The Ukulele also referred to as Uke is an excellent instrument for beginners. It was developed in Hawaii in the 19th century.
Ukulele is a guitar-like instrument that has four strings and can be played in different styles of music.
Teaching yourself to play the Ukulele is easy. Have a strong will to learn, purchase a Ukulele, learn how to hold the instrument, know the basics like strumming and picking notes and terminologies and practice for 30-60 mins daily.
It is easy to learn to play the Ukulele by taking lessons from an experienced instructor who knows how to teach effectively but if you choose to learn how to play the instrument by yourself, there are certain things you should know.
How To Learn The Ukulele
The following steps will guide you in learning to play the Ukulele by yourself.
-> Read Also What Is An Autodidact?
Step One: Get a Ukulele
The first step to learning the Ukulele is to purchase one. There are many kinds of ukuleles, but they all have the same basic design – a small, round body with four strings and a long neck.
The most popular types are soprano and tenor ukulele because they are tuned such that they are easy to play chords on.
If you plan on playing baritone, we recommend getting an instrument with a longer neck (the distance between the frets). This means you get to reach all the notes easily without really straining your fingers.
Different Sizes of Ukuleles
The table below classifies the four types of ukulele based on their sizes, tones, and tunings.
|Soprano Ukulele||Concert Ukulele||Tenor Ukulele||Baritone Ukulele|
|Size||21 inches||23 inches||30 inches||30 inches|
|Tone||Bright and soft||Warm||Resonant and almost bassy||Deep and bassy|
Step Two: Learn to Hold the Ukulele
It is necessary to learn how to hold the Ukulele properly. This will help you keep your fingers in the right place when playing and prevent it from sliding off the fretboard while you play chords or notes.
You can watch some great tutorials online, like how to hold a ukulele that shows you how to hold your Ukulele correctly. Also, you can ask a professional to guide you in learning this step.
Step Three: Get Familiar With the Basics
It is best to start with the basics first: strumming and picking notes on the strings. Videos like the ukulele for an absolute beginner can get you with the basics.
This will give you a solid foundation for learning advanced techniques such as chords and improvisation.
You can also get familiar with the basics by purchasing and reading the following Amazon books and Youtube videos:
- How to play the Ukulele: A complete guide for absolute beginners
- My first Ukulele for kids
- Ukulele primer book for beginners: with online video access
- Easy Ukulele: A complete, quick and easy beginner Ukulele method for kids and adults
- Strumming and fingerpicking warm-ups to do everyday
- How to play Ukulele chords (Soprano, Concert, Tenor)
Step Four: Practice
Once you’ve grasped the basics of the Ukulele, put that knowledge into practice! There are different ways to practice, from learning from a book or online video lesson to playing along with a band while they record their album.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, just pick out some simple chords and play!
Mirroring the tutorial you watch can also be very helpful. Some useful materials to assist you in practicing are:
- First 50 songs you should play on Ukulele
- Kids guide to learning the Ukulele: 24 songs to learn and play
- 21 songs in 6 days: Learn Ukulele the easy way (book and online video)
- ‘You are my sunshine’ Ukulele tutorial
Step Five: Remember to Have Fun!
Learning an instrument can be fun. It’s vital that you relax and enjoy yourself while practicing so that you don’t get frustrated.
It can be helpful to have someone around to keep track of your progress and encourage you as you go.
Tips For Learning The Ukulele Fast
Make good use of the following tips to learn to play the Ukulele.
Tip One: Get Familiar With the Terminologies
The first thing you need to do is learn the terminologies. Since the Ukulele is a stringed instrument, you need to know about its anatomy.
Tutorial videos like Ukulele anatomy body parts and names or books like the different parts of the Ukulele: anatomy and structure will get you familiar with the terminologies.
Tip Two: Record Yourself Playing
Once you have a good grasp on the fundamentals, you can start recording yourself playing the instrument.
Listening to the recording after can help you to identify your strengths and also areas that need to be worked on.
You can also play your recorded document to a professional who can guide you to focus on certain important areas.
Tip Three: Use a Metronome to Play in Time
A metronome will help you monitor your rhythm and pacing. It also helps you learn how to play in time with the song.
Tip Four: Hum Song Lyrics While Playing Slowly
This is another excellent way to practice playing slow melodies and songs. You can listen to the song, hum along, and try to play along slowly, or just sing along with the lyrics as you play slowly.
-> Learn more about the 7 best websites for self-learning
Things To Keep In Mind While Learning The Ukulele On Your Own
1. Tune Your Ukulele Properly
Tuning your Ukulele properly is important because it will help you to start practicing it immediately after buying it.
To tune your Ukulele, you need to ensure that the strings are properly stretched out and that they are not too tight or loose.
You should also check if there are dead spots on them by striking some notes and then playing them again once they have settled down completely.
If there are any such spots, these will have to be fixed before you can use them again to practice.
There are many videos on YouTube that will show you how to do this. For instance:
2. Maintain the Correct Posture
Ensure your back is straight, and your shoulders are relaxed. Keep your elbows close to your body and your fingers on the fretboard as you play.
This will help you achieve accuracy when playing notes. You can watch this helpful video to guide your position and posture.
3. Practice Your Hold
You will find that the Ukulele is different from other guitars in that it has a very small fingerboard and a very small neck. Getting the feel of your Ukulele before you start playing is essential.
Ensure you have a good grip on the instrument and that it doesn’t slip out of your hand while you play.
These YouTube videos will be useful for your practice:
-> Learn More about Self-Learning vs. Classroom Learning: Which Is Better?
Q: How long does it take to teach yourself Ukulele?
If you’re a beginner, it will take about 3 months to learn all the basics and become comfortable playing the Ukulele.
You need to understand chord progressions, scales, and finger position on the fretboard. If you’re an intermediate player who’s already familiar with the guitar or other string instruments, it should take you even less time.
Q: Is the Ukulele more difficult to learn than the guitar?
Compared to the guitar and other stringed instruments like the Mandolin, the Ukulele is easier to master.
Its light nylon strings are kinder to the fingers than guitars and they don’t cause finger pain. The smaller size also lessens tension on your wrist so you can reach the strings without straining.
Learning to play the Ukulele is a great experience and can be rewarding. Also, it is not difficult to learn if you approach it properly and work at it steadily.
It is necessary to note that determination and patience will be very useful in your learning process.