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Rllink
01-28-2015, 07:44 AM
There is no doubt that UU is filled with very knowledgeable ukulele players who share their expertise freely, even at times they are not asked to do so. There is a lot to learn here. And one thing I have noticed is that much of that knowledge is common and accepted knowledge. I hear much the same thing in many instances, with only the presentation varying the responses. But does anyone ever think about breaking out? Does anyone try to find something, new, something unique, a style all their own? Maybe a finger picking style or their own unique strumming style, which after they become famous for it, their name will be attached and they will go down in ukulele history as a legend? I do all the time. I mean, I do the weirdest things trying to find that unique Rllink strum, chord progression, finger picking style, genre, way of holding the uke, that I will be remembered for. I just haven't found it yet.

ukemunga
01-28-2015, 08:04 AM
Kinda like this maybe?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6yflfPAr_E

Or this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyn8deE1zU

spookelele
01-28-2015, 08:41 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RylxBtEM0sI

PhilUSAFRet
01-28-2015, 09:04 AM
The only strumming patterns I have ever studied was Iz' and George Formby's, otherwise, I just do what feels and sounds right for the song, using a drum or bass beat as a guide for my strumming, except when I'm playing with a group where everyone just strums down up, down up, etc. ad nauseum.

Lalz
01-28-2015, 09:05 AM
Does anyone try to find something, new, something unique, a style all their own? Maybe a finger picking style or their own unique strumming style, which after they become famous for it, their name will be attached and they will go down in ukulele history as a legend?

I wish! But I'm not good enough (yet... ever?), haha.
My ambition though is to be able to translate playing techniques from certain West African string instruments to the uke. Come back and ask me about it in 15-20 years when I've perhaps gone somewhere with it ;)

ichadwick
01-28-2015, 09:06 AM
Yeah. I get it all the time in the ukulele group.

"Don't do that Chadwick thing. You know, that thing he does with his fingers. Doesn't sound right."

;-)

janeray1940
01-28-2015, 09:08 AM
I don't know about having a style all my own yet, but I do know that I've never consciously had any desire to learn someone else's style. I wouldn't know what an Iz strum or a Formby strum or a James Hill trick or a Jake technique was if my life depended on it!

I do know that the one thing I'm known for among my real-life uke comrades is my slightly unorthodox left-hand fingering. I do some crazy contorted stuff in an attempt to reach farther than my little hands allow. One person told me my left hand looks like a spider when I play... maybe I should start saying my technique is Spider Style? :)

DownUpDave
01-28-2015, 09:13 AM
I harbour delusions of mediocrity with small stretches of competency. If I look unique or weird in the process so be it. :nana:

Rllink
01-28-2015, 10:08 AM
Kinda like this maybe?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6yflfPAr_E

Or this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyn8deE1zUWell, yes and no. It appears to me that those two are unique, at least to me they are. While their styles are unique, now it is their style, not mine, or anyone else's. So good for them, and learning their styles may lead you to your own, but if you can post it, it has already been done. So unless you are one of those two, are you saying that your short answer is no?

Jon Moody
01-28-2015, 10:19 AM
I love learning all sorts of different technique, that were championed by different people. But I never worry about intentionally coming up with some sort of technique that people will associate with me. I just try to learn and play the best that I can, every time.

Rllink
01-28-2015, 10:22 AM
I love learning all sorts of different technique, that were championed by different people. But I never worry about intentionally coming up with some sort of technique that people will associate with me. I just try to learn and play the best that I can, every time.

Well, trust me, I'm a long way from being unique. I'm still struggling to just play songs, but that doesn't stop me from aiming for it.

spookelele
01-28-2015, 10:25 AM
So unless you are one of those two, your short answer is no?

Well.. to be fair, the question you actually asked was answered appropriately.

If your question is "Do you have a style you'll be remembered for? and if so please share it" you'd have gotten a different response.

My style is casual slop. Often imitated, never duplicated. :D I got a looper for christmas.. boy is that a humbling experience.

Rllink
01-28-2015, 10:31 AM
Well.. to be fair, the question you actually asked was answered appropriately.

