How to play ukulele? Let’s be clear. Whether you don’t know anything about music theory and instruments, or whether you are a professional musician with some other instrument, you can definitely follow this procedure because, overall, ukulele is one of the easiest instrument to learn. First of all there is the choice of the tool to buy. The Soprano is the classic Ukulele, both in size and sound. The Concerto is however a bit more comfortable because it has a longer keyboard and allows you, in addition to having a few more notes, to play chords more easily because I assure you that there is little space! So the Soprano is the basis; if you already play an instrument, or if you know that you can give yourself a little more technique, take a Concert, and only if you absolutely intend to become a professional take a Tenor; the following measures are too “guitar” .
If you want to play the Ukulele don’t think in terms of guitar, but in terms of simplicity and simplification. There are great little guitars to do professional things; if you choose the Ukulele, stop at the Ukulele and choose a Soprano or a Concerto. And that’s it, practical choice, portability, simplicity, zero thoughts! Even if it’s your first Ukulele, spend some money, anyway we talk about maximum 100 dollars and combine a good instrument. Also use an electronic tuner clamp (it costs 2/3 dollars), take immediately a bag case (costs 5/6 dollars), and maybe a strap to keep it on the shoulder (even this few dollars) especially if you are high. The ukulele straps, as it weighs very little, are often simple laces with a hook that attaches to the ukulele on the hole of the body case passing from behind, and simply supports it.
Playing the Ukulele is difficult because of its size. Chords have different positions than the guitar, and the space is small, so some chords will be difficult because you won’t immediately understand how to put your fingers. The D is not bad, the E is to be understood because it must be done, in essence, a barré in half with the ring finger while with the index finger you have to press the first string; you need exercise. But concentrate on the main ones, do them and play them several times. Try to make some random sequences, just to get to grips with the chord changes. Enter into the perspective, however, many songs that you like, or that you already know for guitar, will have to be transposed in tonality to be played with the Ukulele, this is a price to pay to play with an instrument that has few strings and few keys. The longer the Ukulele is, the more you can play with some bars, but with a standard Soprano you don’t have much choice.
So in the meantime, you learn the main chords in major, then the minor, then the chords in 7, and some variations. The main thing, is to start playing right away, so take a first step with the main progressions you find attached or even those mentioned here.
It’s very important to figure out how to move your right hand. You will play the chords mostly with your index finger, a little bit of nail is not bad. The strumming give the rhythm, if you want to sing over the Ukulele you have to grind well the sound so that the hand learns to move by itself without losing time. Learning strumming is also useful to be able to handle chord changes well. So study those rhythms , and begin to make them even making some chord changes.
The basic laps are the first progressions of chords that you could learn, many times with these laps you will be able to make dozens and dozens of songs. They are good above all to start learning to make chords, to change them during the strokes, and to manage the Sound. The basic laps are the following, very simple:
C chord: C – A – F – G7
F chord: F – D – G – C7
G chord: G – E -C – D7
D chord: D – G – G – A7
Start playing them all by varying your strumming. You can use that table that you find attached to this page with some examples of strumming.
If you are already ahead and interested, you can already switch to the Blues laps:
Blues in A: A7 – D7 – A7 – A7 – A7 | D7 – RE7 – A7 – A7 | E7 – D7 – A7 – E7
Blues in C: C7 – A7 -C7 – C7 | F7 – F7 – C7 – C7 | G7 – F7 – C7 – G7
This will teach you to fraternize with the blues strumming which is a bit more complex because it’s syncopated, however for the blues you need something more otherwise with chords alone it’s a bit bad. Once you’ve gotten to grips with the laps above, the main chords, and the strumming, start doing something more serious by playing some songs. Skip those included in the “Guide to the Market”, learn just Somewhere Over the Rainbow because it has simple and nice chords and because it is the classic for Ukulele, as well as a classic in general that everyone knows. Choose some simple songs of your own and play them. Start with songs that don’t have many arpeggios, with songs with simple sentence structures ,chorus etc. because if you get a rap song or a metal piece right away it is not the right choice! Look for some songs you like and play them.
Songs that come well with the Ukulele are Hotel California by Eagles, The House of the Rising Sun by Animals (these two also allow you to fraternize with the arpeggios), Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the legendary Free Bird or Sweet Home Alabama, which with the introduction allows you to do some arpeggios already, then the everlasting Bob Dylan whose ballads are perfect for the Ukulele. Fabrizio de André also sounds good.
Start making the same identical songs but arpeggiate and this will be the last step. This Course online is excellent and has a special section dedicated to arpeggios. Start , learning the songs you make with chords but this time arpeggiate the strings in sequence: G-C-E-A or G-C-E-A-x-E-C-E and maybe every now and then adding a variant, a solitary note with a little finger for example during a D, or a C that extends very well to keys 7, 8 and 10.
Introductions to Hotel California and The House of the Rising Sun should be arpeggiate and will be perfect. From now on everything will be growing, you already have the substance: the foundations and the structure is done, now there is only to start.