you are a beginner, I would always recommend you go shopping for a budget ukulele with someone who has more experience.

If that’s not an option, you can still look around for signs that guide you to make the right decision, and no doubt you can get the job done.

Check the built of the instruments.  If you find any spots whatsoever, don’t just rush and buy this instrument, it’s not worth the money.

The second thing you want to check when it comes to the construction of the uke is if all the parts are tightly glued together.

If you find anything hanging loose, then this ukulele is not going to sound anything but awful and you will most definitely hear an annoying rattling sound each time you play it.

Not to mention, sooner or later you will need to fix this part so, you might as well get a perfectly built instrument from the very beginning.

Secondly, check the neck and the fretboard

The one thing that you need to focus your eyes on first is whether the neck is straight or not.

I know you might be thinking “Of course it’s straight, who would sell a uke with a bent neck”.

But, what you don’t understand is that it might be too subtle at first.

Even for those who already have a uke and somehow the neck got bent, it can take a while until they realize that the instrument doesn’t sound as good as it used to and identify that the reason is a bent neck.

You don’t see what you don’t know right?!

Another thing to look for is how smooth the fret ends are.

You want them not to be too sharp or else it can be really annoying playing your uke, add to this, your strings will wear out more frequently.

It’s about time you start examining the headstock

This one is pretty simple.

All you need to do is make sure that the headstock of uke you’re buying is not in a straight line with the neck.

There should be some angulation which helps in keeping good pressure on the strings at the nut.

If that’s not true for your instrument, chances are, you will be hearing buzzing from your uke in no time.

Another thing to be mindful of is the tuners

When I got my first instrument, I had no idea how anything should sound and I spent quite some time just developing a technique.

Then one day I noticed that there’s this constant buzz in every single song I play.

I took it down to the shop because I had no experience with this at all and it turned out, one of my tuners was loosely attached to my uke.

So, I would recommend you make sure they are perfectly stuck to their place.

And lastly, try adjusting the tuners and then check if they stay still or return back.

If they’re too loose, they will go back to the original position which is an issue because you will need to tune your instrument way too frequently.

The saddle and the bridge

You don’t per se need a ruler to measure this, but the rule is:

The distance from the nut to the end of the fretboard should be more or less equal to the distance from the end of the fretboard to the saddle or the bridge.

And like mentioned above, make sure the saddle is not loosely attached to the body.

In my humble opinion, getting a uke with a removable saddle is a lot better, because in time you will be able to change it and modify its action.

And last but not least, the strings

Almost every new ukulele comes with a set of strings on it.

It’s okay if you are a beginner and you want to give it a try with these strings first, yet, it will make the world of difference if you change them.

The reason for this is that the strings that come with the instrument are usually very cheap and low quality.

A new set of strings will make your song sound louder and more bright, so if your budget allows it, I totally think you should go for it.

With all that being said, I hope you now have a better idea about what you should be looking out for when chasing down a new budget uke and you can easily avoid compromising the quality.

Enjoy the chase!

There’s no doubt that it’s a little irresistible to consider buying a cheap uke.

 

But how do you know if it will do a good job? I mean, how far can you expect the cheapest ukuleles out there to give?

 

Whether it’s your first instrument to buy or you already have past experience with buying a uke, in this article we are going to take you through everything you need to consider before chasing down your uke so that you know what to expect for your budget.

 

So let’s just get right into it!

 

First things first, the construction of the instrument

 

The way I see it, this is one of the things that should be on the very top of your list.

 

If you already play the uke, or even if you are a guitarist, strum the instrument and check if it’s buzzing.

 

On the other hand, if you are a beginner, I would always recommend you go shopping for a budget ukulele with someone who has more experience.

 

If that’s not an option, you can still look around for signs that guide you to make the right decision, and no doubt you can get the job done.

 

Check the built of the instruments.  If you find any spots whatsoever, don’t just rush and buy this instrument, it’s not worth the money.

 

The second thing you want to check when it comes to the construction of the uke is if all the parts are tightly glued together.

