Ukulele 101: 101 Things Every Ukulele Player Needs To Know

Ukulele 101I’ve just released a brand new ebook called, “Ukulele 101: 101 Things Every Ukulele Player Needs to Know.”

When I’ve been looking through beginners ukulele books, I’ve always been a little frustrated about the things they leave out. They teach you to strum and play a few chords, maybe play a nursery rhyme or too, but leave out so many things. These might not be about physically playing songs on the ukulele, but are essential knowledge for people wanting to get the most out of the ukulele such as which ukulele to buy, how to look after it, the best ways to practice. In particular, books rarely even mention all the ukulele related resources that are online.

Ukulele 101 is intended as kind of a Ukulele Beginners Book 2.0. It fills in the blanks that other books leave.

You can read more about it and buy it here.

Some of the information in the book has been rejigged from posts on my blog (and some of it will turn up there in future) so if you want a taste of the book, check out my how to read tab series.

The book answers a hundred and one questions (questions people have asked me, questions that often crop up in forums etc.), these questions, to be exact:

Buying a Ukulele

1. Where should I buy a ukulele?
2. Which Size Ukulele Should I Buy?
3. How Much Should I Spend?
4. What’s the best ukulele for under $50?
5. What’s the best ukulele for under $100?
6. What should I bear in mind when buying on eBay?
7. What sort of wood should a ukulele be?
8. I’m left-handed, do I need to buy a left handed ukulele?
9. What’s better geared or friction tuners?
10. Should I buy a banjo ukulele?
11. Should I buy an electric ukulele?
12. What’s a ‘low-G’ ukulele and should I buy one?


13. Does it matter what strings I use?
14. Which strings should I buy?
15. How do I replace strings?
16. How often should I replace strings?
17. Do I need different strings for different sizes of ukulele?
18. Do I need different strings for C-tuning and D-tuning?
19. Can I use guitar/mandolin/banjo strings on a ukulele?
20. How do I make strings last longer?

Ukulele Online

21. Where can I find tab and chords online?
22. Where can I learn chord shapes online?
23. Where can I find ukulele lessons and tutorials online?
24. What ukulele forums are there online?
25. Where can I hear ukulele music online?
26. How can I pick up a bargain on eBay?
27.What ukulele blogs are there?
28. Which YouTube channels should I be watching?
29. Where else can I find ukulele videos?

Making A Good Sound

30. How can I hear how I sound?
31. How should I hold the ukulele?
32. Where should I strum?
33. Can I use a guitar pick?
34. How can I look after my uke?
35. Why won’t my ukulele stay in tune?
36. What should I wear when I’m playing the ukulele?


37. What’s the best portable recorder?
38. What microphone should I get?
39. What software should I use?
40. How far from the mic should I be?
41. How can I put my music on the internet?
42. How can I sell my music on the internet?

Fonts, Software and Other Downloads

43. How can I put ukulele chord charts in word processing documents?
44. How can I make my own ukulele tabs?
45. How can I get in tune with my computer?
46. Where can I get a metronome online?
47. How can I improve my ear?
48. Where can I get ukulele icons?

Adjusting Your Ukulele

49. That sounds scary, should I do it?
50. What is intonation?
51. How can I measure how good my ukulele’s intonation is?
52. How can I improve my ukulele’s intonation?
53. How can I stop my ukulele buzzing?

Ukulele Accessories

54. How can I plug my ukulele into an amplifier?
55. Do I need to buy a tuner?
56. What’s a capo?
57. Do I need a strap?
58. Can I play the ukulele with a guitar pick?
59. Should I buy a metronome?


60. How often should I practice?
61. Do I need to warm up?
62. What’s the most important thing when practicing?
63. How can I play faster?
64. Do I need to use a metronome when I practice?

Chord Charts

65. How do you read ukulele chord charts?
66. Why are there different chord shapes for the same chord?

Tab and Techniques

67. How are strings tabbed?
68. How are notes tabbed?
69. How is a sequence of notes tabbed?
70. How are notes that are played simultaneously tabbed?
71. How are chords tabbed?
72. How are strums tabbed?
73. How are rhythms shown?
74. How is rhythm shown in tab?
75. What are bars/measures?
76. How is fretting hand fingering shown?
77. How is picking hand fingering shown?
78. How are repeats tabbed?
79. What are tremolo strums and how are they tabbed?
80. How are rasguados played?
81. How do you play dotted notes?
82. How do you play tied notes?
83. What are triplets?
84. What is swing time?
85. How do you play hammer-ons?
86. How do you play pull-offs?
87. Can hammer-ons and pull-offs be used together?
88. How do you play slides?
89. How are shift slides different from normal slides?
90. How are slides into and out of a note tabbed?
91. What are all those crazy squiggles on the tab?
92. How are accented notes shown?
93. How do you make dead notes?
94. How do you play trills?
95. How do you produce vibrato?
96. What are grace notes?
97. How do you bend a note?

