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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #41

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    I am really liking the Bb key. It is a little dark and moody, which is more my style. I am very much not a fan of the whole perky island vamp sound that is so connected with the ukulele. The only thing that doesn't quite work is the I IV V progression. At least with a linear tuning it sounds a bit off. The Eb inversion sounds out of place (too high). I didn't notice this when playing a re-entrant tuning. It still works but it is a little idiosyncratic.

    I was playing the Bb melodic Aeolian and making little songs. I really like moving from the Bb to the F in syncopation, and then running back up the scale. It sounds kind of like a Russian march.

    I practiced the Bb minor pentatonic as well. Since I'm playing linear I can get three octaves although the latter part of that run is made by sliding down the A string since I've run out of room.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Indiana
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    221

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    That was a really good post on why a strap comes in handy. Mostly useful when standing. Too many ukulele folks are snarky against those who use straps, even to the point of offering to teach them how to properly hold the ukulele without using it. To them, squeezing the ukulele body against their chest is superior. But if the top is responsible for moving and producing the main portion of sound, as I'm frequently told, then it should be free to vibrate and not hindered from producing sound waves. Maybe. But all the reasons you mentioned are right on.

    I'm still strapless though with my Flea, soprano ukulele. It's my beach Ukulele, that I purchased for its water resistant materials. It still sounds pretty good, and almost competitive with my Mainland Red Cedar tenor. But I don't worry with it, it's meant to be specific purposed. It's purpose driven, LOL. 😂
    Trent

  3. #43
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    Bb is a really nice and movable chord. It is an F chord on the guitar, and one of my first learned in 1963. It lended to an easy barre chord on the guitar, and my band then, used to play I-V-IV regularly in C-F-G, some songs with C-Am-F-G. It worked for us, bringing it down the keyboard in other keys to. Early on, we played the Ventures songs, and "Walk Don't Run" was popular F shaped song with A-G-F-E, all F-shaped on the guitar, except for the open E. now it's a Bb on the ukulele, and all my guitar shaped chords (minus two stings) work for the ukulele. Like riding a bicycle, I've never forgotten, and memory response is effortless, without thinking. But I'm going back to basics, and it's a good time to run through music theory that I missed so many years ago.
    Trent

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rrgramps View Post
    That was a really good post on why a strap comes in handy. Mostly useful when standing. Too many ukulele folks are snarky against those who use straps, even to the point of offering to teach them how to properly hold the ukulele without using it. To them, squeezing the ukulele body against their chest is superior. But if the top is responsible for moving and producing the main portion of sound, as I'm frequently told, then it should be free to vibrate and not hindered from producing sound waves. Maybe. But all the reasons you mentioned are right on.

    I'm still strapless though with my Flea, soprano ukulele. It's my beach Ukulele, that I purchased for its water resistant materials. It still sounds pretty good, and almost competitive with my Mainland Red Cedar tenor. But I don't worry with it, it's meant to be specific purposed. It's purpose driven, LOL. ��
    You have a cedar? That's on my list. I like my cheap baritone, but see that I would really like a quality baritone. I've been looking at cedar and redwood baritones. Of course, not for now because those are going to run quite a bit.

    I forgot to mention another thing I like about straps: consistency. I have my strap adjusted to a level so that whether I stand or sit down the ukulele sits in the same place on my chest. This way I can play better.

  5. #45

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    Continued playing around in Bb. I realized why I never play in Bb. I have a chord wheel. It is a circle of fifths with a lot of other useful info. It has a dial you turn. If you picture a clock C is at the top at the 12 o'clock position and Bb is around the 10 or 11. I naturally move in a clockwise direction and therefore I never play Bb because of its position.

  6. #46

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    I became totally sidetracked today with something that I had to resolve. I don't want to appear pompous but I don't especially like playing songs. Other people do it better and that's what my cd player is for. For me studying music is very much an intellectual pastime like philosophy or something. I remember being struck by this at a much younger age. I was impressed by the mathematics of music. It seemed like if someone intimately knew their scales, they would know the next note before it was played. I mean, for example, if someone plays an E there are only so many possibilities of what's coming up. There might be 50 options, and that's a lot, but it is finite. I guess I was reading too much Plato and thinking about the music of the spheres, or something.

