Because of its distinct sound and its smaller build, a lot of beginners and professional musicians are inspired to learn how to play the ukulele.
This four-string instrument is a favorite instrument in Hawaiian music and is present in both traditional and popular songs.
While it looks like a miniature version of a guitar, many are unsure what is a fret on ukulele.
To help you get to know this instrument better, we’ll talk about the basics of ukulele.
What Are the Different Types of Ukulele?
Before we discuss what is a fret on a ukulele, it would be best to learn about its different types first. Ukuleles come in a variety of sizes and have different kinds of frets.
Typically, a soprano ukulele has 12 to 15 frets, while a concert ukulele, with its larger body, contains 15 to 20 frets.
Like the concert ukulele, a tenor ukulele has 15 to 20 frets, while baritone ukuleles have at least 19 frets to 22 frets.
If you are a beginner, starting your practice with a 12-fret ukulele is recommended.
What Is a Fret on Ukulele?
To understand this fantastic instrument, you must be familiar with its basic parts.
For instance, if you have handled a stringed instrument before, it is easy to figure out what is a fret on ukulele.
Essentially, it is a marker that assists you in locating the individual ukulele notes on the fretboard or the neck of the instrument.
Major Parts of Ukulele
Not familiar with the different parts of a ukulele yet? Read more to find out.
The neck is a solid piece of wood that connects the body to the headstock, which is also made of wood.
Laminated on top of the neck is a thin piece of wood called the fretboard. This is a common component among fretted musical string instruments.
Across the fretboard are vertical lines or metal strips, which are called frets.
Tuning Your Ukulele
After learning the basic parts of a ukulele, the next crucial step is to learn how to tune it correctly. This way, you can create harmonious and cleaner sounds.
You can tune a ukulele in several ways, but you will need to master standard tuning first, which is G-C-E-A.
Then, as you advance your learning, you can do alternate tunings to make it easier to play challenging and great-sounding chords.
As you might’ve guessed, the G string sits at the top, followed by C, E, and A. This means that every open string produces a note.
Tuning your ukulele this way will allow you to obtain a fuller sound.
The 44 Frets on a Ukulele
We already tackled the open strings of a ukulele for standard tuning. Now, we will get into the more advanced stuff and discover the beauty of frets.
To make the task a little bit easier, we need to remember the notes on your fretboard up to only the eleventh fret.
This is because when you press the strings on the 12th fret, the notes G-C-E-A are the same notes as the open strings will play, only a whole octave higher.
The notes from the first fret to the 11th fret are counted as 44 frets, which can be confusing, especially for a beginner.
As you can imagine, you need to commit a lot of time and effort to memorize 44 frets. What you can do is break them up into smaller brackets.
The 5th and 7th Frets
As a beginner, it’s best to start memorizing the easier frets first, such as the 5th fret and the 7th fret.
The good thing about starting on the 5th and 7th fret is that they have no sharps or flats, similar to the open strings.
You will get the notes C-F-A-D at the 5th fret and D-G-B-E at the 7th fret.
To make it easier for you to remember, you can name the 5th fret “Chicken Fight All Day” and the 7th fret “Don’t Go Breaking Everything.”
If you have an easier way to remember the frets, go for it. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you try to remember the frets; what’s important is you make them stick.
The Remaining Frets
By now, you should know how to memorize the 5th and 7th frets, plus the open strings. That is a total of 12 frets (four open strings and eight for the 5th and 7th frets).
You only have 36 more frets to go.
There is no hack that will make your brain remember the frets easily. You need to grind to remember all of the frets. Again, you will want to work on smaller brackets.
After you master the 5th and 7th frets, continue learning the 1st, 4th, 6th, and 8th frets.
Use your knowledge of the open strings, 5th and 7th frets, as a reference when earning the notes on the first, fourth, sixth, and eighth frets.
Then, you can proceed to learn the ninth fret, 10th fret, 2nd, and 3rd fret.
Do this daily, and you will master how to use your ukulele fretboard without realizing it. Studying a fretboard diagram is also ideal to better grasp the idea of a fretboard.
Getting Started on Playing the Ukulele
A great way to start learning to play the ukulele is to know the basic notes and understand the theories behind playing the instrument.
Keep in mind that ukulele chords are your building blocks. So, you need to have a good grasp of the basic ukulele chords and music chord shapes to create a beautiful sound.
People with a background in guitar playing can easily transition to playing the ukulele as the concept between the two instruments is the same.
Plus, they have the knowledge and experience in playing challenging chords and basic chord progressions.
If you want to learn how to play “Happy Birthday” on the ukulele, one of the most well-known songs in the world, there are many tutorials on the internet.
This song only consists of basic chords, has no complex chords, and is best for beginners.
Practice Makes Perfect
By learning an instrument, you can discover how to play your favorite songs or even write your own music.
Among the many instruments you can master, you will find that learning how to play the ukulele is easy for most people.
There can be many ways you choose to remember each individual note. All that matters is to find a way to get a hold of the concept and deeply understand it.
Doing a specific activity constantly will make you a subject matter expert. As the saying goes, “Repetition builds perfection.”