First Ukulele Lesson: 10 Great Learning Starting Points!

First Ukulele Lesson


So, you need to learn to play the ukulele? Welcome! The very first ukulele lesson is to have happy individuals around you, cheering you on and helping you out.

The ukulele is a social instrument, a tuning machine that magnetically attracts folks collectively to enjoy themselves.

Be warned: The ukulele spirit is extremely contagious. As quickly as you grasp your first chords, strums, and songs it’s possible you’ll find that you just, too, are moved to share it with a good friend.

What Is Customary Ukulele Tuning?

The open strings on a ukulele are mostly tuned to the notes G, C, E, and A. This is named standard tuning.

To create an extra rounded even sound, some folks favor stringing their ukulele with a low G string over a high G. It’s merely a matter of desire.

Once the ukulele is tuned, you can strum one chord that you know the sound of it or play some tones. There are tips on every ukulele website on how this should be done. Believe us, it’s fun too.

first ukulele lesson and standard tuning

Digital Ukulele Tuning With A Chromatic Tuner

Digital tuners are a quite simple method to tune your ukulele. Some tuners are instrument-specific and will only tune certain notes.

A chromatic tuner could be the best choice, as a result, it’ll detect every single note. When you begin to play a song, you will notice if every string is in tune.

This lets you verify the intonation of your ukulele, in addition, to regulate to non-standard tunings. Making use of a chromatic tuner may be very easy.

Play a string in your ukulele, and the gadget will let you know if it is in tune or not.

Regulate your tuning knobs in accordance with the readings till it is in good tune. NOTE: Set your tuner to 440hz, no flat symbols, if it has these features.

You can watch some video lessons with tips on how to do it right.

Learn How to Play and Hold on the Ukulele

Each hand has a lot of work to do! One is the chording hand, holding down strings, whereas the opposite hand is the strumming or “speaking” hand.

You should pay attention to both hands; the chording hand is important because you hold every string to produce one chord and the other one you use to strum the music.

Most individuals, even some lefties, will strum with their right finger and chord with their left. However, some lefties find expressing rhythm difficult with their non-dominant hand.

If you want you can use another finger that you prefer if it is easier for you. You should aim they sound the same as the “usual finger”.

They’ve two choices: to flip it around, play upside-down-backward, and devise their very own chord shapes, or to restring their instrument.

We prefer to go with changing every string of the instrument because it is way better than playing upside down.

Restringing is easy and might liberate a lefty from debilitating frustration. For our purposes, we refer to the strumming hand as the right one and the chording as the left hand. Anyway if you have other preferences, feel free to do it!

first ukulele lesson

Strumming the Ukulele

Take your right forefinger and brush it throughout the strings. this could already sound fairly good. Actually, you have simply performed your first chord, which is referred to as an ‘A Minor 7th’, so you can really feel fairly happy with yourself already. The first chord is found in many songs and you will use it from time to time.

Maybe this should be one of the first ukulele lessons you take in order to be sure that you are strumming right and not wrong. Stuff like this make the uke music fun! To learn to play the other chords, you will need to do some fret pressing.

To mention; when you press the frets, you are creating a chord – meaning that the fret gives us a note from every string. So, when you strum all four of them, you are creating a chord!

Some ukulele ‘specialists’ get very upset about individuals who play ukuleles with a plectrum. Basically, these are individuals who like to hold their ukuleles on the wall, and never play them too much. The reality is you need to use your fingers or a plectrum to play your uke.

If you wish to use a plectrum, you are best off utilizing a more durable guitar pick, not a floppy plastic one as they’ll sound clacky.

Learning how to play with a plectrum is easier if you have any background, but it is fairly similar to guitar playing, so you should get used to it fairly quickly.

You can use your own nails to do this – form of grow-your-own plectrums. However, it’s best to feel free to make use of it no matter what fits you, nail, flesh, or plastic. Just strive for the chord to sound right when you are playing a song or you perform basic strum.

Thumb Strumming

Place your fingers between the frets, with a delicate arch to every finger, together with your thumb on the back of the neck, opposite your index finger. Make sure that every finger is at the right position and you are pressing the fret where it should be pressed – not overlapping other strings.

The strings are numbered 4-3-2-1 from top to backside. Gently stroke the strings with the pad of your thumb, one after the other.

Wherever you’re comfy strumming is okay, however, the sweet spot is correct within the space where the neck meets the body. When you are playing the song, you will naturally see where you prefer to strum the most.

Sing together with the numbers of the strings (4-3-2-1) and the pitches (G C E A). Now, play them once more while saying the words to the traditional melody related to ukulele tuning, “My Dog Has Fleas!”

way of strumming

Studying Chord Diagrams

In many instances, familiar songs are written in “campfire fashion,” with chord names or diagrams above the lyrics. The chords ought to seem immediately above the syllable where they change.

