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Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

So you’ve just gotten yourself a ukulele and can’t wait to start playing it? Completing a full-fledged course seems too long a wait? Don’t worry, as we will help you learn the basics and start playing your ukulele within 15 minutes. Once you master these basic steps, you have all the freedom to learn more and get creative with your ukulele. Liven up the party with a happy tune or just enjoy some peaceful time connecting with your happiest self.

1. Know your Soprano from your Baritone.

It is always a good idea to start by knowing the different types of ukulele there are, and which type is yours. There are four different types. The smallest is the Soprano ukulele, which is 21 inches long and has 12 to 15 frets. It produces some really lively, jangly sounds owing to its small size and narrow frets.

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The next one is called the Alto or Concert ukulele. It is 23 inches long and has 15 to 20 frets. Not only does it produce a fuller sound than the Sopranos, but it is also easier for beginner players as the frets are spaced further apart.

The Tenor ukulele is 26 inches long and perfect for a stage performance as it produces an even fuller sound, and a higher number of frets let’s you hit higher notes.

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The largest ukulele out there is the aptly named Baritone. Thirty inches long with over 19 frets produces rich and deep notes perfect for sprightly, festive songs.

2. Get those strings right on tune.

The strings of a new ukulele are most likely not well tuned yet and you have to tune them first to produce the right sounds. It’s a good idea to use a tuner, or you can tune it with the help of another well-tuned instrument. Make sure you tune it to a GCEA tuning. This means that when you’re holding it right, the uppermost string or the one closest to your face must be tuned to a G and the farthest one must be tuned to A. Doing it is actually simpler than reading about it. Go on, try.

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3. Now to the fun part — get strumming.

There are a few different ways to strum a ukulele, and you are free to try out different combinations. For starters, go for a loose fist with your index finger pointing towards your chest. Now slide this finger up and down the strings, so your nail touches the strings going down and the fleshy tip of the finger touches them while coming up. Now you can practice different patterns like: Down Down Down Down or Down up, Down up, Down up, Down up. That’s it, really. It’s that simple. Just get started.

Once you get a good hang of it, you can even explore different regions on the strings to strum until you hit what is called the sweet spot, which is where the strings produce the best sound. Different ukuleles can be a little different in this premise, but in general, it is the point where the ukulele’s neck meets its body.

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4. You’re all set now; go crazy

While learning chords and practicing strumming patterns or learning more about your ukulele may be the conventional wisdom, the quicker and a lot more enjoyable way of doing this is to start with a few simple songs. “You Are My Sunshine” by Johny Cash and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole would be a good choice here. You can find entire lists of beginner songs to choose from. Do, however, try to finish and master one song first before moving on to another, as tempting as it may be to try out as many as you can.

In the end though, just remember that a ukulele is an extremely fun and sprightly little musical instrument that can be the center of attraction at social gatherings or a perfect companion during some me-time by the sea. Just sit back and enjoy playing your favorite chords.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adriano_guerra via flickr.com

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Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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