How to: Ukulele (Advanced)

Evan Rosser, Columnist

This third and final ukulele tutorial will explain stringed instruments similar to ukuleles and their basic uses, how to tune down half-steps using a capo on your ukulele, and one final common chord. We will also review picking and common chords.

Variations of Ukuleles:

Aside from the soprano, concert (alto), tenor, and bass ukuleles, there are different ukulele instruments, like the guitalele, banjolele, and 8-string ukulele. Guitaleles act as 6-string ukuleles, tuned like a guitar, EADGBE. They are typically played in the concert and tenor range. A banjolele is a concert ukulele but instead of utilizing an acoustic body and sound hole, it has the banjo drum to produce a sound much like a banjo. They are tuned just like a regular ukulele; the strings are GCEA. Lastly, the 8-string ukulele is an instrument that can be found in all ranges but sounds best when played as a tenor. The strings are tuned very similar to that of a normal ukulele following the GCEA pattern, but instead with eight strings so GGCCDDEEAA. This instrument doubles up on strings to produce a fuller, more vibrant sound. The only difference in the tuning is the second G and C strings should be tuned either one octave above or below the first G and C strings.

Using the Capo:

A capo is a tool used on the fretboard to change the key you are playing in. For each fret higher you place it on, you move the ukulele up one half step. So, if you were to place the capo on the first fret and play a C chord, it would become a C# chord, which is a half-step up. Likewise, if you were to place it on the second fret the ukulele would be a whole step higher, so playing a C chord would become a D chord. The primary use of the capo is to keep the ukulele in the same key as the song you wish to play, while allowing you to play more simple chords, most commonly the C chord, G chord, D chord, F chord, and Am chord.


The final chord commonly played on the ukulele is Em. The Em chord is played by placing your index finger on the second fret of the A string, your middle finger on the third fret of the E string, and your ring finger on the fourth fret of the C string. The G string is left open and you strum.

Using chords and picking patterns taught in the previous two tutorials, with the chord taught here and capo, you should be able to play the ukulele with a variety of music.With continued application of these skills, your ukulele playing will improve, and you will be able to teach yourself new skills and styles on the ukulele.