Want to increase your musical “awesome factor” by at least 10 points?
Learn to play the ukelele!
If you know how to play guitar, even at a basic level, you can transfer that information and make music on the ukelele much easier than you can on other instruments, such as mandolin, dobro or banjo, which makes the uke a perfect second instrument for guitarists.
Of course, the ukelele is all the rage these last few years, due to its appearance in a handful of popular forums: countless YouTube versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, American Idol, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, virtuoso performances by Jake Shimabukuro (check out his phenomenal version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” if you want to see just how far you can take this instrument), etc.
According to the owners of Appalachian Bluegrass, the Baltimore institution where I recently bought my new tiny terror, 500 ukeleles were sold last year! Bottom line: The ukelele is everywhere and it’s much more mainstream than mandolin or banjo ever were (or probably ever will be). So it’s a great time for guitarists to expand their musical horizons and get some uke in their lives!
Note: The correct pronunciation is “oo-ke-le-le”, not “yoo-ke-le-le”, but honestly…it just sounds weird to a non-Hawaiian. Especially when you shorten it to “ook”. Pronounce it how you like – I won’t tell anyone.
Getting started on ukelele is actually pretty easy, but gaining a true understanding is a little trickier. It just requires that we clear up a few basic concepts. Let’s get our uke on, six-stringers! (more…)