If your question is "Do you have a style you'll be remembered for? and if so please share it" you'd have gotten a different response.

My style is casual slop. Often imitated, never duplicated. :D I got a looper for christmas.. boy is that a humbling experience.
Ok, you win.

tangimango
01-28-2015, 11:01 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slM194PVyYM

Pueo
01-28-2015, 11:10 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RylxBtEM0sI

This was the FIRST thing I thought of after reading the original post!

Rllink
01-28-2015, 11:11 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slM194PVyYMHe is very good, isn't he? His style reminds me a lot of Jake. Lots of great players out there. Lots of inspiration.

Pueo
01-28-2015, 11:11 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slM194PVyYM

That was really nice. I would love to get some golpe-type stuff going on. Sometimes my index finger hits the neck while I am strumming and it kind of sounds like I am doing it on purpose, so I just roll with it.

spookelele
01-28-2015, 11:23 AM
[This was the FIRST thing I thought of after reading the original post!

Ah! Great minds must think alike.. even in a thread about thinking different. :D

Hippie Dribble
01-28-2015, 11:26 AM
I think the most likely way that could ever happen is if you begin in a vacuum, and teach yourself from the get-go. There's a real sense of liberation in taking that path, and no pressure about trying to replicate something or some style that is already being utilised. I taught myself everything I do and don't know and while my style is probably not particularly unique nor will be remembered generations from now, it's mine and that is satisfying in itself.

Papa Tom
01-28-2015, 11:33 AM
I don't expect to be "remembered" for my ukulele playing, but as a lifelong drummer with a knack for developing interesting rhythms, I think I have a unique style of attacking the uke with fingertips, knuckles, the palm of my hand, etc. I didn't even realize it until a very accomplished guitar player friend of mine started asking me to show him how to do certain "tricks" on the frets.

The most accomplished, best-remembered players probably never consciously worked on their strums or their general approach to the instrument. It likely just happened. That's why they are famous, and that's why so many find it so hard to recreate what guys like Formby did.

Rllink
01-28-2015, 11:49 AM
When I listen to some (many) uke players, I'm tempted to do innovative things with a blowtorch. Does that qualify?How did you decide on a blowtorch, and what did you expect the results to be?

Rllink
01-28-2015, 11:57 AM
When I listen to some (many) uke players, I'm tempted to do innovative things with a blowtorch. Does that qualify?

In reading this, I first flashed to Martin Mull playing slide ukulele with a baby bottle (I think it was).

Creativity is largely just a recombination of old ideas (techniques, styles, harmonies, thoughts) in a novel way. Nothing comes out of a vacuum, and what is perceived as new, upon examination, can usually be seen as derivative—it's just that no one famous ever capitalized on it before.I'm really interested in what Hippie Dribble and Papa Tom are talking about. How they came about their style. Papa Tom says that it came from his drumming background, Hippie dribble from teaching himself without outside influences. That makes me think.

CeeJay
01-28-2015, 12:20 PM
Well, yes and no. It appears to me that those two are unique, at least to me they are. While their styles are unique, now it is their style, not mine, or anyone else's. So good for them, and learning their styles may lead you to your own, but if you can post it, it has already been done. So unless you are one of those two, are you saying that your short answer is no?


No, sorry ..I think Eddie Van Halen was doing what Zara does ..tapping and hammering on and pulling off in the 80s...he used a big ukulele...and had an extra 2 strings as well.......

The cabin guy ...much the same ...but at least it is acoustic ....don't get me wrong they are both verryyyy goood...but Zahras version of something to do with bells (can anyone else hear the Christmas Carol Come Hear the Bells ...?? ) is not original or unique.....and frankly palls after a few minutes ...you feel like saying ...yeah ..now play a tune I know...I discussed this with Matt from Omega Music in Brampton (Cumbria UK ..not the imitation )and he said the same as me....:old::music:;)



Right ...I'm a hater. could I do better ?..why don't I fusticulating well fudge off and do one ...yes I know....I've just been watching Top Gear so I'm all Jeremy Clarksonned Up.......
:o

spookelele
01-28-2015, 01:14 PM
No, sorry ..I think Eddie Van Halen was doing what Zara does ..tapping and hammering on and pulling off in the 80s...

