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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #111
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    Feb 2017
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    I took my poly-carbonate soprano with me to work today and on my breaks I practiced some in the back of my jeep. I mostly practiced clawhammer and improvising with the gypsy scale in the key of F. I have to say I do not like the soprano. It is too small. I am used to the commodious frets of my tenors, baritone, and tenor guitar. I also practiced a blues-curl in the key of A.

  2. #112
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    I took a ukulele to work to play on my breaks. I took my old spalted mango tenor. It has become, by default, my junker since it cost $200 and the kamaka over $2000. I hadn't picked it up for some time now and I noticed something. I apparently re-strung it backwards. I don't know how I did it but the thinnest string is the G string while the thickest is the A (tuned linearally). All the strings play the correct note although they are the wrong strings. The only problem is that the G string (since it is really the thin A string) is a little buzzy. I have to palm mute my strums to keep it from droning.

    Regardless of that mishap, I figured out the melody to the second movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony. I also wanked around with the Gypsy scale and the mixolydian mode.

    Alright, I re-strung my ukulele with the second half of the strings (Worth strings are so long that they actually make two sets). The same thing happened. Then it dawned on me. I am being so stupid. These are re-entrant strings and not linear strings. So I just ordered some low-g strings and I'll re-string the ukulele once again when the new, correct strings arrive.
    Last edited by ripock; 10-28-2017 at 01:26 AM.

  3. #113
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    You get breaks at work? How did you manage that?
    I had to retire to get breaks.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    You get breaks at work? How did you manage that?
    I had to retire to get breaks.
    This place is incredibly liberal. Every two hours you get a fifteen minute break.

  5. #115
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    Default strings

    okay. All my strings arrived--even some strings I hadn't anticipated. A set of guitar strings arrived with my new Worth strings. I vaguely remember a few months ago browsing guitar strings that wouldn't be too twangy for my tenor guitar. I must have put these guitar strings in my shopping cart and they remained there until I came back to the website and bought the Worth strings.

    Anyway...back to ukulele strings. I don't believe in changing strings on my ukulele. As long as the strings are high quality, the strings they came with are the strings they keep forever. I do this for a few reasons. First I do not like changing the voice of my little stringed friends. I can tell which of my cats is meowing because I know their voices. I can similarly recognize the timbres of my instruments. And I like it that way. Secondly, unless you're some sultan in charge of a harem of odalisques, you have to compromise and accommodate in a relationship. You work with your partner to fashion an understanding. That's how it works with my wife. That's how it works with my Kamaka. Philosophically, I do not like the D'addario strings that came with the Kamaka. They are nylon, stiff, and hard. But those are the qualities that Kamaka brings into the relationship. Instead of changing the strings and impose my personality on it, I accept the strings, tolerate them at times, and flourish with them at times. I recognize these strings have certain qualities that lend themselves to certain styles. E.g., the stiff strings seem better for playing clawhammer. Thirdly, once you start changing strings, you never stop. Once you acknowledge that you can attain a better sound with different strings, you are always on the prowl for those holy grail strings.

    Why the manifesto? Because I am anticipating my new custom-built tenor. I am getting a long-neck tenor built to replace my Cordoba tenor which is more of a long-neck concert. I need a bigger ukulele. So I am getting a long-neck tenor with a cutaway to be my low-G ukulele. Of course, once it arrives it has to have its strings. I want those strings to be brown Worths. That is the only thing that has ever been on the Cordoba and it shall be the only things ever to grace my new ukulele. However, I realize that an extra-long tenor might need special strings. Therefore I bought some brown strong Worths and put them on my mango tenor. I want to see how I like them.

    I can't tell so far because it is still the breaking-in period. I woke up and the new strings had stretched three semitones away from where they should have been! My only impression so far is that the A string seems a little stiff, which isn't a good thing on the strings which most of my blues are played. We'll see how they are after a spell.

    My plan is to play my mango and my Cordoba a lot to compare the strong and the regular brown Worths. That is unfortunate for the Kamaka. Especially since the Kamaka is my clawhammer ukulele as well as the ukulele to play around with Daniel Ward's Arpeggio Meditations.

