You don’t have to be Hawaiian to strum that beat or tap that tune. You only need a fine-tuned ukulele that will create that upbeat music. Before enrolling in Ukulele Lessons in Singapore, why don’t you learn how to tune and play your ukulele as if you’re on the Hawaiian beach, singing your Aloha and Mahalo first? This beginner’s guide will help you take that first step everyone is most afraid of.

A brief introduction to the ukulele

Everybody knows that the ukulele is a unique Hawaiian instrument. However, this instrument originated in the Portuguese braguinha, a small Portuguese four-stringed instrument in the European guitar family.

When sugar plantations became a major economic force in Hawaii in 1850, the workforce became scarce. Hence, waves of immigrants came to Hawaii’s islands, including many Portuguese who brought their cavaquinhos or braguinhas with them.

According to research, Hawaiians became fascinated with the braguinha on August 23, 1879. When Ravenscrag, a ship that arrived in Honolulu Harbor and released its passengers. Using his braguinha, one of the passengers began singing songs of thanksgiving. Those songs were dedicated to his safe journey and as a sign of gratitude for reaching his destination.

  • How to Tune Your Ukulele

To manually tune your ukulele, you only need to master four easy steps. First, you need to learn the layout of your instrument. As this is different from other string instruments like guitars, it needs a different tuning process.

Memorize the string pitches, and identify whether the ukulele you have is a soprano or tenor ukulele. And then, locate the tuning pegs by holding them with the fretboard pointing upwards. Next, you need to find the string locations you want to tune. Lastly, find the frets, start turning the tuning knobs and press the string against the fret as you pluck it. Listen to the sound it produces and identify whether it’s in the right pitch.


  • How to Play your Ukulele

To play your ukulele, you must learn how to have a good footing and hold your instrument correctly. In most Ukulele Lessons in Singapore, this is one of the first lessons they teach to beginners. Ukulele Lessons in Singapore also teach you how to hold the instrument while standing or sitting correctly. The way you hold this instrument affects your music.

Next, you need to learn your thumb strum and your first chord. The strings are numbered 4-3-2-1 from top to bottom. Place your fingers between the frets. Then, gently stroke the strings with the pad of your thumb, one at a time. In ukuleles, you can strum however you may like as long as you’re comfortable.

Strum the strings together. Learn how to play a song with simple chords and practice. Make music, play with the instrument, and you’re good to go.


  • Ukulele vs Classic Guitar

The difference between the Ukulele vs Classic Guitar lies in their sizes, the number of strings, sounds they make and how to play them. Ukuleles are smaller in size than classical guitars. They also feature fewer strings and produce a lighter and brighter sound.

A ukulele is easier to carry since they are smaller, so they are more likely a better companion when you’re travelling. A classical guitar has six strings, whereas a ukulele only has four. Hence, the fretboard of a ukulele is also smaller, so it’s easier to grasp. Tuning these instruments is also dissimilar because they have different chords and a different number of strings.

A Beginners’ Guide To The Ukulele
  • Tuning

In this beginner’s guide, let’s start tuning your ukulele in a more well-explained way. To begin with, let’s start with its strings. Ukuleles have four strings, the G (4th string), C (3rd string), E (2nd string), and A (1st string). The C string has the lowest tone, while the A string has the highest tone.

First, tune the G string, the closest string to you. Next, place your finger on the second fret on the tuned G string and play an A. After tuning, do the same step but play a G on the E string. The E must match the G string’s tune. Do this step again, and play an E on the C string. Lastly, the C string must match the tune of the E string.

If you find it hard to tune your ukulele manually, you may also use an electronic tuner. It will automatically play a tone you have to match or analyse the string’s pitch and tell whether the string is sharp or flat. It will guide you better, in case you haven’t found the best Ukulele Lesson in Singapore to enrol to, yet.


  • How to Play the Chords

To play the ukulele’s chords, you can either use the strumming method or the fretting method. Strumming is more familiar and easier to learn, especially if you already know how to play the classical guitar. Strumming is the backbone of playing the ukulele. Learn the different strumming patterns involving the up or downstrokes.


Here are seven strumming patterns that you can try:

  1. Down – Up – Down – Up (the most basic)
  2. Down – Down – Up
  3. Down – Down – Up – Up
  4. Down – Up – Down (also called the triplet pattern)
  5. Up – Up – Up – Up (for a bright, jumpy sound)
  6. Down – Down – Down – Down (for a more authoritative beat)
  7. Down – Up – Up

You can strum without a pick, using your thumb or index finger, or even a combination of two. You can also strum using a pick if you want to protect your thumb or nails. Pro tip: Keep your wrist loose because it helps create a more pleasing tone and make the chords sound better and less choppy.


Learning how to play the ukulele is fun and easy. These instruments are also fun to play with, whether you are alone or with your family and friends. Ukuleles are also budget-friendly. If you want to buy an affordable ukulele, you may check out CRISTOFORI, Singapore’s all-around music instrument and musical lessons one-stop-shop. They also offer affordable Ukulele Lessons in Singapore that can help you hone your musical skills better. Enrol now!