Getting Started with Ukulele
Ah, here we are…the Uke. Jus’ chill out, strum a few chords…beach optional. I hate to be the bad guy but the Ukulele is a capable musical instrument. Don’t get me wrong, I like to chill out too but it is best to approach the Ukulele seriously rather than as a novelty instrument. I have had a really difficult time finding method books that make sense. The 2 books I am using now with students are: “Hal Leonard’s Play Ukulele Today Level 1″ and “Alfred’s Classic Rock Ukulele”. One of the most confusing issues from book to book is tuning. I am playing on a Soprano Uke so all my instruction efforts are focused there. There are two tunings I have seen. Concert “C Tuning”: G, C, E, A or a “D Tuning” of: A, D, F#, B. I am using C Tuning and also using a Low G instead of the high G.
The decision to use a low G for my 4th string is based on musical sense. Having a high G for your 4th string makes it impossible to reach melody notes that are written in many of the song books and also is a awkward transition from a high note on the lowest or 4th string to a lower note on the 3rd string. To do this I am using the 3rd string from a Martin Baritone Ukulele Set. It is aluminum wound and .034″ product number M34AL. “Aquila” also makes ukulele strings sets with a low G. In my online ukulele lessons archive you will find tunes but also look for “Natural Notes Ukulele”. This has the Soprano Ukulele natural notes mapped out in Standard Notation. I show the notes with the high and low G string and has a video walk through of the written notation. It is usually how I start students and the best way to understanding the Uke on paper.
Picks used for the Uke are anything from special felt material or the variety of guitar picks in thin, medium or heavy gauge. I am playing fingerstyle and teach most of my students this way. It allows for more intricate playing and a natural tone. The only other accessories I can think of are a tuner or pitch pipe and a metronome. If I have students who are just playing basic chord strum style a metronome is vital in learning how to make chord changes in time and develop solid rhythm for the strum patterns. Please contact me regarding skype ukulele lessons. Schedule your free ukulele lesson today.