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ryanshanabarger
08-15-2013, 12:36 PM
Hello all!

I would like to get some input from you guys on how you learned to play the uke. In other words, if you were to make a "learn the ukulele in a year" course, how would you structure it?

Spend weeks memorizing every chord first?
Hand exercises?
Just play by ear until you get it?
Learn 1 song at a time by watching tutorials?

You get the idea. If you have any links to good articles, that would be neat too! There are obviously some ways of learning that are more effective than others - and each person is unique. But Id like to hear some of your thoughts!

Kayak Jim
08-15-2013, 01:15 PM
Uncle Rod's, Ukulele for Dummies, and join a group.

blue_knight_usa
08-15-2013, 01:40 PM
Hi Ryan,

There are so many ways as there are answers. I think learning some basic chords will get you playing songs immediately so you are having fun on day 1. You can learn 4 chords in one day and play tons of songs. YouTube is fantastic and there are so many good players you can watch for "tutorials". I watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube. There is definitely a right hand technique to be learned if you want to get into various strum patterns, finger style, etc. It won't take you weeks to memorize a chord if you just take it one chord at a time. Start with the Major Chords and then learn the minor chords. That alone will get you miles and miles of songs. If you want a good base set which will allow you to play a ton of songs beyond 2-4 chord songs, here is a nice link I think is well done on the essential chords. Not that there are just 11 but you have to start somewhere. http://www.ukuleletricks.com/11-must-know-ukulele-chords-for-beginners/

The other thing is find songs you like so you are going to enjoy playing and even if the chords are not what you know, so what? Just print out those chords and learn them for that one song. It will expand your chord vocabulary. I know you probably want to learn so much so fast (at least I did) but don't get frustrated about it. Just take it slow and ENJOY yourself playing and singing.

There are too many things to list but search on YouTube for "Ukulele Tutorial" and you will get 189,000 hits and there are TONS of excellent videos on songs, techniques. You can also search for Kimo Hussey right hand technique and he has a great video on right hand technique. It all depends what you want do. I have been playing for 4 years (I think) and there is so much I am still learning I will never stop learning and progressing (Hopefully I progress!). I still have a lot of right hand technique I am working on.

You'll definitely be down the path to ukedom if you play daily over the next year. There is a TON of free stuff out there if you Google "Ukulele Chords", "Ukulele Tutorial", "Ukulele Lessons". I learned it all from YouTube and learning chords and then searching for songs I knew and just playing them. Remember any song you see for Guitar will work the same for ukulele because a C is a C is a C no matter what instrument ( you just ignore the chord images on the page for guitar or the tab for the guitar)

It's a lifetime of learning (if you want to keep learning). Get your chords down and simple strum down and your ready to jam with anyone. If there is a uke group near you, it also helps to be with other more experienced players as you always pick up tips and see how people change between certain chords etc. I just scratched the surface, but hopefully this information helps you start digging into the resources out there on YouTube and the Internet. No shortage for sure.

UU+ also has a ton of very cool stuff and video lessons as well.

Good luck and most important is have fun while you learn.



Hello all!

I would like to get some input from you guys on how you learned to play the uke. In other words, if you were to make a "learn the ukulele in a year" course, how would you structure it?

Spend weeks memorizing every chord first?
Hand exercises?
Just play by ear until you get it?
Learn 1 song at a time by watching tutorials?

You get the idea. If you have any links to good articles, that would be neat too! There are obviously some ways of learning that are more effective than others - and each person is unique. But Id like to hear some of your thoughts!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-15-2013, 02:24 PM
Hi Ryanshanabarger, Uncle Rod Higuchi here.

Please check out my new ( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) website for more on
my Ukulele Boot Camp materials.

RE: a yearlong beginner's course, I would focus on the Boot Camp to learn basic
chords grouped in 5 commonly-played keys. I'd go over each Practice sheet about
a week at a time so that everyone becomes familiar with the chords.

I'd also prepare a few songs in each key so that it's not only chord practice. Eventually,
I'd move to the UBC songbook. If the students can play through the songbook comfortably,
they're probably well on their way to 'intermediate' level :)

Lots of practice - learning chords and practicing chord changes - the basics of playing the
ukulele. Then I'd move on to rhythm strumming, basic TAB reading for picking, then more
and more challenging songs.

