For starters I am not a writer. I am a guitar player and you probably are too. So if you moonlight as an English professor please don’t contact me with corrections. That being said let’s talk about finger exercises. For this article when I refer to finger exercises I am talking about the 2,3, or 4-finger chromatic type exercise.

It seems like there are two schools of thought when it comes to finger exercises. One is that they are totally necessary when learning. In 10 years of teaching guitar I find this to be about 95% true. The students who work hard on this area of their playing always do better than those who don’t.

The other school of thought is that they are totally useless. For some players who absolutely tear it up on guitar, this is true. They became amazing players without doing any finger exercises but for the most part, players need them. I have read interviews with Yngwie Malmsteen where he mentioned that he didn’t practice this kind of stuff. (Like his playing or not the guy can throw down with anybody.) There are always exceptions.

Steve Vai has reported to have practiced finger exercises as much as 3 hours a day. They were that important to him. Robin Trower is said to have practiced them “religiously” for a year. I have read articles with B.B.King, Zakk Wylde, Tom Morello and a boatload of other players who all worked on their technique using exercises. I personally know jazz players, classical players, country players and metal players all who completely tear it up and still work on exercises everyday.

Think about this. How much have you improved as a player over the last week, month or year? If it’s been a lot, great! Keep doing what you are doing. If you are not where you want to be as a player, grab a metronome, finger exercise book and your guitar and spend some time trying these out. You will see results. Go slow and keep track of your metronome settings. Only increase the metronome by one or two clicks each day. It may not sound like a lot but after few months you will have sped up quite a bit. Also by tracking your progress will keep yourself motivated because you will be able see your results. This in turn will make you want to work harder. One of the reasons some people give up on guitar is because they can’t see the results of their practicing. So make sure to do this.

It’s very important to remember that this is only one part of playing guitar. There are so many other areas to address but if you aren’t happy with your fingers better start here.

Anyway, Thank you for listening.

An ukulele is a fantastic instrument to use on a birthday celebration! Today you will learn the ukulele chords to a famous song!

We will first take a look at the lyrics:

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday Dear …
Happy Birthday To You

The names of the chords we play presupposes that your ukulele is tuned in C. This means that your first string is an A.

Now you will learn the ukulele chord C-major:

C: 0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1

This ukulele tab notation will help you to find which frets and strings to use on your ukulele.

The first number tells you which fret to press down. The number after the slash indicate the string.

0/4 means that you play the open fourth string on your ukulele. Yes, an open string is a string we don’t press down.

3/1 means that you press down the third fret on the first string.

You have to learn one more chord in order to play the first line of lyrics. It will be G7:

G7: 0/4 2/3 1/2 2/1

Time to try the ukulele chords for the first line. I will put the chord names in front of the words where you change chords:

Happy (C)Birthday To (G7)You

The next line has the same lyrics but a different chord combination.

Happy (G7)Birthday To (C)You

You will need to know one more ukulele chord. That is F:

F: 2/4 0/3 1/2 0/1

Time for the third line. We will put a name in the lyrics:

Happy (C)Birthday Dear (F)Martha

Now it’s time for you to complete this song. The last line:

Happy (C)Birthday (G7)To (C)You

You can of course play the song in other keys on your ukulele. I will just give you one more key to play you song in.

I will make a little conversion table for you to use in order to play the song in D-major. First you will get the chords in D-major:

D: 2/4 2/3 2/2 0/1

You will also use the chord A7:

A7: 0/4 1/3 0/2 0/1

and finally G-major:

G: 0/4 2/3 3/2 2/1

In order to be able to play Happy Birthday To You in the key of D you have to replace the chords in the following way:

C becomes D

G7 becomes A7

F becomes G

This change of key will give you a chance to sing in a slightly higher pitch. Of course there are more keys that you can use. We have different key preferences because of our personal singing abilities but these keys are good for an untrained voice at least.

Now you can play the ukulele chords to the song Happy Birthday To You in two keys!

There will be plenty of opportunities for you to play this song. Learn it by heart one line at a time and you will be able to play the song wherever there is an ukulele.