Category Archives for "Ukulele"

Types of Ukulele

What are the Different Types of Ukulele?

Ukulele

Ukulele Sizes 

When most think of the Ukulele they picture the small, jangly sounding instrument that the uke started as. Like many stringed instruments, though, the ukulele has grown and been adjusted to fit different styles and sounds. 

While the traditional Ukulele is exactly what you would expect it to be, the baritone uke resembles more of a travel guitar than the Hawaiian instrument. We've also seen the emergence of the Banjolele, a hybrid mix of banjo and ukulele. 

This article will focus on the four standard types of Ukulele – soprano, concert, tenor, and the baritone. We've also breifly add the Sopranino on this list due to its emergence and popularity in recent times. 

Sopranino

Soprano

Concert

Tenor

Baritone

Length

16''

21-23''

23-24'' 

26''

29''

Frets

10-12

12-15

15-18

17-19

18-21


Sopranino Ukulele

It is a tiny Ukulele with about ten frets and is generally tuned the same was as a soprano. These ukuleles have become popular with some large instrument companies, making it readily available.

This Ukulele is widely viewed as a novelty instrument, but as the video below shows can be used for some pretty great renditions. 


Soprano Ukulele

The soprano is the traditional size for the ukulele, so it's often referred to as the 'standard size'. The instrument is fairly small and can be rather difficult to play because of this.

Also, due to the size, the soprano creates a softer, thinner sounds than its bigger counterparts. Many people say the soprano uke 'sings'. 

This is perfect if you're after the traditional high pitched, relaxing, fun sound associated with Hawaiian music, but if you're after something louder and more pronounced the larger models may be more your speed. 


Concert Ukulele

The concert ukulele is a great starting point for new ukulele players. Its size makes it large enough that many of the issues that arise from the soprano size are minimized without losing that true ukulele sound. 

Concert ukuleles are also generally fairly inexpensive due to their size, especially compared to the tenor and baritone sizes.  ​


Tenor Ukulele 

Very similar to the concert in size and sound, the tenor is usually a good starting point for a guitarist who is looking to make the switch to Ukulele. 

The tenor ukulele will have a slightly fuller sound than the concert due to its larger size, but will carry the price tag to go with it. 

Below you'll find two videos that show the differences between the soprano, concert, and tenor. The first show's each being played so you can get a feel for the difference in sound and the second shows size differences and does a great job talking through the three. 


Baritone Ukulele 

The largest of the major ukuleles, the baritone is similar in size to a small travel guitar. They will produce the richest sound of any of the ukuleles. 

One of the big benefits to the baritone is that it can be tuned just like the bottom four (highest) strings on a standard 6-string guitar - DGBE. 

You generally will only find a very small selection of baritone ukes at your average music store, if you find them at all, making shopping for them somewhat difficult. ​


There are a lot of websites out there where you can get information about Ukulele sizes, the effect on sound, and which one may be right for you. The article on  LiveUkulele about sizes and sounds is a valuable resource if you want to know more.  


Ukulele Shapes 

Figure 8 

This is the traditional shape for the ukulele, and it closely resembles a guitar. the two 'loops' of the 8 are called bouts, and they are separated by the waist. 

There is a cutaway style figure-8 that is becoming more popular as it allows access to the higher frets. ​

Pineapple 

This ukulele has a rounder shape that resembles the shape of a pineapple, giving the instrument its name. This ukulele is somewhat of a novelty addition though it actually produces a louder sound than the traditionally shaped ukulele. 

Pineapple Ukuleles are widely available on soprano and concerts sizes, while not as popular as the larger types of ukulele.

 Types of Ukulele Tonewoods

Ukuleles share many construction materials with standard guitars, generally using solid wood or laminated wood construction. For a short time after World War II they were also made out of a cheap plastic, which you can read about HERE.

Solid wood construction ukuleles are generally more expensive and have a better resonance than their laminate counterparts, thought the laminate is normally sturdier. 

Koa

Koa is the traditional wood used by Hawaiian artisans and it is still widely used. The material lends itself to a very mid-range overall. The tropical wood sports a variety of grain patterns and beautiful colors. 

Mahogany

This is one of the most used woods when making musical instruments. It is preferred because of its great strength at a lower weight and is commonly found on the neck of both ukuleles and guitars. 

Spruce

Spruce is a softwood that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is famous for being bright, loud, full, and warm.

Cedar

A very popular soundboard wood for tenor and baritone ukuleles. It is softer than spruce, with less pointed mids but often more bass. It also has a sophisticated overtone and is considered alive, sweet and with the right bite.

Maple

Renowned for its clarity, less overtone clutter, and strong and dynamic ability. Maple back and sides produce some of the best sounds in ukulele.

Rosewood

Rosewood is popular for the sides and back of flagship models of acoustic guitars. Less common on the ukulele, it has an impressive mid-range and low overtone. Normally  when it's used it is paired with a softwood top.

Wrap Up

When talking about the ukulele types not only do we have to account for size, but also for shape. While the Ukulele is very much so the powerhouse Hawaiian instrument we think of, it's expanded to be much more versatile too! 

What is your favorite type of ukulele? We'd love to hear from you! 

Best Ukulele Strings

What are the Best Ukulele Strings?

Ukulele

As anyone who has played a stringed instrument for any length of time will tell you, the kind of strings you use will matter. Perhaps not to a beginner, but as you tune your craft you'll certainly start to see the differences.

The Best Ukulele Strings guide will help you know what is on the market today to help your search. Familiarize yourself with the different sizes, construction materials, and quality factors of Ukulele Strings in StringVibe's upcoming article, "Ultimate Guide to Ukulele Strings"!


Ukulele String Materials​

Traditionally, Ukulele strings were made of cat gut but in modern times, they have been more likely nylon or synthetic material. On rarer occasions, you can find Uke players strumming steel or metal wound strings. 


8 of the Best Ukulele Strings

Aquila Nylgut

Aquila Nylgut is on of the most popular strings with ukulele players. These strings are usually white and made with a proprietary composite material called nylgut. They are smooth, feel dry, and play a bright tone. Nylgut has become famous for making cheap ukuleles come alive with volume and presence. If you're not sure which strings to start with, it's hard to beat these.


