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View Full Version : Tips for real beginners from a ukulele rookie



DougNC
09-04-2011, 02:42 PM
I've recently taken up the ukulele after having been into acoustic guitars the past 5-6 years--REALLY into them, as in doing my own setup and maintenance. I thought I'd share a few things I have learned over the years that have proven very handy with my first ukulele purchases.

1. Fresh nylon strings will NOT stay in tune. I've always found it can take a few days or a week or two before they stretch out and settle in. Don't blame the uke too quickly if you have to re-tune often the first few days.

2. When buying your first starter uke, you have every right to inspect it and reject it and ask to see another one--even if you're not spending hundreds of dollars. I got my first soprano uke from Guitar Center this weekend, an inexpensive Lanakai. Even though they were having a Labor Day sale on I rejected two of them before accepting the third. The 1st had way too many rough and shoddy areas, and the 2nd had a 3rd fret wire set way lower than all the rest.

3. Play s-l-o-w at first when learning songs--I mean snail's pace slow. I constantly make this mistake because I'm very impatient with myself. I'd be a whole lot better off playing it slow enough to get through the song in the correct rhythm and without mistakes, even if it doesn't sound very good. I notice a big difference when I take my time and gradually increase my speed over time. My wife and cats appreciate it, too.

4. Most importantly--have fun! That's why I switched from the guitar to ukulele--it's just so much more fun. When I mess up now, I laugh about it instead of criticizing myself. I actually find I make fewer mistakes as a result. Go figure. I finally accept something I heard a few years ago that seemed important enough to remember: Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly---at first.

Hope you all are having as much fun as me!

Doug

PoiDog
09-04-2011, 02:47 PM
4. Most importantly--have fun! That's why I switched from the guitar to ukulele--it's just so much more fun. When I mess up now, I laugh about it instead of criticizing myself. I actually find I make fewer mistakes as a result. Go figure. I finally accept something I heard a few years ago that seemed important enough to remember: Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly---at first.

Hope you all are having as much fun as me!

Doug

And therein lies the aloha of the 'ukulele.

Have fun, indeed.

hibiscus
09-04-2011, 05:05 PM
Thanks, Doug~ some good advice there!

bazmaz
09-04-2011, 09:31 PM
Can't argue with any of that Doug!

isismarina
09-04-2011, 09:45 PM
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly---at first.



Thanks for this great post! This is something I have had to learn. I have always struggled with being a "beginner", but finding something I really want to do makes being a beginner so much more fun and exciting! Every chord, every chord progression, every strum feels like an achievement and it is so fun to practice and see each step forward.

Shastastan
09-06-2011, 02:20 PM
Some good thoughts that we all can benefit from from time to time. THANKS!

FlyedPiper
09-06-2011, 07:42 PM
Good advice!

As a fellow noob I would also add you should buy the best instrument you can afford to play on. If you go with a cheaper uke make sure it's set up before you get it and strung with good strings. Then save up for something better and relegate it to "beater" status.:)

back2bassics
09-07-2011, 08:50 AM
I used to bash on people who just learn to play songs so they can impress other people but I'm finding that getting your basics down (scales, chords, etc) can be pretty tedious without having a real goal and can be anti-fun. That said, learning every song you love to sing along to can be a great motivator to keep you going. All the other stuff helps fill in the gaps. :D