MY goal would be to prepare the students to 'hold their own' at any song circle they might
attend:)

keep uke'in',

Radio Flyer
08-15-2013, 03:03 PM
hey uncle rod, i just looked at your boot camp. i hadn't looked before since i'm into other sources. i think i'll switch to your site...better than all i've seen so far!!!!!!!!!!!

PhilUSAFRet
08-15-2013, 03:27 PM
Yeah, Uncle Rod's chord exercises great. I still use them with each practice. Also join a group if you can. Playing with others helps. Many new players have trouble playing songs before they master their chords. Try a good mix of chords & scales, playing songs using the chords you've learned, and add some new chords on a regular basis. As has been said.....have to make sure you have fun at the same time. Good luck.

See if your library has Ukulele for Dummies and check it out for overall ukulele knowledge.

JonThysell
08-15-2013, 04:56 PM
I documented my system for determining what to practice here: http://jonthysell.com/2013/07/22/how-i-make-the-most-out-of-my-ukulele-practice-sessions/

I'll be coming up on my 1 year anniversary playing uke in just a couple months.

Appalachian picker
08-15-2013, 05:35 PM
If you do a search on this forum you'll find tons of advice for new players and recommendations on where to start.

I prefer fingerpicking and flatpicking to strumming. I'm learning scales, patterns and techniques with various resources on the net and printed like the Fretboard toolbox - http://www.fretboard-toolbox.com. It's slower, but more satisfying to my ears.

ricdoug
08-15-2013, 06:31 PM
http://ukuleletonya.com/files/beginner_lesson_pkg.pdf

What's your next question, ryanshanabarger ?

Steedy
08-15-2013, 06:40 PM
First uke I bought included a DVD called "Play Ukulele Today". I followed the DVD and learned some chords and simple songs, and then took it from there. If you know only three chords, you can literally play a million songs.

therinkydinktink
08-15-2013, 08:22 PM
I followed a series of 9 lessons on youtube, they were pretty good and were in a similar vein to the Uncle Rod Stuff (which since joining UU I have added to my regime).I am lucky (insane?) enough to be able to practise up to and beyond five hours a day which is certainly helpful as long as it's quality practice.

TheCraftedCow
08-15-2013, 08:49 PM
The very first chord it is suggested to learn is Cmajor. It mentions the suggested finger to use is the ring finger There is a possibility that nothing cripples advancement up the neck more than the habit of playing it with the ring finger rather than the little finger. A bad habit must be unlearned before a new and better habit can be established. So...for new players, why not just learn to do something which will facilitate rather than hinder as the initial habit? How many chord shapes can easily be played WITHOUT using the index finger? F and G7 can.
By not using the index finger except as a barre, C# can be played using the little finger, and it does not require the changing of any fingers from what was first learned. Barre with the index finger and the little finger on the 3rd fret away from it, makes the moveable chord shape consistent with first learned chord and its being fingered with the little finger.

I was talking to a professional guitar player. He though that the downfall of many guitar players is the lack of ability to use the 4th and 5th fingers.

For those who say that it is too hard to change, thank you for supporting what I am saying. If it is learned at first, then the later use of the chord shapes will remain the same, except for the placement on different frets. G7 is also easier to form with the little finger than with the ring finger on the A string.

cdkrugjr
08-16-2013, 01:10 AM
Love Uncle Rod's Boot Camp, and transposed the whole shebang into 13 of the 15 major keys. Sorry C# and Cb... (7 sharps and 7 flats, respectively).

Small suggestion:

Learn a 2-chord song. Johnny Cash has a boatload. That gives you something to play when someone asks, "Hey, you got a Uke .. play us a song."

When you get Real advanced . . . well, some of those rock and country songs use All Three Chords . .
:)

Kayak Jim
08-16-2013, 03:21 AM
I'm learning scales, patterns and techniques with various resources on the net and printed like the Fretboard toolbox - http://www.fretboard-toolbox.com. It's slower, but more satisfying to my ears.

Just checked out the fretboard toolbox. Seems like a great resource, both printed and video, for learning to noodle around. Thanks AP!