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


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

Click here for beginner lessons.

For Improvers


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

Click here for improver lessons.

For Intermediates


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

Click here for intermediate lessons.

For Advanced Players


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

Click here for advanced lessons.

Blues Lessons


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

Click here for blues ukulele lessons.

Fingerpicking Lessons


– Basic fingerpicking technique.
– Fingerpicking tunes.

Click here for fingerpicking lessons.

View Comments


  1. Richard February 25th, 2010 1:40 am

    Fantastic work. What can I say. Thanks very very much.

  2. Donnie Bubbles February 25th, 2010 1:44 pm


  3. Woodshed February 25th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Richard: You’re very welcome.

    Donnie: Thanks very much.

  4. Bossarocker February 27th, 2010 1:18 am

    Bloody brilliant, thanks Al!

  5. Woodshed March 2nd, 2010 10:37 pm

    Bossa: Thanks!

  6. Amateur idler March 10th, 2010 10:39 pm

    Thanks! Totally useful. And, may I add, a very good-looking site.

  7. Woodshed March 11th, 2010 7:24 pm

    Amateur idler: Thanks. Really glad you found it useful.

  8. Laura March 18th, 2010 12:37 am

    Superb! Really handy stuff.

  9. Woodshed March 18th, 2010 9:40 pm

    Laura: Thanks very much.

  10. Jo March 29th, 2010 11:53 am

    This is amazing, thank you so much, the site looks great too! :)

  11. Woodshed March 30th, 2010 8:01 am

    Jo: Thanks very much.

  12. ecilder April 25th, 2010 1:11 am

    hey there. great stuff you got here :) was just wondering if you ever tried playing jack johnson’s songs like Better Together and Banana Pancakes… especially the latter one, cos it sounds really nice on uke. would be nice if you could put the tabs and chords here. thanks very much. anyways, great website! :D

  13. Rupert May 3rd, 2010 5:13 pm

    thanks so much this site is awesome

  14. katelyn May 4th, 2010 4:41 am

    I’m so eager to get my ukulele and start in on this site. Thank you so much!

  15. Eddy August 16th, 2010 8:37 pm

    need a search function

  16. Chris August 17th, 2010 8:35 pm

    I’m new to the uke and this is an absolutely fantastic site. Thanks very much for all of your splendid effort.

  17. max August 27th, 2010 2:45 am

    can you work out a chord tab to Michael Franti’s The Sound of Sunshine? its a great song and im sure would be a great hit on uke! id really appreciate it! thanks

  18. Woodshed August 27th, 2010 1:06 pm

    Rupert and katelyn: A very belated THANKS!

    Eddy: Then use the one at the top right.

    Chris: Thanks for the kind words.

    max: There are chords for it here.

  19. Summer September 6th, 2010 6:17 pm

    I luv ukulele’s i was in the ukulele orchestra and i have a red ukulele =).

  20. Colin B September 24th, 2010 5:19 pm

    I have just finished building my very first Ukulele – its a concert Uke in Koa wood (from a Pete Howlett kit). Having struggled to get a tune out of a guitar in over 40 years, I was lucky enough to stumble across this most excellent website and have bought the ‘How to play blues Ukulele’ Ebook and within a couple of days have mastered some of the pieces, and my Uke is starting to howl like a wet weekend in Buxton. Great work! All power to your strumming arm. A very delighted and satisfied customer.
    Colin B
    PS. Check out Pete Howlett’s website – he is the master!

  21. Woodshed September 25th, 2010 2:54 pm

    Summer: You make a good point. I should have a red ukulele. I have a few outfits it would go with.

    Colin B: Thanks very much, that’s very kind of you. I’m really glad you got a lot out of it.

  22. Shannen October 4th, 2010 6:32 am

    This had guided and improved my ukulele playing so much! I would still be fumbling aeound with somewhere over the rainbow if it wasn’t for you, thankyou so much!

  23. Woodshed October 5th, 2010 11:59 am

    Shannen: Thanks. I’m really glad I could help your fumbling.

  24. Chris Wise December 27th, 2010 10:27 pm

    Hi, I’m 20 and I just got a ukulele three months ago, and it’s the first and only instrument I have ever owned. now I’m proud to say that thanks to this website and these lessons in particular I can now play it with some proficiency, and I have even mastered the dreaded E chord. I love this website!

