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Irish Uke Tom
10-04-2015, 03:15 AM
Hi guys,

I have a feeling I'm on to another daft question here but is there a way of working out chords so that they fit into the major or minor pentatonic scales? Or, are the pentatonic scales just melodic and can go over their major/ minor equivalent? Such as Cm pentatonic notes go with Cminor Scale?

Ps. I recently bought a nice hard case which I'm happy with and an assortment of plectrums which were comically bad on the ukulele. Like really bad! Any tips on plectrum uses would also be appreciated haha

Thanks Tom:cool:

k0k0peli
10-04-2015, 05:39 AM
The easy way to integrate pentatonics is just to limit your chord formations to the desired scale. In major scales, don't play 4th or 7th intervals in chords. In minor scales, skip the 2nd and 6th. You can play "power chords" (root and 5th only) to harmonize any major or minor or bluesy penta- or octa-- scale. A melodic note added to the chord outline then resolves your intention; a note outside the scale adds to ambiguity. Does that make sense?

My reference here is a nifty little spiral-bound book originally published in London. The 250 pages of LEARN TO PLAY COUNTRY GUITAR (http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Country-Guitar-Music-Bibles/dp/0785829016) by Phil Capone are 60% tutorial (with CD) and 40% easy-to-read chord and scale libraries, with emphasis on major and minor pentatonic scales in standard and open-G tunings. Ignore the bottom two strings and it works just fine for 'ukulele. ;)

As for plectra -- I was a guitar and banjo fingerpicker for most of a half-century till I got serious with mandolin. I can be found using fingerpicks on mando too, and I sometimes apply flatpicks to 'ukes. Unlike some maniacs at Mandolin Cafe I do not obsess over costly picks. My bagful has been accumulated over the decades; I vary from ultra-thin nylon, to fat rounded bison horn, to corners clipped from credit cards, to grandpa's felt pick. Grandma made him use that last when he played banjo-mandolin in the house. I advise against sharp metal picks on composites unless you really like buying and changing strings; otherwise, just find what's comfortable. Of course it may take some time to get accustomed to a flatpick. Hang in there!

Using a flatpick: I usually anchor my pinky beside the soundhole for precision picking and let my wrist swing free (unanchored) to strum emphatically. My usual precision approach is a sort of crosspicking, trying to emulate fingerpicking patterns with just a plectrum. I didn't even know I was crosspicking till I saw a video here! It just seems natural.

Irish Uke Tom
10-04-2015, 06:11 AM
Thanks k0k0peli.

'The easy way to integrate pentatonics is just to limit your chord formations to the desired scale. In major scales, don't play 4th or 7th intervals in chords. In minor scales, skip the 2nd and 6th. You can play "power chords" (root and 5th only) to harmonize any major or minor or bluesy penta- or octa-- scale. A melodic note added to the chord outline then resolves your intention; a note outside the scale adds to ambiguity. Does that make sense?'

This makes perfect sense! Currently trying it out - Slowly making progress with scales and harmony. I will check out that book.

I bought a leather one, a fake cotton one and natural cotton one - they are so chunky to me but they probably require a lot more practice that I initially thought.

k0k0peli
10-04-2015, 07:06 AM
I bought a leather one, a fake cotton one and natural cotton one - they are so chunky to me but they probably require a lot more practice that I initially thought. IIRC more than a few flamenco and classical guitarists abuse gut / nylon / composite strings with long sharp fingernails or long sharp plectra, and I know I am not the only person applying stiff hard (but not real fat) picks to 'ukes. You will more likely wear-out a nylon string by grinding it into a fret with a fingertip (repetitive wear in one location) than by flatpicking at various spots around the soundhole. And nylon-string hurdy-gurdies *are* picked in just one location but the strings manage to survive quite a while.

So do not worry overmuch about sparing your strings by using soft flabby picks. (I have been known to use a big steel washer as a pick. Whatta perv!)

kypfer
10-04-2015, 07:17 AM
By way of an aside ... I found a pentatonic scale (not sure which one) almost by accident whilst figuring out a couple of clawhammer arrangements. It would seem a lot of the old tunes use a limited scale (ie. not the full eight notes).

Anyway, to detail. The scale C D F G A C can be played relatively easily (to my mind) by anchoring the fretting index finger on the first fret of the second string (F) (and keeping it there) whilst using the second finger just for the second fret of the third string (D) and the third finger for the third fret on the first and second strings.

Tunes like "Pretty Polly" (aka "Ballad of Hollis Brown" or "Pretty Saro"), "Farewell to Tarwathie" ("Farewell Angelina") or "Sweet William & Lady Margaret" ... and doubtless a myriad others ... can all be found within this apparently limited range !

Hope this is of interest :)

Irish Uke Tom
10-04-2015, 07:43 AM
Ah k0k0peli that makes sense too now that I think about it. I just accepted someone's word (when I first began playing) that you should never do this with a Ukulele but now that I'm using my own noggin a bit more, it seems worth a try.

Hi Kypfer - I've been trying a bit of clawhammer every now and then but it's a really difficult skill. Rolls, triplets, muting and chunking all seem so easy by comparison. I'm actually looking for songs to learn alongside the pentatonic theory so I'll definitely check these out. Actually just checked out pretty polly - I like it even though it seems a bit creepy haha. Do you have a tab?

lewclev
10-04-2015, 11:52 AM
I played a little acoustic guitar prior to taking up the ukulele. All strumming and flatpicking. It was difficult at first for me to use my fingers to strum or pick. I tried several different types of picks and eventually got proficient with my finger. I just didn't like the way most picks sounded on the uke.

However, I did find one that I thought suited the uke. It is called a "Wedgie" rubber pick and they can be found on Amazon and other online stores.

84089

kypfer
10-04-2015, 12:02 PM
Hi Kypfer - I've been trying a bit of clawhammer every now and then but it's a really difficult skill. Rolls, triplets, muting and chunking all seem so easy by comparison. I'm actually looking for songs to learn alongside the pentatonic theory so I'll definitely check these out. Actually just checked out pretty polly - I like it even though it seems a bit creepy haha. Do you have a tab?

By coincidence ... one of the very few tunes I have tabbed out :

84090

I'd prepared it in the demo version of TablEdit as an exercise for my own benefit, this is a screenshot, taken from the following ABC source that I imported.

X:1
T:Pretty Polly
Z:kypfer July 2015
M:2/4
K: Dm
(c<d) |f2 gf |dc-c2 | d f-f g |f d-d2-| d4| z2
aa-|a ac'a |gfg a |g f g<a|-a4 |z2
fg | a2 gf | d c2 d | Hf2 gf | d4 | z2 |]

At some point I'd anticipated getting around to adding all the clawhammer "brush-thumb" extras, but I tend to vary things a bit each time through, so it seemed a little pointless ;)

Hope this helps :)

Irish Uke Tom
10-04-2015, 01:05 PM
Thanks Kypfer - really nice! Can't with to get the clawhammer down better!