How to Play Ukulele: Tips and Tricks


Playing the ukulele is as much fun as playing the guitar. Although the two are both stringed instruments, they are entirely different from each other. You can consider a ukulele as one of the easiest musical instruments to play for beginners. After reading this article, you should be able to play some simple and easy ukulele songs. In fact, as early as the age of 6, children can learn and practice how to play this instrument. That is why a lot of people are fascinated and eager to learn how to play the ukulele.

So if you are interested in playing one, we can help you through your learning journey by writing down these tips and tricks in playing the ukulele.

Practice Appropriate Form and Posture

Properly holding the instrument is one of the most fundamental aspects to get right at the beginning. An uncomfortable position will interrupt the learning experience. Besides that, poor posture could create unnecessary pressure on certain parts of your body. Playing ukulele has numerous benefits and having muscle and joint pain are certainly not included to that. So take note to keep your back straight while holding the instrument right below your chest.

All of this will require some practice, but it’s going to pay off in the end, and you will be able to pick up your ukulele and sing as you walk around. For beginners, a strap might come in handy. 

Learn the Basics First

There are a few basic chord shapes to learn that’ll get you started on this instrument. Several ukulele tutorials discuss how the chord charts are useful to visually see the shapes and improve your learning process and memory. These include triads, open chords, triads, and bar chords, among others. Majority of the songs you learn as a beginner are also likely to contain the following chords:

  • C Chord
  • A Chord
  • D Chord
  • G Chord
  • F Chord

There are many tones that the varying sizes of ukulele on MusicCritic can produce. You will have to dig around online to find the right size for you. Beginners have hundreds of options to choose from nowadays. As a beginner, your attention should be on developing your familiarity with switching from one chord to another, keeping steady, on-beat strumming, and producing excellent sound. You could improve all of this by starting with simple and easy ukulele songs that use 3-4 basic chords in their progression.

Learn the Strumming Pattern

It is evident that strumming only goes in two directions: up and down. Strumming patterns are made up of up and down variations, which can dramatically affect the mood of a song when combined with the speed and timing of the strum. If you’re learning a new pattern, you may want to start at a slower rate and work your way up in speed so that your strumming is consistent. 

An important tip to add; your fingernails contribute to the sound of the ukulele. It is essential to keep your fingernails on your hands short to allow clean fretting for a more distinctive sound. Although letting your strumming fingernails grow a little will help make a great sound.

Take a Video of Yourself While Playing

We know that you read this tip a dozen times, but we can’t deny the fact that recording yourself while playing makes a more significant difference in your improvement. Why? By doing it, you can keep track of how you play and see the parts where you need to improve. It isn’t easy to listen carefully and objectively while playing at the same time. 

When you record yourself, you could hear more intently and pick up any flaws you have made. Are you speeding up? Are you making buzzes by mistakenly fretting? Are the notes that you like to emphasize standing out? Things like this can be improved when you hear yourself playing.

Recording yourself can also open you up to new opportunities – Australian musician Eli Ekman posted some of his Phish covers to YouTube and before long found himself with a following of his own. You might find putting your music on YouTube or other services early on in your journey can kickstart your music career.

Ukulele is a much enjoyable instrument that you can ever play. It may take some time for you to master it, but you can certainly get better in no time with an ample amount of practice and effort. If playing is starting to feel comfortable, then you are getting better at it. Hopefully, the tips above help you with your learning journey. Remember that with persistent practice, you would surely be great at playing the ukulele.


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