The Ukulele: A joyous little instrument with a big personality! By Grahame Baumber

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

The Ukulele has seen a resurgence in its personality in recent years. There are numerous strumming groups all over the UK and schools are using it as an introduction to playing an instrument.

So, why this increase in popularity and what makes the Ukulele the first instrument of choice for many.


The first consideration could be cost, it is possible to buy one on the high street for as little as £15. A quick look into a local music shop will reveal a wide range of prices, sizes and finishes. The Uke is small and portable, take it with you wherever you go and have a quick strum, much more fun than scanning social media.


The Ukulele has only four strings which is the same number of fingers on each hand, the guitar has six which makes it immediately more complex. This, and the way that it is tuned, make it possible to play chords immediately. Your first songs will be next.

Learn to play in any style!

Chords are the first step, the only limit is your imagination. You can play Pop, Classical, Rock, Folk, Jazz… the list goes on. Once you have sampled chord playing you may want to explore melodies.

So, how do you start? There are many Ukulele groups who will be quite happy to let you sit in and even have a go. My group invites members of the audience to have a try during breaks in concerts.

So, you have decided to take the plunge, what next?

There’s more than one type of Ukulele?!

There are four sizes to choose from, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. There is a bass but I will leave that for now. I would recommend that you go to a local music shop and ask to try some out. Hopefully the sales person will tune them for you and you could also ask them how to strum the chord of C Major. This only involves one finger of your left hand, trying different instruments you can then decide which one you like which will also fit your budget.

There are loads of books, online lessons and videos which you can use, if you can try and get a one to one session with another player or tutor that will help you begin and make sure that you start with the right technique.

So happy playing and start to enjoy the thrill of playing an instrument!

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