Learn to play "Christmas Luau" (Hawaiian) on Ukulele
December is here and to kick off your holiday season on ʻukulele, it's the classic Hawaiian Christmas song, "Christmas Lūʻau!" This is a fairly simple song in the Key of C, so for most of you the chords will look fairly familiar. There's also a simple strumming, and quick picking you can learn for the intro/vamp that's fun to play once you get the hang of it. Feel free to jump right in by playing along with the Christmas Luau Ukulele Play-Along above. And if you need any help learning this song, feel free to start with any of the steps below:
STEP 1 - Chords
Begin by learning these 5 easy chords:
Try them out, memorize the names of each chord and how to play them. Then practice switching in between each of the chords. Some of the relatively tough chord switches are between C and D7 and D7 and G7. Figure out the easiest way for you to switch between them (it's different for everyone) and practice to make the switches smooth.
Once you've got it down, go back up to the top of the page and play along with the "Christmas Luau" Ukulele Play-Along to practice. When you're ready to add some rhythm to your chords, move on to Step 2:
STEP 2 - Rhythm / Strumming
Next, add a simple strum to your chords. Start by simply strumming down on each beat. After that, double up the strums and add up strums in between the downs. From there, add or remove strums to make the rhythm fit the lyrics. And if you're comfortable, you can always add more advanced strumming techniques to make it a little more interesting. However, please remember that your strum should be simple enough that you don't have to think about it. So if any time you feel like you're worried about which direction your strum is going, simplify. Watch the video above where Aldrine explains the strum for this song.
When you're comfortable with the simple strum that works for you, practice it by playing along with the "Christmas Luau" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page. Great, you just played along with the song! If you feel like adding one more element into the mix, continue on to Step 3:
STEP 3 - Intro / Vamp Picking
Finally, add a little picking to your song. The way Aldrine explains the picking above, it is optimized for ukuleles that are strung with a High G string. In the event that your ukulele is strung with a Low G, simply replace any open G string notes with the 3rd fret on the E string. For a better visual on this, be sure to refer to the second part of the Christmas Luau Ukulele Picking TAB.
If you need even more practice, check out the picking practice slow down video below (with 40%, 60%, 100% speeds):
When you've got the picking part down, try it out using the "Christmas Luau" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page to play along with the entire song. Fantastic job!