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studentaccount1
03-03-2008, 07:07 AM
One thing I have noticed is that James Hill doesn't get talked about too much on here. Maybe no one has heard him play, but he is kinda famous in the uke world and very good.

I think he is one of (if not THE) cleanest uke players around right now. I like how he plays super fast and every note is still super clear (even in crap video recordings).

Here you go if you haven't checked him out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsOhmN2mpHI

rayan
03-03-2008, 07:14 AM
Me and Aldrine actually got a chance to meet up with James when he was in Hawaii a couple of years ago. He's a cool guy.

Dominator
03-03-2008, 07:29 AM
Me and Aldrine actually got a chance to meet up with James when he was in Hawaii a couple of years ago. He's a cool guy.

Yep, he is more than cool. He is a great person with off the charts talents and an Excellent teacher. In his workshops he has a knack for being able to make even the very beginning players NOT feel as if they are being overwhelmed with the exercises etc. A few years back I had the privelage to sit down with him at the UGH Exhibition for 45 minutes of uninterrupted fun and talk story.

I have transcribed a number of his tunes that are available on my website for those who are up to more than a challenge. It is one thing to figure out "what should be played" and an entirely different story when it actually comes to being able to perform the stuff real time. He is definately special.

bof
03-03-2008, 07:40 AM
among the Germany players he is very popular and honorary member of the german ukulele club. I guess he is more popular than jake among us German Ukulele players. We don't get to see many of the more popular Ukulele Artists over here, even at Ukulele Festivals.
However, James Hill performed at the first ukulele festival. Furthermore James also plays on Risa Ukuleles (of course he doesn't only play on risas), a German brand (market leader for electric ukuleles), and therefore has some contacts to the German community, as the producer of Risa Ukuleles is a strong supporter of the German Ukulele community and also a Ukulele virtuoso.

Ukulele Dude
03-03-2008, 07:47 AM
He's definitely one of my favorites. It was him and Aldrine that inspired me to pick up a tenor. Not sure if they did the world a favor or not, but...

Anyway, anyone that hasn't watched James do Ode to a Frozen Boot on YouTube is missing out. He has serious skills and he's a great performer too.

ChiyoDad
03-03-2008, 08:11 AM
One thing I have noticed is that James Hill doesn't get talked about too much on here. Maybe no one has heard him play, but he is kinda famous in the uke world and very good.

Maybe because he often doesn't use standard tuning?

Dominator
03-03-2008, 08:18 AM
Maybe because he often doesn't use standard tuning?

I don't think tuning has much if anything to do with it. I think most people see a YT video or something and will want to learn the song and post asking for tabs etc. I just don't think all that many of the people here are running across his videos or maybe they just realize his stuff is too complex. I doubt the average person would realize his tuning to be different just from hearing/watching one of his videos.

UKESTAR
03-03-2008, 08:20 AM
Yep...James Hill is awesome. I love his signature ukes too...a "decent" price tag compared to the mysterious $5000 Jake sig. model.

Go to his website to see the G-String signature model if you have not already. It is my wallpaper on my desktop comp. in office at home..

E-Lo Roberts
03-03-2008, 09:51 AM
Ukulele Dude, Just checked out "Ode to a Frozen Boot". thanks for the heads up on that one. Serious uke pickin' no doubt. A bit untouchable to attempt for me at this stage of playing. However, James also was the first uke player that woke me up to the potential and beauty of the uke once again. Then Jake stopped by and threw some water in my face, and said "get up and get busy dude"! So naturally I did... e.lo......

GX9901
03-03-2008, 10:05 AM
One thing I have noticed is that James Hill doesn't get talked about too much on here. Maybe no one has heard him play, but he is kinda famous in the uke world and very good.


I think it might be that his music doesn't have as broad an appeal as say Jake Shimabukuro's. I totally respect James Hill's skills on the ukulele and have dowloaded his album from iTunes. However, I find myself not being able to get into his music that much. Where I could listen to many of Jake's tunes a thousand times without getting tired of them, I found myself not going back to listening to James Hill's stuff very much.

Again, James Hill is an amazing player, but I find myself admiring his playing skills more than his music. It's just a matter of different taste in music, I think.

Ukulele_Junkie
03-03-2008, 10:15 AM
Though james is a great ukulele player, i just can't see myself trying to play sumtin from him or listening to his music. No doubt he's awesome at the ukulele, jus his type of music can't relate to many people's musical tastes including mine, i'm really picky.

rayan
03-03-2008, 12:12 PM
I've been trying to figure out why James isn't as popular as Jake and I think it really just comes down to the style. If you had to describe Jake's style in one word I would probably use... "epic" . There is this surging energy that you can actually feel when he is playing.

