Ukulele Guide

Welcome; This site is for you if you if you are a ukulele beginner or an advanced player. Here is the page for beginning ukulele players. The ukulele is at least twice as easy to play as the guitar so you can learn twice as fast and play twice as well. You can use the ukulele chords on a vaiety of ukuleles and even on 4-string banjos tuned like a ukulele. Read on

Shown above: author busking on the square in Santa Fe New Mexico

 

At the ukefest I showed how to make your own banjo ukulele using an 8" hand drum and a few inexpensive parts. I made the one shown in the picture below from a Remo 8" hand drum purchased from Amazon.com, the neck from an inexpensive ukulele and the strings, bridge and tailpiecefrom Elderly instruments: elderly.com. This instrument sounds great: even better than many expensive banjo ukes. The wide neck is convenient for people who are used to modern ukuleles.

See the Banjo Ukes page of this site for more about home made ukes.

The directory on the right side of this page will help you find the things you may find interesting. More detailed information can be found in the Ukulele Guide books described below. Also check the banjo ukes page if you like banjo ukuleles which are also called banjoleles. The pictures include a home-made banjo ukulele made from a $20.00 Remo hand drum assembled in two hours which results in a great-sounding instrument. The Repairs page shows how to put a new vellum head on your banjo ukulele (banjolele).

Links

Unlike most websites, the the Links page on this website has links to interesting internet videos that ukulele players should find entertaining and instructive.

Read below about our new songbook the Ukulele Guide Open Mic Songbook.

It is available from elderly.com.

The new song book is made of extra-heavy pages and is spiral-bound so it will stay open and readable when you perform. It includes the notes, lyrics, ukulele chord diagrams and the names of the chords on the sheet music for 27 Dixieland and Tin Pan Alley Favorites. An audio CD of the author performing all the songs on his ukulele is also included. Check our uke news and our song books page for more information and free sheet music with ukulele chords to "After You've Gone". The Uke News page of this website has links to video clips of performances of most of the songs in the book.

Pictured below is our first book the UKULELE PLAYERS GUIDE which has 209 pages in 19 chapters presenting essential information for the ukulele player who has moved beyond the elementary level and wishes to advance to play more interesting material. Included are chapters on buying and adjusting ukuleles and on simple repairs you can do yourself on inexpensive used instruments. A proper method for refinishing ukuleles is described. Techniques for changing keys and converting guitar chords to ukulele chords are explained as are the use of having several ukuleles tuned in different keys. This book and the Ukulele Guide Songbook are available from Elderly.com and from Hastings in Amarillo at Wolflin and Georgia.

Many good ukulele songs are in the public domain in the US which means you can record and perform them without paying royalties. A list of many of these songs is included also in the book.

Ukulele Information and instruction can be found here as well as free mp3 ukulele audio downloads. The ukulele is the most satisfactory instrument for accompanying many types of songs.The guitar has more strings which are under more tension. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that many chords on the guitar require that one or two of the strings be muffled or not played--on the ukulele, all four strings are usually played on all the chords. Ukuleles come in four sizes so that players can find a suitable one whether they have large or small hands. Check the article on this site outlining tips for beginners for information about tenor ukuleles, one of best sizes for beginners. This site will inform you about the instruments and the music and songs you can play. These days "music" seems to be mostly noise or wallpaper. The songs and tunes that you can't get out of your head are referred to here but are lost in the current entertainment meltdown. This site will be frequently updated so keep checking in. This book can be ordered from elderly.com.

Ukuleles Pictured: Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Soprano. Compare sizes. The larger the uke is -- the more it sounds like a guitar. The larger two sizes usually appeal to more or less normal people while the smaller sizes are more often the choice of those whose ukulele habit is becoming serious enough to affect their activities of daily living. Not shown on this page (but pictured on our repair page) is the ukulele banjo, the crack cocaine of the ukulele world, which is favored by near-terminal ukulele enthusiasts even though only opera singers are able to sing loud enough to be heard over over it.

In the decade of the twenties, the Martin Guitar Company sold twice as many ukuleles as guitars (so I have read.) This may have been because the hot music of that decade (the "jazz age" remember) works so well on the ukulele. Since the copyright on songs in the US published before 1923 has expired it is now possible for me to play and sing some of them on this site. I am strictly an amateur and I made the recordings on a Sony cassette recorder but I think the effort is worth your while because getting these on CD is not always easy or cheap.

The book I have written, pictured on this site, details how to find lp records and sheet music from this era and lists public domain songs you can record without paying royalties. I hope the music and articles on this site will get you started so that you can have as much fun as I have had. I used to play the guitar but I hardly ever play it any more except when I have to play "Malaguena" by request of my daughtors.

The songs I have recorded on this site are in MP3 format and you can listen to them or download them and put them on a CD. Look through your old song books for the sheet music. A lot of those came with ukulele chord diagrams.

 

Taking Fun Music Seriously

There is now a resurgence of interest in an instrument which has achieved wide popularity in the past. The instrument referred to here is the ukulele.

“ Currently in California, Colorado and on the East Coast ukulele sales are reaching levels not approached in many years. There also seems to be increased interest in Japan. Ukuleles are appearing in TV commercials and movies... ”

Tiny Tim is gone but his memory lingers on. His style was often irritating but he unearthed and recorded a great many forgotten songs from the early 20th century and when he sang as a baritone he rivaled many of the great crooners of that era. He was a lot better than people realised.







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