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View Full Version : Got my first ukulele today and I suck.



Cieran
10-13-2011, 09:26 AM
So yeah, I got my first Ukulele about an hour ago and I am not very good, at all. I've never been quick to pick up instruments and I understand it's going to take a while to be okay at playing.

I got a Ashton Uke100 (Yes, a very cheap uke) :-)
I wanted a cheap uke to start with, nothing serious! I plan on buying a much better uke when I get better and what not!

I got some questions!

1. The Strings that came with the uke are very poor and I want to purchase some new ones, but I am worried I'll get the wrong strings and what not! So yeah, could someone tell me some good strings to buy?

2. Is it hard to put strings on a uke?

3. Any tips? Where to start with practicing?

4. Easiest song EVER to play?

and yeah, please tell me anything about ukulele's you think i should know or whatever! I've got a lot to learn.

molokinirum
10-13-2011, 09:59 AM
So yeah, I got my first Ukulele about an hour ago and I am not very good, at all. I've never been quick to pick up instruments and I understand it's going to take a while to be okay at playing.

I got a Ashton Uke100 (Yes, a very cheap uke) :-)
I wanted a cheap uke to start with, nothing serious! I plan on buying a much better uke when I get better and what not!

I got some questions!

1. The Strings that came with the uke are very poor and I want to purchase some new ones, but I am worried I'll get the wrong strings and what not! So yeah, could someone tell me some good strings to buy?

2. Is it hard to put strings on a uke?

3. Any tips? Where to start with practicing?

4. Easiest song EVER to play?

and yeah, please tell me anything about ukulele's you think i should know or whatever! I've got a lot to learn.

Welcome to the UU and congratulations on your new uke!!!!

To your questions:

#1. Change the strings to aquila strings. Aquila strings work very well on the inexpensive ukes. A set of strings is around $6 or so.
#2. Changing strings is not hard at all. There are some videos to be found on you tube. Just change one string at a time and take your time.
#3. Check out Uncle Rod's Boot Camp (http://www.4shared.com/document/KP2gt1kl/2011_revised_Ukulele_Boot_Camp.html)(free download).
#4. Get yourself a clip on tuner. It is a must to keep the uke in tune and when you change strings, the strings take some time to stretch and you will have to keep retuning your uke quite often.
#5. Check out this list of easier songs (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?33947-Master-List-of-C-G-Am-F-songs!). See one you like then search the internet for the chords.
#5. Try to first learn these chords: C, Am, F & G7. These four chords are used in hundreds of songs.

Most important is to have fun!! Take your time playing and start VERY SLOWLY untill you can change chords quickly.

PoiDog
10-13-2011, 10:05 AM
First off, congratulations on getting a uke! You won't be sorry, trust me.

As far as you sucking, well, everyone does when they first pick one up. Everyone. Jake, yeah when he first picked up an instrument he was horrible. Aldrine? First time he held an instrument he probably wasn't totally sure where his fingers went. Everyone sucks when they pick one up for the first time. Everyone.

Wanna know what else? Everyone needs to practice. Everyone.

The good news? Not only do you get better, but it is loads of fun. Even something as supposedly dull as running scales is fun.

As far as strings, changing them isn't hard at all and you probably should do that right away, because quality strings make every uke sound better. Strings to consider are Aquilas, Ko'olaus (Alohi, Gold or Mahana), Worths, Fremonts, Orcas, Martins, D'Addario and so on. Loads out there, and trying them out is loads of fun, too.

As far as where to start, begin at the beginning. Learn how to properly hold your uke, and how to properly strum. Practice strumming patterns, adding complexity as you go. As far as fretting, start by learning where to place your fingers, and how to form the simple chords, like C, A, F, G. Practice the chords, strumming slowly to ensure that all the strings sound clear to confirm you're properly fretting the strings. Then start to slowly change between the chords. It takes time, but you'll see progress sooner than later.

There are a ton of great resources here. Uncle Rod's Boot Camp is a great place to gain info. Uke School (ukeschool.com) is also a great place to get started. Google is also your friend.

And as always, have fun.

philrab66
10-13-2011, 10:07 AM
bought Martin Flourocarbons for mine very pleased with them.
Strings are easy to put on.
Dr Ukes website a good place to start and you tube.
Easy song to play Oh Susanna bt Ukulele Mike on you tube
Plenty to learn on you tube and on this site if you search.
I

I got some questions!

1. The Strings that came with the uke are very poor and I want to purchase some new ones, but I am worried I'll get the wrong strings and what not! So yeah, could someone tell me some good strings to buy?

2. Is it hard to put strings on a uke?

3. Any tips? Where to start with practicing?

4. Easiest song EVER to play?

and yeah, please tell me anything about ukulele's you think i should know or whatever! I've got a lot to learn

dhoenisch
10-13-2011, 10:08 AM
May I also add watching YouTube videos is another great way to kind of learn what others are doing, and even just for some good inspiration.

Dan

GinnyT11
10-13-2011, 10:08 AM
I agree with all the above. I'd add C7 to that list of basic chords. I'm an advanced beginner and sometimes when I'm watching TV I just practice strumming through the chord sequence C, C7, Am, F, G7. Fast strumming, slow strumming, one strum per chord, triple strumming till you can do it any way at all without looking at your chord hand.

When I show people they can play a song with just those chords, we play Camptown Races and You Are My Sunshine.

I don't think any of the hundreds of uke players on this forum played well the first hour they picked up a uke (even the guitar players). It will slow your learning to say you just got a uke and you suck at playing, so play a little every day and find another message to tell yourself, something like "Hey, I'm better at this than I was yesterday."

