View Full Version : Which should I focus on first

09-14-2011, 07:20 PM
I have picked up the ukulele again after a 30 year layover. Back in the day, I got into some bad habits since there was no internet then, and very few books to teach, and I was playing by ear. But now I am back and want to learn right- so here are my questions (and if I don't think of something- please let me know all of the alternatives).

1.Since I am starting at the beginning, slowly, is it better to learn the chords and progressions first and then introduce strumming rhythms, or do both at the same time and not move on till I got everything right?

2. Or is it better to go all out in a beginner book and try to get through all and each day, make it cleaner than the last?

3. Doesn't it matter as long as I play?

Ken Middleton
09-14-2011, 08:24 PM
I would say that you should not concentrate too much on complicated rhythms at first. Concentrate on getting your timing right and playing fluently. Make sure as you learn that you are fretting the chords and notes accurately. it is always better to get things right than to play them fast or be too complicated but get them wrong.

Playing regularly is important.

09-14-2011, 08:27 PM
I'm with Ken. Keep it steady and slow. Simple tunes, basic up down rhythms, and concentrate first on learning a good bunch of chords, how to play them cleanly and how to move between them at will.

Many beginners make mistake of choosing a first tune with 15 chords and a 100mph rhythm, then wonder why progress is slow.

As for how much to practice, that's different for everyone, but this link may help


09-14-2011, 08:30 PM
Hey my wife's family is from Sewell!

Ken has a good point. Start simply and get what you are working on right and build from there. Focus on melody first and work your chords in after that. Ken has some terrific finger style arrangements to work on, btw. And he's generous enough to offer quite a few for free. They are challenging, but worthwhile if you put the time in.

09-15-2011, 03:47 AM
If it hasn't already been mentioned Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp is a great place to start.

09-15-2011, 04:41 AM
If it hasn't already been mentioned Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp is a great place to start.

Big ROGER! to the Ukulele Boot Camp.....has helped many of us. Go through all the free stuff online, including Uncle Rod's Stuff before you start spending too much on books. Exception may be "Ukulele for Dummies." Also, lots of great tutorials here and on youtube re: proper strumming techniques, fingering, etc. etc. I just turned 70, got my first uke when I was 10, and I just got serious about 8 or 10 months ago, so I know what you are going through. :)

09-15-2011, 05:56 AM
I would say just start by learning songs you know that sound simple. Then you can start learning songs with more chords and a little more complex strum patterns. That's how I did it and I eventually played weeps by Jake Shimabukuro within 3 months.