How to Play Ukulele in 6 Easy Steps

guide_featured_photo

Table of contents

  1. Empty
  2. Step 1: Choose the Right Ukulele
  3. Step 2: Learn to Hold The Ukulele
  4. Step 3: Tune The Ukulele
  5. Step 4: Learn About the Strumming Patterns
  6. Step 5: Read Chord Charts
  7. Step 6: Learn to Play the Ukulele Scales
  8. Final Thoughts

Empty

{"blocks":[{"key":"2tia4","text":"You’re not the only one enchanted with the musical instrument called ‘the ukulele.’ Elvis Prestley is one of the first worldwide famous artists to use it on stage, George Harrison used it to create some tunes that live to this day, and Taylor Swift played it in plenty of her songs.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":282,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":282,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":282,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":282,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"16d0l","text":"It’s a small, affordable, fun instrument to play with. What’s there not to love?","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"d80t4","text":"If you want to follow in these great artists’ steps, start by teaching yourself the basics of playing the ukulele. Here are the six essential steps to begin with.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 1: Choose the Right Ukulele

{"blocks":[{"key":"cvmks","text":"When choosing the ukulele, the essential factors to consider are the size and the budget. For starters, there are three standard sizes of ukuleles: soprano, concert, and tenor.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"ft5ju","text":"A soprano ukulele is the smallest out of the three, and it has a high note. Plus, its frets are placed close together, making it an ideal choice for beginners and users with small hands.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5jh0p","text":"Concert ukuleles are a bit larger than sopranos, but they’re still compact enough. They have more frets, and they give deeper notes than sopranos.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":146,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":146,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":146,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":146,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"85h2m","text":"As for tenors, they’re the largest common ukuleles. They give rich tones, and their necks are wider than their counterparts. They’re also a bit heavier, making them suitable for professionals and players with large hands.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"e7r76","text":"As for the budget, ukuleles are affordable in general, so you won’t have a hard time choosing one that fits your budget. You can get a ukulele anywhere from $70 to $300 or more. The more you learn about playing it, the higher you should aim. Start with an affordable ukulele, and then upgrade it according to your skill.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":320,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 2: Learn to Hold The Ukulele

{"blocks":[{"key":"96dgv","text":"Holding the ukulele in the right way is your first step to mastering its chords. If you don’t hold it right, you may damage the instrument, and you won’t be able to get good sounds out of it.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":191,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":191,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":191,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":191,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"ds4uh","text":"Start by holding its neck with your left hand, between your index finger and thumb. Support its body using your right hand, so its back is snug against your body.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"o697","text":"Holding it like this, you’ll be able to move your left hand comfortably up and down the ukulele’s neck to play. Your right hand will also be in a suitable position to strum the chords.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":184,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":184,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":184,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":184,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 3: Tune The Ukulele

{"blocks":[{"key":"a00si","text":"To learn how to tune the ukulele, you have to learn how its strings are tuned. Check this brief list: ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":102,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":102,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":102,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":102,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"d1afl","text":"G: the fourth string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"989jd","text":"C: the third-string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"97ro6","text":"E: the second string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"2u313","text":"A: the first string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":19,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"32joc","text":"The difference between a guitar and a ukulele appears here. The guitar has six strings, all of which are tuned in descending order. Meanwhile, the ukulele doesn’t have the same order. Instead, it has the first string as the highest-toned one and the third-string being as the lowest-tuned one.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":293,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":293,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":293,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":293,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"dm5qf","text":"There are online tuners you can use to guarantee you’re on the correct pitch. They’re ideal for beginners who are teaching themselves.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 4: Learn About the Strumming Patterns

{"blocks":[{"key":"8qurm","text":"The strumming patterns of any musical instrument mean the way your hand moves up and down the chords, creating strokes of sound. Learning about the strumming patterns is vital for playing ukulele and any chorded instrument.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"cng04","text":"The strumming pattern changes according to the song you’re playing. Some songs need alternating patterns, varying from upward and downward strokes. Meanwhile, some other songs need all the chords to be played in downward strokes, creating a steady rhythm. A few pieces also follow an irregular pattern, playing in a “down-up-up-down-down” pattern, for example.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":360,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":360,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":360,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":360,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"8gg1","text":"The more you practice strumming patterns of specific songs, the better you’ll know the differences between different motions. After a lot of practice, you’ll be able to strum instinctively even if you don't learn the used pattern.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":230,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":230,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":230,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":230,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 5: Read Chord Charts

{"blocks":[{"key":"a290o","text":"The ukulele chords are a combination of 3+ notes that you play together to create harmony. They’re the backbone of any song you intend to play.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"cr1io","text":"Chord charts will be of great help if you’re a beginner. They’ll show you where to put your fingers on the frets to produce the sounds you want from the strings. They’re an accurate, visual representation of the four main strings and their frets.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":246,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":246,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":246,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":246,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"dhn8o","text":"Chord charts don’t only show you your strings in order, but they also have symbols for where your fingers should be. There’s a symbol for each motion you should do; here’s a roundup of the main ones:","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":199,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"3o2cm","text":"O: open position","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"26b75","text":"X: mute","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"e1d1r","text":"1: index finger","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"8upq6","text":"2: middle finger","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":16,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"4sgg9","text":"3: ring finger","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"a09qj","text":"4: pinky finger","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 6: Learn to Play the Ukulele Scales

{"blocks":[{"key":"etehr","text":"If you haven’t played the ukulele before, you probably aren’t familiar with ukulele scales. They’re organized sequences of eight notes, otherwise called ‘the octave.’ Each scale ends with the same note it started with, and it’s often called ‘the root note.’ On top of that, every scale goes in ascending order of a series of half or whole steps until it ends in the eighth note.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":378,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":378,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":378,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":378,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"epguj","text":"The last note is often an octave higher than the first one, although they’re both the same note.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":96,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":96,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":96,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":96,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7m2jq","text":"To learn better about the ukulele scales, you may try your luck with an easy one, like the C Major scale. The best thing about it is the lack of sharp notes or flats, making it one of the most manageable scales for beginners to play. That’s also why it’s used in a lot of songs.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7sr3","text":"Here’s how a C Major scale goes:","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"23klm","text":"First note: C","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"drjrd","text":"Second note: D","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"e3rf5","text":"Third note: E","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"6l2qk","text":"Fourth note: F","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"4v27g","text":"Fifth note: G","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"f3pth","text":"Sixth note: A","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"9e9hi","text":"Seventh note: B","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5lrng","text":"Eighth Note: C one octave higher","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":32,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Final Thoughts

{"blocks":[{"key":"225fj","text":"Any chorded instrument comes with its set of challenges. You’ll need to learn about the chords and scales and then implement what you learned to an actual song, which is more complex than it sounds. However, you can start with the basics on your own and then opt for professional help.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5tc6v","text":"These six steps should help put you on the right path!","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}