Play the ukulele with enthusiasm: 5 essential tips to improve your playing style

Quick Facts about the Ukulele

The ukulele, your beloved and radiant four-string instrument, originated in Hawaii. Small dimensions meet huge sound, making it the perfect companion for any music lover. Whether around the campfire or in the music studio, the ukulele has its own unique charm and character. An important aspect of getting the maximum playing pleasure out of your ukulele is choosing the right size. Soprano, concert, tenor and baritone are the four common sizes and each has its own timbre and playing style.

Finding the right size

Size isn’t everything, but in terms of the ukulele, it’s pretty important. The first key to improving your ukulele playing is choosing the right size. The soprano ukulele, the smallest of the four, produces a bright and cheerful sound. It is often the first choice for beginners. The baritone ukulele, on the other hand, the largest of its kind, produces a deep and resonant tone. Your choice will depend greatly on your personal preferences and needs. Try out different sizes and make sure you feel comfortable with it. Whether large or small, it’s important that you can hold the ukulele comfortably and reach the strings easily.

Ukulele strap support

The ideal posture of the ukulele is often underestimated. If you think you can just rest the ukulele on your legs and start playing, you’re wrong. Do your arms get tired too soon? Is it hard to keep the ukulele balanced while playing? This is where a strap helps! A strap not only takes the strain off your arms and hands, but also allows you to have better control of the instrument. Playing challenging songs can be made much easier. Attaching a strap is simple and does not change the playability of the ukulele. But beware: not every ukulele is equipped for the use of a strap!

The art of playing the ukulele correctly

Our third tip is all about playing technique. When you play the ukulele, it is important that you position your fingers correctly on the strings. Don’t press too hard on the strings, as this can create a strained and unpleasant sound. Plucking or strumming the strings is just as important. A distinction is made here between thumb and fingernail techniques. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and produce different timbres. Of course, you can also use a plectrum or a felt mallet, which offer another variation. Play regularly and try out different techniques. This is the only way to find out what suits you and your musical style best.

The right touch technique

Depending on what style of music you prefer, the fourth tip can be very helpful for you. For a softer sound and melodic playing, finger plucking may be the best technique. In this case, it is important that you position your thumb correctly and use a gentle but definite movement of the fingers. For more powerful and louder playing, hitting the strings with a pick or your thumb is the appropriate technique. Here you have to pay attention to an even stroke in order to achieve a balanced sound. Experiment with the different methods and find your personal preferred technique.

The care of the ukulele

The last tip is all about the care and maintenance of the ukulele. A well-maintained instrument is not only more beautiful to look at, but also sounds better. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the condition of the ukulele also has a great impact on its playability. Regular cleaning, string changes, and avoiding extremes of temperature and humidity can greatly extend the life of the ukulele. Be sure to clean and maintain the fingerboard regularly. Use special cleaners for this and soak any dirt, such as sweat or dust, first before wiping it off. Changing the strings regularly will keep the sound of your ukulele fresh and lively.

This brings us to the end of our five tips for improving your ukulele playing. Always keep in mind: practice makes perfect! Enjoy your time with your ukulele and let it inspire you. Have fun playing!