Ukulele 101: How to Play Ukulele For Beginners | Megan Jeffery | Skillshare

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Ukulele 101: How to Play Ukulele For Beginners

teacher avatar Megan Jeffery

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction & Overview

    • 2. How to Tune Your Ukulele

    • 3. Ukulele Anatomy: The Different Parts of the Ukulele

    • 4. How To Strum the Ukulele

    • 5. Your First Chords

    • 6. Intermediate Chords

    • 7. Chord Progressions

    • 8. Practice Song: "Something" by the Beatles

    • 9. Practice Song: "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz

    • 10. Conclusion

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About This Class

Welcome to the complete course that teaches you how to play the ukulele from day one!

Meet Your Teacher

Hello, I'm Megan.

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1. Introduction & Overview: Hello everyone and welcome to today's course, which teaches you how to play the ukulele from J1. So even if you're just a beginner, this course is going to take you through the very basics. Teach your first cords, you first melodies, your first songs. How to tune the ukulele household, the clearing, everything that you need to know about this beautiful instrument. And this initial introduction, we're just going to be talking a bit about the history of the instrument. So just like you know, this comes from the beautiful island of Hawaii, the state in the United States of America. Now there are different sizes of ukulele. The one I have in my hands is the smallest size, which is called the soprano ukulele. There's one up, which is called the concert, than the tenor, than the baritone. And the base ukulele, the one and I haven't my hands is the standard one that most shops will do and the one that you most likely have. Although obviously correct me if I'm wrong. And the difference between the sizes doesn't really change in turn except when you go for the baritones and the basis than the tunings get a little bit different. Now the great thing about the soprano is that it's so easy to carry, it's very light to hold you just pick it up and play it matter where you are. So without further ado, please click on the first lesson and we'll learn how to tune this beautiful instrument. 2. How to Tune Your Ukulele: So welcome to the first lesson. And today we're gonna learn how to Chile you play. The ukulele has four strings. Now, I've just changed my ukulele. So now it's time for you to turn yours. You want to tune it to match mine Chain. C and a. Now the great thing about the ukulele is that it's weird and wonderful. If your guitar player, you might find it very odd to hear that the ukulele goes down in pitch for the C string. C on, on nucleic, it's very different to basis. And guitars were usually the strings go from lowest to highest on the UK who have this string, then it's a lower string, then a high strain gamma, and then an even higher string and pitch. This is deliberate however, because the C string, which is this one, really is the staple of the entirety of the ukulele instrument. So now that we have our Euclidean tune, let's take a little tour of the entire instrument. So click on the next lesson and we'll take a look. 3. Ukulele Anatomy: The Different Parts of the Ukulele: Okay, so another year you clearly is in tune. We're going to be taking a look at the anatomy of the instrument. We're going to be looking at the different parts and different components that make the Euclidean what it is. It is very important to understand everything about the physicality of your Ukulele because it is an instrument the end of the day and it deserves respect. We're going to start with most prominent feature of the ukulele, which is the body made of words typically. And this is where all the sound happens. We're not gonna move on to the sound hole or the sound emits out of. So when you strum, the sun is coming out. This sample is just like acoustic guitars. They have assad hold typically or F holes on either side. It's the same with basis, acoustic basis, specifically violence shallows. These holes allow the body to breathe and to allow the Santa met from, we're now going to move on to the bridge, which is this thing here. This is where the strings, the nylon strings tie onto the end of the instrument. They're tied on up the tuning pegs, which we'll come on to in a minute and then tighten at the other end. From chimpanzees to the bridge hair. Now it's very important to say that when you change your ukulele strings, have it done by professional to try and do it yourself. If you have an experience, you might risk injury to yourself. Unsure instrument, these are very, very finely tied and it's very important you have a professional for you to make any risks with your instrument, TOR and health. Now on the other end of the instrument, we have the headstock. This is, this wouldn't be here, which can be beautifully carved. Dive this snail here because this is a snail ukulele, it's a brand. And in the headstock we have the four tuning pegs which tune the instrument. Be very careful when you tune your