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kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 12:53 PM
Hello all - I'm new :) My name is Kelly and I just ordered my very first ukulele! It's a Makala Mahogany Tenor. I bought it from a reputable ukulele seller on eBay - and it's coming restrung with Aquila strings. My question is - what are the some must-have accessories for my ukulele to get me started?

Thank you! :D

cpatch
06-30-2009, 01:21 PM
Welcome to UU Kelly! Congratulations on your new purchase...you'll have a blast. The only thing you really need is a digital tuner, and maybe a case if you're going to be taking it anywhere (or if you need to protect it between practice sessions). If you haven't played before then a chord chart is a must, like one of these:

http://www.ukulele.org/downloads/Ctuning.pdf
http://www.kiwiukulele.co.nz/Kiwi-Ukulele-Chord-Chart.pdf

Finally, you'll find all kinds of songs here with chords and chord diagrams (when you find a song you like make sure you choose Ukulele-C Tuning from the Tuning list on the right):

http://www.chordie.com

russ_buss
06-30-2009, 01:28 PM
congrats on your new uke! i second the digital tuner.

there's also some good info in this thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14288

itsme
06-30-2009, 01:32 PM
Congrats! I just got my first uke yesterday as well (also a mahogany tenor).

My recommendations would be:

- electronic tuner
- extra strings (you never know when you might break one!)
- microfiber polishing cloth (for wiping off fingerprints - noticed the satin finish really shows prints. an old cotton t-shirt works as well)

Optional:

- string winder (nice when you're changing strings)
- crystal nail file (so much gentler on your nails than metal or the disposable ones)

And, of course, if it didn't come with one, a case of some sort. A soft "gig bag" would be fine. :)

kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 02:01 PM
Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and all of the great suggestions! I have already checked out the Kiwi Ukulele Book - Does anyone have this book? Should I buy the book or just get the free chord map? Also, what kind of picks are best? I have a horrible nail biting habit so fingernails might not always be an option...

Ukulele JJ
06-30-2009, 02:23 PM
One of the cool things about the uke is that you don't really need a lot of extra hoo-hah. Very little is "must-have".

Which brings me to...


Also, what kind of picks are best? I have a horrible nail biting habit so fingernails might not always be an option...

My personal favorite picks are simply the tips of my fingers. Fingernails are fine for those who grow them, but the mushy, non-fingernail part works just fine too.

:shaka:

JJ

itsme
06-30-2009, 02:40 PM
Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and all of the great suggestions! I have already checked out the Kiwi Ukulele Book - Does anyone have this book? Should I buy the book or just get the free chord map? Also, what kind of picks are best? I have a horrible nail biting habit so fingernails might not always be an option...
Kelly, what is your musical background? Is this your first instrument? I'm not familiar with that book, although I have to admit I'm brand new to uke myself. ;)

wickedwahine11
06-30-2009, 03:00 PM
Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and all of the great suggestions! I have already checked out the Kiwi Ukulele Book - Does anyone have this book? Should I buy the book or just get the free chord map? Also, what kind of picks are best? I have a horrible nail biting habit so fingernails might not always be an option...

I do have this book. I thought the chord map was the best part of it. Most of the songs were unfamiliar to me, the best one in it was "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."

I don't have it in front of me, I'll have to check it again, but I would say probably not worth the money I paid for it...

kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 03:25 PM
Thanks wicked for the advice! If the chordmap is the best part I'll just download the chordmap and save the money :)

Also - I have taught myself guitar though I admit to being mediocre at best. I know about 5 chords on guitar, can barely fingerpick...but I am pretty familiar with the guitar. I've been playing on and off for 7 years or so.

ukulelebadass
06-30-2009, 03:47 PM
As for picks, wedgies are the best. they come in two thicknesses an three degrees of firmness. I use the thinner ones in both the soft and hard depending on what kind of song or instrument I am playing. Get a bunch because they do wear out pretty quick, and get in the habit of vacuuming the pick dust out of your uke when you re-string.

