Recently I ended up on Luca Tomassini’s YouTube channel where I found a collection of really great licks for ukulele. There’s a heck of a lot of ukulele material on YouTube that focuses purely on popular songs and is very much just based around a handful of chords and basic strumming patterns. Luca’s licks really stood out and I really enjoyed learning them.
Luca has very kindly allowed me to post some of those licks here for you to learn. I’ve picked licks that are rock, blues, folk, pop and Hawaiian in style so there’s something for you no matter which style you’re into.
The great thing with these licks is that they will force you to think and play a little different. Some are quite challenging but that’s a good thing. It’s too easy to slip into playing chords and strumming patterns you already know and whilst that can be fun, it’s maybe not the best way to progress.
So here we go with the licks…
This lick, features a little repeating hammer on from the 6th to 7th fret in the first bar which has a classic blues feel to it. It may sound a little complex to you but it’s actually not that difficult, and once you learn it – you’ll be calling on it all the time.
Pop Lick/Sleep Tight
This is a really sweet pop style lick that is centred around the G chord and is a bit of a test for your pinkie finger. You can leave the G chord fretted throughout and focus purely on the picking and using your little finger to get the pull-offs sounding right.
Butterflies has a quite a deceptive opening few notes. At first glance it seems relatively straightforward but you need to be fairly quick off the mark to get your finger in place for the second slide. Really fun to play. If you’re struggling with slides, try it using hammer ons.
This Red Hot Chill Peppers inspired riff shouldn’t pose too many problems as there are only 5 notes in it and you can play it a fairly relaxed tempo. It’s a nice lick that works well when moved around the fretboard too.
Hawaiian Lick/Kaneohe Moon
If you find yourself playing a lot of the C chord then this just may be the lick for you. Based around a C chord this lick adds a bit extra into the mix. It should also serve to give you a few ideas in to how you can add a bit extra when you’re stuck playing an open C chord.
If you like Luca’s licks, check out his 10 ukulele lick series. For just $3 you can buy a PDF containing 10 licks and supporting video lessons in the following styles…