Learn to Play: Ukulele Tuning and Basic Ukulele Strumming with Jake Shimabukuro

Noted ukulele virtuoso and composer Jake Shimabukuro recently joined us in the Reverb studio to teach some beginner-focused lessons for those just getting started with the ukulele. In the first lesson above, Jake goes over traditional ukulele tuning.

Unlike a traditional stringed instrument—which is usually strung from the lowest to highest note—playing a progression from lowest to highest note on a uke goes from the third string to the second string to the fourth string and then to the first string.

Jakes second lesson branches into basic ukulele strumming techniques. For those brand-new to the uke or to stringed instruments in general, Jake suggests using the fleshy part of your thumb for your strumming, which will give players a warm and consistent sound.

Once players are comfortable with thumb strumming, Jake demonstrates how you can use the nail of your index finger and thumb to strum for a sharper-sounding attack. For both of these techniques, Jake demonstrates how players can practice by strumming the first four chords of George Harrison's "Something" from The Beatles' Abbey Road.

Finally, Jake teaches a strumming style that incorporates both the fleshy thumb and the nail of his index finger, which is a great way for new players to work on the dynamics of their playing. Be sure to check out each lesson above, and stay tuned for more to come later on this summer.


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