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wilsons85283
08-10-2010, 09:52 AM
I have a new Kamaka concert uke that I just LOVE. Because I am a viola player, I prefer the low G for the expanded range & richness of sound. I have just started working in the John King Classical Ukulele, which is written for high g. A lot of King’s tabs are for position work using as many open strings as possible and mostly stay in the higher positions. With re-working the pieces for a low G instrument, I need to make some decisions on how to play the melodic line, whether to stay in a higher position or to shift back down to first position.

Is playing in upper positions on the uke done more for the sound or for the finger pattern (or just to show that you play well enough to do it!)?

I’d also be interested in a discussion on g vs. G tuning. I haven’t found a thread yet.

Thanks

Kanaka916
08-10-2010, 10:19 AM
I’d also be interested in a discussion on g vs. G tuning. I haven’t found a thread yet.

Thanks

Here are some older threads, regarding g tuning, hope it helps . . .
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?2704-Low-G-versus-high-G
http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?1721-High-G-String-or-Low-G-String
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?19246-low-g-string
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?74-AECg-vs-AECG
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?25264-Big-Island-Ukulele-s-Honu-Traditional-tenor

wilsons85283
08-10-2010, 12:25 PM
Thanks for the links. Interesting. How about my other question?

Is playing in upper positions on the uke done more for the sound or for the finger pattern (or just to show that you play well enough to do it!)?

SailingUke
08-10-2010, 12:42 PM
John King played in a style (I'll let some of the classical folks give the name) that never hit the same string twice in a row.
He arranged his music to utilize high "G" and played open strings to have them ring.
While you can certainly play classical pieces with low "G" they won't be in the John King style.
You are correct about the expanded range of low "G" and I am guessing the lower voice is more pleasing to a viola player.

Playing up the neck, chords or melody, is done usually because of where notes are located in relationship to other notes you might be playing.
I play chords up the neck sometimes because there is a melody note in the shape I am looking for. Example, I need a melody "F" at the 8th fret on the "A" string.
I can play 5558 and have an "F" chord. It is the "C" shape slid to the 5th fret.

There may be some who play up the neck because they can, but I believe most have a better reason. Playing a different inversion of a chord can embellish the sound of a group too.

itsme
08-10-2010, 01:20 PM
John King played in a style (I'll let some of the classical folks give the name) that never hit the same string twice in a row.
Campanella! From his site (http://www.nalu-music.com/nalu-music-store/john-king-plays-bach-on-the-ukulele/):

"The early baroque masters of the guitarra española pioneered a style of playing now known as campanella. The campanella style is noted for a bell like quality of sound in which individual notes over-ring one another producing an effect very much like that of the harp. This is accomplished by playing each succeeding note in a melodic line on a different string. The ukulele adapts well to this style of performance due to its hallmark re-entrant (my-dog-has-fleas) tuning."


Is playing in upper positions on the uke done more for the sound or for the finger pattern (or just to show that you play well enough to do it!)?
I would say it's mostly done for the fingering. If you're playing a high G (10th fret on the A string), it makes no sense to drop down to the 2nd fret on that string to play a B, rather you'd play that B on the 7th fret of the E string.

A lot of fingerpicking in the higher positions basically involves arpeggiated chords. Figure out how the chord is structured relative to the highest note in it, so that you could strum the entire chord in that position without having to jump around on a single string when fingerpicking the chord.

I love King, but a lot of his stuff is pretty hard, and like SailingUke mentioned, it won't sound the same with a low G. I have both high and low G ukes and some stuff works equally well on either, but some of it doesn't.

BTW, have you downloaded Wilfried Welti's "solobuch" yet?

http://ukulelehunt.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/solobuch.pdf

mm stan
08-10-2010, 06:42 PM
Aloha Wilson85283,
I like to play what's comfortable and what's sounds good at the time....meaning that, if you're not comfortable with what you're
playing at the time, and it does'nt sound good due to experience....don't force it, in due time it will. When you get better, it will....no rush man...
I'd rather play something easy...well and sounds good than something complicated really bad anyday...but that's just me....."Keep strumming
them strings" MM Stan...

antirealist
08-10-2010, 06:52 PM
I love King, but a lot of his stuff is pretty hard...

