Dylan.Blog Writing and musings by Dylan Reed

Getting Started

How to Ukulele

What?

The ukulele is a fantastic and amazing instrument. I imagine that the ukulele is like the evil minion of the guitar. It can do and say things that the guitar wants to, but can’t.

The ukulele is a member of the lute family and uses nylon strings. For more information about the ukulele’s history try google.

Why?

Like most people who start playing string instruments the idea was put in my head but Patrick Rothuss. The Name of the Wind guy. His descriptions of how it feels to play and perform made me think, “Hey, I like to feel those things.” So clearly I needed to learn how to play the lute.

I wasn’t able to find any lutes for sale in the Greeley area. After five minutes of searching, I moved on to my second choice, the mandolin. Mandolins are not cheap instruments and given my propensity for giving up on things, I thought it was best not to spend any money.

Then I remembered that my mom had started learning to play the ukulele. Perfect. It was about a month ago when I had this realization and I called my mom. She still had it, and wasn’t playing it. Yay for me!!

Playing a ukulele was love at first strum. I loved the sound, I loved how small it was. Guitar players call it the clown of guitars, which is perfect for me.

How?

Playing the ukulele is pretty simple. Hold it, strum it, press the string near the frets. It is actually that simple. Playing it well is a whole other issue.

I found a bunch of tutorials online and downloaded a tuning app. It wasn’t until I found Yousician that I really started to learn. It turns out that my friend Jon (one of two) had recently picked up the ukulele as well and pointed me in that direction.

Yousician has been great because it makes playing the ukulele into a game. Basically a perfectly designed app for my brain and it has been a lot of fun.

I have also purchased the book, Ukulele Aerobics, which is a forty week course that walks you through the basics of the ukulele. Each day has a different theme: Chords, scales, legato, etc. The way it is structured is in small little bite sizes, which are easy to digest.

My practice has been to do my daily Ukulele Aerobics and then move into whatever song I am practicing. Right now it is Brahms Lullaby, and it is a lot of fun.

Join Me

If you want to join in on this crazy ukulele journey here is what you need to do.

  1. Find a ukulele - craigslist, borrow, the internet, etc.
  2. Get youcisian (I am dylannotdylan if you want to follow me)- This will help you jump start things and help you understand what the youtube teachers are saying.
  3. Watch videos - There are a ton of videos out there about how to play the ukulele. I ignored those at first. Instead I watched performances that were inspiring. This gave me a goal to strive for.
  4. Practice - This one should go without saying. I try to practice for at least 20 minutes if not more everyday. And practice everything. Don’t just work on chords, do finger style as well.

Join me in Uke land. I will keep practicing and try and share any tricks and tips I learn along the way.

Don’t forget that you can support my writing efforts on Patreon