Get a Ukulele For Christmas? Read This

When I got my first ukulele, I was completely clueless. This was in those dark, long forgotten days before the internet had been discovered. I didn’t even realise that the strings weren’t supposed to go thickest to thinest and restrung it.

So, to save you from the social disgrace I experienced, I’ve put together a mini-ebook covering the basics that every first time uke owner needs to know. Here’s what it contains:

Five Things to Know
Five Chords to Learn
Five Songs to Play
Five Websites to Visit
Five Things to Get Free
Five Things to Buy
Five Videos to Watch
Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to

You can download it free by here:

So You Just Got Your First Ukulele

View Comments


  1. Cardboardfrog December 25th, 2008 12:09 am

    merry christmas mr woodshed ^^,
    w00t first one in there

  2. Ben Claytor December 25th, 2008 1:53 am

    Wow, a beagle in the eye?
    That’s intense, I believe you.

  3. Nelson December 25th, 2008 4:12 pm


  4. Gordon December 26th, 2008 2:45 am


    I am 6’6″ and was worried that the uke would not fit my fingers. It Did. It’s cool that I got a Uke for Christmas and I glad this site is here to help me use it! I still remember seeing Joe E. Brown doing “I’ll see you in my dreams” And Paul playing some uke for George Harrison.
    Mostly, I had one years ago and saw Arlo play it a lot. (Ukulele Lady)
    I also look for Ukulele Ike on the old movie station all the time.

  5. JoeyJoeJosephson December 26th, 2008 2:23 pm

    Wow, I’m impressed that you could tell the slight difference in string width on your first uke.

  6. Jalen December 26th, 2008 4:20 pm

    I think my new uke and I will be visiting this site quite often. =]

  7. Woodshed December 27th, 2008 9:48 am

    cbf: You too!

    Ben: It’s easier on the eye than a rottweiler. Poodles are dead easy though.

    Nelson: I learned my lesson from last year. Last Christmas was the busiest day of the year and the first thing they saw was a post saying I wasn’t here. But I’m on vacation now: sort of.

    Gordon: Joe does a great job on that song. Loads of people have picked up a uke because of it.

    Joey: Be impressed.

    Jalen: Thanks, I look forward to seeing you around.

  8. J-Hob December 27th, 2008 3:02 pm

    Happy Christmas to all ukehunt users!

    We gave my sister in law a ukulele for Christmas, I gave my father some aquila strings and a tuner to actually get him playing his uke, our married friends both bought each other a uke as a surprise – the world has gone uke-crazy!

    I will be passing on the link to your uke basics ebook to them all!

  9. HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Jemsite December 28th, 2008 8:02 am

    […] maybe not.  But if I really was to get a ukulele, I’d also have to make sure I get a copy of the mini e-book being offered by Woodshed over at  This book has everything the newbie uke strummer […]

  10. MKJeeves December 31st, 2008 5:55 pm

    I did not receive a uke for Christmas, rather I have made a New Year’s resolution to finally get serious about the uke after 10 years of aimless noodling.

    After reading your newbie book, I have a few questions, and if these are all covered by an FAQ somewhere, feel free to call me a dope and give me the URL…

    1) Previously, the only instruction in uke playing I’ve had was from ’30s-era “Learn the Uke” 15-cent stapled booklets (one under the Roy Smeck franchise) that I got at a thrift store, so I have always used the ADF#B (maybe that’s wrong, I don’t have them handy) tuning rather than the GCEA, which was listed as “new” and given less coverage in the books. Since I only know about ten chords, I assume I’d be well served starting over for now?

    2) The uke I do have, purchased at a general music store 10 years ago for $25, is undoubtedly garbage. It’s labelled a “Hilo,” which I imagine is a euphemism for some no-name, probably Chinese concern. It is all-wood, but that’s about all I can say for it. That being said, it sounds fine to me, but I am no authority. While I’m not going to run out and get a Kamaka, would you recommend I at least invest in something like a Mahalo? I’d be willing to bet up to $100 that I’ll keep at it this time.

    3) Finally, I have a long-standing project banjo-uke that I’d like to fix up. It is labled a “U-King” and looks to be 20s or 30s, got it on eBay about 8 years ago. Are there online resources specific to banjo ukes? Is there anything I ought to be doing differently with it? If I wanted to have it repaired professionally (the resonator is no longer attached and some of the tuning pegs slip), would anyone capable of banjo work be acceptable? I’m not far (in lovely Pittsburgh PA) from Appalachian bluegrass country, so I imagine there are such people about.

    Sorry for the long post, as I’m sure this is the wrong place for it.

    Any guidance you or anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

    Enjoy your vacation, and happy new year.

  11. Mary January 2nd, 2009 4:08 pm

    Not having much luck trying to download the article. Help?

  12. Woodshed January 2nd, 2009 5:10 pm

    J-Hob: Thanks and Happy New Year.


    1) Yes, I think GCEA is the way to go. It’s rare to find stuff written for ADF#B (except in Canada).

    2) If it sounds good, keep it. If you’re looking for something cheap but decent, a Lanikia LU-21 might suit you.

    3) I’m not much of a banjo-uke expert. Probably best to ask on the Flea Market Music board.

    Mary: You should have an email from me.

  13. zymeck January 5th, 2009 4:35 pm

    Happy New Year Al!!

    2 weeks away from a computer has done me the world of good :)

  14. Woodshed January 6th, 2009 5:40 pm

    Welcome back to the fake world, Andy. And Happy New Year.

  15. zymeck January 12th, 2009 2:15 pm


    When are you back, we’re getting bored here!!!

  16. LonnaB January 12th, 2009 8:27 pm

    No joke! I’m dying!

    Friday, if I can just make it to Friday, then there will be links!

  17. Olly January 14th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New year! Happy orthodox new year if anyone is going off the Julian Calender :o)

    Btw, Al, when are you returning to your lost flock?? I’m chasing my tail because I’ve had no mental stimulation I’ve gone a tad loopy!

    Happy strumming!

  18. Woodshed January 14th, 2009 9:07 pm

    Andy and Olly: Back on Friday. Only two days of suffering left.

    Lonna: It’ll mostly just be me moaning about the Bushman contest.

  19. LonnaB January 15th, 2009 6:03 pm

    Woodshed, I was assuming that would be the case.

    I mean, I seriously don’t think the ukulele community has done enough moaning about that contest.

  20. Best New Hobby of 2008 - Ukulele « Catastrophizing January 15th, 2009 8:48 pm

    […] one and don’t know what to do next? Ukulele Hunt offers a downloadable beginner’s guide in exchange for signing up for their How to Play Ukulele mailing […]

  21. Julian_on_the _boat January 27th, 2009 5:48 pm

    Thanks for providing such a helpful site! I’ve been Ukeing for six weeks now and love it. Only trouble is that my guitar is now the size of a whale!!

  22. Woodshed January 27th, 2009 6:41 pm

    Julian: I know exactly how you feel. Picking up a guitar after the uke feels like wrestling with a bear.

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