Learning `Ukulele with Curt

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Basic Lessons for Getting Started with Ukulele
Published: 2014-06-23 15:31:24

These are the ukulele lessons that every ukulele player just starting or a bit seasoned should take a look at.

10 Lessons in the “Basic Lessons for Getting Started with Ukulele” Series

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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, 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.

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

Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, Higher, Lower, Top, Bottom!!!

What is up, down, higher, lower, top, bottom, ascending, descending?

Up, down, higher, lower, top, bottom, ascending, descending refers to musical pitch and not to direction as we know it. Up and higher refers to the raising of musical pitch. Down and lower refer to the lowering of musical pitch. Top refers to the upper note of a chord voicing or musical phrase and bottom refers to the lowest note.

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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 common fingering notations I’ve encounter over the course of my studying ukulele and guitar.

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Understanding a `Ukulele Chord Diagram

There're a lot different ways to show chord shapes, diagrams and images on a fretted instrument. This is the basic chord diagram I use in all my lessons and book.

In this lesson the basic chord diagram as used for ukulele is explained.

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Your First `Ukulele Chord

Your first ukulele chord is typically an open position C major chord. It's only one finger and ukulele players love to show new players this, the easiest, usable ukulele chord for new players. Especially someone coming from guitar where an open position C major is three fingers and not that easy as the first chord.

For more information than you'll even need for a C chord visit the lessons for January 1, Chord of the Day - C.

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`Ukulele String Combinations

All possible one, two, three, and four string combinations on ukulele.

Used for single note technique, fingerpicking, harmonic intervals, and chord string families.

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`Ukulele Scale Diagram Explained

The ukulele scale diagram is explained. A chord or scale grid is an alternate, visual why of showing a scale pattern.

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Reading Ukulele TAB - Alternate Notation

TAB or Tablature 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.

With fewer alternate note locations than the guitar, reading music on ukulele is a lot easier than you might believe.

UL17

Standard Music Notation

Rather than do a complete lesson on standard music notation. Why reinvent the wheel. There are a lot of great resources on-line and books in music stores that already exist. Here is my take on several of the offerings.

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The Trouble with TAB

TAB, short for tablature is a form of musical notation using numbers and letters on a staff that that corresponds to the number of strings of fretted string instrument. Theses number tell a player which fret to place their fingers on the fingerboard.

TAB has a history with lute music from centuries ago and has found wide use in the music publishing industry catering to the guitarist who can?t or doesn?t want to learn to read. TAB doesn?t exist in mainstream music, primarily by some music magazines and on the internet.

Learning to read TAB can be accomplished in minutes. Learning to read standard music notation takes a little longer.

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

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