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jrockz
11-26-2011, 06:54 PM
Hello everyone,

I am new to this community and it seems like a great community.

I've been watching a lot of ukulele songs and people playing it and I feel in love with the instrument.
It is affordable and it looks easy to learn.

I did a lot of research I just purchased my first ukulele as a beginner
(Lenikai LU-21T Tenor).

I am completely new to music and I don't have any musical
background. I read about scales, charts and stuff but I am so
confused when people try to teach them.

So my question is, what or how should I start to learn the Uke? I know I can just youtube a video and learn memorize an easy song.
But I want to be able to learn how to read cords so I can learn by
reading instead of by watching.

It would be awesome if someone can tell me what to do to start off
and learn.

Thank you all in advance for the help.

Trinimon
11-26-2011, 07:05 PM
Welcome to the UU and a whole new world of music. :)

Download a copy of Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp here: http://www.4shared.com/document/KP2gt1kl/2011_revised_Ukulele_Boot_Camp.html

It's some exercises that will get you familiar with chords. There are some very good training videos in the UU+ or even the training videos from the link of UU's main page.

Some strumming info from Uncle Rod Higuchi can be had here: http://www.4shared.com/audio/QkFvKmOc/Strum_a_Ukulele.html

jrockz
11-26-2011, 07:23 PM
Thank you very much for the information.
I knew this was going to be a great place to be a part of!

When I said I didn't have any history of music I sort of lied. I cousin plays the guitar and 10 years ago I learned a song from Greenday (Time of your life/Good Riddance). I am pretty sure I played it wrong but it does sound a bit like it. HOWEVER, that was 10 years ago. I learned all of that by memory since it was a few cords over and over.
I know the basic strumming pattern down down up up down up down down...etc. But I was never able to sing and play at the same time lol.
Apart from that, I don't know how to read or anything so I hope this will help!

Thanks again.

rook
11-26-2011, 08:14 PM
++ on the Lanakai

Trinimon
11-26-2011, 08:19 PM
When I said I didn't have any history of music I sort of lied. I cousin plays the guitar and 10 years ago I learned a song from Greenday (Time of your life/Good Riddance). I am pretty sure I played it wrong but it does sound a bit like it. HOWEVER, that was 10 years ago. I learned all of that by memory since it was a few cords over and over.
I know the basic strumming pattern down down up up down up down down...etc. But I was never able to sing and play at the same time lol.
Apart from that, I don't know how to read or anything so I hope this will help!
Thanks again.

Well then, the uke should feel right as rain (or easier?) since you have some guitar experience. Yeah, I couldn't sing and strum at the same time without going out of tune or forgetting the strumming pattern for at least the first 3mts! Sort of like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Finally I can sing (or croak if you like) and strum at the same time without having to concentrate much on fretting and strumming pattern. Now my next major hurdle is getting clear barre chords. Practice, practice and practice... ARGH! :p

PhilUSAFRet
11-27-2011, 02:28 AM
Ditto on Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp. Combine this with Ukulele for Dummies and you should be good to go for quite a while. By the time you need another book, you'll know what it is and why you need it.

Ukulele JJ
11-27-2011, 05:04 AM
So my question is, what or how should I start to learn the Uke?

Everyone learns differently, so there's no one single best way. As they say in the running world, it's an "experiment of one". But here's how I'd do it:

1.) Pick a song you want to learn. Preferably an easy one with just a few basic chords.

2.) Find the "letter names" of the chords to that song. The name of a chord is universal--it doesn't matter whether you're on guitar or ukulele or piano or whatever. So you can find chords to song all over the place. Officially published sheet music, out there on the internet, right here on UU, from your guitar-playing friends, etc. It doesn't have to be a special "ukulele version".

3.) Get a chart of ukulele chords. You can google "ukulele chord chart" for this. Here's one example (http://www.ukalady.com/Images/UkeChart.pdf).

4.) The diagram on the chord chart is showing you where to put your fingers on your uke. It doesn't matter which finger you put on which string, athough you'll find certain fingers work better than others and your fingers will "naturally" fall a certain way most of the time.

5.) Look up the letter name in the song with the chord in the chord chart. Play that using whatever strum you like (down-up-down-up is fine).

