Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction

The first, suggested lessons that ALL my private students and site members get.

Published: 31 Oct 2013 Updated: 19 Nov 2021Visits: 1127Code: ULB01-wk-i

INSTRUMENTS: Basics Main: Ukulele Others: Ukulele
Subjects: Beginner • Ukulele

Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction


Here are the first suggested lessons that ALL my private students and site members get. This series of lessons lay the foundation and establishes common musical terminology for communication and future lesson material.

The whole goal of this series of lessons under the Getting Started with Ukulele series is to get you playing basic chords in common keys using the common strums.

First Things First – Selecting a `Ukulele

The first thing is to get a ukulele. The ukulele (pronounced yoo-kə-lay-lee, from the Hawaiian: 'ukulele) comes in four common sizes: Soprano ( often called Standard ), Concert, Tenor and Baritone. And, various variations of these with the body of one size of ukulele and the neck, scale length of another size ukulele. i.e., Long-neck Soprano, Super Tenor, etc…

Recommended Lessons, Series & Resources

four ukes

Common `Ukulele Tunings

Any tuning is possible on a `ukulele, as long as the construction supports it and a string is available. There are three common `Ukulele Tunings in use today, C, D and G tuning – with C Tuning (G C E A) the most popular. C Tuning, both Low G and High G are the tuning I use for lessons.

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Tuning Your Ukulele

The best way to turn when you are first starting out is to get an electronic, clip-on tuner. Clip-on tuners are available at all music store.

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What Finger is What?

Just what are the fingers of the plucking and fretting hand called?

There can be a bit of confusion as to what the names and numbers of your fretting hand and the plucking or strumming hand are. Here are some of the fingering notations I've encountered over the course of my studying ukulele and guitar.

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Which Way Is Up? - Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, etc...

What is up, down, higher, lower, top, bottom, ascending, descending on a ukulele? Up, down, higher, lower, top, bottom, ascending, descending should refer to musical pitch and not to direction as we know it.

Recommended Lessons, Series & Resources

The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears

For music and learning an instrument like the ukulele or guitar, it's all about the making the connection between the Mind, Hands, and Ear.

When listening to music, we enjoy it at the tempo the composer or artist intended - in real time. Only the ear is involved in passively listening and enjoying the music. Music is around us every day. It's what draws us to want to learn a musical instrument.

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Efficient Fretting Hand Placement

Efficiency is the Key to Proper Technique and one of the many things that is hard to learn on your own. I have seen with the typical teacher or on-line video presentation that technique is the one common area where you don't get quality instruction or any instruction at all. And technique is one thing that can't be based on "do whats feels natural." An inaccurate statement that I hear all the time. What initially feels good is not what will lead to an efficient easy to maintain technique.

Default Fingering & Thumb Position

The four fingers of your fretting hand can span four frets, one finger per fret - this is the default fingering position. Start by placing your index finger on string four, fret one. Then add finger two to fret two, finger three to fret three and finally finger four to fret four. The thumb should be positioned flat and right behind finger one and two - the position of strength and offering the most support. Only the fingertips and the thumb print touch the instrument. The fourth finger will not be as arched much as the other fingers because of its size and relative reach. Unless there is an overwhelming musical reason for the thumb to get into the action its only role is to support the fingers, supplying opposite and an equal pressing motion as the fingers.

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End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons, Videos, Lesson Series, Songs, Books & Reference Charts, Resources & Assets, Workshops are below.

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction.

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Which Way Is Up? - Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, etc...

Updated: 26 Aug 2022

Just what is "Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, Higher, Lower, Top, Bottom" as related to music?

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Basic Open Position `Ukulele Chord Chart

Updated: 03 May 2024

A core set of basic ukulele chords that ALL Ukulele players should know in the five common keys of C, G, D, A and E. With the possible seventh chords for the same common keys. The chart is organized in common keys and covers basic chords in these keys.

UL450

The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears

Updated: 27 Aug 2022

For music and learning an instrument like the ukulele or guitar, it's all about the making the connection between your Mind, your Hands, and your Ear. When listening to music, we enjoy it at the tempo the composer or artist intended, in real time. Only the ear is involved in listening. This is passive listening and you're simply enjoying the music. This is what we do every day and it's what draws us to want to learn a musical instrument.

UL22

Reading Ukulele TAB - Alternate Notation

Updated: 18 Dec 2023

"TAB" or "Tablature", is an alternate form of musical notation, which tells players where to place their fingers on a particular instrument rather than which pitches to play. TAB is sort of a secret language between guitar players and ukulele players. Although a shortcut to getting started it actually serves to alienate one from the rest of the music world.

UL07

Learning the `Ukulele Fingerboard (Finally!!!)

Updated: 20 Oct 2021

Most players struggle with learning the names of the notes of the ukulele fingerboard. There doesn't seem to a pattern and notes repeat. There is an easy way and "it's easier that you think." Most players know the names of the open strings for their favorite tuning.

UL08

Proper Fretting Hand Placement

Updated: 07 Feb 2020

Efficiency is the key to technique. This lesson shows the proper finger and thumb placement for the fretting hand.

UL101a

Tuning Your Ukulele

Updated: 13 Oct 2023

From tuning by ear to using an electronic tuner. The lesson goes over the various tuning methods for tuning your ukulele. You ALWAYS need to play in tune.

UL101

Common `Ukulele Tunings

Updated: 11 Apr 2012

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the ukulele’s construction supports it and a string is available.

UL27

What Finger is What?

Updated: 22 Nov 2022

Just what are the fingers of the plucking and fretting hand called. There can be a bit of confusion as to what the names and numbers of your fretting hand and the plucking or strumming hand are. Here are some of the common fingering notations I’ve encounter over the course of my studying ukulele and guitar.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction.

Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons

Updated: 01 Jul 2023

The aim of this series of lessons is to provide comprehensive guidance for beginners embarking on their ukulele journey.

Related Books & Charts

Related Books for Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction.

BC1UKE-C

Ukulele Chords - C Tuning

Updated: 12 Feb 2024

This chord book is a great addition to you music book library. Ukulele Chords covers basic open position and basic movable form chords.

A Selection of Books & Reference Charts that are recommended for creating a solid foundation with your chosen instrument and music in general.

Books

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard – C Tuning

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard. Fingering is one of the most universal topics.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition.

Ukulele – Reading Music Series – Primer

Learn to read single note melodies in the first/open position is a lot easier than you might think.

Daily Practice Material for the Contemporary Ukulele

An organized collection of daily practice and reference material for the contemporary ukulele player for developing the vocabulary and knowledge necessary for single note playing.

Checkout the Books for ALL available books.

Reference Charts

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G - G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G – G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Key Signatures — Circle of Fourths and Fifths – ANSI A & A4 sizes

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatures. US Letter 8.5 x 11 sized (ANSI-A) , A4

Checkout the Books for additional Handy, Dandy Reference Charts.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Getting Started with Ukulele - Introduction.

WEB_CONTENT_ONLY

Basic Ukulele Chord Chart

Updated: 11 May 2019

A chart of the most common ukulele chords in the most common keys of C, G, D, A, and E.

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Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G

Updated: 11 May 2019

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G. Shows natural, sharp and flat notes for the ukulele fingerboard. This tuning can be used on a soprano, concert, tenor and baritone ukuleles.

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