We’d love to have you join us. Check out our ‘Must Haves’ Tab for info on music, etc.
Here’s the link: https://pluckinstrummers.wordpress.com/club-books/
The page numbers are referencing ‘The Daily Ukulele – A Jumpin’ Jim Ukulele Songbook’
Hope that helps.
I recently got the idea to learn the uke. I found your site, but haven’t been to a meeting yet. I have been able to get copies of the songbook and the chord book. I also got a copy of part one of the ukulele method that you suggest.
I am an absolute beginner. I have never studied music before. I am looking forward to learning and playing with the group, but I am a bit unsure where to start. My question is: what should I study and how long should I practice and how do I decide when to move on to something else?
Thanks for your help, and I am looking forward to coming to a group play soon!
Where to begin? Excellent question! Thanks for asking. Since you have purchased the recommended books and have a connection to the internet you have all you need to get started.
Ideally 30 to 45 minutes of practice per day if possible. Keep it fun.
Get comfortable holding your ukulele.
When held against your body with your right forearm the right hand fingers should point toward the strings over the end of the fretboard. With your right hand place your thumb perpendicular to the back of the neck aligned with the second fret. Lightly place your right hand index, middle and ring fingers on all strings of the first, second, and third frets respectively. Make sure not to press down on the stings with your right hand fingers. Now strike the strings with the flesh side of your thumb with a downstroke. Repeat and make sure you don’t hear any tones. You should hear a muted chunk sound.
Now try striking the strings with the nail of your index finger with a downstroke. For a fatter sound try striking the strings with all your fingernails with downstrokes. You can even add your thumb for an even fatter chunk. Count evenly and slowly at first, 1, 2, 3, 4, repeat. Chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, Chunk…..repeat.
Next add an upstroke with your thumb or index finger. Count 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + repeat. Downstroke on the numbers and upstroke on the +’s. Remember slowly at first. Think of your hand as if it were a metronome. Down, up, down, up…. 1 + 2 +…..
This is more advanced so maybe get to this a little later. To get a more interesting sounding chunk strum add accents to some of the beats. Try playing the 2 and 4 downstrokes slightly louder. 1, 2, 3, 4….repeat. Now add the upstroke, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +….repeat. Experiment while listening to music and try find a strum that fits.
Study the Ukulele Method One book. Review the introduction and the first few examples. There will be some finger discomfort at first but it will get better quickly so don’t get discouraged. Become proficient at tuning your ukulele and tune it often especially if it is new because new stings stretch a bit. A clip on tuner is recommended and makes it easier to tune with a room full of ukuleles. Learn the chords in the first few examples and apply the strumming technique you’ve learned.
Refer to your chord book, Treasury of Ukulele Chords, and learn the first position Major chords. Test yourself by covering the chord pictures. Next learn first position Minor chords
As you practice jot down any questions you might have and ask away. Remember to be patient with yourself, take your time and if your fingers are sore take a day off or just read or look over the material. Have fun!
Some more thoughts on beginner practice. I re-read your question again and noticed I neglected to touch on when to move on or move forward.
When playing a song or an example in Lil’ Rev’s Method make sure your hearing clean clear chords with no buzzing. Keep your strums simple at first and make sure you make clean chord changes in time. Slow down the tempo until you are able to make the chord changes cleanly. If the tempo for the example seems to crawl then slowly increase the tempo and keep working on that muscle memory.
Always spend a little of your practice time reviewing material that you think you have down. You’ll find that the more you play these familiar songs the better they’ll get as you become more comfortable playing with tighter strums and chords. It’s also good for the soul and keeps it fun.
When to move on? When you feel your ready for the next challenge. Keep it fun keep the questions coming.
I am an intermediate player in the downtown LA area. I have been searching for teacher for some time, do you know of any from your group or have any friends or contacts you could send me? I would be much obliged.
I would suggest coming to one of our meetings (next one will be Saturday Jan. 14th). We are a teaching club. Our instructor/group leader is Brett Santucci, better know as ‘Tooch’. He is happy to answer any of your ukulele questions. If you still feel you’d need private instruction, you can talk with him about that as well. You’ll also find that many of our members are happy to share what works for their practice and playing. We’re not far from downtown in Atwater Village (3852 Edenhurst, 90039) and meet the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of the month. We look forward to meeting you and remember, your first time with our group is free.
Have been ukulele crazy since seeing Jake Shimabukuro a few years back, and have now acquired a uke of my own. However, what I have not acquired is any clue whatsoever on how to play. Would an absolute and completely clueless beginner be too much of a hindrance to Saturday’s meeting? I am not sure that I will be able to obtain the required books in time for this Saturday.
Not a problem at all. People are always happy to share books and our membership spans from beginner to professional. We’re happy to answer questions and playing in a group will force you to improve (I speak from experience). We’re all here to have fun and grow as musicians. So join us, hold on for the ride, play where you can, mute strum where you can’t and have a good time. We look forward to meeting you.
Hi Tooch and Alisa,
I just purchased my first ukulele today. I came across your site (searching for local ukulele clubs/groups) and am so thrilled that you are literally down the street from where I live (I am in Los Feliz). I am wondering if I need to have all the books when I attend your next meeting? May 25 your next one?! I haven’t purchased the 2 Jim Berloff books yet. As a beginner would I be using those anyway? I prefer not to spend the money right now if I don’t need them, assuming they are for more advanced students/players. Look forward to hearing from you. Best, Sam
I am handicapped and would like to learn ukulele so I can jam and just have fun. Can you tell me – If I were to learn open tuning, would I be welcome in yours or any other ukulele group in the greater Los Angeles area? If maybe, what tuning would it be best for me to learn? (I do have a background in music from before my left are was partially paralyzed.)
Seems open tuning is a more than challenging for ukulele. Maybe someone has some ideas of how to maintain a ukulele in the normal position, so it’s stable but without the help of the left hand to support it. I’m really dying to join in all the ukulele fun!