Can You Teach Yourself ʻUkulele?
No! Well, sort of... yes. ;)
You can definitely teach yourself ʻukulele, especially during this age of information! Free resources abound, including user-submitted chord charts/tabs, YouTube videos, diagrams, courses, apps, and more! As for paid sources, there are books, online courses, communities, etc. There has never been a time when learning a musical instrument has been this accessible, and there isn't (pretty much) another instrument as accessible as our beloved ʻukulele!
On the other hand, I understand that it can be scary and overwhelming to try something new, especially with such a large amount of information (and misinformation) out there. There are things that I would recommend to make it easier, so let's go through them!
1) Get a Good-Sized ʻUkulele
The easiest way to do learn ʻukulele is to get one that fits your build well. As a beginner, you'll want to make sure it's not too small, otherwise that can become a hinderance/obstacle. Refer to this article for more on that subject. Long story short--a concert-size ʻukulele fits most people over 10 years old just fine, but go for a tenor if you feel like your hands/fingers/arms are bigger than "normal" in any dimension or if you already play guitar or bass.
2) Learn the Basics
There's a lot of information out there about techniques and concepts, but not much in the way of just learning the basics in a succinct way. We've fixed that! Not only do we offer free in-person beginner ʻukulele lessons every day, but we've also filmed a streamlined version of our lessons and posted them on our website. Click here to go directly to it!
3) Learn Your Favorite Songs
This step has a bunch of steps of its own, the mentality behind them is the same-- learn the songs that you want to play! Make a list of songs that you want to learn. If that's too hard, make a list of songs that you like to listen to! Start with a list of 10 songs, and work from there. Check each song for their difficulty. Sites that offer free user-submitted tutorials and/or guitar tabs/chord charts are great free resources for this. If a song is more than 4 chords, either cut out the bridge part (most popular songs have a bridge, and it usually adds more chords to the count) or move to the next song on the list. If you see complicated chords like Cadd9-5 or Am11+7-5, just do the simplified versions. Ultimate Guitar Tabs is a great online resource for this.
Extra Credit) Method Books/Courses
Method books and/or courses offer a methodical approach that takes the guesswork out of the equation, which makes it that much easier to focus on learning and playing. This includes taking private lessons as well. There are a lot of different courses, instructors, and books out there, so do your research and have fun!