How hard is it to play Ukulele?

My wife and I have owned Hawaii Music Supply for about eight years now. For the first five years I did most of the in-store assisting of customers. At the time, Mike was running his eBay store and I used to think, he probably just sits in his boxers all day listing ukes and answering emails. He couldn’t handle helping people in a store all day. Well, I was dead wrong. Not only does Mike have a compulsive work ethic for customers, and an ukulele knowledge deeper than anyone, but he is also master of the five minute first ukulele lesson.

We often get this question. How hard is it to learn to play? or How long does it take to learn uke? I have often seen Mike answer that question by teaching people right on the spot. In only a few minutes! After getting their first lesson from Mike in-store,  they leave confident that they can be having fun in no time.  It all starts with these three magic chords-

C – F – G7 , Please send this to anyone who thinks learning to play the ukulele is impossible. It is often the most motivating first step; seeing how learning a few basic chords can have you strumming along to some great songs in no time. Enjoy!

Comments 13

  1. I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one doing this. I start my students out with C, then teach them to slide along to G7, then up to F. Once they’ve got a handle on this I get them to go through and reverese it, C – G7 – F – G7 – C. Then combinations as the song requires or I call them out. Once they’ve gor this sorted then it’s just a matter of adding other combinations as we go, usually with chords that have similar finger patterns or staying with a certain area of the fret board. Also noticed that if you can find songs that they want to play helps with the interest and they’re ability to show others how they are progressing. Happy Srumming… Ukulele Shane (o)=::

  2. Mike, you even got me laughing and smiling and I just woke up! What a pleasure it would be to meet you. Tony Tucker, Muaklek, Thailand

  3. Mike,
    My husband and I came into the store while visiting from Alabama last week and it’s true the first question I had was How hard is it to learn to play the ukulele? Right there on the spot (and with a few laughs at ourselves) you taught us the 3 cords and I left there having purchased my first ukulele. I told my husband you were probably the nicest and had the nicest smile of any person we met on the whole island. We had to have it shipped home and because of Tropical Storm Issac and the RNC and DNC FedEx is running behind but my ukulele is suppose to be here tomorrow and I can not wait to get my hands on it. Thanks again Mike for your help and your kindness.

    Stacy and Scott Payton

  4. I’m looking forward to someday seeing your store, and meeting Mike! I got an Ohana sopranino from him back in about 2009… I’m addicted and have 10 ukuleles at this point.

  5. I’m 71 now but I got my first uke at age 12 and nobody else where I lived knew how to play one. But I loved the sound and was determined to learn. I used to take it everywhere thinking one day someone is going to see me and tell me how to start. And it happened! Then I bought a book and learned some ‘baby’ songs then I started to understand chords and it all fell into place. Now I’ve got 12 ukes and 2 guitars and I’m a happy chappie! And I have sung and played professionally. You just got to stick with it to play and you’ll find it ok easy – and lots of fun!

  6. Those are the first chords i learned and they helped stay motivated to learn more and I’m still learning. Still a beginner.

  7. Its great to see Music Guy Mike doing his thing with the ukulele. These lessons are great for when I get new folks involved with the ukulele

  8. Shane
    That was great! I do have one question though, what kind of ukulele should I get to start with? I saw they have Soprano,Concert,Tenor or Baritone Ukuleles so is there one that’s best for a new player learning?

  9. Ukulele is harder than I thought it would be. I have studied music since early childhood and was quite good at piano. What with everyone saying how easy ukulele is, and some friends with no music experience learning to play it, I figured I could just pick it up.

    Well, no. My fingers don’t move automatically or effortlessly around the frets. Changing between those three chords felt really awkward at first. But it is getting better quickly. After less than 2 weeks, I can play a couple of songs slowly and steadily. Baby steps, but it’s really gratifying! My callouses aren’t formed yet, but I can practice longer now because my whole hand is more comfortable.

    So I just wanted to say, if it feels too hard at first, just stick it out awhile longer because soon you will notice your hand getting more nimble on the instrument. It sounds so much better after that because you can hold a tempo, even if it’s slow at first.

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