Aquila Super Nylgut

Aquila recently released this Super Nylgut strings. This is the next step in synthetic gut strings, they provide a smooth and polished feel. They also should stay in tune longer than the original Nylgut strings due to a reduction in the stretch of each string. These strings produce a similar sound to Aquila Nylgut, but they should stay in tune longer and play truer, the downfall is they may not last as long. 


Aquila Red

The "Reds" are another relatively new string type, this string has been designed to have less variance in width across all 4 strings. They are very popular with Ukulele players who dislike the squeakiness of a wound low-G string and the blaring volume that goes with it. The biggest complaint these strings received is the low-G string, without the support of the wind, has been extremely brittle.


Worth Clear

Worth Clear strings are usually highly recommended by heavy hitting players because they are made with fluorocarbon giving them a thin but sturdy feel. These strings are one of the most expensive as they are made and produced in Japan.

If you are looking for a more mellow, mild sound look at the Worth Brown Strings


Living Water

Ken Middleton, who is recognized from his many excellent YouTube videos, makes these strings. The strings are very similar to the Super Nylgut. They tend to be clear, very light, and louder than many other strings. 

Ken designed these strings for his own use, but they've become a popular option for players of all skill levels. 


D’Addario Pro-Arte

D'Addario have classically been a guitar strings manufacturer that have branched into the Ukulele. They are a high-tension string though it doesn't affect the playability much at all. Even though they are made of nylon, they are slightly fatter than fluorocarbon. They produce good sound and are used by professional ukulele player and musician Jake Shimabukuro.


Martin M600 Fluorocarbon

Another set of strings that are made from fluorocarbon. They hold for a long time due to their tune-to-pitch tension design and are nice and smooth on the fretboard. They are associated with just the right volume, sustain, and tone.

A really good review discussion of these strings can be found at UkuleleUnderground. ​


Ko’olau Gold

Very popular with Concert Ukulele players, these strings are the most popular Ko'olau make. They are made from traditional nylon and therefore tend to have a muted sound that is very warm. They are highly polished giving them a nice feel on the fretboard.


Wrap Up

Ukulele players agree, these are some of the best strings you can find. We intentionally did not add any natural gut (cat gut) to this list due to the fact they are generally more expensive and don't play as well as many of the synthetics made today. We would, however, recommend you look into them if you would like to experience playing the "real thing". 

Ukulele Clubs

11 Ukulele Clubs and Groups Well Worth the Visit

Ukulele

Playing music is simply more fun if you're in the company of others. Ukulele clubs and groups make this possible. 

By gathering lovers of the uke together not only do you find players of all levels​, but you are able to network with people you know you have at least one thing in common with. What a great way to start a friendship! 

We support all Ukulele groups, simply on principle. They are a great idea and most likely fun for everyone involved.

Some groups are special, though. Either it's years of performances, a special cause, or simply years of meetings, we want to acknowledge them with a little head nod in the form of this article!  ​

1. The Allegheny Ukulele Kollective

Allegheny Ukulele Kollective

A group that started back in 2010 jamming wherever they could find a little place to gather, this group now has 4-5 scheduled events monthly.

Not only do they now have scheduled events they are planning to expand. The current goal is to help the community with jams at places like local schools and nursing homes! 

If you are anywhere near Altoona, PA you should look into this club. If not, visit the site for thier songbook at AlleghanyUkes!


2. Survivor Girl Ukulele Band

Survivor Girl Ukulele Band

A group with possibly the most heart touching mission on this list. 

Each year, Laurie Kallevig journeys to Southeast Asia to battle human trafficking by teaching Ukulele to young girls often effected by this act. 

In 2016 she taught a group of children to play, those kids ended up doing ten shows in Kolkata! She also brought eight of these girls in to a recording studio! 

There are a lot of things you could donate too this year, but few better. Check out more at Survivor Girl's website and ​"Join the Band!"


3. Vermont Ukulele Society

One of the older Ukulele clubs on our list, this group has been growing and forming for 8 years. If you're headed to New England anytime soon, don't forget to bring your Uke!

Today they have a performing group that can be found in places like Stowe, VT on Spruce Peak and their normal bi-monthly meeting at Howden Hall in Bristol.

The VtUkes website is also extremely helpful. You'll find information about all their gatherings and performances, photo and video libraries (Including Jim D'Ville's basic 26 lessons), recordings, and the song library! ​


4. Long Island Ukuele Strummers Club

Long Island Ukulele Club

A self proclaimed 'rag-tag group of uke-crazed wanna-be musicians, the Long Island Uke club has put together a wonderful Ukulele resource for players of all levels. 

​The group gets together two or three times a month to strum, and if you have any questions concerning what a get together is like they have a bunch of recordings on the site, great to check out. 

While you're waiting for the next live meeting spend some time on the site, it is full of videos, resources and fun YouTube clips you'll enjoy for hours! ​


5. Schoodic Arts For All Ukulele Club

Schoodic Ukulele Club

To say that Schoodic is a Ukulele Club is probably selling the entire rest of their teachings and performances short. 

Scoodic has close to twenty different clubs and programs that they teach to budding artists of all interests, so while we talk about the Ukes, don't forget they have plenty else to offer!

​Born from a Ukin' Do it workshop, instructor Gene Nichols turned this group into a weekly meetup and has expanded to any acoustic instrument. 


6. Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society

Brisbane Ukulele Society

Affectionately referred to as "BUMS", the Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society is one of the largest and longest running clubs to make our list! 

If you live in Australia near Brisbane the clubs jams are held at 7 different locations, and they have anywhere from 10-15 meetups a month! 

They are also the powering force behind SPRUKE, a bi-annual ukulele festival held in Queensland. This even may be a great reason to plan a vacation if you're not already "down under". 

Last but not least, the website is a great resource for songbooks, beginner Uke topics, tuners, and links to other Uke sites. If you can't be in Australia, it's the next best thing.


7. Toronto Ukes

Toronto Ukes is possibly the most active of all the groups on this list. With three weekly gatherings they provide ALMOST enough Uke content to keep us happy (that will probably never happen!) 

