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 lessons series is to get you playing basic chords in common keys using the common strums. Related side lesson material will be suggested and recommended.
First Things First - Selecting a `Ukulele
The first thing is to get a ukulele. The ukulele (pronounced yoo-kə-lay-lee, from Hawaiian: 'ukulele) comes in four common sizes: Soprano ( sometimes called Standard ), Concert, Tenor and Baritone.
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 'ukulele tunings in use today, C, D and G tuning - with C tuning the most popular. C tuning - both low G and high G is the tuning I use for lessons.
Tuning Your Ukulele
The best way to turn when you are first starting out is to get an electronic, clip-on tuner. These are available at all music store.
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.
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.
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.
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 Finger 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 equally pressing motion as the fingers.
End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!
Basic Open Position `Ukulele Chord Chart • Updated: Nov 29, 2019
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.
The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears • Updated: Jan 22, 2020
For music and learning an instrument like the ukulele or guitar, it's all about the making the connection between the Mind, the Hands and the 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 everyday and it's what draws us to want to learn a musical instrument.
Reading Ukulele TAB - Alternate Notation • Updated: Feb 12, 2020
"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.
Learning the `Ukulele Fingerboard (Finally!!!) • Updated: Jan 12, 2019
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.
What Finger is What? • Updated: Mar 22, 2012
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.
Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons Updated: Jan 1, 2003
This series of lessons is intended to take a beginning ukulele player, just Getting Started through the basics. Your goal, as well as mine, is to help you create a solid foundation for future learning and development with this fun, cool instrument - the ukulele. This series of lessons are also a great refresher for all players who've been playing for awhile or are in a position to offer assistance or advice to fellow players.
Site Access Plans for LearningUkulele.com
Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.
If your anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overload with everything on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once and your done.
The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee that is more material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That along is more than the cost of this plan.
Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt
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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee
Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys
Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg
I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland
Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!
Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II. 34 years ago. Man, does time fly.
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LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!
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