instrument to be erratic with it, be very delicate. It's very delicate instrument and it breaks very easily if you're not too careful. And then we have the neck, just like a guitar neck, but much smaller. This is why we basically rest the back cover rest of our left-hand to play. And it's made of wood on the front of the neck. We have the fretboard and Fred's make up the fretboard threats of these individual lines. And in between them we have a friend. The first friend is here, between the knots which we'll come on to in second and the first fret. So this is the first, second, third, fourth, fifth fret where the daughters. Next we have these dots, which are the indicators which tell you where the, where to put your fingers on the ukulele. Now interestingly, your Euclidean might be very different. Every instrument is peculiar in and of itself. So usually you have markers on the third fret, fifth, seventh fret, 12th, fret, 15, and so on. And now we have not, which is this bit here, this little white plastic, but these have four sluts and num, which allow the nylon strings to rest on and push under. It creates the perfect tension for the ukulele is that you can play it with ease and it ties in nicely to the headstock tuning pegs. So it's basically a brief tour of the ukulele. And without further ado, let's move on to our next lesson. 4. How To Strum the Ukulele: So in this lesson we're going to be learning how to strum the ukulele. Now it's really important to note that if you're a guitarist or bassist or something, it might be tempting to just take a peek and start strumming away with your right hand. Please don't do this and does a very good reason why I'm making this lesson. The unfortunate truth is, are a lot of beginners, Thank You. Can just treaty clearly like a small guitar. While you can't, it's much more delicate, has nylon strings, it deserves more respect than that. And don't just take picture and start strumming away. It's very detrimental the health of the instrument. Now what I will say is we'll get onto the fretting hand, which plays notes and place the chords. But let's get down with our right hand does, which is strong. Before we look at the left-hand, getting the technique right is essential before you can learn Individual melodies, songs, courts, and so on. Now the technique for the ukulele varies, but I'm gonna be teaching you some really important tips that all beginning ukulele pairs have to know when learning how to strongly instrument. What you don't want to do is make this, this kind of gesture. A lot of ukulele players do this and strong. And if you've heard that there's this coarseness tour that you don't want to be hearing. What you want to be hearing as this kind of a delicate flow. And yes, it is sort of the rhythm, but it's also to do with your hand technique. Now what you're gonna do is let your wrist flow away from the instrument. Just do this up and down in front of yourself. Now bring the instrument. And what you want to be doing with this gesture is letting your index finger, which is your pointer finger, second finger to all of the work as it goes up and down. Because the up and down like this. In fact, if thought is too much to handle up first, try and just use your finger by going over the strings like this. And just let that flow. What is important to know is when you're going down, you want the end of your nail and the flatbed of your nail to be hitting those strings on your way up. You want the part of your index finger to be hitting the strings upwards. So practice that motion. And then with confidence you'll be able to go down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. That is the typical strumming motion. Now remember you clearly as an instrument and as such, a million different musicians will have a million different ways and theories of how you should be strumming it. Now, remember how I said you shouldn't use the PEC. That's kind of true, but it's kind of not as well because there are exceptions to every rule when it comes to the ukulele. With regards to picking, if you must use a peck to purchase a very inexpensive ukulele Peck. The reason why ukulele picks differ from regular guitar picks is that they're extremely flimsy. The benefit of this is that you're not damaging these very delicate nylon strings and allows you to just strong with 0s if you're not getting this telegenic grades. But another technique you can use is using your thumb and you can strum the cleaner like this. There are ups and downs of this technique. The benefits are that it meets the clay if you want to a delicate zone. Another benefit is that it's more precise when you're playing individual nodes. But yeah, as for the strumming patterns of the ukulele, These are really up to you. We are going to be looking at strumming patterns later on with courts. So for now please practice this technique that I taught you earlier. And the one with your thumb where you're going up and down with your thumb. Remember treating the ukulele is very, very key. I note said it a million times already, but please do bear that in mind. It is a smaller instrument and the guitar, and you don't be just attacking it like you would on a base or an electric guitar. So let's move on to our next lesson. 