They started in 2009 with the Corktown Ukulele Jam and since then have added the "Annex Ukulele Jam" at Toronto's legendary Tranzac Club! get together and a Monday morning kickstart to get the week off to the right start. 

If you're interested in this club sign up for their newsletter and never miss an event that the Toronto Uke Club is putting on!


8. People of Lewisham's Ukulele Club

With over seven years of experience, this London based club has something for everyone. Weekly Tuesday meetings give plenty of time to explore new tunes, teach beginners, and simply have fun! 

The long-running meetings has also allowed People of Lewisham's Ukulele Club to put together a very strong performance group, having played at events like the Hither Green Festival, Doctor Jazz, and Va Pensiero! 

The site also has a good list of popular posts, many of which are tuned to beginners and newer players. The also have a great collection of links to other sites that will help you learn the Uke! 


9. Prescott Ukulele Guild

The first Thursday of each month is when you can find members of Prescott Ukulele Guild (PUG) assembling to share their love of this instrument. While the monthly meetings are great, it's the sub groups of this origination that make it special. 

PUG has set up smaller bands that go to Veterans Affairs, Assisted living centers, elementary schools, and various organizational meetings around the area. Doing great deeds while playing music!

They also host some very good side events. In fact, friend of StringVibe - Jim D'Ville put on an event demonstrating his "Play By Ear" methodology ​early in 2017 for the guild!


10. San Jose Ukulele Club

San Jose Ukulele Club

Surprisingly, The San Jose Ukulele Club is our only West Coast entry! That being said, not only is this a great group, but they are partnered with groups like the 'Son of the Beach'. 

They do have one of the fullest calender's you'll find as well, plenty of opportunities to break out your Ukulele! Maybe you feel like an Open Mic night, a quick session of Kanikapila, or simply the bi-monthly meeting of SJUC, they have it all! 

Last but not least is their songbook, which is arguably the largest you'll find online! ​


11. Boulder Ukulele Group

It is hard to beat the scenery that the Boulder Ukulele Group (BUG) enjoys. Nestled at the base of the the Colorado Rocky Mountains, join this group and enjoy strumming in the mountain air! 

The group has a monthly meeting that normally tries to stick with a theme to help the creative juices-a-flowing. They've also developed a Ukulele Social Club with two different courses, one for beginners and another for more advanced strummers! 


Wrap Up

Each of these clubs brings something special to the world of Ukulele, but we realize it is no where near a complete list! Please comment below with your favorite Ukulele group or club so we can recognize them as well! 

Ukulele Tutorial

The Best Ukulele Tutorial Sites, Ukulele Lessons, and Finding Local Teachers!

Ukulele

If you are anything like us it seems like every time we turn around we find a new Ukulele Tutorial, teacher, or lesson. The increased popularity of the instrument has created a huge need for quality teachers, and a lot of bad tutorials and lessons floating around. 

So, how do you know which ones to trust? How do you avoid someone who just started playing a week ago trying to sell you a $50 "beginner" course? How do you know a local ukulele teacher is any good? ​

Glad you asked! We are going to start with some of our favorite platforms for learning the Ukulele online. Ukulele lessons and tutorials that really deliver quality teaching. ​

After that, we'll move to finding a good local teacher. One of our favorite places to find quality teachers and jam partners is rarely talked about! ​

The Best Ukulele Tutorial and Ukulele Lesson Sites

Learning the Ukulele from lessons online sounds really appealing, right? You don't have to leave the house, brush your teeth, or even get dressed. Unfortunately, not all Ukulele lessons are created equally.

To solve this problem we've taken the time to list out five places that you can really find good tutorials and lessons. This way, you don't have to wade through a bunch of junk to learn the Uke online!

Ukulele Underground

Ukulele Underground

Ukulele Underground is one of our favorite Ukulele sites, period. It is also one of the most rounded sites with a forum, blog, and both free and paid content. 

Even if you don't want to spend the money on a program, we highly recommend you check out the free content they offer. 

Just remember, you can't just read blog posts, browse the forum, or watch videos to get better. You have to actually pick up your Uke! ​

Artistworks

Artistworks

We first found ArtistWorks while looking for good beginner guitar lessons.

They did such a good job we had to see what else they offered. Turns out they have a great Ukulele course too! Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel team up offer several hundred lessons in a wide variety of styles of play. 

One of our favorite things about this program is even the basic offering gives you a chance to submit recordings to the teachers for feedback! With the premium plan you get UNLIMITED submissions! Realistically, that's as much if not more feedback than you'd get if you had a local teacher you were seeing once a week! 

Ukulele Buddy

Ukulele Buddy

JP. Allen has gotten rave reviews for his new course, UkuleleBuddy. This course utilizes 'deliberate practice' to skyrocket results. 

The program has you play along with three 7-minute videos each week. That is it! We've seen the technique of 'deliberate practice' applied and championed by people like Josh Waitzkin (Think "The Search for Bobby Fischer"), but to our knowledge this is the first time it's been applied to the Ukulele. We couldn't be more excited! 

If your biggest excuse to not learning to play is the time involved then this program is for you! ​

Play Ukulele by Ear​

We consider Jim D'Ville over at PlayUkuleleByEar a friend here at StringVibe. Not only did he do a great interview with us, he's been one of our favorite people to follow and interact with! 

His site is a little different than the first three we mentioned in that it doesn't have a huge paid course. Instead, Jim starts out with 26 basic lessons that get you playing (using your ears, not reading chords/tabs!). 

After that you can follow his weekly updates and continue to grow as a musician and Ukulele player in a way no one else is teaching! 

YouTube

YouTube is a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, it has an absolute ton of content and much of it is high quality. In fact, Ukulele Underground has a lot of their free content posted here! 

Then again, browsing around you can find some very poor tutorials as well. 

So, while YouTube is a great source to find information, proceed with caution! 

Check Out All of Our Favorite Ukulele Sites !!!

Next, a look at where to find a great teacher near you! 


Local Ukulele Teachers

While the convenience of learning Ukulele in the comfort of your own home is hard to beat, if you find a quality teacher near you it can make learning the instrument infinitely easier. 

