View Full Version : Electric Rock Ukulele

08-13-2014, 02:11 PM
So, I just got a very sweet little Teton electric ukulele in the mail today. I bought it for my daughter, who loves rock and roll. So far, so good, however....

Plugging it into my Fender Mustang, I realized I had no idea how to play rock on the uke. If I were teaching her guitar, I would start her off with some power chords. Maybe bass string riffs. But power chords are very difficult on the uke, especially for a 5 year old. Failing that, I might start her off with an Am pentatonic box... but that is a bit funky on a re-entrant tuning uke.

I was able to jury rig some Santana licks, but his style is so bendy, and it doesn't work that great. You can barely even play the Johnny B Goode type lick on a uke because bending the strings is kind of iffy.

So... does anyone have any experience with rock stuff that actually works on an electric uke? And beyond that, are there any albums out that feature rock uke playing to which one could direct me, so I could get some ideas?


08-13-2014, 02:24 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8Kj_RNKe3g (This is the video that Youtube was invented for!)

I don't have any real help for you, but if these guys can play Motorhead, anything's possible.

Good luck!

08-13-2014, 03:02 PM
Oh wow! I wonder if those guys are available to do weddings?

08-14-2014, 01:32 AM
Just to give you an idea of what's possible. These guys are amazing


08-14-2014, 01:51 AM
Show her this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=058kLacl1YA

08-14-2014, 03:19 AM
Power chords do not have to be difficult on a ukulele. You just play the major chord as per normal and dampen the 3rd. Even shuffles aren't that hard although when I occasionally do shuffles i do them in an unorthodox manner. Rather than stating from the 5th and stretching up I work off the root note and go down. It works a treat for the Cmaj chord and the Gmaj chord.


08-14-2014, 04:04 AM
I play a fair amount of rock songs on the uke, but I usually just stick to the first position major and minor chords for them. If you want to start doing riffs and solos, I'd suggesting going Low-G as that gives you more flexibility.

And when you get round to using distortion, turn the treble down a bit otherwise you'll never get the right crunch.

It all really depends on what you/she wants to play but my suggestion would be to get some chord charts off Ultimate-Guitar and just teach her the chords. I find power chords don't have the same effect on the uke as they do on the guitar anyway.

08-14-2014, 11:03 AM
I have two Tetons I use for travel, a concert and a tenor. I love them. Consider adding a low G. There's a very good Hal Leonard blues book that has a some good material that gives complete boogie progressions in various keys and some riff based progressions plus lots of more sophisticated and also basic blues chord progressions. Good rock foundations.