James although one of the most technically sound musicians I've ever seen, seems to lack that epic-ness. A lot of his songs have this happy sort of carefree feel to them which doesn't really draw you. They're good songs, they just don't have that "holy crap!" factor unless you really know what you're hearing.

They're both awesome though. 2 of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

studentaccount1
03-03-2008, 12:38 PM
I think it might be that his music doesn't have as broad an appeal as say Jake Shimabukuro's. I totally respect James Hill's skills on the ukulele and have dowloaded his album from iTunes. However, I find myself not being able to get into his music that much. Where I could listen to many of Jake's tunes a thousand times without getting tired of them, I found myself not going back to listening to James Hill's stuff very much.

Again, James Hill is an amazing player, but I find myself admiring his playing skills more than his music. It's just a matter of different taste in music, I think.


That's funny because I am feel the exact oppostie. It is all subject to taste though really. Some people like mangos and others like papayas, so I hope noone thinks I am to saying my opinion is more or less valid than anyone else's.

Anyways....

I can appreciate Jake's showmanship and especially videos of him playing, but I can't get into his music. He looks like he is trying hard and gets into it and has fun. I have fun watching him. I think that that image is a huge part of his appeal. I think it is more like he has a full "show" with lots of charisma and flashiness. That in itself is pretty impressive. After seeming him with Tommy Emmanuel, I really began to "get it" ( I think).


To me, James is more like a musician's musician to me. Not so much flash, but he makes it up with substance and skills. He is super technical, but makes it look effortless to the point that he makes it look like he doesn't even have to try... and always sounds musical to me with his playful phrasing and tasteful arrangements. I really enjoy listening to him play.

Chiyo: I think most of his songs are a step up from "standard" tuning (ADF#B or aDF#B if I am not mistaken)? That is pretty approachable. Even Jake delves into alternate tunings on some of his songs though.

Ukulele_Junkie
03-03-2008, 12:41 PM
ADF#B is already a pretty standard tuning for most soprano, even this old skool acoustics shop i went to had ALL their ukuleles strung in that key, i was surprised. I have my soprano strung up this way also.

rayan
03-03-2008, 12:53 PM
ADF#B is already a pretty standard tuning for most soprano, even this old skool acoustics shop i went to had ALL their ukuleles strung in that key, i was surprised. I have my soprano strung up this way also.

You almost never see ukulele's tuned that way in Hawaii but from talking to James, he says most people in Canada tune their ukes like that.

Dominator
03-03-2008, 02:01 PM
I can appreciate Jake's showmanship and especially videos of him playing, but I can't get into his music.

I hear this quite often and I usually wonder if it is based on just a small portion of his original material. In other words, how much of his music has the listener really heard. I just find it hard to believe that someone couldn't get into stuff like Blue Roses Falling or Touch etc. But I do understand where you are coming from though. I don't necessarily get into "all" his stuff either.



To me, James is more like a musician's musician to me. Not so much flash, but he makes it up with substance and skills. He is super technical, but makes it look effortless to the point that he makes it look like he doesn't even have to try... and always sounds musical to me with his playful phrasing and tasteful arrangements. I really enjoy listening to him play.

Exactly. Even though Jake is also a monster player much of his material is, with the proper guideance, accessible to the intermediate player . The flashy right hand tapping is impressive stuff but can be accomplished by most intermediate with a little practice. On the other hand I'm guessing very few will be able to master James' "mono strum" technique. It took him 3 years to perfect and he worked on it daily.

I can't think of a single song, aside from Super Mario, that any of us mere mortals would be able to play with confidence. I can't even play Super Mario. I can teach someone how to play it but I could not perform the song at gig. His stuff is just too difficult.

Dominator
03-03-2008, 02:06 PM
You almost never see ukulele's tuned that way in Hawaii but from talking to James, he says most people in Canada tune their ukes like that.

I'm pretty sure ADF#B was the preferred tuning back in the 20s and 30s. They didn't have much in the way of mics for the instruments during stage performances and rumor has it the higher tuning was preferred because it provided additional volume with the added string tension.

Ukulele_Junkie
03-03-2008, 02:07 PM
You almost never see ukulele's tuned that way in Hawaii but from talking to James, he says most people in Canada tune their ukes like that.

yeah washington is near canada haha so i guess thats why. i'll have to drive up to canada to check their ukulele stores ooot.

studentaccount1
03-03-2008, 02:23 PM
I just find it hard to believe that someone couldn't get into stuff like Blue Roses Falling or Touch etc. But I do understand where you are coming from though. I don't necessarily get into "all" his stuff either..