Regardless of how you find them, though, we do recommend you try out a few teachers. Even if the first person you go to is wonderful and you get along great, they may not be a good teacher. If you can go

We know you want to learn 21 Basic Ukulele Chords to get you started.

Go to several local teachers before you choose you'll be able to compare how and what they are teaching, what is resonating with you.

So, where might you find a (or multiple) high quality teacher near you? Just a note, we didn't mention Google, because, well, that's probably how you found StringVibe!

Referrals

Know any people who are musicians? Guess what, they know other musicians, guaranteed. Ask them if they know anyone, or can get a recommendation from someone in their group. 

This is just like job hunting. An employer is much more likely to hire someone who comes recommended from a mutual contact. There is a reason it works in business, and it works just as well in music! ​

Meetups 

If you are in an urban area Meetup is our favorite (and often overlooked) place to find a great teacher. We've run across many groups that are led by a teacher who just wants to give something back. Or, even better, jam groups that welcome anyone. No other Ukulele players show up? See "Referrals".

Craiglist

You can find anything on Craigslist. This is a good and bad thing. You need to be more careful when answering and ad than you do with our first two options. That being said, there are plenty of musicians who know nothing about advertising, so guess where they go... yup, Craigslist. 

Wrap Up

Hope you found this helpful! Regardless if you go with a local teacher or a online tutorial, you need to pick up your Ukulele and strum to get better! Why are you still here!? Go strum! 

Basic Ukulele Chords

The Basic Ukulele Chords to Focus on First

Ukulele

One of the first things you should do as a beginner Ukulele player is to find a few chords you are comfortable with. If you pick easy ukulele chords out you should be able to progress at a reasonable rate, you'll even be able to pick up songs quickly! 

Most popular songs that you'll want to strum on your uke are made up of a combination of the basic ukulele chords. By that, we mean the major, minor, and 7th chords. Each of these groups has 7 chords (one for each note!), giving you a grand total of 21 basic chords.

Below you'll find a detailed chord diagram for each of these chords, the recommended order you learn them in, and tips to make each one easier! ​

Basics of Ukulele Chord Fingering

Ukulele Fingering Notation

When looking at chord diagrams you'll often see numbers placed on individual frets. These numbers correspond to the fingers on your hand. 

Luckily, universal numbering is used so regardless of what website or book you are looking at the index finger will always be labelled #1.

Similarly, the number two is for the middle finger, three for the index, and finally the pinky finger gets the number four. ​

Note that the thumb is not given a notation. This is because if you are trying to hold down a fret with your thumb chances are you're doing something wrong! 

Chord Chart Symbols to Know

Luckily, the notation for the basic Ukulele chords is very simple. 

If you see an open circle next to a string it means you want to play the open string, a note that you play fretted will have a filled in circle. Normally, you'll also have a number corresponding with the normal finger that plays that fret. 

Chord Chart Symbols

Play songs quickly with our list of two chord Ukulele songs!

Lastly, a symbol you won't have to worry about with any of the simple ukulele chords, the "X" signifies that a string should be muted, or not strummed, when the chord is played. 

The Major Chords on Ukulele

We will start out the the major chords for each note. These are easily the most common of the simple ukulele chords that you'll find. Luckily, most of them are also very easy to play. 

A few of these chords are a bit tougher to play and beginners can struggle with them, so we'll address them last! 

The first three to look at are the A, C, and D chords. 

A Major Chord
A Major Chord
C Major Chord
C Major Chord
D Major Chord
D Major Chord

The A major chord is fairly simple, using just your index and middle fingers at frets fairly close together, its a great starting chord. 

The C major chord is possibly the easiest of all, with just one finger on the 3rd fret of the A string! We recommend you start by playing this note with your ring finger, but as you are more comfortable you may find it easier to transition to other chords if you play this chord with different fingers! Start easy, then work up to that! 

Slightly more difficult is the D chord. With three fingers on a single fret some players can struggle to make each note ring true. Try to stagger your fingers to give them more room, or place one finger on each (a barre chord), this will be great practice for later too!

F Major Chord
F Major Chord
G Major Chord
G Major Chord

Next up, the F Chord. This is a very similar shape the A chord, just move your first finger down one fret. 

The G chord will look familiar to guitar players, it takes the same exact shape as a D chord on a standard six string! 

B Major Chord
B Major Chord
E Major Chord
E major chord

The last two major chords are much more difficult, so we saved the "best" for last. 

The B chord requires you to hold down both the A and E strings with your index finger, then stretch to get the 3rd fret of the C string with your middle finger and the 4th fret of the G string with your ring finger. Tough, but doable with practice! 

Unlike the B chord, which you don't play much, you'll need the E chord quite a bit. Many people when they start struggle to reach the 4th fret with their ring finger when the first and second fingers are resting near the nut. We like to play that note with our pinky, it can help alleviate the long reach! 

The Minor Chords on the Uke

While the major chords carry a full, strong sound the minor chords tend to be softer and have more bite. These are great to know to add a little attitude to your playing. Many songs you'll come across will use both major and minor chords to add variation and originality.

There is really only one difficult minor chord, which is the B minor, and we'll cover that one last. ​

A Minor Chord
A Minor chord
C Minor Chord
C Minor Chord
D Minor Chord
D Minor Chord

​The A minor chord is similar to the C major chord. One finger! Just like the C chord it isn't a bad idea to practice playing this chord with different fingers to make transitioning to the next chord easier! 

Slightly harder is the C minor chord, which has three fingers on the highest three strings on the 3rd fret. At least it's easy to remember (3, 3, 3!).

Next up is the D minor chord, which is another very easy chord. In fact, if you struggle to play the regular D chord this is a great alternative as it will spice up your songs too. ​

E Minor Chord
E Minor Chord
F Minor Chord
F Minor Chord
G Minor Chord
G minor Chord

Thankfully, the E minor chord is no where near as difficult to play as the major version of the chord. A comfortable chord for most, just three fingers on three different strings and frets!

Need a nice new Ukulele? Check out our Favorite Ukulele Brands

The F minor chord on the other hand is a bit more difficult. ​Just like we recommended with the E major chord, the best way to play the last note is with your pinky finger. 

