#13 Choosing Your Instrument: Ukulele

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The ukulele is a superb little instrument a bit like a mini version of the guitar, when you play some chords it feels a bit like driving the great British mini, super cool and economical, but don’t be fooled it is a different instrument from the guitar.

The ukulele is unusual among string instruments in that the strings are not tuned in order of pitch. String 1: is A    String 2: is E    String 3: is C   In descending order.  String 4 is the higher note between E and G. Tuning any stringed instrument takes practice but is well worth the effort. The ukulele uses nylon strings similar to the classical or Spanish guitar, don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t stay in tune for lone especially when it’s brand new, it just takes a week or two for the strings to stop stretching, keep a tuner in your bag your going to need it.

If you play the guitar I would say that the transition from guitar to ukulele is relatively smooth. I  managed to learn about a dozen chords in a day in varying degrees of difficulty “Stand By Me” C Am F G  “My Great Wee Bogie” C Em Am F G7 (A song I wrote for school children) Okay this was comfortable and tried a song that I sing live. “Bring Me Sunshine” This has some jazz chords Bbmaj7 Cm7 C9 Dm7 etc and it changes up a tone to C major. This took a bit more work but did sound good on the ukulele.

The only little issue I found is when I went back to the guitar, is that some of the chord shapes are the same, for example the D chord on the guitar is a G chord on the ukulele. I found that concentration was the key to resolving this issue, I don’t need to concentrate to hard with the guitar because I’ve used the chords so many times, that changing chords is intuitive. This was different on the ukulele, I did need to remind myself as I was playing, what chord I was holding G or D etc.

I would definitely recommend students to learn this instrument especially guitarist’s. It’s very inexpensive to buy, small and easy to carry with you.

I’ve enjoyed going through my musical instruments, no instrument is easy to play, it all takes a lot of work, but talking about the instruments has reinvigorated my love for them and the reasons why I made the effort to learn how to play them.

Thanks for reading this series now start practicing.

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