Ukulele beginners’ guide for new ukulele owners

Learn to play the ukuleleIf you’re a fan of Hawaiian music, there’s a good chance that Santa delivered a brand new ukulele this past Christmas, or perhaps you bought a ukulele yourself on a recent trip to Hawaii. Either way, you might find the following resources useful as your start learning to play the ukulele. I know they helped me!

First up, you might want to pick up Barry Maz’s excellent books that cover what new ukulele players “really want to know.” While these are not tutorials on playing the ukulele, they do an excellent job of teaching you all about your new uke!

Next, I suggest printing out a chart of ukulele chords as a reference guide. You can find many online, or download this simple ukulele chord chart.

I also recommend buying a clip-on digital tuner for your new ukulele. They have a habit of going out of tune quickly–especially with new strings–so you’ll want an easy way to keep your ukulele in tune. There are lots of choices, but I like the TinyTuner the best.

If you can find a ukulele teacher near you, then I highly recommend setting up a few lessons to get you started. If, like me, you don’t have any ukulele teachers close by, you should check out the many awesome YouTube tutorials offered by Mike Lynch aka Ukulele Mike.

Once you’ve built a little confidence and understand the basic ukulele chords, head to Ukulele Tabs, Ukulele Boogaloo, or Chordie to find dozens of great songs that are easy to learn on the ukulele. Chordie is one of my favorites and while the default view is for guitar chords, you can change them via the settings to show ukulele chords.

New ukulele
Pick a new ukulele and start playing within minutes!

Lastly, get plugged in to a ukulele community or forum. I highly recommend Ukulele Underground’s forum, where you’ll find a great bunch of ukulele players, all ready to help you learn this beautiful Hawaiian instrument.

That should get you started! Be warned though. The ukulele is highly addictive, and it won’t be long before you start buying ukuleles in different sizes, wood choices, or even commissioning your very own custom built ukulele!

Happy strumming!

  1. Have a really good friend who plays one of these. Can be a surprisingly pretty instrument to the uninitiated!

    1. Yes, the ukulele is a beautiful instrument. Thanks for your comment!

  2. The first thing to learn is that you have bought an “Oo-koo-LAY-lay.”

    A “You-koo-lay-lee” is a plastic toy molded in China and sold mostly at mainland swap meets, garage sales and thrift shops.

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