Both the G and the G minor follow the same pattern as the D chords on guitar. Just move your first finger back one fret and you've got it. ​

The only truly difficult minor Ukulele chord is the B minor. The combination of a three string barre on the second fret and the stretch to the G string of the 4th fret is challenging for many. 

B Minor Chord
B Minor Chord

The 7th Chords on Ukulele

The last group of chords that we consider to be basic Ukulele chords are the 7th chords. These are staples of the blues and jazz genres and can add a nice touch to any song. 

Five of these chords are very simple to play, and we'll start with those. After that we'll look at another difficult B chord and the D7, which requires a barre.

A7 Chord
A7 Chord
C7 Chord
C7 Chord
E7 Chord
E7 Chord

​A7 and C7 are a cinch if you've already mastered some of the major and minor chord shapes. Just put your index finger on the correct fret and you're done! 

The E7 chord is slightly more difficult, but with no difficult stretches or hand positioning you'll have this one mastered quickly too. ​

F7 Chord
F7 Chord
G7 Chord
G7 Chord

If you can play the G minor chord than the F7 will be a piece of cake. It is the same shape just shifted up one fret on each note. 

​The G7 is just as easy, and is a simple flip of the G major chord. The most difficult part of this shape is making sure your middle and 3rd fingers don't touch the E string, muting that note. 

B7 Chord
B7 Chord
D7 Chord
D7 Chord

The last two chords we have to cover are both fairly difficult because of the barres that are required. Luckily, the B minor is harder, so if you've mastered that these should come easy. 

It's a good thing that B chords are not extremely popular, because none of them are easy to play! Like we just said though, the B7 requires less of a stretch than the B minor​ chord so it is slightly easier to play. 

The final chord, the D7, requires a bar very similar to the ​B7. The difference is your middle finger will be playing the A string, which can be a difficult shape for many beginners to form. 

Wrap Up

There you have it! By learning these easy ukulele chords (or even half of them) you can literally play hundreds of songs.

Combine a handful of these chords with some basic finger picking patterns and you will be impressing friends in no time! 

Lanikai Ukulele

A Lanikai Ukulele in Every Size, Shape and Sound You Could Want

Ukulele

One name that is fairly common in our world is that of Lanikai Ukulele. Backed by Hohner, a company known for its production of high quality harmonicas and accordions, Lanikai has developed a reputation for quality and affordability. 

Most know the Ukuleles from Lanikai for their very good selection of beginner​ and intermediate models. This only covers half of it. 

The Lanikai Hawaiian Made Solid Koa line of Ukuleles holds its own with any other instruments you'll find.​ In fact, many of the high-end Lanikai Ukes are made in Hawaii even today. 

Lanikai also has some very innovative technology that you won't find with any other brands. The Intonation Innovation technology allows you to move the nut up and down the neck, allowing you to play open chords anywhere!

The Kula equipped models come with a three band EQ, making switching between low, mid, and high range as simple as could be. The Kula preamp also comes equipped with a tuner which makes one less item you'll need to carry in your gig bag.

Lanikai LUSJ Concert Sailor Jerry

Image courtesy of Amazon

Finally, the UkeSB models make recording yourself playing as easy as plugging a USB chord from your instrument to your computer!

Lanikai Ukulele Sizes​

Lanikai is like many of the larger Ukulele brand manufacturers in that they cover all the popular ukulele sizes, plus some hybrid models like the banjolele. What are the popular sizes? Glad you asked! 

Lanikai Soprano Ukulele​

The smallest of the offerings from Lanikai is the Soprano. They make it in both the standard "8" shape and the popular pineapple shape as well. Just because they are small doesn't mean they lack in quality or features, though! You can find the TunaUke, the UkeSB, and the Kula EQ setup on these models. 

LU22CGC Natural Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Lanikai Concert Ukuleles​

The concert ukulele size is the perfect starting point for many. It's not as small and fragile as the soprano, yet still holds true to many of the traditional Ukulele qualities. 

The "LU22CGC" Concert Ukulele, pictured right, is one of their basic models. The Sailor Jim, pictured above, is a special release model that shows the variety.

Lanikai Tenor Ukulele

The Tenor sized Ukuleles tend to be the most popular in today's market. They are the great compromise between size and sound. Lanikai is well aware of this and generally produce the most selection in this size. As of the writing of this article they have 19 different models to choose from. 

Lanikai Baritone Ukuleles

In many ways, the baritone ukulele is the "mini" guitar. It's very similar to the size of a travel guitar and because of this has a much deeper sound. If you are a guitar player this may be the perfect size to transition to. Start by tuning it to the highest 4 strings of your guitar and slowly work to comfort with the traditional Ukulele tuning. 

Not Sure About Lanikai Ukes? Check Out Our Other Recommended Ukulele Brands! 


Lanikai Ukulele Recommendations

This wasn't easy. Lanikai has so many quality instruments that it is hard to pick a bad instrument. We've picked out a winner and a runner up in each category and we've tried to spread out the price range so every budget has a great choice! 


Lanikai Soprano Ukulele

Lanikai Soprano Ukulele Reccomendation: Lanikai CMTU-S Curly Mango TunaUke

The Hawaiian Curly Mango used to produce this instrument gives it a very unique and authentic look and sound. Truly a joy to play and a Uke you simply won't want to put down. 

Equipped with the TunaUke technology this ukulele is also a single adjustment away from perfect intonation. This system is simply a game changer for Ukuleles. 

Runner Up:  Lanikai LU-21 Ukulele Bundle

The perfect Ukulele for a kid or as a first instrument. The LU-21 provides plenty of quality to last while not carrying a significant price-tag. 

Lanikai CMTU-S Curly Mango TunaUke

Image courtesy of Amazon


Lanikai Concert Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai TunaUke SMTU-C Ukulele

SMTU-C TunaUke Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Possibly our favorite Lanikai as far as looks goes, the SMTU-C is beautiful. A Solid Spalted Hawaiian Mango top and body combine with a Abalone purfling and rosette for it's perfect tone and overall look. Not a cheap instrument, but it will surly turn heads twice. 

Runner Up: Lanikai LU22CGC Natural Concert Ukulele

We pictured this Ukulele above when talking about the size of the Concert Ukes, One of our favorite Lanikai's for the price sensitive musician (Aren't we all!). 


