Tag Archives: Ukulele For Dummies

PLUC Tales – From Classical To PLUC

Andrew with one of his many ukuleles

Andrew with one of his many ukuleles

I’d always been aware of the uke – as a child I loved George Formby, had seen Tessie O’Shea on TV, but for some reason I never took an interest in owning one. I was mainly interested in Classical music, and that became exclusive from about 1969 until about 1975. I think the birth of heavy metal was what put me off pop.

Since I got my first job I had wanted a classical guitar, but never got around to it. I never realised how cheap they were compared with the oboe I had been learning. And I was ashamed of my bitten finger nails.

I’d been in a music shop in Brighton a couple of years ago where I plinked a uke hanging from the ceiling and wondered at the re-entrant tuning. Then came the Frank Skinner Formby documentary, and, not put off by the long-haired, bearded, Hawaiian-shirted cynic, I bought a uke and a guitar on Amazon and, since a friend swore by Violin For Dummies, I bought Ukulele For Dummies, where I found the Cosmos’s URL.

On the Cosmos I found out about PLUC, which I attended once and then had a heart-attack, which, followed by a spinal chord injury, put me out of action for 6 months, but now at last I’m becoming a PLUC regular and long may it continue.


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… – AnthonyRon’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – JamesSanta Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s StoryRon’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; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette


Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Members' Items


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PLUC Tales – Dan’s Story

The story begins in July last year. I’ve always had an interest in music and used to play the piano (not very well) for a few years growing up. Every now and then, I still practise some songs, although not with any great frequency. More recently, a couple of years ago, my family gave me an acoustic guitar as a birthday present. Several friends had been playing for some time so I learnt the basics to be able to play with them on the odd occasion. Quite a lot of the music I listen to features the ukulele, a sound that never fails to lift the spirits, so with this in mind I thought I’d give it a try too. Read the rest of this entry »


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PLUCking Ukes – Striking A Chord

To help in playing chord progressions more smoothly, Doctor Uke has two simple PDFs with the most common progressions for three- & four- chord songs in all the main keys:  I – IV – V7 & I – I7 – IV – V7. If you take these nice & slowly at first, paying attention to getting a good clean sound, then increase your speed gradually, you will build up good muscle memory of how to play these chords.

Also useful is the Ukulele For Dummies Chord Families sheet, which shows the basic chords for the main keys.

These three items make a nice warm-up at the start of your practice & can be varied by you changing the order of the chords or visiting the Doctor Uke’s Music Theory page, where he gives a number of songs in different keys for you to try.

Alternatively, you can add in practicing different strumming patterns whilst working through the chord progressions, with or without a metronome, to help you keep in time.


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A Question of Uke

The erstwhile Alistair Wood off of Ukulele Hunt has recently produced two lovely quizzes: TV Themes & Movie Themes. Once you’ve puzzled over the answers, head to the answers pages for links to Al’s arrangements of the tunes.

More on-line uke tips on our blog from Ukulele Hunt: Ukulele For Dummies.

Other quizzes include: PLUC Weekend Workout – Music Reading Knowledge; PLUC Weekend Workout – Flashcard Machine Ukulele ChordsPLUC Weekend Workout – Theta Music TrainerPLUC Weekend Workout – memrise on-line coursesPLUC Weekend Workout – Speak Ukulele Challenge!PLUC Weekend Workout – On-line Ear TrainerPLUC Weekend Workout – EarMaster Reference Songs For Intervals; PLUC Weekend Workout – Fretboard Master GamePLUC Weekend Workout – Guitarator Chord Quiz; PLUC Weekend Workout – Vocal Match Game


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Ukulele For Dummies – On-line Uke Tips

I am on the Ukulele Hunt mailing list and enjoy receiving their different regular newsletters, covering playing tips, articles, interesting books and sites, plus a selection of the latest on-line videos and recordings.  The site itself has a wealth of information for all levels of players, so do check it out!

The webmaster, Alistair Wood, is also the author of the book Ukulele For Dummies (available in printed and electronic editions from the usual outlets), covering many of Ukulele Hunt’s topics in more detail. If anyone wants to view a copy, let me know and I’ll bring mine along to a future club night.

Some tutorial and reference items can be found on the For Dummies site – see their ukulele articles and ukulele videos. There are also singing tips for those who’d like to improve that aspect of their practice.

If you’re fairly new to learning the uke, I’d recommend you view the ‘Swiss Army’ ukulele strum, which is nice to learn to play, as it fits many songs.



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