Getting Started with `Ukulele - Lesson Two

PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2013 • UPDATED: Apr 11, 2019 • LESSON CODE: ULB01-wk-2 • VISITS: 58

ukulele Subjects: beginner

Getting Started with `Ukulele - Lesson Two

For lesson two we'll add and build on the lessons and material from lesson two.

In week two you'll learn the following:

  • Learning the Fingerboard, Key Fret (5)
  • Secondary Chords - Key of C
  • Common Chord Progressions for C Major
  • Two Finger - Two Note Fingering Drills
  • The Quarter Note Strum - Variations
  • Whole Steps and Half Steps Explained
  • The Chromatic Scale

NOTE: Although these lessons are presented as a weekly series you can and should take as long as you like to master each week's lesson as there is a lot of material in each lesson in the series.

The individual lessons in this series are viewable from the Lessons button bar above.

The Fingerboard - Key Fret (5)

The key frets are the three frets that have no sharp or flat notes - only natural notes. Fret (5) is C F A D from strings four to one.

After memorizing the chromatic scale, the seven letters and twelve notes of music we can derive the higher and lower frets from any fret we know.

If you know the open strings, G C E A you get fret (1) for G# C# F A#. Fret (12) is also G C E A this gets you fret (11) Gb B Eb Ab

From this weeks fret (5) C F A D you get fret (6) C# F# A# D# and the fret (4) B E Ab Db.

From three frets you now know over 50% of the fingerboard.

Turns out you only need five frets and you can get the entire fingerboard.

Technique - Two Finger - Two Note Fingering Drills

The Ukulele Gymnastics series contains quite a few lessons for developing your finger strength and independence of the fretting hand. The fretting hand is responsible for playing chords and single notes. The fretting hand and plucking hand are responsible for getting the music out.

Secondary Chords - Key of C

Continuing with the common of key of C major and adding to the primary chords C, F, G and G7 from last week’s lessons. We can add the secondary chords Dm, Em and Am.

Common Progressions - Key of C

With the primary and secondary chords in the key of C.

The Quarter Note Strum - Variations

Learning an instrument is about building on what you already know. This is a perfect principle for building on strumming patterns.

Whole Steps, Half Steps

There is only one scale that contains ALL 12 notes of music in one octave, the Chromatic Scale.


End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

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The Chromatic Scale • Updated: Nov 26, 2018

The only scale in music with ALL twelve notes of one octave. Not much use for improvisation or solos – but a great scale for learning the notes of the fingerboard, figuring out scales, chords and more...

Whole Steps and Half Steps Explained • Updated: Jun 7, 2019

The distance between any two notes can be defined by steps - half steps, whole steps, semi-tones, whole tones. From this series of steps you can get the names of the notes of ANY of the fifteen major scales.

Learning the Fingerboard, C Tuning - Fret (5) • Updated: Feb 17, 2013

There is nothing that returns more value when learning a fretted musical instrument like the ukulele than really, and I mean really knowing the names of the notes of the fingerboard. This is not the same as learning to read music — but simply knowing the name of any note on the fingerboard.

Fret (5) is a Key fret. From the key and secondary key frets, adjacent frets can be memorized relative to that fret.

Learning the Fingerboard, C Tuning - Derived Frets from Key Frets • Updated: Mar 27, 2013

From the Key frets in C tuning you get the next higher frets for FREE.

Secondary Chords - C Major • Updated: Feb 8, 2013

The secondary chords for any major key are the II, III and VI chords of it’s corresponding major scale. For C Major the secondary chords are: Dm, Em and Am

From the primary and secondary chords of a major key countless songs and chords progressions can be played.

Common Chord Progressions for the Key of C Major • Updated: Feb 25, 2013

Sometimes called the “learning key”, the key of C Major is one of the easiest keys to memorize and begin using.

The key signature for C Major and A Minor contain NO sharps or flats.

C major (often just C or key of C) is a musical major scale based on C, with pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Its key signature has no flats or sharps.

Its relative minor is A minor, and its parallel minor is C minor.

Quarter Note Strum - Variations • Updated: Apr 6, 2013

Building on the basic Quarter Note Strum lessons, here are four variations to get you started.

Two Finger-Two Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jan 17, 2020

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. This two finger-two note drill is designed to get your hands in shape. These exercises work no matter what style of ukulele you play or want to play.

