5 Mistakes That Make Your Ukulele Sound Bad | Taught By A Music Teacher

Ukelanders! How are you doing today? I am so excited to bring this video to you because it contains the most common mistakes I have seen in my students these past few months. You can see the mistakes I talk about in the video below or you can read about them in this blog post... just keep scrolling!  

By the way, in the video I am playing the black Nova ukulele by Enya. If you'd like to order this uke, use this link! This allows me to earn a small tip at no additional cost to you.  https://amzn.to/33LABTf I like this ukulele because it is waterproof, is lightweight, and super affordable (under $100).  

Okay, now let's talk about the mistakes we often make... if you have any additional mistakes and fixes to add, please share them in the comments below the video.   


Hand placement... make sure that your fretboard hand isn't so low that your wrist is higher than the neck. Whether you're using a strap or not, make sure that the headstock is not too low on your body or too high close to your face.  


Ukulele positioning...  I forgot to mention in the video, but also make sure that the ukulele sound hole is facing outwards and not facing you. Make sure that there is space between the ukulele headstock and your shoulder. Sit comfortably and unfold your spine. Make sure the ukulele comes to you.  


Nail length... this is an easy one for many people to neglect. Make sure the nails on your fretboard hand are SHORT. These nails should be as short as you can have them without hurting yourself. Having short nails will ensure that you have proper finger placement on the fretboard. Long nails will cause you to play with the wrong part of the finger and will create muted and buzzy sounds. 


Daily tuning... MANY students of mine don't think they should tune daily. Many people believe that once a week is enough! If you ever played in an ensemble like an orchestra or band, you know that tuning is part of the daily routine. These ensembles even tune in between songs when necessary. Tuning often hill help your instrument sound better and will also help train your ear to hear when the ukulele is out of tune.


Thumb placement... A complaint I hear daily sounds something like this "my fingers are not long enough for this chord!" This is one of the most frustrating complaints for me because I have seen tiny children play ukulele without a challenge. I am not talking about child prodigies, I am talking about typical children in my music classroom. People who can't reach certain chords could benefit from changing their thumb placement. Put your thumb on the back center of the ukulele neck (behind the 2nd fret) and keep it there while you're playing chords in the top 4 frets.


  1. Thanks Bernadette. Good to have you back.

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