Try 1965


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7M8L1rAUsI

But a technique is not a style in itself.
What italian guy did in 1965 is not eruption, and eruption is not what zara does.

Fred Ukestone
01-28-2015, 01:16 PM
I think the most likely way that could ever happen is if you begin in a vacuum, and teach yourself from the get-go. There's a real sense of liberation in taking that path, and no pressure about trying to replicate something or some style that is already being utilised. I taught myself everything I do and don't know and while my style is probably not particularly unique nor will be remembered generations from now, it's mine and that is satisfying in itself.

Well said!

We need more Dribble and less intellectualization of the ukulele. Just play the bloody thing and stop talking about it!
I have worked in the arts for 30 years and I have noticed that very often the most creative people are those who have had the least amount of formal, 'structured' education.

PeteyHoudini
01-28-2015, 01:20 PM
Never saw Zahra before but she was great. Though, if I didn't have any visuals and only audio, I would not be sure what instrument she was playing. A ukulele wouldn't spring to mind. She seems to use a different tuning, possibly pedals, and a low 4th string. She wears those damping wrist protectors as well.

I prefer this one of Zahra's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chp5hqmU3vk

The walking fingers on the 3rd and 4th strings remind me of that virtuoso Italian guitar player from 1965!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7M8L1rAUsI

I heard somewhere that tapping techniques were used on violins way back. Though, Roy Smeck does it in one of his uke videos for a few seconds.

The guy in the cabin had a nice technique mixed with tapping. I'd like to see it in a song with singing and mashed up.

Petey

peewee
01-28-2015, 01:32 PM
Try 1965



But a technique is not a style in itself.
What italian guy did in 1965 is not eruption, and eruption is not what zara does.

Try early 1930s:
http://youtu.be/RcQYt7xvA8M

http://youtu.be/RcQYt7xvA8M

stevepetergal
01-28-2015, 01:32 PM
I have a thing I do that no one else does. At least if they try, they always fall short.

I play using no talent or skills whatsoever.

(I could do it with my feet.)

stevepetergal
01-28-2015, 01:34 PM
"Do you ever think?"

Actually, that's the one thing I never do.

Never.

Nickie
01-28-2015, 01:44 PM
Most of the time I revert to the mundane practice of mimicking other (better) players. I see a lot of players around here just doing up down up down....YAWN.
I "create" my own strum according to how the song "feels" to me. I haven't learned enough yet to create picking patterns.
But I AM trying to learn to play the uke with a hairbrush....

PeteyHoudini
01-28-2015, 01:53 PM
But I AM trying to learn to play the uke with a hairbrush....

Great idea! hehe

Petey

spookelele
01-28-2015, 02:03 PM
Try early 1930s:

Awesome!

So.. that does seem to illustrate something.

The OP asked does anyone innovate a style they're recognized with.

Someone pointed out VanHalen's tapping.
And yet, what he's recognized for happened in the 30's, and the 60's before his time in the 80s.

Someone pointed out Iz's strum.
Iz's strum ala Somewhere Over the Rainbow is his style. If you learned it ddudu, and played along, you felt there was something missing even if you didn't understand what it was, and yet, the ghost/chunk wasn't invented by him, but that strum is his.

Apple didn't invent the mouse/gui computer, Xerox did.
They didn't invent the iPod, Ken Kramer did.
And yet they will be remembered for those things.

Maybe it's not if you innovate something, but how you elevate it, that makes it "yours"

tangimango
01-28-2015, 02:22 PM
yeah if you watch his other videos, just amazing how he can play and add a beat with his palm .knuckle or what ever he does I want to know. on top of strumming the song.


That was really nice. I would love to get some golpe-type stuff going on. Sometimes my index finger hits the neck while I am strumming and it kind of sounds like I am doing it on purpose, so I just roll with it.

tangimango
01-28-2015, 02:23 PM
not bad for a kala laminate.


