Learn Ukulele: Chords for ukulele beginners

You just got your first ukulele (if you haven’t, then check here: ukulele for beginners). Now you want to learn some basic chords to get you playing. Here is a great video that shows you basic ukulele chords.

Once you have mastered these chords you will be able to play most modern songs. You will be surprised at how many songs use the same popular chords.

Here are some other popular posts:

Makala MK-S: Great Ukulele For Beginners

This Christmas I purchased three ukuleles. One for myself, one for my wife, and one for my brother. We are all beginner ukulele players, but I wanted to get something decent for everyone. I purchased a Hamano Concert in solid mohagony, an Ohana Willowood, and a Makala MK-S.  All three of them are great, but the one I am the most impressed with is the Makala MK-S.

It sounds basically as good as the other two (which are much more expensive), but at a fraction of the price. In one of the previous posts I did about the best Ukulele under $60 the Makala Dolphin and MK-S were the two top ukuleles. After playing on it for a while, it really is easy to see why.

It is well made, inexpensive, and sounds great. I got it from MusicGuyMic (he unfortunately no longer sells lower end ukuleles) in Hawaii and it came with a full setup and Aquila strings. I think part of what makes it sound so good are the strings.

So if you are looking for a good ukulele for beginners and don’t want to spend a lot of money. This is a great choice.

 

The Best Ukulele For Beginners under $60

One of the most common questions for people who want to learn the ukulele is “what is the best ukulele for beginners to buy?” The difficulty in this question is that everyone has their own opinion, so you need to ask a lot of people. I did just that.

I went to one of the largest ukulele forums and created a post asking for peoples opinion on what was the best ukulele in different price ranges. I then put the answers into a list and created a poll.

The final poll included:

  • Kala KS-15
  • Lanikai LU-21
  • Makala Dolphin
  • Makala MK-S
All of these ukuleles are under $60 with the Kala KS-15 and Lanikai LU-21 being the most expensive, and the Makala Dolphin and MK-S being the cheapest.
Before telling you which ukulele won the poll, with a mighty 45% of the votes, I want to discuss what seemed to be the biggest factor in choosing the best ukulele for beginners.
Cost-performance. Many people claimed that it sounded just as good, or better than the others, but is also the lowest costing of the group. As far as value goes, it was just hard to beat. Durability, looks, and quality also came up, but the deciding factor really seemed to be the sound you could get for your money.
So as you’ve probably figured out by now, the winner was the Makala Dolphin. It had 45% of the votes and there were really no complaints about it.
The rank for the best ukulele for beginners under $60 was as follows:
  1. The Makala Dolphin- 45.45% of the votes. Noted for it’s exceptional value, bright colors, and durability.
  2. The Makala MK-S- 27.27% of the votes. Noted for it’s great sound, and preferred over the Dolphin by those who wanted a wood grain ukulele.
  3. The Lanikai LU-21- 14.55% of the votes. A good ukulele, but at this price range, most people felt the Dolphin was a better deal.
  4. The Kala KS-15- 12.73% of the votes. Slightly higher grade ukulele than the Makala, but fell into the same boat as the Lanikai.
You can purchase the Makala Dolphin here: Makala Dolphin
I will also have a new article coming up for the best ukulele for beginners under $100.
Stay tuned

Best Ukulele For Beginners Under $70

The ukulele is cool again. Maybe it’s because of Kate Micucci on scrubs singing “Screw You“, Garfunkel and Oates, or maybe it’s the economy (ukuleles can offer a lot of fun for the money a little money and are much easier to take a ). Whatever the reason, the the number of people of want to learn the ukulele have increased. With the holiday season here, there will be a lot of people looking to buy an ukulele for beginners. Most new ukulele players are looking to get their first ukulele for as cheap as possible. However, choosing the best ukulele for beginners can be difficult. This article will discuss three of the most popular ukuleles for under $60.

The cheapest of these ukuleles is about $35 and that’s really about as low as you want to go. Cheap ukuleles are really toys and not instruments. If you buy something much cheaper it won’t sound good and that can be very discouraging.

All of the below ukuleles are highly recommended in the ukulele community for the their respective prices. They won’t sound as good as a $300 ukulele, but will be good enough to get you started and if you upgrade later you can keep these as backups to take to the beach.

The Makala Dolphin

The Makala Dolphin is about as cheap as you can go for a decent ukulele. It comes in several colors, is extremely hardy, and still makes a good sound. Not something that is easy to do. This ukulele is especially good for children.

 

The Kala KA-S

The Kala KA-S is a Mohagony laminate ukulele that is known for having a great sound compared to it’s relatively low price. It isn’t quite as cheap as the Dolphin, but it is also a bit nicer.

 

The Lanikai LU-21

Very comparable to the Kala, this ukulele is also a great choice for the money. The two are priced about the same and even look very similar. The choice between the two comes down to personal preference. I have heard great things about Lanikai’s customer service.

10 Ukuleles For Beginners Under $200

Over the last few years, ukuleles have grown in popularity. However, even if you are lucky enough to live in an area with a music store, the chance the chance that they carry a good selection of ukuleles is pretty low. Now obviously you want your first ukulele to be a good one. To get a good beginner ukulele you are most likely going to need to spend over a $100. However, there are a couple of decent starter ukuleles in the $60-$70 range as well.

The way the ukulele looks is important, but the most important part of choosing a good ukulele for beginners is the way it sounds. Not only that the ukulele has a good sound, but that it is the kind of sound you like. Ukuleles made of different types of wood will tend to sound different as will ukuleles made by different makers. The best ukulele for you will depend on the type of sound and music you like. If you tend to play Hawaiian music, then you will probably want a more traditional sounding ukulele than if you were playing rock.