 

If you find anything hanging loose, then this ukulele is not going to sound anything but awful and you will most definitely hear an annoying rattling sound each time you play it.

 

Not to mention, sooner or later you will need to fix this part so, you might as well get a perfectly built instrument from the very beginning.

 

Secondly, check the neck and the fretboard

 

The one thing that you need to focus your eyes on first is whether the neck is straight or not.

 

I know you might be thinking “Of course it’s straight, who would sell a uke with a bent neck”.

 

But, what you don’t understand is that it might be too subtle at first.

 

Even for those who already have a uke and somehow the neck got bent, it can take a while until they realize that the instrument doesn’t sound as good as it used to and identify that the reason is a bent neck.

 

You don’t see what you don’t know right?!

 

Another thing to look for is how smooth the fret ends are.

 

You want them not to be too sharp or else it can be really annoying playing your uke, add to this, your strings will wear out more frequently.

 

It’s about time you start examining the headstock

 

This one is pretty simple.

 

All you need to do is make sure that the headstock of uke you’re buying is not in a straight line with the neck.

 

There should be some angulation which helps in keeping good pressure on the strings at the nut.

 

If that’s not true for your instrument, chances are, you will be hearing buzzing from your uke in no time.

 

Another thing to be mindful of is the tuners

 

When I got my first instrument, I had no idea how anything should sound and I spent quite some time just developing a technique.

 

Then one day I noticed that there’s this constant buzz in every single song I play.

 

I took it down to the shop because I had no experience with this at all and it turned out, one of my tuners was loosely attached to my uke.

 

So, I would recommend you make sure they are perfectly stuck to their place.

 

And lastly, try adjusting the tuners and then check if they stay still or return back.

If they’re too loose, they will go back to the original position which is an issue because you will need to tune your instrument way too frequently.

 

The saddle and the bridge

 

You don’t per se need a ruler to measure this, but the rule is:

 

The distance from the nut to the end of the fretboard should be more or less equal to the distance from the end of the fretboard to the saddle or the bridge.

 

And like mentioned above, make sure the saddle is not loosely attached to the body.

 

In my humble opinion, getting a uke with a removable saddle is a lot better, because in time you will be able to change it and modify its action.

 

And last but not least, the strings

 

Almost every new ukulele comes with a set of strings on it.

 

It’s okay if you are a beginner and you want to give it a try with these strings first, yet, it will make the world of difference if you change them.

The reason for this is that the strings that come with the instrument are usually very cheap and low quality.

 

A new set of strings will make your song sound louder and more bright, so if your budget allows it, I totally think you should go for it.

 

With all that being said, I hope you now have a better idea about what you should be looking out for when chasing down a new budget uke and you can easily avoid compromising the quality.

Enjoy the chase!

 

How to Fix Ukulele Buzzing

Having this annoying buzzing sound while playing your ukulele, is something that every uke player faced at one point or another.

There are a number of reasons why your ukulele is rattling, the most common being, having a faulty technique.

Lucky for you, if this is the case, it’s quite easy to get rid of it, however, sometimes the reason your ukulele is buzzing is something as serious as a flawed uke which might need modifying and there’s a big chance you will need to visit a musical instrument dealer.

Without assuming the worst, let’s first go through some of the more common - easy to fix – reasons why you uke is buzzing.

First thing​​​​s first; is it your technique?

No one can deny that this is one of, if not the most important factor affecting how your ukulele sounds.

If you are a beginner, make sure you are pressing the strings against the neck hard enough.

Yes, you don’t want to go really hard because this will only kill your fingers yet you don’t want your fingers to be too loose either.

Another thing that you could be doing is not putting your fingers in the middle of the fret, doesn’t have to be the exact middle but you need to make sure you are not fingering on the metal part of the fret because this might mute it and make a buzzing sound.

One more mistake that every beginner makes is, letting your fingers touch other strings when they shouldn’t, it is something that I struggled with when I was a beginner and truth be told, it took some practice for me to get my fingers to be right where I want them without thinking about it much.

