View Full Version : Playing with a Rock Band

03-01-2009, 06:54 PM
I play weekly with a band composed of drums, electric guitar, base guitar, and vocals. Now that I've picked up ukulele, I've wanted to integrate the instrument into our sound.

However when I pick, I normally sound like tinkling chimes among booming symbols and when I strum, I sound redundant off of the leading guitar.

Does anyone have any advice of how a soprano ukulele can integrate with a rock band?

Alternatively, does anyone have any videos of people who have done so successfully that I could watch?

Aldrine Guerrero
03-01-2009, 09:57 PM
You could try experimenting with pedals to give it a rock sound.
Watch Jason Arimoto, he's a pretty bad ass rock/jazz uke player

Ukulele JJ
03-02-2009, 02:31 AM
when I strum, I sound redundant off of the leading guitar.

Then you might need to change what the electric guitar is playing.

I'd look at bands that have both an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar, and use that as a model. The acoustic instrument usually provides the "cake", and the electric adds the "icing". You can't have two cakes and no icing.

Mmmm... cake. :D


03-17-2009, 10:08 AM
I played the intro to Valerie by The Zutons solo, the other guys, 2 electric guitars and a mad drummer played the song with me backing on vocals and because they like me they let me play a solo over a bass guitar half way through. It went really well. I play a cheap Mahalo Ukulele (bright yellow) with really nice Worth flurocarbon strings and a clip on pick up. We are called 'Uncle Reg and the Detractors' average age about 100 and playing everything that floats the boat.

03-17-2009, 10:38 AM
I am not an expert as far as playing with other people, but from what I can tell in the audience, if you can't hear a band member it's because they are usually playing in the same range as another instrument.

You see this at a lot of (punk rock) shows where you can (thankfully) never hear the singer, because the guitarist is playing the same pitches...

Probably not the case with uke, but if you're both playing rhythm and also playing the same chord inversions that might be a problem.

I'm not sure what kind of music you're playing, but you probably need to be adding some kind of counterpoint to be heard.

Emphasizing a different beat, try a different chord inversion, play rhythm when the guitar plays lead and vice versa, changing the timbre of the guitar or uke with an effect, guitar player doesn't play "up the neck" when you're playing open chords on the uke...

03-17-2009, 01:56 PM
Thank you to each of you.

Aldrine Guerrero: That is an amazing video. I only wish I had the money and the guts to create a ukulele with a plug and foot petal.

Ukulele JJ: Good thoughts. I'll have to see if he's up to that ever. Perhaps we'll have to craft a song that's intended for the ukulele.

toubisard: Did you play during the rest of the song as well (when you weren't soloing)? If so, what were you doing most of the time?

PoisonDart: That makes sense. I'll have to start practicing my chord inversions and communicating more with the guitarist about creating a synthesized, complementary rhythm.

I'll keep you updated on what ends up working. I might get an opportunity to try out some of these ideas this weekend.
Thank you again!

03-18-2009, 11:45 AM
It worked well for me. When I wasn't solo I sang and played along. The ukulele got drowned out but I played to stay in rhythm. As I said before the guys I play with let me solo. It's my part, we all get to solo from time to time and that way we don't compete on volume but with some nice little style that might have come through in a practice session. In the case of Valerie it was the mad drummer who said, 'why don't we open with the Ukulele'. The rest of the guys agreed.

03-20-2009, 09:51 PM
put it into overdrive