So how do you find that perfect ukulele? If you have a music store that has ukuleles in stock, then check them out and play them. You may find that some are easier for you to play than others and you might get some very helpful information from the staff. However, there are a lot of music stores that carry ukuleles, but aren’t necessarily knowledgable about them.

If you don’t have a local music store around, then the next best thing is to listen to the ukuleles online. A quick search on YouTube will usually allow you to listen to various people playing various ukuleles. The problem is that the sound can vary by the tuning, the person, the camera, etc. Ideally you want the same person playing all the ukuleles back to back with the same equipment.

Luckily, Hawaiian Music Supply has made just that video where they compare 10 good ukuleles for under $200. You can listen to them back to back and they are all taken with the same video camera.

Ukulele For Beginners: Ukulele Tutorials

You’ve bought your ukulele (if you haven’t go here: buy ukulele), been practicing your strumming and chords and now you are ready to try and play some songs. Good For you! So now where do you find some good tutorials.

Like many “how to” videos, You Tube is the place of choice. If you type in the song name along with “ukulele tutorial” you will find a ton of different videos for just about any song. Give it a try.

However, there are two Ukulele You Tube Channels that I would like to recommend for ukulele beginners.

The first is Musicteacher2010. His videos are top notch and very well taught. He also puts the chords right up on the screen so you can play along with him and sing the song. He also goes at just the right speed and his voice is very easy to listen to. A great teacher. (I think the below video was made before he changed his You Tube name).

The second is Krankthat22. As I write this he currently has a total of 94 videos. He focuses mostly on hit songs. His songs are also pretty simple and he puts tabs in the description so you know exactly what to play.

So check the out and find a song you like. If this is your first song then I recommend that you choose something simple.

Ukulele For Beginners: Practice Time

Since I started to learn the ukulele, one of the most common things I hear is “I would love to learn the ukulele, but I am not talented at music” or “I don’t have any natural ability”. As if those who can play are born with some kind of gift. People always tend to ignore the countless hours that people put in to learn. It’s true that some people learn quicker than others, but the bottom line is that everyone has to put in the work.

I think this is especially true when playing the ukulele for beginners. There is a lot for your hands, mind, and mouth have to coordinate. If just one of them is out of sync the song won’t quite work.

When you first start learning the ukulele there are two things to consider about your practice schedule; length and frequency. They are both important. If you don’t put in enough hours each week, then you won’t gain the muscle skills and flexibility that you need to play well. However, if you only practice once a week, even for several hours, your body will forget a lot of what you have learned by the next time you play. It’s always kind of like two steps forward, one step back.

I am still pretty new at the ukulele (this is ukulele for beginners), but I think at least 30 minutes to hour is necessary. I find that it usually takes me that long to start feeling comfortable with my ukulele and to get my fingers start working well. So, an hour or more everyday.

Having said that however, if you can’t spare an hour, it is always best to pick up the ukulele for even five minutes and play.

When I am learning a new song on the ukulele, I will learn the chords and then I can practice anywhere. When I am talking to someone on the phone, when I am watching TV, etc. The more I practice the less I have to think about it.

One trick I have found is to leave my ukulele out in the open. If I leave it in it’s bag or put it out of the way, I am much less likely to think about it. If you leave your ukulele out in the open, it’s much easier to pick up and play at any time.

Just remember that learning comes down to hard (but fun) work and not just natural talent.

Ukulele For Beginners

 

Beginner Ukulele

The first time I picked up an ukulele and tried to play, it felt like I was using my hands for the first time. My fingers would constantly get tangled in the strings and doing a “smooth” strum was near impossible. In the end, all it really took was practice, but it is also good to have help. I was lucky enough to have a lot of people around me who already played the ukulele and were happy to give me pointers. However, I also used online resources quite a bit.

If you still need to buy an ukulele then please check out this page: BUY UKULELE or this page on Ukulele Brands.

If you have your ukulele in hand and are ready to start playing, then continue on.

There are literally thousands of ukulele tutorials and videos on everything from how to hold your ukulele (that wasn’t natural for me either) to how to strum and pick the ukulele.

The key to all of the information online is you. You need to put in the practice time to improve. It doesn’t matter how well you understand a technique, if you don’t practice you won’t get any better.  If you really want to learn the ukulele you need to practice, practice, practice….Did I mention practice?

Okay, so let’s start with some beginner ukulele videos

How to hold the ukulele

How to strum the ukulele, read tabs, and mute/chuck

Basic Finger Picking

These are some of the basic videos that are really helpful. Get playing and please leave any tips or comments you have in the comment section below.

Cheap Ukuleles

When it comes to choosing a cheap ukulele for beginners (or just about anything else) you get what you pay for. Middle of the line is usually pretty good. However, when it comes to ukuleles the price difference can be pretty extreme. It can be hard to tell where the middle of the line really is.

A quick search on Ebay will show that the cheapest ukulele starts at around $10 plus shipping while the most expensive is selling for $6,500 plus shipping. That is 650 times more expensive than the cheapest one. Decent ukuleles start around $60 and up, and a lot of people recommend ukuleles near the $100 mark. That’s a big difference.

The price point of cheap ukuleles can make them very tempting. And for someone who isn’t really serious and just wants to play around a little, they are probably okay. For those of you who are actually interested in making music, you want something that will sound good. The below video discusses why you don’t want a cheap ukulele and compares two different ukuleles. One is a cheap Mahalo that can be picked up for about $20-$30. The other is a Japanese ukulele brand called Famous and runs from around $80-$150.