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View Full Version : Experienced ukers: What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?



yookyoolayleeh
08-08-2009, 03:34 AM
Hi all,

Experienced players - what do you know or understand about uking now that you wish you could have understood earlier? (And I don't just mean "Don't have children - you'll need the money for ukes.") As a beginner myself, this is something I'd love to find out.

(I thought about posting this in the beginners' area, but I think it's more appropriate in Uke Talk).

Melissa82
08-08-2009, 03:36 AM
The first two weeks are the hardest part. Once you get past that, it's not so bad.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-08-2009, 03:46 AM
That some of most difficult-looking chord formations (Bb, Cdim, Fm7, etc) can become matters of habit if I but practice them for a while.

Also, that some strums like triplets or "double strums" can likewise become natural with enough practice.

I suppose I've learned that with enough practice, just about anything is possible! I'm still learning this and convincing myself that it's true!

berylbite
08-08-2009, 03:49 AM
it all makes perfect sense when you understand the dynamics of chords and notes in general.

Uncle-Taco
08-08-2009, 04:11 AM
I wish I'd known that if it sounds right, regardless of what any book, teacher, or rule tells you, then it is NOT wrong.

Jimmy
08-08-2009, 04:18 AM
I wish I'd known that if it sounds right, regardless of what any book, teacher, or rule tells you, then it is NOT wrong.

I agree. I remember after a while I thought the way I played Ds were wrong (I only use one finger and bend it oddly) and someone told me a similar thing. If it feels right, do it ;)

I wish someone could have told me "strings stretch, calm down".

Melissa82
08-08-2009, 04:23 AM
I wish someone could have told me "strings stretch, calm down".Hahaha, that's how I felt when I first got my uke. I was wondering why it kept going out of tune... but it's good now.

CTurner
08-08-2009, 04:33 AM
Improvement does not come consistently so don't expect obvious daily changes in your playing. It is usually more subtle than that as your mind and body adjust to small things. Have faith in the rehearsal process. Just keep practicing, little by little, bit by bit, and you will improve. Even five minutes of quality time is good.:)

Kanaka916
08-08-2009, 04:36 AM
Should've kept playing the entire time.

RonS
08-08-2009, 04:41 AM
Relax, this is supposed to be fun. :music:

BrotherUke
08-08-2009, 05:22 AM
Don't buy a uke until you spend some time on this board. I made the mistake of buying a cheap uke only to trade up soon after I was educated by my fellow UU'ers. A better instrument helped the learning experience immensely.

Lori
08-08-2009, 05:38 AM
Coming from a guitar and banjo background, I started out pressing too hard with my fingers on the fretboard. The "death grip" is not necessary. It's a difficult habit to break. But, it's a lot easier to get a good tone with a lighter touch on the ukulele. That makes it much better for the fingertips.

–Lori

Brad Bordessa
08-08-2009, 06:12 AM
That it's not about being the fastest. It's not about being the best. It's about having your own style. If you don't have that you have nothing.

Practice more.

Pickups are great, but they are also a pain in the butt. If you decide to get a pickup, know that you are at some point going to need to invest in a good amp or PA system. A micro cube doesn't cut it (at least for me).

It kind of depends on how dedicated you are. If you want to be a phenomenal player who gets invited to play at the Clapton Guitar Fest you just need to work at it harder. If you just want to be able to play a couple IZ songs, that's cool too, but you won't have to put in nearly as many hours.

I think Kanaka916's footer says best:

"Nana ka maka;
ho`olohe ka pepeiao;
pa`a ka waha.

Observe with the eyes;
listen with the ears;
shut the mouth.

Thus one learns."

lisaxy424
08-08-2009, 06:38 AM
I'm repeating a couple comments already, but tricky chord formations and the unecessary "death grip" were two of my issues.

One of the first chords I learned was Bm...and I was thinking, WAIT - I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE FUN! Now my fingers are getting used to it, and I wish I didn't freak out about it early on.

I still struggle with my "death grip"...still get some buzzing, but my hand would CRAMP when I first started just because I would choke the poor thing! :) I'm learning to LIGHTEN UP!

NatalieS
08-08-2009, 07:23 AM
I went through two or three crummy ukes before I found my "gem" (soprano koa Lanikai). Learning is much more enjoyable on a uke of good quality and sound. If I had any advice to give, it would be to save your money for a decent uke from the very beginning. I wasted a lot of money on the crappy ones, I should have just gone for the good one right away.

And if it turns out uke isn't your thing, you can always sell the nice uke here or on ebay, and not have too much of a loss. But I don't think that will be an issue-- almost everyone gets caught by the uke bug once they start! :D

RonS
08-08-2009, 07:59 AM
Writers have note pads to jot down ideas wherever things come to them
Artists have sketch pads to draw something that may strike them

Sometimes when I'm just fooling around, a nice melody or a different way to play a chord progression may just hit me. I have a small pocket recorder to quickly record those moments for later development.

yookyoolayleeh
08-08-2009, 09:22 AM
Fantastic responses so far everyone! Keep 'em coming.