Hey Dom, I have heard those songs. I don't know though. I get the sense of drama he conjures in his live shows. He really is a fantastic showman. Even people who don't get music or get the ukulele can get that from watching him. That is definitely something. I respect that, I hope I don't sound like I am hating on him. I think maybe I just don't get his music. I didn't get lots of Beatles songs at first either. Now I love them. I guess there is hope. I've been trying....

Let me also add that, being from Hawaii, it is really cool to see a local musician get props. It is like seeing the guy you played high school b-ball with go to the NBA or something.



Exactly. Even though Jake is also a monster player much of his material is, with the proper guideance, accessible to the intermediate player . The flashy right hand tapping is impressive stuff but can be accomplished by most intermediate with a little practice. On the other hand I'm guessing very few will be able to master James' "mono strum" technique. It took him 3 years to perfect and he worked on it daily.

I can't think of a single song, aside from Super Mario, that any of us mere mortals would be able to play with confidence. I can't even play Super Mario. I can teach someone how to play it but I could not perform the song at gig. His stuff is just too difficult.

That is how I feel too. Technically, James Hill is sick. *edit:removed a comparison to a guitar player. no comparison needed*

rayan
03-03-2008, 06:10 PM
Exactly. Even though Jake is also a monster player much of his material is, with the proper guideance, accessible to the intermediate player . The flashy right hand tapping is impressive stuff but can be accomplished by most intermediate with a little practice. On the other hand I'm guessing very few will be able to master James' "mono strum" technique. It took him 3 years to perfect and he worked on it daily.

I can't think of a single song, aside from Super Mario, that any of us mere mortals would be able to play with confidence. I can't even play Super Mario. I can teach someone how to play it but I could not perform the song at gig. His stuff is just too difficult.

That could be a reason that James isn't as popular either. The ability to play a song lets the song become even more popular because Jake himself doesn't need to be playing it.

If you look at the most popular songs in music, they're generally not that difficult. Stairway to Heaven anyone? :p

UKESTAR
03-03-2008, 07:07 PM
Jake and James both rule....not really interested in who is "better". Anyways check this out...you have to go straight to 2min. 50sec.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO7spLjad3k

studentaccount1
03-03-2008, 07:16 PM
Jake and James both rule....not really interested in who is "better". Anyways check this out...you have to go straight to 2min. 50sec.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO7spLjad3k

Yeah.. better or worse is in the eyes of the beholder.

That video is crazy. So maybe he is the "Rahzel" of the uke?

(If you don't know who Rahzel is, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaMcQ-FWstc )

E-Lo Roberts
03-04-2008, 02:49 AM
Anyone have any links to a James' "mono strum" technique lesson? Never heard of it and would love to give it a go. Dominator?? Always looking for new strumming challenge. Pretty much ran thru all the avaliable lessons on Jake and Aldrine strums thus far. Thanks,...e.lo.....

Dominator
03-04-2008, 07:03 AM
Anyone have any links to a James' "mono strum" technique lesson?

Ernie, I don't know of any actual lesson. I was fortunate enough to sit with him in Cerritos where I presented him my tab of Skipping Stone. We went over the tab and I told him the areas I was concerned with and it was how he played the single note runs so effortlessly. I tried to play them with thumb down and index up. That's when James explained his thoughts behind the "mono" strum. Stevie Ray V. was great at this btw. You see his hand wipping away up and down accross the strings but only a "single" note sounding along with some percussive carryover giving it more punch.

James is doing the same thing. He said he didn't have time to think about which string he needed to play at a given time when doing single note runs. So he strums ALL the strings down and up playing only the single note he wants. He uses the flesh of his hand, other fingers and thumb to mute all the other strings to keep them from sounding. The added percusive attack from strumming the muting strings gives it a more powerful sound.

It can be quite remarkable when you do it right. I've messed with it off and on and only one time I think after practicing for a few hours I nailed a clean run. After that it vanished and was no where to be found:eek:.

In this video. Let it load and go straight to the 2:40 mark. The single note run will start at 2:45 and you will see him execute the "mono" strum.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ojBVtuRKkYA

In another video, I think it is Skipping Stone, you can see him muting with the thumb during a run and his thumb comes over the top muting the 4th string first then 3rd and 4th strings and finally the 2nd, 3rd and 4th as he finishes the run on the 1st string.

E-Lo Roberts
03-04-2008, 08:33 AM
Ernie, I don't know of any actual lesson. I was fortunate enough to sit with him in Cerritos where I presented him my tab of Skipping Stone. We went over the tab and I told him the areas I was concerned with and it was how he played the single note runs so effortlessly. I tried to play them with thumb down and index up. That's when James explained his thoughts behind the "mono" strum. Stevie Ray V. was great at this btw. You see his hand wipping away up and down accross the strings but only a "single" note sounding along with some percussive carryover giving it more punch.

