Tips

Quick tips to help you improve your Uke skills without hassle.

1
Ukulele Warm-Ups
2
Ukulele Troubleshooting
3
How to Get the Best Ukulele Sound?
4
How to chunck?
5
Ways to play the dreaded E major chord
6
Ukulele Care
7
How to adjust a friction tuner?
8
Alternate tunings

Ukulele Warm-Ups

Take a Breather This goes for any activity, not just playing the ukulele. Sit up straight with the best posture that you can muster and breathe. Deep breaths counting in to 10 and out to 10. Spend 5 minutes just relaxing and breathing, there is no exact science to it, after all we aren’t attempting transcendental meditation or astral projection. Whatever breathing exercise helps you relax and chill out will work. I think we all would be happier people if we just took some time every day to focus on our breathing! Warm Your Hands Literally warm your hands, using warm water or friction, get those muscles ready for some stretches. While you are at it use your hands and body heat to warm your ukulele a little. The wood sounds better and your fingers work better when they are warm! Finger Stretches Not only should you stretch your fingers[…]

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Ukulele Troubleshooting

Whether we have been playing ukulele for a few months or perhaps just started there is always a good chance that we will run into some basic problems. Sometimes the problems are minor and easy to fix, other times they might be major issues (which may mean a particular ukulele is not playable). When it comes to troubleshooting any instrument, or anything at all, the key is to always start with the basics and check off any potential problems. IT employees who fix computers will often say that folks always forget the simplest stuff first… like plugging in or turning a machine on in the first place! Below is a guide to some basic ukulele headaches and how to potentially fix them. Tuning This is the number one beginners issue; in fact, this may be one of the most serious issues for all instruments! If what you are playing is[…]

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How to Get the Best Ukulele Sound?

Learning to play any instrument takes time, while the ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn, you still need to take the time to develop enough skill to make it sound great. There are a few basic pointers to make sure you are guaranteed to wow folks when you play the uke for them! The Right Ukulele I see many articles out there about how to make a cheap ukulele sound great, the best way is to not be cheap, luckily with ukuleles we aren’t talking about huge price tags. From the very beginning it is essential that you have a proper uke to play. Music is a great business these days, there are a ton of instruments to buy, supplies to get, and lessons to purchase. Unfortunately, not everyone is out to truly help you in your journey, many instrument makers out there both locally and foreign[…]

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How to chunck?

Weird name, huh?  You’re probably wondering how to chunck, or learn about what “chuncking” is.  Chucking is a fancy sound you can make in between changing chords, or to just make your music sound upbeat and cheery to get that real ukulele sound. You probably hear a lot of chuncking when you listen to regular ukulele music, and you didn’t even realize you did! here’s some helpful ways on how to chuck. Place a part of your hand over the strings. I like to use my wrist or lower palm area of my hand.  this is to mute the strings so it doesn’t sound like a chord when you strike the strings. once you know your strings are muted, strum the strings with your fingers while your hand is still on the strings. You should get a muted “chuck” sound. The reason why it’s called a chunck sound is because[…]

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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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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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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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Alternate tunings

There exist a lot of ukulele tunings. You’ll find on this page a non-exhaustive list of the most useful ukulele tunings. Tuning in D6 re-entrant This is quite a common tuning, though it’s practically used only by sopranos, even though we could also use it with the Concert. The notes corresponding to this tuning are A D F# B, which is, if we think about it, exactly one pitch higher than the standard tuning. Being a re-entrant tuning, remember that the fourth string is higher than the third and second strings, and a pitch lower than the first one played open. Linear tuning in C6, or Low G This is a very common tuning, especially for tenor ukuleles. Actually, we will have the same notes as in standard tuning, but the fourth string will be tuned one octave lower, hence being lower than the C note from the third string,[…]

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