View Full Version : Happy Birthday the first song for my friend

11-22-2016, 01:00 AM
A friend of mine has started ukulele about a month ago. I am teaching him twice a week and happy birthday is the first song for him.

https://s14.postimg.org/4xr5yoiwx/happy_birthday_cropped.png (https://postimg.org/image/6pk4tl29p/)pic upload (https://postimage.org/)

He took about two weeks for F chord. After I've set up nut and saddle of his ukulele, he is quite good at F chord. Now he is practicing Bb. He wants to play solo rather than sing. I should have choose key of C instead of F. But he is doing very good so far.

11-22-2016, 07:08 AM
There is also a good, simple version on Ukulele Hunt here (http://ukulelehunt.com/2015/09/29/happy-birthday-tab/), and also a duet version that you can play with your friend.

I think F is a good key for singing as it probably suits most voices well - C might be either too high or too low. (It is for me, anyway!)

Croaky Keith
11-22-2016, 08:03 AM
Forcing him into using Bb on his first tune is a bit hard - don't you like him. :biglaugh:

11-22-2016, 09:42 AM
My thoughts also - the Ukulele Hunt version I linked to is simpler to play in terms of fingering but is also more interesting.

11-22-2016, 07:50 PM
Hi, ukatee and Keith!

Ukulele Hunt version is very nice. The aim of my version is that we can see the melody line and chord at once and very easily. There are many versions on key of C. They are either too high or too low not only for vocal range but also for finger picking. I like to play on first (low) position. Bb is difficult chord. I arranged this song without Bb at first. He improves very fast and I thought he could play Bb soon. Teaching in person has very big advantage on the decision of contents of practice.

His problem on Bb is red and green circles in the figure below. Red should be banana (concave) and green should be convex shape.

https://s11.postimg.org/6i6k3e9bn/normal_bb_ukulele_chord.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/huj5l6i0f/)free upload (https://postimage.org/)

11-27-2016, 03:45 PM
He finally could play Bb in our lesson today. We are very happy today. :) The most important thing is the banana (concave style) in the figures below.

https://s13.postimg.org/ozqtxrnvr/combine_images.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/wshhpqtur/)pic host (https://postimage.org/)

Banana is seen in many chords. Now I am practicing Greensleeves. It has Gm7 (the right figure above).

11-27-2016, 04:58 PM
I would want to know why you didn't provide tabs...and is your friend/student playing a low G ukulele?

11-27-2016, 08:14 PM
Hi, Choirguy! Thank you for asking.

I use this book (shown below). This book was originally written in English by Ohta-san, and it was translated in Japanese. I can not find the original English book. OH! Ohta-san plays banana with his middle finger in this photo. :)

https://s4.postimg.org/8fnz4ig1p/51v_Qjg_Nko_BL_SX384_BO1_204_203_200.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/u22zljem1/)free photo hosting (https://postimage.org/)

This book does not provide tab. I don't know why but may be too old?
My friend has survived from throat cancer and he still has a side effect of anti cancer medicine on his hands. Hence we go very slow. I think we don't need tabs so far. I can show him if he needs. And he still does not know about tab. :)

I use low-G and he use high-G on sopranos. In our level, we still don't have any problems with that. I've gave him a low-G string (D string of classical guitar). He is still not interested in it, and hasn't change his string.

Once he'd got Bb on his ukulele, we changed our ukuleles. He tried Bb on my ukulele and it was hard for him again. He took for a while to play Bb on my ukulele. After he could play Bb on mine, I returned his ukulele to him. This time he could play Bb very well on his ukulele with more confidence.

Hi, Bill1! Thank you for your replay!

Bend is a difficult but important technique in harmonica. When I practiced harmonica, draw and blow bend was very difficult to get. I bought some books and searched internet in order to get this technique. There is one very helpful site (http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand-Oak/4326/doro-benndo.htm) on the internet, which is written by professional blues harp player. It says:

If you have a friend who can play bend in front of you, you can bend very soon. Don't you have any friend around you who can bend? Just imitate his bending. If you don't have any friend, just practice along with this site.......

This statement helped me a lot. I thought even bending was not too hard technique. Anyone can do it. This is my concept of helping my friends. I actually did not have any friend who could bend on harmonica. I took long time to get this technique alone.

I always say to my friends that you can do it if you see my play. I say it is not difficult I can show you. :)

11-28-2016, 04:10 AM
A few days learning the Bb will seem like nothing in a few years time.
If a person has a healthy right hand, and you don't tell them the Bb chord is hard, it may take a few extra days of trying, but they can learn how to make the chord. If they have a good teacher, as is the case here, problems are identified by the teacher and the process is more streamlined. ZZTush is there to help his friend, so the challenge of the Bb chord is a challenge, but not an insurmountable challenge. It is not the same as trying to learn to play a Bb chord alone at home with no help.

I agree with Bill. It isn't one that most people might teach right out of the box, but it is a Bb. It isn't some exotic chord. Anyway, learn a Bb, and it will open up a lot of chords. Plus it gets the student playing bar chords early, before someone tells them that bar chords are hard and the get a complex about them.

11-28-2016, 11:52 PM
Hi, Rllink!

My friend is 90kg with sausage fingers. Hence this short barre chord by banana is very good practice for him. Your big fingers and short barres on D and E are big hints to me. Thank you very much.