James is doing the same thing. He said he didn't have time to think about which string he needed to play at a given time when doing single note runs. So he strums ALL the strings down and up playing only the single note he wants. He uses the flesh of his hand, other fingers and thumb to mute all the other strings to keep them from sounding. The added percusive attack from strumming the muting strings gives it a more powerful sound.

It can be quite remarkable when you do it right. I've messed with it off and on and only one time I think after practicing for a few hours I nailed a clean run. After that it vanished and was no where to be found:eek:.

In this video. Let it load and go straight to the 2:40 mark. The single note run will start at 2:45 and you will see him execute the "mono" strum.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ojBVtuRKkYA

In another video, I think it is Skipping Stone, you can see him muting with the thumb during a run and his thumb comes over the top muting the 4th string first then 3rd and 4th strings and finally the 2nd, 3rd and 4th as he finishes the run on the 1st string.
Dom, wow, you know what. I've been doing this technique for a while now thinking I had it was just me and that I invented a new strum! hahaha... My problem is I never mastered it because I thought it was probably just another poor picking technique I came up with because I was having trouble picking really fast single notes. Crazy.. Actually, there is an early thread "strumming with one string", that I commented on where I describled this technique, however, it was not what he was trying to figure out. Thanks so much for the James Hill mono stum. The name makes sense now! I'll have to start practicing it again.... PS just finished your vid of "Something". I already knew it but added some of your stuff to it. Especially the solo part! Thanks for that also....see ya, e.lo....

Dominator
03-04-2008, 08:37 AM
PS just finished your vid of "Something". I already knew it but added some of your stuff to it. Especially the solo part! Thanks for that also....see ya, e.lo....

E-Lo, give us a video brother. I for one want to see you play. Don't hold out on us now :p.

E-Lo Roberts
03-04-2008, 10:02 AM
Dom, when I get some original songs together on the uke that I think are decent I will post them and email you personally about my efforts. However, at the moment, I am still knee-deep in mastering all the possiblities this great little instrument. Like yourself, I've playing guitar since I was 9, so a lot of my practice time is spent on right hand technique along with new chords inversion for the left hand. (Interesting how the high G string changes everything). Revisiting James Hill skill level this week has once again reaffirmed that I have more work to do before posting my efforts!

Note: Dom, you have got to add the new "Ohta San Tick-Tock Strum" to your skills. I just picked it up today from the thread and it's a great keeper! My first usable percussive strum. Very cool....

On a personal note: Dom, you have been a great teacher/advisor for me and many other uke players on the web and I consider you one of my main mentors in this area. I hope you know that your video/tab contributions to the uke world are helping many younger (and older) players discover the tech secrets of this wonderful instrument! Many thanks! ..e.lo....

Dominator
03-04-2008, 10:38 AM
Dom, when I get some original songs together on the uke that I think are decent I will post them and email you personally about my efforts. However, at the moment, I am still knee-deep in mastering all the possiblities this great little instrument. Like yourself, I've playing guitar since I was 9, so a lot of my practice time is spent on right hand technique along with new chords inversion for the left hand. (Interesting how the high G string changes everything). Revisiting James Hill skill level this week has once again reaffirmed that I have more work to do before posting my efforts!
I hear what you are saying Ernie. I've always been a perfectionist (some refer to it as "anal") and it appears you want to have your stuff just perfect prior to posting it. I guess I'm getting to be a softie in my old age. Years ago I wouldn't post anything that I didn't feel was up to my own standards. An example is the video for "In My Life" that I posted the other day. It has a couple of mistakes of which one has me missing the beat and not coming in until maybe the second beat. But it is what it is and I posted it anyway.

Mainly what I was referring to was maybe just seeing you play the solo section to Something so I could see someone that actually learned a piece from the videos. The vast majority of YT vids posted here are not stellar performances but rather folks showing what they've picked up from other YT vids and Aldrine's vids etc.



Note: Dom, you have got to add the new "Ohta San Tick-Tock Strum" to your skills. I just picked it up today from the thread and it's a great keeper! My first usable percussive strum. Very cool....

I will have to check that thread.



On a personal note: Dom, you have been a great teacher/advisor for me and many other uke players on the web and I consider you one of my main mentors in this area. I hope you know that your video/tab contributions to the uke world are helping many younger (and older) players discover the tech secrets of this wonderful instrument! Many thanks! ..e.lo....

