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Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 02:08 AM
If I want to write a song in TAB, do I just read the standard notation and find the notes on the ukulele fretboard?

In other words, if I wanted to play Silent Night (just an example - I know there are a ton of versions available), would I just read the melody line of the song and then create my TAB by finding each note on the fret board?

bunnyf
04-13-2019, 02:18 AM
Jan, that is the basic idea. I wouldn’t pick a complicated piano arrangement but you can certainly find simple standard notation like in the daily ukulele books and write it out in tab. Actually, that would be a cool book, if the DUs were made into simple chord melodies. I’ve said this elsewhere, but to reiterate, James Hill’s “Ukulele Way” is an excellent methodology for understanding how to create your own arrangements.

jelow1966
04-13-2019, 04:53 AM
That is the basic idea but when you TAB something out you need to pay attention to the sequence of notes and where they are easiest to play on the fretboard. For example, if you have an E, in context of what you are playing is an open 2nd better, or would hitting it at the 4th fret on the 3rd have better flow. It's a really good way to get familiar with the fretboard and to see patterns and better ways to play things.

John

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 06:24 AM
Jan, that is the basic idea. I wouldn’t pick a complicated piano arrangement but you can certainly find simple standard notation like in the daily ukulele books and write it out in tab. Actually, that would be a cool book, if the DUs were made into simple chord melodies. I’ve said this elsewhere, but to reiterate, James Hill’s “Ukulele Way” is an excellent methodology for understanding how to create your own arrangements.

OK, thanks! I wasn't thinking of anything too complicated.

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 06:27 AM
That is the basic idea but when you TAB something out you need to pay attention to the sequence of notes and where they are easiest to play on the fretboard. For example, if you have an E, in context of what you are playing is an open 2nd better, or would hitting it at the 4th fret on the 3rd have better flow. It's a really good way to get familiar with the fretboard and to see patterns and better ways to play things.

John

Good point about paying attention to the sequence of notes.

Also, thanks for saying it's a good way to get familiar with the fretboard, etc. That is what I need to do anyway, so this will encourage me to go ahead and try to make some TAB.

Croaky Keith
04-13-2019, 07:50 AM
Grab yourself a fretboard map, & away you go! :)

https://liveukulele.com/lessons/fretboard-charts/

https://www.google.com/search?q=uke+fretboard+map&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-e

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 08:19 AM
Grab yourself a fretboard map, & away you go! :)

https://liveukulele.com/lessons/fretboard-charts/

https://www.google.com/search?q=uke+fretboard+map&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-e

Ooo! Thanks! Lots of good fret maps! I like this one especially: https://kidsspruke.zohosites.com/files/UkuleleFretboard_BWcolours.pdf

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 08:55 AM
Once you have to go up the fretboard for a particular note, see how long you can stay in the same position. When you hit a note which is outside the range of pitches available in that position, you'll move to a new position, but again, see how long you can stay in that position. To get more familiar with the fretboard, I practiced reading fiddle tunes, using a linearly tuned ukulele (forcing me to use notes on the 4th string, if I wanted to avoid excessive position shifting).

Also, when you have melodic scale runs, try to incorporate the 4th string, which is too often neglected when playing melodically. In any particular position, its pitches will overlap with the upper notes (in that position) on the second string and the lower notes on the first string.

There is a simple four-node, movable, cyclic fretboard pattern you can use to quickly find notes on the upper fretboard—and in fact, it's composed of the same string-to-string offset patterns that you use to tune an ukulele to itself using unisons and octaves:

From the 3rd or 4th strings, skip a string (to the 1st or 2nd, respectively) and go up three frets.
From the 2nd string, go to the neighboring 3rd string ("inside to inside") and up four frets.
From the 1st string, go to the 4th string ("outside to outside") and up two frets.

These offsets can be chained end to end to go higher and higher on the fretboard from any starting position (a note on the lower neck whose name you know), and you'll hit every note of the same name in "fretboard order". To see how this works, look at a fretboard map, pick any pitch name and follow the offsets up. It should take very little time to master this pattern. Once you locate notes in this pattern, you can see how they fit into your mental picture of the fretboard in that fretboard region, so that you can later find these notes by simple recall (and by direct association with the standard notation pitch locations).

For notes in the region just below the 12th fret, it can be faster to start at or above the 12th fret and walk the pattern down, but before trying that, first internalize the upward patterns. Though I now know my fretboard pretty well (at least for C and G tunings), I usually play using relative offsets and lose track of note and chord names; I find that using patterns like this "same-name zigzag" is usually faster and surer than relying on my recall of the fretboard.

As for chord/melody, that's another kettle of bees. There are strategies to greatly tame the "difficulty" of it, but it really helps to have done ear training in intervals first, so that you can distinguish which component of a chord a melody note maps to. If you can do this, predicting the location of the chord root (and even the shape of the desired chord) is pretty easy—though not so easy that I can describe it quickly here.

So, if I learn where the notes are on the fretboard, I should be able to play from standard notation without creating TAB, right?

Or does that pesky tuning come into play - song must be in the C tuning or whatever)?

Joyful Uke
04-13-2019, 10:35 AM
Thanks for this thread. This is definitely something that I want to work on, and the information here will be very helpful.

bunnyf
04-13-2019, 10:43 AM
Learning standard notation and the fretboard are two wonderful things. I like tab but standard notation opens up a lot more available music and I can use it for other instruments.

jelow1966
04-13-2019, 11:06 AM
So, if I learn where the notes are on the fretboard, I should be able to play from standard notation without creating TAB, right?

Or does that pesky tuning come into play - song must be in the C tuning or whatever)?

Once you know the fretboard you can play anything that is written in standard notation no matter the key as long as the notes are within the range of the uke. It gets tricky when notes fall outside the range. There are some keys, like G and C that are easier to play on a uke but any will work with the effort and it's mainly an issue of chord shapes as much as anything.

John

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 12:03 PM
Once you know the fretboard you can play anything that is written in standard notation no matter the key as long as the notes are within the range of the uke. It gets tricky when notes fall outside the range. There are some keys, like G and C that are easier to play on a uke but any will work with the effort and it's mainly an issue of chord shapes as much as anything.

John

OK, great! I already know standard notation so I am halfway there!:D

Chopped Liver
04-13-2019, 03:15 PM
You also need to realise that you do not have to get it perfect the first time. You can start out with something very simple, like just playing the melody line, and keep iterating until you arrive at something that is close to what you aimed at.

But when you are first starting you don't need to get confused by too much information. Just get started and keep going. Keep written records of your work in some form of musical journal, so you can keep coming back to the tune over the years.

I still can't remember it all and can't play it through very smoothly, but it is a great way to exercise my brain and fingers.

Thanks, Bill!

I think what I highlighted is what I need to remember to begin with so I don't get discouraged or take the fun out of it. And it will be good exercise for my fingers and brain!

bunnyf
04-14-2019, 02:14 AM
Keeping it simple is good. When I first start to learn a tune, I pick out the melody line (usually on mandolin, but sometimes uke) usually by ear. If I’m uncertain, I’ll look for a simple melody line in something like parking lot picker or DU or some other standard notation resource (knowing standard notation already will be a help). I do nothing more until I have that melody under my fingers and that might take a while. This will be great for learning where the notes are on the fretboard. I don’t move on until I have this part down pat.

Now this is where a little music theory helps. I add chords or partial chords where they make sense, like on the first beat of a chord change or a long held note. The trick is to know the notes of the chord and make the top note the one that is the melody note. Sometimes it’ll just be a double stop. When you get fancier, you can find notes further up the fretboard.