  25. Woodshed January 1st, 2011 12:30 pm

    Chris: Glad to hear the website helped you out. Thanks.

  26. burleson January 13th, 2011 8:06 pm

    I want to know which finger on
    which fret…please?

  27. Woodshed January 16th, 2011 10:46 am

    burleson: I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to.

  28. Curt January 17th, 2011 7:12 pm

    Cheers, that blues stuff was awesome =D But i was wondering if you could do a lesson on Swing. It would be awesome if you could, thanks =)

  29. rsthurston March 8th, 2011 2:38 am

    You rock! I am so happy that I’ve found this site. I found you through my buds at Keston Cobbler’s Club (though I’m on the other side of the big pond). I’ve had ukes on my brain like crazy and finally bought my first one today as an early birthday present. Thank you for providing us with so many great resources…and of course, I love your twisted sense of humor! Which always makes for some fun reading!
    Cheers, Rachel

  30. Woodshed March 9th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Curt: It’s not really a genre I’m comfortable with, I’m afraid.

    rsthurston: Thanks very much. You’re very kind.

  31. Gilang March 29th, 2011 10:46 am


    LOVE 59623056306726

  32. Woodshed March 31st, 2011 2:27 pm

    Gilang: Thank you very much. You’re too kind.

  33. charlotte May 20th, 2011 4:48 pm

    i love ukulele lessons. Im doing it at my school which is called Burside.

  34. Woodshed May 21st, 2011 7:49 am

    charlotte: Thanks. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  35. Lisa June 5th, 2011 8:55 pm

    This is a fantastic site! I would make a monthly donation to use it (just sayin’…)! Also, I love your graphics. Would you consider selling T-Shirts with your logo? I would love to buy one! Thanks for all you do for the love of the uke!

  36. Woodshed June 5th, 2011 9:18 pm

    Lisa: Thanks very much! I’m not really into the donation thing. I did try t-shirts too but it didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll have another go.

  37. Roy June 18th, 2011 10:21 pm

    Here is my tribute to the website! a tutorial for the song – LA BAMBA!

  38. Sarah July 13th, 2011 1:24 pm

    Woohoo! You really help me a lot this time :) Just bought a new Ukulele and im still a noobies! thanks ! :)

  39. Woodshed July 14th, 2011 7:00 am

    Sarah: Thanks. Glad you found it useful.

  40. Geo August 19th, 2011 1:44 am

    Hey just going off what Max said a while back about playing Michael Franti’s the Sound of Sunshine and you posted the link and the link only showed how to play it on the guitar, could you help me out? thanks!

  41. Woodshed August 20th, 2011 7:18 am

    Geo: Chords are the same on guitar and ukulele.

  42. Angelica August 28th, 2011 8:13 pm

    Thanks! These lessons are really thorough i’ve had my uke for a few months & alot of sites i checked for lessons didnt have alot of very important info. I had to learn stuff from many different places if i found this site it would have been soo much easier.

  43. Woodshed August 30th, 2011 11:54 am

    Angelica: Thanks very much!

  44. Otter November 29th, 2011 5:45 pm

    jus wanna say i love the site… nd if u do try t-shirts again i wud buy 1

  45. Woodshed December 1st, 2011 7:18 pm

    Otter: Thanks very much! No plans to do t-shirts again, I’m afraid.

  46. Gerry January 3rd, 2012 10:41 am

    Right, got myself a Kohala KU212, a tuner and most importantly I’ve got ‘Ukulele for Dummies’.
    I reckon I’m ready to go but would you recommend getting some decent strings? Looking forward to learning the Uke.
    Great site by the way.

  47. Woodshed January 3rd, 2012 1:24 pm

    Gerry: Thanks! Glad you like it.

    I don’t know what strings it came with, but I would expect you’d improve the sound by switching them for Aquila or Worth strings.

  48. gina January 25th, 2012 7:39 pm

    Could you guys make chords/tabs for Jack Johnsons’s ‘Banana Pancakes’ and Zee Avi’s ‘Honey Bee?’

  49. geof February 20th, 2012 2:11 am

    Absolutely fantastic site!! Been playin’ banjo 5 string, tenor banjo, guitar, mando and bouzouki most of 40 years – just cottoned on to uke though. Really interesting stuff and a completely different approach. Many thanks for opening my eyes to something fresh and challenging.

