You start the ukulele? Discover the basics to know absolutely to succeed in playing the ukulele quickly without learning of superfluous things! I propose several courses and links that will be integrated in this lesson to start the ukulele. The essential thing is there, you will only have to practice with our great exercises to begin.
- 1 What do I learn first?
- 1.1 How does a ukulele work?
- 1.2 How to play the ukulele at the beginning?
- 1.3 How to play a tablature?
- 1.4 How to read diagrams chords?
- 2 What are the first pieces for beginners?
- 3 What method will allow me to perfect myself?
What do I learn first?
You need to know how your ukulele works, what are the elements that make it up, why you have to attack the strings in such and such a way.
How does a ukulele work?
A ukulele, it is neither more nor less than a small guitar with 4 strings with a sharper sound. It is widely used in music shops and considered as a very accessible instrument thanks to its soft strings and simple chords to perform.
The structure of a ukulele
A ukulele is made like a guitar by:
- A hollow wood body, so it continues a sound box that will amplify the sound of the strings of your ukulele.
- Strings, which are fixed in an easel on the body of the ukulele, and up to the mechanical or tuning keys that are placed on the head.
- Between the head and the body is the handle which has boxes. The first, second, third and so on, are separated by small pieces of metal called frets.
- If your ukulele can plug in, you will find a jack input to connect your ukulele to an amplifier via a jack cable. Also, a preamp built into the body and running on a battery will allow you to adjust the volume, bass or treble of your sound.
You will also find many decorations, such as markers on the handle to know where to place your fingers, or a decoration around the turn present on the body. It’s just the rosette that’s decorated! You can also attach a strap around your ukulele through the strap fastener.
How to tune your ukulele?
I told you about the tuning keys on the head of your ukulele. By turning these keys, you can tighten or relax the strings. Be careful, too much tension will break your rope. Too low a voltage would give you the impression of playing on chewing gum. To tune your ukulele, you will need a tuner and know the name of the strings. I did a great course on how to tune your ukulele, which I invite you to discover urgently!
How to play the ukulele at the beginning?
Although the ukulele is considered an easy tool to tackle, remember that you will need to work regularly to reach a good level. I advocate 30 minutes of work a day to progress well to the ukulele.
How to hold the ukulele and place its fingers on the handle?
Your ukulele is a very small instrument. It has the advantage of being very light! There are two solutions to hold your ukulele:
- You can take it and stall the “buttocks” of the ukulele against the hollow of your right elbow if you are right handed. You then hold the handle, making sure to put the thumb behind and in the middle of it.
- You can put it on your leg like a guitar or even use a strap for more comfort.
The first technique is the most widespread, but will become slightly limiting for some high level techniques.
I encourage you to work both, being as versatile as possible from the start!
For finger placement, here is how to put them on the handle:
- Your thumb is always behind the handle. The fingerprint of the thumb is pressed against the handle.
- The other fingers are perpendicular to the handle. You know which finger to use through a simple notation that is present on tablatures or chords. The 1 represents the index finger, the 2 major, the ring finger the 3 and the 4 for the little finger.
How to attack the strings of a ukulele?
In guitar, you can attack the strings with the fingers of your hand or with a pick. It’s exactly the same for the ukulele! Nevertheless, we will greatly encourage the use of the game with the fingers to the ukulele:
- Open your hand to give a blow from the top down.
- Return from the bottom to the top with your thumb.
- You can also play arpeggios, ie, notes one after the other with your fingers. Your thumb will take care of the 4th rope (the one on the ceiling), the index of the next string, the middle of the second string and the ring of the first string (the one that is directed towards your legs)
Of course, movements are defined according to the rhythm. I explain everything in my ukulele course videos! There are also many tricks that will allow you to attack the strings in a different way.
How to play a tablature?
The tablature is the score of the guitarist and ukulele player! Lines represent the strings of your ukulele. Then you will find numbers that represent the boxes of the handle of your ukulele. Everything is reversed! The bottom line represents your 4th rope and the top line represents the rope that points to your floor. You should only play notes that have numbers. If you find several numbers, so many boxes, you have to play them at the same time, which becomes an agreement! Here is an excellent course to learn how to read ukulele tablatures easily.
How to read diagrams chords?
The ukulele is an accompanying instrument. Many musicians use it only to play chords, ie, several notes or strings at the same time. To do this, you must know how to read and play a chord diagram.
- The vertical lines delimit the boxes.
- The horizontal lines represent the strings of the ukulele, from left to right on the chord grid and thus from top to bottom on your ukulele.
- The points indicate the fingers you need to place. If a number is present in these points, you should simply place the corresponding finger from 1 to 4, 1 for the index and 4 for the little finger.
- The indicated 0 next to a string indicates that the string should be played on the chord, while the X indicates that it should not be played in the chord.
For this, I advise you to follow this course to know how to read your ukulele chords.
What are the first pieces for beginners?
I think the urge to play you itch! Let’s quickly get to the heart of the matter: what are the pieces you can play as a beginner, and that very quickly!
Pieces to discover the handle
Here, it will be about songs by playing the notes one after the other. That is to say, by playing a string, then another and so on. The goal is to create a melody through a kind of solo. For that, nothing like a basic exercise like the nursery rhymes we sing as a child, or the famous happy birthday!
For that, you will use ukulele tablatures that are perfect for this purpose. This will be the main notation that you will use in order to be able to play all the songs you dream of learning at the soprano ukulele, concert or other! I leave you here a top of the pieces to discover the handle of your ukulele with free tablatures! Then, you can deepen this with our ukulele course videos and ultra-efficient trainings!
Music to start chords and work rhythm
There are some unavoidable pieces in the ukulele to play right away. It will be enough to learn a simple rhythm that you can apply on different chords. Today, you start the game with chords, so there’s no question of you learning complicated, we’ll see that later!
I propose you through this course on chords and on the basic rhythm to be able to play a few pieces with simple chords like major and minor chords, while teaching you a basic rhythm that you can use! Thus, you can begin your ukulele practice and even sing from now on!
What method will allow me to perfect myself?
As you can imagine, our online ukulele school has put together training courses for you to quickly and easily play the ukulele. I advise you to take a look at all the free articles present on this site, they will allow you to have easily the bases. Then, if you want to save time, learn magnificent pieces in the ukulele and impress your friends with some tricks, I would greatly advise you to watch our ukulele formations. Less expensive than a teacher, you will have access to your lessons in videos, accompanied by PDF tablatures and our tips! We take great pains to offer the best ukulele classes which are the result of years of pedagogy, teaching and success for our students!