Picking up the Ukulele

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 Emily Childers 0 Comments

When we first moved to Vegas I didn't have any friends or hobbies, so I signed up for an adult ed guitar class at UNLV. I didn't practice much or get any good, but it got me out of the house. I definitely let my skills lapse once the classes ended and didn't touch my guitar for over a year. I've recently picked it back up and it has been an exercise in futility. My fingers are still working up strength and calluses and every practice session is painful. Basically, I suck.

Then I saw a post about the ukulele. On a whim I ordered a mid priced ukulele from Amazon and even sprung for one day shipping. I was excited.

Since the ukulele arrived I haven't been able to put it down. After struggling with the guitar, the ukulele is a breeze. From six strings down to four without the pain of having to press so hard on metal strings, the uke is infinitely simpler. I've spent mornings, evenings, coffee breaks, and muted conference calls strumming away and softly singing. I'm not great yet, but I'm having a blast.

If you're feeling inspired, I highly recommend splurging for the instrument I purchased, the mahogany looks gorgeous and it sounds great to boot. The cheaper options are all painted and don't hold tune as well (at least according to reviews). I went through some youtube tutorials by Jeff Burton, he's really fun and easy to follow. After the first three lessons I just jumped right into a couple songs with easy chords. Here are my favorites, ordered from easiest to most difficult (which isn't saying much as they're all really simple):

  1. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz- I don't know why the D7 chord is on there, you don't need it. This repeats the same four chords over and over again without being boring.
  2. Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy- This uses the same chords as I'm Yours
  3. Mad World by Gary Jules- this adds in D and E minor
  4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Iz- this is a classic, the chord progression is really beautiful
  5. Fireflies by Own City
  6. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers- throws in B minor which takes some practice
  7. Creep by Radiohead
  8. What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  9. Santeria by Sublime- I avoid F7 by playing F; this is my favorite to sing thus far
Happy strumming!