Category Archives for "Ukulele"

Ukulele Tunes that Inspire you

Ukulele Tunes that Inspire You from UkeofCarl

Ukulele

There may not be a more unique, fun, and at the same time helpful site for learning Ukulele as UkeofCarl. 

While many sites stick to giving out free videos of popular pop songs and tunes we've all seen a hundred times, UkeofCarl focuses on tabs from TV, Movies, and Games. 

We have to admit, we've lost more than a few hours with some our favorite selections of Carl's. Including, but not limited to the Kill Bill Theme, Game of Thrones Theme, Family Guy Tab, and... well, the list goes on. 

With such an original and fun offering of content, we figured we wanted to talk to the man behind the site! Lucky for us, he agreed to this interview. Check out the chat below for the most common mistake beginners make, the worth of a good first Uke, why he chooses to do so many Game/TV/Movie themes, and more! 

Interview with UkeofCarl.com

StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play Ukulele? What should they do instead?

Carl:  This is an easy one - picking and strumming using only the thumb. I'm forever encouraging students to use one finger per string and to practise this until it's comfortable. This was one of the reasons why I reworked a lot of the Hanon exercises for ukulele. A lot of the exercises in there will help develop this technique. This can also apply to using only 1 finger on the fretboard. Use all the fingers you've been given. It's worth having a look at my ebook, 'Sagreras for Ukulele' to put some of this into practice.

StringVibe: What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with very experienced players?

Wearing a hat. It seems to go hand in hand with playing the ukulele. I do like hats but don't think that they should be as prevalent as they are.

StringVibe: Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?

Gosh I'm unsure of what other people are saying really. I would always advise a beginner to spend as much as they can on a good Uke though. Not a fortune but don't buy a cheap one from Lidl. Also, try to get lessons with an actual teacher. Even if it's only occasional, learning from a human rather than a book or Youtube has so many advantages.

StringVibe: Do you think it's easier to learn by playing TV/Game themes like you've posted on Uke of Carl?

Honestly, I think a lot of my solo arrangements of TV themes can be a little tricky at first but this is why I often include a 'lead' sheet tab too, so you can play the melody alone. The main reason I chose TV themes is because I love them, so practicing playing something you like can really help boost the learning experience. This is also why I made 'The Jewish Ukulele'. I love traditional Jewish music and Klezmer so needed to hear it on the Uke.

StringVibe: At what stage do you think music theory becomes important to a Ukulele player?

Get it in there from day one! I'm a bit peculiar in that I'm a nerd for the theory of how things work. Of course, you can become a gifted musician without theory but having a grasp of the basics can really help.

Regardless of how many of these interviews we do, something always stands out. 

Each teacher, musician, and music lover is different. So learn the basics, learn some theory (see #5.), and then play what makes you happy or is entertaining to you. 

Thanks again to Carl from UkeofCarl! For those of you who haven't checked out his site yet, get going! There is a good reason it's on our "Top 50 Ukulele Sites" list! 

Play Ukulele By Ear

Learn to Play Ukulele by Ear with Jim D’Ville

Ukulele

Today, it's very easy to search on YouTube for popular songs played on Ukulele. Many of them are instructional videos. Some are even pretty good. Learning to play Ukulele by ear, now that's something different. 

It's nice, therefor, to find an instructor who is willing and able to teach this way. In the case of the Ukulele, that instructor is Jim D'Ville. 

Check out our list of 15 easy ukulele songs! 

Jim runs the popular site over at PlayUkuleleByEar when he's not touring the United States doing live workshops. The videos, posts, and information on this site also landed him a spot on the StringVibe "Top 50 Ukulele Sites" list (a well deserved honor in our opinion. Then again, it is our list!). 

We thought Jim would have some very interesting answers for us and so we asked him for an interview. He accepted and we are excited to bring you the results. Check out Jim talk about his "ear based" approach, why beginners spend to much time in songbooks, and more, in the interview below! 

Interview with Jim D'Ville

StringVibe: Why do you prefer an "Ear based" approach to learning Ukulele vs a chord or tab based style?

Jim: Reading from paper while playing a musical instrument, I think, hinders the entire musical process of hearing something in your head and playing it back. That's why most of the ukulele groups I've heard, and I've heard hundreds, all sound the same. They all have their noses stuck in a songbook and robotically play, and I use the word 'play' loosely, one song after another with the same down-up-down-up strum. I call this Incessant Strum Syndrome. Playing without paper frees up the ear to actually listen to what you are hearing. The result of this approach to playing is that the rhythm and spirit of the music is able to be communicated by the player.

StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play ukulele? What should they do instead?

Depending too much on the songbooks. I would suggest getting rid of the letters and learning the number system. This way you are learning repeating patterns that occur over and over again in music and the ear will begin to recognize them. Plus, by learning songs using the number system you are immediately able to transpose the song into the key that best fits your voice.