Lanikai Tenor Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai Legacy Collection LU2-6   

The Legacy Collection is designed to infuse classic Ukulele designs with fresh takes. In the case of the LU2-6, they've added an extra string to the C and A strings. If you haven't heard an instrument with doubled strings, you need to. 

A 8-string slotted headstock design and naturally finished mahogany body pair with a rosewood fretboard for a great instrument at a very reasonable price. 

Runner Up: Lanikai Legacy Collection 8-string Tenor

The closest thing you'll find to a 12-string guitar, the depth of tone and range of sound this instrument produces is amazing! 

Lanikai Legacy Collection LU2-6

Image courtesy of Amazon


Lanikai Baritone Ukulele

Lanikai Concert Ukulele Recommendation:  Lanikai CK-TEK Baritone Ukulele

Generally any Ukulele you find built from the native Hawaiian Exotic Curly Koa is a special instrument. The CK-TEK is no exception. As with most Baritone Ukes, this instrument can be tuned to either GCEA or DGBE!

Perfect for gearing up, this model is also equipped with Kula Electronics giving you the flexibility of a three band EQ. 

Runner Up:  Lanikai LUTU 21BEK Baritone Ukulele

If you want the combination of the TunaUke technology and the three band EQ, this is your Ukulele! 

Lanikai CK-TEK Baritone Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon


Wrap Up

Lanikai has a rich history and a well deserved reputation for quality. Add in their impressive line of innovations and goal to keep the ukulele fun and you've got a manufacturer you can trust! 

Magic Fluke Ukuleles

Why Magic Fluke Ukuleles are in a Class All Their Own

Ukulele

Generally speaking, if you told us a Ukulele was made with a plastic body, neck, and fretboard I wouldn't be excited. Add a laminated wood top and we'd probably assume you were talking about a cheap Chinese knock-off. Unless, of course, you told me it was one of the great little Magic Fluke Ukuleles. 

The Fluke Ukulele started shipping in 1999 with a unique and original take on traditional Ukulele design. ​A few years later the Flea began production with the same materials and style. 

Both the Flea and the Fluke are made with a plastic thermoformed body and a laminated wood top. ​This combination enables the instruments to produce a much more authentic, fuller sound than plastic Ukes can pull off. 

They also share the companies standard molded polycarbonate fingerboard and bridge. While many may feel this is a detractor, it actually ​guarantees perfect intonation!

On most of their models the uniquely shaped headstock and neck are made out of solid maple.​

Magic Fluke Sizes 

The flea and fluke are really only made in one size each, so we'll cover them and quickly touch on the "Firefly" which is their banjo uke. 

The Flea Ukulele

The Flea Ukulele comes in a 14'' soprano or a 15.5'' concert size. The shape of the Flea lends itself to generous string spacing. Thanks to the plastic back both models weigh in right around 1lbs. 

Magic Fluke Flea Ukulele
The Fluke Ukulele
Magic Fluke Ukulele

The ukulele that started the movement. The Fluke comes in the traditional concert size and recently the tenor size. The body size for both is the same, but the concert has a 15.5'' scale length, while the tenor is 17''. Both sizes are able to handle GCEA tuning as well as High D tuning, making it fun and versatile!

Want more options? Check out our other favorite Ukulele Brands!

Now, time for our recommendations! 


Magic Fluke Flea Ukulele

Our Recommendation: Magic Fluke Co Flea Designer Surf Concert Ukulele

The designer series comes with custom designs by Evelyn Drew. You have nearly 30 options to choose from so shop around! One of our favorites is the Surf. The red and wood tone mixture is the perfect balance of style and tradition for us. The Seacliff Beach and Honu Walnut also get two thumbs up! 

Magic Fluke Co Flea Designer Surf

Image courtesy of Amazon

Runner Up: Magic Fluke Co Flea M30 Ukulele Natural

This Ukulele could be mistaken for the early models of the Flea. It's natural finish combined with the signature headstock make this a great choice for new Uke players and experienced pros alike. 


Magic Fluke Ukulele

Our Recommendation: Magic Fluke Co Fluke Designer Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele

Magic Fluke Co Fluke Designer Floral Mango Tenor Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Just like the Flea Designer series, with the Fluke designer you have a wide range of options for colorful patterns, custom artwork, or natural wood looks. As an added bonus, you can now get custom printing or laser engraving if you'd rather go that direction. 

Both the tenor and concert sizes provide amazing sound and years of fun with this durable, great sounding instrument.  

Runner Up:  Magic Fluke M10 Natural Ukulele

It is hard to find a better Ukulele under $200. This instrument sounds great and is everything you'd expect from the Magic Fluke Co. 


Wrap Up

If you are looking for a fun instrument that is extremely durable then the Magic Fluke Company's offerings are right up your ally. 

Luna Ukuleles

Our Favorite Artistically Stunning Luna Ukuleles

Ukulele

In the current world of instrument manufacturing, where so many Ukes look very similar, no one will mistake the Luna Ukuleles. 

Luna was co-founded by an artist, Yvonne ​de Villiers, who not only wanted to make instruments that were pieces of art, but ones that had soul. She set out to create a tribe of people who played Luna, not just a bunch of customers. 

Luna's Ukuleles range from colorful and vibrant to simple. A model like the Luna Honu (to the right) has an elegant but understated design, while something like the Great Wave Concert (pictured with the Concert Ukes) is colorful and will be noticed by everyone who sees it. 

Luna Honu Concert Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

We will start by looking at the different sizes Ukulele that Luna offers, followed by specific recommendations! 

Luna Ukulele Sizes 

Luna has done an amazing job offering selections in each of the normal size ranges for Ukuleles, plus a few extras like their pineapple ukes.

Luna Soprano Ukulele​

The traditional size of the Ukulele, Luna offers multiple models in this size. Not only that, but you'll find it's selection of Pineapple Ukes at this size! 

Luna Great Wave Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Luna Concert Ukulele​

The Concert size is one of the more popular, being slightly bigger than the Soprano but more traditionally sized than the Tenor or Baritone. 

Luna offers a great selection of concert sized Ukuleles, currently offering over 20 different models. ​This includes the "Great Wave", pictured on the left. 