You can say that again. The campanella style makes it even harder, For example, a fragment of the second measure of his arrangement of the Prelude from the Bach Cello Suite No 1 is:

|----8---8---8--------|
|--5-------5---5------|
|0--------------------|
|------9--------------|

I have small hands, and despite 40 years of guitar playing, I'm afraid I find this pretty much impossible. So I rearrange it as:

|----8-7-8---8--------|
|--5-------5---5------|
|0--------------------|
|---------------------|

It's not campanella, but it's much easier to play (and closer to the guitar arrangements of this piece). I use the high G in JK's arrangements when I can, otherwise I fudge it in that way.

itsme
08-10-2010, 07:27 PM
I have small hands, and despite 40 years of guitar playing, I'm afraid I find this pretty much impossible.
You also have to remember that King usually played a soprano. A lot of his stuff includes stretches that just don't work well on a tenor.

But I'm with you. If there's a note I can't reach, I'll either re-finger it elsewhere or just leave it out altogether. In the scheme of things, a quick note ommitted here or there really doesn't make much of a difference to the musical intent of the piece.

Teek
08-11-2010, 03:28 AM
Thankful to read that some one else leaves out a note here and there. If it makes a change really hard for me and breaks up my flow which is interrupted and slow enough already to be frustrating, I will drop a note from a chord if it's just an accent note. I am just starting to learn to reach notes up the neck and otherwise it's fun, but trying to stretch from the 7th fret to the second over 4 strings is frustrating.

What's more frustrating is currently working long and odd hours that wear me down to the point that I look longingly at my baby ukes and can't even muster the energy to uncase one. Only good part about that is after the hours settle back down eventually there may be cash to spare to buy that orange burst Makala dolphin I'm lusting after. Bad part is no practice slides me back to what feels like square two.

BTW, does anyone have any links to a really good tabbed version of Tom Petty's "Square One"?

mm stan
08-11-2010, 03:56 AM
Thankful to read that some one else leaves out a note here and there. If it makes a change really hard for me and breaks up my flow which is interrupted and slow enough already to be frustrating, I will drop a note from a chord if it's just an accent note. I am just starting to learn to reach notes up the neck and otherwise it's fun, but trying to stretch from the 7th fret to the second over 4 strings is frustrating.

What's more frustrating is currently working long and odd hours that wear me down to the point that I look longingly at my baby ukes and can't even muster the energy to uncase one. Only good part about that is after the hours settle back down eventually there may be cash to spare to buy that orange burst Makala dolphin I'm lusting after. Bad part is no practice slides me back to what feels like square two.

BTW, does anyone have any links to a really good tabbed version of Tom Petty's "Square One"?

Yup, I know the feeling when you're tired and can't focus and concentrate on playing...it's frustrating...to the max....

wilsons85283
08-11-2010, 05:53 AM
Thanks for all of the great info. This was my first post & I've learned a lot. Thanks

kenikas
08-11-2010, 01:42 PM
Thankful to read that some one else leaves out a note here and there. If it makes a change really hard for me and breaks up my flow which is interrupted and slow enough already to be frustrating, I will drop a note from a chord if it's just an accent note. I am just starting to learn to reach notes up the neck and otherwise it's fun, but trying to stretch from the 7th fret to the second over 4 strings is frustrating.

What's more frustrating is currently working long and odd hours that wear me down to the point that I look longingly at my baby ukes and can't even muster the energy to uncase one. Only good part about that is after the hours settle back down eventually there may be cash to spare to buy that orange burst Makala dolphin I'm lusting after. Bad part is no practice slides me back to what feels like square two.

Glad to know I'm not the only one! It seems like I barely get home often enough to refill the humidifiers in my uke's and guitars, tune um, strum a bit, and I'm gone again. The few things I thought I could play are fading. And the flights I've been on lately there's been no way I can take a uke with me, so can't even practice in a hotel or in the plane waiting for the passengers. Keep plugging for the Dolphin, they're worth the wait, I play my grandkid's every chance I get.

itsme
08-11-2010, 02:34 PM
And the flights I've been on lately there's been no way I can take a uke with me, so can't even practice in a hotel or in the plane waiting for the passengers.
Why not? Is it because of baggage restrictions?

Many moons ago (back in my pre-uke days) I used to travel a lot for business. I actually bought a SoloEtte travel guitar (http://soloette.com/) to keep me company. Beat the heck out of watching tv alone in my room or hanging out in the hotel bar.

kenikas
08-12-2010, 07:02 AM
Why not? Is it because of baggage restrictions?.
No.....well sort of, I'm the pilot and I fly corporate and charter. The plane I've been flying lately doesn't have anywhere in the cockpit to put it and the baggage hold doesn't seem safe enough with all the golf clubs, besides there just hasn't been room. The plane I was flying before usually had smaller loads and there were several small closets I could stash a uke in, but this one doesn't. Oh well I'll just have to try harder I guess.