StringVibeWhat bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?

Poor stage patter. There is no better way to kill the momentum of a set then by talking too much. I'm not saying don't talk to the audience, but let your music do most of the talking.

StringVibe:  Do you have a few songs you like to start new players off with to build fundamentals?

Yes. I-V7-I, I-IV-V7-I and I-V7-IV-I.  Thousands of popular songs we are all familiar with can be played using these three basic chord progressions.

StringVibe: Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?

It's what the teachers don't tell new students that is the worst. They don't tell them to listen to the sounds they are making. Listening is what it's all about. For instance, strumming sounds better above the sound-hole, not over it. When a student is listening to what they are playing instead of trying to remember how to play the song they are less apt to get lost since they know the chord progression by ear. Finally, there is an unsurpassed enjoyment in playing when the music overtakes the thinking. That's when you are really playing music.

"Finally, there is an unsurpassed enjoyment in playing when the music overtakes the thinking. That's when you are really playing music."  - Jim D'Ville

I hope you read that entire interview. If not, I hope you pay attention to that quote. ​

Everyone who picks up an instrument does so because they enjoy music. For many of us, it's interwoven in the story of our lives. Make sure you enjoy your practice and playing time. Try spending less time buried in a songbook or imitating some face on YouTube, and more listening to the sound of the strings.

Check out more of Jim's teachings, his upcoming events, and his tour schedule at PlayUkuleleByEar.​

From Ukulele to Guitar

The Challenges Transitioning From Ukulele to Guitar

Guitars , Ukulele

So, you want to transition from Ukulele to guitar. We love both instruments, so we get it. In fact, there is a long list of notable guitarist that also play the Uke. Guitarist the caliber of Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Brian May, and Jimi Hendrix all played the lighter, brighter sound of the Ukulele.

So, what can you expect when trying to learn the guitar? The good news is that the instruments have a lot in common. The bad news is the two extra strings and larger size of the instrument adds challenges a Ukulele player won't be accustomed to. We'll go over what to expect here!


The Size Difference between Ukulele and Guitar

This is probably the most obvious difference. In fact, when many people think of the Ukulele they think of a miniature guitar. With the average guitar being anywhere between 38 and 41 inches long and a Soprano Ukulele normally only being 21 inches long, this isn't wrong.

Not only will this change how you hold the instrument but it will challenge your posture. Many who switch will tend to lean over the guitar to reach the end of the neck while strumming. This can really crowd your strumming hand, not to mention hurt your back! Sit up straight and move the guitar to the leg of your strumming hand. The size difference will definitely take time to get used to but might be the easiest transition in the end.


Larger Tonal Range

This question depends a lot on the way you tune your Ukulele, especially since that varies much more than guitar tuning normally does. To know the exact tonal range you need three things.

1. Lowest Open Note 
2. Highest Open Note
3. Number of Frets (Scale Length)

So the Tonal Range is the number of steps between the highest and lowest open notes plus the scale length.

Lowest Open Note - Highest Open Note + Scale Range = Tonal Range

What does this mean for the Ukulele and the Guitar? The guitar can often have about four octaves of range, while its normal for the Ukulele to only have two.


Differences in Tuning

Assuming your Ukulele is tuned in the re-entrant style it's normal for the switch to guitar to throw you off. When using re-entrant tuning you'll be used to the second highest, then lowest, second lowest, then highest notes. With a guitar, the notes move from lowest to highest as you move down the neck.

If you don't use re-entrant tuning you can simply capo the guitar at the fifth fret and the open notes of highest four strings will match with your Ukulele.

Single Ukulele

Larger Neck Size

The fact that the neck is more narrow on a Ukulele is no big surprise. For those with small hands, the fingering of the open C chord can be difficult at first, as well as many bar chords.

What may surprise you is that the strings are closer together on the guitar than a standard Uke. This can cause difficulties playing clear, individual notes. The strings are also set at a much higher tension for a guitarist, this leads to discomfort for many Uke players while they learn.


Wrap Up

There you have it! While switching instruments is never easy these two are close enough that you won't be starting from scratch. If you want to know more about the topic we'd recommend this thread on UkuleleUnderground or a guest post from Al Wood of Ukulele Hunt that was published on Guitarkadia.

Keeping Ukulele Fun

The Importance of Keeping Ukulele Fun with Miles Ramsay

Ukulele

Many people pick up the Ukulele because it simply looks like fun to play. They aren't wrong. 

A site that does an amazing job personifying this quality is Ukeonomics. 

We will forgive the site owner, Miles Ramsay, for not keeping the blog active over the last few years. The information that is on the site more than makes up it! 

A great selection of tabs/chords, A beginner section, Interviews, and reviews make this a go-to Ukulele site. (it's also on our Top 50 List!).

