Ukulele Lessons

You may have noticed this is my seventh post in the space of six hours. It’s all part of the overhaul of the site that will be taking place soon.

With over 1,000 blog posts on Uke Hunt and a bunch more in the other sections, it’s getting impossible for people to find what they’re looking for. So these posts are designed to guide people towards the stuff that they’ll find most useful.

The first set of ‘lessons’ are divided by difficulty with a couple more focusing on styles (fingerpicking – which needs a bit of filling – and blues).

If you’ve got a suggestion for a section or something that should be included in a section, let me know in the comments.

For Beginners

Learn:

– How to read chord charts.
– Songs using only basic chords.
– Strumming technique.
– Essential equipment.

Click here for beginner lessons.

For Improvers

Learn:

– Barre chords.
– Songs with more jazzy chords.
– How to get a good sound.

Click here for improver lessons.

For Intermediates

Learn:

– To read tab.
– Useful licks.
– Guitar riffs for ukulele.
– Scales.

Click here for intermediate lessons.

For Advanced Players

Learn:

– Advanced techniques.
– To combine single notes and accompaniment.
– How to make your own arrangements.
– Fingertwisting tunes.

Click here for advanced lessons.

Blues Lessons

Learn:

– Blues scales.
– Blues licks and riffs.
– Solo blues tunes.

Click here for blues ukulele lessons.

Fingerpicking Lessons

Learn:

– Basic fingerpicking technique.
– Fingerpicking tunes.

Click here for fingerpicking lessons.

View Comments

87 Comments

  1. Martim April 16th, 2012 11:51 pm

    Hey guys! im realy looking foward to buy my first uke, but i dont`t know wich! i thought about the Lanikai LU-21P, wich is a pineapple shape. is it a good choice, i mean, a good brand, shape and material?
    thanks a lot!

  2. Woodshed April 17th, 2012 11:41 am

    Martim: Yeah, that’s a good choice for a first uke.

  3. Fox July 6th, 2012 1:51 am

    Hey thanks…you guys rock! Just picked up the Uke a few months ago! Thanks for the tabs and the songs!!

  4. Woodshed July 9th, 2012 10:40 pm

    Fox: Thanks very much!

  5. Stewart November 11th, 2012 11:03 am

    I had my first ukulele lesson two weeks ago, to see if I would like the instrument, and now I’m hooked. Getting my first uke in two weeks time but am currently obsessed with reading about ukes on the internet, this is my favourite site. Thank you for all the work you’ve done here.

  6. Lady Dalston November 22nd, 2012 8:18 am

    I always wished I could play an instrument, tried a few, but at 4″11 not all were a good fit! So I bought myself ukulele for my 24th birthday and I am now well and truly addicted and play whenever I am home. Over the last few months I don’t know what I would have done without this site! Having proven to myself that I am in this for the long haul I am treating myself to your Ukulele for Dummies book so I can learn more! Truly awesome work!

  7. Woodshed November 22nd, 2012 11:58 am

    Stewart: Glad to hear it!

    Lady Dalston: Thanks so much! Really glad I could help.

  8. jema December 14th, 2012 6:48 pm

    Pretty good

  9. LORI FISCHER February 20th, 2013 4:24 pm

    Good Morning,

    Loving the site…might there be a place to drag and drop some of the songs we are learning, I find one from the list, print the tabs and chords and then when I want to work on it, I have to go back through the entire list to find it and do a “practice along” with the video.

    just a thought, be nice to keep all the great pieces together, like making a personal practice file.

    cheers, keep up the great work. Lori Fischer, Walla Walla, WAshington

  10. Woodshed February 20th, 2013 11:09 pm

    Lori: No, there’s nothing like that. Could you just bookmark the posts you’re working on? Or there’s a search box at the top right.

  11. Shawn March 28th, 2013 8:29 pm

    I just want to thank you for this site. This site and others like it have made it possible for me to learn how to play while living in the middle of nowhere. I love the ukulele and I hope to one day be able to raise its stature in this area. (North Georgia) Again, thank you for what you have done here.

    -Shawn

  12. Woodshed March 29th, 2013 7:35 am

    Shawn: You’re very welcome! Thanks so much.

