If you have been wanting to learn to play the ukulele, you're in good company.
Ukulele greats like Jake Shimabukuro have inspired all sorts of songsters to get in on the ukulele craze, like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and many others.
You don't hear much about Tiny Tim anymore, who at one time was THE ukulele man of all time. No, these days it's the rockers and shakers bringing the ukulele to the forefront.
The Uke Gains Followers
The Ukulele has been growing in popularity in recent years, with legends like Eddie Vedder embarking on national tours, and releasing an album for everyone to enjoy the music produced by this wonderful little instrument.
It could be argued that deciding to learn to play the ukulele is just a fad due to the vast number of people learning to play this magnificent instrument (including many famous celebrities).
But, once you pick up the uke and feel the elegant little miracle in your hands, you will quickly realize this is not a fad – the uke is here to stay.
The ukulele transforms you. It may not turn an adrenaline freak into a serene yen seeker, but the average person will find the instrument an enjoyable hobby, very relaxing and highly addictive.
The sounds you can produce just make you feel good all over – inside and out. You can go from near metal to gospel. The range and potential is phenomenal.
Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'oles music has been highlighted recently with the magical splendor of the ukulele, showcasing a number of top celebrities strumming sweet melodies with ukuleles in their hands.
Naturally, this has led to an exponential rise in the number of people learning to play the ukulele.
Ukulele Instrumental - Howlin' At The Moon
You Don't Need Lessons
Whether you have just purchased your first ukulele like many Jake Shimabukuro wannabes, or have had the little thing sitting in your closet for a while and are now ready to learn to play the ukulele, there is help on your way to strumming like a pro.
With the right guidance you can save a lot of money by learning to play on your own, without the need for one-on-one lessons.
The biggest downside for a newbie is knowing where to start. You pick up your uke, find a comfy seat and start smiling like a silly little flower child. Then you get hit in the head with reality.
You might start strumming away like many a newbie, but quite quickly you realize you are making a bunch of senseless noise, not anything close to resembling music. This leaves you feeling a little bit stupid and quite a bit down-hearted.
The internet is fabulous, but there is so much information, it becomes like a sea of knowledge. Where do you begin finding a way to learn to play the ukulele? A way that will be effective and not cost you a small fortune?
Finding the right video tutorials is difficult, but once you do, it is the easiest way to learn to play the ukulele.
These videos are great. Make sure you follow lessons in this order to get the most out of the videos and to learn to play the ukulele in the shortest time possible:
Start with the chords – major, minor and 7ths.
Learn how the chord progressions work.
Work on strumming techniques.
Commit to memory the chord scales.
Finally the picking techniques.
Learning the basics of playing (understanding chords, chord progressions and strumming) lays a strong foundation and prepares you for picking (the fun part). That is how the majority of ukulele players learn. And of course, you should practice every day.
The ukulele is actually one of the easiest instruments to learn how to play. Once you have the basics down, give yourself a little time and practice, and you will be playing like a pro in no time.
Of course, the most important part about learning any new skill is to learn the proper technique from the start. Without a solid foundation, even the simplest task seems overwhelming.
The right foundation starts with the right guidance. That means more than just having the best sheet music, you need the best instruction, as well.
These ukulele video lessons guide you through the important steps it takes to be the best ukulele player you can possibly be.
Learn to Play the Ukulele with Software
Starting to learn to play the ukulele with a software training program is very much like having your very own personal teacher, but at a fraction of the cost.
This software, designed by Beatnik, (aka Nick Night - ukulele hedonist, celebrity entertainer and video game creator), has helped thousands of people become fabulous ukulele strummers and pickers.
Nick has actually developed quite the cult following with his ukulele training software.
What makes the software so popular is that it is easy to use and mostly because it actually works. When used in combination with the online videos (mentioned earlier), you get the right start you need to become a confident, advanced ukulele player.
How does the software work?
You download the program, which includes all of the tips and tricks you need to learn the basics. You get visual and audio flashcards that teach you how to recognize chords by sight and sound.
This is a vital step in learning how to read sheet music, which involves more than 168 chords that you will eventually imbed into your memory, much the way you embedded the alphabet into your brain when you first learned how to read.
Once embedded in your brain, the way the chords on the sheet music are strung together make sense, much like reading a page in a book.
Additionally, you will learn the correct way to fine-tune your ukulele – which is also a vital point in producing the beautiful music you dream about.
If you know anyone who plays the axe, you know that tuning is the key to hitting the notes you desire and creating the music you love.
Learning should be fun – no matter at what age you begin. Taking up a musical instrument does not have an age limit.
Forget about not being able to teach an old dog a new trick. You can learn anything you like, at any age. If you don't believe that, do a Google search on Gramma Moses.
If learning is not fun, you may be tempted to give up. Beatnik has developed the program to be so much fun that you won't even realize how much you are learning.
There are interactive quizzes, detailed instructions and all the help you need, in case you run into a stumbling block.
Buying a Ukulele
With many projects your results are only as good as the tools and materials you use. The uke is more forgiving – you have options.
Once you fall in love with the little thing and the variety of music you can play on it, you will probably want more than one. Unless you are like Eddie Vedder, who considers his little uke his best friend in the world.
First of all, buy a ukulele that is quality made. It is not an expensive instrument, so buying the best one you can find should not cost too much.
On the other hand, as the popularity grows, the prices may just go up.
Types of Ukulele
Before you learn to play the ukulele, you need to know which kind to buy. There are four basic types of ukuleles – soprano, concert, tenor and baritone – each differs in sound and size.
The most popular ukulele is the soprano. At about 13 inches long, it is the smallest, and it only has 4 strings that play a, e, c and g notes. Next in size is the concert ukulele. It measures 15 inches and plays the same notes as the soprano.
The tenor uke came on the scene around the 1920s. It also plays the same notes, but measures 17 inches in length. The baritone is the largest at 19 inches. It also differs because it plays e, b, g and d notes and it is tuned from low to high, like a guitar.
Ukuleles also come in a variety of shapes. The "pineapple ukulele" is oval shaped and has its roots in Hawaii. Other ukes are shaped like boat paddles or cigar boxes.
The Tahitian ukulele is very different from the others. It doesn't have a sound box at all, but is made from one solid piece of wood with a hole in the middle. This gives this type a very distinct sound.
There are also some ukes with more than 4 strings, and some with only 3. With such a huge variety of ukuleles, choosing the right one for you can be challenge.
The best way to decide is to look at all of the different choices, weigh the differences and then decide which one is best suited to your tastes.
Whichever type you choose, when you learn to play the ukulele, remember that success begins with knowing the basics and lots of practice.