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Thread: Bluegrass Ukulele

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    What do you mean by "playing bluegrass"? Are we talking playing bluegrass songs in the basement, showing up at a bluegrass shindig with a ukulele, or playing in a bluegrass band? I mean, you can play anything on a ukulele, but bluegrass music itself is pretty much defined by the instruments. In my own experience I've found that it is very difficult to fit into bluegrass music with a ukulele. There just isn't a ukulele part. Not saying it can't be done, because as sure as I say this someone is going to post a video of somebody playing a ukulele in a bluegrass band, but I've not found it to be the norm. There is a combination bluegrass/ukulele festival in Minneapolis next month, but the two don't mix .
    I agree with you. I knew Bill Monroe, and am an avid Bluegrass fan, but am by no means an expert. I was never a good enough musician to keep up with my Bluegrass pickin' friends.

    " if the instrument wasn't in Bill Monroe's band, they don't want to include it. "

    Not quite true. Bill's original band had an accordion in it. When Bill saw Flatt And Scruggs perform with a Dobro (by Josh Graves), he said "That ain't no part of Bluegrass." Guess which instrument stuck.

    While mimicking Bluegrass on a uke is fun, "It ain't no part of a Bluegrass band." IMHO.
    Do we consider the uke a jazz, rock, symphony, blues instrument? No, but by the gods, we still do it!
    Last edited by Nickie; 10-12-2017 at 04:18 PM. Reason: left stuff out
    "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.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    I agree with you. I knew Bill Monroe, and am an avid Bluegrass fan, but am by no means an expert. I was never a good enough musician to keep up with my Bluegrass pickin' friends.

    " if the instrument wasn't in Bill Monroe's band, they don't want to include it. "

    Not quite true. Bill's original band had an accordion in it. When Bill saw Flatt And Scruggs perform with a Dobro (by Josh Graves), he said "That ain't no part of Bluegrass." Guess which instrument stuck.

    While mimicking Bluegrass on a uke is fun, "It ain't no part of a Bluegrass band." IMHO.
    Do we consider the uke a jazz, rock, symphony, blues instrument? No, but by the gods, we still do it!
    Surely we can play any style of music we choose on the ukulele, there are no rules............or are there?
    All the best,
    Campbell

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-Time-Twanger View Post
    Anyone here ever play bluegrass on a ukulele? What techniques have you found most useful?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    You can buy the sheet music or pick up a tune by ear and then play it on your ukulele. There are very few tunes that this approach wont work with. But some genres have their foibles and their followers.
    The Bluegrass Genre is mostly about covering tunes by the Bluegrass Boys Band and the offshoots of the band. If you want to enjoy the genre, you really need to learn about the genre and understand why Bill Monroe selected the instruments and what he was about. It is a lot more than just finger picking banjos and mandolins and fiddle music. This is the case for most enduring genres of music, you need to understand what Bach and Beethoven and Lennon and Richards and Garcia were about to get the most enjoyment out of the music. You are not doing a lot by buying a ukulele and learning to play a few tunes by rote, thats a good starting 3 months, but you need to do more than that to get the most out of the music.
    It just bewilders me to see ukulele players that don't understand that people who go to Genre festivals want to have their genre, they pay a lot of money and do a lot of work to get to the event so they can immerse themselves in the culture of the genre for a few days before going back to the daily grind. If you truly believe in Aloha and stuff and the genre does not include ukuleles, why do want to go and annoy the people at the festival? If you want to get into a genre which does not include ukuleles, and you only have a uke now, use your uke to study the music in the genre and work up to buying the right instrument for the genre so you can join in. You can buy sets of soprano ukulele strings to tune in fifths, which will lead you into playing a mandolin and other bluegrass instrument.
    The OP question is not about festivals though, it is about techniques to arrange and play the Bluegrass style music on your ukulele, moving on past the authenticity issue, and the left out feelings, you can play the music on your ukulele. There are some books which have been listed, and you can access resources like "16 Gems". This is a free book on Google Books which has 16 great Bill Monroe tunes. You can also find videos and recording of the 16 tunes by Bill Monroe and his band The Bluegrass Boys. So a technique is to access the written, audio and visual material and use it to make your own ukulele arrangement. This approach will work for most old music which has videos, recordings and written formats to study.
    The original post listed above, simply asked if "Anyone here ever play bluegrass on a ukulele? What techniques have you found most useful?" Why do we have to waffle on about all this other stuff?
    All the best,
    Campbell

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camsuke View Post
    The original post listed above, simply asked if "Anyone here ever play bluegrass on a ukulele? What techniques have you found most useful?" Why do we have to waffle on about all this other stuff?
    Because it is something to talk about.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LEY9E_W5sw

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    Because it is something to talk about.
    :
    All the best,
    Campbell

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camsuke View Post
    Surely we can play any style of music we choose on the ukulele, there are no rules............or are there?
    Campbell,
    I only have one rule, when it comes to playing. Wash your hands before playing. Food and skin oils mess up frets and strings. Especially chocolate cake.
    I have no problem with folks playing Bluegrass on a uke, but it will never be accepted as a Bluegrass instrument. Just as drums and pedal steel guitars won't.
    If anyone comes up with an audio or video of themselves playing Bluegrass style, I'd LOVE to hear it.
    "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.

  7. #27
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    Aaron has a series, so does Ken Middleton, so does Fred Sokolow, and there are many others on YT.
    All the best,
    Campbell

  8. #28
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    This guy also plays a bit of Bluegrass.
    All the best,
    Campbell

  9. #29
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    All the best,
    Campbell

  10. #30
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    Thanks Campbell,
    I really liked what Kris did. I could barely tell what most of Jake's rendition was.
    Aaron and Fred are both coming to TBUG in just 3 weeks, maybe they'll show us some of this stuff.
    I kinda grew up with Bluegrass, went to Nashville and Bean Blossom all the time. I was always very disappointed that I could not learn to play it on guitar, mandolin, or fiddle.
    Maybe I can satisfy my poor ego by learning to play the simpler tunes on my uke and banjouke.
    "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.

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