  13. Dave McGuire August 14th, 2013 5:56 pm

    Ive had guitars since I was 12 in 1959 but couldnever actually play. At 66 I decided to try a uke after reading your site. WOW I can actually play and really enjoy it. Your site is great and if you where british I would vote you in for a knighthood. Many many thanks and keep up the good work. sincere regards, Dave (UK)

  14. Lauren September 11th, 2013 10:01 pm

    Thank you so much for putting this information together! This is extremely helpful as I’m learning to navigate my first Uke.

  15. Woodshed September 12th, 2013 6:45 am

    Lauren: You’re very welcome!

  16. Azon March 25th, 2014 1:59 am

    Hi, I’m just new here. Picked up a ukulele after watching Shimabukuro’s vid. Love what you’re doing here dude!

  17. Randy April 25th, 2014 9:12 am

    I’m new here too. I’ve played bass & guitar for years & years. I just bought a nice new nylon string classical guitar a couple weeks ago & there was a ukulele looking all lonely near some electric guitars in the shop, so I bought it too (completely on a whim.)
    And of course, NOW I’ve temporarily sidetracked myself by messing around with the ukulele way more than I ever thought I would,… that reentrant tuning is ADDICTIVE!
    But MAN, does it ever feel weird when switching back to a guitar after a few hours on a soprano uke, the neck’s suddenly HUGE!
    End result – I’m having so much fun with the uke I’m now buying a nice tenor one (as placing the soprano alone with a full size guitar overnight didn’t encourage any offspring.)
    Thanks for the lovely website. =0)

  18. Woodshed April 26th, 2014 6:55 am

    Azon: Thanks!

    Randy: Glad you’ve come over to the dark side!

  19. Wicked June 24th, 2014 2:26 am

    Hello Woodshed!

    Thanks so much for these site! I am new to uke and I’ve been looking forward on learning to play this awesome instrument. Your eBooks and tutorials are great! Also bought your Dummie’s book. :)

  20. Woodshed June 24th, 2014 10:22 am

    Wicked: Thanks so much! I’m really glad you’re enjoying them!

  21. Alex August 30th, 2014 10:32 am

    Hi, thanks for great resources. I’ve our chested you’re books and am working through them. One quick question. Do you have any advice for me… I’m doing my wife’s head in just doing the chord progression and excess ices. I haven’t actually maned to learn any songs yet as I don’t really sing. I’ve been learning for the best part of six months but still have no basic songs to be able to play. Any tips to stop me from doing her head in with practice work??

    Thanks

  22. Woodshed September 1st, 2014 3:10 pm

    Alex: Definitely worth learning to play along with a few songs. Particularly ones your wife likes. And learning to read tab and playing some simples tunes. If that fails, new wife.

  23. eric January 8th, 2016 12:59 am

    thanks!This is extremely helpful as it allowed me to be able to play more songs.

  24. Woodshed January 9th, 2016 12:04 pm

    eric: Thanks very much!

  25. Richard January 31st, 2016 4:08 am

    Can anyone help please :I cannot see how to pay for the blues course using PAYPAL.
    Any tips appreciated.

  26. Woodshed January 31st, 2016 9:49 am

    Richard: Sorry about that. Gumroad are having some PayPal technical issues. In the meantime you can buy it with PayPal here:

    https://payhip.com/b/NZp9

    Note: The price is in GBP rather than USD.

  27. jan doran April 27th, 2016 7:58 pm

    is it possible to get the pdf in printed form as a booklet. (I purchased the uke strumming ebook)

  28. Woodshed April 28th, 2016 7:50 am

    Jan: Sorry, no.

  29. Fritz Pritchett May 2nd, 2016 4:25 am

    I’m looking for information on the Baritone Ukulele. Are there lessons for the Baritone? Thanks Fritz

  30. Don Crislip May 2nd, 2016 9:39 pm

    Hello,
    I thought I would like to learn to play the ukulele. I tried guitar and my fingers are too sensitive for the strings. So, I thought I might be able to play the ukulele.

    I play piano and read music but I cannot sing. Therefore, I would like to play solo ukulele like you do when you play “Red River Valley” on you web site.

    Are there beginner’s lesson book that would teach me how to play solo songs?