“Happy Birthday to You” is the epitome of a tune everybody is aware of, and an ideal tune to play together with your first two chords. Happy Birthday is the first ukulele lesson learned and from here you will be able to take on more specific and harder tunes.

Convey your uke to the next party you’re invited to and check it out. You might witness a miracle—everybody singing collectively in the identical key!

The beginning pitch is C. Find your note on the third string and sing the start of the tune to yourself before you begin. The rhythm of this tune is 1–2–3, 1–2–3. Strum that rhythm, holding down a C7 chord and counting to get a feel for it, after which start singing “Happy…” on the third beat.

Whenever you get to “Birth…” swap to F, and so forth. It could be hesitant at first, however, the purpose is to maintain a gentle rhythm while strumming and singing, and altering chords. Play and sing together with this tune.

Practice With A Music

Training is a lot more enjoyable if you end up strumming a tune, so let’s play. F, G7, and C7, in that order, are the chords you want to play and sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” By the point you get to the final bottle you’ll be a professional in your chord adjustments (and maybe tipsy).

One other fun tune to sing and play is a conventional tune from Hawaii with the identical progression, “Popoki Make a Cat,” which comes with an additional bonus: a Hawaiian language lesson! If you don’t yet learn notes, you may study by ear with a video.

happy man with ukulele

Different Practice Workouts


The more you apply, the better you get. Easy as that. So with more practice, you become better, right? Not necessarily. It’s straightforward to set yourself a bold schedule. Just play with the uke whenever you feel a need.

Nonetheless, in the event you can’t realistically meet the objective, it’s not productive. Maybe you simply don’t have the time. Maybe you get fearsomely bored earlier than you’re completed.

That’s okay. But when every single day you’re failing to make it till the timer beeps, you’ll begin to get discouraged.

So as a substitute, we suggest setting yourself a lifelike time objective that you can all the time meet. For example Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 minutes. Or daily for 15 minutes.

Set that objective and keep it up. Put a timer on to your actual time and get to work. You ought to be mindfully targeted in your enjoying objectives (next part). Cease as soon as the timer beeps.

Don’t Watch Your Fingers

Many individuals must stare at their fingers to play nicely. This can be an extreme limitation and must be averted by working towards it without any visible input.

When you’re taking part in a track in a coffee store and somebody drops one thing, your response is to look up to see if there’s a threat.

Is that going to make you cease playing? This might be the first ukulele lesson in order for the reply to be “no.”

One way to practice this is to play your ukulele at nighttime (actually darkish) – it forces you to really feel and listen to the notes and never see them. Another one we’ve heard is to play lying down. This makes it tough to elevate your head and have a look at the notes.

We just want to make it clear that you do not put your ukulele up to see the fingers, but rely only on the practice and learning where are the chords you want to play.

enjoying ukulele

What to Spend Time Working On

Engaged in recent materials is a million times more practical at pushing you to new heights than playing what you already know.

Taking this ukulele lesson is important so here are some points that you need to attend.

Listed below are some examples:

  • Use the next inversion of a chord. C is rarely going to vary as soon as you understand how to play it. Add a brand new form to your repertoire and use that as a substitute.
  • Pick with a distinct finger. Mastering a brand new motor talent is simply going to return by doing it rather a lot. If you recognize the notes with your left hand, make the right hand work tougher.
  • Be taught a brand new track with chords you already know. If you recognize the strumming and chords to “I’m Yours,” discover a new track that uses identical shapes. The brand new timing and progressions will make your work.

The bottom line is rather like a train: “No pain, no gain.” You can’t “practice” laziness and count on big outcomes.

Each second spent with a ukulele in your hand is effective, however devoted effort multiplies your efforts many, many times.


The factors we offered above are a place to begin for each ukulele participant that’s at the beginning levels of studying this instrument. Deal with these steps and practice daily.

Our suggestion is to slowly add an increasing number to your plate to be able to enhance yourself as a brand new ukulele player.

Learning how to play takes time so do not rush it. In no time you will be able to play some songs or create your own music.

Try including harder methods, notes, and chords in your regular basis routine and study their place on the neck.

By taking the first ukulele lesson and studying new chords, you’ll increase your horizon and you’ll have more songs you could play and practice.

However, some of the necessary things when it comes to studying a brand new instrument shouldn’t be to give up. So we believe, ukuleles will drag you hard in the music!

Here is a video with a first ukulele lesson. Start your journey right here!

Charles Steinhoff

Charles Steinhoff

Charles is here and I am guitar and ukulele enthusiast. Been playing these instruments for over 10 years now and I decided to share some of my knowledge and expertise with the world in terms of these stringed instruments and it's accessories.

Strings Kings
Strings Kings