  50. Emily February 27th, 2012 6:48 pm

    This is so useful! thank you!!

  51. 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!

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

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

  53. 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!!

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

    Fox: Thanks very much!

  55. 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.

  56. 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!

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

    Stewart: Glad to hear it!

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

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

    Pretty good

  59. 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

  60. 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.

  61. 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.


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

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

  63. 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)

  64. 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.

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

    Lauren: You’re very welcome!

  66. 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!

  67. 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)

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

    Azon: Thanks!

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

  69. 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. :)

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

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

  71. 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??


  72. 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.

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

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

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

    eric: Thanks very much!

  75. 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.

  76. 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:

    Note: The price is in GBP rather than USD.

  77. 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)

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

    Jan: Sorry, no.

  79. 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

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

    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

  81. 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

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

    Fritz: Humble Baritonics has a bunch of baritone links.

  83. 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.

  84. 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?

  85. 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?


  86. 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.

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

    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.)

  88. Don Crislip June 5th, 2016 7:35 pm

    Well I just received my 3rd Ukulele from Guitar Center and each of them average of $100 each. This new one is the same as the other and that is that different strings sound with a thudding sound. The open string might sound okay and have good sustain but when I play a note other than the open string, it make a dull, thud sound. One string I might live with, but two or more, I’m sending it back.

    It’s not my fretting. One open string sounds that way.

    I’m not ordering anymore! I have to drive 50 miles, 100 miles round trip to visit a store that sells ukuleles.

    I would appreciate any comments.

    Don Crislip

  89. Randy B June 24th, 2016 6:26 pm


    From your description of the issue you’re having (open strings ring out properly/fretted notes buzz/click or otherwise don’t properly sound out), it sounds to me as though your instrument has either a neck that’s warped, unevenly dressed frets, an extremely low action,… or any combination of the 3.

    Warped necks in ukes can happen – poor choice of wood ( not properly quarter sawn – which can make them very susceptible to seasonal change), an extremely humid/extremely dry climate (which causes the wood to either swell or contract). In most cases, this is due to poor build quality.
    You can easily spot a warped neck by either sighting down the edge of it from up near the headstock, or (better yet) fretting the first & last fret on a string & seeing how evenly the neck follows or doesn’t follow the straight line of the string between the 2 points. Obviously, it’s best to avoid ukes that have warped necks – unless they have an adjustable truss rod in the neck (in which case warpage is often quite easy to fix by merely tightening – for necks that are pulling too much towards the strings, or loosening – for necks that are pulling back away from the strings.)

    A high fret or 2 can also cause strings to “bottom out” on the neck past where you’re fretting. This is generally easy to remedy. Provided the neck/fingerboard are relatively straight, the occasional high fret can be easily filed/dressed to it’s proper height by most music store repair guys (or by yourself, if you have a relatively firm idea of what you’re doing.)

    A very low action can also cause strings to “bottom out” on higher frets. Provided the neck is straight & your frets evenly dressed, replacing the bone saddle or simply shimming up the existing saddle on your uke’s bridge to raise the action is a very easy fix.

    It sounds like you’re having a rather bad time getting a decent uke – shopping around for a different supplier, trying a different brand might be a good idea.

    As to price point,… it can be a bit misleading.
    I’ve seen decent ukes for well under $100 – I bought a Bugs Gear soprano for around $40 a few years ago (the finish quality is “meh” with actual drips in the paint & it’s not very flash, but it’s built properly where it matters – good neck, good intonations & decent quality tuning machines.
    On the other hand, I bought a tenor Michael Kelley uke that looked great – really nice finish quality & curly maple too – but the intonations were off, the bridge was actually installed too “short” for the scale of the instrument, & it’s neck “travels” every year – back warping itself during the winter/spring to the point where the strings all bottom out completely. Mind you, when it’s neck decides to be straight it sounds & plays quite nicely – but it cost a lot more than the Bugs Gear – which is dependable all year long.
    I finally bought a Godin Multiuke (after I got fed up with the Michael Kelley). It cost roughly the same as a decent classical guitar, but it’s bulletproof (although not everyone’s cup of tea, I actually like the chambered solid-body design & find it’s a nice practice volume when not plugged into an amp.) Like other Godin stuff I’ve bought in the past, it was perfectly set-up literally right out of the box – dead-on intonations all the way up the neck – beautiful action, & a joy to play.

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