This teeny guitar spawn has experienced a big resurgence in the last couple of years. Portable, acoustic and easy to play, the ukulele has gained worldwide popularity from its origins in Hawaii, with players including comedian George Formby (When I’m Cleaning Windows), The Beatles’ George Harrison, and YouTube ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro all pledging their allegiance to the diminutive four-string.
This guide to the ukulele, courtesy of Total Guitar, first gets you in tune (it’s not all that different to your guitar’s tuning), and then provides 14 simple chords to get you started. The major and natural minor scales we’ve given you will help you get to grips with the uke’s neck; as you play, think about the name of each note on the fretboard.
Once you’ve got your fingers used to the uke’s neck, try out the two simple tunes on the final two pages of this gallery: the first is a simple strummed piece that’s typical of the chord sequences traditionally played on ukulele; and the second is a more complex finger-picked melody that helps you develop independence of movement in your picking hand fingers.