Ukulele needs no introduction. It’s small, delightful to play and hear. Anyway, its simplicity is sometimes confusing, too.
I got asked or saw many questions related to the Hawaiian spirit, so today I’ll rally up some of them and answer every bit.
Here are nine most asked questions about the ukulele.
1. I’m a parent, and I would like to buy my kid a ukulele as his/her first instrument. Is it a good thing to do?
The uke is very friendly towards people of all ages and levels. It has a small design, so your child can grip on it with ease.
It’s also easier for your kid to learn. I’m sure that’d be a perfect start for your child’s enthusiasm with music.
2.What ukulele size should I buy?
As you may already know, the ukulele comes in 4 different sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. If your hands are slightly big, you’d prefer the concert or tenor ukulele, as for the soprano ukulele may feel a little tight to press.
What is more, the bigger the instrument, the more resonance it has. Anyway, if you like the original Hawaiian vibe or are purchasing a uke for your child, it’s better to get a soprano.
The baritone ukulele is a different story, though. Its strings are tuned differently, while the other three sizes have similar pattern and notes. I’d say it’s an unusual choice unless you want some uniqueness.
3. Should I opt for ukulele courses?
That’s fine, but be sure to be consistent with yourself. Courses are often expensive, so you wouldn’t want to throw a sum of money out of your window.
Also, courses come in different approaches. There’s one on how to strum, another is for fingerpicking, so make sure to do some research first.
4. I can’t afford courses, or have little time to attend one. How else can I learn to play the uke?
The internet is the promised land for you to learn anything. The ukulele is, therefore, not an exception. There are hundreds of tutorials online to follow.
My advice would be to subscribe to YouTube channels that feature ukuleles as their main subject. People there are professionals and know how to learn correctly.
If the vast sum of information online is confusing to you, consider getting a book. Books are the right choice if you want to be serious in your learning process.
I recommend you to purchase “Ukulele for Dummies” by Alistair Wood. In the iconic ‘for Dummies’ style, it explains everything about the Hawaiian instrument. You can have a great experience using the book.
5. When should I change my strings?
Usually, the ukulele comes in nylon strings. These can stretch severely after a few months of playing and under weather conditions like humidity. You can notice the difference in tunes, especially when you need to retune your uke more frequently.
The optimal time to change should be at most six months. If you practice daily with high intensity, it’s best to replace the strings once every month.
You should try to purchase strings from famous manufacturers. D’addario is an excellent choice – they produce accessories for musical instruments with care and precision.
6. Should I spend extra for my first uke?
It’s up to you, but I would say that’s not going to be necessary. For a start, you need something that works but won’t cripple your budget. An upgrade is only viable if you plan to perform or be a professional musician.
A model for you to start with is around $50 for a good cheap ukulele. If you have the basics, the $150 – $300 range is more likely to suit your needs.
7. I find the uke to be so easy. Can I push the learning speed?
I won’t recommend going too fast while learning. The learning curve of the ukulele is indeed less steep than any other instruments, but by going quickly, you can skip some important things about the ukulele. I was so embarrassed to find out that I had been holding the instrument the wrong way.
If you have a guitar background, you can give more time to learn about the chord progressions or notes on the uke. Because the play style of two instruments is the same, your skills should translate to the latter.
8. There’s a lot of material that can be used to make ukuleles. What’s the best option?
A wooden uke should be the best fit. Anyway, try to stay away from laminate wood, as it offers less resonant tune than the others.
If you like a brilliant tone with extra sweetness, go for Koa. It originates from Hawaii and once was the only material to make ukuleles. If you are fond of warm and mellow tone, try mahogany. This wood is the most popular for uke manufacturers.
Carbon fiber ukes do exist, but they are exotic and not necessary for casual use.
9. How can I personalize my ukulele?
It’s a simple thing to do. Thanks to the ukulele’s small size, people can draw or put stickers on its surface.
A ukulele that sounds nice but also looks cool is what everyone loves. You can visit your local music shop to do the work, but with some research, you can do it yourself.
Those are questions about ukuleles that a lot of people have in common. I’ll be glad to know whether one of my answers is relevant to your learning process. Good luck, and have fun!