Cardiff North Ukelele Band

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Lesson 2

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Lesson 2

Getting started and playing your first chord


Pressing down on a string with a finger of the left hand just behind a fret shortens its vibrating length so that it produces a higher-pitched note when plucked.

For example, pressing down just behind the 3rd fret on the top (1st) string (A) changes the note to C, so the four strings of the ukelele will then play GCEC.

Finger exercises

  1. On string 1, place finger 1 just behind fret 1, finger 2 just behind fret 2 and finger 3 just behind fret 3; now don't look at your left hand.
  2. Pluck the string to produce the C note. Adjust your finger position to produce a clean note.
  3. Take off finger 3 so that finger 2 now holds down the first string at the 2nd fret and pluck again - make sure you produce a clean note. This note is a B.
  4. Now take off finger 2 to leave finger 1 pressing down and pluck again to produce a clean B flat note.
  5. Replace the fingers one by one, sounding each time and repeat this down and up cycle a few times without lookng at your left hand.
  6. Repat this whole exercise on string 2, then string 3, then 4 without looking at the strings.

First Chord

Three or more notes played together form a chord, and the notes C E and G form the chord of C major, normally referred to as C. Fingering the third fret of string 1 as shown gives us a C chord - GCEC. Because the 4th string is actually higher in pitch than the second (E) and third (C) strings. the the chord in the order of the pitch of each note is CEGC.

If this was the only chord to be played, then any finger would do to hold down the string. To make the change to other chords easy, as you will find out in the next lesson, the best finger to use is the third finger (3), the ring finger - you don't need to press very hard!

Exercises 1

1. Check and if necessary adjust the tuning of your ukelele.

2. With the ukelele held up against your chest by the upper end of your right forearm and the knuckle joint of the first finger of the left hand, shut your eyes and place finger 3 just behind fret 3, as shown in the C chord diagram.

3. Still with your eyes shut, slide finger 3 up and down the string, feeling the back of fret 3 and the front of fret 2 and bring it to rest just behind fret 3.

4. Play the C chord with your thumb; if it doesn't sound right, recheck your tuning and your finger positon.

5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 a few times so that your finger learns where to go without looking.

6. Finger the C chord and play in time with the slow recording:

7. Once you're got the hang of playing your C chord, play it in time with the faster recording:

8. Once you're used to playing your C chord, play it in time with the fast recording:

Next lesson

Learning another chord - F

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