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Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - C Tuning
Updated: Apr 19, 2017

A Guide to Ukulele Strums
Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Ukulele- Reading Music Series - Primer
Updated: Jan 3, 2020

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Old MacDonald Had a Farm
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A children's song and nursery rhymem.

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Basic Ukulele Chords Charts
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Not so much a series - but the basic chords ALL ukulele players should know.

Basic Ukulele Chords Charts - As much as I preach the need to not have to rely on chords charts. When you're first learning the ukulele and chords these charts are a real help - just not long a term alternative to actually knowng your chords, where they come from and how to create them when needed.

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

If there's one thing that has the biggest return on your time and investment to learn it's really, really knowing the names of the note of the ukulele fingerboard. This series takes a step-by-step approach to finally learning the fingerboard.

Modular Phonetic Rhythm by Chuck Anderson
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm.

Types of Chords Available on Ukulele
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

The types of chords possible on ukulele include open position chords, movable form chords, 4-part chords, a.k.a. jazz chords and free from chords.

Open Position Chords

These are the basic first chords most players learn. There're the chords in the first one, two, three and fours frets of the ukulele and include at least one open string.

Basic Movable Form Chords

Sometimes called "barre" chords, these chords are the basic open position chords that venture beyond the third fret and do not include open strings.

4-part Contemporary Chords, a.k.a. Jazz Chords

Beyond basic open position chords and basic movable form chords these are the core set of 4-part chords that are used to build ALL your contemporary, more advanced chords. Commonly called "Jazz" chords these are the chords where the knowing how principles of how chords are constructed and your knowledge of the names of the notes of the ukulele fingerboard offer the most benefit to using and expanding your chord vocabulary. From these core chords you can create all those crazy named chords such as: 9#11, 7#5-9, 13b5, 7+9 - and on the fly as needed.

Free Form Chords

Free Form chords are those chords that do not fall into one of the above categories. They typically don't show up in chord dictionaries or software programs. You can create these chords when you know the notes of the ukulele fingerboard, know how chords are constructed and know the names of the notes the chord and the intervals that make up the chord.

Traditional and Contemporary Triads

Somewhere in the mix of the above four chord categories, triads should be explored. Triads are the foundation of most chords. They are amazing versatile chords that can be used harmonically as chords or melodically in solos. The student and the type of music determines

A triad is a three note chord. In traditional chord theory there are four traditional triad chord types: major, minor, diminished and augmented. And four contemporary triad chord types: sus2, sus4, add2 and add9.

Triads can be used harmonically, as chords and melodically, as single notes. Triads are a great way to get started with creating melodic solos and improvising.

In my personal and teaching experience triads are the first real challenging chords after the basic open position chords and movable basic chords. I personally found them even harder that the 4-part "jazz" chords.

Key Signatures - C Major
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

A key signature is a summary of the sharps or flats in a Major or it's relative Natural Minor scale. This series of lessons covers ALL 15 major and relative minor keys with their primary and secondary chords as well as sample common chord progressions.

In musical notation, a key signature is a collection of sharp or flat symbols placed together on the staff. Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of musical notation, although they can appear in other parts of a score, notably after a double barline.

Although a key signature may be written using any combination of sharp and flat symbols, about a dozen diatonic key signatures are by far the most common, and their use is assumed in much of this article. A piece scored using a single diatonic key signature and no accidentals contains notes of at most seven of the twelve pitch classes, which seven being determined by the particular key signature.

The key of C major-A minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

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.

Spend at least one week, if not more on the material presented in each lesson. Each one builds on the previous series of lessons. Take as much time as needed with each task. Skipping or rushing through will only come back to haunt you later down the road. You miss a lot when taking shortcuts or skipping around.

Suggesting and recommending lessons to visitors and players that haven’t had the benefit of a one-on-one personal evaluation with me is a bit of a challenge. Just as any one book does not address anyone player and their needs, a series of lessons has to be somewhat generic and cover a lot of material. Think of each set of lessons as a menu of choices.

They're over 600 currently available lessons online and counting for ukulele that I’ve created over the years. If you don’t see a particular topic or specific task you’re looking for I probably have something here or can create a lesson to address your needs.

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Basic Ukulele Chord Chart
Updated: May 11, 2019

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

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G
Updated: May 11, 2019

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G.


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