Are you thinking about learning how to play the ukulele? What’s stopping you? Here are five reasons you should be motivated to buy your first ukulele and start playing… TODAY.
Reason #1: It’s cool
When I was a kid, it was cool to throw rotten tomatoes at people’s houses in my neighborhood. Just because something is cool doesn’t mean you should do it, but in the case of playing ukulele, you should totally do it.
Without a doubt, over the past few years, the ukulele has established a stronger presence in popular music, with songs surfacing like Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Oh What a Day by Ingrid Michaelson, and covers of I’m Yours by Jason Mraz.
Reason #2: It’s cheap
Compared to other instruments, like guitars, pianos, or sousaphones, you can get a pretty decent and playable ukulele for well under a $100. Like any instrument, you can always spend more, and the sky is ultimately the limit, but ukuleles are relatively cheap.
Reason #3: It’s easy
It’s true that some people have a more natural aptitude for things than others, so ukulele might be impossible for you, but as a four stringed instrument, most people will tell you ukulele is relatively easy to pick up compared to other instruments.
Like anything though, if you want to be good, you have to set your mind to it. Don’t expect to learn anything without putting in the time and effort.
Reason #4: It’s portable
Learning the ukulele just might allow you to jump start your career as a street performer. While the ukulele won’t fit in your pocket, get a case for it, and you can take it wherever you go–on the subway, to the supermarket, dinner parties, the beach, Narnia–you get the picture.
Reason #5: It’s fun
Fact: no one has never not had fun playing ukulele. In other words, not only is the ukulele a fun instrument to play, but from a tonal standpoint, it’s a fun instrument to listen to and hear. Different types of ukuleles have their tonal differences, but as a whole, there is something playful and soulful about how a ukulele sounds and plays.
Reason #6: Reader Response
What made you start playing ukulele? What do you like about it so much?
agreed! the ukulele was actually the first stringed instrument i learned to play. as a small child, i used to sit in my dad’s lap while he played and he showed me how to play songs like “I’ve Been Work’in On The Railroad” and “Ain’t She Sweet.” i still have a couple of old ukuleles from my childhood which sit proudly on the piano when they’re not being played. a totally fun instrument which led naturally into playing other stringed instruments. great site, btw!
john, that’s great. It’s probably worth adding to the post that ukulele is a great instrument to pick up for kids. I too learned how to play ukulele as a youngster, which probably opened up opportunities and passions as I got older to learn other stringed instruments.
Ah, man.. I love how portable it is.. Whenever I go to Narnia I can just put it in the case and head into the closet(:
hah, you have the right idea! 🙂
Agreed on the comment about kids. I have been looking for a good starter uke simply so i can play for my daughter and get her into music, which i feel could lead into her learning other instruments as well.
i love my ukulele im 13 and it is easy and i tried to lern both bass and guitar and i hate both of them, but i love my uke..
I hear this from a lot of people! I play guitar and bass in addition to ukulele, but the most fun to play by far is the ukulele. At least for me 🙂
I play guitar and i started that before ukulele and since i only recently got my ukulele im not familiar with the four strings, but i looked up lessons on youtube and even though im terrible its still fun and my brothers always ask me if they can mess around on it!:)
I started playing ukulele ’cause I suddenly started to sit in front of Youtube a lot , and I discovered that there’s an awesome, small, nerdy, intrument called ukulele 🙂
I just had to get one!
Hah, I suppose it is kind of a nerdy instrument. 🙂
Totally agree with all the five reasons. What actually inspired me to pick up the uke is Jake Shimabukuro’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Ukulele Mike’s (a YouTube musician) solo cover of Here Comes the Sun. It sounded so pure and melodic that I told myself: hell yeah! I definitely have to get one! And what’s better, it’s easier to make those riffs and licks on an uke coz the fret is easy to navigate on.
Love Ukulele Mike’s stuff!
I love my ukulele and it is so fun to play! I was amazed at the price of it – i thought it would be really expensive, but i got my Mahalo for £26.95! I was so happy and its easier than guitar to play. I play guitar and piano and xylophone and now ukulele!!!:-)
Hey, I just bought my first ever Ukelele, at 36 and with 3 kids I thought it could be fun to learn to play some music together….hopefully it will be as good as you all say! I will try to get some lessons though as I never had any musical training. Thanks for the site!
I’m 13 and I just find the ukulele so easy and fun to play, so it’s nothing too hard. I can take it anywhere and play, and it has such a joyful sound to it! I play acoustic guitar too but my ukulele is so much more fun!
Ok, my mind is set. I wanted to play an instrument for a while now. I first tried the ocarina… lets just say that isn’t my cup of tea. I finally gave up on the silly thing today and discovered the uke. It looks perfect! I have always liked string instruments more then anything else. Plus I found REALLY good lessons on youtube. I think I’ll give it a shot. 🙂
I play the piano and I absolutely love it. However, it is a very loud instrument, and since I moved to a smaller house everyone has been nagging about how distracting it is. I decided to give the guitar a try, but I find it very difficult to play. I’m thinking about playing the ukulele instead, but I am not 100% sure because I’m afraid I will find it too difficult and I’m not sure if it is really an instrument that should be played on its own. Any advice?