I'm glad to know this. Makes me feel good. Thanks!

UkuCouS
03-04-2008, 11:15 AM
I think we can't talk about "the better" because they both play do different things, personally I think they are both greaaaaaaaat ukulele players, but I prefer Jake becauses he keeps the "standard" tuning of ukulele.

Dominator
03-04-2008, 11:19 AM
All,
It was never my intention to have this thread be about "who is better" but looking back over my original post I could see how one could read that into it. Didn't mean to mislead anyone. They are both great players and very different in there styles. Variety is the spice of live so they say.

studentaccount1
03-04-2008, 01:42 PM
All,
It was never my intention to have this thread be about "who is better" but looking back over my original post I could see how one could read that into it. Didn't mean to mislead anyone. They are both great players and very different in there styles. Variety is the spice of live so they say.

I want to second everything that Dom just said. Let's just agree, James Hill is a bad mf. :P

seeso
03-04-2008, 04:51 PM
Jeez, he's great.

ukejon
03-04-2008, 05:02 PM
"...but I prefer Jake becauses he keeps the "standard" tuning of ukulele."

Keep in mind, James simply is tuned up a whole step to create what is known as Canadian Tuning. Unless you are playing with other folks who are sticking to his chords, you can simply play all of his A-D-F#-B songs in standard G-C-E-A. 0232 is an A for him and a G for you.

Both James and Jake are so wildly talented and inspiring. Great, great musicians.

UkuCouS
03-04-2008, 10:20 PM
Isn't James uses a non re-entrant 4th string, like a Low G tuning ? ... So a Low A tuning I guess ?

E-Lo Roberts
03-05-2008, 04:38 AM
"...but I prefer Jake becauses he keeps the "standard" tuning of ukulele."

Keep in mind, James simply is tuned up a whole step to create what is known as Canadian Tuning. Unless you are playing with other folks who are sticking to his chords, you can simply play all of his A-D-F#-B songs in standard G-C-E-A. 0232 is an A for him and a G for you.

Both James and Jake are so wildly talented and inspiring. Great, great musicians.
ukejon, hey thanks for the tuning tip on James! I was a bit shy about jumping into his songs because of his tuning perference, however, since the tuning is as you say "simply a whole step up". No problem then....e.lo.....

RavenSeven
03-05-2008, 07:02 AM
Yep...James Hill is awesome. I love his signature ukes too...a "decent" price tag compared to the mysterious $5000 Jake sig. model.

Go to his website to see the G-String signature model if you have not already. It is my wallpaper on my desktop comp. in office at home..

I have his sig uke as my wallpaper at work as well. It's a beaut! Wish I could afford one.

He's also one of the reasons I picked up a tenor uke...I didn't realize until later that he tunes differently, but I still enjoy listening to him. Plus, I now have an excuse as to why I can't play as well as him...different tunings! Yeah...that's the reason...different tunings! Not his talent, or hard work or anything, right?

Dominator
03-05-2008, 07:09 AM
Isn't James uses a non re-entrant 4th string, like a Low G tuning ? ... So a Low A tuning I guess ?

Correct. ADF#B with a Low A string.

Dominator
03-05-2008, 07:12 AM
ukejon, hey thanks for the tuning tip on James! I was a bit shy about jumping into his songs because of his tuning perference, however, since the tuning is as you say "simply a whole step up". No problem then....e.lo.....

E-Lo, the only other song on his CD "On the Other Hand" that uses an alternate tuning is his arrangement of Old Man River. Here he tunes his Low A down a full step to low G giving him GDF#B. This is a really nice arrangement too.

northern uke
03-05-2008, 08:15 AM
I was jammin with the James this summer and he told me he's going back to high A string. Says he misses the re-enterant sound. Going up a step to A tuning is a great way to wake up a set of strings that has soft or floppy action.

KAWIKA27
03-05-2008, 08:20 AM
I did get a chance to meet him actualy he was doing a work shop by where i live, although i did not know who he was at the time it wasent till a few months later i realized who he was he's cool

E-Lo Roberts
03-05-2008, 09:19 AM
E-Lo, the only other song on his CD "On the Other Hand" that uses an alternate tuning is his arrangement of Old Man River. Here he tunes his Low A down a full step to low G giving him GDF#B. This is a really nice arrangement too.
Dom, thanks for that. I'll make a note of it....PS been workin' on the Ohta san tick tock strum some more. Only been two days, but I've morfed the original into a full percussive beat and also add a Jake middle/ring, thumb triple strum to the first beat. ALso put in it Ohta san's index finger fret sweep too. Mixing it all together and having some fun!....see ya, e.lo.......