learn to play ukulele

Learn to Play Ukulele: The Best Websites and Online Resources

learn to play ukulele

With so many ukulele websites, it can be hard to determine which online resources are the best for your level and your needs. To save you some time in your search, ukulele instructor Willy M. has put together this list of the best ukulele websites and learning resources…

It has never been a better time to learn to play an instrument like the ukulele. If you’re dedicated to learning, there are more free instructional tools out there than ever before to help you not only learn the basics of how to play ukulele, but how to excel and become the best uke player you can be!

In this article, I’m going to cover some essential online resources that will help you learn to play ukulele including the best ukulele apps, ukulele websites, where to find new songs, the best instructional videos, and of course, the best web communities for ukulele players.

Where to Buy a Ukulele

You can’t learn to play ukulele without a ukulele! Buying your first ukulele can be confusing, so make sure you do your homework and speak with knowledgeable staff to help you find the right ukulele for your needs. Some communities, however, do not have local music stores, so you might want to check pawnshops or even local musicians who are selling secondhand instruments.

If you can’t find the ukulele you want in a music store or secondhand shop, you can always turn to the internet.

Craigslist

If you want to find someone in your area who has a uke for sale, check out Craigslist.

Craigslist users sell music gear everyday, and with a little bit of searching, you’re bound to find a good deal.

eBay and Amazon

You can search for new and used ukuleles on eBay and Amazon. Again, you may have to shop around, but with some patience, you can find what you’re looking for.

Musicians Friend

Musician’s Friend is the online arm of the retail store Guitar Center. If you don’t have a Guitar Center in your area, you can usually find some pretty good deals on Musician’s Friend.

It’s a great place to shop, and they typically send things out very quickly.

Sweetwater

Sweetwater is one of my favorite stores, and it’s close to my heart since it’s located in my home state of Indiana. The employees are wonderful people, and if you’re ever going through Indiana, be sure to check out their awesome store where you can eat lunch, play some video games or pool for free, and check out all the latest music gear.

The last time I ordered something from Sweetwater, they sent me a bag of candy with my purchase! They’re really great people, and since most of the sales staff are musicians, they are very knowledgeable and helpful.

Any of these places should help you find a decent ukulele within your price range.


Learn to Play Ukulele Apps

Now that you’ve figured out where to get your ukulele and placed your order, you should find some apps for your smartphone to help you get started. Here are a few ukulele apps that I have found useful for my students. Some of these apps will help you tune your ukulele, while others will help you practice. I have an Android phone, so I’ve included apps that I have used as well as some apps that will help you learn to play ukulele on your iPhone.

I have an Android phone, so I’ve included apps that I have used as well as some apps that will help you learn to play ukulele on your iPhone.

Strumming Partner

Strumming Partner by Over the Least Software, is a great app to learn how to strum a ukulele.

The free version lets you access strumming patterns for guitar and ukulele.

Chord!

Chord! by RabugenTom is an awesome free app that helps you learn to play ukulele chords. The $3.99 version is well worth it, in my opinion, because it gives you a lot more instruments, chords, tunings, and scales.

It’s a great app that can also be used as a tuner if you can tune by ear. I can’t say enough about this app. Get it for Android or iOs.

InsTuner

INsTuner is a chromatic tuner which will let you tune your ukulele without having to purchase a separate tuner.

Ultimate-Guitar.com

Ultimate-Guitar.com has an awesome app that helps you find the chord charts for thousands of songs. I use this app every day. Like Chord!, it comes with free and paid versions.

Go ahead and get the paid version; it lets you do a lot like, transposing the songs. It also has links to lessons, and one of the paid versions lets you print from your phone.

iUke

iUke includes lessons for several songs, and has a built-in looper that will help you practice.

Ukulele Toolkit

Ukulele Toolkit combines a bunch of cool tools in one app. You get a tuner, a metronome, some drum loops, scales, and a capo helper, as well as a bunch of other fun stuff. Check it out!


Learn to Play Ukulele Chords

There are a lot of places online where you can learn to play ukulele chords and find ukulele chords for some of your favorite songs. Here are some of my favorite websites.

