Vibrato gives the note a shaky quality. This is used particularly when playing melodies as it emulates the way notes tend to be sung. As the ukulele is relatively quiet and notes die away quickly, this technique is not used very often.
There are a couple of ways of producing vibrato. The classical technique is to slide your fretting finger back and forth within the fret you’re playing. This creates a subtle vibrato. The blues/rock vibrato technique involves bending and releasing the string repeatedly. This can be used to create a much wider vibrato.
Vibrato is tabbed by a wavy line. The bigger the waves, the wider the vibrato.
Grace notes are very short notes played before the main note and connected by an arch. They can be slides, hammer-ons or pull offs.
Bends are fairly rare in ukulele playing but they do crop up sometimes.
Bends are produced by plucking the string the pushing it up (towards your head) or down (towards the ground). This raises the pitch of the note.
Bends are tabbed with an arrow curved upwards
At the end of an arrow is a number. This shows how far upwards the bend should be. ½ means you bend the note up half a step (one fret), 1 means you bend it up one step (two frets). In this example, we bend the note up half a step so that, once it’s bent, it has the same pitch as a note played at the eighth fret.
This series was derived from my ebook Ukulele 101: 101 Things Every Ukulele Player Needs to Know.
Read the full series here: How To Read Ukulele Tab.