PDA

View Full Version : amplified changes for flute to uke



dhunter
06-02-2015, 10:57 AM
Hello,
I'm wondering if other players here have noticed the mixed responses in musical circles when they change from an orchestral instrument to the uke. I played flute with a small cirlcle of guitar/bass players for several years and they were always so thrilled to have me break out my pipe and toot a few bars on the fly. None of them read music and I never improvised (orchestral player here) so this was all but terrifying for me. I saw them as some strange sort of magic in the making when they played. I just had to feel my way blindly through their 'composed' original songs. Many times I felt like the slow kid on the track team.

I thought the uke would be so much better with this group but it has not been so. I was learning chords! I could do what they were doing. I was getting it! They were less than enthusiastic about my little uke. I wonder if the flute was just a more easy quiet instrument for them to put up with. Their amplification could drown out my blown notes. (pun intended)

I quickly amplified my own little uke and was so eager to play rhythm and strum the newly learned chords on the strings but they seemed almost grumpy.

There is more to this story but it seems the uke has helped me discover the rose tinted glasses I was looking through.

OK Ramble finished for now. Anyone else notice similar things among their music cronies?:anyone:

kissing
06-02-2015, 05:00 PM
Hello,
I'm wondering if other players here have noticed the mixed responses in musical circles when they change from an orchestral instrument to the uke. I played flute with a small cirlcle of guitar/bass players for several years and they were always so thrilled to have me break out my pipe and toot a few bars on the fly. None of them read music and I never improvised (orchestral player here) so this was all but terrifying for me. I saw them as some strange sort of magic in the making when they played. I just had to feel my way blindly through their 'composed' original songs. Many times I felt like the slow kid on the track team.

I thought the uke would be so much better with this group but it has not been so. I was learning chords! I could do what they were doing. I was getting it! They were less than enthusiastic about my little uke. I wonder if the flute was just a more easy quiet instrument for them to put up with. Their amplification could drown out my blown notes. (pun intended)

I quickly amplified my own little uke and was so eager to play rhythm and strum the newly learned chords on the strings but they seemed almost grumpy.

There is more to this story but it seems the uke has helped me discover the rose tinted glasses I was looking through.

OK Ramble finished for now. Anyone else notice similar things among their music cronies?:anyone:

I think it really 'depends'.

Did the guitar and bass players mainly play rhythm for you?
In that case, the flute would play the part of the Soloist, playing the melody to their accompanyment.
If an ukulele plays rhythm too along with them, then who is playing the Solo?

That being said, there are several ways to play the uke.
Eg:
-You can just play chords
-You can pick melodies/solos/improvisation in the same manner as you played the flute.

Coming from a wind instrument backgruond myself before ukuleles, if you familiarise yourself with how to improvise/arrange solos using the various scales (especially the Pentatonic/Blues scale), then you will quickly be having great fun along with these guitar and bass players. The amplified ukulele solo will cut through their rhythm.

It takes a bit of practice, but it will certainly break you free from the orchestral chains of only being able to play pre-written music.

While I find it easier to play pre-meditated melodies using a wind instrument such as flute, I find the ukulele or guitar a lot more suitable for playing improvisation and solos using the scales. It's just the way the fretboard/string tunings are laid out.

uke-garou
06-03-2015, 06:15 AM
Is this a friends who jam situation? Just discuss it with them. Bring a tasty dish or six pack (if they like to drink) and open up a discussion. "My ukulele seems to be bringing the group down, why?"

Maybe they have a bias thinking the use isn't a real instrument. Maybe it is because you are still a beginner on uke. Only they can answer why they are acting grumpy.

Your other option is to join a local ukulele group or start another group.

Booli
06-03-2015, 08:42 AM
If none of the other suggestions mentioned above work out, maybe these folks are either 'guitarded' (as in: ignorant of or hostile towards any string instrument that is not an electric guitar) or otherwise musical snobs and regard the ukulele as some less-than-desirable plinkity annoyance.

I dunno, maybe go back to fluting with them (fluting, is that a word?) and get your uke jam going with a different group that actual appreciates the instrument.

Ukejenny
06-03-2015, 11:14 AM
I have had many different responses to my ukulele playing. I'm a former band director and have a degree in music education. My main instrument is clarinet and I also play flute and a little alto sax. Like you, I was "classically" trained - no improv chops at all.

Some of my "band folks" have kind of laughed it off. Maybe they don't take it seriously? I'm not sure. But, most of the time, when I get it into someone's hands, they quiet down and start playing and realizing how fun and fulfilling it can be.

Perhaps your friends were comfortable with you playing flute and doing your thing, but they are bothered that you can also do more of their thing, as in playing a stringed guitar-like instrument. I hope you can work it out and continue enjoying being part of the group.

river_driver
06-03-2015, 11:27 AM
Guys, every guitar player knows as fact:
1. flutes are cool because of Jethro Tull
2. ukuleles are not cool because of Tiny Tim

uke-garou
06-04-2015, 05:33 PM
That is profound.

Louis0815
06-04-2015, 09:59 PM
Well, changing from flute to uke in a combo with guitar and bass does change the overall output completely - has anyone ever spent a thought on this?

Just imagine Jethro Tull playing ukulele instead of flute all over sudden - would that still sound like Jethro Tull? I don't think so...

katysax
06-05-2015, 07:54 AM
There are two separate issues here. 1. The uke is seen as not a "real" instrument. 2. With a particular group it changes the dynamics when you switch from flute to uke.

The group dynamic thing - well that depends on the group. I don't bring my sax or flute or clarinet, or even guitar to my uke group. They aren't welcome and I understand. I don't bring my uke to play bluegrass. Not knowing OPs group I suspect this is what is at work here.

Then there is the issue of the legitimacy of the uke as a musical instrument. Some of my sax friends say that my playing uke is "a shame." I just slough it off, its their problem.