Monday, 23 November 2015

Starting to Play the Ukulele

Once upon a time the ukulele was an obscure novelty instrument which George Formby coupled with a northern accent to annoy both those who did and didn't go to war. Today many people are starting to play the ukulele.  It's popularity is everywhere - you can't turn on a television without hearing one jangling away in the background.  Take a moment to count how many times you hear a ukulele in the next commercial break.

The ukulele is with us for good, but big-time.  Why is this?  Well, it's relatively inexpensive for a musical instrument, it's easy to play, it's portable and with a little effort you can get a pretty good sound out of it quite quickly.  It's also an instrument that lends itself to all sorts of styles of music.  Check out the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

There are also a wide range of websites offering tuition.  You don't even have to spend a lot of money on books.  With a little selective surfing you can be knee deep in workable songs.  If you're looking for inspiration, it doesn't come better than our own Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Google them.  A more talented bunch of musicians you're unlikely to come across ... and they're funny ... and they can sing.  What's not to like?

As for selecting your first instrument, here's a few things to consider:

1.  Go to a Music shop and have a go on the instruments they have available.  Then check online for the best deals.  Don't buy one from a catalogue unless you recognise the brand name.  Don't buy one from a toy shop.

2.  Ask if someone can play it for you.  Better still, take someone with you who can play.  Most guitarists can play a few chords. (Think of the ukulele as the first 4 strings of a guitar.  The tuning is relatively the same).

3.  Spend at least £20 on an instrument.  As with anything, you get what you pay for.

4.  Get a case or a bag for protection.

5.  Make sure that the machine heads (tuning pegs) don't slip.

6.  See that it stays in tune as you play up the fretboard.

7.  Buy a spare set of ukulele strings.

Then, all you need to do is put aside a little time for some  practice and before you know it you'll be irritating even more of/all of/ both of your friends in a whole new way!


  1. Hi, I, m sorry, I must comment on this:

    You write:

    1. Go to a Music shop and have a go on the instruments they have available. Then check online for the best deals. (...)

    2. Ask if someone can play it for you.

    So you want someone to run a shop, buy ukuleles for you to try out, and then stay empty-handed, because after using his/her ukulele en even let him/her play it for you go and buy online. That's not very sympathetic.

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