Hi Maria, the ukulele is a great instrument just by itself. For some inspiration, look up some ukulele artists on YouTube like James Hill or Jake Shimabukuro. It sounds like in your situation it’d be a great time to give the ukulele a try. With your piano background, I think you’ll find a lot of concepts pretty easy to pick up on. It’ll just be a matter of giving your fingers some time to get used to the movements. All to say, I think you should totally learn how to play the ukulele!
Thank you so much I bought a ukulele and I am just beginning to learn it! So excited!
Woohoo! Congratulations! 😀
Kiddo won a singing contest and got an acoustic guitar which she learned quickly how to play but has since given up as it’s too big and the strings hurt her fingers. So I was thinking of picking up a ukulele for her upcoming birthday. Your article here just convinced me. As an added plus she’s a fan of Danielle Ate The Sandwich, so I’m sure she’ll be going great guns in no time. Thanks for the encouragement. I suspect I’ll be doing some strumming myself.
That’s great to hear, Paula! Of course I’m biased, but the ukulele is a great instrument.
So I haven’t gotten one yet, but I told my parents I wanted one for christmas so fingers crossed!!
Basically my inspiration is that I recently got into a band called Twenty One Pilots and the singer often plays a ukulele. For example their song “House of Gold” is pretty much just a catchy ukulele sound and drum beat and it just looks like he has so much fun playing it. The other reason is that I’ve tried guitar and the strings always hurt with how much pressure you need to put on them. So I’m kind of hoping that since a ukulele is smaller and lighter that hopefully it won’t hurt my fingers too much. But I will definitely be putting in effort to learn my favorite songs 🙂
I’m thinking of learning to play the ukulele, but I’m not sure if it’s for me. I tried guitar before and had trouble learning how to tune and gave up. Is it hard tuning a ukulele? Any advice?
I don’t get it whats the point of invention of ukulele .its more like a reduced version of guitar (2 string less than standard guitar) .for the portability you can buy a mini guitar or more you can have mini classical guitar (nylon string).so why play an instrument which is not incomplete in a sense anything made with ukulele sounds like its missing something maybe sound that those 2 extra strings make .maybe for strumming its good just for the fun but for creating any songs with it is like forcing an handicap into a standard race
Have you ever tried playing the ukulele, Borhan?
The joy that is the lilting sound of a ukulele is different from the sound of a guitar. Not that it is limited, as Jake Shimabukuro, Taimane Gardner, and a slew of other ukulele virtuosos can attest. It is easier to pick up, friendly rather than intimidating, and therefore an amazing first – or only – stringed instrument for a newcomer. For example, this amazing kiddo: youtu.be/ErMWX–UJZ4.
It is also – as Jake put it – an instrument of peace. It’s meant to instill joy. It brings people together in conversation, its welcoming ease of use, its portability. The smaller form factor also makes it an easy companion to add music to any trip, big or small. You can take it anywhere without much thought, if any. The cheaper price point also lends to this – you’re more comfortable bringing it anywhere. And everywhere it goes, it is a source for smiles to most who notice it. That, perhaps most of all, is the innate charm of the ukulele. It is truly a bringer of joy.
Hello, I don’t agree. Each instrument sounds different. I have a nylon string and a steel string acoustic guitar. I bought a soprano ukulele last week just because it sounds different to a guitar. We have 2 guitarists in our singing team so I change. Soprano ukulele has attractive tones. I don’t want my ukulele sounds like a guitar, otherwise no need to change.
However, guitar fingering is my favorite and best technique. I won’t give up guitar, because ukulele cannot produce complicated songs like classical guitar can do. If you know how to play guitar then you can pick up ukulele easily. But on the other hand although you are good at ukulele you have to learn guitar from the start, because guitar has 5th & 6th strings that your left hand never touch them before.
Another difference is the string tension of ukulele is much softer than guitar, that your fingers won’t hurt too much.
The ukulele is way cool. It only has 4 strings. How easy and fun is that? —Too!
I really want to play the ukulele but I have NO IDEA where to buy it. I also don’t know how to tune it nor do I know how to learn to play it. Any suggestions?
Hello Tam Nuyuen
Buy an ukulele at a music shop. Test the intonation before buy it. I went to a hifi shop where they sell it. When I played the c scale, the 1st & 2nd strings sounded acceptable, but the 3rd string on the 2nd fret sounded out of tone. So I did not buy it. If our musical instrument is out of intonation then it is waste of money and time.
Yep. Uke was the first instrument I learned to REALLY play. My mom bought me a cheap plywood red 30 dollar uke which I played until I was better than it and I literally killed it and made it unplayable… couldn’t even tune it anymore. XD So for $110 I got an amazing uke…. (I payed 200 + for a guitar or comparible value, go figure!)
I must say ukes ARE easy. Now I’m struggling with guitars…. wish me luck lol, darn all those extra stings!