The Jumpin' Jim's series of books is great. (Jumpin' Jim is the guy who invented the Fleas and Flukes BTW)

KC8AFW
06-30-2009, 04:49 PM
Hi Kelly!

Welcome to our little corner of the interweb. I second everyone's recommendation of a digital tuner...and I just strum with my fingertip (no nails). Before I plop down money on a book...I would recommend you check out our local superstar's lessons. There is some seriously good stuff there that will get you on the fast track. Check out this thread: http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7224

Happy uking.:music:

kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 05:52 PM
Aldrine has been where I've been getting most of my tips thus far! However, I will need a paper copy of a chord map for when I'm not at the computer and I need to know a chord...but if I can just get one for free then I'm all good!

I will also pick up some wedgies as well. I know for guitar picks I really prefer the thin type, but I will get a few of different kinds to feel them out.

Any recommendations for good digital tuners?

KC8AFW
06-30-2009, 06:14 PM
...
Any recommendations for good digital tuners?

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ITEM-KALA-BRAND-KC-02-CLIP-ON-TUNER-Ukulele_W0QQitemZ250452634736QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH _DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a5023ec70&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A30

http://ukeunderground.bigcartel.com/product/et-3000-clip-on-tuner

I have a QwikTune chromatic, and it works just fine (if you are in a quiet room)...I really want to upgrade to a clip on. BTW, my dog barks about 20 cents above C#.

kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 06:25 PM
My dad had a digital tuner for a long time to help me tune the guitar by myself (I always made him tune it), but I remember having the digital tuner and having trouble figuring out how to use/read it ... does it come with instructions? haha

ukulelebadass
06-30-2009, 06:34 PM
I will also pick up some wedgies as well. I know for guitar picks I really prefer the thin type, but I will get a few of different kinds to feel them out.

Any recommendations for good digital tuners?

Guitar picks and ukulele picks are totally different. You can use guitar picks on the uke, but the pick noise is pretty bad, and you'll wear out your strings much faster. Ukulele picks are going to be much thicker than what you're used to, but they very soft and flexible and eliminate pick noise.

Spooner
06-30-2009, 06:36 PM
A rubber chicken. :p

kellysouthpaw
06-30-2009, 07:00 PM
Guitar picks and ukulele picks are totally different. You can use guitar picks on the uke, but the pick noise is pretty bad, and you'll wear out your strings much faster. Ukulele picks are going to be much thicker than what you're used to, but they very soft and flexible and eliminate pick noise.

I don't want to wear out my nice new Aquila strings fast :( Wedgies are ukulele picks, correct?

cpatch
06-30-2009, 07:32 PM
My dad had a digital tuner for a long time to help me tune the guitar by myself (I always made him tune it), but I remember having the digital tuner and having trouble figuring out how to use/read it ... does it come with instructions? haha
They come with instructions but the current ones are pretty self-explanatory.

Also, with respect to picks, I don't know anyone who uses them for the ukulele. Just use your index finger, even with a short nail. As you learn you'll find that the lack of a pick gives you more flexibility.

Quigs
06-30-2009, 08:05 PM
i don't think you need to get a book there are lots of chord charts on the web, check out the top 50 uke sights. Also you can make your own picks out of a margerine tub lid! just the right thickness and saves money! good luck:nana:

ichadwick
07-01-2009, 02:33 AM
Forget the picks for now. Learn to play with your hands. Your fingers are expressive instruments of musical passion and delight. You can try picks later, when you've had some time learning a few songs. Picks are okay, but they can also limit you.

Get a digital tuner and chord book (or at least reprint some of the uke chord charts you can find online).

You may find a strap or uke thong useful, too. Especially if you wander around the house strumming.

