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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukatee View Post
    My husband is a bass viol enthusiast and plays a lot of Marais and Sainte-Colombe. A lot is available free from Imslp, e.g. Sainte-C's Suite in G minor. Enjoy!
    Thanks a ton. I just downloaded it. It uses a different clef than I'm used to, but I'll manage.

  2. #82
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    I've been playing around with dom9 chords and inserting them in I IV V progressions. At the end of the measures I was travis picking a little riff before moving to the next chord. It was real simple but it was all I was up to, having had a few beers.

    I also have been practicing string bends and my fingers are raw. I had been bending my strings without any thought...just as a mindless adornment. Now I am trying to bend up a whole tone or a half tone, so that the bends are still in key and sound good. It is taking some practice.

  3. #83
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    Well, I spent a lovely afternoon translating some Latin poetry and playing my kamaka on the porch. I have never really appreciated the beauty of my kamaka, but today as I looked down at the wavy koa on its sides and the shiny grover tuners I was pretty happy.

    I practiced bending today. I used to be a non-apologetic bender. I bended mindlessly, but now I am starting to see the big picture. I'm now bending into notes that are part of the scale and it just sounds great. It reminds that I once was listening to a broadcast of Woodsongs and the host was complimenting the performer on her sparse use of ornamentation saying that it was the shibboleth of a master. I prove the opposite. I'm not a master and I was bending too much. Same thing with the harmonica; I bend and overblow everything. Now I'm seeing the time and place for it.

    My fingers started getting a bit raw, so I switched up to some clawhammer practice. I'm starting to see some light at the end of that tunnel as well. I'm starting to be able to reliably hit the string I want. For me it is a matter of being aware of the size of the claw--i.e., the distance between the thumb and index finger. A certain size hits the A string, a certain size hits the C string. At this point it is a bit robotic since I have to consciously make the big, middle, or small claw. However I assume with time it will become more intuitive.

  4. #84
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    It is kind of funny. I took an online test to see if I am a beginner or not. You were required to play natural major chords without looking. Not looking is my weakness. I'm always glancing at my left hand. So my chords were spotty. That makes me a beginner. However I would, and do, have the same problem when playing jazz chords like maj7 or dim7 or dom9 or even something like a m7b5. Those are things that a beginner doesn't have in his or her head.

    I think the difference is my self-perception. I think of myself as a soloist. So I'm always practicing a wide array of voicings and scales for improvising. From what I've gleaned in conversations with other players, they are more intent on nailing down two or three chords and not worrying about all those other ones that they'll never use to play their song.

    In short, that's why I am still a beginner. I'm on a totally different curriculum and therefore my progress is different from a strummer.

  5. #85
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    pursuant to my previous post, I have become a little self-aware, if not self-conscious, that I am lacking in certain fundamentals. Don't get me wrong; I fully believe that one of these days I am going to bust out of my chrysalis and all my far-flung practicings will all come together and I will make a quantum leap. However until that day I need to make some concessions to convention. So I've been practicing playing blind. I was watching a youtube video of Justin Johnson playing slide guitar on a guitar made from a skateboard, and I saw in the sidebar a related video that featured in the screenshot a 12-bar blues in A. It had a quick-change in the 2nd bar and the last four bars seemed different than what I'm used to, but I played it fine...except I muffed the occasional D chord.

    I was practicing my blue modes today. Modes always have one fly in the ointment: only half of them work well in the tuning you're using. Obviously I can play all six modes in either tuning, but 3 of them work well and three of them require a shifting of the home row. Since I was using a linear tuning today I was using the easy modes, the ones starting with the tonic, the dominant, and the submediant. These work well since they remain on their home row and that allows for quicker picking. The thing that also is so wonderful is the fact that the tonic and submediant both have a root note on the G string, whereas the sebmediant and dominant also have roots on the A string. So it is child's play (unless the child is uncommonly dim) to link these modes up into one big, massive blues solo.

    I also have changed the way I've played these. I have always just played the blues scales (minor pentatonic, plus the diminished fifth). I now see that there is a benefit to playing the pentatonic scales instead. With the blues scale, you finger all the notes. With the pentatonic scale you finger the five notes of the scale and bend into the diminished fifth for added flavor. It makes the blue-note more special.
    Last edited by ripock; 07-01-2017 at 02:38 PM.

  6. #86
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    Default epiphany

    I have had an epiphany of sorts. I went and purchased a six-pack of scottish ale from the local brewery and I was sitting on my porch looking across the street. There used to be three old houses there, until the slum lord, John Riddle, decided to demolish them. Quite a shame. Old houses are nice although those ones have housed many a heroin junkie. Anyway, the lots are now fallow with nothing going on there except for a little black cat chasing lightning bugs.

