Helpful Information for Beginning Ukulele Players
Why Play the Ukulele ?
The ukulele can be played by children or adults. It is portable and fairly inexpensive. It is a sociable instrument that lends itself well to singing. It IS an instrument and do not let people insinuate it is a toy! There are masterful ukulele players like Jake Shimabukuro that are a sight to behold! Also, ukuleles are inexpensive ($50-$100) but the cost can rise to over $1,000 for high end or vintage models. Ukuleles can be made of plastic, wood, or in a variety of shapes (e.g., pineapple, triangular, guitar shape).
Types of Ukuleles
There are four types of ukuleles: soprano (very small), concert, tenor, and baritone (largest). My personal favorite is the tenor because the neck is a little larger and easier to play than the soprano, in my opinion. I do own both.
Please note the baritone is similar to a guitar with two strings missing. The chord configurations and tuning (D-G-B-E) are different from the other types of ukuleles. Most baritones use wound steel strings rather than nylon. We do have a couple of baritone players in the group and the instrument is gaining popularity.
Strings—Make sure you are using nylon strings for ukuleles. Do not put guitar strings on a ukulele because they different.
Most ukuleles are tuned—G-C-E A. If you hold the ukulele against your body the top string is the “G” and the bottom string is the “A”. It is easy to tune with an electronic tuner called a “Snark” or online with a tuner website. Just listen to the tone and try to tighten or loosen the string until it matches.
Ease of Playing
The nice thing about ukuleles is they use nylon strings, which are easier on the fingers. Do expect to develop calluses on your left hand. Take breaks every once in awhile and let your fingers rest.
The ukulele is easy to learn but can take a long time to master. A beginner can learn to play a two or three chord song in a couple of hours. It just so happens that a lot of songs, particularly folk songs, have only three chords !
You do not have to be able to read music to play the ukulele. We often use tabs (lyrics) of songs with chords written at the appropriate place.
Some of the members offer ukulele lessons. A lot of us have learned how to play the ukulele from watching “YouTube” videos. It’s that easy! Actually learning how to tune and play can be easily done in front of the computer screen.
Where Can I Buy a Ukulele?
Most people seem to have acquired a ukulele during trips to Hawaii or from a family member, it seems. It probably has been sitting in a closet for a long time and nobody thought to play it. Where can one buy one? Since the popularity of ukuleles has gained in the last couple of years, most big brand music stores carry them: Sam Ash, Guitar Center. A lot of people buy used ukuleles on EBAY, CraigsList, Amazon.com, Musiciansfriend.com, and Overstock.com.
What Else Should I Buy ?
Accessories—It is good to buy a tuner and a music stand for holding sheet music and books. Don’t buy a cheap flimsy stand that cannot hold a notebook. Buy a decent one.
Books—A must have for the ukulele club are two ukulele fake books called “Jumpin Jim’s Daily Ukulele Book” (yellow book) and the “Leap Year Version” (blue book) by Jim Beloff. If you can only buy one, buy the yellow book first. They can be ordered online through Amazon.com, Overstock.com, or purchased at a music store. Please note we often have hand-out versions of songs on the club’s website for people to download.
About the East Pasco/Hernando Ukulele Club
The club meets once per month (normally the first Saturday) at The Commons on Pretty Pond in Zephyrhills. Beginners are welcome! We normally play and sing in unison so it doesn't matter if you make mistakes. A couple of weeks before an event I email out a list of songs to practice. Then we meet and go through the list of songs. Sometimes people bring hand-outs of songs to share. It is all just “clean fun” and we are not a performing group (although we get asked to do so). The atmosphere is very casual.
The Commons on Pretty Pond
38130 Pretty Pond Road
Zephyrhills, FL 33540
The club utilizes MeetUp.com for organization, discussion, and resources. Group emails are distributed concerning upcoming events, song lists, etc. It is important to register on the MeetUp.com website and then add “East Pasco/Hernando Ukulele Club”. It is a two-step process so if you don’t receive emails, then you did not register “all the way.”
Before the jam everybody prints out any hand-outs (if the songs are not in the book). Sometimes people share music stands, sheet music, and books if they are new or “forgot”.
Please see below for some helpful information about the club:
Here is a link to our club's website: http://www.meetup.com...
Links to some download music for our club:
We use "The Daily Ukulele" book and "Leap Year Version" by Jim Beloff for the club:
Tuning the ukulele:
Great info on ukuleles!
Lots of info!!
UKULELE MIKE's LESSONS ON YOUTUBE:
Another good video:
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