Luna Tenor Ukulele​

This might be the perfect middle ground if you are undecided. The slightly bigger build gives this size group a full sound, but no where near the bulk of a full size guitar. 

Luna Baritone Ukulele​

This is the largest of the standard Ukulele sizes, being close to the size of a travel guitar. If you're transitioning from guitar this might be a perfect option, especially since it can be tuned exactly like the bottom four stings of a guitar!

Want more options? Check out our other favorite Ukulele Brands

Now that you know what you're looking at, lets get to the specific recommendations! 


Luna Soprano Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Aurora Soprano Ukulele

This fun little Ukulele is perfect for kids or those young at heart. You can also pick the "Faerie" art for the face! 

As a bonus many vendors on Amazon offer a gig bag, tuner, or beginner package with this Ukulele to get you equipped with whatever you need! 

Luna Aurora Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Runner Up:  Luna Vintage Mahogany Red Satin

If the graphics on the Aurora are a bit to bright, colorful, and attention grabbing for your tastes we understand. The clean, sharp, and elegant finish of the Vintage Red Satin might be exactly what you're looking for. 


Luna Concert Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Exotic Series Spalt Maple Concert Ukulele

Luna Exotic Series Spalt Maple

Image courtesy of Amazon

The finish touch for this Ukulele is Splat Maple and it is simply stunning. The exotic series also has a Olive Ash Burl and a Maple Burl option that are both beautiful in their own right. The crescent moon sound hole adds the finishing touch of style to this Uke. 

The rare tonewoods used for these Ukes also give them a beautifully light, airy sound that fits perfect with the tropical traditions of the instrument. 

Runner Up: Luna Honu Mahogany Ukulele

Pictured in the introduction to our article, this simple, elegant design is a great first Ukulele. The price is also a bit more appealing than that of the Exotic Series. 


Luna Tenor Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna High Tide 8-String Tenor Ukulele

If you've ever heard the distinctive ring of a 12-string guitar you know what an amazingly full sound it produces. The 8-string Ukulele is no less special! A little harder to play than a normal 4-string, but well worth it once it's mastered. 

A full Mahogany body matched with an onboard preamp, rosewood fretboard, and satin finish make this an instrument that is truly enjoyable to play. 

Runner Up:  Luna Tribal Tenor Ukulele

This mahogany bodied Uke is adorned with traditional Pacific carving inspired designs. The Tribal series pays homage to the islands that gave us the Ukulele. 

Luna High Tide 8 String Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon


Luna Baritone Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Luna Bass Ukulele 

Luna Bass Ukulele - Black

Image courtesy of Amazon

Even a brand like Luna can't resist the temptation to make a stylish gloss black instrument. The spruce top, mahogany sides, and Flatwound strings combine for the deep sound this instrument produces. 

Thanks to the built-in Preamp this Ukulele can be played acoustically or plugged in and really amplified. 

Runner Up:  Luna Tattoo 6-string Baritone Ukulele

Is this a guitar or is this a Ukulele? 

We aren't sure. But we do know it's fun to play and has the 'tattoo' design that Luna is known for. Definitely not a traditional instrument which is part of it's charm. 


Wrap Up 

While Luna isn't the most well known Ukulele manufacturer, nor do they compete with some brands on the high-end models, they make truly beautiful, quality instruments. 

We have no doubt Luna will continue to make instruments that inspire, and we will upgrade our choices as they come out with new models! ​

Martin Ukulele

Experience the Sound of a Martin Ukulele

Ukulele

You've heard of Martin Guitars, right? Silly question, we know. 

Did you know Martin also makes some pretty amazing Ukuleles? That might be a surprise. Many people don't know about them, and many people are missing out.

Starting production in 1919, Martin puts 175 years of guitar manufacturing and ​almost a hundred years of Ukulele making experience into all of their instruments, and it shows.

Recommending a Martin Ukulele is actually kinda tough. They don't make a bad instrument, therefor it's almost an embarrassment of riches as we talk about them.  

To decide which Martins we'd recommend we had to look at a lot of factors. Not only did we look at all of the items we normally consider, things like: volume, tone, sound, material, construction, and appearance, with Martin we decided to ​consider the cost too. It would be easy to recommend a bunch of $1000-$2000 Ukes that many in our audience couldn't afford. but we wanted to select some that most of our audience would really enjoy and still be able to afford. 

Before we get into our recommendations, we want to cover the sizes available to you when shopping Martin Ukuleles. ​

Martin Ukulele Sizes

The only major size category that Martin does not currently offer is the Baritone, they have very strong offerings in the Soprano, Concert, and Tenor sizes, though. 

Leaning Ukulele
​Martin Soprano Ukes

Martin's Soprano Ukes carry a traditional size and shape. Most are 20'' long and have 17 frets. Despite their small size, Martin manages to get great, relaxing, light sound out these instruments that makes it easy to imagine you're enjoying the beaches of Hawaii.

Martin Concert Ukulele

Possibly the perfect starter Ukulele, the concert size is easier for many to play then the Soprano but carries more of a traditional sound than some Tenor or Baritone models. Weighing in at 23'' long and equipped with 17 frets, these are some of our favorite Martins. 

Martin Tenor Ukulele

If you're transitioning from a Martin Guitar to the Ukulele this may be the perfect size for you to start with. The Tenor Uke is the largest size that Martin makes and is just a little smaller than a travel guitar. 

Measuring 26'' long and equipped with a standard 20 frets, this instrument will be comfortable for most former guitar players. 

Want more choices? Check out our other favorite Ukulele Brands 


Now, on to the information you came for! Here are our recommendations for Martin Ukes in each of the three size categories they produce Ukuleles in. 

Martin Soprano Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Martin S1 Ukulele

The Martin S1 is everything you'd expect from a Martin without the heavy price tag you may be dreading. This Uke sports a one-piece mahogany top paired with a full solid wood mahogany body. The fretboard is made out of a super playable morado material. 

You can normally find this Uke for under $500, giving you all the quality you'd expect from Martin at a very reasonable price. 

Runner Up:  Martin OXK Soprano Ukulele

The least expensive Martin we could find. This is an amazing value. 

