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Thread: Most Common Newb Mistakes

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Ames, Iowa


    I started just like you did, I bought a ukulele, learned four chords, found hundreds of songs with those four chords, and started playing. I am a singer first, a ukulele player for the accompaniment. I would suppose that if one wants to do something different one's approach would be different. I am nine years into it. You asked about mistakes that we made as a beginner, so I won't give you advise on what you should do. You are getting plenty of good advise already. My biggest mistakes was thinking that it was going to be easy to play the ukulele. It hasn't been. It was easy to learn four chords and play them. Beyond that there has been some struggles. The second was learning things I was never going to use. I've been off in never never land and had to come back. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get out of your box and learn new things, it means that there are some chords that you are never going to see in Rockabilly. If you are going to play Rockabilly there are a lot better uses of your time than learning obscure jazz chords that you will never see anywhere else. Just an example.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Safety Harbor, FL


    Mmmm... tasty jazz chords.

    I think my biggest mistake was not practicing enough. Since COVID hit, I've been trying to pick up the uke at least once every day, even if it's just for 10 minutes. Pick it up and noodle around, or jam on something. It doesn't have to be "serious", but practice helps make what you've already learned seem "easy", which makes it easier to take your skills to the next level. Also keeps your calluses tuned up.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. #23


    I'm beginner level. I can think of two mistakes,

    Mistake 1, start from low build quality Ukulele. It's fine to start with a cheap and low quality Ukulele to see if you can continue learning it, but after you decide you won't give up on it, you'd get a Ukulele with decent quality. Being a beginner, you don't have enough knowledge to know it's because of your skill or because of the low quality Ukulele that you can't play well.

    Mistake 2, be satisfy with "just make sound". Don't stop at "make sound", pursue "make music". For example, when I was at very beginning of learning Ukulele, I think I can play simple piece quite well, and I enjoyed that. But after I recorded what I played and listened it, I found I can only call it "sound", not "music".

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by Crixa View Post
    I fell hard in love with ukes and decided I needed a nice one.
    This was my biggest mistake! I ended up spending quite a bit of time on window shopping and instrument research, and money on buying increasingly more expensive ukuleles. If I could do it again, I'd stick with my decent starter instrument longer than I had (say, half a year at the very least), and would then buy one higher end instrument that I'd stick with for a few years before buying more (or something else). I'd focus much more on learning to become a better player than seeking a better tone in a better instrument.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    San Francsico Bay Area


    As others have said,
    Proper set up so you don’t use vice grips to depress the strings
    Then learn bar chords. I was self taught and slowly learned

    A B7 is A7 moved up the neck
    A D7 is C7 moved up the neck

    It’s not just random finger positions.

    And lastly, have fun.
    Last edited by Another Ukulele; 03-31-2021 at 08:41 PM.

  6. #26


    Don't cheap out on your first instrument : a good friend of mine recently decided she wanted to start playing the uke. My heart skipped a beat when she told me she'd be willing to spend up to 80 Eur. We got her a VERY decent Kala Makala Dolphin. Setup was really good, straight out of the box.

    Don't overthink it . Sorry, but you do not need to learn to read music etc. You need to learn to HAVE FUN. I showed her how to tune it, how to hold it and how to read the chord diagrams. Gave her one of those "ukulele special" magazines from Guitar Player, showed her how to read the rhythms in the pages and told her: "Always smile while you're practicing, cos this is supposed to be FUN. she spent a week learning to switch from C to G to A to D (or Dm) and ia now off on her own,earning 3 different songs with these chords but different strums. My own focus is more on fingerpicking so I have little advice to offer her. When she sends me a recording, I give her feedback and encouragement.

    Don't spend too much time on forums . As a bassist I've made this mistake, and found myself torturing myself by following all sorts of random advice. Until I realized that I really do not WANT to spend time learning latin rhythms or funk slapping etc. I won't need it cos I will never seek out those types of bands. Choose your own path, like my friend is doing.

    Always smile, cos it's supposed to be fun!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2021


    I agree with the smiling. In fact, my husband tells me I always have a smile on my face when I play. I think that's how it should be

    Also agreed on That's been a wealth of knowledge for me as a beginner.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    Best advice I ever got came from singer/songwriter Michael Johnson. He had a few top 40 hits in the late 70's. Bluer Than Blue was his biggest. Michael was a world class finger style/classical guitarist. He simply told me to play as relaxed as possible. The goal is to eliminate as much tension as possible.

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