We were lucky enough to get Miles to take a few minutes and answer some questions about the Ukulele and learning to play it! Check out his answers and soak up his wisdom!

Interview with Miles Ramsay

1. What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play stringed instruments? What should they do instead?

The biggest mistake that I see is a beginner (often times a young child) that wants to learn how to play guitar. His mom and dad get him said guitar for a birthday or Christmas and he now possesses an instrument which is too big for his/her hands. Being a stringed instrument enthusiast, I've often been asked the question "what kind of guitar should I get for my kid". My response is almost always, "Don't get him/her a guitar. Buy that kid a ukulele!". That's one of the reasons I love these little instruments. They can be used to play intricate arrangements, but they are so incredibly versatile that even a child can pick one up and begin to play.

2. What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?

Obviously, with players of this caliber (of which I am not, I might add), mistakes are few and far between and bad playing habits are hard to be found. Their worst habit is probably letting the pursuit of perfection overcome their love for playing. Especially on the professional level, when playing an instrument is tied to your livelihood, it can quickly become more of a chore than an activity of enjoyment. It happens. I love my career, but I definitely have days where I don't feel like doing it and get very little satisfaction out of it. Thankfully, on days like that, music can be a form of therapy and escape. I guess I feel bad for people who play music professionally and don't have that particular escape. Maybe they do something else cool instead? Create fake facebook profiles? Try on over sized clothes at department stores? Read? Go on ukulele forums and criticize noobs? Go to an actual therapist?

3. What advice would you give a beginning musician on a budget trying to decide between free materials and spending on paid courses?

I'm pretty frugal, so my advice is DON'T PAY FOR COURSES! There's such a wealth of information on youtube that I don't see courses as being more beneficial. While learning proper techniques is very important, I think that there's something to be said for teaching yourself things too. You're an individual. You're unique. You should feel free to create, explore, and discover the ukulele on your own (with a little direction, of course).Maybe I'm wrong...maybe that's what I still suck.

4. Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?

Nothing that comes to mind specifically. Probably information overload is the most detrimental. If you're being bombarded with too much advice, I think it can leave you feeling discouraged...like there's too many things you have to learn and you'll never be able to figure it all out. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Worry about what you can do today to get better and don't even think about tomorrow. Just try to enjoy each little step and embrace the feeling of awesomeness each time you figure out something new. Seriously, it's like a high! And remember, even the seasoned professionals are still learning too.

Have fun while playing! 

This seems like a given, but while learning an instrument so many people forget this!

If you enjoyed this interview you can find a huge resource for Ukulele related information at Ukeonomics. Who knows... if enough of us visit we may even get Miles writing again! ​

Ukulele Notes

Everything you need to know about Ukulele Notes

Ukulele

While learning to play the Ukulele it may be easiest to learn a handful of chords first. There are a number of chords, including C major and A minor, that only require a single string to be held down to play the entire chord. However, as you progress as a player you'll want to learn the open notes down the neck. We can help!

You do have a few things working in your favor, though. First of all, you only have four strings to worry about. Compare that to the six to twelve strings you'll find on a guitar, you've got it easy. The second thing is that the Ukulele follows the normal note progression that all western music does!

Order Of Notes

If you memorize the order of notes and the open strings you'll always be able to count your way to a note. A couple of tips to help you with the notes follow:

  • B and E don't have sharp notes (#)
  • C and F, therefore, don't have flat notes (b)
  • One step along the scale (D to D#/Eb) is one semi-tone
  • Two steps along the scale (A to B) is one full tone.

JustinGuitar.com also shows this as a Note Circle which can be a lot easier to remember for some. Remembering this is very important to your continued education on any instrument!


Open String Notes

The first thing you want to learn is the open string notes for the four strings. An open string simply means no frets are pressed down. Most players and books will teach you to learn the strings from the thickest (top) to the thinnest (bottom) strings. We've included a few acronyms you can use to remember them, which are:

Standard Ukulele Tuning

Standard Ukulele Tuning

Good

Children 

Eat

Apples

Grandma

Cooks

Every

Afternoon

Use these two acronyms or make one up yourself, but if you can remember the open string notes and Note Circle or order of notes you'll always know the note of the string you're playing!


Ukulele Notes for the first 12 Frets

Below you'll find a chart of all the Ukulele notes for the first 12 frets on your instrument. This will repeat on down to the end of the fretboard in a consistent pattern. So, the 13th fret on the G string is an A note, and the 14th is a A#! 

Ukulele Notes

While you are learning the notes Ukulele-tabs has a very useful tool which covers a few other common tuning patterns. 


Reentrant vs Linear Tuning

One important thing to note about the G string and how it's tuned. In Reentrant tuning, it will be tuned to the G note above the other strings, while with linear tuning the G is lower than the C note. It is fairly common to see Soprano and Concert Ukuleles tuned in the reentrant style, while the large models go with Linear.


