Since about 2 years ago I started to learn ukulele, and I play it mainly for me. I’m not in a any course, nor play in any band. And I chose this instrument, because it only has 4 strings, giving me better chances to learn. 6 strings would have been way too much and causing me to stop after few attempts (future will tell if that is true).
I current have 2 ukulele’s.
On the left is the tenor size, with tuner build-in and with microphone output. I got this quite early as I thought that I really would need to get a wider neck (Islander has wider neck). The sound is great, more full and stronger than the concert size ukulele on the right. However, as the neck is wider and the ukulele is bigger, my fingers do get tired earlier than when playing with concert size ukulele.
On the right is the concert size ukulele. Great size of intrument, easy grab and go, light, and does create enough sound in a room. I can play with this 1-2 hours until fingers get tired. This depends on the songs of course, and the transposition of chords. (With transposition you can play a song with the chords that you have already learned or that are easier to play.)
One can see the names for different ukulele parts here .
Tenor size, my better ukulele.
model: Islander MT4 EQ, similar to this.
D’Addario EJ99TLG (T=Tenor, LG=Low G) or
Worth strings CT-LG 63 (C=clear color, LG=Low G, 63 length)
Concert size, my “every day” ukulele.
model: Ortega RFU11S, similar to this.
strings: Worth strings BM-LG 46 (B=brown color, LG=Low G, 46 length)
Why not original strings?
The original tuning of ukulele is with “high” G, as the first/”lowest sound” string on the left (in picture). Replacing strings with low-G as the first string, gives wider sound spectrum, sounds better. The other reason is also that those Worth strings are with medium tension, personally for me more comfortable for this random solo playing.
Experience with “pin” bridges
On the left, the bridge consist of pins that hold the strings in place. It happened to me several times that a pin jumped out from the place when I started tighting the new strings, and hitting my arm. So now, every time when I change the strings, I try to keep my hand out of the way as I’m afraid it will pop out again. After the tuning, then those pins have stayed in place, so no problem there. However, due to this I prefer the other style of bridge, the one on the right.
Finding the chords for your song
https://ukutabs.com/ and https://www.ukulele-tabs.com/ are good sites for finding the chords, and they both support the transposition. For example, the 500 miles without transposition is using chords G and Em, where Em is difficult for beginner. While with transposition, the song can be played with chords C and Am, which are the easiest chords in ukulele as they both are played with 1 finger on fret board 1.
I watched ukulele play along videos in youtube channels, and for me it worked, I’m really happy to find several videos. Search “ukulele beginner play along” in youtube.com 🙂
I have also created a list of links for play along songs that are suitable at beginner level, well most of them are…
Islander, recorded via Guitar-USB adapter
Ortega, recorded via table microphone
“Almost silent” ukulele
As the last ukulele in this list, I also do have an electric ukulele ElectricUke-50C NT which I use when trying not to disturb other people. (This is solid wood, so it does not amplify the sound. The sound basically comes only from the strings, which is quite low but audible when no other sound sources around. The sound level is similar to keyboard typing…)
I hope one day I would utilize also electric part of the ukulele. I have tested this ukulele with small portable amplifier, and with an guitar-USB adapter, they work well in my view.
In this ukulele, I have not changed the strings yet, as I use it for practicing. But if I start to use it more, then I would change into low G string set. I feel that the high of frets is higher in this ukulele, which for me is great. And also that the fret board neck feels thinner and smaller. Personally I prefer to use the ukulele strap from “end to end” (from body to headstock), similarly to my other ukulele.
If I learn to play better, then I’m looking forward to use this ukulele more 🙂 (Perhaps even learn to play some songs with amp and distortion 😉 )
- I’m playing ukulele mainly with strumming. Fingerpicking is more difficult and would take longer to learn