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View Full Version : What are some bad habits to avoid?



DreamerZz
07-12-2011, 01:28 PM
Being new in the uke, I was wondering if someone can list some of the pitfalls they know of or personally experienced that they were once unaware of.

I guess some of the habits to maintain that I already knew are

-strum with your wrist and not your entire arm (because its more efficient)
-hold the uke with your elbow area and not your lap
-try placing your finger as close to the fret as possible?(minize buzzing)

Arcah
07-12-2011, 01:55 PM
1 bad habit that I did was that I learned too many songs at once and then just forget it all when I took a break.
So a good tip is to go into things slowly and maybe play it once or twice before learning another song.

mandrew
07-12-2011, 08:50 PM
Learn to hold the uke correctly up front. It will save grief later! A;so, be patient with your self.

ItsMrPitchy
07-12-2011, 11:24 PM
Dont practice for too long or you will just be practising mistakes.

Manalishi
07-12-2011, 11:33 PM
Another really bad habit is upgrading your
collection,and buying top range,top quality
ukuleles.So if you ever find yourself doing
this,fight it.Send them to me instead,and I
will love them and look after them for you!
Seriously,you seem to have grasped some
good ones for starters.Uke playing is a bit
like driving I think,if you develop good habits
early,they will stay with you for life!

lindydanny
07-13-2011, 03:53 AM
Geeze, there are so many to think about.

One bad habit I have been working on and I've seen others doing a lot of is looking at the fretboard too much. Great players don't need to look, they feel it. The better you are at feeling it and hearing it the better you will sound and play.

Joe Pass (a jazz guitarist of some note) once played at a university conservatory. He saw all of these guitar students out in the crowd and said, "I know you all are here to steal my licks!" He then pulled out a white handkerchief, rested it over the fretboard and his hand, and proceeded to play through his opening number.

~DB

ichadwick
07-13-2011, 04:05 AM
... strum with your wrist and not your entire arm (because its more efficient)
-hold the uke with your elbow area and not your lap
-try placing your finger as close to the fret as possible?(minize buzzing)
Not necessarily bad. Strum with your wrist AND your arm for the best effect, but wrist alone is okay, too, especially for making small movements and softer sounds.

Try using a strap instead of your elbow and you'll be amazed at how much more freedom your right arm has for movement. But it's okay to hold it in your lap, if that's comfortable and gives your strumming arm enough leeway to move. It also makes it easier and faster when changing chords because you don't have to support the neck while doing so.

As for the fret position - depends on the height of the fret, the distance between frets and the size of your finger. But yes, minimizing buzzing is good.

Ukulele JJ
07-13-2011, 05:20 AM
- Strum over the 12th fret or thereabouts... not over the sound hole. This will be fairly automatic if the uke is held in the traditional fashion, but strappers and ex-guitarists often get this wrong.

- Relying exclusively on other people's ears is a bad habit I see time and time again. When learning a new song, don't be so quick to rely on chordsheets, tabs, and YouTube tutorials. Take a stab at as much as you can all by yourself first, just by listening to the song. Even if all you can figure out is one chord. (And even if you later find out the chord was wrong!) Fall back on the other resources when/if you get stumped and use them to fill in the gaps. The more you do this, the fewer gaps there will be.

- In performance, don't interrupt the rhythm/tempo of a piece just because you're having trouble grabbing the next chord or note. The beat of the song should be your unyeilding master. It's better to fluff the chord or miss the note and press on than to lose the tempo. When practicing, it's okay to slow down the tempo during the rough spots to ensure that you get it right (and therefore learn it right). But don't turn that into a habit that you carry beyond the learning phase. Practicing with a metronome helps here.

JJ

hoosierhiver
07-13-2011, 05:23 AM
Don't listen to this village idiot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVPIuu3zSGA

Using your thumb for the D chord is bad form and will haunt you down the line when you get better.

Ted4
07-13-2011, 06:16 AM
Don't try playing your uke whilst cycling to work, I have got the hang of it now but must have fallen off a hundred times getting the hang of it!

NFLcheesehead1
07-13-2011, 06:19 AM
Don't play your ukulele during work hours, or your boss might not be too happy with your unproductive work...HaHa

Arcah
07-13-2011, 07:08 AM
Also don't let anyone play your ukuleles unless you are confident that they are responsible, or else you are going to get some marks and dents.

