View Full Version : Any tips on songwriting with a ukulele?

11-02-2011, 02:44 PM
I've been trying to write some songs using my ukulele but I can't seem to get a melody or the appropiate rhythm for it. Any help please?

Jake Wildwood
11-02-2011, 02:49 PM
When I'm at a loss for that kind of stuff, I arbitrarily pick a few chords and mix and mash until I like it somewhat, then tweak it from there.

11-02-2011, 03:10 PM
I love to compose on the uke. I find that the best way to write a new song is to learn a couple new chords (unless you know every chord on the uke alreay). Then, as Jake said, mash them together and fool around for a little while. Try using parts from songs you already know and then change the chords a bit.

Good Luck,


11-02-2011, 03:19 PM
Also, there is a song writing section at UU.

Dan Uke
11-02-2011, 05:40 PM
Practice on a guitar first!!! J/K

I think you should learn some theory first. Circle of fifth is very helpful

11-02-2011, 06:16 PM
I'm not much of a composer or music-theory expert.. but I do write a few songs on Ukulele from time to time.

With me, it starts with choosing a chord progression that I like the sound of. The melody sorta appears around it, lol.

11-02-2011, 06:57 PM
For me, at this time, the uke works best for creating a new song. It small enough that I can sit down on the couch, or a chair, and just play with chords and lyrics until they sound right. Most of the time I write lyrics first and the timing of the notes come from that. I end up playing with chords after that to bring it all together. Finally, I fine tune the lyrics, which usually takes more time. Most of the time I am able to finish a song in a week and do some minor tweaks in another week before it is finished for me. I've written some songs using a guitar, but the uke seems less intrusive. I think it's because it is smaller and the chords are often easier to reach on a uke. For me, the only advantage of a guitar (I don't play a piano) is when I need a subtle chord that a ukulele will not voice as well. Most of what I do now with a uke is to write new songs. What works best for me may not work well for you at all. Try as many different ways as you can think of and you hear about until you find the one that feels best for you. Hope this helps!

Brad Bordessa
11-02-2011, 08:35 PM
Songwriting is tricky because there is no right way to go about it. I don't think there are any specific tips for writing music on this instrument or that. Certainly some suit the style you are writing better, but music is music. The notes you write on 'ukulele are the same whether played by an orchestra or with a strat through a fuzzface and a marshall. They're going to sound way different of course, but the song would still be there. Some note combinations are more practical on some instruments than others because of how they are tuned. A song you hear played on piano is probably going to have some weird and uncomfortable spots when adapted for 'ukulele. But finding those little signature things would take a long time to pin down.

That said, songwriting is basically the act of putting aside preconceived notions and allowing the sound of the universe to flow through a pinhole of inspiration into your head. ...And remembering it. The rest is easy - just figure out how to play it on your instrument.

I write it all at once. Lyrics, melody, and chords. I can't move on with only parts of it done. It would probably be easier to start with the melody. But... at the same time, interesting/clever lyrics could make a really boring melody workable.

It's only music now...That's probably not very helpful, but I don't think anybody really can be when it comes to songwriting. No one can tell you how to write the awesome song that's inside your skin. If they did it would be their song.

There is no right way.

11-02-2011, 09:39 PM
I'm by no means an expert on this subject, but as someone else said, I start with the lyrics first, then add chords and then tweak it until it sounds right. Sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes a few days, but I also agree with someone who said that the Ukulele is perfect for this, so portable, so small and great for composing.

Hope that helps!

Joey :music:

11-03-2011, 04:50 AM
I began writing by learning a song (King of the Road) and writing alternate lyrics. Now I usually write the lyrics first and then work on a chord progression and strum pattern. Also, don't worry if you only come up with one verse or a chorus. Write them down or record them, you might want to come back to them later and use them in another song.

As a side note, when I was taking lessons my instructor said that out of his 40+ students, I was the only one working on writing original material. So when you get into writing your own songs, you are definitely in the minority. :)