Planning to: Play the Ukulele

The ukulele is a beginner-friendly instrument that is easy to pick up and relatively inexpensive. Most songs can be adapted to the ukulele and it is a fun way to relax and enjoy music. Here are the things you need to know if you wish to pick up the ukulele.

What you need to buy:

  • Ukulele: The most common type of ukulele is the soprano ukulele. These are the smallest type of ukulele.

  • Tuner: Ukulele is a string instrument and will require regular tuning of the strings in order to maintain a good sound. Buying a tuner helps to ensure that you tune to the correct note*. You can also download a tuner app for this purpose.

Parts of the Ukulele


The most common way of tuning a ukulele is to tune to the notes GCEA.

To tune the string, twist the tuning pegs. Tightening the string will make the note go higher while loosening the string will give you a lower note.

Holding the ukulele (for right-handers)

  1. Rest the back of the ukulele against your body

  2. Support the neck of the ukulele with the crook of your left hand (between the thumb and index finger).

  3. Tilt the head upwards and slightly away from your body.

  4. Make sure that your thumb is not protruding too much from the top of the neck. The wrist of your left hand should also be relaxed.

  5. Rest your right forearm against the top of the ukulele body to secure the ukulele.

Producing sound

If you want to play a particular note, press down in the space between frets with your finger and then strum to produce the sound. When you press down on the string to produce a note, make sure that you are pressing with the tip of the finger.


Songs played on the ukulele is made out of chords. A way to start learning the ukulele is through chord charts which tells you how to play the different chords. By learning the different chords, you will be able to combine them to form songs.

This is an example of a chord chart:


To read the chord chart, imagine the ukulele facing you. The strings are represented by vertical lines while the frets are represented by horizontal lines Place your fingers where the dots are.

Where to go for lessons:

If you would like to learn more about playing the ukulele, there are various places you can go to for classes. Ukulele classes are available at the National Silver Academy and community centres. Alternatively, you can sign up for ukulele for stress relief classes at the Singapore Association for Continuing Education.

Remember, practice makes perfect.

*A note in music describes the musical sound. Generally, high and low note is used to describe the pitch while short and long is used to describe the duration. Music notes are represented by letters to make it easier to understand. The letters in a sequence are CDEFGAB.


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