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whistleman123
04-11-2016, 03:29 AM
I'm new enough to uke that it takes me a long time to learn a new tune and become comfortable with it. I seem to always have the dilema, do I learn it in a key that lays well to be played as accompaniment to horn players & vocalists. Or do I lean it in a key that lays well on the uke neck for playing as a chord solo?

For example, I learned "Fly Me To the Moon" in A minor to play behind a sax player I get together with. But I'm also working on a variation of a Ritz arrangement in D minor which lays well up the neck as a chord solo.

I know the simple answer is to learn both, but at this point that would take me forever and cofuse my fingers big time.

Does any one else go through this?

Ukulelerick9255
04-11-2016, 03:53 AM
I learn songs in the key I can sing them in, plain and simple.

Ukejenny
04-11-2016, 03:55 AM
I'm afraid I don't have that problem - I wish I did. The mixing of instruments is a lot of fun. I would think the tenor player could handle B minor if you are in D minor.

Ukejenny
04-11-2016, 03:56 AM
Whoops, I was thinking alto sax, and transposed incorrectly. Still, the tenor player should be able to handle E minor.

Nickie
04-11-2016, 04:25 AM
The key doesn't seem to matter to me. I like singing and playing in G the best. I don't like E very much. It seems to take forever to learn a song, no matter what key it's in.

UkieOkie
04-11-2016, 06:45 AM
You could use a capo.

jimavery
04-11-2016, 06:59 AM
I keep ukuleles in different tunings which helps a lot. George Formby used to do the same as his trick style of syncopation only really worked with certain chord shapes.

SteveZ
04-11-2016, 08:19 AM
You could use a capo.

Agree! Even pros do this. It's an inexpensive fix and a neat playing experiment.

Rllink
04-11-2016, 08:30 AM
I'm new enough to uke that it takes me a long time to learn a new tune and become comfortable with it. I seem to always have the dilema, do I learn it in a key that lays well to be played as accompaniment to horn players & vocalists. Or do I lean it in a key that lays well on the uke neck for playing as a chord solo?

For example, I learned "Fly Me To the Moon" in A minor to play behind a sax player I get together with. But I'm also working on a variation of a Ritz arrangement in D minor which lays well up the neck as a chord solo.

I know the simple answer is to learn both, but at this point that would take me forever and cofuse my fingers big time.

Does any one else go through this?I don't understand your question. You are talking about two different songs, is that correct? One in A minor, and the other in D minor. Are you asking if you should play both of them in the same key? How are you playing them? Are you playing chords, melody, fingerpicking the chords?

Alytw
04-11-2016, 12:36 PM
I'm new to the Uke too. I have the same problem. I really don't like using a capo on my Uke (concert) because the frets are too close for me when I get higher up the neck.
I've been learning pop songs in the standard recorded keys to play with others, solo Uke songs in keys that suit the Uke, and jazzy songs as barre chords that can easily be transposed.

I think that I just have to get better so that I can adapt to others!

acmespaceship
04-11-2016, 01:48 PM
Long term, get the Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps book and learn how to play scale boxes and barre chords in any key: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002POEQVI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

Which is easier said than done ;-)

Otherwise, capos and alternate tunings can help. If your horn players simply must have the key of Bb, try tuning your uke down one whole step to F-Bb-D-G and pretend you're in C.

The other trick is to compromise on a key that everybody can manage. Horn players who are not beginners should be able to play in more keys than Bb and Eb. Most singers can handle a few steps up or down from their preferred key -- maybe they'd like to sing in F major, but one step up to G major is unlikely to kill them. Maybe you don't like using a capo, but playing a song at Capo 1 or Capo 2 is unlikely to kill you.

That said, the singer determines the key. Vocalists can't use capos or retune, and audiences pay more attention to vocals than instrumentals. If you have to choose between a key you can sing and a key you can play a killer solo, pick the vocal key every time. Or find somebody else who can sing in the solo key and you become the accompanist who wows them in the instrumental break.

Or buy a baritone uke.

Rakelele
04-11-2016, 08:23 PM
One way to play along with horns more easily in general would be to tune your uke down a full step to Bb.

The problem you mention could be solved by using a baritone: This way, you could play your dm arrangement, but it will sound am.

plunker
04-12-2016, 01:59 AM
I think, to start with, the more experienced player should try to accommodate the less experienced one. I would think it is easier to change key on the sax rather than you learning and becoming proficient with a new set of chords. I have played with (trombone not uke) players that I could not touch in skill, they always accommodated me. I hope you have the same experience.

adam_madison
04-12-2016, 03:57 AM
Well, personally I am keeping my Uke's in different tunings ;)
You should check the capo option, or just different tunings.

hendulele
04-12-2016, 04:02 AM
You could use a capo.

Great suggestion. I'll have to get one and start using it, too.

Rllink
04-12-2016, 04:41 AM
The shape of the notes in the Am and Dm scales can be the same on the fretboard. They can make the same "box". So you can learn every tune using the Dm scale which starts at D (fret 2) on the C string. Learn to play it using the D note on the C string as the "home" location. Then when you want to play it in Am, move the "home" note along to the A on the C string (Fret 9). Or Em move the "home" to the E (fret 4). This is much easier said than done, but it is like using an imaginary capo instead of a real capo.
The shape of the Am and Dm scales on the fretboard can also be different, especially when you use open strings. So once you "get" the idea of the imaginary capo method, go back and find the open string notes for each scale and mix them in as required.
The first step is to find a Dm scale, starting at D on the C string, which you like. You can have F on the C string or the E string for example. Then you have a scale: D E F G A B C D (Bb is written as B for ease). If the music is written in Am, pretend the scale goes A B C D E F G A (sort of transposing), starting at the note on the second fret of the C string. Learn to play the tune as a series of intervals in the "box" made by the scale, not as a series of sounds. Then move it along to start at fret 4 (E) as an intermediate step, then move it along to A (Fret 9), so it will be in Am as written.
You are going to find some minor keys like Bm which are difficult using this idea, you will find there are other "boxes" which work for these keys. For example, you can learn a Bm scale using a mode of the scale which starts at D on the C string which will work for some tunes. The B "home" note will be on the 4 fret of the G string or 2 fret of the A string.That is the route that I have taken. I play scales up and down the neck in those boxes, well at least the boxes for the keys that I like to play in, which makes it much less of a task than trying to learn every key in the universe, even the ones you never use. But that kind of thing takes some effort. So it isn't the easy way.