And (if you're old enough) get a nice bottle of wine, a comfortable place, and sit down to relax and practice. If you're a bit young for the wine, green tea fits the bill nicely.

sukie
07-01-2009, 02:42 AM
I don't have one myself, but I'm thinking a uke thong is a "must have". I'm working on getting one, Lisa. (hint-hint):D

ukulelebadass
07-01-2009, 03:23 AM
I don't want to wear out my nice new Aquila strings fast :( Wedgies are ukulele picks, correct?

Yeah wedgie's are soft rubber picks designed for ukulele and classical guitar.

I don't know why so many people on this forum regard the use of a pick with such scorn and disdain, but it is ridiculous, and frankly it makes me a bit angry. At some point I had to choose whether I would perfect a playing style that employed a pick or one that did not. Some of the other posters here seem to think that I made the wrong choice. Lots of people use them, thats why they've been manufactured in one form or another for the past hundred or so years.

As for limiting you, I disagree with that as well. It is certainly a different style of play, just like playing a guitar with a pick versus with your hand. There are things you can do with a pick that you can't do without one and vice versa.

The fact is it's a choice, and not a right or wrong one. Do what is right for you.

RevWill
07-01-2009, 04:28 AM
Yeah wedgie's are soft rubber picks designed for ukulele and classical guitar.

I don't know why so many people on this forum regard the use of a pick with such scorn and disdain, but it is ridiculous, and frankly it makes me a bit angry. At some point I had to choose whether I would perfect a playing style that employed a pick or one that did not. Some of the other posters here seem to think that I made the wrong choice. Lots of people use them, thats why they've been manufactured in one form or another for the past hundred or so years.

As for limiting you, I disagree with that as well. It is certainly a different style of play, just like playing a guitar with a pick versus with your hand. There are things you can do with a pick that you can't do without one and vice versa.

The fact is it's a choice, and not a right or wrong one. Do what is right for you.

I also like to use a Wedgie on the bass. It gives me the accuracy of picking with the sound of a finger or thumb.

I'll agree - picks are a personal choice, not a right or wrong one.

And let me throw in a good word for the Kala KC02 tuner. It is remarkably easy to use and very accurate.

kellysouthpaw
07-01-2009, 05:11 PM
Thank you everyone for all the great advice! I'm definitely thinking of the Kala KC02 for a tuner, and I may get a few picks and try picks vs finger and see which works best for me :)

Can anyone recommend a good gig bag?

blackfist
07-01-2009, 06:58 PM
My personal favorite picks are simply the tips of my fingers. Fingernails are fine for those who grow them, but the mushy, non-fingernail part works just fine too.

I bite my nails like a fiend! In fact I have almost no whites on my fingernails most of the time, and I am quite happy playing without a pick. I've never used one on my ukulele. I should try it out sometime just to see how the sound changes. I typically strum with my index finger and let the top of my fingernail strike the strings.

seeso
07-02-2009, 12:17 AM
Can anyone recommend a good gig bag?

I like this one (http://www.ukuleleworld.com/product.php?productid=19425&cat=82&page=1) and this one (http://www.ukuleleworld.com/gig-bag-tenor-steady-tweed-finish-twd-t.html).

ichadwick
07-02-2009, 12:48 AM
I don't know why so many people on this forum regard the use of a pick with such scorn and disdain...
I personally think picks are just fine. I use them only occassionally, although on acoustic guitar I used them 50% of the time and 95% of the time on electric guitar. I have great respect for plectrums (plectra?).

They are tools for a certain style, however, and not all ukulele music is suited to flatpicking. I merely recommended that a newcomer learn to use his/her hands and fingers first before adding a pick, not to disdain picks altogether.

For the short time I had a classical guitar, many years back, I used a pick only about 5-10% of the time. The softness of the nylon strings and the overall ton seemed to lend themselves more to the sounds produced by your natural playing tools - skin and nails. But friends played with picks more frequently. It's a matter of personal taste and style.

