Information for Beginning Ukulele Players
Whenever someone new comes to the Berkeley Ukulele Club and I have a chance to help I always give them the same advice I got almost 3 years ago from Herman in Uncle Hollis’ group in Hayward, CA. (This club has now reformed and is called the Kaleponi Strings.) Herman said, as the club is playing along you will quickly fall behind. It will be a bit frustrating but it is true. Early on, be patient with yourself, try to form the chord shapes as comfortably as you can. Watch how others are placing their fingers. Move if you need to to see their hands.
There is something phenomenal about learning these shapes and this phenomenon is called muscle memory. It is the ukulele player’s best friend. The more that you form these finger patterns and then advance to changing from pattern to pattern the less you need to think about your fingers. The eye sees C or F or G7 or Em and your fingers remember! Pretty amazing, but true.
The other thing that is common for beginners is having sore finger tips. The more you play the more tender they will be. But the skin on the fingertips will naturally adapt and thicken.
Once you’ve got through those preliminaries and start finding music that you want to enjoy on your uke you’ll be wondering where you can find more music. On the right hand column of this blog I have listed “ukulinkies” which are links to internet sites with free music that you can print.
For those who know how to read music or are familiar with tablature. There are some really generous people that have posted songs on the internet. Perhaps the best place to start would be with R. Ruthen’s Tab-U-Learn because he has broken his stuff down to different levels. After that there’s Wwelti’s classical arrangements and the Serious Ukulele Band’s tabs. Links for all of these are in the “ukulinkies” list too.