Wrap Up

The trick to learning the notes on any stringed instrument begins with knowing the open strings and the standard note order, but it is nice to have a chart near you as you're learning so you aren't constantly pausing to find a particular note. If you spend a little time (5 minutes) in each practice session familiarizing yourself with the notes you'll quickly learn where they are!

Best Ukulele for Beginners

The Best Ukulele for Beginners that won’t Break the Bank

Ukulele

Beginner Ukulele players don't need a great instrument. Scratch that. No one who is new to playing any instrument needs a great one. In fact, a novice probably won't appreciate a great instrument.

On the flip side, though, no one should have to learn to play on a poor excuse for a Ukulele. The low quality can make the instrument constantly need tuning and sound poor even when it is tune. Even more frustrating, a poorly crafted Ukulele can warp and show excessive signs of wear far before it's time. 

The good news, if you're shopping for your first Ukulele or an upgrade to a poor first purchase, is that quality ukuleles can be found for a decent price. No Ukulele in this article is over $400, and many are closer to $100!

We've also broken this guide down into four sections, one for each of the main sizes of Ukulele. If you aren't familiar with the different sizes that are standard for Ukulele, we recommend you read our guide on the different types of Ukulele before purchasing! If you already know what size Ukulele you'd like simply click on the link below!


 Best Soprano Ukuleles

Vendor/Model

Price

Makala Dolphin

Bridge Soprano

Uklulele

Kala KA-15S

Mahogany Soprano

Ukulele

Lanikai LU-21

Soprano Ukulele

With Gig Bag 

And Accessories

Kala KA-SSTU

Soprano Travel

Ukulele


Makala Dolphin Bridge Soprano

Most cheap Ukuleles are more toy than actual musical instrument. In fact, with one exception we'd say that any Ukulele under $50 is probably not worth the money. The Makala Dolphin Ukulele is that exception. 

You will want to change the strings, but after that is done this instrument will sound great. Especially considering the price. ​It comes in a wide range of colors that make it fun for kids or those young at heart. 

You will want to be careful with this Uke, it's not made to take a beating. For someone who wants to learn the Uke, or simply wants to have fun at a good price, this Ukulele is a winner!


Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele

If you are on a budget and but still want a great Ukulele that is a bit more traditional than the Dolphin we listed above, this is your Uke. The Kala KA-15S is made by the same company as the Makala but has a real wood look. The other major upgrade you get is a full mahogany body with a satin finish. This model can be found for under $60, making it a perfect first instrument for a beginner!


Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele Bundle

The first offering from Lanikai on this list, the LU series is the company's entry-level instruments. The LU-11 is similar to the Kala KA-15, but if you want a step the LU-21 is a great priced upgrade. Another bonus about this instrument is that it comes with a full bundle of accessories for a beginner who doesn't have any of the pieces. No, they aren't top of the line, but they are great starter package. Upgrade the parts as you need nicer ones later!


Kala KA-SSTU Soprano Travel Ukulele

The nicest Soprano Ukulele we found for a buyer on a budget, the Kala KA-SSTU Soprano Travel Ukulele. This model features a thin body design with an arch back to produce a full sound. The combination of a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides gives this instrument a touch of quality. If you want to grab a great starter instrument or an upgrade to a poor first purchase, you could do much worse than the KA-SSTU


Best Concert Ukuleles

Vendor/Model

Price

Luna Mahogany

Series Tattoo Concert

Uklulele

Cordoba 15CM

Concert Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt

OU5 Concert

Ukulele

Magic Flea Co

Standard Natural

Concert Ukulele


Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele

The Luna Mahogany Series Tattoo Concert Ukulele is a design dedicated to Hawaiian tattooing traditions. The design is based on a "Honu" (turtle) in a Polynesian tattoo style. Not only does this Ukulele have a distinctive yet traditional style it's got a solid spruce top with mahogany sides and back. Starting under $75 dollars, this Uke is great for larger individuals who don't want something as small as a Soprano but still want the classic Ukulele sound. 


Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

Cordoba was started as a guitar company but they had so much success they've moved into other stringed instruments. Most notably, the Ukulele. The Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele is their best selling offering featuring a Mahogany body and rosewood fretboard. This Ukulele can also be had in Soprano or Tenor sizes, or in an acoustic-electric Edge Burst model (for a few extra bucks). 


Oscar Schmidt OU5 Concert Ukulele

No "top instrument" list would be complete without an offering from Oscar Schmidt. The company has been making stringed instruments since 1871 and are truly masters of thier craft.

The OU5 Concert Ukulele is made with a Hawaiian Koa top, sides, and back and their unique Nyatoh neck giving this instrument an authentic feel.  Oscar Schmidt also has a lifetime warranty backing up this great sounding Uke.   

There are several options for packages with this model. You can simply get the Ukulele with the link above or check the "also viewed" section for several different bundle options. 