Learning to pick and strum without a pick is more challenging, and also offers a wider range of sound and style. I just think it should be mastered first. It also improves your hand's mobility and flexibility.

By all means learn to use a pick, too! Learning its use can only add to your skills. I prefer thin, flexible picks myself, and if there is any disdain it's for those fat felt pads sold as "ukulele picks" in some music stores. They are like SUVs - ungainly, clumsy, inefficient, slow, fat and ugly. I prefer my picks like nimble Smart Cars and sports cars: small, easy to handle, maneuverable and fast.

ichadwick
07-02-2009, 01:00 AM
I don't have one myself, but I'm thinking a uke thong is a "must have".
One caution: unlike a strap a thong won't hold the uke up if you let go with both hands. And it does dampen the topboard somewhat, reducing volume and affecting tone.

I like it when I'm wandering around the house strumming - the thong makes it easier to strum and pick some patterns more freely.

It's a very simple design and any modestly handy person can make one. Purchase a lanyard from any dollar store and replace the metal clip with a shoelace. Get a small piece of somewhat flexible metal - 1.5-2" long. You can find suitable bits in auto supply and hardware stores or you an cut a piece from any metal cookie box or tin can lid. Punch a hole in one end (hammering a nail through it or drilling works - file the rough edges as necessary). Wrap the metal in a bit of cloth (a finger from a thin glove is ideal, but a leg from a piece of doll's clothing should work too). Cut a hole through the cloth at the hole in the metal. Bend the metal in half. Attach to the lanyard with the shoelace. Cut off the excess lace. Voila!

You can also be fancy - sew the end of the sock so the metal doesn't slide through.

seeso
07-02-2009, 01:25 AM
Yeah wedgie's are soft rubber picks designed for ukulele and classical guitar.

I don't know why so many people on this forum regard the use of a pick with such scorn and disdain, but it is ridiculous, and frankly it makes me a bit angry. At some point I had to choose whether I would perfect a playing style that employed a pick or one that did not. Some of the other posters here seem to think that I made the wrong choice. Lots of people use them, thats why they've been manufactured in one form or another for the past hundred or so years.

As for limiting you, I disagree with that as well. It is certainly a different style of play, just like playing a guitar with a pick versus with your hand. There are things you can do with a pick that you can't do without one and vice versa.

The fact is it's a choice, and not a right or wrong one. Do what is right for you.

Well said, my friend.

mrUKETOBER
07-02-2009, 05:04 AM
amen ... ukulele badass... your pretty badass ! lol

kellysouthpaw
07-02-2009, 05:22 AM
Does anyone know of a decent online tuner, since my clip on won't arrive for a week or so and I'm really itching to play :)

Ukulele JJ
07-02-2009, 05:23 AM
your pretty badass

Now here's a case where the correct spelling of "you're" turns out to be pretty important. :biglaugh:

JJ

12imnew
07-02-2009, 05:25 AM
This seems as good a place as any to put this, but if you were to purchase a Uke and attach some strap buttons, would a guitar strap (if it could adjust to be small enough) be perfectly adequate? You wouldn't also have to purchase specifically a Uke strap?

KC8AFW
07-02-2009, 06:25 AM
This seems as good a place as any to put this, but if you were to purchase a Uke and attach some strap buttons, would a guitar strap (if it could adjust to be small enough) be perfectly adequate? You wouldn't also have to purchase specifically a Uke strap?

Yep...or you could get a mandolin strap if the guitar strap is too bulky.

KC8AFW
07-02-2009, 06:26 AM
Does anyone know of a decent online tuner, since my clip on won't arrive for a week or so and I'm really itching to play :)

http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php

ichadwick
07-02-2009, 06:52 AM
Now here's a case where the correct spelling of "you're" turns out to be pretty important. :biglaugh:

JJ
Maybe he meant it in a touchy-feely kind of way. You never know someone's sexual orientation from text alone...