    Somehow it occurred to me that I was being too restrictive in my approach, like the cat chasing elusive flashes of bug-asses. I had only been playing the blue modes which were easiest to play across all four strings. In linear tuning I can also play the 3-string modes of the re-entrant as well. So, it flashed upon me: do both. I can, for example, play the submediant mode from the g-string and when I end up on the A string I can switch over to a tonic mode a la re-entrant tuning. I can play it ascendingly and end up on the C string. From there, 5 of the 12 shapes have roots on the C string. I can now improvise endlessly--well, as close to endless as 12 shapes will allow.

  7. #87
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    String change. I haven't been too happy with my baritone strings. I had been using a set of Living Water strings. I didn't care for them because they were buzzy and because the name sounded like a non-denominational Bible-thumper sect. So I decided to get some Southcoast strings. After what seemed like clicking through a million screens on their website, it was determined that I should get the Light Medium Gauge Linear Set (LML-NW).

    I put them on and I don't have much to say at this point. You know how new strings go. They won't they in tune...for a while. After they stretch out, maybe I'll have something to say. At this point, the only thing I think I noticed is that the bass string seemed dull. Somewhat quiet and subdued.

  8. #88
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    I haven't updated in a while because what I've been doing hasn't seemed too exciting. Of course I have been practicing pentatonic scales and worked out playing some Thelonious Monk, but the bulk of the practice has been doing rather mundane chord stuff. Today I was just practicing hitting with B chord without looking. I can always do it by touch (bouncing a fret down from the nut) but I don't know if that's cheating. Regardless it isn't the fastest way. If I don't use touch and just place my hand on the fretboard, sometimes I get a B, sometimes a Bb or C.

    Tomorrow I plan on using the metronome and some random lists of chords and practice transitioning. I can transition between easy chords like A to F to C to G. However I'm not sure that I can follow suit with other chords. So I'm going to practice random intervals to ensure that I'm not just memorizing certain intervals and thinking that I am therefore good at transitioning.

  9. #89
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    I have to annotate a few things for the sake of posterity lest I forget them altogether. I did tinker around with becoming a more accomplished beginner by practicing chords with a metronome. However the thing I spent more time with was my blues scales.

    I would swear with my hand on a stack of bibles that I prefer my low G ukulele. However today I pulled out my kamaka and played righteously on it. The 1st three strings have a certain advantage to them. I was playing with pentatonics and I can found that I can play continuously at will. I don't care what 15 year old keyboard warriors say on youtube; pentatonic scales are great. They are kind of like the bread and butter of music and someone like Matthias Jabs shouldn't be criticized for using them. That's like calling Robert Frost a one-trick pony because all he does is continuously alter vowels and consonants. Although I am firmly in the Uli Jon Roth camp when it comes to Scorpions imbroglios, I shall not suffer Jabs to be subjected to obloquy for simply using pentatonics.

    I was using the pentatonic scales starting with the tonic note, with the supertonic note, with the submediant note, and the subdominant note. (I know guitar players have names like shape1 and stuff like that, but I don't know any of that stuff. So I just use my own terminology).

    I started off playing G from the 7th fret simply because I can with a long-necked tenor. Now, when played on the 1st three strings, the tonic scale has a root on the C and the A string. The supertonic scale also has its root on the A string. Thus, one can ascend with the tonic scale, descend with the supertonic. Once you're done with the supertonic, if you go up a third on the C string you hit the root of the scale and receive some resolution. That root note is also the first note of the tonic scale so that you can now do it all over again! So you see you can do the tonic/supertonic loop with a lot of phrases, expressions, repetitions, etc and create an endless blues solo.

    The other thing that is awesome is the submediant scale. It has a root on the C string like the tonic. Therefore once you get back to that root note from either descending on the tonic scale or re-arriving from the tonic/supertonic loop, you can then play the submediant.

    Here's the last cool thing from the submediant, you can move from it to the subdominant shape with some difficulty. The submediant has a root on the C string. The subdominant has a root on the E string. Therefore I just switched root notes. I mean, the submediant is using the G note on the 7th fret and the subdominant is using the G note on the 3rd fret. To link up these two scales I just jumped from G to G and it worked really well.

    Basically I was doing the tonic scale, moving up to the supertonic, then moving down to the submediant, then further down to the subdominant. If you're keeping score that is playing frets 1-13 in one loop. I feel pretty good about playing the fretboard. I may flunk Uncle Rod's online test for beginners because I still do not play chords without peeking at my hands, but I am doing well under my own criteria.

    I know this may not be understandable to anyone else and I regret that, but this note is more to me so that I don't forget what I'm doing by tomorrow. And that's not as outre as it sounds. I am very much a zen player or a Dadaist. I really like some lick that I stumble upon and although I have sheet music, I never score what I'm doing and within 24 hour I can't remember what I spontaneously achieved briefly before.

  10. #90
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    Today was more basic work. My B chord is slowing me up. So I just played a lot of B. I formed the B without looking and transitioned to the D chord, the only that sounds good to me.

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