Furthermore, playing clean will make you sound more professional even if you are a beginner. The only way to do this is to practice the basics. I am a big believer in “practice makes perfect” and if you are practicing any instrument, you should believe in this too.

Tip: it’s always smart to slow things down whenever you feel like you’re getting sloppy. There’s no need to speed things up especially if you are a beginner, take your time and master your chords at a slower tempo then speed it up a little by a little.

And last but not least, when it comes to your technique, keep the coordination between your right and left hands. It’s another tricky part of playing a stringed instrument, but your hands should be in sync and move together in harmony.  If you release your hand from the fretboard before you are done with the pick, your note is going to be muted and you won’t sound good.

If you got all this covered, and your ukulele is still buzzing, try muting the strings and start shaking your instrument.

Locate where your buzz is coming from!

it only makes sense that you identify the issue in order to be able to fix it.

Try picking the strings and listen carefully, is it the tuners? Maybe it is the saddle or the bridge that’s buzzing. Once you put your finger on what’s buzzing, it’s easy to fix it.

Do you hear a rattling sound coming from the headstock?

If the answer is yes, then you need to check the tuners, usually, you just need to tighten the screws.

It is best if you have your strings trimmed, this is something that a lot of players overlook but, string coils at the headstock can cause your ukulele to buzz.

Rarely, if you take a closer look, you can see that the gears are worn out and need to be replaced.

Worn-out strings!

More often than not, you can only hear a buzz when you play an open string but if you bar the first fret, there’s no buzzing whatsoever, if that’s the case, and you already checked that nothing wrong with the headstock, then the fix is pretty simple, replace your strings because they are worn out

It could be the saddle!

If your strings are buzzing all along the fretboard, check if the saddle is too low. Low action at the saddle causes your strings to vibrate against the frets, which consequently causes a buzz.

There are two ways that you can work around this; option number 1:  use a thin shim of wood at the base of the saddle that will make your strings higher, or, you can simply just get a new saddle and you are good to go.

The action of the nut!

Another reason why you hear that buzz is that your strings are vibrating in flat grooves.

You won’t hear a buzz if you bar the first fret, however, applying pressure to the strings in the small space between the nut and the tuners will allow you to hear the buzz.

To fix this, you need to have your grooves at an angle, in my humble opinion, it’s best to replace the nut if that’s the case.

On the other hand, sometimes the nut slots are too deep; you will find yourself getting buzzes at the lower frets.

You can still replace the nut if you want to, but if I were in your shoes, I’d try taking off the strings, carefully sanding the nuts and adding a few drops of super glue and leave it overnight then I’d restring my uke.

The frets!

If you hear buzzes only when you play certain notes, there’s a big chance you have a high fret.

If this is something that you have encountered lately, maybe one of your frets was never properly leveled.  You will need to take your uke to someone professional to file down the frets that are causing the buzzes.

Conclusion 

The list of reasons why your ukulele is buzzing isn’t yet over, from a bent neck to having a loose bridge and others, but if it’s not one of the issues mentioned above, then whatever the issue is, you will need to pay your luthier a visit and hopefully they will be able to help. Hopefully, there’s no need to go down this road and you already know how to fix your uke!

How to change your ukulele strings

It can be a little challenging to change your uke strings by yourself especially if it is your first time, however, at some point, you will need to do it anyways.

This is not actually a bad thing; you might be surprised how much more alive your song sounds with the new strings.

But, when should you consider restringing your ukulele?

It’s not just about changing broken or worn-out strings.  Even with the availability of durable strings nowadays, you will eventually find out that they sound dead at a certain point, and changing them will boost the sound of your instrument even if you replace them with the same set of strings from the same manufacturer.

There’s no definite specific time to change your strings, in fact, this depends on how much you play your instrument. Some players can go 3 months without changing their strings and others change it every other week.

One sign you need to restring your instrument is when you find yourself tuning it more than usual, worn-out strings can hardly hold in place.