5. Your First Chords: Okay, so now that we've learned how to strum the ukulele with our index finger. We're going to be looking at the hand and you're going to be learning your first chords. And this specific lesson, we'll be looking at three chords, C Major, G-major, and F-major. Three vital chords that every ukulele player has to know how to play. Why? Because they appear so many times and they are some of the most simple and most fun to play on the ukulele. So let's look at the ukulele and get started. The first chord is a C Major, and it should sound like this. What we're gonna do is we're gonna put our index finger on the third fret of the a string which has this top string. Third fret would be 123. And you just one more time. The next quarter we're going to be looking at is the G major chord, and it sounds like this. Now, the first chord was one finger on the third fret. This one uses three fingers, so it is two steps up, so to speak in terms of difficulty, but bear with me. I believe in you believe in yourself. You can do it. We're going to start with our index finger on the second fret of the C string, which is the second string down from the top string. So we go 12 string here. We're gonna go 12 on the second front with our index finger. Next, like a spider, you're gonna bring your ring finger onto the third fret of the E string, which is the third string governments also 123123, with our ring finger right there. So we're going to include now the fashion that we learned, which was the second fret of the C string. And just underneath on the highest string, we're gonna put our middle finger on the second fret. So bring all those notes together. This one, this one, and this one. I'm gonna strum one more time. Now the cool thing about this is if you are a guitarist and you're learning how to play the ukulele, just think of the G-Major chord shape on an electric or an acoustic guitar and apply it to the ukulele. Now the third chord we're going to be looking at in this lesson is the F major chord, and it sounds like this. This court is beautifully melodic and I hope that you'll be able to play it soon too. So to start, we're gonna put our middle finger on the second fret of the top string. One, middle finger on the second front. Now we're gonna go to streams down. So we're going to skip this one and go to this one. And we're going to put our index finger on the first fret of that string, which is the E string, which is there. And then we're going to bring that one back over onto the second fret and we're gonna strum that. And that is the F-Major chord. So let's recap all three chords. We learned the C chord, the G chord, and the F chord. So it's played a C chord. One more time. We're going to put our index finger on the third fret of the high string instrument. Now with the G chord, we're going to put our index finger on the second fret of the C string, or ring finger on the third fret of the E string. Middle finger on second from the top string, a string. And finally it's finished off and play the F chord, which is the second fret of the G string is top string with our middle finger, dummy message string. And we're gonna put our index and on the first fret of the E string, which is the third stream down from the top. And we strum it all, including this top one. And those are our first three courts. Click on the next lesson and we'll learn three more. 6. Intermediate Chords: Okay, welcome back. So in the last lesson, we looked at three chords, the C major, the G-major, and the F-Major. Now today's lesson we're going to be learning three more chords. We can learn a minor, D major, a major. So let's get started with the a minor chord. Just like the C code, this one just uses one fretting finger, which is the lifetime if you're right-handed player and the right hand, if you play the UK like this. But let's not get too complicated. So to play this, you're gonna put your middle finger or your index finger. It's really up to you. Let's use the middle finger because it's how I play it. And I think by example is simpler. We're going to place it on the second fret of the stop string. So 12 second France of a string closest to your body in the upper part of your body. And you're just going to strummed up all of the strings. And we have kind of sod sounding, melodic cold. The next chord we're going to learn as a little bit more complicated. And it's the G-Major chord and it sounds like this. Now the challenging thing about this chord, as are all three fingers that we're going to use our fretting hand, which is our middle finger, ring finger, and our pinky are all played on one fret. So you kind of have to learn how to crime your fingers onto this one fret. So let me break it down for you so you cannot have stats. So we start with our middle finger on the second fret, which is why we started our last chord on. And next we're going to put our ring finger just underneath that on the C string. So we have this one and this one, both on the second fret by Hawaiian. And our Pinkie goes underneath Thoughts