The ukulele, or uke for short, is a small guitar-like instrument belonging to the lute family. It's strung with four nylon, or sometimes gut, strings. Barely a kid's arm's length, the ukulele is a Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese 'machete' (a small stringed instrument with four metal strings). While not as popular as the guitar, ukuleles are enjoying a revival that it’s easy to make it your first instrument if you are taking music lessons at home.
On the surface, the ukulele seems unintimidating to play because of its diminutive size. While there's no 'ukulele' police as some enthusiasts have pointed out, there are a few things to keep in mind before starting to pluck the strings, whether you are taking online or in home music lessons.
The ukulele is tuned GCEA, where G is closest to your face, and A is closest to the floor. Hold the ukulele against your chest, and make sure your right forearm is across the top right edge of the uke's body. Your strumming hand should reach almost to the 12th fret where it's best to strum. Bigger-sized ukuleles can be placed on your leg when sitting.
The position of your fretting hand should allow you to put the pad of your thumb on the top half of the back of the neck of the uke, somewhere between the third fret and the nut. Don't wrap your thumb over the top of the neck of the uke because this will limit your movement. Your wrist should be level, unless you have to turn your wrist to reach a chord. Your fretting fingers should be close to parallel with the frets. Make sure your elbow is in line with your shoulder and your fretting hand.
The ukulele can be strummed several ways. You can down strum it with your index finger, with the rest of your fingers curled up, or down strum and up strum with the same finger while rolling your wrist back and forth.
As the ukulele only has 4 strings, it's relatively easy to learn the basic chords. A few minutes of strumming the ukulele everyday should allow you to play the instrument quite comfortably after a few days. Join in today at Live Music Tutor in 3 simple steps; create your profile, select your Ukulele instructor and start learning today!