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Ukettante
08-18-2015, 04:47 PM
Have to say, the excitement is contagious. Been reading about Tony Mizen's three classical ukulele books here on the forum, especially the latest one, and I'm itching to try them, being a casual classical music listener myself. Problem is, I've never played classical music before, whether on the uke or the guitar, and I know the barest minimum of musical notation. So, my question is, can I still try it, or don't bother?

Instrument-wise, what do I need? A tenor is a prequisite?

janeray1940
08-18-2015, 04:55 PM
The books are for reentrant tuning, so any uke will do. The more frets, the better, but I didn't see much past the 12th fret with a quick glance at the Romantic Ukulele (latest) book. I play soprano and concert and haven't run into any problems in the pieces I've attempted. The books have both standard notation and tab, so if you can't sight read it shouldn't be an issue, although being able to read standard notation for rhythm is always useful (so I'd encourage you to learn that :))

actadh
08-18-2015, 04:57 PM
He has very good CD's accompanying his books that I keep in my car CD player. That helps a lot to hear his phrasing, pauses etc. over and over, so when I do practice the songs, I have that familiarity.

I started with his Baroque book (at the time I just had the Lute to Uke and the Baroque book), since that had the most songs that I was familiar with from listening classical music radio stations.

I normally play on a soprano more than any other size, but I start out on my concert and build up muscle memory.

Luke El U
08-18-2015, 10:06 PM
So, my question is, can I still try it, or don't bother?
Instrument-wise, what do I need? A tenor is a prequisite?

I have his Lute to Uke and Baroque books and love them very much. I will be getting his Romantic uke book a.s.a.p.
The arrangements can be very challenging to play smoothly and musically. Don't get discouraged. Give yourself plenty of time to learn the pieces.

If you have small hands, you may want to consider a concert sized instrument as some stretches on a tenor might be very difficult.

***Most importantly, get an instrument that is very well set up. You'll need low action without fret buzz and near perfect intonation to make the music sound
in tune.

billten
08-18-2015, 10:59 PM
Also i'd recommend playing on a uke that is more the "small guitar" style than the traditional Hawaiian strumming uke. Look for clarity and note separation, solid woods like all mahogany or rosewood and spruce seem to come alive much better IMO with this finger-style classical type of music. Check out the sound of John Kinnard's ukes as the high end of this style of instrument.

Ukettante
08-19-2015, 12:37 AM
Billten,

You got me curious. What's the difference between a small-guitar ukulele and a traditional Hawaiian strumming uke? I've never heard of this kind of distinction drawn between ukes. Do you mean, say, Martin vs Kamaka? Or do you mean tenor vs soprano?

billten
08-19-2015, 02:06 AM
It's a little hard to explain but IME there are builders who's mainstream uke sound great with strumming and singing along and a more percussive kind of play and there are others that sound much better finger picking and with a more delicate touch. I'm going to have to be careful here because it's so hard to generalize maker to maker and build to build but when you pick up a uke and pick out a few arpeggio chords and play a little classical on them you can immediately tell the difference. My general experience is that some of the builders like John Kinnard as an example produce an instrument with a clarity and note separation that comes alive when played finger-style and honestly don't really sound (to my ear) so wonderful strummed percussively. These builders are often making ukes out of wood that is usually seen in the higher end guitars and the only description i have for that genre of uke is 'mini tenor guitar' Conversely a more Hawaiian style IME sounds better the more you put into it while playing and sounds wonderful strummed and played with the more mainstream songs you hear at a jam or some such. Of course there are Hawaiian builders who make an all koa instrument that sounds brilliant finger-style, but they are usually at the very top end of the range of price and quality.

Regards the size, i find that the music i play (all fingerstyle, mostly classical, baroque and such with a little blues in the mix) sounds better on a tenor and as i go down in size it loses a certain amount of depth and clarity. Losing bass as you get into smaller instruments is natural and the range of a piece played finger-style seems to bring it alive, i'd suggest playing a tenor but a concert is fine too.


Billten,

You got me curious. What's the difference between a small-guitar ukulele and a traditional Hawaiian strumming uke? I've never heard of this kind of distinction drawn between ukes. Do you mean, say, Martin vs Kamaka? Or do you mean tenor vs soprano?

actadh
08-19-2015, 03:42 AM
My "best" ukulele is my Opio as far as build quality, wood quality etc. But, often my best fingerstyle ukulele is my formica Martin OXK, perhaps because it has more string tension than the Opio.

kypfer
08-19-2015, 04:42 AM
... I've never played classical music before, whether on the uke or the guitar, and I know the barest minimum of musical notation. So, my question is, can I still try it, or don't bother?

Instrument-wise, what do I need? A tenor is a prequisite?

Been there, done that, loved it :) ... and all on a soprano!!

Playing much classical music on a ukulele can be easier from well-written tab rather than conventional "dots on lines" musical notation, as the tab may take advantage of the ukulele's re-entrant tuning, which is difficult (if not impossible) to notate on "normal" music.

