I realised with surprise the other day that I’ve now owned my ukulele for a year!
I’d been going upstairs to a neighbour’s flat, to water his plants & feed his cat over the summer, & found myself coveting his uke, which sat there winking at me along with piles of songs showing chord diagrams. It looked like it would be fun to have a strum.
Knowing it was bad manners to play with someone’s instrument without prior permission, I joked with a friend that, if I could find a cheap uke in my favourite colour, maybe I’d get one & teach myself. Within about thirty seconds on Google I realised that I could indeed purchase a purple Mahalo, reviewed as a good entry level cheap beginners’ ukulele, for £15. There seemed to be masses of on-line resources of tutorials & songs, so the deed was done & it arrived to my work the next day, much to the amusement of my colleagues!
Having dug out my notes from my first steps in learning, I thought some of the info might be useful to other recent beginners:
- An on-line tuner – here’s one on UkeBuddy.
- A basic chord diagram to get you started – see Ukalady.com or UkuChords.
- Sites with plenty for beginners, including basic & more advanced lessons; intros to chords; easy exercises; tunes to play; strumming & finger-picking – Pineapple Pete’s Uke School; Ukulele Hunt; Doctor Uke; & Ed Kalua’s The Uke.
- Tune selection – I hopped around Doctor Uke, Alligator Boogaloo, Richard G’s Songbook, Betty Lou & Ultimate Guitar, amongst others, digging out a mix of easy songs & favourite tunes to try out.
A couple of months later my work colleagues kindly bought me some useful equipment for my birthday, including a clip-on tuner (available for around a fiver – really good when you’re out, especially if you’re not used to tuning an instrument), sturdy case & music stand.
Round then, my neighbour suggested seeking out a local group & attending some jamming sessions. I’d never considered actually playing in public but found PLUC really welcoming from the outset & have been attending ever since. It’s totally different playing in a group: you get a lot of fun trying out tunes you’d probably never consider yourself; it’s always good to get help & tips from the more experienced players; & enjoyable meeting a new batch of people.
…And now I’m their webmaster!
PS As for my neighbour – he’s still playing in his band, The Martini Encounter.
Other PLUC Tales: More Benny Hill Than James Hill – Dave P; I Never Liked The Uke – Steve H; Long-Distance Strummer – Gail; New Uker! – Sheila; A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – Anthony; Ron’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – James; Santa Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s Story;; Ron’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song