Ukulele - How to start? Then what?
Co-creators of the Ukalaliens Songbook method, Kate & Steve have brought first chords and songs to countless small settings worldwide and at home in Portland, Oregon.
Tips & VideOs
Shortcut videos to learn picks and strums can be found here. These are mostly uke but the right hand patterns all apply to other stringed instruments too, so don't let that stop you.
The top 2 patterns are a couple of the handiest runs that I use on the uke, first in the Key of C, and second in the Key of F. Get used to them and be amazed by how many opportunities you'll find to use these runs.
The Pinch Pick patterns lend texture with a brush.
The rest are patterns to pick, and a waltz at the end.
Each of these measures (1-2-3-4) is one picking pattern (there are two patterns per line.)
Start with repetitions of the first one for a minute or so - until it's easy to do without thinking. Play with making one note louder - or softer - than another and explore how expressive you can be with four beats. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and...round and around without stopping; first slow and speed up as you can.
When you get used to a few of these patterns, try creating one of your own. You can start to create motifs that combine small pieces in colorful phrases on your instrument. Start simple - remember, less is more, and grow from there. Have fun.
Down Down Up, Up Down Up
Kate uses this "down down up, up down up" strum for songs like Redwood and I Should Have Known Better
Pinch Fingerpick "Soalcake"
Kate's pick: Thumb, index, pinch (thumb & middle finger together), index played on strings 4, 2, 3&1, 2
Steve's Travis Pick
Steve's pick: Thumb, index, thumb, middle on strings 4, 2, 3, 1