Cieran
10-13-2011, 10:28 AM
Thank you very much everyone for the tips and answers :-) I shall buy my new strings very soon!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-13-2011, 11:25 AM
play any Major chord and sing "Row, Row, Row your Boat".

You won't have to do any chord changes. Just a Major chord will do.

Other than that, a 2 chord song would be "London Bridge is Falling Down". Start with a Major chord. On the second "falling down" play a 7th chord that is 5 letters up from the name of the Major chord you're starting with: examples below

A - (ABCDE) = E7
C - (CDEFG) = G7
D - (DEFGA) = A7
F - (FGABC) = C7
G - (GABCD) = D7

Continuing with the song, on the 3rd 'falling down' go back to the Major chord.

On the second line of the song begin with the Major chord (you're already there) and at 'my fair' go to the 7th chord, then back to the Major chord on 'lady'.

Clear as mud? Sorry,:(

keep uke'in',

Tootler
10-13-2011, 03:12 PM
I second changing to Aquila strings. Like you I started with a cheapo and it was pretty awful. After much shall I, shan't I? I bought a set of Aquila strings and the difference was amazing. It changed the uke from awful to tolarable. That was the point at which I started to make good progress because I now had an instrument I felt I could do something with. At the same time, I bought a clip on tuner (A Snark SN2 all instrument tuner - an excellent device; highly recommended). It made tuning up much easier but it also highlighted the deficiencies of the instrument. Nevertheless it got me started so I'm not complaining nor do I regret getting a cheap instrument as it meant that if I really didn't get on with ukulele, I hadn't made a huge investment.

As to getting properly started, I found a couple of songs that used C, F, G7 chords and worked on them. Once I was comfortable singing and playing the ukulele with those, I started adding more songs. Learning songs (or tunes) gives you something to aim for while still developing your technical skills.

Good luck and enjoy your ukulele.

23skidoo
10-13-2011, 04:01 PM
Also - check out Aldrine's 'Uke Minutes' video series (http://ukuleleunderground.com/category/ukeminute/). He's got one on changing strings that's great. They're all short - hence the name - and cover pretty much all the basics, if you go back and start at the beginning. The UU guys also produce some fun 'play along' videos of current tunes once you get a few chords under your belt.

+1 on Uncle Rod's Boot Camp - everything a growing uker needs, clearly presented, and incredibly free of charge.....

Cieran
10-16-2011, 05:14 AM
I don't know if I need Tenor, Soprano or Concert strings!! I got a Ashton Uke100, what do you recommend? I am buying Aquila strings for it.

zacht
10-16-2011, 05:18 AM
AFAIK that is a soprano uke, so you should buy soprano strings.

mm stan
10-16-2011, 07:17 AM
Musicteacher 2010 is a very helpful site as well... good luck and happy strummigs.. here is is site..http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicTeacher2010#p/u/129/LYYCChmhEfk
check out all his video's he has tons of it...

3nails4holes
10-16-2011, 07:32 AM
cieran,

http://www.ukeschool.com/

that's all you need to go from "i suck" to "i sound pretty good" in no time. pineapple pete covers basic chords, strums and even has you playing your first song in just a few FREE and easy to follow lessons.

you need to get a decent uke to start with. otherwise it might really not be you that sucks. it might be that you're doing everything right. but your uke sucks and so it sound horrible and you give up. think about it, even if you spend $75-100 on a uke and then hate it (which you won't) you can still sell it for at least 50-75% what you paid for it on craigslist or something.

on to your questions:

1. The Strings that came with the uke are very poor and I want to purchase some new ones, but I am worried I'll get the wrong strings and what not! So yeah, could someone tell me some good strings to buy?

- aquila nylguts are great starter strings. you'll hear lots about d'addarios pro arte or worth clear or whatever. but just get those aquilas, put 'em on, expect them to take about a week or two to adjust and stretch in your home.

2. Is it hard to put strings on a uke?

- nope. ukuleleunderground is full of helpful videos on all things uke. search for how to change strings and you're golden.

3. Any tips? Where to start with practicing?

http://www.ukeschool.com/ <-- seriously. go there.

4. Easiest song EVER to play?

on that site, they teach you your basic "twinkle, twinkle" and "happy b-day." two songs that are seemingly simplistic, but are helpful since you already know how they should sound and thus you can compare that with what you're doing. also, i'm always asked to break out the uke for happy bday at any bday party i attend. very practical song to memorize.


best wishes in your uke journey. welcome to uu!

check out all the uke minutes and uke lessons. they're very helpful. but work on your strumming before you stress out on learning 75 different chords. i once knew a guitar teacher who said that they teach their students what to do with their right hand before they do anything with their left.

that's pretty good advice. 'cause you might get the chords down pat for "come monday" but you'll sound terrible if you can get a decent strumming pattern going on.

:shaka:

kaizersoza
10-16-2011, 07:51 AM
well you've had your uke for 3 days now, have you improved at all?

gtrk
10-16-2011, 03:23 PM
Only thing I'd add is that on cheap ukes (and I've got a few now) the action is usually quite high. If you can read enough and are a bit DIY type you may be able to improve that some yourself. OR take it to a guitar store and see what they would charge to set the uke up right. It is much easier on your fingers, and easier to get the cords right with a uke that is set up right. I abused my fingers for 2 weeks before I got my first uke set up right. It maed a huge difference in both finger comfort and being able to play better. Happy strumming :)

Lalz
10-16-2011, 04:19 PM
Agreeing with everything said above. I'd also recommend finding a ukulele group in your area to play with, and trying to learn how to play by ear.
Jimmy D'Ville has an excellent method of that on his blog and in two really good DVDs: http://playukulelebyear.blogspot.com/
Have fun! :-)