Easier Chords and Chord Changes

98. What’s the easiest way to play a D chord?
99. What’s the easiest way to play an E chord?
100. What’s the easiest way to change from F to Fm?

101. Your own question.

Buy it here for $9

View Comments


  1. Joe January 31st, 2008 4:43 pm


    if only mum and dad would let me buy it!

    :( :( :(

  2. LonnaB January 31st, 2008 8:24 pm

    Thanks Woodshed, that made for a lovely read this morning.

    This is a must read for any newbie. I would have loved to have this a year or so ago.

    My favorite is question number 36. I get cold easily and I knit whenever I am not playing my uke so I usually have some big nasty sweater on this time of year. Yet another example of my hobbies interfering with one another!

  3. Woodshed January 31st, 2008 9:17 pm

    Glad you like it, Lonna. It’s definitely OK to practice in heavy knitwear :)

  4. Brian B February 13th, 2008 10:14 pm

    I just bought the e book and I like it a lot and it looks like there was a lot of work put into it.Great job Thank you

  5. Woodshed February 14th, 2008 6:29 am

    Thanks, Brian. Hope you like it.

  6. Uke-Less-Liv July 25th, 2010 11:55 pm

    How do I convince my mom that a uke is worth buying?!
    She dosent listen to me at all , when all I want is a uke to play >:O

  7. Woodshed July 28th, 2010 9:07 pm

    Uke-Less-Liv: Hmm that’s a good one. My parents were always totally supportive. I’ll have to try to draft in some help on this one.

  8. Lyndsey July 30th, 2010 4:42 pm

    Uke-Less-Liv: tell your parents that taking on a new instrument is a way for you spend your time in a productive way, and on top of that the ukulele in particular is a relaxing fun and stress relieving instrument. It’s also worth it to mention that the ukulele isn’t limited to only one sound. It can play hundreds of songs that are totally different from each other.

    P.S. I also had to convince my dad to buy me a ukulele, and it worked for me.

  9. Peter July 30th, 2010 4:44 pm

    Tell them that musical instruments look good on college/high school apps. It’s good wholesome fun.

  10. Jan July 30th, 2010 5:25 pm

    Tell them that your music teacher at school wants to put together a student band, and that you want to take part to have an experience and to improve your mark in the music subject.
    You can also tell them that starting out with the ukulele is much cheaper when compared to other instruments, i.e. Guitar or Keyboard, and that it’s not as loud as the other instruments (ok, that may be a lie :D).

    If you still can’t convince her, put some money together and buy it yourself! I started playing the uke some time ago with a ~15€ uke my father bought years ago, and now I’m playing on my own lanikai for “only” ~60 euros, as you can see, it isn’t an expensive hobby to start with, but a great way to spend some time. :D

  11. Jdogface July 30th, 2010 6:32 pm

    “Mom, Dad, did you know that sometimes while you’re sleeping I sneak into your room and I stand next to your bed. I don’t do anything, I just watch you breathe, for hours. When I’m sad I sometimes think about how short life can be, and how sad and lonely it can be, and I watch. I don’t do anything, I just watch… Well, anyway let’s change the subject. Hey, did I tell you that I want to get a ukulele? No? Well, just sleep on it…”

  12. Rob NY July 30th, 2010 7:08 pm

    As a parent myself ,I would suggest relentless hounding,followed constant pleading. Do this daily. Always with a promise to practice consistently.Let mom know its not just a phase. Show mom some of the uke related internet sites and videos you enjoy. Ask if there are chores you could perform for an allowance to buy one yourself.

  13. Sam July 31st, 2010 1:06 am

    I too am finding difficulty finding funds for my own uke but only because I am a student at university and therefore poor.
    Have tried getting the parents to buy me one but they seem less than impressed since they must have spent thousands on me learning the trumpet/flugel but all i’m playing during the holidays is a cheap ukulele (which i’m borrowing)!

  14. Woodshed August 3rd, 2010 5:07 pm

    Thanks for your contributions, folks. Let’s hope something works.

  15. suzalele August 4th, 2010 3:04 am

    Remind your folks that idle hands are the devils tools. That should slam dunk it.

  16. CharlesHugh August 9th, 2010 10:45 pm

    Say that playing ukulele will keep you off of the street, out of gangs and away from knives.

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