on the E string. So we basically have Festus undiscovered. The second fret, first three strings, but not high one. And then you just strum at. The great thing about this is if you prefer to start with your index finger, you can use your index, middle, and ring fingers. But my opinion that's not as natural as using your middle finger, your ring finger, on your pinky. So the next chord we're going to learn as a major chord, and it sounds like this. Now when you learn how to play, you'll notice insulae. It's very similar to the F major chord we learned in the previous lesson. Let me break it down for you. You're going to start with your middle finger on the second fret of this top string, the one nurse to your upper body. And then you put your index finger on the first fret of the C string. C basically have this. And then you stronghold ukulele. So the three chords we learned in this lesson, we're a minor to G major, a major. Scholastic. All six chords we've learned in the last few lessons, C, G major, F major, a minor. G major, a major. So now move on to the next lesson and we'll learn all about chord progressions and putting all these chords together. 7. Chord Progressions: Okay, so like I said, we're gonna be learning chord progressions in this lesson. Now, you've learned how to play six very important courts. Question is, how do we put them together? So the wonderful thing about songs is that they use chord progressions, which means that once one chord follows another, Coleridge follows another quarter, it follows another chord. Chord progressions can range from two to four chords, sometimes 567, but those go into more complex. There is about music. We're just going to be looking at a simple four chord progression, C, G, a minor, and F. The wonderful thing is you've learned how to play all these courts. Don't worry, I will recap them in case you're still learning them. So with regards to chord progressions, you also need to know how to strum them in which order and in which rhythmic pattern. We're going to be looking at that as well, but some examples. So let's start with a C major chord, which is the third fret of this high string. The G major chord, which was this one. The a minor chord, which he used our middle finger on the second fret of the G string. And the F-Major chord, which used the second fret of the G string and the first fret of the Eastern. So how do we make that progression into something that sounds like some, we're gonna use a simple down, down, up, down, down, up is how we change from one core to another using a rhythmic pattern. This might sound complicated, but let me explain. So we're just going to use a very simple core, like a scene downtown up means going down, down, up in case you're confused, go back to the lesson about how to strongly ukulele. And you'll know that we use our index finger as the pointer finger to playing strumming. So down, down town, you couldn't do that twice. Then you're gonna move on to the G chord, a minor, F major. One more time. So those are very simple core progressions and a very simple striping pattern. Now with regards to the strumming pattern, you can live in an up by adding an extra down after down, down, up. So we're going to try the next chord progression of strumming. That's going to be down, down, up, down, down, down, up, down, down, down, up, down. Another very easy strumming pattern of this chord progression is down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. Except for the embolization until at the end there. That is basically how you play it, that strumming pattern. Now let's look at a second core progression. We've used C, G, a minor, and F. This one is very common in rock music and men pop songs as well. But the next one we're going to be looking at is a three chord progression, and it's a minor, F, G, a minor. And the core progressions basically use three courts. The strumming pattern we're going to use is down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. The very simple one. So try it with me one more time. So that's a very brief introduction to chord progressions. We can also incorporate many other chords that we've learned. For example, let's look at another one. Let's look at D I, F. To reminisce. G was the third, the second fret, sorry, with our middle finger, second fret with our ring finger, and the second fraught with our pinky on the top three strengths like this. So we're gonna go and by the way, the striping pattern is still down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. F. If we look at another strumming pattern, down, down, up, down. One more time. As you can see, there are many different strumming patterns that you can use with main different chords and chord progressions. I think the best way to do this is to experiment with what kind of cords you like. I will say that attached to the sculpture lesson, there is a worksheet for you to look at if you want to learn a variety of other courts. Now that you know what a fretboard is, where different fretting fingers go and basic chords, you can work out the other chords in those core trials based on what you already know. So best of luck, without further to move onto the next lesson or work, we'll be taking a look at our first songs. 