Anyway ukes totally rock, glad I’m not the only one who thinks that. 🙂
First thing I learned to play was Somewhere Over the rainbow..
Then came along the Star Wars theme song!
I’ll never regret buying my uke..
I played the flute as a teen. At 53, I have been having such a fun time learning to play my first ukulele since I got one a few weeks ago. I’m trying to talk my brother into getting some for himself and his kids. My brother plays a woodwind instrument, too, so here’s my list as why ukulele is better than a woodwind instrument….
1. Ukulele you can sing along with
2. You can practice more quietly with a ukulele (neighbors appreciate that)
3. You don’t have any spit to clean out of a ukulele after playing (if you do, you’re doing something terribly wrong.)
4. Affordable and lightweight
5. They come in fun colors, if you’re into that (yes!)
6. Makes a sweet, happy sound
7. You can easily play a song the first day you get it
8. The internet is loaded with great free lessons ( Like here! Thank you!)
9. Uke players are warm, helpful, and fun loving people
10. Makes a nice wall decoration when you’re not playing it
11. Uke chords create harmony with each strum. Woodwinds play single notes.
Wishing I’d picked it up as a kid so I’d be proficient already, but even with little time, it’s already been such a joyful little instrument to own!
Ukuleles are one of the most unique musical instruments in the world. They do have a sentimental value to me as well. I remember when I was young, my parents bought a small guitar with four nylon string as a present for me after going to church… nostalgic! Those tropical Sunday mornings in the Philippines are still vivid in my mind. The memory has revived my eagerness to play again the ukulele.
By the way, thanks a lot for being an author of a great book “Ukulele Exercises for Dummies”! Improving ukulele playing skills has been more fun. I got it from The Book Depository in UK. More power!
Thanks, Marvin! Glad you’re having so much fun playing the ukulele.
I’m 16, and I recently bought a used and slightly worn (but very playable) baritone uke for about $60 at a local music shop. I’ve never been more passionate about anything. The ukulele is my life.
I started playing ukulele back in 2000 before it was ‘cool.’ I had tried guitar when I was in highschool and never really forged a bond with it. Every chord on the guitar seemed painful and disorganized. And the guitar itself was cumbersome and unnatural to hold. With the ukulele something clicked in my brain and I could actually compose music for the first time. The chords seemed naturally arranged and easy to get to. The strings of the ukulele are easy on the fingers and more responsive. The ukulele slips naturally into my arm and becomes a part of me. It is an instrument that I can relax with. That is why I picked up the ukulele.
Thanks for your comment, Dorian!
I am a blues guitarist have been playing for more than twenty years. I saw a demonstration at a guitar store recently and fell in love with this little instrument. I learned four chords in less than five minutes and decided to give it a serious try. I have no regrets so far. I haven’t been this excited to learn a new instrument since I was ten and picked up my first guitar.
Hi, Michale! Thanks for the comment. It’s hard not to love the ukulele.
I’m personally not a fan of ukuleles because of my background. I’ve been a guitarist for about six years now, and I’ve made a point to play close attention to precision, skill, speed, theory, etc. A few years ago an old friend said I should try a ukulele out, just to have some fun. After learning the string names from my friend I had just about all the basic chords and a few major scales down within roughly 10 minutes. I believe that it was a little too easy for me, and it threw me off of playing the ukulele. I just started going to a performing arts high school, and a majority of the people either play or enjoy listening to ukuleles, so there are a bunch of people who carry them around. I was wondering if there was anything anyone could suggest to help me start enjoying ukuleles more?
I have no musical talent. But after the encouragement from a local music store owner/musician and much reluctance at 51 decided to try it. I’m not very good and sometimes get discouraged that after taking lessons for a few months, it seems like I am progressing very slowly. I love the way it sounds and its always fun. Is there hope? Will I get better or at some point should I resolve that I that is not possible?
Hi Tammi, don’t be discouraged! Learning an instrument takes time and practice. One of the biggest encouragements can be to see if there is anyone in your local area who plays the ukulele, such as in a ukulele club or group. I’d recommend checking to see if there are any groups in your area you could hang out with!
I am not a very musical person but I want to learn how to play an instrument. I am thinking about the ukulele because it’s easy to transport and it has a sound that I love. I have no experience with stringed instruments and I am feeling quite cautious about buying a ukulele of my own. I would be learning from the internet and I am wondering if it is worth trying to pick up if I haven’t got any other string experience. How easy is it to pick up? Are there any tips that would help a beginner get started? Thanks.
Hi Sadie, that’s exciting you’re thinking about learning to play ukulele! A lot of people here on Ukulele Tricks have been in the same spot as you. The best advice is to find a ukulele and get started! My free ukulele lesson book available on the right side of the page has everything you need to start playing today.
Thank you for the help!
about staying in tune three things Strings, strings , and strings. after 2-3 day on good srings the shoud be streche and you should stay very close to tune
I agree. Good strings can make all the difference in the world, and they do take awhile to stretch and get settled in. Aquilla strings tend to get a lot of recommendations in the ukulele community, but you should try out different strings to see what sounds best to your ears.