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Person Playing Ukulele

Playing the Ukulele

as a hobby

Everybody should have and play a “uke”. It’s so simple to carry with you and it is one instrument you can’t play and not laugh.

George Harisson

Feeling the pull of music but intimidated by complex instruments? The ukulele beckons! This portable wonder holds a world of joy, starting with its easy-to-learn chords and friendly melodies. Soon, you’ll be strumming along to your favorite tunes, feeling the stress melt away and a smile bloom on your face. Ready to join the happy strumming crowd? Grab a uke, find some online lessons, and embark on your musical adventure!

Helpful content to start playing the ukulele as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.

Videos

Short visual inspiration.

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YouTube | Learn How To Play UKULELE in 1 HOUR – Class for Total Beginners
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YouTube | Why Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Ukulele Hit Is Magic
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YouTube | Why You Should Play The Ukulele | Fender Play LIVE | Fender
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YouTube | Ukulele Lesson 1 – Absolute Beginner? Start Here! [Free 10 Day Course]

Podcasts

Play an episode while exploring the page.

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Spotify | How to play ukulele #1: The Basics! (For beginners)
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Spotify | The UkePod EP13 : Problems Beginner Ukulele players face
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Spotify | Tips for Improving From Beginner to Intermediate
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Spotify | Entering the Flow State | The Ukulele Underground Podcast #105
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Spotify | Uketropolis: Ukulele Q&A with James Hill

The word ukulele is Hawaiian in origin, and translates as “jumping flea”.

How the Ukulele Got Its Name | Merriam-Webster

Terms

Basic lingo for orientation.

Tuning

  • Headstock: Top part of the ukulele where tuners are located.
  • Tuners: Knobs used to adjust string tension and pitch.
  • Standard tuning: Most common tuning (G, C, E, A).
  • High G vs. Low G: Tuning variations affecting the first string’s pitch.

Parts of the Ukulele

  • Body: Main part of the instrument where sound resonates.
  • Neck: Long, thin part where frets are located.
  • Fretboard: Flat surface on the neck where fingers press strings.
  • Frets: Metal bars dividing the neck into sections, determining note pitch.
  • Nut: Piece at the top of the neck where strings are attached.
  • Bridge: Piece at the bottom of the body where strings are attached.
  • Strings: Four nylon or fluorocarbon strings played to create sound.

Playing Techniques

  • Strumming: Downward or upward picking motion across strings.
  • Picking: Playing individual strings with fingers or pick.
  • Chords: Combinations of notes played together.
  • Barre chords: Chords played by pressing one finger across multiple frets.
  • Fingerpicking: Playing individual notes with fingers.
  • Scale: Series of notes played in ascending or descending order.

Other Terms

  • Action: Height of strings above the fretboard.
  • Capo: Device placed on the neck to raise the pitch of strings.
  • Tablature: Music notation showing finger placement on strings.
  • Rhythm: Pattern and timing of strumming or picking.
  • Tempo: Speed of the music.

How to start playing the ukulele as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.

Books

Get read(y).

The ukulele is a great instrument for beginners. The ukulele has only four strings and a generous fretboard. It’s compact-sized, so it’s easy to carry around. There are many moderately-priced ukulele brands in the market, so buying one hardly makes a dent in the budget. All these reasons make the ukulele one of the most popular choices for beginners. Musicians also observed that starting off with the ukulele is less overwhelming for someone who’s just starting out.

14 Fun And Interesting Facts About The Ukulele You Might Not Know | Hello Music Theory

How-tos

Step-by-step tutorials.

Articles

Further reading.

Websites

Go-tos for information.

The current form of the ukulele is based on four Portuguese instruments that the immigrants to Hawaii brought along with them.

How the Ukulele Got Its Name | Merriam-Webster

Movies

Nothing like a film for inspiration.

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YouTube | Nova Scotia’s Ukulele Harmony | Music Documentary (PART1/4)

FAQS

Get a clue.

Is it hard to learn ukulele?

Compared to some other instruments, the ukulele is considered beginner-friendly. The basic chords and strumming patterns are relatively easy to grasp, and there are tons of resources available to help you learn.

How long does it take to learn ukulele?

It depends on your goals and practice time. You can learn basic chords and strumming in a few weeks, but mastering more advanced techniques takes longer.

How much does a ukulele cost?

Ukuleles can range in price from around $40 for a beginner model to hundreds of dollars for professional instruments.

Do I need a teacher to learn ukulele?

While a teacher can be helpful, it’s not essential. Many people learn successfully through online resources, such as courses, apps, or books.

Can I learn ukulele as an adult?

Absolutely! There’s no age limit for learning an instrument. Many adults find the ukulele a fun and rewarding challenge.

What are the benefits of playing ukulele?

Playing music offers many benefits, including stress relief, improved cognitive function, and increased social interaction. The ukulele is particularly known for its portability and affordability, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Are there different types of Ukulele?

Yes! The most common types are:

  • Soprano: The smallest and highest-pitched ukulele, good for portability and learning basic chords.
  • Concert: Slightly larger and deeper-toned than the soprano, good for beginners and intermediate players.
  • Tenor: Larger and louder than the soprano and concert, offering a wider range and fuller sound.
  • Baritone: The largest and lowest-pitched ukulele, tuned like the four highest strings of a guitar, popular for fingerpicking and playing basslines.

There are also other less common types like the guitalele (6-string ukulele) and bass ukulele. Your choice will depend on your desired sound, playing style, and hand size.

What size ukulele should I start with?

Soprano and concert ukuleles are popular choices for beginners due to their size and affordability. However, the best size depends on your personal preference and comfort level.

What accessories do I need to start?

A tuner, a strap (optional), and a case are helpful, but not essential at the beginning. Everything you need is included in a ukulele starter kit.

Apps

Smart assistance.

Products

Essentials to have.

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YouTube | Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit (KALA-LTP-S)

Courses

Get smart.

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YouTube | Jake Shimabukuro Teaches ʻUkulele | Official Trailer | MasterClass

Near You

Get together.

Neil Armstrong, the first human being to walk on the Moon, was a ukulele fan. Armstrong played the ukulele in a quarantine facility after Apollo 11 returned from the Moon.

NASA Science

Newsletters

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Tips

Additional advice for beginners.