Ukulele 101

A Crash Course on Ukulele

Learning the ukulele can be a fun, fulfilling activity. Maybe you want to pick up a new skill, or maybe you have a child who wants to get into the world of music. The question is, where do you start? With so many different brands, tuning configurations, build material, and more, it’s easy to get frustrated when you are first getting started. We asked our experts what advice they would give to a beginner uke aficionado. Here are their top tips for Ukulele 101.

Anatomy of a Ukulele

Knowing what’s what on the ukulele is the first step into figuring out how to play it. You place your fingers on the strings, which are pulled across the fretboard. Then using your other hand you strum the strings rhythmically to produce the sounds. These vibrations produce sound. The head or headstock of the uke, features tuning pegs, which can be used to tune the ukulele. On the body of the uke there is a sound whole where all of the resonance will emit from.

Types of Ukuleles

There are several different builds and tuning options when it comes to the uke. For the most part, a beginner will want to start with a soprano ukulele (the small one). This has the highest range. Similar to vocal ranges, the ukulele features a soprano, concert, tenor, baritone and bass version. Use different ukes for different sounds, or form a uke club and play like a choir!


Chords are a block of notes that are played at the same time. In the infographic, 5 common chords are outlined. These chords are a great starting point for a beginning player. The chords make up the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a fantastic ukulele standard. To master chords, place your fingers in the indicated position and strum. Take one chord at a time, playing slowly until you are comfortable. Then try switching from the first chord to the next chord. Do this slowly and then build up speed. After practicing for a while you should have these chords down!

Best Beginner Brands

But which ukulele should be your first? That is a great question. We recommend entry level ukuleles if you are getting started. These range from $49.99 through $199.99. Head to your local music shop and try a few out. We recommend Melokia, Luna, or Kala for a beginner.

There you have it. Congratulations on graduating ukulele 101! Keep on strumming, and let us know what you think in the comments. Want to hear how a great starter ukulele sounds? Check out the video below!