He is very good, isn't he? His style reminds me a lot of Jake. Lots of great players out there. Lots of inspiration.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
01-28-2015, 02:47 PM
I think too much. For me, there are no unique musical styles. Players learn to play by listening to, playing with, and even formally studying the work of other musicians. I think that each of us has her or his own unique style---an every-changing combination of one's influences, ideas, intuition and, most importantly, one's personality.

The musicians that I like best are neither the most original nor the best technical players---they're the people whose music touches me. That depends on our personalities being compatible in somehow.

When I play music, I just do my best to show listeners my personality---my influences, my ideas, my intuition, my mood, how my body feels after my most recent meal, etc. are all part of it. When I sound good to someone, it's usually because my feelings are coming across to her or him.

kohanmike
01-28-2015, 02:48 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slM194PVyYM

Please everyone, don't hold your phone upright when you shoot a video, always, ALWAYS turn it sideways so that when playing back on a TV or computer screen it fills the screen. PLEASE!!!

The style that Zahra does was done by Stanley Clark on jazz guitar years ago.

ScooterD35
01-28-2015, 03:41 PM
“Ideally, I would just like to disappear gracefully and not leave behind any legacy to hang people up. I don’t want people agonizing over who or what I was when I was here when I’m not here anymore. I would like to be thought of as a competent musician. That would be good. I’d like that."

~Jerry Garcia~



Scooter

CeeJay
01-28-2015, 04:53 PM
"Do you ever think?"

Actually, that's the one thing I never do.

Never.

Yeah....and me......*sigh*

Wicked
01-28-2015, 06:51 PM
I think that I can safely say that I have a style that is fairly unique to me, but I don't think about it enough to be able to break it down into individual techniques, and I certainly could not teach it... plus, style is more than just technique. Rhythm and phrasing (and a bunch of other junk) play key roles in defining someone's style.

The fact is, we all start out emulating other players - but at some point, your own style will emerge (if you let it).

drbekken
01-28-2015, 10:21 PM
I just play.

Phluffy the Destroyer
01-28-2015, 10:33 PM
I can honestly say I have some original, difficult to duplicate arrangements. However, I don't see myself having enough polish to be some kind of ukulele role model anytime soon.

Truth be told; I would probably find it extremely annoying...

meseek
01-28-2015, 11:47 PM
I love learning all technique.:)

Jon Moody
01-29-2015, 02:39 AM
Well, trust me, I'm a long way from being unique. I'm still struggling to just play songs, but that doesn't stop me from aiming for it.

A word of caution on this, and I offer it as a humble suggestion. I can't tell you how many times I've played with musicians or been in bands where being "unique" and "remembered for being innovative" have hindered or cut short their progress. Or in the case of the band, we spent more time talking about what we'd do when we got famous instead of focusing on putting in the work.

It's great to have goals. But don't focus so much on those (in this case, having an innovative style or technique that people will associate with you and remember you for) that you completely forget to learn the skills that get you there.

Rllink
01-29-2015, 04:00 AM
A word of caution on this, and I offer it as a humble suggestion. I can't tell you how many times I've played with musicians or been in bands where being "unique" and "remembered for being innovative" have hindered or cut short their progress. Or in the case of the band, we spent more time talking about what we'd do when we got famous instead of focusing on putting in the work.

It's great to have goals. But don't focus so much on those (in this case, having an innovative style or technique that people will associate with you and remember you for) that you completely forget to learn the skills that get you there.
Good advise, and I also wonder, after reading some of the responses, if there is anything that hasn't been done before. As I watch these videos, I want to ask them, how did you stumble on to that, just to find out that they didn't, that someone else was doing it before. And that in turn, makes me wonder who was doing it before that? Then you have to think that if you come up with something all on your own, did someone else make the same journey at one time or another?

spookelele
01-29-2015, 05:10 AM
yeah if you watch his other videos, just amazing how he can play and add a beat with his palm .knuckle or what ever he does I want to know. on top of strumming the song.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF5HsIpH5qY

Maybe check out James Hill's Billy Jean. He breaks down the percussive stuff slow so it's easier to understand.