A good tip would be not to change one string only and leave the others because if one string is dead, the others are probably dead and need to be replaced as well, and even if we assume they are not as worn-out as that one string, there’s no doubt they don’t sound as good as the new string so, you do the math!

In this article, I will take you through everything you need to do to successfully restring your uke and get that new zippy tune every musician wants.

So without further ado, let’s jump into it!

1. Ditch the old strings

First things first, you need to unwind the old strings until they are entirely loosened.

You can use a tuning key to get it done, then you will need to push each string back through the loop to get it off the bridge hole, after this, you can simply undo the strings and remove them. When it comes to pegs, you can remove the peg and simply just remove the string.

Another way to go is to just cut the strings and remove the remaining attached parts!  You get to choose how to treat your worn-out buddies I guess!

2. Time to clean!

In my humble opinion, this is the best time to clean my fretboard and get my frets to look shiny.​

A small rag will get the job done, believe me, you have no idea how much dust has built up on your fretboard without you noticing and with the strings being removed, it is a lot easier to get rid of all the gunk that has accumulated around.

3. Attaching the new strings

You are now ready for the actual restringing part.

This is the trickiest part and the one most players struggle with, at least on their first trials.

So, let’s try to break it down a bit by a bit so that it’s as simple and clear as can be.

Grab your new strings set, it doesn’t matter which string to attach first although, I usually start with the G string and work my way from there.

Pass the string through the bridge hole, it doesn’t make much of a difference which side to start from, the most important thing is to have the short end at this side and the longer part towards the headstock.

Now, you tie up your string;

  • Wrap the string around itself, i.e., the short side of the string is to be wrapped around the long side.
  • Now you wrap it again and tie your strings. pull the two ends apart so that the string is tightly anchored to the bridge and doesn’t slip.

Next, attaching the string to the peghead end:

Put the long end through the hole and then pull it back a couple of frets just to have enough string to that you can wind.

It’s best to wind the string around the peg two or three times.

Don’t just wind it once because this way, it is less secure and winding it more than this will make tuning harder.

A fast way to speed up the rest of the winding process is, to use a string winder. When you are starting to wrap your string, your first turn should be above the peg hole but just before you complete the turn, push it down below the hole and continue winding. Keep winding your string until you bring it to a pitch

Lastly, cut off the excess string using a wire cutter, and you are now ready to start attaching the next string.

4. Tune your strings

You should be aware that new strings are too slippery. For the first couple of times you use your ukulele after restringing it you will find yourself in need to tune it over and over again.

Sometimes if your ukulele is too old or if it is brand new, you might feel like it’s impossible to keep it in tune. Maybe you can try tightening your screws; another way to go is to try stretching the strings at the middle a little.

You probably already know that your ukulele is to be tuned G - C – E - A in standard tuning except if you are playing a baritone ukulele, which is tuned D - G – B – E.

The most accurate way to tune your ukulele is to use an electronic tuner. For me, I usually use the tuning application on my smartphone; however, it’s even more accurate to use a clip-on tuner.

Another and more professional way to go is to plug your ukulele into a pedal tuner.

If you are used to tuning your instrument to a piano or relative to each other, I recommend that you do this when your strings are more or less fixed in place.

This is only because after a while from changing your strings, they loosen up to a much lesser extent and are not far away from the exact, accurate tune.

On the other hand, you might be a little surprised how much out of tune your strings are even though you just tuned them yesterday after changing them!

One thing I know for sure, nothing is as satisfying for me as changing my strings, because whenever I do, I know my ukulele is going to sound much better and it’s just too exciting, hope you fall in love with your new strings too!

How To Play Ukulele

Like any instrument, learning how to play ukulele can be a little frustrating at first, especially if you haven’t tried playing the guitar before and have no experience whatsoever with  the strumming patterns or how a certain chord sounds.

While I do believe that “practice makes perfect”, there is a lot more than just practice that contributes to how the song you are playing turns out.

And if you figure out where to place your first steps, you will find out that it’s not really hard, it’s a lot simpler than it looks actually.