Ken
08-08-2009, 09:34 AM
I wish I knew I would want (more like NEED) more free time to pursue playing the Ukulele. You lose track of time very easily :D.

pink flamingo
08-08-2009, 12:14 PM
That some of most difficult-looking chord formations (Bb, Cdim, Fm7, etc) can become matters of habit if I but practice them for a while.

Also, that some strums like triplets or "double strums" can likewise become natural with enough practice.

I suppose I've learned that with enough practice, just about anything is possible! I'm still learning this and convincing myself that it's true!

ah, I hate being so inherently lazy. Sure there is just not a pill you can take and BOOM...master of uke?

salukulady
08-08-2009, 12:35 PM
Some of you have posted not to waste your money on cheap ukes, but you didn't explain what a cheap uke was. You don't need a Pineapple Sundae ($1500) to sound good. A decent $100 uke is a fine uke for a casual player. I was happy with my $100 Ohana for quite a while until I happened on a good deal and upgraded but not by too much. Some casual players blow a lot of money chasing tone instead of just practicing more. If a $100 uke is set up properly anyone can make it sound good.

Solid mahogany is a good thing. I highly recommend Ohanas. They are well made and loud!

Also, that cheap $30 uke you bought makes a great car/beach uke. Remember every red light is a chance to practice that riff you've been trying to master.

experimentjon
08-08-2009, 12:45 PM
Well, I wouldn't call myself an experienced uker, but I wish I had known that there were good strings that weren't white and weren't called Aquilas. I seriously put those on everything b/c I was a noob and I liked how loud they were, and how much better they could make less expensive ukes sound. Who cares that it would break your fingers if you wanted to do massive bends, or that the strings were super stiff for strumming...bugga was loud. But anyway, I wish I had known about Worth strings and what a difference changing strings can do to the sound of your uke. A simple $10 upgrade from GHS to Worth can improve your uke sound by like $100.

Also, movable chord shapes. Learn them. They're awesome.

GX9901
08-08-2009, 01:31 PM
That you don't need to be experienced to get nice ukes such as the Hawaiian K's or even custom built ukes I think the higher end ukes are actually more user-friendly toward beginners becaue they are easier to play and their great sound encourage you to play even more.

Link
08-08-2009, 02:01 PM
I wish I would have known that they were like crack and should be avoided to preserve sanity.

SailorQwest
08-08-2009, 02:58 PM
That you can play any style off music you like and sound Good!
You aren't limited to "Ukulele" music. I'm not sure what that is but that's something I had heard/thought.

ukuleG
08-08-2009, 03:04 PM
I wish I would have known that they were like crack and should be avoided to preserve sanity.

i couldn't agree more, i really cant get enough and cant stop playing theres never a day goes by i don't play my uke or if i for some reason i haven't been able to get to my uke i get withdrawal symptoms. its basically taking over my life.

specialmike
08-08-2009, 03:12 PM
Stay away from people with really nice ukes :) If you don't, you'll end up dropping some big bucks on an ukulele of equal quality. haha

grappler
08-08-2009, 03:22 PM
try to learn more songs.
i need to stop repeating songs.

Ahnko Honu
08-08-2009, 04:10 PM
I wish I could have foreseen my Dad's Kamaka pineapple getting ripped off, and preventing it from happening.

rclifford13
08-08-2009, 09:14 PM
I wish I'd always tried to figure out songs by ear instead of googling the chords. The skill comes in immensely useful when working with other musicians.
I wish I'd been able to control my UAS and only buy instruments I really needed.
Most of all, I wish I'd known about UU from the very start!

RonS
08-09-2009, 02:44 AM
I wish I'd always tried to figure out songs by ear instead of googling the chords.

+2

Its never to late to start

micromue
08-09-2009, 11:32 PM
ALWAYS carry a uke on your travels. They like it abroad!

scooch
08-10-2009, 03:29 AM
5 or 10 minutes practice a day is more valuable than doing two hours straight once a fortnight! :o

Reno Dave
08-10-2009, 04:12 AM
I was just thinking about this very subject yesterday. I am self taught and have only been playing since last December but have made considerable advancements. With that being said, I wish I would have known earlier about finger warm up excercises and simple scales as shown in "Uke Minutes". I do this daily now before I start my practice sessions. It really helps.

uke552
08-10-2009, 04:28 AM
I wish I would have known that UAS is a common disease among folks on this board. It would have saved me $$ in doctors bills and medical research ($$ that I could have used to buy more ukes........yes, more ukes.......need one more.....)