I've not tried Tony Mizen's publications, being totally satisfied with Jamie Holding's e-books, but the genre is very well suited to the ukulele ... enjoy :)

SoloRule
08-19-2015, 05:21 AM
I have two of his books, Lute to Uke is more for beginner. Baroque Ukulele is a bit more advance but sounds much prettier.
You should start with Lute to Uke first. It is available on amazon.
In my opinion , tenor size is always easier for this kind of playing.

wayfarer75
08-19-2015, 06:36 AM
In my opinion , tenor size is always easier for this kind of playing.

I disagree with your assertion that tenor is "always easier" because unless one has large hands or simply finds smaller ukes too awkward (especially if one comes from guitar), uke players can do classical on any scale. It all depends on the player. There are plenty of folks with big hands who play the sopranos, people who have little hands who play the baritones, and people who play all the scales.

If there are difficult stretches, the longer tenor scale can be a problem--it is for me. I have short fingers and small hands overall. But for me, sopranos often don't have the sustain I want for a slower piece. I would probably play "Flight of the Bumblebee" on a soprano, LOL. I personally find the concert scale to be wonderful for me and my hands. Concerts have plenty of sustain, my pinky can reach where it needs to go, and low G sounds great if you want to go that way. I'm like Goldilocks, it's just right. But "just right" depends on the player.

janeray1940
08-19-2015, 07:16 AM
I have short fingers and small hands overall. But for me, sopranos often don't have the sustain I want for a slower piece... I personally find the concert scale to be wonderful for me and my hands. Concerts have plenty of sustain, my pinky can reach where it needs to go, and low G sounds great if you want to go that way. I'm like Goldilocks, it's just right. But "just right" depends on the player.

Seconding all of that for me too :) In my case, with my stubby hands and stubbier fingers, tenor scale is *never* easier for anything (even though I wish it was, because of the sustain).

Camsuke
08-19-2015, 12:08 PM
Here's a free e-book written by James Holding. James covers similar material to Tony and offers a variety of wonderful arrangements for classical ukulele.
http://web.archive.org/web/20140430025749/http://www.classicalukulele.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/De-Visee-suite-no.-9-in-Dm.pdf

bnolsen
08-19-2015, 04:17 PM
My "best" ukulele is my Opio as far as build quality, wood quality etc. But, often my best fingerstyle ukulele is my formica Martin OXK, perhaps because it has more string tension than the Opio.

Of my herd the OXK is definitely superior for fingerpicking. Unfortunately it also seems to be least forgiving of my ukes, more prone to show off mistakes and buzz from poor technique.

bnolsen
08-19-2015, 04:18 PM
Here's a free e-book written by James Holding. James covers similar material to Tony and offers a variety of wonderful arrangements for classical ukulele.
http://web.archive.org/web/20140430025749/http://www.classicalukulele.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/De-Visee-suite-no.-9-in-Dm.pdf

I really want to see score when I play, not just the tabs.

Here's a good set of classical tabs from one of our members, also has some low-g.

https://sites.google.com/site/tabs4ukes/classical

Camsuke
08-19-2015, 04:40 PM
I really want to see score when I play, not just the tabs.

Here's a good set of classical tabs from one of our members, also has some low-g.

https://sites.google.com/site/tabs4ukes/classical

James does include note values in his tabs, scant, but they are there.

Recstar24
08-19-2015, 04:45 PM
I have two of his books, Lute to Uke is more for beginner. Baroque Ukulele is a bit more advance but sounds much prettier.
You should start with Lute to Uke first. It is available on amazon.
In my opinion , tenor size is always easier for this kind of playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=935ExOpT5bI

John King, master classical ukulele player, on a soprano. I like how he lets it rest on his belly :)

stevepetergal
08-19-2015, 05:58 PM
You may find Tony's transcriptions very satisfying. Some are rather advanced, but others are lovely , simple arrangements. I have played several from his Baroque book.

billten
08-19-2015, 11:05 PM
I tried to find any more material by James but came up blank. Anybody have a link to his 7 e-books?


Here's a free e-book written by James Holding. James covers similar material to Tony and offers a variety of wonderful arrangements for classical ukulele.
http://web.archive.org/web/20140430025749/http://www.classicalukulele.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/De-Visee-suite-no.-9-in-Dm.pdf

Ukettante
08-20-2015, 12:23 AM
Thanks, guys, for pointing me to Jamie Holding and the free pdf file as a sampler. Like Billten, I couldn't find Jamie's site. But he is on facebook.

wildfire070
08-20-2015, 03:30 AM
It seems that Jamie Holdings website is down but you can still reach him on his classical ukulele facebook page. You can order his books directly from him

kypfer
08-20-2015, 04:28 AM
I tried to find any more material by James but came up blank. Anybody have a link to his 7 e-books?

Jamie's website is (unfortunately) down at the moment. I was in e-mail contact with him a couple of weeks ago and he assured me his web-site should be re-appearing shortly.

In the meantime, there's an archive of his web-site here http://web.archive.org/web/20130326095449/http://www.classicalukulele.co.uk/ where you should be able to get an idea of his publications (with samples) and he is selling via e-mail using PayPal :)