So, let’s go through everything you need to know to be able to master this lovely instrument

1. Knowledge is power

The first thing you need to do is read about ukuleles. I know this might strike you as a little odd, but you have no idea how much this will help you especially at the beginning of your practice.

Do you know what the different types of ukuleles are?  How different types of wood affect how your ukulele sounds? Which ukuleles are more suitable for recording in a studio and which would make your audience applause, clap and cheer?

These are not really hard to figure out. Maybe you can dedicate an hour or two to getting the bigger picture.

Now you have a background, so make up your mind

It’s about time you start taking an action and get the right ukulele that will serve what you want it for.

Keep in mind the size of your ukulele; there are different styles of ukuleles to choose from.

  •        SOPRANO
  •        ALTO
  •        TENOR
  •        BARITONE

These are arranged from the smallest to the largest. The most common ukulele in the market is the soprano, being the smallest and hence the most portable and the most affordable so it is too often a convenient option for beginners.

I would recommend you get an alto ukulele if you have large hands, because a soprano would be a little uncomfortable for you.

Generally speaking, alto ukuleles are known as “concert ukuleles” because they have a much fuller sound compared to sopranos.

Next comes the tenor ukulele, and being larger than the two types mentioned above, it has an extended fret board so it will allow you to get more notes.

Not to mention that it has a fuller sound than the concert ukulele.

And the last on our list is the baritone, being the largest, it actually doesn’t have the classic ukulele sound but of course it has the richest and fullest sound of all four.

There are also different shapes for ukuleles so before you invest your money in one, give it a try and see if it feels right when you are holding it.

You want your instrument to feel comfortable between your hands even if this might sound a little cheesy to some people but for me, whenever I’m playing my ukulele it feels like a part of me that I’m in total control of.

Even after you buy the ukulele that best fits you, take some time to try different positions while playing. Some like to play while standing others play while sitting.

For me, sitting is better, I can rest my ukulele on my leg and my strumming hand would be on the top of it. It’s what feels easier for me but for a lot of people out there, it’s more comfortable to play it while standing and hold the ukulele against their chests.

2. Become familiar with the anatomy

A ukulele is a little different than other stringed instruments; this is particularly an important tip because whenever you are playing, you shouldn’t be thinking much about where everything is.

Also, this step is what will get you prepared to the next one; tuning your ukulele. The ukulele has four strings and thus four tuners on its head.

The lowest string is the thickest and as you get higher, the strings become thinner and produce a higher tone.

Tuning your ukulele

This is a non-negotiable step if you want your song to make sense!

If you don’t tune your instrument it will never ever sound right no matter how much you practice a song because the strings are simply not producing the right sounds.

As mentioned before, you have four strings namely G, C, E, A, G being the top string and A the lowest. These of course are connected to the tuning knobs at the top of the head of the ukulele.

You use the tuner knob to lighten or loosen the strings so as it’s under the suitable tension to produce the sound you want it to.

Keep in mind that this is something that you will need to do regularly because with time, the strings spontaneously loosen.

If you are facing your ukulele, then the bottom left tuner is connected to the G string. The top left tuner is connected to the C string. The top right tuner is connected to the E string and the bottom right string is connected to the A string.

You can always buy an electric tuner but to be honest, more often than not, I use an online tuner or use a tuning application on my phone.

3. Time for the real challenging part; learning your chords, and having a strumming pattern

If you have never tried playing a stringed instrument, then don’t rush into trying to play such a fancy song. This will only be discouraging and will make you feel disappointed.

Your fingers need time to build calluses at the tips, which will make playing easier and easier by day.

Know some basic chords, from my own experience; consistency is your goal here.  The first chords I learned were C, then Am these need only one finger.

Try to switch from C to Am in a regular rhythm. Then I learned how to play the F chord, followed by G chord.

Let’s see where to place your finger to play each of these chords and the basic strumming pattern to try with them.

C major chord

Place your ring finger on the third fret of the 4th string (the bottom string).

First, try doing simple down strums, then try doing simple up strums.