Ultimate-Guitar.com

In addition to the ukulele apps that I mentioned, Ultimate-Guitar.com is one of the absolute best websites to find ukulele chords.

Ukulele Tabs

Another good place is Ukulele Tabs. They have tons of songs that you can learn, as well as chords and a bunch of other helpful information.

Uke Hunt

The Uke Hunt is another great website where you can find a whole bunch of resources for the ukulele, including videos, chords, a blog, and ways to connect with other uke players.

Ukuchords

Ukuchords is a pretty cool site with a lot of tabs, charts and chords, but they also have some good articles for aspiring songwriters.


Learn to Play Ukulele Online

Besides chords and tabs, there are some more great websites with articles and resources to help you learn to play ukulele.

“Ukulele for Dummies”

Believe it or not, the people who publish the “Dummies” books, have a great section on their site for the ukulele. There are helfpul articles on tuning, fretting, chord and tab diagrams, and a host of other useful information.

Beginners’ Guides

There are some very helpful guides to learn to play ukulele right here on the TakeLessons blog. If you’re a beginner, check out these two:

How to Play Ukulele: The Complete Guide for Beginners

Beginner’s Guide to the Ukulele: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started


Learn to Play Ukulele Songs

Ultimate-Guitar.com

I’ve plugged this site before, and I’ll mention it again (I wish they were paying me); Ultimate-Guitar.com is the absolute best place to find ukulele songs.

Of course, you have to sort through a lot of guitar tab, but most songs have chord charts, and there are lots of different levels of chord charts from beginner to more advanced versions.

OLGA

Long ago, in the days when the internet was just getting started, there was a beautiful princess named Olga, and she held the keys to awesome chord charts! OK, i’m kidding, but way back in the day, the Online Guitar Archive (OLGA) had an extensive library of chord charts.

Some sites still have some of the OLGA content around, and you can do a Google search to see what’s out there. I’m not sure if all of the OLGA content is still available, but with a little digging, I’m sure you can find some good stuff!


Learn to Play Ukulele Videos

There are literally thousands of hours of instructional videos on YouTube for the ukulele. This makes it hard to determine which ones are “the best”,  so here are a few that are the most helpful for beginners.

Absolute Beginners Uke


AbsoluteBeginnersUke was created by a YouTube user who has a lot of good videos on how to play ukulele. There are several instructors, but Ele and Craig Mitchell are my favorites.

They teach all the basics, and some more advanced techniques as well. They pick fun, popular songs to help you learn to play ukulele.

Chili Monster

Chili Monster is a uke player who teaches a lot of the basics. His channel has info on tuning, strumming, basic chords, and a lot of fun songs to play.

The Ukulele Teacher


The Ukulele Teacher is another YouTube user who has very useful videos. Of all the people I checked out, he seems to have the most instructional videos.

If there is a technique you want to learn, chances are he will have a video that covers it.

Dead Man’s Tuning


Of course, you can always check out my videos. I teach mandolin and guitar in alternate tunings, mainly on YouTube, but I’ve been working on some more uke videos, and most of what I teach on the mandolin can be translated to the uke.


Ukulele Groups

I’m not really a big joiner, but I have found a couple useful groups that I’d like to share with you. If you’re on Facebook, you should check out these groups.

Ukulele Underground

The Ukulele Underground group is a cool Facebook group with a bunch of like-minded uke players who want to share videos of songs they play, and resources for where to find more help learning the uke.

There are also lots of knowledgeable people who can share helpful information to help you learn to play ukulele.

Ukulele Blues Club

The Ukulele Blues Club is another Facebook page where uke and blues lovers unite. If you love blues music, and want to learn how to play it on your ukulele, then this is the group for you!


So there you have it, all of the online resources that I think are useful for beginner uke players! The best thing about most of these sites, is that you can learn to play ukulele from the comfort of your living room, with your computer or smartphone.

Remember, however, while these apps and websites are helpful, the best way to learn to play ukulele is through private lessons with a ukulele instructor.

Which one of these online ukulele resources is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! 

Willy MPost Author: Willy M.
Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston Salem, NC. He’s the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

Photo by Phil Thomas

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