8. Practice Song: "Something" by the Beatles: So now that we've looked at chords and chord progressions were going to be learning our first song. This song is something by the Beatles. Now I will say that something was originally played by George Harrison from the Beatles on his Fender Telecaster, an electric guitar. But this song is actually Paul McCartney's version, also from the Beatles on ukulele. After George passed away, he picked up the ukulele and chose to make his own rendition. It's a beautiful song and I really want to pass onto you. So before I teach it to you, I'm gonna play it for you first. It's a really beautiful melodic churn, and I really wanted teachers here. So we're going to start with our ring finger on the third fret of the top string. This is a C chord. Usually you would use your middle or your index finger, but it's really important, use your ring finger because this song goes down in France. It's kinda starting at 1, going down to the B flats, etcetera, etcetera. And it goes down like that. So do bear with, and you'll see why this is important. So we start with this strumming pattern with our ring finger on the third fret of the high string. Down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. And then on that up, we're then gonna change to the second fret of that same string with our middle finger. Same strumming pattern. So from the top. Now we're gonna move towns the first route with our index finger. So from the top. And now we're going to pay an F-Major chord, which is our middle finger on the second strategy string and our indexing on fast wrap of Eastern. So from the top. Now we can play a G major coordinated the same strumming pattern, and an a G major chord. So from the top, now we're going to play an a minor chord, which is our middle finger on the top string, the G string. So one, town up, down, up, down, up, down, up. And then we're going to move down with our inexorably to the first router. And then we're going to play how you fairly open. So from the top of that section. And I'm going to play the F-Major chord again, G-major. And we're going to play a seed finish off. So let's play the whole song all over again. And that is the quick version of something by Beatles, which was transposed by Paul McCartney for the ukulele. It's a very simple somewhere, chooses the principles that we've looked at of strumming, chord progression and very simple courts. So move on to the next lesson where we're going to be learning. I'm Yours. By Jason morass. 9. Practice Song: "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz: So we learned something by The Beatles in the previous lesson and announce video. We're gonna be looking at Jason Ross is I'm yours. Now, just to say this is the first time in the course we're going to be looking at single notes, maladies and stuff, just courts. And it's literally for just two notes. Even though it is a difficult concept by wet because it's worth learning. The song starts like this. Just a quick. Now how do we do that? We're going to start with our index finger on the third fret of this high string. Then we're gonna play the fifth fret with our ring finger. And then we're gonna play a C chord. Severe opening, bet goes. Now we're gonna get to the chord progression. I will talk about the course before I teach you the strong patch them because that is the difficult. But this chord progression is exactly the same as the one we looked at in the chapter on chord progressions. It goes through a minor. For reference, rewatch those videos or look at the chord chart in the resources Vasco share class. So the striping pattern goes like this. But there is a little bit of a difference. I'm gonna play the song Chou, and I wanna see if you can catch out what it is. Notice how there is a little chugging as gender to Dannon detector. Now that little cut EBIT is done literally by meeting the strengths. The way I do it is simply by one, I play the C chord. I then moved my other fingers over to mute the fretboard. You can do it with this hand of that's a bit difficult. Literature. Stop the insurance, making solid sample. It stops the strings from buzzing. Now, another thing you can do if this is a bit of a difficult thing is just play the song and enjoy it without little meeting bets. But the meeting does make authentic and is a very important technique to learn on the Ukrainian. And start from the top. Let's look at it without the meeting. Notice I'm just doing very simple up-and-down motion with my strumming hand. There's nothing really difficult, bothersome. So let's play fully from the start. 10. Conclusion: And at last we reached the conclusion of this introductory course into how to play the ukulele for beginners. I hope you found it to be useful. I hope that the resources in the description will also help you out very much in terms of playing chords. This was just a brief overview and the worldview clay is huge. There will be more lessons to come, so please stay tuned for those. Thank you very much for watching. I wish you a great day.