Magic Fluke Co Flea Standard Natural Concert Ukulele

This might be the most unique of the Ukulele's making this list. The Flea is a custom design and uses a molded plastic and wood combination to produce a great sound. The resonant thermoplasitc body gives off a light and energetic sound and is more durable than a traditional wooden instrument. 


Best Tenor Ukuleles

Vendor/Model

Price

Oscar Schmidt

OU2TG Mahogany 

Tenor Uklulele

Kala KA-TE

Mahogany Tenor Electric Ukulele

Magic Fluke

Co Fluke Designer

Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele

Lanikai All Curly

Standard Mango TunaUke Equipped 

Tenor Ukulele


Oscar Schmidt OU2TG Mahogany Tenor Ukulele 

 The Oscar Schmidt OU2TG Mahogany Tenor Ukulele is a limited edition release with Gold Tuners for nice upgrade in quality and looks. The instrument is completed with a full mahogany body and rosewood bridge. 

You can find this Ukulele in it's standard edition also, which is still a very solid choice. An example of the regular version is reviewed in the video below. 


Kala KA-TE Mahogany Tenor Electric Ukulele 

Another solid offering from Kala, The KA-TE Mahogany Tenor Electric Ukulele is the first of two acoustic - electric Ukes to make our list. The full mahogany body of this instrument sounds great acoustically, and when plugged into an amp the Nano-Flex EQ system provides great output.  


Magic Fluke Co Fluke Designer Tenor Ukulele

Just like the concert Ukulele from Magic Fluke we listed earlier, the Fluke Designer Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele has a great, unique style all its own. Due to it's flat bottom it can actually stand up by itself, how many Ukes can say that? It is made with the same combination of molded thermoplastic and wood as other Magic Fluke Ukuleles. 

The size of the tenor makes it perfect for standard GCEA tuning, but capable of sounding great in High D (Baritone) tuning as well! ​

Check out how good this Uke sounds in an abandoned building in the video below. If it can sound good there, imagine how it would sound in your own house!​


Lanikai All Curly Mango Tuna Ukulele

Lanikai as a brand has made it a point to produce traditional Ukuleles using Hawaiian woods and materials. This does tend to make thier instruments fairly expensive for a beginner, but not having one on this list would have been a crime.

The Hawaiian Curly Mango body gives this instrument a genuine look and feel. This instrument also can be perfectly tuned and adjusted thanks the Lanikais TunaUke saddle system. Check out the video to see how it works! 

At $299 this instrument is the most expensive on the list, and might be out of reach for beginners. However, if you're looking for a traditional Ukulele, or want to spend a little extra on a quality upgrade, the Lanikai Curly Maple is a great choice. ​


Best Baritone Ukuleles

Vendor/Model

Price

Caramel CB103

Zebra Wood Baritone 

Acoustic Electric Uklulele

Makala MK-B

Baritone Ukulele

Bundle 

Kala KA-B

Mahogany Baritone

Ukulele

Oscar Schmidt

OU57 Splalted Mango 

Baritone Ukulele


Caramel CB103 Zebra Wood Baritone Ukulele

The first Baritone Ukulele on our list is also the only one that uses Zebra Wood for its body. The CB103 sports a mirror polish finish as well, giving it an eye popping shine.

At 30 inches long, the CB103 is big even for a Baritone Uke. This makes it a great choice for guitarist that want to switch to the Ukulele. Tune it in High D tuning which will match the highest four strings on a standard six-string guitar. 

This model is also an acoustic electric hybrid and comes stock with a three band EQ tuner. 


Makala MK-B Baritone Ukulele

The Makala (made by Kala) MK-B Baritone Ukulele Bundle is a great mixture of quailty and price. This Ukulele has an agathis body with mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard.

The model we've linked to comes with a gig bag, clip on tuner, instructional DvD and polishing cloth. You can buy the Ukulele alone, but it will only save you $7 and the pieces in the kit are worth much more than what you'd save!


Kala KA-B Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

The step up from the Makala MK-B is this uke, the Kala KA-B Mahogany Baritone Ukulele.  The $40-$50 dollar difference may be out of your budget, but if not we suggest spending the extra here. For the extra money you'll get a full mahogany body and Aquila Nylgut strings that will play better right out of the box. As a beginner, you may not be able to tell the difference, but as you advance you'll start to notice the quailty of the KA-B. 


Oscar Schmidt OU57 Spalted Mango Baritone Ukulele

Last, but certainly not least, is the Oscar Schmidt OU57. This beautiful instrument is constructed from Spalted Mango wood that gives it a great resonance. 

While this is one of the more expensive instruments on the list it's still less expensive than many guitars of much lower quality. Experienced guitar players and ​beginning Uke players alike will enjoy this instrument greatly! 


There you have it! 16 choices to buy a great Ukulele on your first try! 