It's an instrument, not a toy.

wolfybau
07-13-2011, 07:12 AM
Don't play your ukulele during work hours, or your boss might not be too happy with your unproductive work...HaHa

lol , but what if you work is as professional musician?

my tip, don't play it in the bathroom. For obvious reasons.



Opt for a bass guitar instead.

Hiddencross
07-13-2011, 07:56 AM
Don't listen to this village idiot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVPIuu3zSGA

Using your thumb for the D chord is bad form and will haunt you down the line when you get better.

Oops :(
I guess I'm soon to be haunted.

ukulelecowboy
07-13-2011, 08:28 AM
Rings, watches and bracelets off when playing another person's instrument. I always insist before I hand one of mine over to someone else to play and I always take my jewelry off before I play another's.

NYG010
07-13-2011, 08:43 AM
Excellent thread dude! Great tips.

strumsilly
07-13-2011, 08:58 AM
Even though it sounds awesome, don't play in the shower unless you have an all plastic uke, you may however play in the closet, this also helps if you look at the fretboard too much or are driving your mate crazy practicing the same thing over and over .

uke4ia
07-13-2011, 10:55 AM
Oops :(
I guess I'm soon to be haunted.

Don't worry about it. There's a lot of snobbery about use of the thumb by people who were taught to play otherwise. In most cases, they've never used their thumbs themselves and have no first-hand idea of whether it works or not for long-time players. They tell you it doesn't work because they were told when they started that it doesn't work.

I don't play the D the way this guy does (barring it with the thumb), but I do play the E and chords higher on the neck that way. And I use the thumb to fret the G string on a lot of chords. I'll put my ability to get from one chord to the next quickly up against most of the people who tell you not to use it. The important thing is to practice -- no matter how you fret your chords, you need to practice songs where you move to and from different chords to get the dexterity to do it cleanly and quickly in everything you play.

ichadwick
07-14-2011, 12:51 AM
Using your thumb for the D chord is bad form and will haunt you down the line when you get better.

Yeah. It should only be used for G#7! ;-)
Funny thing that. I used my thumb for several chords when playing guitar, but of course with fewer strings I seldom do nowadays. My thumb feels negelcted and lonely, having little to do but press against the neck while the others play on the fretboard.

redBee
07-14-2011, 05:30 AM
Also don't let anyone play your ukuleles unless you are confident that they are responsible, or else you are going to get some marks and dents.

It's an instrument, not a toy.

Good one. Also I always ask the person to wash his/her hands before touching the uke. I always wash my hands before playing.

rabbit
07-14-2011, 06:01 AM
Avoid bathtub booze & wimminz.

Good booze O.K.

Drink & play O.K. with cheap ukes; possibly an excuse
for another instrument dedicated to this purpose.
.

Did I say wimminz?

hoosierhiver
07-14-2011, 06:39 AM
Among other things,using your thumb for the D chord makes the switch to a G more difficult, try it yourself. And there's is no reason for name calling.

Hiddencross
07-14-2011, 07:17 AM
Among other things,using your thumb for the D chord makes the switch to a G more difficult, try it yourself. And there's is no reason for name calling.

I generally use my thumb on only the G string on the D and E chords for example, not to play the whole chord as in the video linked earlier. Even playing a tenor I have a tough time getting three fingers together to make those chords without my thumb. I don't want to start a flaming thumb war but Is this generally considered acceptable or should I attempt to break the habit while I am still a relatively new player. I'm prepared for a variety of opinions, but I'd be interested to know people's thoughts?

hoosierhiver
07-14-2011, 07:28 AM
Alot of people span the D using two fingers to cover the three strings.

uke4ia
07-14-2011, 11:49 AM
I generally use my thumb on only the G string on the D and E chords for example, not to play the whole chord as in the video linked earlier. Even playing a tenor I have a tough time getting three fingers together to make those chords without my thumb. I don't want to start a flaming thumb war but Is this generally considered acceptable or should I attempt to break the habit while I am still a relatively new player. I'm prepared for a variety of opinions, but I'd be interested to know people's thoughts?