Now try alternating down and up strums.

Don’t try to rush things and do it too fast. Think of this like trying to learn how to drive for example. You don’t just rush down the road once you start the car. You want to practice this for a while till it becomes a reflex, something that you can do without thinking too much just at ease.

4. Next Comes Am Chord

To play your Am chord, place your middle finger on the second fret, 1st string.

Now try playing the chord in a more complicated yet still such a simple strumming pattern. Something like D, DU, UD

Take your time with it, master it … Learn how to change from C major to Am without changing the strumming pattern.

If you get confused and mix things up, don’t give up; just go slower till you are playing at a speed that allows you to get it right.

Once you are comfortable doing this and feel like you have mastered it, try speeding it up a little bit and keep going in this manner.

One thing that works for me is, I don’t stick to things more than I should, meaning; once I learn how to play a chord at a certain speed, I don’t try to speed it up right away and the next time I practice I try to speed up together with learning a new chord.

This is only because at this point things can get a little boring for me. However, this might not be the case for you so come up with a plan that works for you and will help you persist.

The coming chord is F major

This is a bit different from the above mentioned chords because you need to use two fingers.

Put your index finger on the 2nd string, first fret and your ring finger on the first string, 2nd fret.

Try the same strumming patterns you know and then maybe you can try changing from C to F and vice versa.

Or should you try changing from C to F then from F to Am? You get to decide. HAVE FUN with it, try different arrangements and different strumming patterns.

I think by now you have a better understanding of how you should start and maintain your practice. You are the pilot of this journey actually, there’s no one single right way to do this.

5. Finger exercises

Surprisingly, mastering ukulele is not all chords and strumming and this one tip is handy if you want to become good faster.

You probably already know that stringed instruments hurt a little especially at the beginning and we talked about how it takes time for your fingers to build up calluses.

The way I see it, you know you have mastered a song when playing it stopped hurting.

Exercising your fingers will speed up this process. First, make sure to cut your finger nails really short on the fret hand, this will make it a lot easier to press the strings without getting muted sounds.

Try picking the first string with your index finger on the first fret, then do it with your middle finger on the second string, then pick it again with your ring finger on the third fret, now try doing it with your pinky finger on the fourth string.  Do it with the pinky finger on the fourth fret one more time and then work your way back.

Try going faster and once you get good at it. Try the same thing on the next string and so on.

I always start my practice with these finger exercises just to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes.

6. Timing is everything

Now that you are familiar with most of the basics, you need to give some attention to practicing your timing.

I know that for a lot of beginners this might not seem like a big deal, but trust me it is.

This is what is going to make you sound professional. If you got a good rhythm, your music will sound melodic and flowing in harmony and it’s the only way you will be admired.

This will be a little difficult at first but you already know the rule, the more challenging you find it, the slower you need to go at first. Once you are able to maintain a steady rhythm, you can go faster.

7. Practice daily

Even if you usually have a busy schedule, you don’t have to practice for hours, 20 or 30 minutes are enough, just make sure to do it on a regular basis. No one is born a star when it comes to playing an instrument.

Yes, some of us do learn faster than others and find it easier, yet with practice you eventually get there and the more time you spend the better you get and the easier it is to learn something new.

8. Listen and watch other ukulele players play

Perhaps you know someone who plays already and they encouraged you to do it as well. Let them play for you and listen carefully to how their music sounds. Watch how they move their fingers and know more about their techniques.

Even if you don’t personally know someone who plays Ukulele, you can always go to your computer and watch videos all over YouTube. You know what’s even more fun? Jam along!! You will get the hang of it.   

9. Listen to yourself playing

Be your own judge before anyone else. Record yourself playing and listen back. You will be amazed how much difference this will make.

It will help you recognize what you are doing wrong and which parts you need to work on. You will hate it at first, but it will surely pay off.

Final Thoughts

Ukuleles are fun to play, don’t stress yourself. Have all the fun you need, it only gets better and easier and if you are dedicated enough, you will get there sooner or later.