Did we miss a Ukulele you think deserves to be on this list? Please, leave us a comment and we'll look into it! Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated! ​

Baritone Ukulele Chords

5 Easy Baritone Ukulele Chords to Learn First

Ukulele

Beginners are not the only ones who need chord charts from time to time. Any player can need to a reference for some of the less common chords. However, a full chord chart can be extremely confusing for a beginner. Some of these chords will simply be too complicated or difficult to start with. So, how is a player to know which is which? We've got you covered. 


Baritone Ukulele Basics

There are some important things you should know before trying to use a chord chart. There are two tunings which are commonly used for baritone ukuleles. The first one is a standard ukulele tuning. It is transposed to a lower octave suitable for a baritone ukulele.

The more common tuning for a Baritone Ukulele is a standard guitar tuning. The open notes are D-G-B-E, from the lowest pitched string to the highest.

The chord chart may be useful or useless, it depends on individual tuning. If the chords sound wrong, check it to ensure that you use the correct chord chart for the tuning.

Standard Ukulele Tuning

Standard Ukulele Tuning

Baritone Ukulele tuning

Guitar style Baritone Ukulele Tuning

We also don't recommend that beginners try to read sheet music right away. Music sheets often look complicated and can make the beginners doubt their ability to move their fingers quickly enough to play all the notes correctly. However, composers mostly compose around chords. Using a chord chart, a player can transform complex melodies to simple chords. This is something even experienced players use to make the learning of a new part simpler.


Baritone Ukulele Chords for Beginners

Here are the five baritone ukulele chords for the beginners that we really recommend. These all use the DGBE tuning we mentioned earlier. We've tried to order them from the easiest to the hardest to play.

A great drill to practice is to strum a chord and then switch to another one. Strum that and switch back to the first chord. Along with this, We've put together 8 tips to help you learn Ukulele, check it out! 

G Major Chord

The simplest chord of all. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the E string. 

Baritone G Chord

E Major Chord

The index finger is on the 1st fret of the G string. The middle finger is on the 2nd fret of the D string.

Baritone Ukulele E Chord

A Major Chord

Very similar to the A chord on the Guitar, the lowest 3 strings are held at the 2nd fret. 

A Major Baritone Ukulele Chord

C Major Chord

The index finger on the 1st fret of the B string while the middle finger is on the 2nd fret of the D string

Baritone Ukulele C Chord

D Major Chord

Another chord that is just like it's guitar counterpart. 

Baritone D Major Chord

Full baritone ukulele chord charts are fairly easy to find. As you progress as a ukulele player you'll want to find a good one. The biggest thing you'll want to check on is to make sure the tuning is what you'd expect! Our favorites can be found at HalesOwen and UkuleleBooGaloo.

Easy Ukulele Songs

Easy Ukulele Songs For Beginners: 4 chords for 15 songs

Ukulele

It is important as a budding musician to learn the easy things first. Not only will you make noticeable progress faster but you'll enjoy the journey too. We would never recommend a beginner to try to play a song with 12 different chords, or ask them to fingerpick, or even to play an advanced strumming pattern. It is setting them up for failure. 

We like to teach four chords to start with to start to unlock a lot of popular songs. Once these four are mastered you can start to learn one or two more as they come up in songs. By the time you know 10 chords you'll look like an advanced Luthier to most people! 

Like this list? Check out our 8 Tips To Learning the Ukulele Quickly! 


The 4 Chords You Need

We recommend you start off with 3 basic chords and add the fourth later. The 3 super simple basic chords are Am, C, F. ​

A Minor
Ukulele A Minor Chord
C Major
Ululele C Chord
F Major 
Ukulele F Chord

Pretty easy right? The C and A minor chords require a single fret to be held down, and the F chord simply requires you to add the 1st fret of the E (2nd) String to the A Minor chord. 

The G chord involves 3 fingers, but most players find the chord shape to be simple and easy to learn. 

Guitarist will recognize the shape of the G chord as the same as that of a D Major chord on a six-string guitar. 

G Major
Ukulele G Chord

If you want to explore the rest of the Major, Minor and 7th Ukulele chords, there is a full list with diagrams at UkeGuides. 


15 Easy Ukulele Songs

Now that you know the 4 chords you need we want you to remember a few things. When learning a song start by simply strumming 4 downstrokes per bar. If that is too difficult simply play one down strum, but make sure you are tapping your foot to keep time! 

1. Riptide - Vance Joy (Am, C, G, F) 

2. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz (C, G, Am, F) 

Don't have a Ukulele to play yet? Check out our Guide to Great Beginner Ukuleles!


3. Soul Sister - Train (C,G, Am, F) ​

Want More Help Learning The Uke?


ArtistWorks has an amazing video learning series from Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel that we highly recommend! 

4. Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars (C, Am, F)

5. Stay - Rihanna (C, F, Am, G)

5. All of the Stars - Ed Sheeran (F, C, Am, G)
6. The Hanging Tree - Hunger Games (Am, F, C, G)
artistworks online music lessons
7. All Along the Watchtower - Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix (Am, G, F)

8. Counting Stars - One Republic (Am, C, G, F)

9. I Still Haven't Found what I'm Looking For - U2 (C, F, G) 

10. Leaving on a Jet Plane - Jonh Denver (C, F, G) 

11. Octopus's Garden - The Beatles (C, F, Am, G)

12. Whistle - Flo Rida (Am, F, C, G)

13. Cane Fire - Peter Moon Band (Am, G, F) 

14. Heartache - One Groove (C, F, G)

15. One Love - Bob Marley (C, F, G, Am) ​

​Like our list? Did we miss a song that can be played with the four beginner chords we've listed? Please, post below and we'll add to the list!

Learn Ukulele Quickly

Learn Ukulele Quickly with These Eight Tricks

Ukulele

The first time playing the ukulele, just like any other instrument, can be difficult and frustrating. To help get started, you might want to pick one or two tips. You've come to the right spot. A lot of these tips are the answers to questions beginner Ukulele players have every day

Learn Ukulele Quickly

1. Get a Decent Ukulele

If you really are serious about playing the ukulele then you definitely Should consider sparing a few dollars to get a respectable ukulele. You can find quality Ukuleles that are available for about $100, Anything below $50 will probably end up having poor sound qualities and you may spend more time tuning it than playing. 

2. Learn how to hold your ukulele

As stupid as it may sound, learning how to hold your ukulele is very important. Try holding your ukulele in different positions, switching even between standing or sitting. Don't hold the ukulele too tight, it needs to vibrate with ease throughout the body. Let the body of the ukulele rest on one of your legs with your strumming arm resting on the top of the ukulele while sitting. This way, the ukulele neck will freely hang in the air. As taxing as it may seem, learning how to hold your instrument will be fruitful eventually because you will master playing your ukulele anywhere.

3. Put yourself in the mood

Playing ukulele is supposed to be fun, indulge yourself in the spirit it brings. As much as you may enjoy it, though, remember to practice as much as you "play". Practicing can be things like repetitively switching between two new chords while playing can be something like strumming along to a song you've already mastered. 

4. Always tune your ukulele

A good driver checks his car before heading to the open road. That should be the case for any ukulele player. Playing ukulele out of tune can be frustrating especially when attempting to learn new songs. Though you may know where to place your fingers on the fretboard you'll find that the actual notes that you are playing are not what you intended to play. Thus, tuning your Ukulele regularly is a basic thing to do if you really want to be a good player.

5. Start with the easy Ukulele Chords

​There are a handful of chords you can learn as a beginner that only require you to hold down one or two strings. Even the "G major" chord, which requires 3 fingers, is easy for beginners. These also happen to be chords that will allow you to play hundreds of songs! 

C Chord

Ululele C Chord

F Chord

Ukulele F Chord

Am Chord

Ukulele Aminor Chord

G Chord

Ukulele G Chord

With these four chords, you can play more songs than you can possibly imagine. Check out our list of Easy Ukulele Songs that just use those chords! 

6. Play in time using a metronome
Metronome

When it comes to time, music is precise. Having the right tempo or speed is important in playing the ukulele. Metronomes are electric tools that beep in time and can be set for different patterns or speed. For a beginner, the trick to learning to play the ukulele faster is playing slower. Let's say you want to play a song of 85BPM with ease. You'll begin by first setting mini goals, which in this case will be to play the song at a rate of 65BPM, which is significantly lower than the original, in fact, a full 20 beats per minute slower. Once you can play the song perfectly at 65BPM you may increase the pace to 70BPM. Continue adding 5BPM increment until you get to 85BPM.

7. Hum song lyrics while playing slowly

Test your skills by humming along your favorite while playing the uke. If you hum while playing using a metronome you can pace yourself. Be sure to start only strumming on the down strokes. Later on, you can play a certain section of the song repeatedly while humming the song lyrics. Singing along while playing the ukulele helps you to familiarize with your instrument while getting used to using your voice. Focus more on strumming the chords with the right timing and just barely singing. When learning, lyrics is a minor concern. By humming along you'll have an easier time if and when you want to start singing as you play.

8. Take breaks and repeat

Give you mind and arms a break once in a while. Practice changing between two chords for 5 minutes, then take a minute or two off (or to practice strumming). This will help ingrain these repetitive movements without trying to play for hours while frustrated.  This will make it easier to play after a while without any conscious effort.


There are a lot of great tips for beginners on the web. Check out the tips that UkuGuides and UkuleleTricks have put together too! 