6.) Repeat for each chord. Have fun!

7.) Pick more songs and play those. Post here on UU when you have questions.


If you do this, you will learn chords simply by playing songs that have those chords in them. There's nothing wrong with the "boot camp" approach, and you might find that works better for you. Or do a combination of both methods.


JJ

jrockz
11-27-2011, 06:44 AM
Awesome responses, I will definitely try all theose methods to see which
is the best way for me.

Tor
11-27-2011, 07:06 AM
Try this for some easy but useful strumming techniques. This guy "Ukulele Mike" has tons of lessons, very many of them are good for beginners.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_dIPS9R8kU

joep
11-27-2011, 07:15 AM
I agree with all that's been said, but if you haven't heard the song before, I don't think you can learn it by just chord charts. That being said, by the time you get through with Uncle Rod's and Ukulele Mike you'll already know a ton of songs. Oh yeah, welcome to UU. You've definitely come to the right place.

australe
11-27-2011, 10:19 AM
Welcome! I just bought my first uke a few days ago... a Lanikai LU-22 CMF... I've been having so much fun with it! I wish you the best of luck!

Just FYI...
Did you know that Lanikai is currently offering two free sets of Aquila strings to new purchases at authorized retailers if they were bought between Oct (I forget the exact date) and Dec 31st? They didn't even require money for shipping. You can find the voucher on their website. Just something to consider :) Free stuff rocks!

jrockz
11-27-2011, 11:21 AM
Welcome! I just bought my first uke a few days ago... a Lanikai LU-22 CMF... I've been having so much fun with it! I wish you the best of luck!

Just FYI...
Did you know that Lanikai is currently offering two free sets of Aquila strings to new purchases at authorized retailers if they were bought between Oct (I forget the exact date) and Dec 31st? They didn't even require money for shipping. You can find the voucher on their website. Just something to consider :) Free stuff rocks!

Haha! That's awesome, thats for the heads up! I can use some free strings!

Can you provide me with that website link for the voucher? I couldn't find it on the website.

Thanks!

Doghouse_Riley
11-27-2011, 01:55 PM
My 2. Find a teacher and take some lessons. As a beginner it's best to have someone that knows what they're doing show you the basics so you avoid developing bad habits. Our try something like meetup.com to see if there are any uke groups in your area you can go and get some pointers from.

jrockz
11-27-2011, 02:29 PM
Trying to hit some notes today but its kinda hard.
Maybe its something I am not used to. For example trying to play F#, it requires a ton of pressure on the string to be able to play it.

vanflynn
11-27-2011, 02:56 PM
I'd stick with the key of C. Learn C, F, Am, G and G7 and you have a third of all songs licked already! The rest will come later. Find a song you like in that key and jam away. Later ease into theory. Just keep having fun

Ukulele JJ
11-27-2011, 05:14 PM
Yeah, if the song is asking you to play an F# at this point... pick another song. :-)

JJ

Nickie
11-27-2011, 06:07 PM
Hello and welcome to UU and the wonderful world of ukulele playing. I've been at this for almost a year now, and while I still consider myself a beginner, I've learned a lot here, and watching Ukulele Mike, reading from Uncle Rod's writings, and watching Aldrine. I love music but do not have a musical background, can't read it yet.
It was many moons before I tried to sing and play at the same time. I learned to make chord progressions before I ever thought about singing along. Then, one day, I decided to try a song I really like, an easy one, and it sorta worked. Now I am trying Christmas songs.
There is no feeling quite like making your own music. I don't own a TV, and my house is a mess, but I'm happy being a ukeist.
Good luck!

sugengshi
11-27-2011, 07:43 PM
Ditto on Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp. Combine this with Ukulele for Dummies and you should be good to go for quite a while. By the time you need another book, you'll know what it is and why you need it.

I would add the UU Plus videos. :D

australe
11-28-2011, 02:02 AM
Heres the link for the free Aquila strings..

http://lanikaiukes.com/laniblog/2011/10/lanikai-now-has-aquila-strings/

jrockz
11-28-2011, 01:01 PM
Thanks for the link.
Does anyone know the type of string that comes with the Lanikai? Its wwhite and feels like plastic.

