View Full Version : Following other uke players

05-11-2010, 12:38 PM

I've been playing ukulele for a while now and there are two things I cannot do: singing while playing and following other people who are playing a song I don't know.

I don't know if there is a technical term for this, but every time another of my friend starts playing guitar, I just stop playing because I have no idea what to do, while they can easily follow me if I'm playing a song they don't know.

Did Aldrine post a video on how to do that? I checked the internet but I don't really know what to look for. If you guys have links, that would help.



05-11-2010, 01:06 PM
I conquered singing and playing by simply banging at it until I improved with no particular method I remember.

I am lucky enough to be around some people who play and were learning uke at the same time. See if there is a local group, playing with other people is fun and you learn alot.

05-11-2010, 01:21 PM
Regarding singing and playing... learning is just plain awkward. Start with a simple song, where both the playing and singing are ridiculously easy by themselves. Then work at it. Slowing everything down can help too. Once you start to get it, you can add complexity and speed. You might even just start by chunking out the rhythm, instead of playing actual notes.

As far playing with other people, so far I am clueless so I will keep my mouth shut ;)

05-11-2010, 01:23 PM
Oh, I forgot to say tha tI don'T care about singing for now hahaha!

I'm just wondering how other players do that, just start playing a totally random song they don't know by following somebody else.

05-11-2010, 01:45 PM
So, is the problem that you have a hard time telling what chord they are playing just by looking at their hand? If so, you could practice playing in front of a mirror to help with identifying chords from an angle that your not used to...

05-11-2010, 01:49 PM
Something like this, but how come guitar players can follow me even if they have no knowledge of ukulele and its chords?

05-11-2010, 01:54 PM
Play with friends, weekly, if possible. Ask for the key of each song played. and work on the I, IV V chord progressions. Listen for the chord changes. It comes eventually.

hoosierhiver, I must say I'm inspired by your youtube channel. The bees, the beer, the chickens, the tunes - it's all good. rock on.

05-11-2010, 02:03 PM
Oh, that might be more related to knowing what chords are in which key. If you have a general idea of how a song goes, and you know something about keys, it makes it a lot easier to follow someone who is playing.

This chart and more information is at http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/Tutorials/1four5/music-theory/key-chord-chart/key-chord-chart.html

The idea is, that if you know the song is in the Key of C, for example, the chords are basically going to be C, F, and G. Then, it is just a matter of having an idea of how the song goes, then watching the other person for chord changes.


05-11-2010, 02:23 PM
I think that experience is a big helper in playing along with others on an unfamiliar song. After you play awhile, and get used to the sound of the different chords, you will be able to anticipate a lot of the simple songs that will come up. When you know what key the song is in, then you know the likely chords that will be played. Many songs use only 3 - 5 chords, so guessing becomes easier when you only have a small group to choose from. Eventually, you will hear in your head what the next chord will be. The more songs you play and learn, the easier it gets.

05-11-2010, 02:50 PM
Something like this, but how come guitar players can follow me even if they have no knowledge of ukulele and its chords?DeG has given you the basics. This knowledge of easy music theory comes with time and muscle memory. I have been playing uke for a little over two years. When a guitar player is playing a simple 3 chord song I can now follow along pretty well, my brain and left hand just know where to go. A G on a uke is a D on a guitar etc..., most guitar players will figure that out quickly. Pretty soon you will be able to recognize guitar chords too. Just give yourself time and keep jamming with friends, it will come with time.

05-11-2010, 03:00 PM
Realistically, you're not going to be able to just step into a room and jam with people if they don't give you any information about what theyre playing. If you can do that on your first shot then you probably have perfect pitch and are some sort of crazy prodigy.

So, to help you grow, you need to ask your comrades to fill you in a little bit. Ask what key they are in and what chords are in the song, at least. Then, as they're playing, see if you can place the chords at the right point in the song using your ear. It's tough to get a hang of it and it takes practice. Eventually, you will probably require less information when jamming. The chart posted above is a great tool when you get to that point.

Keep at it! this is serious musical training beyond just strumming a couple chords solo on a ukulele. This is training your ear and your musical mind, which can take months AT LEAST!
Best of luck :)

05-13-2010, 10:40 AM
Wow! Thanks a lot guys, now I have something to start with!