1
How to Restring your Ukulele?
2
The Barre Chords
3
Ways to play the dreaded E major chord
4
The Ukulele Vamp
5
Ukulele Care
6
8 Chords you should know
7
How to practice playing Ukulele
8
Basic rhythm patterns for ukulele
9
How to adjust a friction tuner?
10
What ukulele should I buy?

How to Restring your Ukulele?

Want to change you ukulele Strings? That’s a good idea, because one of the most important parts of your stringed instrument… is the strings! =) Don’t skimp on good strings, the better they are the better your Uke will sound. Another important factor is how the strings are put on, you need to make sure they are put in the right place and in a clean manner. Haphazardly tying the string all around itself looks terrible in the long run. The first step is buying yourself some new strings, I have always preferred Aquila NylGut strings. If you have others you would like to try that is fine, but remember that the more you pay the better they likely will be. I often buy strings for all my instruments at one time from a site called JustStrings, they offer good prices and all the brands I could want. Do not[…]

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The Barre Chords

Barre chords, or Bar chords, are usually a nightmare for guitar players, nigh impossible on the mandolin, but lucky for us, much more manageable on the ukulele. A barre chord is made by pressing down on one or more strings across the ukulele fret, often completely across, but occasionally only partially (known as a partial barre). To put it simply place your finger on the bottom string 3rd fret to make the well known C chord. Now place your index finger completely across all the strings on the second fret and your pinky finger on the bottom string 5th fret. You have basically taken the C chord shape up two frets to make it a D chord. That’s really the simplicity of barre chords, once you have the shape of a chord you can move it to make another chord (also known as moveable chords). Your index finger acts as[…]

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Ways to play the dreaded E major chord

The dreaded E major chord… As you first start to learn uke chords the first one is usually C. Super easy! =) And then the Am, F, G, C7. No problem at all! D is a little more difficult and then wham we hit the E major wall. Very few beginning students can bend their fingers properly to play this chord. First off a little music theory, the E major chord is made up of the notes E, G#, and B. All major chords are made up of the root, 3rd, and 5th of the scale and the E major scale is E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, and D#. The root note is E, the 3rd note is G# and the 5th note is B. So anywhere on the ukulele that we can find the notes E, G#, and B we will have an E major chord. The chord[…]

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The Ukulele Vamp

In music a vamp is not a bloodsucker… it is a form of Ostinato. Ostinato is a repeating phrase used throughout a piece and in between songs. For those of you who are guitar players you may be familiar with riffs, riffs are another form of Ostinato as they are musical figures that repeat throughout a song, and sometimes alone define a song. Some of the most famous riffs out there are “Johnny B Goode”, “Sunshine of Your Love”, and “Smoke on the Water”. When it comes to the ukulele we have the vamp. Back in the 30’s and 40’s when ukuleles were very popular, bands would often see the words “vamp till ready” placed in between songs and sheet music. The vamp was a musical filler for musicians to keep the upbeat feeling going before transitioning to the next song. In a previous article we mentioned common chord progressions,[…]

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Ukulele Care

Before we dive into specific care of ukuleles, I have a little story. Four years ago I found an acoustic Silvertone guitar, these were the brand made by Sears back in the mid 20th century. This was back when major corporations cared about brands and made quality instruments. As young artists, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Dylan all played Silvertones. I had never played such a great guitar, it had perfect action and intonation and a beautiful sound. It sat around my living room often played near daily, and one very dry NJ winter a couple years back, it nearly exploded while hanging on my wall. Literally the top cracked so fiercely and quickly that in the middle of the night it sounded like 4th of July in January! It was beyond repairable, and even though I know better on how to take care of my instruments… I had[…]

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8 Chords you should know

When it comes to learning chords, it is important to know not only the notes (frets on each string) but also the fingering (what fingers to put on each string). Learning a string instrument such as the ukulele is based a lot on memorizing patterns and figures; which form chords, scales, and chord progressions. A same chord can be played in a different way according to the musician, but also according to the previous or next chord in the song, though this is a bit of an advanced topic for a beginner. 3 Must-know chords The first 3 chords you should learn are C, F and G. They correspond to degrees I, IV and V of the C major scale. C Chord – 0003 The most basic chord just requires one finger on the third fret of the first string. It is recommended to use the ring finger of the[…]

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How to practice playing Ukulele

With a thin fretboard and four strings, most people can easily learn how to play the ukulele. Learning how to play is simple, provided you take the time to practice. Some quick advices: Learn how to keep your ukulele tuned. Buy a digital tuner or use one online, if you wish to practice near a computer. Digital tuners will tell you if the notes are too high or too low, whereas with online tuners you will have to match the notes they produce using your ear. The more you tune your instrument, the faster you will be able to go through this process, and you will even learn how to tune it by ear. Choose a moment to practice, preferably every day. You can spend minutes or hours practising, but don’t stop doing it on a regular basis, if not you will not improve. Play slowly in the beginning. Whether[…]

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Basic rhythm patterns for ukulele

For those who are beginning to play ukulele, here is an article for you about two basic rhythm patterns that everyone should know, and which you’ll be able to play along on most of the songs. The song becomes alive when an interesting rhythm is added to it, so the person listening to you will pay more attention. In this post, I wish to introduce you to four rhythm patterns for ukulele, the most basic and the easiest you will ever play, the must-know rhythm patterns for any ukulele player. We will also see a few tips to improve on the strumming. The way to learn how to play any rhythm pattern is by diving the measures into eighth notes. Let’s take, for example, 4/4 meters. In each measure, we will have 8 eighth notes (check this tutorial for more infos). If each rhythmic stroke were to be played, the[…]

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How to adjust a friction tuner?

Friction tuners have a bad reputation. But there’s nothing bad about them one learns how to use and adjust them appropriately. Because, from time to time, their tightness needs to be adjusted, especially on new instruments or when our ukulele has to adapt to new humidity conditions. So if you are going out on a trip or to a gig, it’s probably a good idea to put a screwdriver in your suitcase (don’t forget to throw a towel in there too). The way it works is very simple: a screw in the top part of the peg controls the pressure applied in between the metal plates located in the front and back of the tuner. Tightening/loosening the screw with small turns (an 1/8 turn already makes a significant difference), we can set each tuner as it should be. When turning the screw to the right, the tuner gains strength, when turning[…]

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What ukulele should I buy?

If you are thinking about buying your first or your next ukulele, you are probably hesitating a lot. That’s why we wrote this article to help you make a good decision according to your budget. Actually, the first decision you have to make is how much you want (or you can) spend. And then know on what you are spending it. Ukulele sizes Ukuleles are manufactured in four common sizes or formats : soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Regarding tuning, the soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles use the same in general: from fourth to first, G C E A; the baritone is tuned one fourth lower: D G B E, exactly like the first four strings of a guitar. Sizes are defined by their scale – that’s right, the string length – and by the size of the body, which accounts for the sound quality. When it comes to deciding[…]

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