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View Full Version : How do you play your banjo uke?



J_Tay81
12-26-2010, 09:28 AM
I like the clawhammer style of the regular, open-back banjos (not that I'm especially good at it), but can that style be applied to an open-back banjo uke? Or do I just strum it like a regular uke?

John

Lori
12-26-2010, 10:29 AM
This is a good site for learning clawhammer style for uke
http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/Tutorials/Clawhammer/clawhammer.html
–Lori

KamakOzzie
12-26-2010, 10:30 AM
Sure can. Search YouTube for "clawhammer ukulele". Several tutorials, also.
Try tuning the A string down to G, and you have banjo tuning at the 5th fret.

Bill

Susie A
12-26-2010, 11:14 AM
This is a good site for learning clawhammer style for uke
http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/Tutorials/Clawhammer/clawhammer.html
–Lori

Thanks Lori!

KevinV
12-26-2010, 12:20 PM
Great tutorial, Lori. Thanks for the link. I'm working on Oh Susanna now so I can break in the Bean Sprout in style when it gets here. :drool:

Susie A
12-26-2010, 12:35 PM
Great tutorial, Lori. Thanks for the link. I'm working on Oh Susanna now so I can break in the Bean Sprout in style when it gets here. :drool:

I don't go back to work until Jan 4. I think I can learn some of these before then! Oh .. sorry to hijack your post John, doesn't take much to excite me these days :)

J_Tay81
12-26-2010, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the site link Lori !
I guess I'm still somewhat confused - When I play a chord that has multiple finger positions, like F Major, do I 'pick' either of the finger positions?

Lori
12-26-2010, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the site link Lori !
I guess I'm still somewhat confused - When I play a chord that has multiple finger positions, like F Major, do I 'pick' either of the finger positions?
I am no expert, and I haven't gone completely through the tutorials, but I think the idea is to pick the notes that are the melody in the chord, and you can choose whatever chord position you would like as long as you can isolate the melody notes between the strums.
–Lori

J_Tay81
12-27-2010, 08:29 AM
One last point of confusion for me - when I 'strum', It's a complete downstroke across ALL strings, culminating with a 'pull-off' of the thumb, correct? I was watching the videos and it doesn't seem as though the instructor makes as many motions as I make when I do the 'bum-ditty' motion.

Jnobianchi
12-27-2010, 12:20 PM
I like clawhammer, but on a five-string banjo. For the banjo uke, I strum using vaudeville-style strums and I'm working on Formby strums every day. I just love the way music from the teens through 30's sounds on a banjo uke, which is basically what it was designed to play.

That doesn't mean I limit myself to that style. Certain Beatles tunes, like "I've Just Seen a Face", really lend themselves to banjo uking.

Here's George, the Master himself. Trust me, wait for the solo:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qSK32h9zmQ

J_Tay81
12-27-2010, 12:28 PM
Thanks for all of the responses, guys and gals. What sorts of strings should I put on the banjo uke (if it ever shows up!). I've got a package of Fremont Black Lines laying around that I haven't used yet. Or should I go with the standard Aquilas? What strings to my banjo uke buddies dig?

Jnobianchi
12-27-2010, 12:34 PM
I know that some extol the virtues of Aquila banjo uke strings, but I like their regular ukulele strings. Of course, it all depends on the uke and the fretboard length. I have a couple of smaller banjo ukes that sound better with La Bella Senorita uke strings than they did with Aquilas. Try the Fremonts - I used those on a Stromberg for awhile and they felt very good.

SailingUke
12-27-2010, 12:52 PM
I like Aquilas, but I don't understand why the "C" is a wound in the banjo set.
I use standard soprano high G Aquilas on my UB-2.
I use Freemonts on my resonator, very nice too. I believe they are a little less bright than Aquilas, might sound good on the banjo.
Just like with any ukulele you need to experiment with the strings to get the sound you are looking for.

marymac
12-27-2010, 01:01 PM
Just wanted to throw out there that Aaron Keim has a few videos on youtube about how to play clawhammer style on a uke. He's pretty detailed in how the strum goes. It's not an extensive tutorial but I found these helpful.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSlmEZUtROo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kG4P77YFkc


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtfBZCvxxQ0

J_Tay81
12-27-2010, 01:59 PM
Wow - thanks everyone. Thanks marymac for the video uploads. If my banjo uke ever shows up :mad: I will delve in them more thoroughly.

I was looking on eBay for Aquila strings (just to price them out) and they do have a set of banjo uke strings, which I assume is different than the regular soprano uke strings. Does that make a difference? My banjo uke has a 13" scale if that helps you all out.

John

J_Tay81
12-28-2010, 08:54 AM
Those video clips are great. They really show some good techniques. Thanks Marymac!

Jnobianchi
12-29-2010, 10:43 AM
I was looking on eBay for Aquila strings (just to price them out) and they do have a set of banjo uke strings, which I assume is different than the regular soprano uke strings. Does that make a difference? My banjo uke has a 13" scale if that helps you all out.

The only difference is the wound C string. It's a matter of personal preference whether you like - or even hear - the 'twang' or not. Personally, I don't find it adds anything and it does give you a squeak as you move your finger up and down the string.

I use both on different banjo ukes.