Ukulele is arguably one of the trendiest and easy-to-learn instruments. It is basically a very interesting Hawaiian mini-guitar currently very popular among teens. Nowadays, pretty much
everyone has one, including you, we suppose. Maybe, you landed on this article hoping to find out how to find notes and figure out how to play songs on your ukulele. Don’t worry, we got your back. This article contains some easy and effective rules, tips, and tricks on finding notes of any songs for your ukulele. Let’s get into it!
If you are new to the instrument, you can check out this video by You and Bree Music Tutorials to learn some simple theory of ukulele.
Ways to figure out the notes of songs
This applies to almost every instrument out there. You can learn pretty much every song like reading a book and memorizing what you need to memorize. Now let’s get into the point. There are 4 ways you can figure out the notes and chords and everything of the song you want to play. They are:
- By ear
- By learning the sheet arrangement of the song
- By learning the tabs
- Through someone who can already play the song that you want to play
You probably know how to pull off that last one, so let us get into the details of the first 3 ways. Before that, let’s get into the basics of the instrument. Ukulele’s standard tuning is G C E A. Make sure it is in the correct tune before you dive into learning the song. Or else you will have a very hard time learning or figuring out how to play any song. Ukulele isn’t a very complex instrument where you can fit in as much as complex chords and notes that you want. So it’s pretty easy to figure out the chords and melody of pretty much any song of your choice.
Learning a song by ear
This is the most effective way of learning a song on your ukulele. Pretty much every instrument according to our opinion. Learning any song by listening to it is equivalent to listening and memorizing words. First, listen to the song you want to play. Enjoy the music, listen to the parts carefully. Then break down the song into different parts, melody, chords, rhythm. Then whatever you are going for, try to figure that specific part out. Practice it so that you can play it without any mistakes. If you just want to play the top melody of the song, then memorize how the main melody sounds like. After that, figure out how to play that on your ukulele ONE NOTE AT A TIME. You can make it sound more interesting by harmonizing the melody by playing 2 notes at a time. Remember, while playing the notes, one note is the main melody, and the other is a harmony. Keep the rhythm synced with the original if you want to bring a slight change, then do whatever your heart says. A very defined tutorial on how to learn to play a song on ukulele by Brad Bordessa is given below:
Start learning a song using the sheets
This is mostly for advanced players. If you can understand the sheet arrangement of any songs, then you’re already very advanced. Sheet music is basically a printed form of music. Here different notes, chords, and everything are denoted with special symbols. If you want to learn using sheets, check out these websites. On the websites, they provide you with the sheet resources of different songs. You can hope of coming across your song.
Sheet music is all about practice. You have to get every detail right because you practically have the written form of the song you want to play. Once Yvette Young said that she liked to learn different songs. Then learn how to play her own written songs starting off very slowly. We can all agree to that. Because going through a course thoroughly, steadily, and slowly builds up your muscle memory. Thus you can play anything precisely and correctly with confidence. So, if you are a sheet music enthusiast, your goal should be not to rush. Rather go over the song slowly and try to play the song and sync the sheet with it. Then pick up your ukulele and go through how it is played very slowly and steadily. Next, practice and practice. There is literally no way you can master anything without practice. No matter what it is, if you are trying to play some melody then you have to practice. Otherwise, you will most likely mess up at certain parts. Same for chords, no matter how generic they are, practice so that you do not mess up at all.
Start learning the tabs
Tabs are the easier version of sheet music. It shows exactly where your fingers need to be on the fretboard to precisely play the song of your choice. Learning a song using its tabs is way easier than sheets. Few sites to find tabs of your songs are:
The go-to site for tabs of songs for any instruments. It has arguably the most accurate and precise chords, melody, and everything of a song. Guitarists prefer this site for learning different songs. But it is still effective for ukulele players. They have tabs and such for ukulele as well.
Ukulele tabs is a popular site for those who are looking for tabs of songs for the ukulele.
As its name says, it has a broad variety of tabs, most of the tabs of songs should be here. They have a monthly top 10 tabs list that you can try out if you want to discover new songs on the go. Every month they update it so it is a pretty neat option if you ask us.
Ukutabs is also a pretty neat website to check out tabs. Their website contains different sections such as ‘Top 10 viewed songs today’, ‘10 Latest songs’, ‘Top 50 genres’, ‘Random songs’, and so on. One of the coolest features on this website is the portal. In the portal, you can send them videos of you playing a song and they will hopefully feature your video. They also have a section where they have guides to different ukulele related stuff. It is called UkuGuides. It has guides on how to write a song, write ukulele strings, how to play chords on the ukulele, and even ukulele caring and cleaning.
You can check them out here:
Things you can do when you are starting to learn any song on ukulele
Before you dive into tutorials and such, Hear me out. When you are learning a song, whether you want to play it on your ukulele or something else. You need to focus on what type of music you are trying to learn. How does it sound? Whether it sounds happy or sad, does it feel uplifting? or not, you should listen to the song and try to answer these questions? If a song sounds sad and not uplifting, you should develop your mind to go soft on the strings. Especially while strumming or plucking be soft on the strings. It should be performed delicately so that you can give off that exact vibe. Again, if the song sounds very happy and uplifting. Strum the strings a little bit more aggressively. Try to bring out that happy and uplifting feel that the original song tried to give off. When you are learning a song, try to stay in between those bounds. Do not think that just for the sake of learning, you should play the song. However, you want and expect to adjust with it afterward. This is a common misunderstanding which everyone overlooks. And then plays every single song in the same way, with no feelings and such. Next, a very important tip is that you must be patient to master a song. Take your time, start off slowly, break the song into different categories, then go through those categories. If you want to learn the melody then go through it, take your time, play one note at a time, and eventually, you can master it. If you want to play the chords of the song, make sure you are playing the right chords and hold the notes properly. Please make sure the notes do not buzz with the fretboard. And most importantly, enjoy what you are doing.
So what did we learn? Find notes of any ukulele songs
First, listen to the song that you want to learn. Then, decide if you want to learn it by ear or by tabs or sheets. If you want to learn by your ears, listen to the song thoroughly, memorise the melody. Find out which key it is in, then try to find that key on your ukulele. Next, try to play the basic melody of the song on your ukulele, afterwards, figure out which chords go along with the melody. Then verify whether those chords match with the original song. In this way, make your progress in a step by step way. If you are learning the song by sheets then concentrate on the symbols, make sure you do not get anything messed up. Same for tabs, go through them thoroughly and you will be able to get the exact outcome you were hoping for. Take your time, start off slowly, you will get the results that you were expecting after a certain amount of time. Never give up, be slow and steady and you will find out how to find the notes of any song of your choice.