Top 5 ukulele beginner tips you should know
Top 5 Ukulele Beginner Tips You Should Know
If you are reading this, then you are one of the many people out there who have caught the ukulele bug. It’s not surprising that you have become fascinated with this beautiful instrument that originated from Hawaii. After hearing its unique sound you probably could not wait to get your hands on one. Before you go out there and buy the first piece you see, here are tidbits of information every ukulele beginner must know.
1. What kind of ukulele should you buy
It is important to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of ukulele, so you will not be confused when you visit a store for the first time. Unlike guitars, ukuleles vary in shapes and sizes, here are the different kinds to choose from:
Soprano – This is the smallest and most common. It measures 20 inches long with 12-15 frets. The size of the fretboard is perfect for children and beginners.
Concert – This has a length of 23 inches with 15-18 frets. This is better suited for beginners with larger hands.
Tenor- This has a larger body and is 26 inches long with 17-19 frets. Most players with intermediate and advanced skills use this kind due to its versatility and fuller sound.
Baritone – This is the largest kind and it measures 30 inches long with 18-21 frets. This is not too popular with ukulele players because it sounds more like a guitar.
Ukuleles come in different shapes too.
Pineapple – Oval shaped.
Fluke – Triangle
Flea – Oval with a flat bottom.
Beginners usually start with a soprano and concert ukulele. As your skills progress, you can move on to larger ukuleles. Try playing on different types and go with the one that feels and sounds the best for you.
2. How to hold a ukulele.
If you have been playing the guitar, the size of a ukulele may make you feel odd the first time you touch it. The key here is to stay cool and learn how to hold it properly until you get the hang of it. Hold the ukulele against your chest, your thumb behind the neck, fingers must be parallel to the frets and use your fingertips to play chords. Keep your elbows a few inches away from your sides.
Remember to relax or you might squeeze the ukulele too tight. A ukulele beginner tends to hunch over this tiny instrument a lot. This will cause a lot of tension on your shoulders so avoid doing this. Find that position or angle that will allow you to play comfortably. It will help to watch a few videos on YouTube so you’d get a better idea of how to do it right.
3. Basic chords.
Every ukulele beginner must start with the basic chords. You can try out a simple C major-A minor – F major combination. Use the indicated finger to hold the string on the fret and then strum.
Study and learn the major chords C, D, E, F, G and A. Follow it up with the minor chords. Go online for free video tutorials to speed up your learning process. You’ll discover that the best thing about playing the ukulele is that it’s easy and enjoyable to learn.
C- Use your 3rd finger on the bottom string at the 3rd fret.
A minor – Use your 3rd finger on the top string of the 2nd fret.
F – After playingA minor, don’t remove your middle finger from the 4th string on 2nd fret and hold down the 2nd string on the 1st fret.
4. How to strum.
Strum with your index finger. Your fingernail must hit the strings as you strum down and fingertip when you strum up. Move your wrist and not your hand when you play. The key to doing this right is to relax while you strum. Practice strumming the chord combination above. Just strum up and down until you can come up with your own simple patterns. When you have mastered basic strumming, move on to more advanced chords and patterns.Download ukulele tabs online and starts learning whole songs.
5. How to get your timing right.
A ukulele beginner must learn how to shift from one chord to another smoothly before he/she can focus on rhythm. When you are familiar with more chords and strumming patterns, it’s time to get your timing right. Musicians use a mechanical gadget called metronome to help them keep up with the song’s tempo. There is free online metronome software to get you started.
Start with songs with simple chords and slow rhythm. Do not rush into playing advanced tabs. It can get frustrating at times when you want to learn your favorite song but can’t get the rhythm or the chords right. Just keep on practicing and remember to enjoy the process of learning something new.
Don’t let its size fool you. A ukulele packs plenty of punch in such a small body and gives a unique twist to the music. Several popular musicians such as Colbie Caillat, the late George Harrison, Paul McCartney and guitar whiz kid Sung Ha Jung have used the ukulele in their songwriting and performances.
Most of all, playing ukulele is fun!
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