    Anyway, I ran across an intellectual issue that I had to look into. This will sound stupid, but I didn't realize the ukulele had variations of the blues scale. In retrospect, it is elementary; the blues scale is the blues scale regardless of the instrument. I had of course seen on youtube videos entitled "Learn the 5 pentatonic shapes" but those were guitar videos. I must have dismissed them because they weren't my instrument.

    However, yesterday it just kind of dawned upon me that we must also have the same thing in ukulele-land. Sure enough, we have the five shapes. I had been blithely playing the first shape exclusively thinking that I was on the road to being a proficient blues player.

    I immediately saw the advantage of these shapes. If you can stitch them together using the tonic note as the unifying thread, you have instant blues solos.

    So far, so good. Here's where the problem arises. Even though none of the sources specified this I could see that the five pentatonic shapes were modes.

    shape 1 was like the Ionic mode starting on the tonic note of the key
    shape 2 was like the Dorian mode starting on the supertonic

    you see the pattern: shape 3 is like the Phygian

    and here's the problem, shape 4 should have been a Lydian mode starting on the subdominant note but it is a mixolydian starting on the dominant. Then shape 5 follows suit by looking like an Aeolian mode starting on the submediant.

    What happened to the poor Lydian mode? Why aren't there 6 shapes instead of only 5?

    I constructed my own Lydian shape and it sounds good. On a re-entrant tuned ukulele, it goes like this: pick a fret. On the C string play notes with the index, then the middle. Go to the E string and play index and ring finger (that's the tonic). Move to the A string and play index, ring, pinky.

    It wasn't that hard to come up with this. Why doesn't this exist? I know there has to be a reason other than that I am just a musical genius and saw something that has escaped the attention of others for millennia. I admit the fingering on the C string is different from the other shapes. Is that reason enough to exclude it? Or maybe it doesn't sound bluesy enough or that it just doesn't mesh well with the other shapes.
    Last edited by ripock; 03-30-2017 at 11:59 AM.

  7. #47

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    The random key of the week is F#. I had to actually think about what the IV and V of F# are. Glancing at my Chord Wheel, it suggests substituting a maj7 for the I, an add6 for the IV, and a add9 for the V. I'll give that a try.

    I'm not going to randomize a scale or a voicing this week. I am still very much obsessed with my pentatonic shapes. I am going to follow up on that.

    In my effort to be more mindful of the fretboard, let me say that the F# blues scale is: F# A B C C# E F#. Regarding my roots, there's one at G11 (11th fret of G string), C6, C18, E2, E14, A9.

  8. #48

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    Today, April 3, I finally freed my kamaka by getting down to 175 lbs. I'll be playing that later tonight. In other ukulele news, I got tired of the buzzing of my D string on the baritone so I bought a set of classical guitar strings and settled on using the G string as my ukulele's D string. I initially tried the wound E string but it was an octave lower than my other strings and when I tightened it up an octave it snapped.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    As above...
    Posts
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    Empathetic.
    "Outside of a book, a dog is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read".

    Groucho Marx


    Lohanu concert uke
    Lohanu tenor uke
    Kala KA-SRMT Tri Special Edition tenor - AWESOME !!
    Kanile'a K2T (because I DESERVE it, that's why)
    Kanile'a Islander MT-4 because there's no cure for UAS

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    As above...
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rrgramps View Post
    That was a really good post on why a strap comes in handy. Mostly useful when standing. Too many ukulele folks are snarky against those who use straps, even to the point of offering to teach them how to properly hold the ukulele without using it. To them, squeezing the ukulele body against their chest is superior. But if the top is responsible for moving and producing the main portion of sound, as I'm frequently told, then it should be free to vibrate and not hindered from producing sound waves. Maybe. But all the reasons you mentioned are right on.

    I'm still strapless though with my Flea, soprano ukulele. It's my beach Ukulele, that I purchased for its water resistant materials. It still sounds pretty good, and almost competitive with my Mainland Red Cedar tenor. But I don't worry with it, it's meant to be specific purposed. It's purpose driven, LOL. ��
    My GF goes strapless, and she's got Flukes.
    "Outside of a book, a dog is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read".

    Groucho Marx


    Lohanu concert uke
    Lohanu tenor uke
    Kala KA-SRMT Tri Special Edition tenor - AWESOME !!
    Kanile'a K2T (because I DESERVE it, that's why)
    Kanile'a Islander MT-4 because there's no cure for UAS

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