How To Learn The Ukulele

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How To Learn The Ukulele

The good vibes of the Ukulele make it one of the most popular instruments to play. If you’re looking to add some light, beautiful music to your life why not pick one up? Here’s how you can learn this instrument and wow friends & family with your favorite songs. 

How Do I Start Playing Ukulele?

Starting the study of an instrument can be daunting, to say the least. Even professional musicians who have spent their whole lives dedicated to their craft get nervous when playing. They mess up on stage and while recording. You, as an amateur, new learner, and new musician can rest assured that making mistakes is not a big deal! 

The goal is to start with a good Ukulele foundation. Here are some top musician tips on how to begin your exploration of a new instrument. 

  • Do Your Research: Do you really want to play this instrument? Make sure that you are ready to embark on an amazing journey! Check out some famous Ukulele artists like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, who reimagined “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” from The Wizard of Oz and turned it into a number-one hit. His gorgeous and heartfelt playing of the Ukulele made the cover song even more endearing than the original.
  • Know Your Instrument: What kind of Ukulele do you want? Is there a specific size that would fit your stature best? Are you looking for a specific key or sound? If you want to succeed in the world of music you have to know what you’re getting into. If you want to be a casual player, a lower-end utilitarian Ukulele would be best for you. If you’re planning on being passionate and playing often, maybe an investment in a higher-end instrument is best for you. Whatever Ukulele you buy, we hope you practice often! 
  • Musical Foundation: If you want to play your favorite popular songs, you have to start with good foundational skills. Learning some music theory, some major and minor scales, and graduating to chords. Having a solid foundation of the so-called “boring” fundamentals will go a long way in making you a better player. 
  • Don’t Rush! It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something, or at least that’s what Malcolm Gladwell’s novel “Outliers” says. You probably don’t want to be a Ukelele master, or maybe you do! Just remember that you can’t rush your learning process. The best way to structure your learning of an instrument is to see a professional for weekly lessons. 
  • Great Teachers, Great Results: Developing your musical foundation is so much better when you have an experienced guide! We can not recommend having enough lessons. Once you get your scales, finger placement, chords, and strumming down, it’s easy to get into a rhythm both literally and figuratively! A teacher will help you get to where you want to go faster.

Top Ukulele Songs For Beginners

If you do your research, pick out a great instrument, and are learning your first Ukulele songs, you can pretty much play anything! 

A lot of beginners love playing along with old Beatles records because they have simple chord progressions that are used in thousands of other songs, just in a different order. 

Here are some popular ones:

-Let It Be 

-I Wanna Hold Your Hand 

-She Loves You

Songs that have G C D Em patterns are extremely common as well as G A C D patterns. Basically, if you learn the main chord patterns, hundreds of songs will be instantly added to your repertoire. 

Here are some fun ones to play:

-I’m Yours – Jason Miraz

-Riptide – Vance Joy

-Home – Phillip Phillips

-Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Wizard of Oz

What are some of your favorite songs? Odds are at least a few of them are playable on the Ukulele.

Is Ukulele Easy to Learn?

Well if you’ve read this far, you know that learning any instrument isn’t easy. But the Ukulele is a bit less complicated because it has only four strings. Since guitars have 6, there are naturally fewer notes and chords to put together, however; don’t take that as a sign to slack off! Putting effort into the practice of the Ukulele will make you a better player. 

There are super handy chord charts that can definitely make your life easier though. As you practice, keeping music, tablature, or chord charts printed out in front of you is a huge convenience! The more you get used to the way you learn, the better you’ll play. 

Which Type of Ukulele is Most Popular?

Did you know that Ukuleles come in four different sizes? Each one has a unique use and sound. There are traditional wooden Ukuleles, electric Ukuleles as well as Ukuleles that look like electric guitars. 

The four most common sizes of Ukulele are: 

Soprano: This is the most common size used by most beginners. If you are working on Ukulele for the first time, Amazon, Guitar Center, and other online retailers offer some great beginner packs that are fully endorsed by Beginner Ukuleles. Soprano Ukuleles average 21 inches. It uses standard tuning of G-C-E-A.

Concert: This Ukulele size is another favorite of beginners and teachers alike. Its highly versatile tone makes it the perfect sized Ukulele for learning. It has a slightly longer scale than the Soprano Ukulele but there’s not a huge difference in play style. Experts say this Ukulele is a little bit easier to play than the Soprano though because it has more room to work with on the neck.

Tenor: The Tenor Ukulele is much fuller and more resonant in tone than its two predecessors. It’s the third largest of the most common sizes of Ukuleles. There’s really no wrong model of the Ukulele. If you like deeper toned instruments or like to play more songs in minor, the Tenor Ukulele is better for players who have slightly longer arms since the scale increases by a few frets as you go down in size.

Baritone: The largest of the bunch, a Baritone Ukulele usually measures at around 30 inches and is known for its full, low tone. This type of Ukulele is the only one with a D-G-B-E tuning. Standard tuning is listed above. It’s the largest, so it’s usually played by more experienced players or those with longer arms and larger hands. The Baritone Ukulele sounds great with rock and roll.

There are a few Ukulele brands that are more recognizable than others. Here are some of our top recommendations:

-Kamaka

-Cordoba

-Oscar Schmidt

-Fender

-Lanikai 

-Ohana Music

-Martin & Co.

How Much does a Ukulele Cost on Average?

Like any musical instrument, the nicer the Ukulele the higher the price. Let’s break down the most expensive down to the least. 

Most Expensive: 

  • Kamaka HF-3D4i: Jake Blue Edition Tenor Ukulele: This fabulous instrument was made by one of the top luthiers in the industry, Casey Kamaka. This signature series Ukulele is so expensive because it fits the exact specifications of master Ukulele artist Jake Blue. Everything about it is top of the line.
    • Price: $5,245.00
  • Kanile’a Koa Concert Premium: This Ukulele is definitely made for professionals. The fine Hawaiian koa used as well as the musical tone that this instrument creates really makes it one of the finest instruments around.
    • Price: $2,065.00
  • Petros Spruce Custom Ebony Concert Ukulele: This beautifully painted Uke is the perfect size for any player. With a huge price tag and expert reviews, this unique instrument has an unparalleled tone. Worth every penny! 
    • Price: $6,900

Least Expensive: 

  • Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele: This little Uke packs a punch for a really reasonable price. Fender makes some of the world’s best guitars and bass’. Their lesser-known Ukuleles used by artists like Billie Eilish. This model also comes in a rad Surf Green. 
    • Price: $69.99
  • KaKoo Ukulele: This budget model is highly reviewed on QVC.com. It comes in four different finishes and boasts a unique fretboard and bridge. New players will love the price and seasoned players may like the sound too.
    • Price: $28.72
  • Mahalo Ukulele Kahiko Series Soprano Ukulele: This is not a bad little instrument. It has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and comes with its own case. There are 4 finishes to choose from and the price is right if you are not sure whether you want to play Ukulele for real or not. We recommend this model for beginners.
    • Price: $29.95

So as you can see there is no real “median” price for Ukuleles. The one you choose is really predicated on how you want to play.

So Where Should I Start?

Starting the Ukulele is a fun process with multiple options for every kind of player. This instrument is also a perfect fit for those dabbling in music for the first time. 

Playing chill island vibes on this dreamy wooden instrument can improve your mood, and inject newfound creativity into your days. Don’t worry if you’re off to a slow start. Learning any new instrument is a journey of patience and reward. Don’t give up! 

If you can start with a great lower-price Ukulele and graduate to nicer ones each time you get farther in your training, it’s like a little reward! Have fun and enjoy your musical journey! 

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