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!
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.