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Thread: My Stringed Instrument Adventure (long post)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    7

    Default My Stringed Instrument Adventure (long post)

    Hello Ukulele Underground,

    This is my first post here. I have been lurking and just wanted to say how helpful this forum is to a complete ukulele neophyte and share my progress.

    I had previously tried to learn, at different times in my life, how to play trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and keyboard but none of those stuck. Never tried to play strings before though.

    My stringed instrument adventure started around six months ago:

    (April) Bought an acoustic guitar (steel string dreadnought) and was progressing slowly. Had difficulty holding chords on the narrow neck.

    (May) Hey! This cheap baritone ukulele looks cool and I can practice in DGBE to get better for the guitar.

    (May) Those online ukulele tutorials sure look fun and with lots of my kind of music. The people on the ukulele forums seem nice too. Aloha spirit.

    (June) Tried low G (GCEA) Living Water baritone strings but did not like the G booming over every strum. Switched the low G string to a high E string from the Living Water low D (DGBE) set and tuned it to high G. Essentially it is the same setup as the Living Water low G (gCEA) tenor ukulele strings:

    1 = 0.57mm, 2 = 0.66mm, 3 = 0.74mm, 4 = 0.62mm

    Now I finally had a Hawaiian like (re-entrant) ukulele sound. The string tension is tighter than before but I like the sound.

    My first ukulele was the ubiquitous Rogue Baritone RU20 and I like it a lot. I added fret side markers and two guitar strap buttons.

    (July) Purchased a BugsGear Concert (Similar to Eddy Finn Beachmaster) plastic ukulele to travel and practice outdoors (early onset UAS). I put some Martin M600 strings on it. This concert size is nice and it sounds loud and clear with the side sound port. I can hold it and strum it without a strap like a ‘real’ ukulele player.

    All right, let us learn some first position chord songs. C – cool!, F alright!, G – plink!, G – miss!, G - , okay lets learn some songs without the G chord. Not really, I continued to practice the G chord and could land it reasonably well when I was looking at the fret board. However, by now I could play many other chords without looking and started learning strum patterns.

    (August) The BugsGear Concert is my main instrument and I practice every day. Wearing down the plastic frets. Learned a few songs but still cannot land the G chord consistently without looking, aargh! Seems like everyone on YouTube uses the three-finger G chord. Searching on the Ukulele Underground forum and found some references to using a partial barre chord for G. Using only two fingers for the G chord (0232) has unlocked it for me. Now I can hit the G chord at will and on time! I can actually make music now, and play some whole songs without looking! Also fun practicing while watching TV since I do not have to look down for every G chord. Thanks Ukulele Underground!

    (September) The Baritone is back to its native low DGBE with Living waters strings. I tend to use the GCEA chords and play in the wrong key to get a feel for the larger scale, because ...

    (September) Ordered an Outdoor Ukulele Green Tenor with two strap buttons. Waiting for it to ship. Thanks Ukulele Underground!

    -dgame

    PS: The acoustic guitar named Pearl; the baritone ukulele named Ruby; and the concert ukulele named Citrine. Waiting for Jade to join the family.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bowral NSW AUSTRALIA
    Posts
    6,902

    Default

    Welcome to UU dgame
    All the best,
    Campbell

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Welcome dgame!

    Hearing about others discovering the joys of music brings a tear to my eye. May your adventure continue for many happy years!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    4,109

    Default

    Welcome aboard.

    I had a similar musical past, but found the uke let me learn to play a musical instrument, & it's fun.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks for the welcome everyone,

    Jade, my Outdoor Ukulele Tenor Green Nickel, arrived last night and she is a beauty! Sounds nice too. The wider neck is a perfect fit for my hand. The only thing is that I miss are the side fret markers and the side sound port like on Citrine, my BugsGear Concert.

    Citrine is significantly louder than Jade. If I cover the side sound port on Citrine they sound about the same volume. I am thinking about using a step-bit and adding a side sound port about 1.25 inch in diameter. The main sound hole is about 2.5 inch in diameter so I guess half of that should be good enough for the side.

    Adding the side fret markers are easy. I’ll make little dimples on the side of the neck at 5,7,10,12 with just the tip of the step-bit and fill it with white nail polish and let it dry.

    -dgame

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,596

    Default

    Welcome dgame! I have the bottle brown Outdoor Ukulele tenor and also missed the side fret markers. I cut down some heart stickers from Dollar Tree and they are still going strong as fret markers for over two years.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    - Laura

    Sopranino - Vintage 1930's Camp Uke (Birch)
    Soprano - Koaloha Opio (Sapele), Martin OXK (HPL), Brueko No. 2 (Maple), Kala ASOV -S (Spruce/Ovangkol), Vintage 40's Silvertone (Mahogany), Vintage 50's Harmony (Birch), Zither Heaven (1 Black Walnut & 1 Cherry), First Act Discovery (Plastic)
    Concert - Luna (Spruce top)
    Tenor - Outdoor Ukulele (Composite Polycarbonate), Mainland (Mahogany)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks Laura,

    Those stickers look good. I originally was set on getting the brown Tenor, but at the last minute I chose green. Figured a green ukulele would look cool at St. Patrick's day, Christmas, Reggae/Island fêtes, the beach, camping, etc. Well it looks cool everywhere, but those are the highlights. Will probably get a brown one next if my 'customization' goes awry.

    -dgame

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,596

    Default

    I was torn between brown and green. Green and white are our school colors. Guess I will have to get a green soprano OU
    - Laura

    Sopranino - Vintage 1930's Camp Uke (Birch)
    Soprano - Koaloha Opio (Sapele), Martin OXK (HPL), Brueko No. 2 (Maple), Kala ASOV -S (Spruce/Ovangkol), Vintage 40's Silvertone (Mahogany), Vintage 50's Harmony (Birch), Zither Heaven (1 Black Walnut & 1 Cherry), First Act Discovery (Plastic)
    Concert - Luna (Spruce top)
    Tenor - Outdoor Ukulele (Composite Polycarbonate), Mainland (Mahogany)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Go Green

    I am no longer adding a side port to Jade. As Percy Sledge famously sang I decided to “take time to know her.” So no cutting and no side fret markers yet. So far so good. I am getting used to the sound. I remember when I wanted Citrine to be quieter so I am no longer obsessing over the volume. They are different and both sound good.

    Since I got it with two strap buttons I use the Uke Loop strap. The Uke Loop strap is very nice. I never used the Uke Loop mounting bracket and karabiner because they both are metal and constantly make annoying meta-on-metal clank noise when they touch. Nice strap though.

    When I practice with the strap I can tip the ukulele back slightly allowing me to see the front fret markers from the top without craning my neck. Practice is going well and I spend most nights strumming away before I turn in.

    One ‘customization’ I did do was remove the stickers from the headstock and the sound hole. I like the clean look, which is another reason I did not add side fret markers.

    Jade_Outdoor_Ukulele_Tenor_Green_No_Logo.jpg

    -dgame

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    214

    Default

    dgame,

    I came to strings after a few decades of other kinds of instruments. My hint is to stay loose and take things as they come. Ukuleles are very laid back and that can be very frustrating and confusing to someone who is used to definitive instruction. However, if you just do what you're told and don't ask questions...everything will work out fine. I like to think of my ukulele instruction as my old teachers throwing away the Suzuki method workbooks after three bongs and two bags of cheetos.

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