SteveZ
01-29-2015, 05:35 AM
Very interesting responses so far....

I don't try to imitate anyone's playing style, but I have tried to reproduce sounds I have heard that I found pleasing. As an example: a couple months ago I attended a concert by an "Eagles tribute" traveling group. The lead singer also played 12-string guitar and gave a haunting rendition of "Hotel California" with the 12-string as dominant instrument. It got me to get an 8-string tenor uke (tuned CGDA) and experiment with it to capture the essence of the guitarist's sound. That has led to a lot of fun with the 8-string and playing classic R&R (and some folk) with it. It has also led to adapting instruments to me and my abilities rather than the other way around.

While there's nothing wrong with trying to mimic the performing styles of noted musicians, there is also nothing wrong with being one's own self. After all, that noted musician with the famous style got that famous style by being him/herself as opposed to being a self-made close of someone else, and that uniqueness is what others now want to copy.

I play for my enjoyment and not others' critique of what I play or how "traditional" I am. Old Bill had it right with "to thine own self be true." Who knows? Your's may be the next copied style!

Manalishi
01-29-2015, 07:12 AM
I remember way back as a guitarist, I showed the guys in the band
I was with, an arrangement I had worked out for a particular song,
and was told (By the one member of the band who could sight read
music,and understand ALL musical theory) 'But you can't play it like
that,it's WRONG!'
Well the rest of us liked what I had worked out so we played it that
way for a few years. The audiences liked it,we liked it,and our one
disgruntled musical tech had to lump it.
I learned a valuable lesson. Learning musical theory,technique and
correct procedures,is no bad thing...BUT..it ain't cast in stone! If
something works FOR YOU and it sounds okay, stick with it, where's
the harm?

janeray1940
01-29-2015, 07:59 AM
The musicians that I like best are neither the most original nor the best technical players---they're the people whose music touches me. That depends on our personalities being compatible in somehow.

When I play music, I just do my best to show listeners my personality---my influences, my ideas, my intuition, my mood, how my body feels after my most recent meal, etc. are all part of it. When I sound good to someone, it's usually because my feelings are coming across to her or him.

I love these comments - very true for me too. My favorite musicians (ukulele and otherwise) are not the names you see dropped on the Internet all the time. They're people you haven't heard of. They're excellent players and while an individual style is evident, what I connect with is really their personality coming through via their music.

Some years ago, a well-known player (one of those on the uke fest circuit whose name does get dropped on the Internet all the time) accused me of playing "wimpy." While I would not characterize my playing or my personality as wimpy, exactly, both as a player and a person I am on the quiet side. Low key. Calm. Peaceful. Meditative. At least those are the things I try to achieve. Although at the moment I found his comment very upsetting, after thinking it over I began to take it as a compliment - the player in question, while technically an amazing player, is pretty much my polar opposite (aggressive, flamboyant, likes to be noticed). So it stands to reason that when I'm doing it "right" for me, it could be perceived as wimpy by someone with a very different approach to life!

The comment about my playing that makes me the happiest is when someone tells me it sounds "sweet." I guess that's what I'm aiming for in terms of style :)

katysax
01-29-2015, 09:07 AM
When you study another players style and even try to imitate it to the point of near perfection, you will still be you playing in your own style because it comes from you.

Wicked
01-29-2015, 09:27 AM
A word of caution on this, and I offer it as a humble suggestion. I can't tell you how many times I've played with musicians or been in bands where being "unique" and "remembered for being innovative" have hindered or cut short their progress. Or in the case of the band, we spent more time talking about what we'd do when we got famous instead of focusing on putting in the work.

It's great to have goals. But don't focus so much on those (in this case, having an innovative style or technique that people will associate with you and remember you for) that you completely forget to learn the skills that get you there.

Amen, Brother...

Perhaps my original response didn't stress the fact that "your style" doesn't really emerge until well after you are able to play the instrument in a competent manner.

