Get the brand new, interactive Ukulele Tricks lesson book, designed for the iPad

Get the brand new, interactive Ukulele Tricks lesson book, designed for the iPad

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on an exciting, new Ukulele Tricks project! Today, I get to reveal it to you.

I’m thrilled to announce a new, interactive Ukulele Tricks’ lesson book titled Learn Ukulele Today, now available on the iTunes iBookStore.

Learn Ukulele Today, packed into an iBook format for the iPad, is one of the most interactive and intuitive, all-in-one lesson resources I’ve ever created to learn to play the ukulele, featuring a beautiful interface, easy-to-follow audio demonstrations, high-resolution images, and detailed ukulele notation, tab and sheet music.

For the aspiring, brand new, beginning ukulele player, Learn Ukulele Today is a complete crash course to learn how to play ukulele, covering everything from how to tune and hold your ukulele to playing actual songs. Everything you need to start playing the ukulele and improve your skills is right at your fingertips. This interactive 44-page book, formatted specifically for the iPad, is jam-packed with the most essential parts to playing the ukulele like [...]

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A Review of My New Custom M.J. Franks Concert Ukulele

A Review of My New Custom M.J. Franks Concert Ukulele

As many of you know, this past year was a busy one for me between writing Ukulele Exercises For Dummies and continuing to provide support and instruction in my online ukulele course Ukulele Strumming Tricks. To celebrate and reward myself, I treated myself to a new ukulele made by my friend, the master and world-renowned luthier, Mike Franks.

Needless to say, I’ve been really enjoying the new ukulele (!), and I wanted to tell you all about it. I’m also getting a lot of questions about it after playing it in one of my recent video lessons 5 Effective Strumming Patterns for Beginners, which I hope to help answer here.

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What People Are Saying About Ukulele Exercises For Dummies

What People Are Saying About <em>Ukulele Exercises For Dummies</em>

Incase you missed it, just more than a month ago, my new book Ukulele Exercises For Dummies released in various places around the world.

Ukulele Exercises For Dummies is a practice-based ukulele book that helps you improve your skills on the ukulele in many different styles including strumming, fingerpicking, soloing, learning the fretboard and much more. Learn more about the book and get a sample chapter here.

If you picked up a copy of the book, thank you so much. I can’t express enough how grateful I am for your support. So far, the response has been very positive. I’ve been thrilled to hear how people are using the book to improve their ukulele skills.

Here are just a few of the fantastic reviews and testimonials I’ve received from different readers for Ukulele Exercises For Dummies [...]

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7 Quick Tips to Improve Your Barre Chords on Ukulele

7 Quick Tips to Improve Your Barre Chords on Ukulele

Barre chords can be the hardest kinds of chords to get down on the ukulele, but if you are able to play them, you unlock a whole new selection of chord variations and positions to choose from to add variety to those same old, boring chord progressions.

In this lesson, I give you some tips for your consideration that can help you play barre chords more cleanly and easily on the ukulele.

Incase you’re unfamiliar, when you play a barre chord, you are required to use a finger to fret or press down on multiple strings. Common examples of barre chords include: D7, Bm, Cm7 and Bb, as shown in the following diagrams.

Ukulele barre chords

Barre chords can be quite hard to switch to and fret, but give these quick tips a try to conquer these chords and open up some new possibilities in your ukulele playing.

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Ukulele Exercises For Dummies now shipping in the US

<em>Ukulele Exercises For Dummies</em> now shipping in the US

For the last month, you could get my new book Ukulele Exercises For Dummies in Europe and even the far reaching corners of the world, like Dubai, but you couldn’t get it here in the US – the US release date kept getting pushed back. As of today, May 6th, 2013, I have some very exciting news for my US friends.

I’m very happy to announce that my new book Ukulele Exercises For Dummies is finally available in the US!

If you are in the US, order the book at Amazon here.

I’ve caught word from some US friends who pre-ordered the book that they are starting to receive their copies of the book in the mail. If you pre-ordered the book and haven’t received your copy yet, it’s on the way and I imagine you’ll be getting your copy in the mail very soon.

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And the winner of the Ukulele Tricks ukulele giveaway is…

And the winner of the Ukulele Tricks ukulele giveaway is…

Today, April 15th, 2013, I’m celebrating the release of my new book Ukulele Exercises For Dummies by giving away a Kala Archtop KA-JTE tenor ukulele ($300 value). The moment has finally come where I draw and announce the winner!