Also i have a small problem with my tuner. For example i tune the G string then tune the rest. When i test out the G again the tuner says its a bit off again so i readjust.
Is this normal?

vanflynn
11-28-2011, 06:43 PM
I'm pretty sure they come with the same Aquila nyguts that post19's offer gives you.

As far as you G not staying in tune, it may be to the initial stretching all strings go through. If it hasn't settled down in a week you might need to tighten the screw on the tuner a wee bit.

Tor
11-28-2011, 10:47 PM
Thanks for the link.
Does anyone know the type of string that comes with the Lanikai? Its wwhite and feels like plastic.

Also i have a small problem with my tuner. For example i tune the G string then tune the rest. When i test out the G again the tuner says its a bit off again so i readjust.
Is this normal?
In addition to what's been said already about strings settling in, you may also see that effect you describe if the ukulele is tuned low before you start tuning. So, first you tune the G string, then you tune the other strings - by tightening them, and what happens is that the neck and the rest of the instrument gives a little, so that now the G string is a bit flat (low tuned) until you adjust it again. But this should only be an issue with the initial tuning. If the G string (or any other) still goes out of tune then it's just the initial "new strings" syndrome and it'll fix it self within a week.

I also have that LU-21T Tenor by the way, and unless you got it set up (adjusted) by the dealer it's unlikely that it's particularly well intonated.. the nut slits aren't optimal out of the factory and at least my LU-21T needed some careful work with a nut file. The symptoms are that even if all the strings are tuned (open) so that the tuner is happy, if I press, say, the second bar on the G string it'll be sharp (too high) compared to the A string. It's even worse for the thicker strings.

-Tor

jrockz
11-29-2011, 06:13 PM
As a beginner, have anyone had trouble playing F? When I play it my middle finger usually touches the C string while pressing the G string and my pointer finger always touches the A string while pressing on E. I really have to position it very well to avoid them and press hard at the same time. Its very uncomfortable making an F.

Tor
11-29-2011, 11:56 PM
Two things come to mind:
1) As the fingertips gets harder with use they don't "flatten" as much, and won't as easily touch the nearby strings. At least that happened when I started on guitar, ukulele strings are not as hard so I don't know if the same effect happens to the same degree - my fingertips are already hardened.
2) You are also probably pressing down too hard. Try reducing the pressure. If you can't get the tone to sound out then try moving the fingertip a bit so that it's not so close to a fret. Easy pressure should be enough to create a clean tone. If this is still difficult to achieve for first-bar or second-bar chords then maybe the nut is too high and may need a setup - you'll also notice intonation problems if this is the case.

Of course it may also be that you have very big fingers.. but then you would probably have mentioned that already. Anyway, if that's the case then there are some ukuleles out there with extra-wide fingerboards, e.g. the Oscar Schmidt OU6W

-Tor

Tor
11-30-2011, 11:45 PM
@jrockz:

I grabbed my ukulele and I've changed my mind as to what might be the problem with fingers touching adjacent strings..

What I now suspect is that you are holding your left hand incorrectly. You are probably touching the neck with the big fat muscle of your left thumb, i.e. resting the neck basically in the hand itself. This will make it impossible to put down the fingers vertically to the fretboard, and when fretting the G string you'll easily touch the A string.

The wrist should be straight. Try to either rest the uke neck only between your thumb and your first finger (not in the palm of your hand), or with the thumb behind the neck. Then your fingers can come straight down on the strings and there should be lots of room to avoid touching the nearby string.

Search for 'ukulele left hand position' on youtube and you'll find several videos which show how to hold your left hand and wrist etc. For example this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAbXwwDweAo (except that in this particular video the player is left-handed and plays a ukulele the other way around!)

-Tor

jrockz
12-07-2011, 04:11 PM
Thanks for the info.

Now I have a new problem with my uke.
It seems like it has been buzzing more than usual. I've had it for 2 weeks and it only started recently.

Hope4U
12-19-2011, 06:35 PM
Hal Leonard and Alfred Publishing have Uke instruction books. It will teach you to read music, if you want. Uke for Dummies looks good too. As a guitar player, I think some basic theory is important. It's what allows me to go from guitar to uke and not struggle with notes or chords, even though the chords shapes are different.