    Thanks so much,
    Don Crislip

  31. Fritz Pritchett May 3rd, 2016 3:21 am

    This is a follow up on my May 2nd, 2016 request for information on Baritone Ukulele. I have been playing Tenor Ukulele for several years. I recently bought a Baritone Ukulele. It’s very difficult finding info on the Baritone and I don’t know why. Can you please help me locate some websites where Baritone is spoken?
    Thanks, bunches
    Fritz Pritchett

  32. Woodshed May 3rd, 2016 11:25 am

    Fritz: Humble Baritonics has a bunch of baritone links.

  33. Woodshed May 3rd, 2016 11:37 am

    Don: There are bits and pieces of it on here but I did a big writeup of learning it in Ukulele for Dummies.

  34. Don Crislip May 3rd, 2016 11:51 pm

    I am a beginner and this is more difficult than I thought. For instance, when I make the chord F using fingers 1 and 2. Finger #2 blocks any sound from the C string and finger #1 blocks any sound from the A string.

    Am I supposed to work getting fingers 1 and 2 up on a tip so that the C and A stringS ring out?

  35. Don Crislip May 4th, 2016 12:35 am

    Two more questions and then I think I’m ready to start practicing and stop asking so many questions.

    I’m on eBay looking for picks. Most all are felt. Is that the standard?

    I also found silicone finger protectors. My fingers are VERY sensitive so would this be a wise investment?

    Thanks

  36. Woodshed May 4th, 2016 11:32 am

    Don: Yes, it’s really important that all the strings ring out. If you’re having trouble try bringing your hand around the neck a bit more (so you thumb is on the back of the neck).

    Felt picks are traditional for ukuleles. But you can also use plastic guitar picks. But use a thinner pick for strumming.

    I haven’t tried them so I can’t really say. Seems like it would be worth trying them out in your situation though.

  37. Randy B May 9th, 2016 10:35 pm

    Don.
    Yep, unless you’re barring across the strings, it’s important to keep your fingers arched above the fingerboard so that only the string(s) you are fretting are in contact with the tips of your fingers. Depending on how “meaty” the ends of your fingers are this may require more or less arch – I have fairly sausage-like appendages, so I find that fretting individual strings requires me to contact the string(s) with the very end-on part of my fingertips. Depending on the scale of your uke, ie: soprano versus concert versus tenor (in ascending order of bigness) you might find moving up to a slightly larger instrument also helpful. (I *can* use a soprano uke in a pinch – but past the 8th fret it’s a little crowded for me – so I generally prefer a tenor.)

    Woodshed also nailed it – there’s no advantage to be gained wrapping your thumb around the neck of a uke – in fact it’ll tend to slow down your playing & make your hand cramp up more often – it’s best to place the end of your thumb lightly on an imaginary centre-line along the back on the neck instead – it allows you to easily pivot your wrist angle for various fingerings.
    An easy way to look at it is – never hold your fretting arm in a stiff position with your wrist bent away from the instrument,… rather relax your arm, bend the elbow at roughly 90 degrees & bend your wrist in towards the neck of the instrument at a comfortable angle. It may take a little experimentation, but you’ll know the “sweet” spot once you find it – as it’s a lot less tiring.

    As to fingertip sensitivity,… over time the skin will thicken up where you fret,… but you also might try various brands of string to find something softer (in case your uke has something I consider “nasty” on it like the rather hard & not-very-pleasant, black nylon D’Addarios (I personally can’t stand “wound” strings on a uke – and they tend to wear frets down as well as feel too stiff & lack sustain.) I highly recommend Aquila (their Nylgut are very nice – as are all of their products – they’re very “soft” in feel),… or (if you want something that plays “tight” but is still very comfy) I also highly recommend D-Addario Titaniums .

    Personally I prefer just using my fingernails in place of picks for strumming, as there’s no pick to drop & you can quickly alternate between fingerstyle picking & strumming seamlessly.

    It’s normal for the fingers to be very sensitive when beginning on any stringed instrument,… to build up a little callus, don’t overdo it to begin with, but do try to play a little bit each day. I’d really only try something like finger protectors as a last resort (as in “if you’ve accidentally sliced off the meaty end of a finger or 2 & there’s no cushion between your fingertip(s) & the bone(s) of your finger(s). I think it’s rather important to be able to feel if the string(s) are centred correctly under my fretting hand – and any appliances that obscure my sense of touch would tend to make me lose feel.

    As to Fritz’ question about baritone ukes,… you could also look for bass guitar tabs as their strings are also tuned EADG.(albeit several octaves lower.)
    =D

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