12imnew
07-02-2009, 06:53 AM
Yep...or you could get a mandolin strap if the guitar strap is too bulky.
Thanks. I asked mostly so I can spend as little as possible, but I will bear in mind the mandolin strap. I really wish I didn't have to wait so long before I can actually buy a Uke (a good few months yet!) the enthusiasm of people on this site is really rubbing off on me, even before I've even tried playing, haha.

Lori
07-02-2009, 07:31 AM
Does anyone know of a decent online tuner, since my clip on won't arrive for a week or so and I'm really itching to play :)

For those of you who have a Macintosh computer, Garage Band has a built-in tuner. Create a new Track, choose Real instrument, and use a microphone (either USB or a built in mic like on a laptop or an iMac). Go down to the LED like display, next to the playback controls, and choose the tuning fork from the pull down menu.

–Lori

kellysouthpaw
07-02-2009, 10:41 AM
Lori - thank you! Unfortunately I don't have a mac :( But the one KC provided worked great, thanks KC!

The thing I noticed while tuning, is that my uke seems to be strung with a high g string. It's a tenor uke - so I'd like it to have a low g string. Should I restring all of the strings or just the g string? Is it difficult? I've restrung a guitar but twice in my life and both times were well over 4 years ago. There's a place in town that has baritone uke strings, but not tenor strings - can I use baritone strings on a tenor?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just such a newb to the uke.

cpatch
07-02-2009, 10:58 AM
You never know someone's sexual orientation from text alone...
No, but it IS easy to tell if someone's old or not. In fact, my graydar's pretty good.

seeso
07-02-2009, 11:17 AM
Should I restring all of the strings or just the g string?

You can just restring the g string. No need to restring them all, but it wouldn't hurt either. Just remember to stretch them out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tD2kZO_Tc0) after you put them on, to break them in.


Is it difficult?

Nope. It's much easier (http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/02/18/uke-minutes-5-how-to-re-string-your-ukulele/) than you think.


There's a place in town that has baritone uke strings, but not tenor strings - can I use baritone strings on a tenor?

Sure. You won't hurt anything by using baritone strings. You'll just have more excess string left over.

Alternatively, you can just buy single classical strings. Use a 3rd (G) string for your tenor's C, use a 2nd (B) string for your tenor's E, and use two 1st (E) strings for your tenor's G and A strings.


Sorry for all the questions, I'm just such a newb to the uke.

No problem, we're here to help.

RevWill
07-02-2009, 11:41 AM
AP Tuner (http://www.aptuner.com/cgi-bin/aptuner/apmain.html) is a great shareware chromatic tuner that uses the mic on your computer.

KC8AFW
07-02-2009, 12:30 PM
AP Tuner (http://www.aptuner.com/cgi-bin/aptuner/apmain.html) is a great shareware chromatic tuner that uses the mic on your computer.

That's pretty slick. Thanks, Rev.

itsme
07-02-2009, 01:11 PM
The thing I noticed while tuning, is that my uke seems to be strung with a high g string. It's a tenor uke - so I'd like it to have a low g string.
Kelly, most ukes use what is called reentrant tuning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reentrant_tuning) where the strings are not ordered from low to high. The reentrant tuning is part of what gives the uke its characteristic "uke sound."

You can find tenor sets with either a high or low g. The high g set is often referred to as gCEA, while the low g set is GCEA. If your local store doesn't carry tenors, there are plenty of places online to order them from.


Alternatively, you can just buy single classical strings. Use a 3rd (G) string for your tenor's C, use a 2nd (B) string for your tenor's E, and use two 1st (E) strings for your tenor's G and A strings.
I think she wants to get away from the reentrant tuning. ;)

seeso
07-02-2009, 01:18 PM
I think she wants to get away from the reentrant tuning. ;)

Oh yeah, whoopsy. In that case, you can just use a classical guitar's D string for your uke's low G.