Learning a new instrument can be tough, but nothing makes the process accessible quite like the ukulele. This simple stringed contraption serves as the perfect intro to the instrumental world. Within just one or two practice sessions, you could be playing a full song.
Commit yourself to this delightful instrument, and you’ll have a vast repertoire in no time. If you’re too impatient or simply lack the time for another stringed option, you’ll love the feeling of mastering something almost immediately.
While the ukulele is relatively easy to learn, it does — like any instrument — hold a few barriers to entry. Before you get started, you’ll want to invest not only in the ukulele itself, but also in a few accessories. While it’s possible to master the instrument with next to nothing on hand, certain tools make the process a lot easier. Equipped with the following essentials, you’ll be ready to tackle your favorite songs:
Although you could potentially figure out several songs while strumming on your own, a guide can expedite the learning process. The right book will make a huge difference as you strive to master the ukulele in record time. A variety of excellent options are available for leveling up every aspect of the experience.
Your book should provide not only notation for several fun songs, but also, instructions covering such essentials as tuning, stringing the instrument, and special techniques like hammering and pulling off. Some books can be downloaded to smartphones, tablets, or e-readers, but many beginning instrumentalists prefer physical books.
Where will you keep your book as you learn the ukulele? The right music stand will help you maintain proper posture as you practice or perform songs on your new instrument. Ideally, your stand will also be easy to adjust — especially if you play more than one instrument or if multiple members of your household intend to master the ukulele.
Because your instrument is so portable, you’ll want to seek out a stand that can be moved from one location to the next with minimal effort. Many stands can collapse and be stored within specialized carrying bags.
As with any stringed instrument, you’ll need to tune your ukulele before you start learning new songs. Otherwise, listeners will find anything you play unpleasant, at best.
Multiple methods can be called upon to keep your ukulele sounding lovely, including everything from the piano to an advanced method known as relative tuning (which is also referred to as tuning by ear). In a pinch, you can even use an app on your smartphone to tune not only your ukulele, but also several other instruments.
Ultimately, you’ll have the most luck with a tuner designed for the ukulele. The best tuners clip onto the instrument and can also be used for guitars. Excellent options include:
- KLIQ UberTuner
- KLIQ EcoTuner
- Hola! Music UT-100
- So There Rechargeable Clip-On Tuner
- Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner
- Snark SN6X Clip-On Ukulele Tuner
At first glance, a music-oriented app might not seem necessary for learning a new instrument — especially something as simple as the ukulele. After all, people have managed to master basic stringed instruments for generations without the aid of mobile devices. Once you’ve integrated your smartphone into ukulele practices, however, you’ll wonder how anyone ever survived without it.
Depending on your unique needs, your collection of ukulele-oriented apps could help you tune your instrument, stay on the beat, or find new songs. If you’re unable to immediately invest in a ukulele, certain apps can emulate the instrument to give you a small taste of the musical adventure that awaits.
As you load up your smartphone with apps, be sure to keep an eye out for the following options:
While books and apps for learning the ukulele can differ to some extent, they essentially cover the same chords and other basic instructions. Ultimately, your personal sense of commitment will determine whether you actually master your new instrument.
While the ukulele requires far less effort to learn than most stringed alternatives, it still requires some dedication. If possible, set aside a few minutes every day to ensure that you continue to make progress towards your goal of becoming a ukulele virtuoso.
With the right tools and accessories — and a little practice — learning the ukulele can be a cinch. Don’t hesitate to get started with this exciting musical endeavor. One day, you’ll thank yourself for making the effort to learn a new instrument.