11-29-2016, 08:27 PM
I taught him today. His Bb is very good (red circle on the figure below). He can play Bb even with my ukulele. As he played very good today, his ukulele looked much nicer today. I had thought my uke was better than him last week, but I thought his uke sounded better than mine today.

https://s14.postimg.org/6li07i7w1/happy_birthday_cropped.png (https://postimg.org/image/446908nzh/)free screen capture software (https://postimage.org/app.php)

Although Bb sounds good, he had a bit of time lag on Bb. We put rhythm in his play. We stressed "dear" (green circle) and "O" and played slowly them. He started to sing a bit. Then he can play Bb in time. He said "music is magic". He still needs time to complete this song. But I think I have to prepare next song soon. :)

12-03-2016, 02:19 AM
We can see Bb with a banana on her left hand in this shot below. She plays many bananas in this video.


12-05-2016, 12:03 AM
I taught him Sunday afternoon. He could play Bb. But it was not good enough. His Bb is as same as the first figure below. His fingers contact each other and face to same direction. I want him to play like second figure. Each finger separates and grip the fret board together with thumb.

https://s14.postimg.org/l65ilqgbl/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/hmjkvxdlp/)免费图片上传网站 (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

When I was taught piano, my teacher said to me that we need to grip chord on piano. She said the reason is when we grip a ball (See the figure below), our fingers push same pressure on ball, it gives even volume on each tones of the chord. She call it egg grip. I taught him we need banana and egg grip together on Bb.

https://s14.postimg.org/c2ggymx41/img_1.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/ejs85wh0d/)picture upload (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

On the fret board, thumb (blue circle on the figure below) decides the tilt of the fingers on blue arrow direction. If you place your thumb on the first string side, the figners stand vertically on fret board. If you place your thumb beneath the 4th string, the fingers go flat on the fret board.
The location of left elbow gives the tilt on the red arrow direction. When you push your elbow laterally (See the triangle on the right figure below), the fingers tilt saddle side on the fret board. This tilt gives a good grip of ring and pinky.

https://s17.postimg.org/n9p9cu9un/combine_images2.png (https://postimg.org/image/5weyxzejf/)photo hosting (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

He put his thumb in the right position on the back side of the neck and he put his elbow laterally like Jake. He still needs a lot of practice to play Bb. Ukulele is not easy.

A few days learning the Bb will seem like nothing in a few years time.
If a person has a healthy right hand, and you don't tell them the Bb chord is hard, it may take a few extra days of trying, but they can learn how to make the chord. If they have a good teacher, as is the case here, problems are identified by the teacher and the process is more streamlined. ZZTush is there to help his friend, so the challenge of the Bb chord is a challenge, but not an insurmountable challenge. It is not the same as trying to learn to play a Bb chord alone at home with no help.

Hi, Bill! You are right and I was wrong. I thought I just needed to show him Bb and he could do it. No. I have to identify his problems. It is not only one. There are many problems to fix to play Bb. I thought I could move to next song soon. No. ^^ But it is fun to practice. He really enjoy our practice.

12-05-2016, 02:10 AM
Hi zztush,

I just wanted to share some thoughts about Bb. Personally, I use the full barre method to make this chord and there is a very good reason for this. My fingers are simply too short for me to be able to cleanly make the half-barre shape. With my index finger in the correct ('banana') position for the half-barre there just isn't enough length in my middle and ring fingers for me to be able to arch them over the fretboard and place them in the desired position. It's anatomically impossible :) Just thought I would point this out - perhaps it's something worth keeping in mind.

Full barres, of course, present a challenge all of their own. I'm at a stage where I can make them cleanly but still find it difficult to make quick, clean changes between barres and open chords.

Edit: Also, of course, making sure that a uke is set up properly really helps make barring close to the nut a lot easier :)

12-05-2016, 03:02 AM
Hi, Jollyboy! Thank you for the reply!

My hand is small too. I can play banana and egg grip at once as seen below.

https://s12.postimg.org/sqnwpyse5/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/7trolaud5/)图片托管 (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

I know every one has different hands. Hence I don't say that anyone can do it. But my friend almost can do it with proper thumb and elbow locations. It is worth to try Jollyboy.

Me and my friend never give up (so far)! ^^

12-06-2016, 08:49 PM
We've finally found the lever (the figures below) made by our arms, thumbs and fingers. When I watched LP's video (shown above), she moved her elbow outside when she played C chord. I thought we have a lever there. I told him this lever last night and he could Bb straight away. He even could play E chord too now. We need to image the lever, and the direction of power is important. We do not grip chord, note or fret board. There is a lever. He said that "Oh, Bb is so easy." He plays Happy Birthday still slow. We need a couple of week to complete it. He enjoy practices it.

https://s15.postimg.org/6f38wg2l7/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/5pkgk321j/)上传图片 (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

This lever gives us good extension of ring and pinky. When we grip a chord or note, our fingers shrink. When we use this lever, our fingers extend.

12-11-2016, 08:55 PM
I taught him again this weekend. I brought a guitalele this time. Hence we share same chord shape on first 4 strings between ukulele and guitalele together (See the figure below). Guitalele has 5th degree higher than guitar. They are same chord shapes as C, F and G7 on guitar (red in the figure).

https://s17.postimg.org/4upk4yg1b/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/uq9ao5huz/)free image hosting (https://postimage.org/index.php?lang=chinese_simplified)

I am guitarist. I did't think much difference between ukulele and guitar. But he thinks there are big difference between ukulele and guitar. He tried guitalele once in our session, but he was no interested in guitalele at all. And I did not want him to teach guitalele. I understand that there are big difference between guitar and ukulele. We both understand ukulele is great instruments. Guitalele may be good instruments when teach ukulele. It has same chord shapes same tones on same frets. We can share same technique on both instruments. It add different sounds and it is also fun. We studied three chords and transpose. He needs still long time to clear Happy birthday.