News and Announcements for

All the news, announcements and posts that's fit to print around here at For the latest on Curt Sheller or Funky Frets checkout their respective sites. There is a lot planned for the end of 2016 and for 2017.

My Personal Teaching Philosophy

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Philosophy , About

  • All levels of student are accepted and welcome.
  • All lesson material for the student is focused on students achieving their goals - not my goals. It's your lesson NOT mine.
  • My goal is NOT to teach you songs but to teach you the principles that are inherent in every song. This will allow you to learn any song and develop your own repertoire and voice.
  • Focused, short and frequent practice is often more effective than long practice sessions. Here is a Checklist of Practice Principles
  • for getting the most out of your practice sessions.
  • It is NOT my function to motivate a student but to help then find their own motivation.
  • Any topic that will help you achieve your goals can be covered in the lessons. Over my 30 years of serious study with Chuck Anderson we covered a lot of music as well as dealing with students, the music business and non-music business.

For the rest of my Personal Teach Philosophy visit the about page.

Nail Tips

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Technique , Nails

With fingerstyle and fingerpicking a big part of playing the ukulele, keeping your right hand fingernails in top shape can be tough at time. Here are a few tips to protect your nails and keep out of trouble.

  • Keep nails short. DO NOT clip you nails on the plucking hand. Clipping sends shockwaves throught the nail weaken them. You can clip you fretting hand all you want.
  • Organize your pockets for potential nail damaging objects suck as keys, coins, etc...
  • Learn to reach and use your left hand more. You're left hand is already pretty developed from playing. Door knobs are what get me the most and wearing bi-focal glasses are what get me the most.
  • Wear gloves.

Basically watch out for potential nail damaging situations in your day-to-day travels.

A great source for a lot of information on nail care is classical guitarists.

Where to Start?

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Members , Lessons , Forever

Just where to start on is a good questions. With so... many lessons, songs, books, resources and related assets, well of 1100 and counting. It can be hard to know "Just Where Do I Start?".

Lessons Series

The Lessons Series section of the site is a great place to start. I've collected related lessons into logical series to guide you through.

eMail Me

If you are a Gold or Forever site member - you can simply email me and I'll point you to what you might be looking for.

Forever Plan Extended Until Fall 2019 - $149

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Members , Forever

As always I'm tweaking the site navigation, look and layout - trying to keep it easy to find what you are looking for. A challenge giving the number of lessons, songs, books and listings the site has. I'm adding new content and features everyday.

I myself am not a big fan of subscriptions beyond the traditional monthly magazine. I do know the need for them to generate a consistent income. I'll use a quote from Walt Disney applied to my site and music. "I don't make music and lessons to make money I make money to make music and lessons.". I would do this even it I didn't make any money - did before. Just trying to cove the hosting, software and time put into it.

Updated Sections

Adding and Updating Glossary Entries

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Glossary

Learning and knowing the terms of music goes a long way in understanding how to apply the principles of music to the ukulele and learning.

Just What is a Strums?

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Rhythm

A strum is:

A Strum is the execution of a specific rhythmic pattern, in tempo, in a particular style.

Strumming requires a specific set of skills. They are: 1) Memorization of chords 2) The ability to switch chords smoothly and 3) The ability to choose and execute a suitable rhythmic strum.

Let's break that statement down from the end of the statement to the front.


Each strum is identified with a term that differentiates it from every other strum. This term is typically called a “feel”. Drummers learn these terms early in their studies so learning this language is not only helpful to learning the strums, it’s also helpful with communications among musicians in general and drummers in particular.

A style's term. such as Rock, Country, Samba, FOlk, Bossa Nova, Double Time, Funk, Reggae, Island, etc. don't tell you much about what is actually needed to execute a specific rhythmic pattern. A style's term or name is an organizational tool for later when recalling the elements of a particular style.

In Tempo

Tempo merely is how fast the discernible pulses are going by. It can directly correlate to the downbeats or be implied.

Rhythmic Pattern

Strumming is inseparably linked to Rhythm.

This starts to get to the heart of what a strum is. It is also often the neglected part of music that is taken for granted. It is something identifiable by non-musicians as something wrong when it is not quite right.

The study of Rhythm is an integral part of really identifying and organizing particular song styles and genres.

One best ways to study rhythm is using Chuck Anderson's Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1. I've had great success using this method with students and myself to identify the rhythmic elements of a style.

Once you have started working on mastering the Rhythmic Syllables from Chuck's Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook you can then begin to work on the execution part.


Strumming can be executed with fingers or with a pick or really any device your like. Regardless of your own style of strumming, it ultimately involves combinations of down strokes and up strokes. In the finger style, down strokes can played with the thumb or the nail side of your fingers. Up strokes can be played with the thumb or fingers. Any technique is usable as long as you can differentiate between down and up strokes.

One strum is different from another based on the stroke direction, the stroke density, the subdivision of the beat and the accent pattern.

The tough part is getting your hands to follow your inner, musical ear an execute the desired rhythmic pattern, in tempo for that particular style. Typically the style will play an important role in determining how it is performed.

A strumming patter is NOT, "down down up up down etc..." and not how to organize a rhythmic pattern. On an instrument like the ukulele where gravity effects strumming and a down strum sounds different then the up strum. The verbal commands "down and up" can be helpful to train the strumming hand to follow and convey the pulse of the style and not go off on their own.

Links, Resources on

The Study of Music Today

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS:

Added a great video from Victor Wooten to the The Study of Music Today page. talks about learning music as we learned language.

This is a the approach that is used with Chuck Anderson's Modular Phonetic Rhythm. This is the system that I use all the time with great success with ALL my students. And, refer back to with my own rhythm studies.

Book Download Sales are Back

Published: May 22, 2019 TAGS: Books , Members

You can now buy my books, again - if you are not Gold site member with FREE download access to ALL my , Curt Sheller books.

Books are prices from $1 to $3 and you can pay what you like from that starting price. Basically pay what you like based on the value you place on the content and the site content.

There are still several books that are FREE.

Site Membership Plans

FREE Bronze Plan - 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 to access associated lessons, books, songs and their related assets.

Premium Gold Plan - The Premium Plan gives you access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Forever Premium Gold Plan - The Forever/Gold Premium Plan gives you access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment due. And from of the que for responding to any questions.

NOTE: Each higher membership level includes ALL the benefits of the lower membership levels.

The Private Lesson Plans include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on on the schedule.

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 bestGlen 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 - 1987 for my first web site
32 years ago. 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!!!

Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often.