Check out my blog, where I offer tips for learning how to play the ukulele. A lot of what I talk about can be applied to learning other instruments as well.
Ukulele & Harmonica Song packets
The latest song packet for classes, Shenanigans, and goofing around with friends get updated frequently (the date is in the file name), so check back before you hie off to a Shenanigan or class to make sure you have the most up-to-date version.
Ukulele Shenanigan packet - This is used in Shenanigans and general strum/sing-along events
Until I started to get all squinty and needing glasses, my go-to chord chart was found in the back of Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Tips ‘n’ Tunes. I appreciate how they’re grouped by type of chord. Then I started teaching and playing at jams with campfires for lighting, and realized I needed a more readable version, formatted for quicker reference. So I created my own chart:
Poach chords from guitars!
Change your strings!
It has to happen someday. A string breaks. Your uke no longer holds its tuning. The tone sounds flat and lifeless. Cheer up! There is hope! Change dem strings! Here's how.
Tune Transcriber - This free online tool will enable you to slow down songs so you can figure out what beats, rhythms, or genius fingerpicking patterns are going on in your favorite tunes. I haven't used this one but it has gotten trustworthy positive reviews.
Audacity - A free tool with lots of capabilities, including editing and slowing down a tune. I haven't used this one but it has gotten trustworthy positive reviews.
Transcribe! - I use this tool to slow down songs to get into the nitty-gritty details.
Publishers & online sources for song sheets and learning opportunities
Keep in mind that whenever you cut and paste something from the internet, the font they use will likely be slightly different from the one you use, so the chords won’t necessarily end up in the right places. Once you paste them into your word-processing software, it’s worth it to take the time to nudge them into the right places either by referring to the original online source or play it on your uke and nudge as you go.
– Flea Market Music Store – Publishers of the internationally popular ukulele songbook tome: The Daily Ukulele and the follow-up The Daily Ukulele: Leapyear Edition. These and other Jumpin’ Jim books are great resources for all genres of music, from bluegrass to Baroque.
– Hal Leonard – Publisher of scores of songbooks for the ukulele.
– Ken Middleton – Ken makes fabulous fingerpicking arrangements of all kinds of tunes, most of them available free on his website (but go ahead and flip him some green if you end up appreciating his work as much as I do). Wildwood Flower is a favorite of mine. He can sometimes baffle you with filigrees, but if you stick with it, you’ll get it. Not all the tunes are in standard tuning, so beware if you work hard on learning a tune and then go to play it with others, only to find that everyone else knows it in another key.
– Jim D'Ville, who offers fabulous, free lessons and playing resources, along with his great "Three Questions" series, where he talks with amazing ukulele artists about all kindsa interesting topics. Well, three each, but they're packed with interesting tidbits and perspectives.
– QuietAmericanMusic.com – Aaron Keim, you awesome uker! Aaron has some fabulous booklets that drill deeply into technique. His clawhammer book is a good’n.
– San Jose Uke Club – These folks have an amazing songbook.
– Ukulele Magazine – Be sure to subscribe!
– Ukuleletricks.com – Brett McQueen doesn’t know it, but he was one of my first teachers! I gained a lot from his videos, blog, and resources. Thanks, Brett!
– UkeHunt.com – Another deep-dive site with lots to work with.
Sites for finding chords and lyrics - Because of font issues, you often have to go back and coax the chords over the right words, once you’ve copied and pasted it into a word processing document.
– Ultimate-Guitar – A host of a squillion-jillion tunes. Use the search box to avoid the come-ons to pay for an upgrade. Tools on the left of the screen offer key transposing options. A little tool on the right of the screen allows you to transpose the tune to a new key, if a different one fits your vocal or chord knowledge range better.