"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself..."
-Miles Davis

TheCraftedCow
01-29-2015, 01:23 PM
For some, habit is hard to break ...even when they can see an advantage to a change. A 'C' (G) chord can be played as 0-0-0-3. Nearly everyone plays that A string ( E) with the ring finger. Try it with the little finger. Instead of playing 'F' (C) 2-0-1-0 with the index finger and the center finger, do it with the center and ring finger. Third Time's the Charm !!! Play the G7 (D7) 0-2-1-2 with the center- ring and little finger. It is much easier if you move your elbow away from being up against your body. So why the difference in fingering? With the alternate (which really can be the primary) fingering, one can lay the pointing finger across all four strings as a barre, an be playing in a different key with the same fingerings. Ezekiel and the Dry Bones moves up in half steps. Start the same way you will need to finger it to make the modulations, and no change is necessary but for the addition of the index finger. Opae 'e can become an interesting tune if each verse is raised a half step. When I tried to introduce the song with a finger change [ and the song only uses two chords] it was as if I was asking them to do something illegal or immoral. Talk about backlash !!!! I think I shall do it as an open mike and invite whoever want to try it, to join along in playing and singing it.

Suggesting that the thumb should be against the back of the neck rather than having the neck rest in the web of the thumb is another concept which is met with
resistance to change. The change of position of the thumb to a position as though one was sticking a thumbtack puts the fingers directly over the fingerboard rather than overshooting them off the bass side. It also gets the fingers up on the tips rather than slopping over onto the next string below it. Changes in the mechanics of the fretting hand can make possible things which were difficult or impossible before. When I teach a beginner, or have contact with those who are teaching, I share the finger change which is different from all of the standard fingering charts, and explain how it makes the entire fretboard accessible and familiar rather than confined and different from the first five frets. How can we not but wonder who will be the next Britney or Jake and take satisfaction in having had some influence upon them? I taught a student how the chess pieces moved on the board. Two weeks later, I could not beat him. He became the California State High School champion. Perhaps our most memorable accomplishments will be in how we affect the thinking of others.

In any of the classes I teach..group or individually, "I can't_ _ _ _ . " Is not permitted. Tell me, "I have yet to be able to _ _ _ _." and we can see what needs to be done to accomplish it to the next level. It seems to be a farther reaching influence than just chording or strumming techniques.

Lalz
01-30-2015, 03:09 AM
Please everyone, don't hold your phone upright when you shoot a video, always, ALWAYS turn it sideways so that when playing back on a TV or computer screen it fills the screen. PLEASE!!!

Unless you watch someone's video on your phone, in which case it fits right in ;-)

actadh
01-30-2015, 09:16 AM
For some, habit is hard to break ...even when they can see an advantage to a change. A 'C' (G) chord can be played as 0-0-0-3. Nearly everyone plays that A string ( E) with the ring finger. Try it with the little finger. Instead of playing 'F' (C) 2-0-1-0 with the index finger and the center finger, do it with the center and ring finger. Third Time's the Charm !!! Play the G7 (D7) 0-2-1-2 with the center- ring and little finger. It is much easier if you move your elbow away from being up against your body. So why the difference in fingering? With the alternate (which really can be the primary) fingering, one can lay the pointing finger across all four strings as a barre, an be playing in a different key with the same fingerings. Ezekiel and the Dry Bones moves up in half steps. Start the same way you will need to finger it to make the modulations, and no change is necessary but for the addition of the index finger. Opae 'e can become an interesting tune if each verse is raised a half step. When I tried to introduce the song with a finger change [ and the song only uses two chords] it was as if I was asking them to do something illegal or immoral. Talk about backlash !!!! I think I shall do it as an open mike and invite whoever want to try it, to join along in playing and singing it.



Great advice. It is always a good idea to look to see what the next chord in the progression is, too.

I tried your suggestion about changing up the fretting fingers this morning when I did my practice. It worked really well on the Bootcamp Practice Sheet #2 - Key of F.

Do the first line F with the fingers fretted index on A string and middle finger on c string. But, do the second line F fretted with middle finger A string and ring finger c string. Swing it for the Fdim/Abdim keeping the middle finger on the A string. I also did the last line A7 with my ring finger and slid it down for the Dm that comes next.

Easy-peasey now (and a why didn't I figure it out before moment.)