Martin S1 Ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Martin Concert Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Martin 2 Concert Ukulele

A special Uke, the Martin 2 has everything you'd expect from a Ukulele at this price. Genuine one peice mahogany body and neck are coupled with a East Indian Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. 

Martin 2 Concert

Image courtesy of Amazon

The Black Tusq saddle and the grained Ivoroid Binding really shine on this model, adding the extra special touch you'd expect from an instrument in this price range. 

Runner Up:  Martin C1K Concert Uke

This instrument sports the beautiful traditional Uke wood Hawaiian Koa and a price tag that will fit in more budgets than the Martin 2. 

Martin Tenor Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Martin 1T IZ Tenor Ukulele

There may only be one artist who played the Ukulele who is a household name. That man, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (IZ) inspired millions. This instrument is Martins tribute to him. As a finishing touch to a brilliant Uke, this instrument is adorned with an "IZ" inlaid in a hibiscus flower that is pink awabi pearl. 

Simply put, this Ukulele is worth every penny. 

Runner Up: Martin Natural Koa Tenor

This beautiful Hawaiian Koa Ukulele doesn't have the bells and whistles that the "IZ" does, but its an amazing value and one you'll be happy with for years.

Martin 1T IZ Tenor

Image courtesy of Amazon

Wrap Up​

It is obvious if you look at any of the Martin Ukuleles that they've used the lessons they've learned from almost 100 years of manufacturing to guarantee they remain an elite instrument maker. 

Yes, these Ukuleles are expensive. That being said, it's safe to say that if you spend the money you won't need a new instrument for many, many years! ​

Kala Ukulele

Our Favorite Kala Ukulele – In Each Size!

Ukulele

Kala Ukulele is one of the really premier Uke makers that turns its talents to this fun little instrument. Why is this a bad thing, you ask? 

The problem arises from the rather large selection of Ukuleles they produce, leaving more than a few options as to which you should chose.

To make your decision easier, we looked at the Ukes available in each of the different sizes (soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone) and picked out one that we​ are confident you'll love. 

Kala Ukulele Sizes

There are four main sizes that Kala makes their Ukuleles in. The soprano, the concert, the tenor, and the baritone. We'll quickly cover the differences so you  can better choose the right one for you. Want more help? Check out our guide to the different types of Ukulele!

Kala Soprano Ukulele

This is generally regarded as the "standard" Ukulele size and is the most traditional. This fun little size is between 21 and 23 inches long and will have between 12 and 15 frets. 

Because of it's small size it can be difficult for larger individuals, or former guitar players, to jump right in on this instrument. 

Makala MK-C Concert 

Makala MK-C

image courtesy of Amazon

Kala Concert Ukulele

Just slightly larger than a Soprano, the Concert size can be easier for many individuals to play than the Soprano without sacrificing the genuine Ukulele sound we all love. 

Kala Tenor Ukulele

The tenor is the largest ukulele that is tuned in the traditional sense. Tenors are normally around 26'' long and have around 18 frets. 

At this size you'll start to get a little deeper, fuller sound than the soprano and concerts, but don't worry, people will still know instantly that it's a Ukulele! 

Kala Baritone Ukulele

The baritone Ukulele has become more popular in the recent years as it's a bit of a hybrid instrument. 

This model is similar to size to that of a travel guitar and is often tuned to the bottom (highest) four strings of a guitar - DGBE. 

Our Kala Ukulele Recommendations 

For each of the standard four sizes we've come up with our favorite Kala Ukulele. Many times we've added in a runner-up, thanks for too many good options! 

​Kala Soprano Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Kala KA-15S

This is simply one of our favorite Ukuleles and one we recommend to all beginners. For a very reasonable price you'll get a Uke that you'll be happy with for years. This instrument is made with a mahogany body and neck and comes strung with Aquila Nylgut Strings. 

As a bonus many vendors on Amazon offer a gig bag, tuner, or beginner package with this Ukulele to get you equipped with whatever you need! 

Runner Up:  Makala Dolphin

The perfect Ukulele for a kid, these Ukuleles are a little bit more durable than many. The fun paint jobs are also a hit with the free spirited or younger crowd! 

Kala KA-15S

Image courtesy of Amazon

Kala Concert Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Kala KA-KCG Koa Gloss Concert Ukulele

Kala KA-KCG Koa

Image courtesy of Amazon

The traditional material for the Ukulele is Hawaiian Koa, so anytime you can find a solid Koa instrument it's special. The KCG from Kala is no exception. This is a truly special Ukulele. 

Runner Up:  Kala KA-CEM Exotic Mahogany Concert

​The Hawaiian Koa might be out of your price range, but that doesn't mean you can get a great sounding Uke. The CEM has an amazing tone with a Figured Mahogany body.

Kala Tenor Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Kala KA-TG Gloss Ukulele

This is simply a beautiful Ukulele. ​Crafted with a Spruce top and Mahogany body and sides and a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the quality is exactly what you'd expect from Kala. 

With the tenor size you get a great, slightly deeper tone without loosing the warm, bright high notes. ​

The nickel frets, tuners and tie-ins really finish off this look, giving the TG Gloss a high-end feel at a mid range price!​

Runner Up: Kala KA-PWT Tenor Acoustic Ukulele

The Pacific Walnut really gives this Ukulele a unique, focused tone that you won't find often. 

Kala KA-TG

Image courtesy of Amazon

Kala Baritone Ukulele

Our Recommendation:  Kala KA-BG Mahogany Baritone 

Kala KA-BG Baritone

Image courtesy of Amazon

The Spruce top with Mahogany body and neck really produces a bright, warm tone. The gloss finish really gives this Ukulele a stylish finish.

You'll also get a full bodied sound thanks to the Baritone size with this Uke. This instrument finishes with easy playability thanks to low action. 

Runner Up:  Kala MK-B Baritone Ukulele

​Baritone Ukes can be pretty expensive, but this Makala version of the KA-B is an affordable version of Kala's very popular Uke. Great sound at a great price! 

Wrap Up​

Kala is one of our favorite Ukulele manufacturers. They have a reputation for quality in their entire line, from top to bottom.

Do you have a Kala that we didn't list? Please comment below, we'd love to hear from you!