Inspired To Learn

jam scene

If you are a new player Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc (BUMS) has many resources to help you get started learning the uke.

  • Attend one of the beginners classes before the larger jams at Coorparoo, Ferny Grove or Northside (Geebung).
  • There are often workshops through the year specifically designed for new players. Keep your eye on the News & Events page.
  • Check out the Ukulele Teachers page where you’ll find BUMS members who also teach. All ages, levels, groups or private lessons available.
  • All BUMS members are eligible to join one of our BUMS Community Bands. This can be fun way to learn and stretch yourself.
  • Why join BUMS? Check out all the benefits of membership in this post.

TIP: Subscribe to the BUMS Newsletter and you’ll get all the latest news about upcoming workshops, jams,

The ukulele is an amazingly versatile instrument, and one of the easiest musical instruments to learn. With just 3 or 4 chords you can play hundreds of songs.
This Hawaiian export with Portuguese origins, can be used to play anything from traditional music from around the world, to blues, rock, jazz and classical.

But where do you start, and what do you buy?

If you’d like check out resources online here’s some suggestions.

Check out this TEDEd presentation- Mysteries of vernacular: Ukulele – Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

Coustii has great ukulele guides with instructional videos to help you master your instrument.

Buying a uke

Buying a new uke can be a nerve racking experience. Ukuleles come in many shapes, colours and sizes, and a variety of sounds. There’s lots of advice about buying a ukulele available from online experts. But remember, you can borrow one at some of our jams until you’re sure you want to buy one of your own.

Firstly, know what you’re talking about. Learn the ukulele lingo at Uke Anatomy: Parts of the Ukulele

Then visit the music stores. Ask the store attendant to tune and play the ukuleles for you. Strum them yourself. Make sure you are comfortable holding the ukulele, AND that you love the sound.

The parent’s guide to purchasing your child’s first instrument: the ukulele —

The Big, HUGE Ukulele Buying Guide —

How to Choose a Ukulele —

How to Buy a Ukulele: 3 Easy Steps —

Ukulele Buying Guide —

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Ukulele —

If you are left-handed, check out advice from some of our left-handed players about buying your ukulele and how to set it up in this Facebook post (note: you need to be signed in to Facebook to see it)

Or, check out the BUMS For Sale page where members advertise ukuleles for sale when they upgrade.

Ukulele Essentials

Need a Tuner?

Ukulele tuners are available online, and as apps for your ipad or mobile phone. Here are some examples of online tuners.

Pineapple Pete provides beginners with advice on how to tune a ukulele.

This is a great online tuner – you can change it from standard GCEA to other presets.

This site provides two options — a Tuning Your Uke video, and a super-easy GCEA tuner graphic where you click on the letter of each string, and it plays the tone you need for that string.

Provides sound files for tuning Soprano and Baritone ukuleles.

Uke Chords

Just starting out?

Try Colleen’s Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners —

According to Axis of Awesome, you only need 4 chords to play a whole raft of popular songs.

Axis of Awesome, 4 Four Chord Song (with song titles) —

Need some help finding an elusive chord?

There a wide variety of sites that will show or teach you ukulele chords:

This site explains how to read ukulele tabs and ukulele chords.

An interactive graphic that displays the chord you choose on the ukulele fretboard.

EZ folk have information for a number of instruments, but their collection of ukulele chords is reasonably extensive. Click on the name of the chord you want to view, and you’ll see up to 12 variations on the same chords – great for when you’ve got the basics down and are looking to mix it up a little.

One of the most comprehensive list of chords I’ve seen. You can view them by “letter” e.g. A, A#/Bb, B, C, etc. Or you can download a pdf of all their chords to print out.