Tuning A Ukulele

Tuning a Ukulele Made Simple

Ukulele

Just like any other musical instrument, it is important to have the ukulele in tune or it will not sound right and may discourage you from playing. For various reasons stringed instruments go out of tune from time to time, so it is advisable to check the tuning before playing. Once you become comfortable with tuning your ukulele, you will discover that it is not that difficult to retune the ukulele as needed.

The article begins with a discussion with the string tuning, reentrant tuning, the difference between low G and high g and relative tuning. Next, is a step-by-step guide on how to tune the ukulele using the applicable tuning method. We'll also give you some resources to tune your ukulele electronically.


Ukulele Tuning 

Starting at the top (thickest) to the bottom (thinnest) the strings of the ukulele are typically tuned to the G C E and A notes and is called C-tuning. This is the standard tuning arrangement for the soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles. The strings are numbered 4 3 2 1 respectively, so in standard C-tuning the open 4th string corresponds to a G note. 

Another common tuning arrangement typically used on the soprano and concert ukuleles is D-tuning where the strings are tuned to the A D F# and B notes. This is one step higher than C-tuning. Some people prefer D-tuning since it brings out a sweeter tone.

Lastly, the baritone ukulele is usually tuned in a D G B E arrangement from low to high, similar to the guitar.

Reentrant Tuning

In reentrant tuning, the strings are not tuned from lowest to highest pitch as expected. In other words, the 4th G-string has a higher pitch than the 3rd C string which is counter intuitive. Some musicians prefer to have the strings ordered lowest to the highest pitch, in which case they would not be using reentrant tuning. 

This also explains the difference between high g and low G tuning. If the 4th G string is tuned higher than the 3rd C string, then the 4th G string is referred to as a high g. If the 4th G string is tuned lower that the 3rd C string then it is known as a low G. Notice the upper and lower case nomenclature. Check out the video below so you can hear the difference between high g and low G tuning. 

Also, note there is a slight difference in the strings made specifically for high g opposed to low G tuning. UkuleleHunt has a good article explaining the two. 


Tuning Methods

There are three main ways you can methods to tune your Ukulele, Electronic Tuner, Tune by Note, and Relative Tuning. 

Electronic Tuner​

Electronic tuners are small units that pick up sound waves and display the note on a digital display, they either attach onto the headstock of your guitar or can be set on a nearby table. We prefer this Snark Tuner, it's small and accurate! 

Tune By Note

There are a number of very good resources online that will play a sound clip that you can tune your Ukulele by. This will also help develop your ear to pick out individual notes. We recommend this one by UkuleleTabs

​Relative Tuning

Probably one of the best ways to tune the ukulele is called relative adjustment. This requires no special electronic tuner and may be the right choice if you plan on playing the ukulele by yourself. In this procedure, the ukulele is tuned to a particular sting. Most of the time you'll use the A string and the remaining strings are all tuned to this string. This type of tuning may not be applicable when playing with other people since your ukulele may not be in tune with the other instruments.


Standard Tuning Procedure

Assuming you'll be using Relative tuning, this is a step-by-step procedure for tuning the ukulele for either the high g or low G arrangement. The assumption made is that all the strings are tuned to the 1st string (Open A string in C-Tuning). 

1. Hold the 5th fret of the 2nd E string which is the A note. Play this note and the open 1st A together. Using the tuning peg on the headstock, adjust the pitch of the E string until it matches the pitch of the open A string.

2. Hold the 4th fret of the 3rd C string which is the E note. Play this note and the open 2nd E together. Adjust the pitch of the C string until it matches the pitch of the open E string.

3. If the 4th string is a high g then

Hold the 2nd fret of the 4th G string which is the A note. Play this note and the open 1st A together. Using the tuner, adjust the pitch of the G string until it matches the pitch of the open A string.

If the 4th string is a low G then:

Hold the 5th fret of the 4th G string which is the C note. Play this note and the open 3rd C together. Using the tuner, adjust the pitch of the G string until it matches the pitch of the open C string.<br><br>


What Tuning Is Right for Me?

High g and low G tuning is simply a matter of preference, what sounds better to your ear? Most beginners start with the high g tuning since this is ideal for strumming. High g tuning is also preferred for the more treble oriented traditional Hawaiian rhythm and sound. It also keeps the spectrum note tighter and usually doubles two notes (no octave) of a chord. A ukulele that is tuned with the high g is said to have a light and airy sound. Many musicians who are after the traditional Ukulele sound prefer the high g

Guitarists typically prefer the low G tuning since it is similar to the tuning of a guitar. The low G tuning does increase the lower range by three notes, or five half steps giving more notes to work with which may be ideal for soloists. Some claim the low G tuning gives the ukulele a more rounded and even sound.

Either way, learning how to tune the ukulele may take some time at first, but don't let that discourage you. Once the ukulele is in tuned, it should not take long to retune the ukulele from time to time. Having your ukulele in tune will bring years of musical enjoyment and encourage you to play more often.