I've seen some pretty good websites with great tips on how to start to learn to play a ukulele. Okay, an ukulele if you like. But having just given one as a gift to a complete beginner, I thought I'd share my views on learning to play with you.
You want to play because you want to play song accompaniments, for starters, yes? Ok.
Set of Chords 1 - C, G7, F
Learn just 2 chords and you'll be started. There are quite a few songs that you can play using just two chords!
I don't have the means to show you how to finger chords on this blog - there are plenty of websites where you can learn that, and one of my favourites is (ukulelemike) Mike Lynch's website, allthingsukulele.com. His first beginners' page with chord shapes is right here.
Another very good one is ukeschool.com. Here's the page for C, G7 and F
The key of C is the easiest key to play in to start off with, because the home chord C needs only one finger on one string on the fingerboard.
So learn the C chord, using your ring finger (3rd finger) in the space just before the third fret, bottom string (A string).
Then learn the chord G7.
Slide that ring finger down to just behind the second fret and put your first finger at the first fret, next string (E string); middle finger to the third fret, the next string (C string).
Practise playing those two chords and changing smoothly between them.
It all feels awkward and tricky at first but that soon goes with a bit of practice and you'll be away!
Now you can play "Dance the Night Away" and "Cockles and Mussels"!
Start with C, and your ear should tell you when C no longer sounds right, and you need to change to G7. And so on.
If you are of a certain age, you'll remember "The Banana Boat Song"; popular on the radio.
"Day-oh, day-oh! Daylight come and I wanna go home!"
Another 2 chord song, easy to sing and play using C and G7.
The next chord to learn is F.
From G7, leave your first finger in place and move your second finger over to the 2nd fret, top string. (G string).
Practise changing between these three chords; they belong together.
There are loads of songs you can do with just three chords! I'll make a list on another page.
So - the key of C, three chords - C (home chord) G7, F
C, G7, F
Set of Chords 2 - Am, Dm, C7
The 2nd set of chords to learn to enrich your playing and greatly increase your repertoire is
Am, Dm, C7
Adding these chords gives you some common chord progressions, which sound just great and are used in many songs.
One such chord progression is C, Am, F, G7 - repeat.
Also C, Am, Dm, G7
Practise changing through these progressions.
Set of Chords 3 - D7, E7, A7
Your 3rd set of chords to learn is D7 (both fingerings), E7, A7.
With these nine chords under your belt, you'll be well on your way.
In my next few posts, I'll list some songs, using 1st set, incorporating 2nd set, then incorporating 3rd sets of chords.