Generally acceptable depends on who you ask. Personally, I think that using your thumb on the G string is the best way to make an E and the 6664 version of F# whenever you're using suspended chords. You just have to slide your ring finger up one fret to make a suspended chord, and slide it back down to resolve to the major chord.

hoosierhiver, I apologize for offending you. From my standpoint it's pretty insulting to be told that the way I play is wrong and unacceptable, that use of the thumb "will haunt you", when I have 35 years of evidence that it's perfectly workable.

Dougf
07-14-2011, 12:53 PM
hoosierhiver, I apologize for offending you. From my standpoint it's pretty insulting to be told that the way I play is wrong and unacceptable, that use of the thumb "will haunt you", when I have 35 years of evidence that it's perfectly workable.

Jimi Hendrix used his thumb a lot, I don't think it particularly haunted him.

Hiddencross
07-14-2011, 01:10 PM
Jimi Hendrix used his thumb a lot, I don't think it particularly haunted him.

Little known fact: In an online forum, someone insulted Jimi Hendrix's use of his thumb when playing. He was so haunted by the comment that he killed himself. Then they concocted some story about drugs and claimed that internet forums didn't exist in 1970. Now you know the truth.

birdergirl
07-14-2011, 01:19 PM
my tip, don't play it in the bathroom. For obvious reasons.

What a FABULOUS idea! :cool: The acoustics will be awesome, as mine is tiled floor-to-ceiling! I just have to make sure the house is empty first!

uke4ia
07-14-2011, 03:29 PM
There was a guy on UkeToob who had a series of videos recorded with him sitting on the toilet. Strictly for the acoustics, of course.


Edit: Here's one of his videos.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBIQlHf-IOU

Craig Chee
07-16-2011, 08:46 AM
Don't practice while driving down the i-5 :)

mm stan
07-16-2011, 09:08 AM
I generally use my thumb on only the G string on the D and E chords for example, not to play the whole chord as in the video linked earlier. Even playing a tenor I have a tough time getting three fingers together to make those chords without my thumb. I don't want to start a flaming thumb war but Is this generally considered acceptable or should I attempt to break the habit while I am still a relatively new player. I'm prepared for a variety of opinions, but I'd be interested to know people's thoughts?

You know how to make the G chord first position....try it on the second fret of the GCE Strings...let me know if it works for you...

Nickie
07-18-2011, 07:26 PM
Guys leaving the seat on the toilet up...

ckellogg
07-19-2011, 05:32 AM
Little known fact: In an online forum, someone insulted Jimi Hendrix's use of his thumb when playing. He was so haunted by the comment that he killed himself. Then they concocted some story about drugs and claimed that internet forums didn't exist in 1970. Now you know the truth.

LOL. Thx Hiddencross. Well played.

Hiddencross
07-19-2011, 06:35 AM
You know how to make the G chord first position....try it on the second fret of the GCE Strings...let me know if it works for you...

Hey! That works. Thanks, Stan! Now I gotta work on my E.

peedee
08-10-2011, 07:08 PM
Don't let your strum hand break rhythm. If your fret hand fumbles, keep going. If your fret hand fumbles at the same spot consistently, slow down until you can do it without your strumming hand having to hesitate. Then speed up incrementally.

CmdCtrl
08-15-2011, 12:45 PM
Don't practice while driving down the i-5 :)

unless the i5 is a parkinglot (which it is on occasion).

Just last month after getting stuck on the 210, I pulled my new eleuke out ot the trunk, plugged her into the mp3 input of the car stereo and basically entertained the cars around me for the next 45 minutes.

back on topic though, some of the reminders for myself:
avoid being lazy and check the tunning.

wolfybau
08-17-2011, 02:09 AM
What a FABULOUS idea! :cool: The acoustics will be awesome, as mine is tiled floor-to-ceiling! I just have to make sure the house is empty first!

that is true- natural reverb!

I guess I should have been more specific and said "dont play it whilst using the comode". I was trying to put it more politely :o

for a practical tip, take care not to play with too sharp and angle on the fretting hand. try to curl your finger a lot over the neck , especialy at the knckle joint at the base of your fingers, instead of bending at the wrist, otherwise carpal tunnel and wrist problems are sure to follow. I learned the hard way from long years of guitar playing like that :(