I saw a request today for a tutorial on basic ukulele technique, which is an excellent idea. The ukulele is an awesome instrument; It's small and easy to travel with, it sounds great by itself and with other instruments and it's always a big hit around the camp fire:)
So until I can get to do an actual tutorial, here's the secret!
[U]First let's break down the tuning:[/U]
Most people pick up a ukulele and notice that the tuning is kinda strange and therefore think it's much harder than it is. But here's the simple answer!
1st string: B (closest to the floor)
2nd string: F#
3rd string: D
4th string: A (high octave- one whole note below the pitch of the 1st string)
So if you look at the intervals you'll notice that apart from the A-string being an octave higher all the intervals are the same as on the top 4 string of your guitar! Here's the explanation:
4th - 3rd: a fourth (Just like from the D-string to the G-string on your regular guitar)
3rd - 2nd: a major third (Again, just like your guitar)
2nd - 1st: a fourth (You get the idea)
[U]So what does this mean?!?:[/U]
It means that you can play chords like you would on the top 4 strings of your guitar, since the harmonic relationship between a D-shape, G-shape and an A-shape will be the same. That was enough to get me started! Just imagine you're playing the top 4 strings of your guitar, and ignore the fact that the 4th string is higher (If you wanna play melodies, just stay on the top 3-strings)
[U]But what are we actually playing?!?!:
You may not even need to know this, because most of the songs that are played on ukulele aren't very advanced harmonically. So if you know your I, IV and V in most keys on the guitar and you're playing ukulele by yourself you should be fine. But if you wanna play with other instruments, it's a good idea to know a little bit of the science behind it!
If you strum the open strings (top 4) on your guitar they form a G6 chord (D+G+B = basic G major triad. E is the 6 and makes it a G6)
If you strum the open strings of the ukulele they form a D6 chord (A+D+F# = D major triad. B is the 6 and makes it a D6)
D is down a fourth from G, so any chord you play will be down a fourth from what it would sound like on a guitar
1) a D chord-shape on the ukulele will sound like an A-chord
2) a G chord-shape will sound like an D-chord
3) a C chord-shape will sound like a G-chord
4) an F chord-shape will sound like a _________?!?!
Hope this helped you. The rest is just strumming!:)