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Ukulele Lesson: Jingle Bells Instruction

Jan 14, 2008
An ukulele is a fantastic little instrument to use as an accompaniment to your singing. You can also play melodies like the Christmas song Jingle Bells. I will instruct you how to play the melody step by step!

Sometimes you will find melodies for ukulele notated with tablature. This is a notational system consisting of lines representing the strings and numbers indicating which frets to press down. In this article I will instruct you with common English words instead.

Remember, the first string on your ukulele is the bottom string when you play.

You can use your right hand thumb to pluck the strings or use a pick or some other method as long as you play in a relaxed way.

Here you have the lyrics with instructions on how to play the melody on your ukulele:

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Play the first open string three times and then three times more.The first string is the bottom string when you play on your ukulele. An open string is a string that you play without pressing down a fret.

Continue by playing the first open string, third fret first string, first fret second string, third fret second string and first open string.

Play throught the notes in the instruction above until you hear and recognize the melody. Then it is time to work on the next line of lyrics:

Oh! what fun it is to ride

Play the first fret first string five times, the first open string twice.

What left hand fingers should you use?

I suggest that you use your first finger (index finger) to play the notes on the first fret, the second finger (middle finger) to play the notes on fret two and your ring finger to play the notes on your third fret.

Even if it might feel a little bit awkward at first you will feel the benefits from playing this way when you get used to it. You will not be forced to move the left hand as you play notes and you will find it easier to find the frets.

Let us continue with the ukulele lesson. Here is the next line:

In a one-horse open sleigh

Play the first open string three times, the third fret second string twice, the first open string, third fret second string, third fret first string.

Now it is time to repeat the melody but with a variation of the last line of lyrics:

In a one-horse open sleigh

Play the first open string twice, the third fret second string twice, first fret first string, third fret second string, first fret second string.

If your ukulele is tuned in C you will be playing the melody in the key of F.

What is a C-tuning?

This means that the first string is tuned to an A, the second string to an E, the third string to C and the fourth string to G. All of these notes are on the middle octave of a piano if you happen to have one around.

I recommend that you learn the melody by heart one line at a time. That way you can play the melody to your friends whenever the time comes!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. He invites you to download your free ukulele guitar tablature at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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