    Speaking of which I have only toyed around with the first meditation. The thing that strikes me about it so far is the way the chords in the progression morph. It seems to me that the chords change little by little, one finger at a time. I've elected not to follow Ward's suggestion and assign a finger to each string (PIMA). For clawhammer and Travis picking, I only use PIM and I am going to keep it that way. I am a bit narcissistic. It is all about me, all the time. So my question with this, or any, book is: how will it affect me and my improvisation. My hopes are that I will be able to ascertain by playing the examples how to play other things.

    Here is what I have actually been practicing:

    I have been obsessed with this little progression in Gm: Gm-F-Bb-D7-Eb7-D7. I am especially smitten with going from Eb7 to D7; I really like that sound. I discovered that I can finally play the Bb with a partial barre. I have always played it with a full barre across the first fret. Now I can play it with the partial barre as long as I lean all my fingers toward the nut. If I keep the fingers all straight, then some notes get muted. Anyway I have been playing this melancholy progression. Sometimes I will do something akin to a stop-time blues. I will stop the progresssion and for a measure improvise with a G minor pentatonic (I use the mediant shape around that G on the third fret).

    Since I am by design going to be focusing more on my linear tenors, I fancy that I will probably do some stuff that is better suited to their tuning. E.g., pentatonic shapes like the Dominant or Subdominant. For some reason I also have a vague longing to get re-acquainted with the modes. Stuff like the Aeolian mode, the Phrygian mode, and the fully diminished scale come to mind. However, maybe I should also stretch myself a tad by also doing some stuff like the Lydian or mixolydian which requires some shifting of frets.

  6. #116
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    Feb 2017
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    practiced with my linear tenors, as planned. Getting a feel for the strong vs. the regular brown Worths is going to be difficult because my Cordoba just plays so much better with its lower action and all. From what I could tell the strong strings are coming along well. The A string is really stiff for some reason.

    With the Cordoba I played endless tunes mixing minor pentatonic (Ab) with Aeolian modes and the fully diminished scale. It is quite easy as they are all interchangeable. I also watched a video that advised sliding from one shape to another in order to side-step getting trapped in one shape. So I started playing the tonic shape of the pentatonic, but instead of playing the third note in the shape, I slid up to the C# on the 6th fret and played the mediant shape off that note. It is really quite ingenious.

  7. #117
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    Feb 2017
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    Went back to basics today. I just practiced playing random sequences of major chords with natural roots. I did it without looking. The B is lagging behind the rest. All the rest were very quick, but the B takes some fumbling around.

  8. #118
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    I went to work early and practiced with my mango tenor with the strong Worth strings. I didn't practice too much--under an hour--because it was rather cold. However the interesting thing was that I didn't really enjoy it. It is interesting because it made me wonder why I do enjoy my Kamaka and Cordoba. Is it because I have a relationship with them? Is it the money? Have I spent so much that I am determined to enjoy them? Is it the fact that I have invested in them and that somehow has bonded us? Or could it be an increase in quality that the money has bought and which makes the playing so much smoother?

  9. #119
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    Feb 2017
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    The temperature has dropped appreciably the last 48 hours. However I did still manage to practice. I took my polycarbonate soprano to work and during my breaks I practiced clawhammer strum. I am finding a few things beneficial. The first is the "head crush"

    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...act=mrc&uact=8

    The thumb is always on the G string and by adjusting the width of the "crush" you can hit whichever of the other three strings for the melody. Of course, once the strum becomes second nature, then this silly conceptualization will be outdated, but right now it seems to work for me.

    The second thing is the E string. I was not getting the notes from it as I was with the other strings. As I was hitting the string for the note, it seemed I was muting the string. I found that with the E string I need to be a little bit more aggressive to generate the force to get a nice sharp strike that drives through the string. Otherwise the string and the finger are kind of bouncing off each other.


    I finalized discussions with luthier Rob Collins to make a long-neck tenor for me. It will be built some time next summer.
    Last edited by ripock; 11-10-2017 at 02:30 AM.

  10. #120
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    I have been a bit pre-occupied lately, but I have squeezed in some ukulele. I have been obsessed with a chord progression that is the basis of a Tarrega composition that is on Sam Muir's blog. I haven't studied it to play it correctly yet. I have just been playing it with Travis picking and it sounds good. You can hear the Tarrega and it sounds generically classical although I am not playing it right. I will play it better later.

    I have also been playing around with some open tunings and my slide. I use open A on my tenors and open D on my baritone because I prefer the strings to be root third fifth root. Obviously I could do any open tuning, like G, but it wouldn't have my preferred intervals.

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