To select a winner, I had a little party on my back patio here in Detroit, MI. I put each individual entry into a big bowl, mixed it up, and from there, I randomly picked out one lucky winner. My brother Ian and friend Gabe even helped me record a video of the big event!

Congratulations to Kay Fraser for scoring a brand new ukulele. You are the winner!

To those who entered into the contest, thank you for celebrating the release of my new book with me. Again, I am so grateful for your support and encouragement at this exciting time.

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Announcing my new book Ukulele Exercises For Dummies

Announcing my new book <em>Ukulele Exercises For Dummies</em>

About nine months ago, I embarked on a grand adventure in the world of teaching the ukulele. It’s ended up being one of the most amazing projects I’ve ever had the opportunity of being apart of, and now, after much hard work and many long days, I finally get to tell you about it! With more excitement than I can contain, in less than 12 days (April 15th, 2013, to be exact), I am releasing a brand new ukulele lesson book titled Ukulele Exercises For Dummies.

This book is a practice-based book created for ukulele players who want to take their technique and skills to the next level. Ukulele Exercises For Dummies focuses on many different aspects of playing the ukulele like strumming, fingerpicking, learning the ukulele fretboard, soloing in different styles and much more. The book contains hundreds of different exercises and a broad selection of practical songs in various styles that get you making beautiful-sounding music on the ukulele.

Right now, pre-order the book for a special discounted price on Amazon:

For my Australian and New Zealand friends, you can pre-order the book here:

Note: After the book officially releases, the price will go up, so be sure to take advantage of the special pre-order price these online bookstores are offering.

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Using Your Baritone Ukulele to Follow Along with My Standard-tuned Lessons

Using Your Baritone Ukulele to Follow Along with My Standard-tuned Lessons

At the moment, I do not have any songs or lessons that specifically pertain to the baritone ukulele. I realize this is disappointing and a huge bummer for you baritone players, and I want you to know that I plan to create some baritone ukulele lessons in the future.

Until then, I want to show how you can use your baritone ukulele to still follow and play along with me in my standard-tuned lessons on UkuleleTricks.com. Many of my students in my Ukulele Strumming Tricks course, who own a baritone ukulele, use these tips to follow along and improve their strumming right with me.

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5 Effective Strumming Patterns for Beginners

5 Effective Strumming Patterns for Beginners

In this lesson, I show you five strumming patterns you can use to play thousands of different songs on ukulele (I’m not exaggerating!). These are my “go to” strumming patterns. I use them all the time and have used them in a lot of video performances on the site (e.g. You’ve Got a Friend In Me, I’ve Been Working On the Railroad). These patterns are versatile, simple and work for most songs.

The first thing to realize about strumming is that it’s not about how fancy or complicated you make a strumming pattern. Since strumming is a form of rhythm, in order to be effective, it must be consistent and steady. A steady, consistent strumming rhythm is always more pleasing to listen to than a really complicated strumming pattern played out of time.

The following strumming patterns, as demonstrated in the video, are played in 4/4 time signature. This means each pattern is played to a steady, consistent count of four: 1, 2, 3, 4, repeat. You can use these patterns for any song counted in four. As you practice each of these strumming patterns, count out loud, and even use a metronome to keep your strumming as rocksteady as possible.

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Knowing When to Change Chords While Strumming a Song

Knowing When to Change Chords While Strumming a Song

For the most part, ukulele songs are displayed online and in print using chord charts. A chord chart includes the lyrics of a song with letters above to indicate the chords. Most of the ukulele songs I’ve posted on Ukulele Tricks are presented through chord charts.

The big downside to chord charts is that there is no indication of the rhythm (or strumming) of a song. By itself, a chord chart doesn’t inform you about how long to strum a chord or when to exactly change a chord. The chord letters are written to line up with the lyrics, as to try to indicate when the chord changes happen, but as you’ve probably found, it’s not that easy.

In this lesson, I show you some ways I go about approaching a chord chart and learning a new song. More specifically, I give you some practical examples and exercises from actual songs that allow you to get the knack for identifying chord changes in a song, while keeping a steady strumming pattern rhythm.

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